The Soldier was the first character I ever tried in Team Fortress 2. I’m sure I’m not alone after all he just seemed like a good starting point since I wasn’t quite ready to skill shot, snipe, heal, or tank. The other appeal was that the soldier comes armed with a bazooka. Coming from a background of Doom through Quake, the bazooka (or rocket launcher) was always the pinnacle damage items before the guns became ridiculous. Once you got that rocket launcher you were going to cause some pain. So having a character start right up with a rocket launcher was quite appealing to me.
The Soldier rounds out a VERY strong second Team Fortress 2 series. He comes packed with his rocket launcher, a shovel, and three extra hands. The hand pack out is as follows: two holding hands, two fists, and a holding hand with a trigger finger. While I really enjoy having so many options with the hands, those little pegs that go into his wrist scare the living crap out of me. Maybe it is just my figure’s issue but you have to really pull hard to get those hands out. To be fair none of them have broken and they feel very strong. However there is a certain amount of force I feel comfortable using against a small peg, and I easily left that comfort zone.
There is an interesting addition to the Soldier’s sculpt, the medal on the left side of his chest. This is not an item a typical TF2 player will have because it is the “Gentle Manne’s Service Medal,” a rare item that was given out to 11,112 Team Fortress 2 players back in 2009. You can read a bit more about this item here. It’s also slightly inaccurate to the game because the ribbon should be red when the Soldier is on the red team. I assume the intent was to add some color variety to the open chest area. I’ll be interested to see what they do with the BLU Soldier.
Speaking of his chest, you will notice his two large grenades sculpted on to his bandolier strap. All I have to say is “in your FACE Jungle Extraction Dutch and your tiny grenades!” The grenades are not removable, and as far as I am concerned they shouldn’t be because you don’t use them in the game either. I prefer them stuck there anyway because more than likely I would lose one or both of them at some point. It’s worth mentioning that his helmet is not removable, but if you look up into it they made the extra effort to paint the eyes.
The Soldier has a much more conventional articulation scheme than the Pyro or the Heavy. He can hit a good amount of game poses, but the important thing is that he does not have a hard time standing. His feet are large and his ankles are thick enough to support his large upper body. The bottom part of his tunic can restrict the leg movement a bit, but it’s soft enough that you can move the legs around.
Past a few nitpicks, NECA has really done an incredible job with the TF2 cast thus far. They have upped their game capturing the personalities of all the characters in the game. The figures are loaded with properly scaled accessories and extra appendages when needed. I’m not going to beg people to buy these, but I hope they are able to complete the cast which means these need to sell. You can feel the huge amount of love that went into designing these guys. The next two scheduled characters will be the Spy and Engineer, and I am told there is a killer Medic sculpt done.