Pros: HUGE dragon figure! Stunningly detailed, painted and sized Wyrm which reaks of coolness
Cons: Playability? Yeah, right.
Although McFarlane Toy's early-2002 action figure line Ultima Online was deceisively mediocre, there's one figure that has been widely recognised by us collectors as an ultimate MUST HAVE. This is the enormous, ultra-cool Ancient Wyrm, a detour from the monotony of the rest of the line (which consisted of various warriors, robots, and warriors combined with robots) in the form of a MASSIVE DRAGON!!! Undoubtly, any dragon figure in the action figure world is fought over by us collectors like morning pot-heads slapping each other for the last McMuffin - see the recent Transformers Beast Wars Megatron and the Harry Potter Deluxe Norbert Dragon - but McFarlane Toy's Ancient Wyrm is in a class of it's own. This is beautiful collectible for anyone who likes dragons, not just the action figure collector, but everyone - except those who want to play with it.
The hype for this figure began back in 2001, when the Ultima Online line was originally supposed to be released, and it included an enormous boxed set of the dragon. However, the line was pushed back to a 2002 release, and it was finally decided that the Wyrm would be a carded figure rather than boxed. Many fans were worried, considering the enormous size the figure was rumored to be, how could it be squashed into a small plastic prison on a card? Well, with the change in McToys packaging, all of the new figures come in clamshells: sealed clear plastic "boxes" with the figure packaged in front of a brochure-type card which provides a suitable "background" for the figure. The other figures in the line are packaged in average sized clamshells - but the Ancient Wyrm is packaged in his own king-sized clamshell, in which the big dragon sits with his wings and based detached, to be put together as the huge dragon that he is when the figure is opened.
On it's own, the Ancient Wyrm is 11" long from tail to snout - attaching the wings makes him a huge 12" tall. The Wyrm has an enormous wingspan; each wing is 10" long. After you've admired the size of this monster, you'll be awed by the detail - everything about the Wyrm is beautiful. The basic skin is an impressive orange-black flesh tone, but everything beyond that is it's own color scheme, and it's perfect. Each one of the dragon's four legs has a row of sharp horns along the back, with sharp claws accompanying the poised wrists. A sheath of spines and spikes runs from the end of the tail up along his back, painted in dark reds and blacks which enthusise the skin tone, running up to the enormous curved "mane". Large spikes and "scales" cover the mane, along to his head, which is decorated in sharply washed browns and reds, with glowing orange eyes and creepily grimed teeth. Even his snout has darkened spines on both sides. The wings are a beautiful sight; both are transluscent red, with dark purple veins running across them, orange-brown muscle on the edges leading up to spikes on the end. Nothing has been spared with the Ancient Wyrm, and it shows - this is a most beautiful figure, a magnificent feast for the eyes.
But with this praise comes the negative; although described as an action figure, the "action" on this dragon is at a bare minimum; he isn't well articulated, with joints at each of the four legs, the neck, tail and a ball jointed head. This doesn't mean much for play, and with all the sharp spikes and the heavy weight of the figure, this is definately not a toy for children. Unlike the previous dragon action figure by McToys, The Horrid, the Wyrm is a more conventional and unplayable dragon figure, but is more of a statue than an ultra-action figure. The Wyrm basically has one pose, recognised by the fact that it only stands on three legs (the other is curved in a "stepping" motion) and also has difficulty standing; this is aided with the inclusion of a base, a 12" long piece of land with detailed rocks, footprints and dirt - attaching the pegs in the base to the feet of the Wyrm makes him stand easily, creating a nice diorama-statue which is impressively admirable.
The small epinions picture above does not give the figure due credit; looking at the pictures linked to in the BONUS!!! section below will give you a clearer picture of how good the dragon looks. Now, I must mention a few tidbits about this figure. Being larger than the other figures in this line, it is more expensive than the others, coming in at RRP$12.50 to anything up to $100 on Ebay. Which brings me to the next point - the popularity of this figure means that it's now virtually impossible to find. No comic stores stock it any longer, and it's expensive as heck on Ebay - so this is a figure that's going to be hard to find. Overall, I undoubtly recommend the Ancient Wyrm, because I love the design, detail and the ultra-coolness of this massive dragon figure - it scares my other figures just to look at it. Although I've stressed the lack of playability of this guy, I've actually found some instances where he can be played with - he's really good with attacking and eating Lego people - but this is still a stretch of the imagination, and it's got nothing on taking Deluxe Norbert for a fly. So I'm taking the alternative route to my partner in crime Marshmallow, who's review is also below, and worth a read. I can't deny that the figure lacks what makes an action figure, but he's awesome none the less. If you're even slightly interested in collectibles or dragons and you somehow manage to find him, he's a must buy - kids or players, on the other hand, may want to find an alternative, like the similarly-priced but completely different Harry Potter Dragon Deluxe Norbert. Recommended.
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Want a better look at this guy with more detail and better pictures? Check out the McFarlane Toy's 2002 Catalogue Entry for the Ancient Wyrm here: http://www.spawn.com/toys/product.asp?division=toys&category=games&series=ultima&product=wyrm
Second opinion? Marshmallow's is here: http://www.epinions.com/content_65250758276
And the Armchair Empire's is here: http://www.armchairempire.com/action-figures/ancient-wyrm.htm
Want to find out some more information about various dragons? Check out Windseeker's site here: http://www.pagerealm.com/windseeker/
Alternatively, want a look at the Harry Potter Dragon Deluxe Norbert that I keep mentioning? He's here: COMING SOON!