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McFarlane Toys

McFarlane's Dragons
Water Dragon Clan 3

Toy Review

By Mark Patraw

Manufacturer Information:
Todd McFarlane Productions International, Inc.
PO Box 12230
Tempe, Arizona


The Package:
The Water Dragon Clan 3 figure is encased inside a plastic clamshell. It's small, sturdy, and you get a nice, clear view of the dragon and its' base. You'll have to cut it open to get your scaly lizard out (watch your fingers/hands, as the cut plastic is often sharp and you can injure yourself if you're not careful--younger children should probably have an adult help them). The dragon is secured to an interior plastic tray via twisty ties. Its tail also comes bent, in a U-shape, in order to fit it inside the package, but it unbends easily, so that's no problem. The black, metal rod for the base is taped inside, behind the sticker on the front of the bubble--take care not to throw it away with the package by accident. The exterior of the paper insert shows all of the six dragons [five regular (Fire, Komodo, Water, Berserker, and Eternal Clans), and one deluxe (Sorcerers Clan)] available in this line. The interior insert advertises the deluxe boxed dragon from this assortment again, as well as McFarlane's Military Series 3 and Cyber Units (repaints of the Interlink Spawn figures from Spawn Series 18).

The Dragon:
You won't be mistaking this for anything other than a sea monster, that's for sure--the overall shape, large fins/webbing, and swimming posture say it all. As per McFarlane Toys' usual, the Water Clan Dragon 3 sports an incredible amount of detail. Every inch of the skin is covered with a pebbly/spiny texture, ridges, etc. The head sports an angry-looking open-mouthed design with tongue extended, four large horns, "sideburn" fins, and it even has one of those little glowing lure things, on its forehead, that some deep sea anglers use to attract prey. You definitely would not want to see this thing rising up from the depths of the ocean to greet you after falling overboard. In terms of scale, the dragon measures roughly a foot long (with tail straight) and stands approximately nine-and-three-quarters inches tall when attached to the base. That's pretty big for a $10 figure. The paintwork on this figure is exceptional, complimenting the sculpt. To me, it's suggestive of some of the more colorful fish one finds in the ocean, and it reminds me of the Lionfish in particular. The upper body is primarily a yellowish-tan with black and red/orange stripes/bands, and the lower body has a white/light blue cast to it. The fins/webbing are a sparkly golden hue with black spots/mottling. McFarlane Toys took an interesting approach with this figure (as well as some of the other dragons): The entire body is molded in transparent rubbery plastic, and then painted, while allowing certain areas to remain translucent, in this case the fins/webbing. This gives the overall figure a more realistic looking aspect, especially when lit from behind by a light source (see last photo at the bottom of the page). The dragon sports six points of articulation: The neck (at the base of the head) has a rotating cut joint, as do the mid-biceps and hips, and the tail is of the bendy variety, with a wire inside. The five rotating joints work fine, although the large fins/webbing on the legs and right arm tend to get caught on the body when moving them around it. Also, when it comes to positioning them, the paint job only looks "right" one way--the stripes/coloring on the limbs/body match up with one another in one pose and that's it. The bendy tail works pretty well, but it does tend to go back to the original straight shape over time on its own. These figures, like most of McFarlane's "toys", are more sculpture than plaything, so one doesn't expect much in this department, but what's here is adequate. I would have liked to have seen at least one more neck joint though, to allow the head to snake around a bit.

The only accessories this figure comes with are the two pieces of its' base (and whether one can even consider the base an accessory is debatable, as the figure can't stand on its own without it, making it a necessary display piece). Anyhoo, you get:

- The Base. This is sculpted as a chunk of rocky coral. It looks like its composed of two separate pieces, glued together, but the line marking where the halves come together is almost invisible. There's a lot of detail like the pockmarked surface and waving seaweed. One side of it projects outwards, like a shelf, which you would think would cause balance issues, but I'm happy to say that's not the case. It's also fairly heavy, to offset the weight of the figure I imagine. It's molded in an earthy-brown colored, rubbery plastic with a predominately green paint job on its surface, with the exception of the seaweed, which in red in hue (some of the brown mold color is allowed to show through in different places as well, which adds some nice contrast to the lighter colors). All the different paint operations, layered over one another, really bring the sculpt to life and give it an organic appearance. An excellent piece overall--it reminds me a lot of something you'd buy at the pet store to stick in your aquarium as decoration and is definitely appropriate for an aquatic beastie like this.

- The Pole. This is metal, painted gloss black, and quite sturdy. One end goes in the base, and the other in the Dragon's crotch. You have to figure this out on your own (not that it's rocket science or anything), as there's no assembly instructions (something McFarlane Toys is infamous for). The fit of the pole also tends to be a bit loose (my Dragon spins around on it quite easily). The rod also goes into the base at a slight angle--I'm not sure if this is intentional, to offset the weight for balance, or if the hole is just off on mine. I think it would have been nice if the rod was cast in a transparent blue plastic, rather than black metal, as it would be water-like in appearance that way, but then I suppose that plastic would be more prone to wilting, which wouldn't be good either. Again, make sure you don't accidentally throw this metal rod out with the packaging by accident, as you can miss it if you're not paying attention.

I paid $9.96 for this figure from my local Wal-Mart. This is an excellent figure design, and a pretty large chunk of plastic to boot, so I think the price is right. Yeah, I'd love if it was cheaper, but I don't feel ripped off either. You could easily pay a lot more for any number of dragon figurines, that are significantly smaller, and don't look anywhere near as good.

Final Analysis:

- Exceptional overall design. The sculpt/paint/pose all come together beautifully. Out of all the different McFarlane Dragon assortments, this one still remains my absolute favorite.
- Great looking base, appropriate for an aquatic dragon, that does an excellent job of keeping the dragon upright and balanced.
- Translucent fins/webbing adds to the figure's appearance, especially when backlit.
- This would look really sweet inside your fish tank, but I don't know that I'd recommend it, as the pole would probably rust and the paint/plastic might be harmful to your aquarium's living inhabitants.

- The joints on mine have loosened with time, as has the fit of the metal rod--and I haven't posed this figure very much either.
- Not a lot of articulation; McFarlane figures are generally more sculpture than action figure.

Where to Buy:
In my area, Wal-Mart was the only store that stocked them (that I know of). They had Dragons Series 2 and 3, but they haven't carried any of the newer Dragon assortments since then, which is kind of odd, as Series 2 and 3 sold well (call me fruity, but if a product sells out, that means there is a demand and you should probably continue to order them). Anyway, this figure is from 2006, so you might have difficulty finding it in stores now, although it's possible. You'll probably have better luck shopping for one online.

For Parents:
McFarlane Toys recommends this figure for ages 7(?) and up (I think--I don't have the sticker on the outside of the package anymore where the recommendation was--the Water Dragon 4 was for ages 7 and up, so that's what I'll go with here). That said, this figure is designed more for keeping on a shelf than playing with (mine's been perched on top of my stereo since I got it), although I imagine a child could have fun with it.


silhouette showing fin/webbing transparency

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