I just missed seeing Magnum T.A. wrestling. He was already using a cane and occasionally seconding Dusty Rhodes to ringside when I stumbled onto the NWA. Even then his feuds with Tully Blanchard, Nikita Koloff and The Midnight Express were legendary. But being a dutiful wrestling fan, I’ve since gone back to familiarize myself with perhaps wrestling’s greatest ‘What If?’ story. He’s to the wrestling world what The D.O.C. is to rap.
When prototype images of Mattel’s Magnum TA for a planned Legends Series 7 was revealed I was stoked. Mattel still has a long way to go to catch Jakks’ extensive depth in its Classic Superstars line, but they’re signed major Holy Grail figures that eluded Jakks throughout their run. Magnum definitely qualifies on that front.
I was just as bummed when Legends 7 was cancelled and Magnum was placed in figure limbo. It’s taken Mattel years to find a slot for Magnum, but eventually they did in the Lost Legends line. Now that I’ve got the figure in hand, it was definitely worth the wait.
Packaging: Magnum may have my favorite packaging of the year. He’s got the standard 2015-2016 style packaging done as an homage to the Legends line. For OCD folks it won’t be a complete match with the Legends packaging, but it’s a great compromise.
But this is definitely a case where Mattel would have been better served writing more of a bio to explain his significance.
Likeness: This is a pretty excellent likeness. Magnum didn’t have a complex outfit — just black tights and cowboy boots — so it was essential that Mattel nailed his head sculpt. I like the focused expression Mattel went with as Magnum was not a smiley or perpetually scowling wrestler. He was intense and this figure reflects that well.
Mattel goofed again with the kneepads giving Magnum the leg sleeve version. He tended to wear smaller pads that just covered the knee. Hopefully I’ve got some smaller ones in the old parts bin.
Paint: Magnum has a fairly simple look, but they’re a few necessary elements. The dirty blonde hair for starters. Mattel doesn’t always do paint washes on figures’ hair emphasizing the toy look. Magnum’s hair gets a nice wash, but it has a greenish tint to it rather than blonde.
The darker mustache is done properly and the hairy chest is covered as well. I was worried Mattel might skimp on that so I was glad to see it was included. Magnum’s leg wraps are painted white underneath the knee pads.
Articulation: Magnum’s got the standard Elite articulation. As a classic 80s wrestler, there won’t be much you can’t do with him from reversing a Figure Four or snapping off a belly to belly.
- ball-jointed shoulders
- wrist hinge
- knee (double-jointed)
Accessories: Clearly the big money accessory for Magnum would have been the United States title. Mattel unfortunately still doesn’t have the licensing rights to NWA titles. That’s a shame because Magnum’s US belt is legitimately one of the best in wrestling history.
Instead, Magnum comes with a black plastic vest. It’s soft enough that I wasn’t worried about breaking the arms when peeling it off. It’s the simple standard, detail-less vest. Magnum’s weren’t especially flashy but it’d be nice for Mattel to add details like buttons even if it’s just a quickie paint job.
Worth it? This is a niche figure catering almost exclusively to the hardcore, old school collector. Magnum is the kind of figure ideally Mattel would do more of even if it’s just an online exclusive. Getting him for the normal $20 price tag is a pretty decent deal.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Where to get it? Right now, Amazon is the only place that has the Lost Legends line in stock. I figure it’s safe to assume eventually they’ll find their way onto Toys R Us, Target and Walgreens shelves in time for the holidays. But I figured I waited long enough for Magnum no need to wait for retail here.
Now it’s time to start harassing Mattel to get a Nikita Koloff figure.