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Medicom Mafex #171 Wolverine (X-Force Version) Action Figure Review

Hey there, thanks for checking out Dan's ToyBox. Today we're looking at the Medicom Mafex #171 Wolverine (X-Force version). I passed on the original yellow/blue Wolverine because I wasn't a fan of the excessively long claws and, at the time, wasn't really buying much from Mafex. When the brown costume was released, I thought about getting it, but decided to hold off as I wasn't really doing much outside of Spider-Man and Batman related Mafex. I can honestly admit that I missed the boat, big time! So, when I saw this version, though it's not one of my favorite Wolverine looks, I decided to snag one and I'm glad I did. It also helped show me how badly I missed the boat when I passed up the other two.

There have been many iterations of X-Force over the years. Under Wolverine's leadership the team functioned more as a "Black Ops" Strike Team. Initially formed, in secret, by Cyclops, the team was tasked with tracking Cable along with the first mutant child born since the destruction of most mutant kind. The history of this particular team is actually rather intriguing and can be read not only in the pages of X-Force (from 2008-2010) but also over here at the Marvel Database Fandom page: X-Force (Strike Team) (Earth-616) | Marvel Database | Fandom.

Wolverine himself, remains one of the most popular Marvel characters ever created and though I didn't really follow X-Force during his time with the team, I have to admit that the black and gray costume design and the concept of Wolverine leading a secret, deadly strike team makes me want to go back and find some of those old stories.

We will focus on the Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability of the figure. Each category will receive an individual rating before the figure receives the overall grade of zero to 10 ToyBoxes. Please remember, though I try to be as objective as possible, these reviews are solely based on my opinion. My goal is to help you, my fellow collectors, decide if a figure is worth purchasing for your own collecting enjoyment.


As fans of this blog know, I really enjoy import figures in general and Mafex in particular. Part of this is due to the significant number of accessories that are generally included with the figures. Mafex tends to put a lot into their figures as well, but sadly, Wolverine tends to suffer a bit. This figure comes with three head sculpts, one neutral expression face, one with teeth bared, scowling face, and one yelling face. He also comes with one pair of fists, one pair of relaxed, open hands, and one pair of extended claw fists. There is also the standard Mafex flight stand packed as well. I looked at both the yellow and brown suit figures and noticed that the only real difference is that those figures have one masked and one unmasked head, with a pulled down mask attachment. I'm assuming you can pop the unmasked head from either of those figures onto this one but cannot verify that myself at this time. I'm kind of torn between wanting an unmasked sculpt with a mask attachment for this figure, instead of one of the three existing face sculpts. I think I'd like to actually replace the neutral expression with an unmasked head. Overall, though, I'm actually kind of disappointed that there isn't more to offer with the character. I mean, if they can give Joker from TDKR a cigarette, why can't Wolverine have a cigar? Even, open grasping hands would be nice to have on this one. So, in spite of three head sculpts and three sets of hands, I gotta be a bit tight and give this one a 4 out of 10 for Accessories.


As I admitted, I never read the books that depicted Wolverine in this costume. However, I really do like the stealthy black and gray look with the red highlights for his eye lenses and belt buckle. The idea of stealthy Wolverine should just about terrify anybody! I am also impressed with the fact that the sculpted design actually makes it look like he's wearing a uniform, rather than having tightly defined muscles sculpted on the figure. The wrinkles sculpted across his chest, abs, and back give the impression of a shirt pulled taut over his chiseled physique, without looking to "comic book-esque." I actually feel like I'm looking at fabric with more substance than the typical superhero spandex look. I also really appreciate the flesh tone on his face and the paint apps for his mouth, both open, gritted, and closed looks. There is a hint of pink at the lips, giving a realistic appearance to the skin. The arm hair is painted on decently enough, but mine is fairly light, so it's kind of hard to actually see it without close examination. I do notice though that the flesh at the elbow joints seems to be a bit transparent, with the slightest hint of black showing through. I am assuming the flesh is painted over a black mold, but it's kind of hard to tell for certain. The overall sculpt of the figure is done very well, and in terms of scale, he looks great, even when standing with bigger Marvel Legends. The butterfly shoulder joints could be kind of problematic given that they are so round that they resemble his deltoids. The top of his arm looks like two little black gumballs stuck to one another. Because I don't have another Mafex Wolvie to compare this to, I'm assuming this is the standard body mold they use for Wolverine. Much like the Spider-Man figures really only look different due to their paint jobs. Practice your posing, though, and that should help you hide any odd, rounded look for the shoulder joints. I think my only other real issue is the length of the claws. While these are sculpted really well, have a great curve to them and are painted exceptionally well, measuring them would mean that to fully retract, they'd have to go up just past the elbow into the lower part of his bicep region. Kind of makes bending the elbows a bit difficult were that the case. For artisitic purposes though, they do look great and when posed in slashing motions or leaping motions really stand out nicely. I have to say that the good, for me, outweighs the few concerns I have and so for Appearance, I'm good with giving this Wolverine a solid 7.5 out of 10.


I am always a sucker for the engineering that goes into Mafex figures. For far too long, Mafex suffered horrible quality control issues and over the last few years, seem to have really picked up their slack. I appreciate the articulation this figure has, though, not without some concerns. Starting at the top, his head can look up and down and turn side to side very well on it's on. When coupled with the neck joint, the up and down range is increased considerably as is the side-to-side tilt for a bit of attitude. The odd design of the shoulders may look weird, but it works. The butterfly can tilt outward, rotate forward and back and even tuck inwards a bit when raising the arms out to his side. This increased range makes for some great posing options. The actual shoulder joint itself can raise to above a T pose and rotate a full 360 degrees. The upper bicep swivel works just fine and isn't hindered in any manner. The hands all pivot and hinge on the wrist peg. Be careful though, I did discover that my regular fist hands slip on and off a bit too easy, making them somewhat loose on the peg. The upper diaphragm torso has nice rotational ability, allowing Wolverine to crunch forward, lean back, and tilt to either side with ease. The lower diaphragm joint also gives greater range for crunches and rotational movement. Though, I have to admit that mine was fairly tight and even though I loosened it up, still creaks when I turn it too far. Be careful, as I've seen other Mafex characters snap at that waist joint in reviews that I've watched. The hips feature drop down ability which somewhat increases the range of his splits, though not able to do a full-on split, Wolverine can get his legs quite far out to the sides. They will also kick forward, but to go very high, must rotate outward the slightest bit. There is the smallest amount of hidden thigh swivel which allows you to rotate his legs slightly outward. The knees will bend in fairly deep, but not enough to get heel to back touching. The ankles pivot and hinge easily and the toe articulation works just fine. I had enough tight joints that required Wolverine to take a quick hot bath and working them has helped get everything moving as it should, as I said though, the waist does concern me and the fear of breaking it drops his grade to a 7 out of 10 for Articulation.


The Medicom Mafex #171 Wolverine (X-Force ver.) retails on BBTS for $94.99. I ordered mine here and though I could get it cheaper overseas, the shipping costs are prohibitive. This pricing falls pretty much in the standard range for Mafex figures and is on the lower end as many newer figures are coming out at about $10 more (or higher.) With prices going up all over, it should come as no shock that imports are climbing as well. To be honest, I think if this had retailed higher, I might have passed it up. For now, I'll give this one a "just over" average rating of 6 out of 10. I would love to get a look at Mafex's pricing matrix sometime to see how they determine retail costs.

Overall, if you missed out on either of the previous Wolverine figures, this is a decent addition to plug into your "X Character" shelf. Taking the objectivity out of it, I do admit that I like this much more than I expected and am already plotting some ideas for stealthy, special ops Wolverine photos. This may not be a must have for everyone, but it will add some enjoyment to any collection. I'm going to give the Medicom Mafex #171 Wolverine (X-Force ver.) a ToyBox rating of:

7 out of 10 ToyBoxes

At the end of the day... it's Wolverine and if you're a fan, that's really all that needs to be said! Thank you so much for dropping by Dan's ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!

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