One of my favorite things Mattel’s WWE team is doing these days is releasing earlier versions of the signed legends in the line. That might be a Mean Mark Callous, a Stunning Steve Austin or The Dingo Warrior. Another cool avenue is taking advantage of the chase format to deliver variations of the same sculpt that cover different eras in a character’s career. That’s what we get with the Legends 18 Samu and Fatu.
These two were wrecking balls demolishing Michael PS Hayes and Steve “Do It To It” Cox in World Class before moving on to NWA and battling the Midnight Express, The Steiner Brothers and Road Warriors under the leadership of Paul E. Dangerously. Eventually they’d go on to team as the Headshrinkers in the WWF resuming their war with the Steiners and defeating The Quebecers to become WWF tag champions.
Fatu has had a few figures already from Mattel in his Rikisihi gimmick, but this marks the first time we’re getting him in his tag team gimmick with his cousin. Even better, Mattel doubled up and released Samu and Fatu in their Headshrinkers attire as well as giving them chases from their SST days. It’s a very easy switch and one that makes double dipping a no-brainer since one slightly altered set can go with my WCW shelf and the other can chill on the New Generation era shelf.
Let’s see how the SST version of Samu and Fatu turned out.
Packaging: The Legends line stays undefeated in terms of its presentation with the gold, brown and yellow color combination. And the artwork with an iconic portrait of the character always puts this setup at an elite (pun intended) level.
The bios are solid for both acknowledging their shared lineage and some personalization. Samu’s bio covers their stint in the NWA and Fatu’s mentions his sons’ excellent in the WWE.
Likeness: Mattel has definitely stepped its game up on the head sculpts. Of the two I’m partial to Samu’s since his hair is sculpted a little wilder and less neat like Fatu’s, which almost looks somewhat slicked back.
I dig the intensity on both head sculpts though, which is the more important expression to convey with these guys since they mainly leaned hard into the wild savage gimmick.
Samu and Fatu have identical, barely defined thicker torsos. These were the ideal choices for the cousins that matches up well given their physiques. Maybe their lower halves should be thicker — Fatu is Rikishi after all — but I don’t think Mattel has a thicker butt/thigh set up that would be a perfect match for the SST.
Mattel did bring out the barefoot mold for these two, which would be immensely helpful for all of those long-delayed Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka customs.
Both cousins get smaller elbow pads though Samu didn’t usually wear them during his SST phase. For accuracy you can donate them to another figure.
Scale: Of the two, Samu was taller at 6’4″ and Fatu was 6′. They match up pretty favorable with the Road Warriors with Hawk at 6’3″ and Animal at 6’1″. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to compare them with the Steiners and Midnight Express at some point.
Paint: Mattel usually doesn’t have issues with paint applications unless it involves a weaker color like yellow or white.
With The Headshrinkers attire, Samu and Fatu have pretty basic tight designs, but their SST versions are much more intricate with a floral pattern on one leg and a detailed logo on the other. It’s interesting that the chase has a more involved paintjob than the standard one.
The airbrush look of the floral pattern is extremely impressive with shading and a plethora of colors.
This is some of Mattel’s best work with this kind of design and it’s commendable they went this route as opposed to some of the SST’s simpler attires.
In another twist, the Samu SST version is his hair is lighter brown hair instead of jet black like the Headshrinkers version. He had lighter hair at during his NWA days though for a better likeness Mattel probably should just used a light brown wash over his darker hair.
Fatu has tape around his ankles just to differentiate him a bit more from Samu.
Articulation: Despite their larger size, the SST were pretty athletic brawlers whipping out thrust kicks, power slams and jumping standing drop kicks.
The standard Elite body covers their articulation just fine, but now I’m spoiled by the Ultimate Edition with the butterfly shoulders, which should just be the norm for every figure at this point.
Samu and Fatu have:
- ball-jointed shoulders
- elbows (double-jointed)
- wrist hinge
- knees (double-jointed)
Accessories: The SST have similar accessories, which makes sense. They both have sarongs, which are cloth and have a very rich color pattern that makes them look more authentic.
They’ve also got more Headshrinker gear that’s just a hold over with a X-harness with four rings and the bamboo sticks. These would be good extras if we ever get a Sandman from Mattel. The accessories are fine just not useful for the SST.
Finally, they’ve got swappable outstretched hands. The better to use Paul E’s cell phone to clock their opponents.
Worth it? WWE figures are now $22.99. I don’t hate that price for these, but I have gotten spoiled with the various Target sales and deep clearance prices for figures. Course on way into Target, I found a $20 bill on the street so these two were “cheaper” for me anyway.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
I’m a huge fan of these other era repaints/slight alterations. It’s a smart move from Mattel and I love getting such high-quality variants to help flesh out my late 80s NWA shelf.
Where to get it? Legends Series 18 is only in Target since they have an exclusive to the line.
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