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.
Everything Lara does she does in style, so it's no surprise that her wetsuit is a shiny silver number. Of course, that's not exactly ideal for sneaking around undetected, so SOTA repainted 300 figures in a nice black.
More than just a plain body with paint on it, the wetsuit has raised edges and piping sculpted onto its surface. I'm not sure how much sense it makes to wear combat boots diving, but the paint job on those big clunkers (her boots, you pervs) is excellently detailed, with brown laces and silver accents painted expertly above the black.
This figure does not include Lara's standard pistols, having traded them in for a harpoon launcher and a flare gun. The harpoon gun does cradle nicely in a holster on her hip, and both hands are molded to hold weapons. She also comes with a knife that fits into a sheathe on her boot, and an ornate box that looks like it has just been unearthed from some ancient civilization.
Ms. Croft moves at the neck, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, mid-torso, hips, thighs, knees, boot-tops and ankles. She doesn't have a waist, but the torso joint makes up for it. Her long braid hangs over her shoulder. Her diving harness is a seperate piece, and can be removed with a little work.
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.