Puma (2015 CORPS! Elite)
Having covered Lanard’s offerings from time to time on the blog, I’ve remarked about the modern CORPS! figures and my feelings about their look and function. Since the early 2000s, they’ve been constructed in the same fashion as Hasbro’s new millennium GI Joe relaunch. While I’ve missed the o-ring in both cases, I’ve come to appreciate what Lanard has been doing, particularly over the past few years (non-articulate figures notwithstanding). Since 2005, the designs have stepped further from the basic military look of straps and pouches, and more personality has also worked it way into the line. The momentum has continued to this year’s surprising release of not only the first female characters, but a new construction style. Are you sitting down? There are modern CORPS! figures with ball-jointed legs. (cue Hallelujah chorus)
Puma comes to us (currently) in a three-pack of “bad guy” figures available only at Walmart. I say currently because if past practice bears out, we’ll be seeing these molds in myriad color and package variations. Not a complaint; it’s just how Lanard does business.
There’s quite a bit of excitement around this development, which is nice to see, particularly when there’s little new to discuss when it comes to Joes. For a CORPS! collector, a refresh of the line and new sculpts is a big deal. The last several years have brought in a few new characters and molds, like Spade and Rain, but they still retained the usual articulation. Those two figures however added some extras in terms of storable accessories, and Puma follows suit. Her crossbow plugs into her back, and she also has a working sidearm holster.
The character design and sculpt is stylized and tends toward the super-heroic, but this reflects the packaging’s comic book feel. The product seems to stand out more on the shelves with the latest refresh, and is a welcome change from the overly generic Total Soldier moniker the line has bore for the last two years. A bad guy element has been severely lacking in Lanard’s efforts, and the new CORPS vs the Curse looks like a step in the right direction.
The new articulation functions well, and the figure can attain many of the poses you’d expect. If there’s a complaint to be had, the joints are a bit loose, moreso in the arms than legs, but this is fixable. The construction inside the torso features a t-shaped rod that ends in ball and socket joints, much like the Hasbro t-hook of old. There’s also a mid-torso cut joint, but it doesn’t seem to move very much. As a side benefit to all this, and for the first time, a modern Lanard figure can actually ride the ubiquitous CORPS! multi-pack motorcycle.
Hopefully the new construction will be adapted to other characters in the line, and we’ll get to see the male figures moving toward more articulation. I’m excited to see an affordable action figure line take such a big step forward.