Misc. Figures and Collectables,  Video Games

World of Nintendo Samus Aran (Varia Suit)


I was a little confused when Nintendo first announced their brand-new World of Nintendo figure line. I could hardly believe that they were actually going to start producing figures of their IPs for the mainstream toy market, and for franchises that weren’t Mario or Yoshi. I think I first saw their Link figure and dismissed it immediately because it was just another Skyward Sword iteration and there was just about no way they were going to top the Figma anyway.

When they went ahead and actually announced a Metroid Prime era Samus though – that was the game-changer.


While my prayers for a Metroid Prime Samus figure were finally answered…I was more than a little disappointed at what we actually got.


I guess I got a little in over my head wishing that this would be anywhere near what the Figma Samus was. True, it’s unmistakably a Prime era Samus (based specifically on her Corruption Varia), but the figure execution is lacking to say the least.


The suit is definitely there – there’s no confusing this Varia with the Figma Other M design. The molding is fair at best – finer details like the hands and fingers just look dorky and silly in the way they’re made. I get that articulated hands weren’t a viable option at all for a piece this size, but the current mold just looks silly with Samus standing stoic.


The plastic sheen also makes the figure look “bubbly” in a sense – this is most evident in the yellow areas. The paint apps can be sloppy in areas, but it’s still much cleaner than an Amiibo. I can’t really fault this first release too much for its color though – Nintendo actually made her look much more presentable with a later “metallic color” release, which stays much truer to Samus’ metal armor sheen from the games. With the plain gloss orange finish this figure sports, it calls to mind a strange blend of the classic Super Metroid Varia Suit finish melded with Prime era design cues.


Now, all things considered so far, I would definitely say I think this figure has potential because they seemed to have gotten the general mold down pretty well. The color is kind of whatever – that can always be painted. But just because all the parts look presentable doesn’t mean the overall effect does when they’re all put together – that’s where articulation comes in to deliver (hopefully) presentable stance.


Sadly, this is where this figure falls the furthest from being a solid representation of our favorite intergalactic bounty hunter. Starting from the upper body – the shoulders only swivel on one angled joint, meaning they can only go up and down – and not even all the way! They hit the head as shown above; there’s really not much else there.


The head is also on a single swivel joint – the worst part is the default molding has the helmet kinda tilted upwards. This means you can’t adjust her neck angle up or down at all; it can only move side to side with a funky angle that never quite looks right.


The hips where the legs connect to the body are also on the same swivel that the shoulders use, meaning they can only move forwards and backwards and on a set path. By now I think you get the idea – this figure uses no ball joints at all, opting only for the primitive swivel joints that allow for a single plane of movement.


I will, however, give credit where credit is due. Perhaps due to a coincidence in her proportions, Samus kneels surprisingly well. It looks nearly natural (sans that ridiculous left hand) – most figures I’ve come across have tenfold the articulation points this piece has and still can’t kneel properly. I’m pretty sure it comes down more to proportions than anything else – kneeling simply isn’t going to work if something has calves three times as long as its thighs.


Samus won’t look half bad in a proper kneeling stance, but that still doesn’t really make up for the overall lack of flexibility in all her points of movement. I’d normally be really bothered by how the ankles only move in a way that basically allow the feet to only orbit sideways – but the hips don’t allow the legs to extend outwards anyway so I guess the former grievance can be forgiven.

P1170391I’m kind of surprised a stomach joint was even given at all, since the rest of the body doesn’t even move enough to really make use of it. It’s still not a ball joint that allows her to bend over though – again probably just a peg-and-socket inside that lets the upper body spin around. I would’ve given bonus points if there were some classic action figure gimmick in there that allowed her to swing her upper body and do a Samus Hurricane, but alas we’re left only with our imaginations.

P1170386I feel like I’ve gone on about the joints and how terrible they are long enough – they’re certainly the undoing of this figure and as I mentioned earlier, the paint and finish aren’t great either but can usually be rectified with some skilled repaint work.

Unfortunately, this figure seems to have been made with enough rigidity that it could easily last years in the hands of destructive children. I tried to pull the joints apart (starting with the shoulders and head) in an attempt to actually have a shot at a repaint, but it seems nothing short of going at the seams with a heated blade will tear her apart. My usual method with my Figma Samus Repaint doesn’t seem like it’ll work here. I suppose that means this figure gets bonus points for durability, but I’m kind of baffled at how the joints work if I seriously can’t tear the arms out of their sockets.

P1170394These World of Nintendo figures are also marketed with a “Secret Accessory” in each package. I believe the big reveal for Link was *gasp* his shield.

P1170393With that in mind, there really was no question that Samus got her alternate Morph Ball form here as her add-on. There’s nothing remarkable about it; it seems to be the appropriate size, and I’m actually kind of impressed they bothered with the detail in the red ridges.

P1170395Unlike the Figma, this Morph Ball is all one piece of painted plastic, with no clear stripe for the middle. What strikes me as most surprising is this thing’s weight though – it’s stupidly light.

Maybe I’ve come to expect a heftier accessory thanks to my experience with the more advanced Figma, but I’d honestly wager that this World of Nintendo ball is as hollow and light as a ping-pong ball, and rivals those in size. I’ve been tempted to actually use it as much on more than one occasion.

P1170377And finally, a comparison with nearly every other Samus figure/statue in existence. (I do have the Amiibo, but not the old JoyRide figure). This World of Nintendo piece is absolutely tiny – I believe it’s 4.5 inches, meaning most of our smartphones would be taller.

Thankfully this isn’t a short-run or exclusive and expensive figure – as a simple representation of Metroid’s famous intergalactic bounty hunter it certainly gets the job done. It’d look nice alongside a collection of the franchise’s gaming history, though I’d strongly urge any prospects to turn towards the new Metallic Color release instead (which in some cases are cheaper than this first edition), unless they absolutely fancy the cheap toy-like gloss finish this one sports.


One last little thing I wanted to point out with this figure was its packaging – I usually never bother with these points, but this one was peculiar enough that I thought I’d draw a little attention to it.

On the back of the blister card for this figure was the standard photo of Samus showing off some stuff the figure could do…except that isn’t the version of Samus this packaging was clearly selling. If I had to throw my best guess, I’d say that’s probably a prototype before they settled on going with Samus’ more popular Prime design.

All the same, that thing is truly mind-boggling – closer inspection reveals that it’s using the Other M chest and shoulders, with Super Metroid-looking legs and arms, and a very distinct Zero Mission type helmet. There’s not even an inkling of the Prime design there! As much as I would’ve welcomed any other version of the armor, this sort of mishap really makes me wonder if the guys behind these toys know what they’re doing.

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