And now, Scary-Crayon reviews... Street Fighter IV Guile

Figure Information Name: Guile
Line: Street Fighter IV (Round 2)
Scale: 7 inch
Manufacturer: NECA
Year Released: 2009
Original Price: $13.99

If it's taken me a while to get around to writing this review -- and it has -- it's because I wasn't terribly excited about this figure. Of the twelve fighters who appeared in the original Street Fighter II, Guile was easily among my three least favorite characters (he's tied with Balrog and just barely above Zangief). Yeah, the SFII and SFIIV animes and US Street Fighter cartoon did make me like Sergeant/Colonel Guile a bit more, but mainly because of the exposure he got in them. It's kind of like that Harry Grimoire kid on the US Darkstalkers 'toon -- I don't really like him, but I'd probably buy a figure of him because he was in every single freakin' episode. And now I have the urge to buy a Harry Potter figure and paint his hair yellow. Damn. :(

Anyway, Guile. I ended up with this figure because, with Chun-Li being so scarce in stores and the likelihood that I wouldn't find one, I decided to order her from -- and since there was a free shipping deal for orders of $20 or more on selected figures, I decided the $13.99 for Guile was more palatable than the $5+ for shipping. Akuma was considered briefly, but he lost because I already have the Capcom vs SNK 2 Akuma. Also, the so-called raging demon doesn't have a hilarious mantra. DISCIPLINE, JUSTICE, COMMITMENT!


Score: 5.0 / 10

Vital statistics and co-sells on the back.Street Fighter IV Guile in package!

I'm not entirely sure why so many toy companies seem to love clamshell packaging these days, but I'd guess it's because it's especially difficult to open -- which makes using it an excellent anti-theft measure. Unfortunately, the same quality that makes it frustrating to thieves also makes it frustrating to me, the consumer who legitimately bought the toy. I may hate clamshell packaging more than most, but -- unless the remainder of the package were incredibly beautiful -- I'd have a hard time scoring anything packaged as such above a 7.5 out of 10.

Guile's packaging falters in other ways as well, but let's touch on the merits before we get to those. The game logo, ink spatters, and artwork on the front of the package effectively evoke Street Fighter IV's artistic style, and the standard fighting game character profile on the back -- complete with Guile's vital statistics, country of origin, and likes and dislikes, and even hobbies -- complements the game-esque presentation nicely. That said, I'd have preferred to see the packaging emulate the game even more. Designing the co-sells like the SFIV character select screen would have been a nice touch, and perhaps the darker and more vibrant colors of the in-game screens (I'm thinking black text with red outlines and some flamey graphics) would have been better than the fairly boring white that dominates the paper insert. Nevertheless, what NECA's done here isn't awful... and could probably have been a whole lot worse.

But in addition to the abominable clamshell, the packaging -- or rather the presentation of the toy in the package -- is dragged down by two more points. First, there's the position in which they've placed poor Guile, which is among the least attractive ways I can think of displaying this figure. Considering that they've got him with one fist more/less raised in front of his body, why not just put two up and have him in his general boxing stance? For that matter, since these figures look exponentially better when viewed from an angle, why not display the figure from a side view? Heck, NECA could even have reversed the characters' directions for the Player 2 variants, thus giving even the MOC camp options for displaying the toys in "dynamic" ways.

And the last sore spot? I think it's great that NECA thought to include an articulation diagram on the back, but the diagram clearly depicts Chun-Li. Guile is not Chun-Li. Moreover, while the two figures share many of the same articulation points, they do not share all of them. Each figure really should get its own diagram.

Visual Appeal

Score: 8.0 / 10

Guile is ready to brawl!Guile from the front......and from the back.That's what I call a patriotic punch!

NECA's fairly well known for putting out awesome and highly detailed sculpts of incredibly complex-looking characters -- so given that Guile was always a fairly simple character in terms of visuals, it's not surprising that the company has managed to produce an excellent-looking figure of him. The muscles look appropriately muscley, the military-issue costume has been effectively reproduced, the flattop -- while not as tall as it appears in some games -- is well represented, and even the American flag tattoos on each shoulder are present. In short, when you look at this figure, there's absolutely no mistaking that it's Guile. And while online photos initially convinced me that his facial sculpt was somewhat off, I was a lot more impressed with it once I got the figure in hand. Yeah, it still looks a bit odd from the front, but -- just as with Chun-Li -- it looks great in the angled and side views in which the character is most frequently seen.

Win pose replication!Close standing roundhouse + toward/back.Standing fierce.Close standing roundhouse.

And yet, since Guile just doesn't have a particularly exciting design, even a perfect visual representation of the character would have a hard time garnering a perfect score -- and while this Guile certainly looks great, he isn't quite perfect. His lower half in particular could use some work. Given the general lack of wrinkles, seams, pockets, and other details on his baggy pants, they just look sort of chunky and unconvincing. There's also the common SFIV problem with the flat knees. See, when people bend their knees, they come to a point... but because of the way NECA's sculpted the legs and knee pieces, utilizing the double-hinged knees results in some pretty awful flatness. Granted, that's not an uncommon problem for action figures with double-hinged knees, but Marvel Legends sculptors (for one) have managed to do a fairly good job overcoming it.

Standing roundhouse.Standing fierce + toward.Jumping forward.Close fierce.

Paint is also a bit of a problem. You'd think that camouflage would be fairly easy to pull off, but Guile's sporting what has to be the ugliest and least-convincing camouflage application ever. It's so bad that, whereas the chipped paint on Chun-Li's knees were among the most glaring visual problems on that figure, it almost looks good here. There are random chips and other problems elsewhere on the figure. For instance, his arms also have a few nicks on them, and -- because Guile's torso is molded in green and the coverage of the flesh paint is weak in areas -- parts of his skin have green spots and/or a greenish hue to them. These also don't bother me very much. I mean, Guile is a rough-and-tumble soldier boy, so who's to say he hasn't picked up a few scrapes, ticks, and grass burns during a recent covert operation in Thailand? The most glaring among these errors are probably the chipped areas on his boots -- which for some inexplicable reason were molded in white -- but those could easily be touched up with a Sharpie or something. Of course, with the exception of the awful camouflage application, it's possible that you could end up with a Guile entirely free of these paint issues. Yet even with them, and despite the lacking sculpt of the legs, he looks pretty good.


Score: 8.5 / 10

Guile has many, many joints.

One of the real highlights of NECA's SFIV line is the articulation. Sure, SOTA's figures were hardly slouches in that department, but the NECA figures manage to outdo them by several joints -- which gives them even more potential to duplicate the characters' in-game attacks. And while I could go on and on about Guile's various points of articulation and how effectively they allow him to match his character sprites, hopefully the numerous images in the article will be worth the thousands of words that I'd end up devoting to the subject! The joints are all nice and tight -- arguably too tight in the case of the elbow, knee, and ankle hinges, which can be really tough to manipulate -- and everything except the swivels, ball joints, and hinges at the toes, pecs, and abdomen ratchet for added stability. Speaking of the abdominal crunch, it is really effective since it practically comes all the way down to the waist. The pectoral hinges aren't as effective as those on other figures, but they also deserve special mention because they enable Guile to duplicate the Sonic Boom even more effectively. Although a figure with this degree of bulk will always have difficulty crossing his arms far enough to perfectly match the move, this is about as close as one's likely to get without pec hinges that cut significantly into the chest and detract further from the sculpt.

Standing jab.You know, I'm not really sure how to do this kick!Standing fierce.Standing hard kick.

Unfortunately, the figure's not without its weak points: namely the ball joints. (Oooh, rhymey!) I mentioned how great the ab crunch is, right? Well, it is indeed great, but the problem with a great ab crunch is that you can't really take advantage of it without a great neck joint -- unless you want the character staring at the floor, you need a neck with the ability to look up enough to keep the character facing forward. But while Guile's neck allows him to turn his head to either side and offers a good amount of tilt action, he can't look up at all. That really sucks -- especially given how awesome the ab crunch is -- and it's the reason his articulation score isn't 9.0 or better. The ball wrists also hurt him, though. Most of the SFIV figures have had swivel-hinge wrists, which allow for both turning and more dramatic angling of the wrist (as in Chun-Li's Kikouken and Ryu's Hadoken). Guile's wrists, on the other hand, allow for swiveling but very little angling, even if they do add limited side-to-side angling to their functionality. In a way, it makes them potentially more realistic -- I can't exactly bend my wrist back to form a 90-degree angle either, but I imagine there are people out there who are far more flexible than I am. In any case, realistic wrist articulation isn't exactly what I want out of a figure who's known for throwing spinning energy waves and routinely gets set on fire yet suffers no burns.


Score: 3.5 / 10

If that score seems harsh to you, you should know that I was tempted to score Guile even lower. See, in addition to the fists already on the figure, Guile comes with two extra, open hands for accessories... and that's it. That's already pretty weak, but what makes it even worse is that Guile is one of only two or three SF characters who conceivably doesn't even need swappable hands. Unlike Ryu or Chun-Li, the good colonel rarely unclenches his fists, and when he does it's usually when he's in the process of doing some attack that doesn't even involve his hands. He's just not a slap-happy guy.

Small.Big!BIGGEST.Armed (Forces) Adonis.

But whereas I could score Chun-Li a little higher in this category, the lack of accessories burns even more with Guile because there are all kinds of accessories that would've been more appropriate than open hands. For example: tiny, removable dog tags. Maybe a hand holding a comb, as with the SOTA Guile. Energy effects so that he could more convincingly replicate at least the formative frames of the Sonic Boom. A removable jacket like the one he's got slung over his shoulder in the box art (or a repainted version of the one that came with the SDCC Guile, since Guile's worn jackets like that in other media). Heck, Guile's a soldier, so he could even have come with a gun (the US 'toon Guile hated guns despite his military background, but I'm sure the game version has no problem firing them). And Guile doesn't exactly need an extra head -- he's not particularly prone to making emotive faces or exhibiting dramatic expressions in battle -- but a second head with a different expression or a taller flattop (as in some other Capcom games/game art) would have been a welcome inclusion. I'd be especially interested in seeing bruised and battered alternate heads, since that would allow folks to replicate the win/loss screens from earlier SF titles.

Two of these in blue would've been nice, NECA!And how's he supposed to keep his hair straight without one of these, eh?"For Charlie!""Bullets: for when you just don't have two seconds to charge."

Most importantly, Guile's lacking the one thing that all of the NECA SFIV figures really, really need -- a stand so that they can take on one-legged and aerial poses with ease. I mean, Guile's only got two special moves, the Sonic Boom and the Flash Kick, and he can't even do the latter out of the box because the toy wasn't manufactured with anti-gravity technology. Maybe this wouldn't be as big a deal for kids -- they'd be happy enough moving Guile through the air themselves -- but this toy is clearly aimed at older consumers who would probably like the option of displaying Guile executing the bloody move! Not to mention that the side of the package depicts the figure doing the Flask Kick... as if it can pull it off unassisted. Really, while I'd love to see Bison make it into NECA's third wave, I honestly would rather have someone like Balrog unless NECA can make a cool stand to include with the figures (note that whereas Balrog can hit most of his specials with his feet flat on the ground, all of Bison's require some sort of aerial support). Even if it meant raising the price point a few dollars, I'd gladly pay for the option of displaying these figures in dynamic, airborne poses.

Fun Factor

Score: 8.0 / 10

Normal fighting stance.Flash Kick!SONIC BOOM!!!

NECA's Guile isn't quite as delightful as Chun-Li, but I think that's because he's inherently a less fun character (naturally, if you're a big fan of him, you'll probably have an even better time with him). That said, aside from a little paint dust that resulted during my initial posing sessions with the figure (and nowhere near as much as Chun-Li generated), I didn't encounter any quality control issues that detracted from my enjoyment of him. Really, given that this is a superarticulated figure designed for posing, the main things that make Guile less fun than he might otherwise have been are the limitations of his ball head and hands and his sometimes frustratingly-tight hinges -- and even with those issues he's still really fun to manipulate into various poses. Whether you're trying to match him to in-game attacks or not, you'll have a blast playing around with Guile.

Guile is dizzy!Standing forward + toward/back.Can't hit that block animation too well, can he?Pre-fight antics.

The lack of worthwhile accessories does limit the amount of fun to be had with Guile, though. Whereas the open hands add nothing to the figure unless you've got random accessories to stick in them, he probably could've pulled a 9.0 with better hands (he doesn't need it, mind you, but a saluting hand or something along those lines might've worked), energy effects, a removable jacket, or other appropriate accessories. And if he'd had a display stand that allowed for mid-air poseability? That alone might've earned Guile a perfect score.


Score: 7.5 / 10

"That's it -- put your back into it, soldier!""Hey, watch the hair!"Bison's gonna get his ass kicked three times as hard.

For $13.99, you get a well-made, good-looking 7"-scale figure (more or less, anyway; Guile stands just under 6.75") with loads of articulation. That's a decent value these days, but whereas most figures in this scale and price point come with cool accessories (like Mezco's Hellboy II figures) and/or a base (see DC Direct and Marvel Select offerings), Guile's two open hands practically amount to nothing. The value here also seems less apparent considering that this Guile isn't really that much better than previous Guile figures. I'll talk about this more in the final section, but really -- considering that you can get other Guile figures for around the same price or less -- you might be better off snagging one of them than the NECA version. And if you already have one of those and aren't collecting the SFIV line in earnest, he's an easy pass.

Review Summary

  • Curse this hard-to-open clamshell
  • Artistic details and character profile enhance game-esque presentation
  • Guile's pose is bland and uninspired
  • Why does the diagram show Chun-Li?
SCORE: 5.0 / 10
Visual Appeal
  • Overall sculpt looks great
  • Chunky, underdetailed legs and flat knees are less impressive
  • Unconvincing camouflage; chipped paint and other minor issues
SCORE: 8.0 / 10
  • Abundant joints make for effective duplication of many in-game poses
  • Pectoral hinges help with Sonic Boom; abdominal crunch is fantastic
  • Ball neck and wrists have limited range
SCORE: 8.5 / 10
  • Seriously, only two extra hands?
  • Sonic Boom effects and/or other accessories would be nice
  • Needs stand for Guile to duplicate many of his in-game moves
SCORE: 3.5 / 10
Fun Factor
  • No QC issues to diminish enjoyment
  • Fun to pose despite limitations of ball joints and frustratingly-tight hinges
  • Would have been even more fun with better accessories and/or a stand
SCORE: 8.0 / 10
  • At $13.99, this well-made 7"-scale figure is a decent value
  • Lacks the accessories and/or bases of other similarly priced figures
  • Not much better than previous Guiles
SCORE: 7.5 / 10


Score: 8.0 / 10

Train hard and you too can increase your scale!It's not too late to throw the fight, Guile...DISCIPLINE, JUSTICE, COMMITMENT!!!

For whatever reason (read: the thighs) NECA's Chun-Li kicked most of the character's previous action figures out of the ring with authority -- but that's in part because most of her previous figures were lacking in notable ways. By comparison, most of the previous attempts at Guile have been fairly good. SOTA's Guile (see Mike Crawford's review of SOTA's third series of SF figures for a closer look) lacked pec hinges, but it more than made up for those with numerous, character-appropriate accessories. In fact, given that the NECA Guile's bulk limits his ability to cross his arms deeply, the SOTA Guile can arguably pull off a better Sonic Boom -- whereas NECA's Guile could just be crossing his arms genie style, there's no doubt about what SOTA's Guile is doing when those energy effects are in place. Even the Jazwares version was decent enough to get me to buy both versions (though admittedly I got them for a great price), and most folks think Jazwares's Street Fighter line sucked hardcore. And while Kaiyodo's Street Fighter Online Revoltech Guile is on the small side at just over 4" tall -- and is kinda expensive once you take shipping and import costs into account -- it's extremely poseable, comes with multiple accessories, and has a stand for mid-air poses.

Don't worry, Guile -- Street Fighter games have unlimited continues. :)

So unless you're collecting the NECA SFIV figures, want a 7"-scale Guile, and/or just really like the character, I can't enthusiastically recommend this Guile over the other options. That doesn't mean that he's not a great figure, mind you. Despite the minor hiccups in terms of sculpting, paint, and articulation, I do like him -- even when I consider the number of cooler figures at this price point (including the amazing Chun-Li from the same line) -- and I have little doubt that you'll be happy with your purchase if you decide to buy him as well. I'd like him even more, however, if he were a more exciting character and didn't suffer from a disappointing lack of accessories. Seriously, NECA, get to work on engineering some stands for these figures!

-- Wes --

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