Max Factory Figma Samus Aran and Link review

Samus and Link
My collecting over the last four or five years has been much more focused than it was in the past. Much of that has to do with a limited amount of funds. And an equal amount stems from the action figure market slowing down and there simply were not as many items being produced which were catching my eye. There have been a few Japanese toy lines which have piqued my curiosity, but the price per figure was always too great to actually be worth buying one. That changed when Max Factory obtained the license to produce figures of several of Nintendo's most prominent characters: Samus Aran from Metroid and Link from the Legend of Zelda. While I have a few past Legend of Zelda figures, it is one of my favorite video game properties. So I'm always happy to add another figure to the collection. And Samus, despite having starred in numerous video games over the years, has yet to get a decent toy. So both of these have been on my radar for some time. and now that I am almost caught up with the new TMNT toys for the year, it seems like a perfect time to indulge my other interests and find out if these figures live up to the hype.

Packaging - 8/10

Both figures come packaged in window boxes with both the figure and accessories on display. The side panels have large photos of the figures, showing them in detail. While the back shows off the figures in various action poses and with the various accessories. I like the design. And it's impressive that the figures are so detailed that they can just show off the actual toys instead of using CG images. I like the images being used on the back as well. The biggest issue I have is that the figures and accessories are packed in a clear plastic tray. They then have a plastic sheet over them and plastic cover over the tray. All of that is then behind the plastic of the window for the box. That means that you are looking through at least three layers of plastic to see the figure and four or five to see the accessories in the back. The plastic sheet over the figure in particular makes it far too difficult to actually see the figure. And given the amount of effort that was put into making the figures look great, hiding them behind a plastic wrap curtain is just silly.

Sculpting - Link 6/10, Samus 9/10

The sculpting work for Samus is quite impressive. All of the details seem to be spot on to the Metroid: Other M design. And the design of the power armor means that the articulation actually looks quite appropriate. The only draw back that I see is that I would really like to be able to see Samus' face through the visor. That may be asking a lot for a figure. But these are higher end, collector figures and given how much of Other M dealt with Samus, the human in the armor, being able to see her is important.

The sculpting for Link is far less impressive. It isn't bad or incorrect. But it doesn't live up to the amount of detail from the game. His tunic is smooth and lacks any texture. The chainmail layer under it has no indication that it is chainmail instead of a layer of silver cloth. I am also surprised that they did not do a better job of incorporating the articulation into the sculpt at the elbows.The rest is fairly well camouflaged by the tunic and the sculpt. But that makes the elbows stick out. It isn't a bad figure. But I had high expectations and Link fails to exceed any of them.

Paint - Link 6/10, Samus 8/10

The paint work on both figure is clean and well executed. I have no complaints about any quality control issues. Samus looks great with the straight forward paint scheme. I particularly like that they chnged the finish for the areas around the neck, elbows and hips. It helps to make it look like those parts of the suit are made of a different material. Unfortunately, the same simple paint scheme doesn't do Link justice. As with the sculpting, he doesn't look bad. But there is a great deal of missed opportunities on this figure.

Articulation - 8/10

Link has an impressive thirty four points of articulation:
  • ball jointed neck (at the base of the skull)
  • triple jointed shoulders: rotating were the shoulders meet the body and where it meets the arm and hinged inbetween
  • hinged and rotating elbows
  • rotating and hinged wrists
  • torso joint
  • rotating waist
  • hinged and rotating hips
  • hinged and rotating knees
  • triple jointed ankles (same as the shoulders)
  • hinged toes
  • and a rotating joint in his cap
Samus is not quite as articulated. She doesn't have the articulated cap of course. And she has no right wrist or waist joint. All of the joints are reasonably tight, but not strong enough to support the weight of the figures. That seems to have been intentional. Since both figures come with stands, the joints are not meant to support the full weight of the figure, they are only meant to be able hold a pose and support a portion of the weight. I'm not fond of having to use the stands for a lot of poses. But I do have to admit that it makes minor adjustments to the joints easier.

Accessories - 6/10

Samus comes with a decent assortment of accessories. There is a version of Samus in her morph ball form, a replacement muzzle for her arm cannon in its missile firing position, two translucent beam shots, four alternate left hands and a display stand. There are a lot of other accessories that they could have included such as the grappling beam, other beam shots or a firing missile. But most would have meant changes to the body of the figure. So I don't mind their ommision. Still, a couple of in game pick ups like energy tanks or missile containers could have been really cool.

Link comes with the Master sword with a sheath, his hylian shield, an energy effect that goes on the sword, an alternate face, alternate hair, four pairs of extra hands and his display stand. The Master Sword, sheath and shield are a real highlight to this figure. They are quite detailed and they are designed to give you a number of display options. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the shield was even designed so that you can set up Link to be either his traditional left handed self or right handed if that is how you played the game. All of that should add up to a fairly impressive package. But there are just so many other items that Link could have given all of the weapons and equipment he gets in the game. So to have most of the accessories be extra hands and hair that is only barely different but not get more weapons is a true waste. I kind of wish that they would create an accessory set to give you at least some of those weapons.

Value - 4/10

Both of these figure sold for around $35 to $40 in Japan originally. But to get them in the US, you will probably pay at least $45 each. Make no mistake, they are great figures. And given how rare it is to get a full fledged action figure of one of Nintendo's characters, I don't want to discourage anyone from getting these while you have the chance. But while these are great figures, they don't quite live up to the price.

Happy Hunting:

Both Samus Aran and Skyward Sword Link were released at least a year ago. I was quite late to the party in ordering these. But finally pulled the trigger after Big Bad Toy Store got them back in stock recently. They currently still have both in stock for $50 each. Or you can check with your favorite importer to see if they still have them available.

Samus MIB front Samus MIB rear

Link MIB front Link MIB rear

plastic sheeting removed

With the plastic sheeting removed.

Samus front and back

Link front and back

Samus Aran close up morph ball on stand Samus accessories Samus with missile launcher muzzle Samus thumbs up Samus with beam accessory Link close up back of link's legs Link with Master sword and shield Link's accessories Master Sword with sheath shield stored over sheath back of shield Master sword hilt detail Link with sword in air Link with sword energy effect Legend of Zelda figures Various Nintendo figures