REVIEW: REVIEW: Hot Toys Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot

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    REVIEW: Hot Toys Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot

    The Coolest Couple Of A-Holes In The Galaxy...


    By Scott Rubin


    Guardians of the Galaxy is a property I love. I’ve been reading their adventures in comics for years (since the birth of the modern team coming out of the “Annihilation” events), and 2014’s blockbuster film awesomely made my favorite characters like Rocket Raccoon, Groot, and the rest household names and cultural icons. Before the movie Guardians toys were relatively infrequent, but ever since there’s been a deluge ranging from Hasbro’s mass market items to specialty and import collectibles. In general I stick to small-scale toys, mainly collecting the 3 ¾ inch scale, but for my Guardians I’ve expanded into bigger and bigger... and they don’t get much bigger and more impressive than Hot Toys’ fantastic 1/6th action figures. Today I’ll be sharing a look at the Hot Toys Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket & Groot two-pack, quite possibly the be all and end all collectible for these two characters packed with fun accessories, interchangeable parts, and of course industry-leading sculpts.




    While Hot Toys is known for their figures, they do a pretty bang up job with packaging too. The box for Rocket and Groot is huge, a megalithic structure consisting of an inner window box encased in a decorative sleeve. That outer layer is decorated with a bright blue starscape background, with the front panel featuring the dynamic duo in action in the middle of a big “G” and Hot Toys’ and the film’s logo. The back of the sleeve is a compact mass of safety warnings and copyright notices.




    Remove that outer layer and you’ll get your first look at the figures, packed into a heavy duty tray along with all of their accessories, bases, and more. The inner box is a callback to the Nova Corps lineup scene with a height scale on the side and glowing blue bands of energy. The back panel breaks down the artists and craftsmen who worked on these figures.




    If you’ve been living in a cave for the last year and a half I guess it’s possible you may not know who Groot and Rocket are, but seriously if you don’t go see the movie and read a comic book. Rocket is a raccoon-like creature with mysterious origins, apparently engineered and modified for heightened intelligence. His rough life has given him a rough and callous personality, but it hides a damaged soul who just wants to be accepted and loved. Rocket is an expert with all manner of guns, the bigger the better, as well as an ace pilot and brilliant tactician. The diminutive mammal’s best friend and adventuring companion is the entity known as Groot, a hulking humanoid tree creature with boundless compassion though little vocal ability. Groot can grow and stretch his powerful limbs, forming them into simple objects, and even throw off glowing spores to shed light in darkness. He also has a limited form of immortality, able to regrow from tiny remnants when his body is destroyed.




    So what do a tiny raccoon creature and a gargantuan tree person look like in 1/6th scale? Rocket stands an impressive almost 6 ½ inches tall while Groot towers over him at just under 15 ½ inches! You can work out the math yourselves on whether or not that’s accurate to the film’s CG models, but it looks right on and they fit very well together. And while Rocket has realistic whiskers and wears a cute little outfit Groot features an amazing full-body tree-like texturing. They’re both fully articulated and have additional parts equal to and in addition to what you’ll find in the individual figure releases. Let’s take a closer look.




    The foremost thing for most people about Hot Toys figures is the sculpt, and these two don’t disappoint in that arena. Rocket doesn’t have any real fur, but his entire body is textured to resemble a raccoon’s coat. He’s a stocky little dude with spindly limbs, human-like hands, feet with long toes and claws, and a long, thick tail. Rocket has a proportionately large head with a thick fur fringe around his face, cute ears sticking up, and a pronounced muzzle drawn into a toothy snarl/grin. His big, beady eyes are sunken into his furry brow, and his black nose adds another hint of cuteness. Groot, on the other hand, is just about 100% tree. His entire body is sculpted in arboreal detail with alternating areas resembling thick vines and patches of wood and bark. Riddled throughout are smaller tendrils and shoots with random extensions branching out, and once you start looking at the figure closely you’ll find all sorts of interesting elements like knots, organic irregularities, and so much more. Groot’s feet are unique stump-like structures that spread out and provide excellent stability for the huge figure, and there are subtle wood panels on the torso that “float” to allow and hide articulation below them (notably around the thigh joints). The Guardian comes with two interchangeable heads in this set, one with a neutral expression and soulful eyes and the other bellowing in rage!





    Each figure’s sculpt is highlighted and made even more impressive by expert paint applications, and again the two are differentiated in colors and styles. Groot is a riot of earth tones from light browns and tans in the more wooden areas to verdant greens among the vines and tendrils snaking over his body. There are also patches of light green resembling moss, and Groot’s eyes are a liquid dark brown. The variation and shading really bring all of the foliage to life and make him look like he’s comprised of growing, moving things. Rocket, on the other hand has a more straightforward furry paint scheme with a brown base coat layered over with yellows, whites, and blacks for details on the body, limbs, hands, and feet. His head has a ton of highlights with black in the ears, around the eyes and mouth, and the eyes and nose themselves, and white on the tips of the ears, around the face, and on his muzzle. Rocket’s pulled back lips reveal a line of pink gums and surprisingly white teeth.




    Both figures are highly articulated with joints hidden where possible (like the aforementioned panels over Groot’s hips). Hot Toys included small instruction sheets in this set that outline the figures’ range of motions, which is very important since several of the joints are restricted and pushing them further than a certain point could damage them. Both figures have double jointed necks giving them a huge range of head motion, lots of ball joints throughout their bodies, and more. Groot’s unique anatomy limits the rise of his arms, his elbow extension, and how far back his knee can bend while his torso articulation only moves forward. Rocket has some similar issues and although his joints are more flexible his outfit constrains his movement anyway. Of course the smaller Guardian also has a tail which is mounted on a simple ball joint.




    Another area where this set shines, and indeed above and beyond the individual releases, is in the array of accessories and interchangeable parts. For Rocket there are three pairs of hands (open, fists, and posed for holding his weapon), two pairs of feet (flat and raised), and of course his oversized rifle. That and his non-removable spacesuit are both super detailed with elements you probably missed in the movie.




    Groot has a ton of stuff in this box, starting with an exclusive interchangeable “angry” face! The calm and angry portraits mount easily on the head and can be swapped out instantly. There are multiple hands for Groot including a pair of partially clenched fists, a pair of hands with internal armatures that you can pose yourself, and finally a translucent yellow hand to recreate the scene in which he releases the glowing spores. A potted “Little Groot” rounds out the accessories, and both figures have sturdy display bases. There’s even an adapter for mounting Rocket on Groot’s post so you can pose the little guy on his big bud’s shoulder! Lastly, in the package was a little bag with tiny silver dots, though I confess I don’t know what those are for and they’re not on the instructions!




    If you’re a fan of Guardians of the Galaxy (the movie) and specifically Rocket Raccoon and Groot, you really owe it to yourself to save up for this set. As with all Hot Toys the figures are fantastic though they are expensive... very expensive. These figures individually are about $160/$200 (Rocket and Groot respectively), and this two-pack retails for about $360. While at first glance that doesn’t seem like a deal since it’s the same cost as both singles, remember that you get additional exclusive parts in this set that you can’t get otherwise. As you can see from my group shot photos I’m a collector and have quite a few figures and statues of these two characters, and it’s not a stretch to say that these Hot Toys figures are the finest collectibles of them. They have statue-quality sculpts and paint applications with solid articulation and a wealth of display options with all the interchangeable parts and accessories.




    Review and photos by Scott Rubin

    Review sample courtesy of Hot Toys



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