#3097: Zeo Yellow Ranger

ZEO YELLOW RANGER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Hey, how about some more Power Rangers stuff?  It’s been a little while, and I got important stuff to talk about.  I’ve been doing a fair bit of alternating as of late between my two favorite Rangers shows, Zeo and In Space.  When last I discussed Zeo, I talked about the cast change-over mid-Mighty Morphin.  Most of that cast carried over to Zeo, but Karan Ashley’s Aisha Campbell, who had replaced Trini as the Yellow Ranger, did not.  Since Ashley wanted to leave the show, Aisha was written out at the end of MMPR, and replaced with Nakia Burrise as Tanya Sloan, who would stay in the role of Yellow Ranger for all of Zeo, and the first half of Turbo.  Today, I’m focusing on her Zeo incarnation.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zeo Yellow Ranger is part of Series 10 of Hasbro’s Power Rangers: Lightning Collection line.  Tanya is a rather notable release, as she’s the final member of the Zeo team to join the line.  Hey, it’s a finished time that’s not MMPR!  Nifty!  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 30 points of articulation.  Tanya’s construction is largely identical to that of Zeo Pink, which was expected, and is also a pretty sensible choice.  Their designs and builds are fairly close (they don’t even require a new waist piece, since Ohranger was a rare Super Sentai that actually had a female Yellow in the original footage) and it follows the model employed with the male Rangers in the set.  The elbows are still rather restricted in their movement, but the articulation is otherwise still pretty solid, and the detailing on the sculpt remains a pretty solid recreation of the suit design from the show.  She’s got an all-new helmet sculpt, depicting her unique visor shape.  The two slits aren’t as practical as Adam’s rectangle or Kat’s oval, but I guess it’s okay.  It’s a pretty straight forward sculpt, which is in line with the rest of Rangers from the set, and the new visor differentiates her pretty well from the others.  Tanya’s paint work is pretty straight forward.  The application is all pretty clean and sharp, and the plastic yellows match more closely than the colors on Pink.  In general, it looks quite sharp.  Zeo Yellow is packed with her Zeonizer, capsule sword, Power Clubs, two sets of hands, an effect piece, and an unmasked Tanya head.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At this point, it’s a matter of momentum on a lot of these figures.  I can’t very well quit the Zeo team five members into a six person team, right?  So, you know, I was pretty happy about her getting a spot in this particular set, so that I could finally finish up the team.  I started building this team in 2020, and two years later, I’ve wrapped it up.  I’m pretty happy about that.  Tanya’s not the star of the show or anything, but she’s a strong finish to a strong set.  Pretty dope.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3096: Luke Skywalker’s Desert Sport Skiff

LUKE SKYWALKER’S DESERT SPORT SKIFF

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Power of the Force II was, at its heart, very much a product of its time.  And that time was the ’90s, a time for goofy, pointless variants of main characters.  While Star Wars has always had its own particular take on such things, and PotF2 tended to stick that, the line did dabble in the more traditional goofy variants territory, courtesy of its first round of “Deluxe” figures.  The first four figures in the set were all re-workings of standard figures, each with a big gimmicky variant.  Today, I’m looking at the Luke Skywalker of the set, packed with his Desert Sport Skiff.  Perfect for all those Desert Sport needs.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker’s Desert Sport Skiff was released as part of the first Deluxe assortment of Power of the Force II figures in 1996.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The sculpt on this figure is very similar to that of the line’s first Luke figure.  There are some minor adjustments; notably the legs are a little closer in stance, and the torso has had a peg hole added.  Not sure why on the peg hole, since there’s not practical reason for the addition, or anything, but it’s there.  Other than that, it’s the same basic sculpt as the first figure, with all that entails.  He’s still super buff, and not particularly similar to Mark Hamill in terms of look.  But, uhh, it’s consistent, right?  Who didn’t want another chance to get a real swoll Luke?  The paint work on the figure, much like the sculpt, is different for the sake of different.  Not very different, mind you.  The base colors are the same, just the exact shades are slightly tweaked.  It accomplishes the same end goal overall, so the changes are likely more of a difference in production year, and not something that was an intentional change or anything.  The main “selling point” on this figure, if you can call it that, is the Desert Sport Skiff, which was totally new to this release.  It’s a big skiff thing.  He stands on it, and it can fold up the sides, as well as having a missile at the front that can launch.  Truly thrilling stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in my review of the Crowd Control Stormtrooper, these figures always seemed kinda odd to me as a kid.  They’re ultimately a little bit pointless, being mostly re-hash, at least at the core.  That said, there’s kind of a cool vibe of a road not travelled with these releases.  Sort of an alternate path that could have been taken had Kenner stuck to doing more conventionally toyetic variants of the main characters.  The big Skiff thing is goofy and silly, but also kind of amusing, and it’s fun to get another stab at the swoll Luke figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3095: Thanos

THANOS

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“The mad titan called Thanos worships death, and seeks to destroy all life in the universe! Possessing awesome cosmic power, tremendous physical strength, and impervious to all but the most potent forces, he is truly a foe to be feared and respected. While often stymied by such heroes as the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer, Thanos has never been truly defeated!”

My first Thanos-related review here on the site was back in March of 2014, when all we had to go on for his cinematic side was a brief cameo in Avengers‘ mid-credits scene.  I cited him as “likely to be a pretty big character in the coming years,” which was accurate.  Not that it took too much guessing to see the writing on that particular wall.  Eight years later, Thanos is a much bigger name, a pivotal player in two of the highest grossing films of all time, as well as the center of so, so many memes.  And I’m gonna go back to his relative beginning, at least in the toy world, with a look at his very first action figure.  Let’s see how that one holds up, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thanos was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four toy line.  While the line was meant to tie-in with the cartoon that had just started airing at the time, and a great many of the included figures were characters who would appear on the show, that wasn’t true for Thanos, who was absent from the two season run of the show, and wouldn’t actually show up in animation until 1999’s Silver Surfer (which gave him his second action figure in its corresponding toy line).  Thanos himself isn’t really tied to the FF all that often, but I suppose they were the best fitting line for him at the time.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He gets elbows and knees, but not a neck joint.  Not entirely sure as to why the neck joint wasn’t there, but it was kind of a crapshoot on such things with the Toy Biz stuff.  Thanos’s sculpt was an all-new offering, based on the character’s classic, and at the time current, appearance.  It’s a pretty decent offering, and one that remained unique to this particular release.  He’s larger and bulked up relative to the other figures, without being too extreme, and generally matches well with his comic depictions.  The details are perhaps a little soft, but not terribly so, and I love the folds on the gloves and boots; peak Thanos design there, really.  The paint work on Thanos is alright for the era.  It’s definitely got some slop, especially at the edges of the orange areas, but it’s not the worst.  Interestingly, they’ve gone to the trouble of molding his eyes as separate pieces from the rest of the head, for the purpose of vac metalizing them.  It’s certainly a cool effect, but I’m not entirely sure *why* they did it.  Ah, who am I to complain about more chrome?  Thanos was packed with a rope with some skulls on it.  Why?  No clue.  It was a re-use from X-Force‘s Krule figure, and it mostly is there to take up space in the box.  Thanos also featured a “Pulverizing Gauntlet Action” which had his left arm do a swinging bit.  It’s an unobtrusive feature, so that’s honestly not too bad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid, but I *did* cut up the back of one of my Series 3 figure’s boxes so that I could have small paper figures of all the figures on the back, meaning I *sort of* had a Thanos figure.  It was a good few years before I actually encountered one of these in person.  The one here I picked up from an antique store a couple of years ago, at the same time as the Invisible Woman figure I reviewed last week.  This guy’s pretty nifty.  Not a lot of frills or anything, but he does what he needs to, and he does it alright.  And, he’s the first Thanos, which is itself pretty nifty.

#3094: Snake Eyes with Ninja Armor

SNAKE EYES with NINJA ARMOR

G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6 (HASBRO)

“Snake Eyes uses customized weapons to give him a powerful advantage over Cobra ninjas.  Whether riding his Ninja Hovercycle or battling enemies in hand-to-hand combat, Snake Eyes defeats his opponents with agility and the element of surprise.  During a mission to recover technological data stolen by Cobra, Snake Eyes had to get in and out within 90 seconds then escape from Storm Shadow and his team of ninjas.  He and StormShadow battled each other at high speed on their cycles.  Just when his enemies thought they had him, Snake Eyes suddenly deployed air-brake wings hidden in his backpack, leaped from his bike and knocked them all from their cycles with his tri-blade sword.  He was back on his bike and gone before they knew what hit them.”

I’ve touched only very briefly on Sigma 6, the early ’00s incarnation of the G.I. Joe franchise, here on the site.  And you know what?  That’s just not right.  Because Sigma 6 is pretty awesome.  And more people should appreciate it.  At its outset, Sigma 6 took more of a focus on a core cast of characters, though that expanded a fair bit as the line progressed.  I’ve focused a lot on the expanded roster, but not yet any time with that core team.  So, hey, let’s look at a Snake Eyes.  That’s always pretty fun.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes with Ninja Armor was released as part of the first Commando wave of the 2006 Sigma 6 line-up.  In an assortment that saw figure debuts for both Cobra Commander and Long Range, Snake Eyes was the one variant.  He was technically Snake Eyes’ second variant for the line, following up on the weird two-pack re-deco.  This one was actually different, what with the Ninja Armor and all.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  In terms of structure, this figure’s core figure is the same as the prior Commando release Snake Eyes.  The base Snake Eyes sculpt was definitely one of the most stylized of the original figures for the line, being quite spindly and lanky.  His masked head actually has eye holes, giving us a rare glimpse at a portion of his face.  It’s a really cool touch, and I really dig the little bit of scarring visible under the eyes.  Snake Eyes has the standard Sigma 6 suit under everything, much like the rest of the team, which gives the sculpt an opportunity to showcase a larger variety of detailing, including the little flip-up console on the arm, which remains one of my favorite features on these guys.  To fully ninja armor up this guy, he gets a removable visor, chest armor, shoulder pads, and shin guards, as well as the standard dog tag.  The visor is a much more armored piece, fully wrapping around the head, and also further down the sides of the face.  It’s more patterned after his V2 visor than the standard version had been, which I really quite like.  It really pushes that classic Snake Eyes vibe.  The body armor is decidedly not as Snake Eyes-y, but its a cool armor design in its own right, fitting well with the look of the visor.  It’s got a bit of a knight’s armor look about it, which definitely fits well with that V2 style visor.  The shin guards both have fold-out blades, because what is Snake Eyes without some extra blades?  Snake Eyes’ color scheme is generally pretty similar to the standard Snake Eyes fare, being black and grey.  He does get some extra details in bright green, which is certainly a lot of fun.  Snake Eyes is armed with a silenced assault rifle, a sword with three blades (which can fold in and out), a sort of a spear thing in two parts, a wing pack, and a cool case to carry everything in.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve touched on before, Sigma 6 figures weren’t the easiest things to track down back when they were new.  I wanted *a* Snake Eyes at the time, with this one being the front runner on the list.  I never saw him, so I never got one, but he’s remained at the back of my mind since.  We actually managed to get a pretty cool Sigma 6 collection in at All Time, and this guy was included in it, complete even, so at last I have him.  I’m honestly pretty psyched about it.  He’s just so much fun, much like the rest of the line, and I’m all about it.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3093: Shin Ultraman

SHIN ULTRAMAN

FIGZERO S (THREEZERO)

Holy crap, is this two Ultraman reviews, in under a month?  Can that be right?  I mean, yeah, it can.  It’s my site.  I do what I want.  And some times what I want is two Ultraman reviews in a month.  That’s just how I roll.  Today, I’m shifting focus ever so slightly, and delving into Shin Ultraman, a reboot of the Ultraman franchise which is, after a few delays, supposed to be released at the end of this week.  The film follows up Shin Godzilla, a similarly handled reboot of that particular franchise, both of them headed by Hideki Anno (creator of Evangelion, amongst other things) and Shinji Higuchi.  They will be followed by Shin Kamen Rider, and are all supposed to be taking place in a shared universe.  Shin Ultraman has gotten a modest merchandising push in the last year, as they’ve lead up to its actual release.  That includes some coverage from comparative new-comers on the Ultraman front, Threezero, who are expanding on their anime-inspired Ultras and giving us two different versions of the titular Shin Ultraman.  I’m looking at the smaller version today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shin Ultraman is the inaugural release in Threezero’s FigZero S line, which is a line of 6 inch figures, playing into the same market as the likes of Figuarts and MAFEX.  Notably, all three of the lines tackled this particular take on Ultraman, which I guess gives a good mark for comparison.  Not that I’d be crazy enough to buy the same design in similar figure styles three times over.  Right?  Right.  I’m not gonna do that.  I swear.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  The movement on this guy is pretty solid.  I got to mess with the Figuarts release, and the movement, especially at the neck, was my real complaint.  This guy still has some restrictions, but he’s generally a little more posable.  He’s at the very least capable of the flying pose, and that’s a pretty key set-up, I feel.  The rest of the joints all offer a decent range as well; I quite like how the butterfly shoulders work.  I’m not too crazy about the knees, which, at least on mine, seem a little stuck on the lower potion, resulting in a range that’s just okay.  Shin Ultraman is based on his design from the film.  It’s a pretty straight forward update on the classic Hayata Ultraman design.  The fin no longer runs all the way down the back, and he’s no longer got the color timer, but otherwise he sticks pretty close.  I like the design, unsurprisingly, since I also really like the original design.  The sculpt does a good job of capturing the design, at least from what we’ve seen of it thus far.  The joints work into things alright, and he has a pretty slick feel overall, which certainly feels right for the character.  I also dig the skinnier, more alien design, which feels like an intriguing departure from prior looks for the character.  His paint work is fairly decently handled.  The silver is very shiny, which I really like.  The red seems a touch on the dark side, even when compared to shots from the movie, but it works well enough.  The application is a little bit spotty on some of the change overs, but it’s minor for the most part, and not terribly distracting given the scale.  Ultraman is packed with four sets of hands, in fists, flat, open gesture, and relaxed.  No effects pieces, though thus far none of the Shin Ultraman items have those, so it could be a license thing.  The extra hands do at least offer a nice variety of looks when posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love me some Ultraman, and I’m also growing to love me some Threezero.  I like the 12 inch figures I’ve gotten from them so far, and when this guy was shown off, I was definitely down.  It’s been a little bit of a wait to get him, but I’m glad I waited it.  He’s different from the Ultra-Act stuff I’ve gotten previously, but I can dig the changes, and I’m intrigued to see what else Threezero tries at this scale.  Until then, I’ve got this really cool Ultraman.  And who can knock that?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3092: Iron Wrecker 08 – Heavy Airborne Mecha (Rain Forest Operations Type)

IRON WRECKER 08 — HEAVY AIRBORNE MECHA (RAIN FOREST OPERATIONS TYPE)

DARK SOURCE (JOYTOY)

At the beginning of this year, I took my first stab at a new corner of the toy market, for me at least.  That corner was Joytoy, a company that specializes in all sorts of cool sci-fi mecha stuff.  I’m a fan of cool sci-fi mecha stuff, so it’s an area that certainly appeals to me.  I’d only looked at the one mecha so far, and that felt a little bit lacking, so I’ve decided to loop back around and give them a little bit more coverage.  This time around, I’m looking into their ever growing Iron Wrecker set of mechas, specifically taking a look at Iron Wrecker 08.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Wrecker 08 is part of Joytoy’s Dark Source toyline, the same line that produced the previously reviewed Steel Bone figure. Each of the Iron Wreckers gets a descriptive title for their intended function.  In 08’s case, that’s “Heavy Airborne Mecha,” with a sub-class of being intented for Rain Forest operations, specifically.  Thus far, 08 is the only Heavy Airborne Mecha in the line-up, but as he’s also the newest addition to the Iron Wrecker line-up, I suppose it’s always possible there are more Heavy Airborne derivations that could show down the line.  The mech stands about 8 1/2 inches tall (roughly the same height as the Steel Bone) and, as with Steel Bone, the exact articulation count is a little tricky to nail down, due to how many of the joints are somewhat reliant on each other for proper motion on each joint.  The mobility on this particular build is honestly just a little better than Steel Bone’s, especially on the limbs.  I think it’s partially due to the exact design nature of the mech, which is a little more rounded and allows more fluid motion.  I did find that, on my copy at least, the waist joint was just a touch loose.  If it’s seated right, it’s not an issue, but right out of the box he was a little floppy.  As with the Steel Bone, there’s some assembly required on this one right out of the box, though not nearly as much this time around.  Mostly, it’s just putting a few pieces on the back, and then assembling the smaller arm.  The design of this mech is a much more bubbly looking design than the boxier and more rigid design of the Steel Bone, but still has quite a bit of a utilitarian sense about it.  It shares a good number of its design elements with the Iron Wrecker 07, which was released alongside this one.  Clearly, they’re supposed to be operating from the same starting point, but with deviations for the exact needs for the deployment.  Since this one is undoubtedly meant to be trekking around jungles and such, it’s got a lot of tactical gear mounted onto it.  There’s a couple of armaments mounted on the shoulders, as well as missiles, or artillery of some sort stored on the arms.  He’s also got an extra smaller arm at the front, presumably in case something needs to be grabbed while the two main arms are pre-occupied with the weapon.  A notable departure on this design, compared to others, is a pretty distinct “head.”  It’s a very basic thing, with what I assume to be a camera and an antenna, but it changes the eye line of the design just a little bit, and makes him a little more unique.  Since he’s meant for rain forest deployment, this mech’s color scheme is appropriately dialed in on the greens, with just a bit of yellow thrown in there for good measure.  Personally, I think it really works, but I’m also rather partial to green, so there’s that.  There are lots of really great little small details, like written warnings and small insignias, which really add to the overall design, and make it really feel like a properly manufactured piece. Compared to the Steel Bone, 08 lacks some of the extra swappable pieces, so it’s not as inherently modular.  It’s not that it lacks the amount of pieces, of course; they’re all just used in the intended build directly, rather than swapping out.  The 08 still has a few extras, though, most notably, a hefty minigun, complete with removable drum.  There’s also got a removable pack for the back, as well as a shoulder mounted gun, which includes an ammo belt.  While Steel Bone’s main weapon was assembled from base modular parts, the guns here are specifically designed that way, though they still work with the modular set-up.

Like the other Mechs in the line-up, 08 includes its own pilot for its built-in cockpit.  He stands 2 3/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Compared to Steel Bone’s pilot, this guy is definitely a little more futuristic and sci-fi-y.  By extension, he’s not quite as generic, but it really works well with the 08’s own design.  Unlike the prior pilot, this one doesn’t get the same style of removable helmet; since the helmet sits tighter, this one’s an alternate head.  In addition to the alternate head, he also three sets of hands, two different sidearms, and a removable neckerchief.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite liked Steel Bone, so I’ve been scoping out other Joytoy items as they’ve arrived at All Time, just trying to find that right follow up piece for me.  There have been a few that were cool, but didn’t quite grab me.  When we got in this guy and 07, I was mighty tempted by both of them, but this guy’s color scheme and armament set-up really spoke to me, as did his overall design aesthetic.  It was enough to finally get me on board with another one of these.  I’m glad I took the plunge on this one.  As much as I liked Steel Bone, I think I like this guy more.  It takes a solid starting point, and just builds an even more advanced design on it, and it’s a ton of fun.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3091: Luke Skywalker and Tauntaun

LUKE SKYWALKER AND TAUNTAUN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

My last Power of the Force review before my great big gap in Power of the Force reviews was a creature set.  It was, specifically, the line’s largest creature set.  So, there’s quite literally no topping that.  I guess I’ll just go to the opposite side of the spectrum, and tackle one of the line’s smallest creature sets…which was also kinda borderline one of the line’s smallest vehicle sets, I guess, depending on how you look at it.  Can a living being be a vehicle?  And, what’s the over/under on how long the Tauntauns actually live, and where that places them on this whole vehicle scale?  Eh, I think I’m going to deep on this, you guys.  Let’s just get to the actual review.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luke Skywalker and Tauntaun were released in 1997 as part of the Power of the Force line’s creature-based sub-set, alongside Han and Jabba, the Sandtrooper and Dewback, and the Jawa and Ronto.  It was the smallest of the 1997 sets, though that didn’t mean it was any cheaper.  It was the only Empire-based creature set from the first year, and one of three overall in the sub-set (with this set effectively being split up and re-paired for the other two Empire sets the following year).

The Tauntaun was obviously the selling point of this set, having not been released in figure form since Kenner’s original Empire line.  While the vintage releases both more or less just averaged the appearances of Luke and Han’s Tauntauns, this one decidedly adapts Luke’s, so as to properly pair off with him in the set.  The figure stands about 4 1/2  inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt on this one was unique at the time, though most of it would later see re-use for the Han and Tauntaun pack the next year.  The sculpt is a pretty solid one. It presents a slightly more active Tauntaun than its vintage counterpart, which seems more appropriate for how we see them in the movie, where they’re frequently in motion.  The details match up pretty well with the movie prop, though it is in some ways sporting some slightly more idealized proportions than the real thing.  The detail work isn’t bad, with some passable texturing on the fur, as well as plenty of extra work going into the harness and survival kit on the main body.  The paint work on this release is mostly pretty good.  There’s a lot of attempts at proper accenting which *mostly* work.  The shading on the fur and the white flecks for snow both work out.  The odd yellow on the arms and legs, not so much.  I’m not entirely sure what the aim was on those, but it missed.  The Tauntaun’s only real accessory is its harness/lead, which clips into the mouth, and allows for Luke to more properly hold on.

It makes very little sense to release Luke’s Tauntaun and not a Luke to go with it, I suppose.  There’s of course the single Hoth Luke release, but he notably lacks in the “being able to actually sit on the Tauntaun” department.  This one aims to fix that.  He stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  The extra articulation comes in the form of actual knee joints.  Pretty crazy to see those, especially on a figure of this era, but they did happen from time to time.  Check out his actual sitting action!  From the waist up, he’s effectively the same as his single-release counterpart, with one minor tweak to the left arm, so as to slightly reposition his hand.  Other than that, he’s the same, which is good from a consistency standpoint.  The paint work likewise is pretty close.  It’s solid work, with clean application, and all the major colors it needs.  Luke is packed with his blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had the single Hoth Luke as a kid, and never got a ton of use out of creatures, so I never had this one.  I remember it, especially the way it lingered for a bit, but it just never really called to me.  As I’m working on a full set, I’m picking up a lot of items that I passed on over the years.  In some cases, it’s not so thrilling, but sometimes it leads to me discovering some items I really like.  This one’s part of that latter category, and I’m glad I finally got around to picking one up.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3090: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Caught in a bombardment of intense cosmic radiation while on an experimental space flight, Susan Richards found herself endowed with the power to become transparent at will, and the ability to form invisible force-fields of incredible durability. Now, as a member of the Fantastic Four, Sue battles to defend humanity as the elusive Invisible Woman!”

Very early in my reviewing days (we’re talking low teens here), I made my way through most of the first series of Toy Biz’s ’90s Fantastic Four line.  I neglected to review the standard version of the Thing at that time, mainly because I didn’t actually, you know, own one.  I fixed that back in 2017, and officially rounded out my reviews of Fantastic Four Series 1.  Of note, that means there are still no basic Invisible Woman and Human Torch reviews for the line, and that’s for a very specific reason: Toy Biz didn’t put them in Series 1.  For some reason, they felt that the best call for a line based on a team of four was to split the team between the first two assortments, meaning that the team was to be incomplete for the entirety of the gap between the two assortments.  With the line launching to tie-in with the cartoon, retailers weren’t particularly keen on Toy Biz’s plan to split the main team, and wanted them added to the first assortment.  With the molds not ready to go, Toy Biz had to hastily throw together stand-in versions of the other two members from molds already in production, making two figures that are *technically* part of Series 1, but also not advertised as such in any way what so ever.  I’m looking at the stand-in Invisible Woman today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman was, as noted above, technically released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, or at the very least adjacent to it.  Whatever the case, that means she hit shelves in 1994.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get neck or elbow movement, which put her a bit behind other figures of the same era, and generally makes her a little bit stiff.  In order to get Sue to the market, she was a complete re-use of the Iron Man line’s Julia Carpenter version of Spider-Woman.  All things considered, it’s actually not a bad option.  Julia’s costume details weren’t sculpted in, and the build and hairstyles of the two characters were similar enough to make it work.  The only real oddity to the re-use s the lack of sculpted eyes.  I mean, it’s not totally smooth there; there’s a slight indent and all.  However, Spider-Woman’s mask has Spidey-style eyes, not actual eyes, so Sue’s were just painted on.  It does look ever so slightly odd.  There’s an action feature worked it, which has a rather visible lever on the back.  It flips her arms upward, in a sort of a “flipping the table” fashion, which is kinda comedic, really.  Otherwise, it’s a decent sculpt, no matter who it was being used for.  The paint work does the heavy lifting on making this a convincing Sue Richards figure, and it does that alright.  Some of the edges are a bit on the fuzzy side, but the colors line up well with the other two team members from Series 1, and those eyes really don’t look as bad as they could.  Sue was packed with a stand and a small shield piece, both of which are molded in clear plastic.  Not a bad little display of her powers, and I do believe these were both actually unique parts, albeit much more simplistic than the actual figures, so thereby much more cheaply produced.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was a filler figure at best when it arrived at retail, and wasn’t designed to linger, so when I got into collecting figures (which was about around the time of Series 3 of the line), there weren’t any of this one still hanging around.  My first Sue was an old stock Marvel Super Heroes version, followed closely by the proper Series 2 release.  This one is a much more recent addition, picked up from an antique mall a few years ago.  Given how slap dash of a release this figure was, she’s surprisingly not a bad figure.  You could be forgiven for even thinking she was supposed to be this way.  She’s a good example of a solid quick-save from Toy Biz.  Her brother…well, he was a different story.  But Sue’s good, and that’s what matters here.

#3089: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: FALL OF CYBERTRON (HASBRO)

“Ultra Magnus is legendary among Autobots and Decepticons alike. The mere sight of his armored form charging into battle is more than enough to inspire his troops to victory, and his strength as a warrior is more than enough to break any Decepticon army.”

You know what I haven’t really reviewed a lot of lately?  Transformers.  As a whole, I’ve kinda slowed down on collecting them, so there’s a lot less of an influx of them waiting to get reviewed all the time, but I’ve still got a host of older ones I can fall back on.  I good chunk of those older figures are Ultra Magnus.  I know, you’re all very shocked by this crazy development that absolutely no one could have seen coming.  I’ve covered a good chunk of Ultra Magni here on the site, which has also allowed me to explore the various different eras of the toyline.  For today’s purposes, let’s discuss video games.  In 2010, a prequel game of sorts to the main Transformers storyline, titled War For Cybertron, was released, alongside a number of other tie-ins, including a handful of figures within Hasbro’s Transformers: Generations line.  In 2012, the game received a sequel in the form of Fall of Cybertron, which likewise got its own tie-ins, this time with the Generations line actually getting a proper re-titling, and the whole line focusing on adapting designs from the game.  Our boy Ultra Magnus found his way into this particular toyline, like a champ, and I’m taking a look at that particular figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released in the third Deluxe Class assortment of the Fall of Cybertron line, which hit in 2013.  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall, and he has 19 workable points of articulation.  As a Deluxe Class release, this Ultra Magnus is notably quite small for a Magnus, especially in reference to the rest of the line which spawned him.  He’s just a little guy.  While the line was ostensibly based on the game designs, Magnus is actually not based on a game design at all.  Or, really anything really.  The question of scaling, as well as the nature of this design both stem from the fact that he’s largely a repaint of the FoC Optimus.  As such, he doesn’t get Magnus’s fully armored look, or the corresponding scale-up that would go along with it.  There does exist a third party figure which does a slightly closer job of replicating the game’s Magnus design (though even that’s based on concept art more than the actual game).  For the purposes of this release, Hasbro’s aim is clearly to make the most of what they have, so he gets an all-new, more Magnus-worthy head.  It’s a pretty nice sculpt, keeping the classic Magnus elements, but also melding things with the aesthetic of the game designs.  Additionally, the instructions also have you leave the smokestacks up in robot mode, simulating Magnus’s usual shoulder pylons.  Gotta have those shoulders for a true Magnus.  He also gets the new deco, of course.  It’s quite heavy on blue, which really helps to differentiate him from Optimus, and I really do dig the decision to go with that really stark white.  All of it results in a figure that may be small, but still looks very much like a Magnus.  Magnus was packed with the same blaster included with Optimus, as well as a big honkin’ sword.  Sword’s aren’t classically a Magnus thing, but it’s still a nifty piece.  It’s made up of three distinct parts, with the part that makes up the tip actually being the sword used by Optimus briefly within the game proper.

Ultra Magnus’s alt-mode is the same one that Prime had.  It’s a Cybertronian “truck,” which is decidedly less boxy than most Prime alt-modes, and by extension less boxy than most Magnus alt-modes as well.  It’s a different sort of design, but not a terrible one, as far as made-up sci-fi truck modes go.  The transformation sequence takes a little bit of doing, but it’s not too crazy either.  Given that it’s not really a Magnus design, it’s not the sort of thing I see myself getting much use out of personally, but it’s still nifty.  In vehicle mode, the blaster and sword can both be mounted to the figure, so as to not lose them or anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I discovered this figure fairly early into my dive into the depths of older Magnus figures back in 2019, and was definitely interested.  As with most older Transformers, though, I don’t really have an undying need to actively search for them.  They just sort of come to me.  This one in a more literal sense than most.  He came into All Time as part of a trade, but it was one that Max had handled, so I knew nothing about him.  So, when they came in, Max just walked up to my desk and sat this guy in front of me, because, you know, Magnus and all.  It was a fairly pleasant little surprise.  As I said above, he’s small for a Magnus, and not really based on anything specific.  That said, I do really like him.  He feels kind of unique, and he’s honestly just a very fun little figure.

#3088: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC DELUXE COLLECTOR FIGURES (DC DIRECT)

Back in the early 2000s, everybody was starting to really try out the 1/6 scale game.  Hot Toys hadn’t quite overtaken the market, so there was still this sort of fledging “anyone could take this over” kind of vibe.  So, a lot of companies tried just that.  Among them was DC Direct, who decided that the best way to stand above the competition was to literally have their figures be taller than the competition, so they scaled everyone up by about an inch, with the argument that they were still 1/6 scale, the heroes were just supposed to be that much bigger than the average person.  Despite some odd notions right out of the gate, the line was a modest success, running from 2005 up through 2010.  Not a terrible run, all things considered.  They got a pretty decent swath of characters out there, which included a pretty solid focus on the Bat-Family.  Dick Grayson was present in both his Robin and Nightwing identities, the latter of which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was the 14th release in DCD’s Deluxe Collector Figure line, hitting retail in the fall of 2007, during the line’s third year.  All of the figures were designed as standalone releases, but he hit right in the midst of a streak of Bat-related characters.  In a line that had certainly had a more classic focus, he was a decidedly more modern figure, sporting the character’s then-current design.  The figure stands about 13 1/4 inches tall (due to DCD’s insistence on that extra large scaling) and he has 30 points of articulation.

The figure’s head sculpt was the most notable new piece included here, as was pretty standard for the line.  The head sculpts for this line up to this point were, to be blunt, kind of ugly.  I mean, not terrible, but they were none of them particularly attractive people.  Nightwing marked a very earnest effort on DCD’s part to fix that issue.  Ultimately, the sculpt winds up looking a heck of a lot like Brad Pitt, with maybe a touch of Tom Cruise thrown in for good measure.  That certainly errs away from kind of ugly, and results in a not so terrible look for Dick Grayson.  The base sculpt is unmasked, with a mask piece that can clip into place, which sits surprisingly well on the face.  They did the same on Green Lantern, and I’ve always liked how well those turned out.  There are actually two masks included, one black and one blue, to cover the two looks he was shifting between so frequently at the time.  I personally really like the blue, but both work well.  In terms of paint work, it’s not as incredibly lifelike as Hot Toys, or anything, but it was about on par with most Sideshow offerings of the time.  It’s a little thickly applied, but other than that, it doesn’t look too bad.

Nightwing’s outfit is, predictably, mixed-media in its nature.  It’s made up of a bodysuit, glove cuffs, and boots.  Not a lot of pieces to this one, though that’s proper for the design.  The bodysuit is actually really nicely tailored, for as simple as it is, and the blue for his symbol really stands out well.  The boots (which are actual boots that slip over the feet) and glove cuffs are pleather pieces, with a plastic sculpted bit at the end, for the whatever they are things that he sometimes has on his costume.  They seem a tad bulky for his usual look, but ultimately work out alright.

The figure was built on what was the only available male base body at the time of his release.  It’s probably a touch bulky for Dick’s usual proportions, but it’s not truly atrocious, and he was certainly better served by this base body than most of the female figures were by the only female base body the line ever had.  It’s generally rather stiff in its movement, and notably can put its arms all the way down by the sides, but it does look pretty damn heroic, so I’ll give them that.

Nightwing got an alright selection of accessories, with two sets of hands (fists and bendy for posing to grip or gesture), his eskrima sticks, three batarangs, and a display stand.  The bendy hands are better than most of this type, but still not ideal for actually holding his weapons; actual gripping hands would have been better.  The display stand is notably really big and bulky and, due to how it’s designed, also kind of a risk for damaging the costume if you aren’t careful, which is kind of a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a handful of figures from this line when they were new, and while they were never figures I felt were amazingly high-end, I’ve always had a soft spot for them.  Nightwing was one I always wanted, but it wasn’t until after his release, as he changed quite a bit between prototype and release, and by then I had missed a lot of opportunities to get him.  Thankfully, I got another shot at him when a whole batch of the Bat-themed characters got traded into All Time a few weeks ago.  He’s a figure from a line that’s been abandoned, and with good reason.  DCD made a lot of weird choices with these figures, and they suffered for it.  However, taken in a vacuum, I do really, really like this figure.  He’s honestly a lot of fun, and just feels really true to the character.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.