When arguing against the idiocy of "special memorial" toys, the question of Plan B's Emergency Forces line was brought up. An off-shoot of the well-received Special Forces line that was begun by the late, lamented ReSaurus, Emergency Forces switched the focus from national defense to civic: rather than soldiers, the Emergency line feature firefighters and policemen. Are those just cashing in on America's post-9/11 respect for our civil servants?
We'll come back to that question in a bit. For now, the toy. Usually, when a toy company includes an animal with a figure, it's just an accessory: an immobile lump of plastic, sometimes not even given a decent paint job. But what happens when that animal is every bit as important as the human it is packaged with?
The Police K-9 Unit is comprised of two officers, the handler and dog. The unit is trained for narcotics, bomb and evidence searches as well as tracking and suspect take downs.
In the case of the Police K-9 Unit, the dog isn't a secondary item, it's an actual part of the team. This may not be the most articulated canine we've ever gotten (that still goes to the wolf that came with X2's Logan), but Plan B made sure that the dog was useful. A perfect representation of a German Shepherd, right down to that odd squat stance the breed has, the dog is articulated at the neck and jaw, which allows you to pose it sniffing intently at the air or clamping down on some perp's arm.
The dog's control harness is a sculpted element, though it really looks like a separate item pressing down on fur. There's a badge on the left side and the leash is real material with a loop stitched at the end.
My only real gripe with and of the Special Forces figures is their pricetag; for a line that readily reuses bodies, $10 is a bit much to pay per figure. That said, Plan B is a small company struggling to get stores to carry its toys, so I understand why costs are the way they are and I support the effort.
The human half of this team uses the relatively new "short sleeve" arms with the standard body. The uniform is painted a dark blue and has an American flag on the left shoulder. He's got a badge on his chest and his belt has a holster (the included handgun fits in perfectly), a radio, small flashlight and handcuffs and extra clips.
The K-9 Officer stands 6" tall and moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees and ankles. Like all the Special Forces figures, the K-9 Officer has a removable head; the included head is wearing a baseball cap with "Police K-9" emblazoned on the brow in white letters, so it might look out of place on the other guys.
So, are the Emergency Forces lines cashing in on America's brief love affair with law enforcement? No, not really. Yes, there are American flags on the packaging and the figures, but no big ridiculous "NEVER FORGET" or "POWER OF PRIDE" labels. The figures aren't called the "September 11th Memorial Emergency Forces" and they make no mention of any specific precinct.
Were the Emergency Forces inspired by 9/11? I couldn't say, but I'm sure that swell of support helped get them to shelves. However, Plan B had the good taste to leave these as toys representing just policemen and fire fighters instead of trying to hitch their fortunes to a particular event. Class and decency from a hard working group of toymakers.
Would you like to see a female Special Forces figure? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.