Landmark film's characters come to life in miniature...

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The Watchmen is one of the most popular comic book series of all time, and became the most talked about film last year. Translating the complex story and interesting characters to the big screen was no easy feat, but Zack Snyder put it all together with amazing visuals and intense fight scenes. Despite the film's success, there weren't a whole lot of products made based on the characters except for a couple of short-lived figure lines and novelty items. But that's all about to change with the Watchmen HeroClix Collector's Box Set. Not only will you be able to own and display miniature versions of all your favorite characters, but you'll also be able to recreate the battles from the film and create whole new ones!

WizKids exploded back onto the miniature gaming scene last year with the Marvel HeroClix Hammer of Thor set, which laid the foundation for multiple releases ever since including Battle Packs, DC's Brave and the Bold, and the Blackest Night Starter Set. This month will see two new releases: the Marvel Web of Spider-Man set and the Watchmen Collector's Box Set. The HeroClix game is growing like never before, with a massive release schedule, updated rules, and much more.

The Watchmen Collector's set is the most sophisticated item WizKids has produced, and that's obvious from the very first glance. The box itself is truly a collector's item. Black and yellow (the traditional Watchmen colors based on the Comedian's button), the box is 14 inches tall, 8 inches wide, and over 4 inches deep. The construction is incredibly sturdy, not to mention weighty. After you remove the plastic wrap you'll notice a sleeve around the box. This has the set's full name and a description on the front panel, along with photographs of nine of the figures on the back. Once that's out of the way, you can appreciate the simplicity of the box.

The front panel has a sidebar of the Watchmen title in black on a yellow background, with a doomsday clock at the top (about 7 'till). The rest of the front panel is dominated by the HeroClix Watchmen logo, complete with blood-spattered clock/HeroClix dial. If you look closely you can see light gray gears in the background. The yellow sidebar wraps around the side of the box to the back with two more HeroClix logos. The back panel resembles the front in layout and colors, but this one has scrawled across it the iconic phrase "Who Watches the Watchmen."

The black "side" of the box is actually a panel held in place by a powerful magnet. Once this is opened the front and back halves fold out to reveal the interior. Each half contains a sturdy flocked tray that holds the figures very securely so you don't have to worry about anyone coming loose or getting broken. In between the two trays is a set list of the included figures. Overall, this is exemplary package design. It looks great, it's durable, you can open it and put it back together, and it'll display well to boot! But if you're anything like me, you're going to want to bust those figures right out of their trays...

When creating the list of figures to include in the set, the guys at WizKids had quite a task on their hands. The Watchmen film has hundreds of characters from the original Minutemen team to the "modern" Watchmen, bad guys of all sorts, scientists, and much more. The final list is a compromise between WizKids and the studio that picks the best from all eras and groups, and even manages to include some surprises.

On hand are Rorschach, Silk Spectre II, Nite Owl II, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan, the Comedian, Hooded Justice, Captain Metropolis, the Comedian (1940s), Silk Spectre I, Dr. Manhattan (‘Nam Era), Nite Owl II (Cold Weather Gear), Walter Kovacs, Mask-Killer, Bubastis, Knot Top Leader, Knot Top, Moloch the Mystic, Big Figure, Larry and Mike, Comedian and Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan, Ozymandias and Bubastis, Nite Owl II and Rorschach, and the Intrinsic Field Experiment 15.

Through advances in technology and a deeper commitment to quality, WizKids has been creating miniature figures with incredible sculpts (let alone for their size). Current figures are usually the result of a mix of traditional and digital sculpting, and the improvements really show. Check out the uniform on the Comedian (Watchmen), with its sculpted armored panels and fabric textures, the musculature on Hooded Justice and Dr. Manhattan ('Nam Era), or the clothing details on Larry and Mike and so many others.

Likewise, paint applications have been a major focus. While older figures were reviled for their "Charlie Brown" eyes, new characters have much more clearly defined eyes. For example, Silk Spectre I (pictured above) has fantastic eyes! Other really good ones include the Ozymandias figures, Bubastis, and more. Metallic paint also brings these figures to life, with bright gold on Moloch the Mystic and wintry silver on Nite Owl II (Cold Weather Gear). Even the "plainer" figures have top notch paint jobs like Larry and Mike in their prison garb and the Knot Tops.

Beyond all of the cool figures, this Watchmen set is part of a game. HeroClix lets you pit superheroes and villains from multiple comic book universes (and films!) in fast-paced, fun battles. Each figure's base includes pertinent game information as well as the turning dial with his or her stats and super powers, represented by colored squares around numbers. As the characters fight and take the damage the dials are turned, changing abilities and strengths before ending in KOs. In turn, each figure comes with a corresponding card that shows all of its powers (with great quotes and background info), keywords, and team abilities in addition to biographies.

The Watchmen figures have all of the standard game elements, and fit seamlessly into HeroClix games featuring figures from other sets. They range from the lowly Knot Top at 25 points (still pretty cool with Stealth, Flurry, and a Special Power granting limited Blades/Claws/Fangs) to the frighteningly powerful Dr. Manhattan at 276 points featuring a full dial of powers (including Phasing/Teleport, Barrier, Penetrating/Psychic Blast, Telekinesis, Impervious, Invulnerability, Probability Control, Super Senses, and more! Many of the Watchmen figures have Special Powers, denoted by white boxes, bringing whole new power sets and combinations previously impossible.

There's a Giant figure in the 'Nam Era Dr. Manhattan, and duos, two characters fighting together on one base, are well represented with four instances. The recently added Alter Ego mechanic, by which a "civilian" can turn into his or her heroic identity, is also present here with the pessimistic Walter Kovacs who can become Rorschach!

Finally, the 25th figure is Intrinsic Field Experiment 15, an Event Dial. If you play this as part of your force you can use it to grant special powers to nearby figures, and if you play well it can even "create" a Dr. Manhattan that you control!

The wide range of figures means you can really dig deep into the film mythology to create unique teams. Want to run a 1940s era Minutemen team? Grab the Comedian, Hooded Justice, Captain Metropolis, and Silk Spectre I. Bad guys and minions more your style? Then choose from Ozymandias, Bubastis, Mask-Killer, Knot Top, Knot Top Leader, Moloch the Mystic, Big Figure, and Larry and Mike. Build a powerhouse modern Watchmen team to take on major opponents with duos of Comedian and Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan, and Nite Owl II and Rorschach. Put fear into your enemies when Dr. Manhattan takes the field, or when the Intrinsic Field Experiment 15 starts powering up. The possibilities are endless!

The Watchmen Collector's Set is a fantastic collection of high quality miniature figures, representing key characters from one of the biggest film events in recent history. Long time Watchmen fans will find this an absolute must-buy as it's the only way to get figures of many of the characters. Meanwhile, even if you've never read the graphic novel but loved the movie, you'll likewise be happy to collect all of these figures in one fell swoop.

Finally, HeroClix players are eagerly anticipating the Watchmen set, chomping at the bit to field "Zenhattan" and the rest against their poor foes. Don't forget the companion Colossal Dr. Manhattan (see my review HERE), initially available at SDCC and GenCon. The Watchmen Collector's Set will hit comic book store shelves on August 25th, with an MSRP of $99.

For over 90 new images of this fantastic Watchmen set, CLICK HERE!

Review and Photos by Scott Rubin

Review Samples Courtesy of WizKids