There have been several Tomb Raider figures over the years, from the terribly abyssmal ToyBiz version to Playmates' surprisingly affordable videogame line. There were even figures based on the Tomb Raider movie, though they didn't really bear much resemblence to either Lara Croft or Angelina Jolie.
Now that Tomb Raider 2 is hitting theatres, there are new toys on their way. Playmates has given up the license, allowing newcomer SOTA to try their hand.
Using RealScan technology to capture the best likeness possible, SOTA has really improved over the stunningly lackluster figures from the first film. The figures have more articulation than any Tomb Raider before them, allowing for some really dynamic poseability that suits both the videogame and the movie.
Learning from the financial failure that was the first Tomb Raider line, SOTA has kept their selection small: two figures of Lara and one enemy beastie for her to fight. They also produced two convention exclusives, variants of both Ms. Crofts.
Lara's "normal" outfit for this movie is a yellow jacket over a white tanktop. In keeping with the wetsuit variant, SOTA also repainted 300 editions of this figure; her pants and coat are now a more stealthy black, perfect for raiding tombs undetected.
This figure also includes an extra set of bare arms
- pop the long-sleeved arms out of place, remove the jacket and put in the new arms, and you now have Lara in her tanktop, perfect for those balmy topical locations. Change only the arms, and you have a nice vest. This is a great way to give some variety to the figure without a poor-quality cloth coat getting in the way of the articulation.
Lara comes with her standard pistols, which fit snuggly in the holsters on her hips or can be held in either set of hands. I'm guessing that someone is trying to sell a movie tie-in watch based on this film, since both sets of arms are sporting the same timepiece - even Diving Suit Lara is wearing it.
Ms. Croft moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, waist, hips, knees, boot-tops, ankles and toes. The balljointed ankles of this figure seem a bit loose, but that could just be my copy and she has so far had no trouble standing. There are mid-thigh joints on the figure, but the way her holsters are glued into place keeps them from moving. Her ponytail falls straight down her back.
For a small company, SOTA is really putting forth a good effort. They've made the best Lara Croft figures ever released, giving us toys that can hold their own against the best of the "big boys." To survive in today's toy market, you have to be able to provide either sculpt or articulation; to be the best, you have to do both. With their Tomb Raider movie line, SOTA has proved that they really are state of the art.
Does SOTA have their act together or what? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.