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The Soldier

Team Fortress 2
by yo go re

"I'm a Rocket Man!"

Though he wanted desperately to fight in World War 2, the Soldier was rejected from every branch of the U.S. military. Undaunted, he bought his own ticket to Europe. After arriving and finally locating Poland, the Soldier taught himself how to load and fire a variety of weapons before embarking on a Nazi killing spree for which he was awarded several medals that he designed and made himself. His rampage ended immediately upon hearing about the end of the war in 1949.

The Soldier - who put the name "Mister Jane Doe" on his mailbox - is a man's man. He's a Mann's man's man! War is serious business, and brother, business is boomin'! His hobbies involve yelling, getting haircuts, eating ribs, and capturing points! (Stand! On! The! Point! Numbnuts!) He may seem dumb, but he is a lawyer (given legal powers by a magician), and a priest capable of performing exorcisms (but only in Guam). Above all else, remember: it's only a war crime if the other guy does it!

Taking his cues from another famous, long-serving soldier (namely, Beetle Bailey), the Soldier wears a helmet that sits so low that it obscures his eyes. Make no mistake, he does have eyes - some of his hats expose them, and you can see them on the figure if you look up under the helmet - but for the most part he wears an Eye-Obscuring Hat.

In order to accommodate fast-paced gameplay, all of the Team Fortress 2 characters have unique, cartoony silhouettes - it allows you to recognize them at a glance, so you know who you'll be fighting without having to stop and think about it. Fittingly, the Soldier's silhouette is very similar to that of his BFF, the Demoman (technically, it's the BLU Soldier and the RED Demoman who are friends, but since everybody on both teams are identical, it hardly matters) - the main difference between them being that the Demo's vest gives him broader shoulders, while the lower edge of the Soldier's jacket bulks up his hips. When they're running at you from the end of a tiny hallway, that's all it takes to separate the long-ranged attack from the medium-ranged attack.

The Soldier wears a WWII-style field jacket, which makes sense, since (as the bio told you) he wanted desperately to fight the Nazis. Even though the war was already over by the time he got there. He has a medal on his chest, but it's not one of the ones he designed himself - it's not even a part of the standard Soldier design! It is in fact the Gentle Manne's Service Medal, a limited item that could only be earned by finding a hidden page on the website. He has two (non-​removable) grenades strapped to his chest, and his pants are tucked into his boots. His jacket is bright blue, with yellow Soldier icons on both shoulders, and it fades to a darker color as you get below the waist, suggesting dirt and grime.

The articulation on this figure is a bit more straightforward than it was in Series 1. Solly has hinged toes, swivel/hinge ankles, swivel shins, swivel/hinge knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel waist, swivel/hinge wrists and elbows, swivel biceps, swivel/hinge shoulders, and a balljointed head. A few of the joints were stiff, but a little time and patience has everything moving safely. There's enough range of motion to get him into nearly any pose you'd want, and just like Shocka said, the figure stands securely with no problems. That's a good improvement on NECA's part.

Like the other TF2 releases (save for the Demoman), Soldier only comes with two of his three starting weapons: the main and the melee, but no secondary. In other words, he's got his rocket launcher (a super stylized version of the real world RPG-7, though why an all-American boy like Jane would be using a Soviet weapon is a question for another time), and his Mann Co. shovel (which, sadly is a solid piece, not hinged like the real thing). He comes with three alternate hands to hold the weapons, since the ones he's wearing in the package are solid fists. There's one curled right hand for the shovel, and a set of left and right designed for the grips of the bazooka. Hint: put the hands on the grips before attaching them to the arms; it's easier that way. We do kind of wish he also came with his "loser" hand, so he could hold it up to his forehead for a taunt.

The set also includes a card (reproducing the Soldier poster art) that has a special code you can redeem for a free in-game item. Yes, everybody gets the same item. And since this is Team Fortress 2, the item is a hat. Specifically, the Stainless Pot, which is... well, it's a stainless steel pot. A sauce pan, really. One that he wears on his head. It's a shame the toy doesn't come with one, but then, it's already a shame that the entire line doesn't use Palisades-Muppets-style magnets for swappable hats.

The Soldier is a very middle-of-the-road class. He's not the fastest, not the slowest, not the strongest, not the weakest... but even if you had a team of nothing but Soldiers, you'd still have a chance of winning. The biggest trick, though, is to master the rocket jump, which turns you into one-man air support. The Soldier is a well-rounded class, and this is a well-rounded action figure of him.

-- 13/09/13


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