Never in my life have I had an action figure with so many points of articulation that was so hard to pose! Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was pretty much my favorite game of 2015, and it received a decent amount of love in action figure form. Almost 100% of that love was from imports and most came from Play Arts Kai, which unfortunately doesn’t develop figures in a scale I prefer to collect. Figma released Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid 2 last year, but doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to make figures from The Phantom Pain. So really, my only option for a 1/12 scale Venom Snake is currently through Vulcanlog.
Vulcanlog? Who’s that? I wasn’t really sure myself going into this. The only thing I knew was that the toy was “powered by Revoltech.” Being a Revoltech body didn’t leave me with a ton of confidence. I’m not a huge fan of their overly intricate articulation. Believe it or not, I’m of the opinion that there absolutely is such a thing as too much articulation. Revoltech figures generally go over my personal articulation threshold. Sure they can hit a lot of poses, but often times those poses look awkward or I have to constantly put them back together from parts popping out.
My decision to go with Vulcanlog’s Snake is twofold. First, with all the uncertainty over what will happen with the Metal Gear Solid property I’d rather grab this figure now since it could be the last one made in this scale. Second, I saw a prototype at New York Comic Convention last year, and I thought it looked really good. He’s priced similar to Figuarts or Figma in the same scale, so even if Big Boss ended up being complete shit it still wouldn’t be a hard loss to swallow.
Snake comes packed in a standard window box with a generous selection of accessories including: Sniper Rifle (including parts to prop it up), Pistol, Assault Rifle, Knife, Cigar, iDroid, silver arm, three red alternate robot hands, three alternate regular right hands, stand, a paper-craft cardboard box, and a tool to move his eye around. It’s a decent selection of accessories, and one of the great things about this figure is that he can store all of his weapons on his person at once. The sniper rifle plugs into his back, the knife has a sheath right behind his Fulton bag on his belt, the belt also has a holster for the pistol, and the assault rifle can be plugged into his canteen using an included adapter. Everything on his belt can also be removed except for the Fulton device which is permanently attached.
As I mentioned earlier, this toy is unbelievably articulated. I couldn’t even begin to count how many actual points of articulation are on this figure. However, this is both a blessing and a curse. The back of the box gives some good suggestions for poses to put him in. Those poses he can hit look great! But he has some of the weirdest shoulder joints I have ever seen, and you really need to mess around with them to get them into a natural position. If they stick out too far you can see the visible barbell joint as well as the arm basically disconnected from the body. I don’t love Venom Snake’s shoulder articulation, but it does work well with gun holding poses.
Eye articulation isn’t a new thing as we’ve seen it with other figures in this scale including Figma’s Solid Snake. Moving the eye is done by pulling off the face and inserting an included tool into the back of the eye to adjust as needed. The execution is much better than my Figma’s because it doesn’t feel like this one’s tool is going to break. The eye movement has decent range, he can look straight forward to far left and up or down anywhere in between that. Having the freedom to move the eye around is great, but I often find that once I get a good pose then I need to adjust the direction his eye is facing as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that Punished Venom Snake is a horrifying monster when his face is removed.
While the articulation scheme leaves me a little cold, I find the detail in the sculpt as well as the paint amazing. All of the contours, wrinkles, straps, and devices are sculpted cleanly into Big Boss’ sneaking suit. There is a little anime influence in his head sculpt. This is mostly from his non-patched eye since it’s sculpted a bit larger than a real human’s. If you look at his side profile from eye patch angle it is almost completely game accurate. Any angle where you can actually see his eye makes him look a little more cartoony than depicted in the game.
All in all, Vulcanlog’s version of Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid V is a mixed bag. It’s a beautiful figure with a baffling articulation scheme. I’ve collected various figures from my favorite video games like Resident Evil in the past. Often times when there is a lack of merchandise I eventually have to settle on sub-par figures if I want to have anything at all. I don’t feel like I’m settling with the Vulcanlog figure. In fact I can’t stress enough that it is a GORGEOUS toy. There is a lot I like about the figure, but there are also some aspects of him holding me back from completely loving him. If you are looking for a 1/12 scale Venom Snake this figure will scratch that itch, being there isn’t much else out there.
I haven’t seen Vulcanlog Venom Snake pop up on Amazon yet, but I would keep an eye out there if you aren’t interested in importing. I’d expect to pay between $40 – $60 at most, which is a pretty decent deal for everything you get with him.