Art Figures - Soldier Of Fortune 2 (The Expendables 2) - Review

After the success of their previous Expendables figure Lee Christmas, Art Figures have followed it up with another of the line-up, released as ‘Solder of Fortune 2’; namely Gunnar Jensen, portrayed by Dolph Lundgren in the movie.  This is fantastic news for those Expendables fans who wish to add to their collection, especially after the recent release of yet another Barney Ross figure from Hot Toys.  Some of us found that a little odd, having already released that character you would have expected them to move on and produce others from the series, but whilst they seemed not interested in completing the licence, Art Figures stepped in (or stepped on, their toes) and saved the day. 

Retailing at around £84.99 in the UK (price taken from Collectable Kitbash), this is yet another release from Art Figures that represents excellent value for money, especially at a time when most boxed figures are around the £100 mark.  Whilst the head sculpts may not be on par with Hot Toys in terms of quality (think more Head Play), the uniforms, equipment and otherwise loose parts are all of excellent quality and highly sought after as loose parts for kit-bashing purposes.

If you’ve not already seen the film(s), let us familiarise you somewhat with the premise and character.  Released in 2010, ‘The Expendables’ thought at the time to be a one hit-wonder seems to have spawned a sequel (and soon to be a trilogy!) that see some of the most famous action movie actors of the 80s and 90s bought together in one massive adrenaline filled, action-packed adventure.  They play the role of mercenaries or soldiers for hire which sees them recruited by a mysterious ‘Mr Church’ (played by Bruce Willis) in the first film to take out a ruthless South-American dictator and in the second movie, again re-united by ‘Mr Church’ they save the free world from nuclear weapons… all seems fairly straight forward right? 

The figure we’re looking at today, represents the character Gunnar Jensen who in the first movie seems to go off the reservation somewhat and turns on his fellow Expendables.  A quick car chase and shoot out later, and he’s flat on his back bleeding…  Later on in the film, all is appeared to be forgiven and he’s back with the gang.  Confusing plot line?  What plot?!    By the second film definitely all is forgiven (like it never happened!) and our boy Gunnar is back and playing for the home team.

Art Figures have equipped their figure with everything you see the character using in the film (and a little more on top!).  This boxed set comes with:

  • Soft Shell Hooded Top
  • Black Combat Pants /w knee pads
  • Black Tactical Vest
  • Black Combat boots
  • Black Thigh Holster
  • Black Tactical gloves
  • Black Winter Cap
  • Black Socks
  • Milkor MGL 140 Grenade Launcher
  • M9 Pistol
  • Remington M870 (with 3 shells)
  • Large Bowie Knife (with sheath)
  • Weapon Sling
  • Dump Pouch (with belt)

So let’s take a closer look at what you’re getting for your money:

As usual with Art Figures releases, the box is a high quality, foam lined, magnetically closed ‘shoe box’ style with glorious artwork on the front cover.  Unlike the Lee Christmas character, this box cover is not so blatant in advertising which movie it represents.  As I imagine Hot Toys own the official rights to produce 1/6th scale figures, other companies don’t want to be making it too obvious as to what is inside; copyright laws in China are a strange thing (and virtually non-existent too!).

Upon opening the box and removing the top foam liner you are presented with the figure, already dressed minus the combat vest which sits neatly on top.  Cut-away foam sections secure the various weapons and accessories in place, all of which are listed above.

Removing him from the box and standing the figure upright, it does seem that little bit taller than most.  Measured (with his shoes on) from bottom to top of head he measures and impressive 31.5cm, but then Art Figures bodies are generally taller than Hot Toys figures for example, and he’s on par with the Lee Christmas character which uses the same standard base body, and the same boots too.

I’m a big fan of the Art Figures body and have used them on a few of my custom figures.  Whilst they are not too muscular, they so stand taller and slightly more bulky that some of the various clones on the market and they also have fantastic articulation too.  Be warned however, because of the slightly taller stature, you need to be careful about the fit of clothing, for example Soldier Story clothing would be a much tighter fit compared to their base bodies.  The bendy hands that are standard across all of their line are some of the most realistic too in terms of proportions and general look and feel.

As mentioned earlier, whilst the head sculpt is not to the standard of Hot Toys releases, it is certainly a very good representation of Dolph Lundgren, possibly one of the best we’ve seen out there so far.  Although be aware without some serious modification this head is only suitable for this character due to the facial scar and hair style!  Personally I think it looks a lot better with the hat on, as I found the hair a little too unrealistic in the painting department, but that could be easily solved with a touch-up if you’re handy with a paintbrush.

Taking a look at the clothing that this figure is supplied with, he is conveniently dressed in the same black combat trousers (with integral knee pads) and combat boots as his colleague Lee Christmas, this offers somewhat of a cost saving to Art Figures as they’ll already have the clothing patterns for these items!  We’ve also seem the same GSG-9 boots on their Delta Force figure too.  We see Gunnar wearing a variety of different clothing throughout the film, but the outfit that Art Figures have chosen to represent appears in the latter part, where the team find themselves trapped in the mine, and then throughout towards the end of the film. 

The top that is supplied is a unique piece that will be sought after as a loose item I’m sure, and is a faithful replica of what we seen worn in the film.  Art Figures really do make some excellent clothing pieces that are true to scale, no horrible oversized buttons or zippers; it all looks the part.

Again, the vest is a lovely unique piece that I’m sure will be popular with the kit-bashers.  It has plenty of pockets on the front, but the figure is supplied with nothing that goes in them.  As I felt they looked a little on the empty side, and not quite bulky enough, I padded them out with some pieces of cut foam.  Otherwise had his weapon choices been the Noveske M4, then he would have some magazines to be placed in these pockets.

Art figures have lent towards little ‘artistic licence’ in that we see in the movie the shotgun shell loops on the vest, but at no time do we see any shells inserted in them.  Art Figures have taken it upon themselves to furnish this figure with a Remington 870 shotgun (which straps to the back of the vest), along with three shells to fit those loops, with space for 4 more.  Whilst it may not be ‘movie accurate’, I’m happy for the extra offering and I think it finishes off the look nicely.  I’m not sure whether the vest we see in the film exists in the real world, but it looks like something you would perhaps be seen worn by a Navy Seal.  I’m not sure if the padded collar is armour protection or a floatation element, but it certainly looks the part.

(stand not included)The gloves are something that again will quickly disappear as a loose item, with a padded knuckle area, not something that I’ve seen produced before in 1/6th scale.  As mentioned previously, Art Figures bendy hands are amongst the best out there, and their gloves are of a similar high quality and good fit, not too baggy as you find on some other offerings. 

The winter hat tops off the look, made from a stretch fabric material similar to that used on the Navy Seal (Sean Connery – The Rock) figure.  Personally I prefer the look with the hat on, so I’ll be keeping that in place whilst on display.

The Gunnar Jensen figure is equipped with no less than four weapons.  The MGL grenade launcher, the mystery 870 shotgun that makes no appearance in the film but is thrown in for good measure, an M9 side-arm (yet to be confirmed whether he actually uses one) and his legendary signature knife that is more like a machete based on the sheer size.

We already know from the first film that Gunnar has a liking towards 40mm grenade launchers.  In the opening sequences of the movie he is seen blowing a man in two with a mis-aimed (perhaps on purpose) shot.  Well, in the sequel he’s now got his hands on the MGL, something that packs a little more punch with a few more rounds!  The Art Figures offering is a faithful replica, made from plastic, but with metal grenade shells.  I have to be honest, not being familiar with this weapon (and a lack of instructions) I did end up pulling the two halves apart in working out how to load up the magazine, then a quick YouTube search later showed the answer as to how it SHOULD be done, but I still couldn’t get the Art Figures version to replicate the way the 1:1 version is split apart.  No matter, once I had it in pieces (without breaking it, it is designed to come apart!) I managed to load the six shells in with ease.  The MGL is wonderfully detailed with weathering, moving and collapsible stock, fore-grip attachment and reflex sight with elevation control.

As mentioned previously, the 870 shotgun makes no appearance in the film, but Art Figures have included it anyway, and I thank them for doing so.  It is the same high quality 870 that has made an appearance on previous figures before, so it’s what we’ve come to expect from the now.

We do briefly see Gunnar wearing a thigh holster in the movie, but we have no idea which side-arm he might be using as we don’t ever see him draw it from this holster.  Again, Art Figures have allowed some ‘artistic licence’ here and opted for one of their tried and tested M9s, which is the usual high quality weathered offering with removable magazine and working slide.

Last, but by no means least we’re left with the insanely huge knife that Gunnar is seen using in both films.  It seems the movie version has an ivory handle with some kind of symbol carved upon it.  The same symbol is not on the Art Figures offering, but in all other ways it is identical.  What’s more, this 1/6th version is made from metal, and a hefty piece it is too.  Highly polished chrome blade with gold hilt and faux ivory handle, it really is a lovely piece with a ‘leather’ belt mounted sheath to match.  I’m thinking this will also be a popular piece with the kit-bashers and will soon disappear as a loose item onto the secondary market.

So, in conclusion what do I think of the Art Figures ‘Solder Of Fortune 2’ offering?  I have to be honest, when I first saw the promo pictures, I wasn’t too impressed.  However, having the figure in hand makes a lot of difference and I can certainly appreciate the hard work that has gone into producing this.  I have to also admit that I now prefer this over the Lee Christmas figure, something about it looks more natural in the pose, albeit the same body has been used.

In fact, whilst reviewing this figure and in realising that I now own both Lee and Gunnar, I thought it only fitting to purchase the Hot Toys Barney Ross (second edition) and complete the line-up as best I could… will there be more figures released to join the squad?  One can only hope.

A special and warm thanks to Art Figures for providing this figure for review, it has been a privilege as always.

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