Collateral Carl – a custom figure review (PG+)

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you may have realised that there’s a lot more “Lego” out there than Lego have actually produced.  With advancements (and availability) of printers that can ink directly onto plastic (and remain there) the world of custom figures has exploded.

Using that as a link, have produced what some are calling a first – that of the reversible figure.  Whilst reversible heads are now common (so you can have a happy/sad face for example) the bodies have always been ‘one side’.  So have produced Collateral Carl.

“In every battle there are winners and losers… and then there’s Collateral Carl! With two left feet there wasn’t a landmine Carl couldn’t inadvertently discover, such a ‘talent’ wasn’t going to waste, so Colonel Kraus immediately sent him to the front of the battalion to run point and well, the rest is history.”

Although this figure is pretty cool (pictures in a second) there are a couple of things which sit a little uneasily with me (hence the PG+ rating for a review).  The first is the subject matter – yes, it’s dealing with a potentially challenging subject in a “fun” way.  Second, we’re back to WWII and the very British ‘we didn’t mention the war exactly, what’s the problem?’ scenario and thirdly (albeit less importantly) the only way Carl would get to the front of any Lego battalion is if you’d already forked out a small fortune for more custom figures.

Grumble over, let’s see what the figure looks like.

Carl in 'battle ready' mode
Carl in ‘battle ready’ mode
Carl in "found one" mode
Carl in “found one” mode

The printing on this figure is really detailed and works really well; to convert from one to the other you will need to pull his arms off (don’t worry, he’ll be used to it) and swap at least one of them round – you can see from the bottom picture, he’s supposed to be missing a limb. I do like the crutch to support him as that’s a neat addition.

Overall, it is a clever idea and as a custom figure it works really well.  This is definitely aimed at the AFOL collectible market (I did feel a little guilty pulling him from he bubble packaging he came in) and I can see a lot of people saying how expensive it is compared to a normal Lego figure (at £17.95 compared to £2.50 for a Lego Series Collectible figure) and yes it is, but then this market is quite a small one and I can’t see producing a whole lot of these – it’s sometimes easier to think of these as limited edition artworks.


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