Doc Thomas Probes > Most Wanted, Left 4 Dead Edition

Since Poe so kindly allowed me to start writing articles for his site as a favor and part of my community service, the very best response I’ve had was to the Most Wanted column, where I talked about the many action figures that I so dearly desired for my collection to sate the addiction, and that’s no surprise: every passionate collector has characters and properties that they’re passionate about seeing in plastic on their shelf. That’s part of the fun of the whole hobby, why everyone gets so excited for SDCC and announcements – the pleasure of having our plastic fantasies realised. (That sounds much worse than I’d intended. My apologies.)

My last unpopular article included a section of Valve plush toys, sadly the only Valve characters currently in toy form – it’s a crying shame that despite so many award-winning popular games we’re yet to see one non-plush toy from Valve. There are a variety of figure-worthy characters from the groundbreaking Half-Life series (Gordon Freeman, Alyx Vance, The G-Man, not to mention all the awesome different creatures) as well as all the characters from the sensational Team Fortress 2 (KA-BOOM!!), and, naturally, we’re crying out for a huge GLaDOS boxed set. The most recent Valve achievement is the sensational Left 4 Dead series, a first-person-shooter-slash-

cooperative-survival-horror-action game in which a team of four survivors brave the zombie apocalypse, working together to reach safety from tens of thousands of the infected, as well as “special” infected, who are more powerful than the normal “zombies.” In this article (starting today, concluding tomorrow!) I wish to talk about my plans for an upcoming Valve/”some other company” cross over to bring these characters to life as toys, bringing not just the survivors from both L4D and L4D2 to toy form, but specifically the zombies, which would be hot sellers even for collectors who aren’t invested in the franchise – who doesn’t love awesome zombie toys?

Prior to that, though, I wish to beg directly at Valve, as a continuation of the “series” started with the glorious Plush Boomer..


If no other L4D characters are made plush, the Tank must be produced – a big, happy, cuddly monster with a smile on its face ready for smashing! As with the Boomer, it needs a sound feature, but the Tank should be a little different: each hand needs a different sound; the left hand playing the Tank music, the other playing the Tank scream/smash sounds, for an authentic adorable Tank experience. Must own!! For hugs!!

Now, on with the actual show:


SERIES 1 – Zombies

The Infected (Army Builder)

They swarm and attack in massive hordes, attracted by sound and movement – they are the Infected. Released similarly to the BioShock Little Sisters, the Infected are members of the zombie hordes, the standard zombies guarenteed to sell the most from this line. Several different zombies should be released for each series so collectors can have their own army of zombies, useful not just for L4D but with any zombie property, such as Night of the Living Dead or Resident Evil.

The Boomer

One of the most memorable Special Infected zombies from both L4D games is the big, fat, nasty Boomer – a big, slow, lumbering, sweaty, flatulent blob which isn’t terribly dangerous by itself, but whose vomit blinds players and causes an instant rush of zombies to maim and kill. One can hear the sounds of the Boomer a mile away, with its blaarghing sounds instantly recognisable and horrible – the action figure will definitely need the same, a sound feature built into its obese body, not getting in the way of the articulation. (This is a toy whose legs should probably not be articulated, just in a single pose that enables it to stand, lest its top-heavy-ness cause it to topple all the time.)

The Hunter

Looking very similar to a regular infected but covered by a dark hoodie and able to pounce on its prey from a long distance, the Hunter is a quick and deadly menace with a loud scream that heralds its attack. Like the Boomer, the action figure will demand a sound feature so that one can hear its menacing sounds prior to attack, and full articulation so it can be posed both attacking and pouncing.

The Smoker

The Smoker is one of the trickier zombies from the games, usually hiding in the background waiting for a chance to launch its long tongue at a survivor, restricting and pulling them towards it so that it (and other zombies) may attack the helpless victim. Its long tongue should be interchangeable, hanging loosely from its mouth or extended to attack one of your other toys – some kind of action feature is a possibility but as everyone hates those and I have no idea how to do it well, a sound feature should suffice, so that the nasty coughs and chugs of the zombie can be heard from many buildings away.

The Witch

The Witch is possibly the scariest character in both games – a twisted, crying woman, sobbing on the ground, who snarls when distracted and becomes an unstoppable killing machine when bothered, . Drawing her attention on Expert almost always means instant death Like the Hunter, the Witch is crying out to be fully articulated so she can be posed (or played with) in one of her two common poses: on the ground sobbing, or on her feet flailing her limbs as she slashes her victim.


SERIES 2 – Survivors


William “Bill” Overbeck is the oldest survivor in the series, a Vietnam vet who served in the US Army 1st Special Forces Group, usually seen clutching his Assault Rifle. Although he sacrified himselves for the other survivors in The Passing , he lives on as my personal favourite from both games, his wonderful drawl the perfect narration for the unfolding events. Bill must be fully articulated featuring his lit cigarette and with his Assault Rifle, Submachine Gun, Pistol and Med Pack. The pistol and med pack will fit onto his back, as will one of the two guns.


Francis is a biker, his arms and neck covered in tattoos, who hates everything. This includes, but is not limited to, airplanes, Ayn Rand, Canada, car alarms, elevators, flying, lawyers, trains, vampires, vomits, and the woods. Francis must be fully articulated with his Pump Shotgun, Auto Shotgun, Pistol and Med Pack. The pistol and med pack will fit onto his back, as will one of the two guns.


Louis was a Junior Systems Analyst at “Franklin Brothers” in the IT department located in Philadelphia PA… until the second day after the first infection. Now, he kicks zombie ass, and keeps upbeat about it. Nothing’s gunna let Louis down. Louis must be fully articulated with his Heavy Machine Gun, Submachine Gun, Dual Pistols and Med Pack. The pistols and med pack will fit onto his back, as will one of the two guns.


Zoey never bothered studying during her first semester at college, instead staying holed up in her dorm watching old horror movies. Turns out she made the right decision, with all her professors dead and the campus overrun with zombies. Filling the all important female slot, Zoey must be fully articulated with her Hunting Rifle, Submachine Gun, Dual Pistols and Med Pack. The pistols and med pack will fit onto her back, as will one of the two guns.

That’s it for Part 1 – tune in tomorrow for Part 2, with a big bad Tank boxed set and figures from the sequel Left 4 Dead 2!!


Pic of the Day


Pic of the Day


  1. dayraven

    NECA always manages to spring on licenses i would have passed on, while missing obvious oppurtunities. example? when those douches that had the tekken figs slated dropped the ball, to me, that was a no-brainer… and NECA didn't make a pass at that license. how would it not have helped sales of both game figs to have the same company doing figs for the two hottest fighting franchises going?

    as for the figs for this game, i think the over-the-top aesthetic would make for better figures that just a "standard" realistic zombie. th unique nature of these gives us display options… that's notto say that there isn't a place for generic zombie dudes and dudettes.

    BTW, my lego comments were intentionally made to draw in a little controversy. while lego toys aren't my thing personally, i'm certainly aware of my word choice, and i don't have issue one w/ the lego concept or lego fans. just wanted to draw in a little healthy debate. 😉

  2. Barbecue17

    The Walking Dead will premiere as a Frank Darabont directed series on AMC this October 31st.

    I also agree that there is definitely a shortage of zombie figures. I actually have a shelf of just zombie figures, and I would love to have more. The Attack of the Living Dead figures were excellent! We definitely need some zombies from Left 4 Dead. I'm surprised NECA didn't jump on this license.

  3. Too-Man-E-Faces

    @Doc Thomas:

    I've just realized that I mixed up the hunter and the smoker.

    as to everything else: i have to agree, especially the level designs are nicely done. and if you're into zombie figures in general and do like some "special features" to go with them, such a line would be great and the types used in the game do have potential sculptingwise. in the end it's all a matter of personal taste.

    I've read somewhere that The Walking Dead comics are coming to the screen. Maybe that will give the whole undead figure issue a push in the right direction.

  4. Doc Thomas

    @Too-Man-E-Faces: That's fair enough, dude, though I think you're underselling the game – neither games are very deep story-wise (both play up zombie-film-trope plenty with the safe room graffiti, the dialogue and the general scenarios) though the second one had a lot of clever commentary on Katrina as well as a more fleshed out storyline, and the gameplay of both is fantastic, very much relying on cooperative teamwork with harder difficulty settings. There's no ultimate resolution as to how this zombie apocalypse came about, but it sort of dips into every cliche nicely, and I think the zombie designs (except for the Smoker, what the heck is THAT all about?) are tops, thus the article!

    You're right, though, original Romero trilogy this ain't.

  5. Doc Thomas

    @tenzing: Oooh, excellent call. The bile-covered survivors would be a great variant if this line took off (doubtful, of course) but I really like the blown-up Boomer idea! Good work sir!

  6. Too-Man-E-Faces

    And as to my first "lame" as regards this particular video game and it's characters: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre. However, I've never really come to terms with this genetically modified mutant monster zombie thingy. That's basically why I don't like the game. The witch introduces some strange demoniac element (as it also appears in "REC²"), which I generally don't like. Then there is the tongue feature of the hunter and overall the story does lack substance. Even if most people not familiar with the zombie genre would disagree: There IS a lot of substance in this genre, to which some films and comics give proof. Unfortunately imho, this game doesn't. It's basically a shooting massacre. (Which is no flaw in a zombie shooter – it's just not enough.)

  7. Too-Man-E-Faces

    @PrfktTear: Just what I wanted to point out. At least the inner logic of that statement would give Mr. Spock the creeps… 😆

    Also, there is a massive LEGO market for the adult collector.

    In this context, my statement as to the LEGO zombies was supposed to be read with a wink. Nevertheless, I do have 5 LEGO Zombies and I'm quite fond of them. Plus, I think that they are more appealing than most of the zombie figures circulating. Which leads us back to the point that there definitely is a shortage of such figures. (Even if I definitely cannot see me collecting zombie figs at all. I stay with the films and comics.)

  8. good read!

    for the BOOMER, there should be one which is already blown up, i.e. only the lower body is intact with bile oozing out from the top 😀

    and also, slime-covered survivors!!

  9. PrfktTear

    @dayraven: dude, lego sucks if you’re older than 10.


    grow up a little and buy real toys.

    Thats a pretty funny statement when you think about it.

  10. Doc Thomas

    Whoa now, Lego rocks too! I dig the Lego zombie that was one of the most popular minifigures – that guy was rad!

  11. dayraven

    @Too-Man-E-Faces: dude, lego sucks if you're older than 10. grow up a little and buy real toys.

    evidently, this isn't the hot topic i hoped it would become… i'm telling you man, despite the zombie making huge inroads in cinema, tv, college campuses, and pop culture, they don't seem to be takign a big bite out of the action figure market. don't ask me why, you'd think zombies would do well w/ us too, but they certainly don't seem to.

  12. Too-Man-E-Faces

    How about sticking with an army of LEGO zombies? They are cool and there are no limits to variation.

    As to the game and the zombies included: lame. (imho)

    Also imho a brilliant alternative would be: release The Walking Dead as action figures!

  13. dayraven

    dude, totally love this choice for figs, we need some damned zombie figures!!

    that said, do you remember when mezco did the attack of the living dead figs? they were great figs, but just didn't sell like i kept thinking they should. i wonder if it was lack of license tie-in or lack of adequate marketing, but either way, those were fun, but i want a host of zombies dammit! the more the merrier. it still vexes me that NECA did that dead space dude but nary a space zombie to go with it.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén