Last year McFarlane launched a series of construction toys based on The Walking Dead - and while they looked really cool, we had no idea just why they were Lego-compatible building sets. McFarlane just unveiled a whole heap of new toys in the line, and we're stuck thinking pretty much the same thing.
Don't get me wrong, these mini models based on settings and scenes from the show look great. They pretty much capture the show's aesthetic dead on (pun not intended but I'll say it regardless), and as far as Walking Dead merchandise goes there's nothing quite like them - the idea of having a bunch of little vignettes that you can mush together to create one big Zombie apocalypse display starring the likes of Rick and Carol and poor legless Herschel is a really cool one. I'm just not entirely sure why they need to be block-based foundations that you then cover up with the realistic detailing.
I mean, part of the appeal of something like Lego is that it's a singular aesthetic that incorporates the property it's being used for, rather than the other way around. It's Marvel, it's Star Wars, it's Disney, it's Scooby Doo, it's whatever, but still distinctly Lego. Here, the block aspect is a rather pointless framework hidden by all the fancy 'real' tiles. They might as well be little scenery models rather than a construction toy.
At the same time, it's not like you can radically re-customise these sets and repurpose them into something else. Dale's RV will always be Dale's RV, the Prison will always be the Prison. You couldn't turn the RV into a sweet anti-walker aeroplane or whatever ridiculous thing, which is the appeal of brick-based construction sets in the first place. The only thing you can really do is buy multiple to make one display a slightly bigger version of itself.
It's like someone in a board meeting somewhere said 'Hey that Walking Dead's pretty popular, and so are these Lego things. Let's do that!'. But hey, they do look really, really nice - it's rare to see such a realistic aesthetic in a toy like this - and it obviously works if we're getting even more of them. Look for this next wave of TWD models to come out later this year.
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