Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective Conan Figure ReviewJose Lopez
In The Beginning
I’ll say this for Mezco Toyz. When the company is a fan of a property, whether or not that property is currently popular, they go all in. For earlier examples, take a look at their recent Nosferatu or Popeye figures. You’d be lucky to find any other toy companies producing product based on those characters, but Mezco did them and knocked them out of the park. This is all to say that when they announced a Conan figure, particularly one based off of Frank Frazetta’s artwork, I wasn’t surprised. I also wasn’t shocked when collectors responded to the announcement with plenty of hesitation. Who cares about Conan? Well, Mezco does. They produced an insanely detailed recreation of Frazetta’s Conan and pre-orders, of course, sold out at the retail level. While it might be difficult to now find one of these at a reasonable price, you should keep your eye out for one. Let’s take a look at exactly why.
Conan was created by Robert E. Howard in 1932 for the pulp magazine, Weird Tales. The barbarian’s stories created and popularized the sword and sorcery subgenre of the fantasy genre, which led to the character being published in everything from novels to comics. One of those paperback novels, Conan the Adventurer from 1965, featured a painted cover of the Cimmerian warrior painted by Frank Frazetta. Frazetta’s cover, and his further work of the character, would become pretty iconic and synonymous with the character.
Marvel Comics would publish two very popular series starring Conan in the 1970s, initially written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith. In the 1980s, Conan would be immortalized by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in two films, Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, cementing the character’s place in pop culture.
Mezco is wearing their influence proudly with the artwork on the figure’s package. Frank Frazetta’s Conan the Barbarian graces the front and back, making this one of the best-looking art boxes of the year. Alongside it, you have the standard Mezco Toyz and One:12 Collective branding. Inside, the usual sturdy and collector-friendly trays hold the contents safely and securely.
As I mentioned above, the clear influence on the sculpt of this figure is Frazetta’s Conan. Everything from the scarred face and body to the chiseled bone structure to how his hair rests on his head and shoulders is pure Frazetta and it is beautiful. Bringing a piece of artwork to life in such a way would be difficult under normal circumstances and at a larger scale, so the fact that Mezco has done it so well in Twelfth Scale is nothing short of impressive.
While some collectors may scoff at the small amount of clothing the figure comes wearing, fabric outfits being what many consider synonymous with the One: 12 line, I’m of the opposite opinion. Conan’s body is sculpted with so much detail, highlighting his veins and the many scars that cover him, that covering that up would be a shame. The multitude of battles the character has taken part in inform who he is and those tales are told through his ravaged body.
Two portraits are included with the figure, one with a calm scowl and another angry with gritted teeth. Both are etched with wrinkles, cracked skin and old scars. The scowling head speaks to me more, possibly because it replicates Frazetta’s painting so perfectly. That said, the angry portrait is perfect for displaying Conan in battle. The sculpting of the teeth in particular is a sight to behold. The hair on both heads is sculpted with some space left at the bottom between it and the body,allowing for better posing.
A variety of washes and dry brushing manages to bring out the amazing sculpt of Conan’s body, highlighting every scar and vein to be found. The paint applications are quite subtle, but very effective. Conan’s eyes and teeth look great on both portraits, with no slop to be found. The excellent paintwork is also found on Conan’s boots, which when coupled with the sculpt, do a superb job mimicking old, worn leather.
As I mentioned before, in terms of fabric pieces, there isn’t much here. The guy was a barbarian, not a fashion icon. However, what Mezco has included should not be overlooked. The figure comes wearing a loincloth that fits under his sculpted belt. A second, more ragged loincloth is included as well, giving some minor display options. A cape that can fit draped over Conan’s shoulders is included as well, though I don’t love how it actually sits on the figure. The quality of each item feels top-notch and I’m glad they threw these in, which raises the fun-factor of the release.
I can pose this Conan in pretty much any configuration I’d want to, though there will always be those who want more. The arms and shoulders get a lot of rotation and movement. The new, single-jointed elbows are not as poseable as double-jointed ones, but aesthetically these probably look a lot better. The torso has plenty of lean and tilt, while the legs allow for plenty of stances. Considering Mezco’s need to have a wide range of movement that still looks good on a mostly undressed figure, I’d argue that this is a success.
Conan comes with quite a bit of extras, allowing collectors plenty of variety when it comes time to pose and display the figure. Alongside the aforementioned second portrait, cape and additional loincloth, six interchangeable hands in a variety of poses were included. The figure’s necklace is removable and he comes with a cuff for his wrist as well as a chest strap, which you can slip his weapons onto.
In terms of weapons, there’s a battle axe and a circular shield. Both are sculpted with chips and cracks, showing that they’re favorites of Conan. A small dagger with it’s own sheath is present, as well as a large broadsword and a scimitar-like blade. Both come with their own ornate sheaths, which can attach to the figure’s belt via loops and included hooks. I didn’t even try, as I found trying to hook them much too frustrating.
Of course, the standard articulated arm and foot stand are included, as they are with every One:12 Collective figure.
In The End
Overall, this is an excellent figure. The mixture of solid articulation, amazing sculpt and paint, as well as a wide range of accessories makes this release one you’ll wish you secured when you had the chance. While there are always nitpicks here and there to be found, I was never concerned with any of them. Conan is a love letter to the property and to Frazetta’s iteration of the character and it truly does both of them proud.