So the newest craze in video game/collectibles are the Skylanders figures. They're 2"-3" tall statuette pvc figures on bases. You put them on a portal that's a peripheral to whatever game system you have (Xbox, Wii, PS3, DS) and you can play as that character. As the character levels up the figure (some of them if not all) store the information and you can bring them to your friends house. This in itself is a pretty neat idea.
I picked up a few and though I don't have the game/portal device yet I'll just focus on the figural aspect of them. At first glance they're neat little collectibles. Prism Break has transparent crystal sections on him and sports a really nice weathered paint job. The eyes/glowing sections of the characters are airbrushed in and are really well done. Even the bases are hand-painted with washes and brushed-on highlights.
If you were hoping for articulation, sorry, these are little statues. But that doesn't get in the way of their charm. Each one is intricately sculpted, some way more than others. Hair buckles, scales, armor, it's all visible. Chop Chop the skeletal knight has tiny bone sections and a great armor design. For a 2" tall characters this is pretty impressive. His skull-base looks fairly menacing too.
Speaking of bases they can't be removed and that's where the info is stored. I opened one up, they're little foil discs with a tiny microchip embedded in them. On the bottom is the element/faction and surprise, they're made by Activision! For the video game company's first foray into the figure design/production they did a wonderful job. If only they were articulated!
The Skylanders will run you $7.50 or so for the singles, $20 for the 3-packs, and more for the portal/starter sets for your individual gaming system. However the figures can be used for any game system which means you can play on your Xbox at home and take the same figure for your DS on the go.
The verdict? I haven't played the game but lots of other people have and it's apparently works for single, multiplayer, and vs covering all the basic play types. Some characters are inherantly more powerful than others like the Legendary characters and some are store exclusives like Whirwind you see there. So head to Ebay to pick up the game system exclusives like Ignitor and Dark Spyro.