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Fire Fighters Fire Chief

M.A.X. Elite Heroes
by yo go re

At Toy Fair 2010, Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys announced their first original property for the Minimates line, M.A.X. - Mobile Action Xtreme - "the world's premier action response team!"

Never before has a team of heroes like this been assembled! There is no situation that's beyond their resources. You can use any mix of parts from any of the members to create your own team, use the gear you want to use and imagine any situation you can for the team to solve. For the first time ever, you can create your own mission as well as team members.

The first MAX release was a pilot with a fighter jet, but now we've finally gotten to the figure packs. The MAX Minimates are sold in two-packs on a blister card. The blister itself is wide enough for three figures to be packed closely together, but there's a reason for that: the two figures in the set are on the left, while the right side of the packaging holds all their extra gear. The bubble bulges out on that side, and has a few of the honeycomb tiles that are the visual identifier of the MAX line.

The first series of MAX two-packs are all Toys Я Us exclusives, and feature a set of soldiers, a set of cops, and four sets of fire fighters.

Equipped and trained to deal with the most Xtreme situations that can arise, this pair is extensively trained to put out hazardous fires that threaten civilian populations and property, rescue people and other similar situations that may arise. As a member of the M.A.X. Team, these firemen have advanced skills needed to operate the latest firefighting technology and rescue gear.

As we said, there are four sets of firemen: two sets in the black jackets (fire fighters) and two sets in tan jackets (smoke jumpers). Judging by what's hanging on the pegs locally, each case seems to have multiples of the "standard" firefighter sets, then one each of the variant "fire chief" sets. What's the difference? The color of their helmets and the design of one of their jackets. That's it. Still, I went for the variant chief, because darn it, I like that helmet!

Chief #1 is wearing his standard uniform: red helmet, black jacket with yellow stripes, black pants, and thick boots. His jacket is the only one molded to hang open this way, revealing the blue shirt and red suspenders beneath. The cuffs of the coat are separate pieces, making him look like he's wearing a very thick jacket, and the feet are molded with the pieces that raise to his knees to create the look of gigantic pants. Gigantic pants! The set also includes an extra black helmet you can give him, as well.

It's worth noting that both figures in this set are apparently the same guy: of all the various faces they could have painted on the head, both are identical. It's a perfectly fine face, mind you, and since all the MAX two-packs do things the same way, you can trade heads around - you know, put this head on a cop, replace it with a soldier's head, whatever.

Chief #2 is packaged in his off-duty clothes: dark blue, short-sleeved shirt with red suspenders and black pants. I guess that's not really "off" duty - more like he's on duty at the firehouse, just waiting for the alarm to ring so he can go out and do something. There were more than 25 million calls for fire department services in 2008, but only about 6% of those were actual fires. By comparison, 9% of the calls were false alarms, and 62% of the calls were for medical aid. Seriously? What are you people doing with your phones?!

Obviously the guy can't go to a fire in his normal clothes, so the set includes lots of extra pieces to gear him up. He gets the new feet, the standard jacket, new arms with cuffs, and a helmet of his own. His helmet has a breathing mask attached. Oddly, he also gets a replacement torso: rather than popping the arms off the torso he already has and slipping the coat on, they just went ahead and gave him a second torso brick. Obviously it came out of the mold as the helmet, because they're both molded from clear plastic. To go with the face mask, he has a detailed air tank/harness that slips easily over his shoulders.

That's not the only accessory, though. There's a simple axe for both guys, a hooked pike, a fire extinguisher, a high-powered flashlight with a shoulder strap, and a spreader from the jaws of life set. It's all new stuff, of course, and very nicely sculpted.

We once asked AA about doing some civilian Minimates - you know, business people, generic police, etc. - but nothing ever came of it. So naturally, seeing the MAX Minimates at TRU was really exciting. They're perfect set dressing for your other Minimate battles: I mean, Tobey Maguire ran into fire fighters at least once per Spider-Man movie, didn't he? Maybe the Joker has taken some hostages. There are plenty of reasons to buy some mini firemen, not the least of which is that, even as standalone toys, they're well-made and fun.

-- 11/24/10

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