If there’s one line that disappointed me most in 2011, it was Jazwares’ Sonic the Hedgehog line of toys. After making flowery promises of characters like Rouge the Bat, E-102, and Charmy Bee in 2010, instead 2011 was rife with repacks of old figures and new variants of Sonic, Tails, and Dr. Robotnik in honor of Sonic’s 20th Anniversary. While fitting for the year we got the “Sonic Generations” video game, it was devastating to fans expecting more secondary and tertiary new characters. In spite of the dire lack of new characters, one figure that definitely delighted me was the classic 1992 Miles “Tails” Prower that was released. He’s cute as a button to be sure, but is he any good as a toy?
Let’s hit upon the obvious first: this is one freakin’ adorable action figure. I hadn’t realized how much of the charm and cuteness of the Tails design had been lost in the modern incarnation until I saw Retro Tails and Modern Tails together.
This is some of Jazwares’ best sculpting ever, as they have captured the huggable nature of classic Tails flawlessly. Tails’ has one of the most expressive and charismatic face sculpts I’ve ever seen, and it’s certainly the outstanding feature of this toy. Tails’ body has all of the right proportions to match the classic character model, and looks great next to classic Sonic (though Tails’ scale is still way too big–more on that later). The paint on the figure is mostly clean and even, though there are a couple tiny splotches on him that are very apparent due to being red on white and white on orange.
Articulationwise, Tails has a decent 11 points of articulation for such a small figure (though not all of it is useful). Tails has a swivel joint at his head, tails, shins, and wrists; and ball-joints for his sholders and hips. You can get Tails into a running or kicking pose utilizing the articulation, though it can be hard to balance him due to his huge tails making him pretty back-heavy.
The Grabber pack-in that comes with Tails is a total statue with 0 points of articulation, but has been executed wonderfully. His little legs have been posed in just the right manner to grasp onto the head of Sonic or Tails, and there’s a nubby on his back that you could easily tie some floss around to hang him from up high. Grabber is molded in black with yellow, blue, and purple paints added on, making him look highly-detailed and great alongside the actual figures.
Probably the thing I hate the most about this figure is the unsightly torso cut joint. There’s a cut joint that goes straight through the middle of Tails’ white “tummy” area, and it looks awful and mars an otherwise perfect sculpt. It looks ridiculous to have Tails posed with half of his stomach completely disconnected from the other half, and if Jazwares couldn’t come up with a less ludicrous way of making this articulation look, I’d rather they had left it out completely. This was a poorly-advised design choice.
The lack of a ball-jointed neck is a big problem for this figure. Without it, Tails cannot look forward to achieve any kind of flying pose, and the lack of mobility for his huge head greatly restricts possible articulation. As a result, Tails’ arms can only be posed down at his sides or as high up as his neck and cannot be moved upward.
Also, while the original “modern” Tails figure was too large and out-of-scale with all the other Sonic figures, this Tails is proportioned even larger and thus the problem is magnified. Consequently, Tails looks great as a standalone figure, but totally awkward and out of place amongst other Sonic figures.
Tails shipped out in one of the first case assortments of the 2oth Anniversary Sonic toys in the fall, and is one of the hardest figures to find as he’s one of only two “new” (non-repack) figures in the cases. I’ve only seen these figures at retail at Toys R Us and Target, although they’re more commonly available online:
Amazon has 20th Anniversary Classic Tails available from a variety of sellers, although the stock status and prices are changing frequently.
Overall: No doubt about it, this Tails figure is cute as hell and probably the most adorable figure released by any major company in 2011. As a toy, this is not the greatest: Tails is horribly out-of-scale with the other Sonic figures and his articulation is heavily inhibited by the sculpt, making it very difficult to achieve any kind of stable pose whatsoever. However, as a standalone statue with limited articulation, this Tails figure is excellent. A fantastically lovable sculpt, mostly strong paint, and a great pack-in figure accessory earn this Tails a recommendation. If you love Tails, this figure will be an essential part of your collection. Just don’t expect to get him into cool poses or be sized right standing next to Sonic.