#1730: Rocket Raccoon & Groot

ROCKET RACCOON &  GROOT

MARVEL MINIMATES

To wrap up this three-day Infinity War thing I’ve got going here, I’ve got one more set of Minimates to look at.  Ever.  Well, no, not ever.  I still have a ton of Minimates to review.  There’s over 1000 of those suckers in my collection.  No, just the last set from this little sub-set…or something.  Anyway, I’ve looked at the more Avengers-themed guys, now I’m going into full cross-over mode, with a pair of Guardians.  Let’s have a look at yet another Rocket Raccoon and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rocket Raccoon and Groot were originally supposed to be the Toys R Us-exclusive set for the first Infinity War assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Then they went out of business and messed that all up.  But, before they went out of business, this set and it’s accompanying series were moved over to specialty.  What’s intriguing about this particular pairing is that, while it’s totally a natural choice to pack just the two of them together, thanks to use of micro-figures and such, it’s actually the first time we’ve gotten a straight Rocket & Groot two-pack.

ROCKET RACCOON

After being relegated to being an unarticulated pack-in for his first two releases, we finally got a proper Rocket Raccoon Minimate in Series 71 for Guardians Vol. 2.  At first glance, this figure might seem like a straight re-release of that one, but he’s actually a little bit different.  He’s still about 2 inches tall and has a reduced 8 points of articulation.  He uses the same head, shortened arms, and belt/tail piece.  He gets a new set of legs, more divergent from the standard Minimate legs than the last ones, and also swaps out the normal Minimate torso of the last one for the comparatively smaller torso from NBX’s Sally.  Both of these are minor changes, easily missed by a quick glance at the figure, but they result in a figure that actually looks a fair bit better than the last release.  Rocket’s paintwork is not that much different than the Series 71 release.  It’s mostly just amended to fit the newer pieces.  Rocket is packed with a rather large rifle (the same one included with all of the other IW Rockets), which is kind of comically huge (larger than the Legends version, even), and pretty much impossible for Rocket to hold.

GROOT

Groot has a much more divergent design in Infinity War than his pack-mate, so he is fittingly a more unique figure.  He uses the standard body as a starting point, but really only keeps the arms and pelvis.  The head is a unique piece, which replicates Groot’s noggin pretty well.  Likewise, the hands and feet are new, and do a respectable job of translating Groot’s tree-like appendages.  He also uses the smaller torso that we saw on Rocket, and swaps out the usual legs for another set of arms.  This results in an overall quite slender look, which helps to differentiate him pretty well from the original Groot.  His paintwork is pretty standard for this character.  Lots of brown, and some decent work on the detail lines.  I do appreciate that the arms and legs have different detailing from each other.  Groot is packed with a clear display stand…and that’s it.  Shame we couldn’t get his portable game or anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set at the same time as Spider-Man and Hulk, via Cosmic Comix.  I wasn’t totally sold on this set at first, but after realizing how much better the changes to Rocket made the figure, and already being sold on Groot, I decided to grab it.  Is it the most thrilling set of all time?  Probably not, but it’s a pretty essential version of Groot, and it’s by far the best version of Rocket we’ve gotten.

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#1729: Iron-Spider & Hulk

IRON-SPIDER & HULK

MARVEL MINIMATES

I’m just gonna keep on rolling with this Avengers: Infinity War thing that I got started yesterday, taking a look at another of Diamond Select’s Minimate offerings from the film.  This time around, we’re back to the two-packs, and we’re also looking at two of the film’s heaviest hitters, Spider-Man and the Hulk!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Iron-Spider and Hulk are–or were, I suppose is the better term– the shared two-pack between Walgreens and Toys R Us.  Of course, thanks to TRU’s untimely demise, they’re instead available everywhere, just like the Iron Man and Thanos pack.  As far as pairing goes, they’re not really the most natural choice, but at least Peter and Banner interact with each other at *some* point, even if it’s not in these particular forms.

IRON-SPIDER

Peter’s new suit for Infinity War was technically introduced in Homecoming, but doesn’t see any action until Peter winds up in space with Tony and Dr. Strange.  It’s name and Stark-designed nature tie it to the red and gold suit that Peter was wearing for “Civil War” in the comics, but its actual design seems to have more in common with Peter’s more recent Parker Industries-designed armor.  This was more than likely due to them not really wanting two red and gold armored guys flying across the screen doing battle with Thanos.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He gets an additional harness piece, replicating his extra spider-limbs, which also grants him an extra four points of articulation, thanks to the balljoint at the base of each leg.  The piece is new to this figure (since they can’t re-use the comic ones; they only have three legs), and works decently enough.  Sure, it bulks up the neck and waist a bit, and a dedicated torso sculpt would have possibly looked a bit better, but then you’d lack the option of displaying him sans legs, which would be annoying.  Iron Spider’s paintwork is quite cleanly applied.  Not quite as shiny as I might have expected, but still decent looking.  The details are all crisp and well defined, and he replicates the film design rather nicely.  Iron Spider is packed with an extra unmasked head and hair for the Peter Parker look.  It’s sporting a pretty spot-on Tom Holland likeness.  More Spider-Men should include the unmasked head option.

HULK

Hulk plays a very, very minor role in Infinity War, being dispatched rather quickly in the film’s opening minutes, and then not really coming around.  So, the fact that he got such a prominent spot here is a little bit baffling, but the amount of Hulk merch out there for this movie suggests that licensees weren’t really told about his small part up front.  Hulk’s construction is pretty much the same construction as several prior Hulk’s.  The only notable change is that this one’s using the hair from Tomb Raider‘s Roth.  Not really sure why, can’t say it’s a favorite, and it ends up just looking kind of goofy, but I suppose worse things have happened.   Hulk’s paintwork is rather on the basic side; his skintone is entirely molded plastic, which is a change from the prior MCU Hulks.  Beyond that, there’s some paint for his pants, and touch of grey on the sides of his temples, because Hulk’s starting to get distinguished in his old age.  He’s also looking a lot more Ruffalo-like than prior Hulks.  Obviously, there’s a lot of Ruffalo in the CG model for Hulk, but this seems to veer far too close to the Bruce Banner side of things.  He doesn’t even look all that angry; he looks more like he’s trying to calculate how much to tip his waiter.  Hulk’s only extra is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed these guys from Cosmic Comix when they got the TRU-reject assortment.  I mostly bought this set for Spider-Man, and for that, I’m pretty pleased.  He’s a solid addition to our MCU Spideys, and a solid figure all-around.  Hulk, on the other hand, is really just an odd offering.  Not only his he nonessential, he’s also one of the weakest versions of the Hulk that DST has put out.  I’m not sure what happened with this guy.

#1728: Infinity War Boxed Set

THANOS, IRON MAN, BLACK WIDOW, & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and us them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

Hey, did you guys know there was another Marvel movie released last weekend?  Well, let’s pretend there wasn’t, because I’m still making my way through the product from the one before that.  Avengers: Infinity War was a big movie, and by extension, it had a ton of merchandise.  As they have since the first Iron Man, Diamond Select Toys put out a few assortments of Minimates based on the film.  I’ll be looking at the main boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thanos, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Winter Soldier make up the specialty-exclusive Infinity War boxed set.  This follows the trend that was set by Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, where a movie gets a four-pack at comic book stores, and then two-packs at Walgreens and Toys R Us (Of course, it also ends the trend, what with TRU going under, but let’s not go there).  Thanos and Iron Man were also available in two-pack form through Walgreens and the would-have-been-Toys-R-Us-but-instead-became-another-specialty assortments.  This makes Black Widow and Winter Soldier the two specialty exclusives.  Admittedly, the packout here is a little strange.  Tony and Thanos make sense, but Widow and Bucky never interact with Tony at all, only really interact with Thanos via proxy, and don’t actually interact with *each other*.  What’s more, neither of them is particularly plot relevant.  Of course, we ended up with pretty much all of the major players anyway, so the packout isn’t so important, I guess.

THANOS

After all this time, we finally get an MCU Thanos Minimate!  It sure took its time, didn’t it?  This figure uses the same casual look as the Marvel Legend, which is sensible, since it’s his main look.  It’s perhaps not as exciting as other designs, but that’s hardly on DST.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest, pelvis, upper arms, hands, thighs, and boots.  His torso, upper arms, right hand, and thighs are all re-used; standard “large character” pieces.  The left hand, pelvis, and boots are all new pieces, detailing Thanos-specific parts.  While the skirt clashes a little bit with the more standard upper body, the boots are quite sharply detailed and true to the film.  The left hand is perhaps the most important piece, since it’s the Infinity Gauntlet.  Like all of the more recent larger figure hands (and unlike the corresponding right hand), it’s ambidextrous, should you wish to place it on someone’s right hand.  It actually seems a little small when compared to his non-gloved hand.  Thanos must have really needed help getting that thing on there!  Fortunately, it’s not overly noticeable if you get the posing right.  Thanos’s paintwork is about what you’d expect at this point from a Minimate.  The colors are pretty good matches for the movie, and the linework is all nice and crisp.  He’s sporting an angrier expression than a lot of the IW product.  It’s different, though I kind of wish we could have gotten an extra head with a different expression.  Thanos is packed with a spare left hand without the gauntlet, as well as a clear display stand.

IRON MAN

Iron Man is no stranger to Minimates, of course, especially not his MCU incarnation.  This figure replicates his nano-tech based Mark 50 armor from the movie, which is one of his coolest armors yet.  The ‘mate uses the usual construction, with a unique set of upper arms, as well as add-ons for his helmet and shoulders.  The helmet is just a basic slipcover mask, rather than a new sculpt.  However, given the sleekness of the design in the movie, this is a reasonable choice, and I certainly prefer it to another re-use of the Mk 42 helmet.  The new upper arms are also a huge improvement on the heavily restricted 42 arms.  Overall, decent basic construction. The paint is also pretty great, being a very bright, striking metallic red and gold.  The biggest flaw of this figure is the accessory compliment.  He’s got a flight stand and a hair piece for an unmasked look.  The armor in the movie could shift into all sorts of additional tools and weaponry, so the fact that none of this is replicated here is quite disappointing.  Sadly, this isn’t the only Mark 50 figure to have this issue.

BLACK WIDOW

Despite not yet having her own movie, Black Widow has made out pretty well in terms of Minimates.  In fact, her MCU version has actually made out a lot better than her comics counterpart.  This one, of course, presents her rather altered look from the movie.  The figure uses the same standard body as usual, with an add-on piece for her hair.  It appears to be new piece, and recreates her look from the movie well enough, though it seems a little more simplified than other recent pieces.  She also has a pair of holsters (the same holsters used by all of the Widow figures since Avengers)…with nothing to really go in them.  I’ll get to that in a second.  Widow’s paintwork is overall pretty decent, with the exception of her face, which, for some reason, looks nothing like Scarlet Johannsen.  They’ve gotten it down before, but this looks nothing like her.  So, onto those holsters with nothing inside of them.  Widow includes her staff in its fully assembled form, as well as the split form, and a handgun.  There are two holsters, so obviously the gun doesn’t go there.  Then there’s the split version of the staff, but each half is as long as her leg, and she definitely stores them on her back in the movie.  In the film, she has some sort of tasers stored in the holsters, at least going by the Marvel Legend.  So she’s just got the holsters and they just sort of remain empty.  I think it might have made more sense to just leave them out completely.

WINTER SOLDIER

Winter Soldier/Bucky has been fortunate enough to get a ‘mate from every movie he’s been featured in, and Infinity War is no exception.  His role is rather minimal truth be told, so I guess the fact that he’s relegated just to this boxed set is pretty sensible.  Bucky’s design for this film is a nice merging of prior designs, keeping the basic design of his first Winter Soldier look, and the more classically inspired color scheme of his First Avenger look.  It’s my favorite of his designs so far to be sure.  He uses the usual body, with add-ons for his hair, wrist guard, the bottom of his jacket, and knife sheath.  All of the pieces are re-used, but they match well with his design from the movie, so it’s hard to complain.  The rest of the work is paint.  They’ve had some trouble with Stan’s likeness on past figures, but this one seems to get it a bit closer.  Still not perfect, but at least he doesn’t have the goofy eyes that all of the others ended up with.  His uniform’s detailing is pretty sharp, and looks really bold.  Winter Soldier is packed with a submachine gun and a knife, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I kind of dragged my feet on this set, truth be told.  I don’t quite know why, but I had trouble getting too excited for it.  I ended up grabbing it from Luke’s Toy Store while picking up a few other items.  I’m of mixed feeling about it.  Thanos is decently handled, but a little bland.  Iron Man’s another Iron Man, and lacks any of what really makes this armor all that unique.  Black Widow’s got her confusingly implemented accessories, but is alright apart from that.  Winter Soldier’s simultaneously the least essential and yet the best figure in the set.

The Blaster In Question #0059: Barricade RV-10

BlasterInQuestion1

BARRICADE RV-10

N-STRIKE

barricade1Just about everyone has at least heard of the Stryfe or the RapidStrike or Modulus ECS-10.  Any of the big names in the wide range of electric flywheel blasters Nerf has produced over the years.  The blaster most people these days don’t remember is the one that actually started the entire flywheel class of blasters at Nerf, the Barricade RV-10.  Not the police car from Transformers, this is a different Barricade, both Hasbro properties, though.  Who?  No, Dwayne Johnson played Roadblock from G.I. Joe, another entirely different still Hasbro property.  Anyway, let’s take a look at the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

barricade2The Barricade RV-10 was released in 2010 as part of the N-Strike line, kind of the only line Nerf had going at the time.  It was the first (I believe) flywheel blaster to come from Nerf.  There was at least one blaster from Buzz Bee Toys that used flywheels before the Barricade, but we don’t talk about that.  I mean, we could, but people will laugh and throw things.  The Barricade uses more or less the same mechanical configuration we’re used to on modern flywheel blasters but with 2 main exceptions.  First, it fires from a 10 round rotating cylinder rather than a magazine.  The second major difference is that instead of having a rev trigger just beneath the firing trigger like we’re used to, it has an on/off toggle switch that sits just above your thumb like a safety or fire selector switch, assuming you’re holding the blaster in your right hand.  The Barricade’s shell is all original, although it was reused in the Prime barricade3variant- I mean, the Elite version, which came with a stock and was renamed the Stockade.  Amazing.  It features a stock attachment lug on the back of the blaster and an accessory rail up top.  There’s also a interesting front sight that has a hole going through it, maybe so you can still see your target when aiming?  Who knows, but it has no rear sight to line up with and it’s on a pre-Elite blaster so it’s about as useful as.. something… not useful.  Wow, good job, Tim.  By today’s standards, the plastic of the shell feels a little thin and creaky, but that was about par for the course with the original N-Strike blasters.  Also somewhat outclassed by modern blasters is the Barricade’s performance.  Yes it is semi-auto, but with old motors running off of only 3 AA batteries, it can’t really keep up with today’s flywheels.  Given the lengthy rev-up time and the lack of any substantial power, I’d recommend setting this one aside as a collection piece rather than trying to bust into your younger sibling’s room with it.  The Barricade RV-10 comes with 10 Sonic Micro darts and requires 3 AA batteries.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

To be honest, I was not excited for the Barricade when it was announced.  I’m still not that into it.  I only bought mine because it came in a value pack with a stock that I really wanted.  I didn’t have it on hand so I left it out of the review.  Regardless, even if I’m not crazy about the Barricade, I do quite enjoy many of the other flywheel blasters that have come out since then, so I guess I can give it credit for that.  And I got a cool stock out of it too.

#1727: Cosmic Silver Surfer & Swordsman

COSMIC SILVER SURFER & SWORDSMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates is home to some off the wall choices in terms of characters, and especially pairings. The early Toys R Us-exclusive series were home to some of the most truly strange character pairings for the exclusive two-packs.  Most of them tried to keep at least some sort of common thread between the characters included, but today’s set, Silver Surfer and Swordsman is perhaps one of the weirdest.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released in the fifth series of TRU-exclusive Marvel Minimates.  They were both designed to fit with, at the time, current boxed sets, those sets being Infinity Gauntlet and Thunderbolts, respectively.

COSMIC SILVER SURFER

Despite his status as a fairly major player on the cosmic side of Marvel, this is the second of only three Silver Surfer Minimates.  His low number of releases is undoubtedly due to his largely unchanged look over the years.  Sure, he’s had some minor stylistic tweaks, but only so much of that can be conveyed through a 2-inch block figure form.  As such, Surfer’s debut ‘mate went unchallenged for a good five years (and, depending on who you talk to, he’s still the best version of the character).  In 2009, however, there were a lot of new fans coming into Minimates, so it seemed about the right time for a new version, so we got this guy.  Silver Surfer is, and always shall be, a vanilla ‘mate.  There’s really no other way to properly do this guy.  It’s worth noting, however, that the Minimate body has had some subtle changes over the years.  In 2009, the necks got kind of short for a while, which throws off the design more than you might think.  It makes Surfer look a little more powerhouse-y than usual. The paint is, of course, the key element here.  The original Surfer ‘mate was more on the simplistic side of things, as was the style of the line at time.  By the time this guy was released, Minimates were far more detailed.  This guy gets a much more intensive paint job, which looks to be heavily influenced by Jim Starlin’s take on the character from Infinity Gauntlet.  Given the release of a whole Infinity Gauntlet boxed set the month prior to this figure hitting TRU, it was a solid stylistic choice for DST.  With that said, I can’t help but feel the figure ends up looking rather busy with all those lines and everything going on.  The head and limbs aren’t so bad (in fact, I think the face on this Surfer is my favorite of the three), but the torso is just too much.  He looks like he has a second face down there. Since he had no actual add-ons, Silver Surfer instead gets a bunch of accessories.  Obviously, he gets his board, which had been tweaked from the original release to add a peg for him to be attached, as well as a peg hole on the opposite side, thus allowing for the attachment of the included flight stand.  He also included a pair of hand blast effects and electricity effects, both molded in a very pleasing translucent purple.

SWORDSMAN

Marvel has had five different characters who bore the name “Swordsman” (and that’s not getting into alternate universes).  The one depicted here is Andreas von Strucker, originally one half of the Fenris Twins, Baron Von Strucker’s two children.  Following the death of his sister Andrea, he took up the Swordsman title.  He was never a particularly noteworthy character, but had the good fortune of being part of Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts team, which got a full line-up of Minimates.  He was just along for the ride, I suppose.  It probably helps that he has a pretty solid design. Swordsman featured sculpted add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt.  The gloves are re-used from Captain America, but the helmet and belt were new pieces.  Everything was well sculpted and sits well on the ‘mate body.  I quite like the helmet in particular; they’ve done a very good job of translating it to the Minimate form.  The belt is more basic fare, but is notable in it’s inclusion of a spot to keep his sword stashed.  As with Silver Surfer, his head sits a little low on the neck, but this is less noticeable with the addition of the helmet. Swordsman’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff overall.  The shade of purple they’ve chosen actually looks quite nice, and even photographs well (a rarity when it comes to purples), and the detailing on the chain mail is quite impressive.  Under the mask, we get Andreas von Strucker’s ugly mug, and I do mean ugly.  Though he’s got a peg hole in his head, there are painted on ears, meaning this is supposed to be Andreas after he shaved his head, though if you want to throw in your own hairpiece, the option’s there. For accessories, all Swordsman gets is a single sword, borrowed from the Defenders set’s Valkyrie.  It’s a decent enough, but I do feel the extra hairpiece would have been a nice extra bit of value.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set’s announcement frustrated me a bit.  I was excited by both figures included, but up to that point, none of the TRU-exclusives had been particularly easy to get a hold of.  Fortunately, I didn’t have much trouble with these two.Though not perfect, this Silver Surfer was much appreciated at the time of his release.  If I’m honest, I don’t truly believe any of the three Surfers is better than the others; they all present a slightly different take on the character.  If a more modern Surfer is what you’re looking for, then this one’s the one you’re after.  Despite this not being a version of Swordsman I have any particular attachment to, I really like this ‘mate.  He’s quite well put together, and it’s a design that just works well in this style.  Now, one of these days I’d really like a proper Jacques Duquesne Swordsman, but that’s a whole other thing.

#1726: Han Solo in Hoth Gear

HAN SOLO IN HOTH GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“In his history as a smuggler, Han Solo has been in a lot of hot spots. As a reluctant hero for the Rebel Alliance in the years following the destruction of the Death Star, he found himself in a cold spot…on the ice planet of Hoth, to be exact. Hiding out from the intergalactic crimelord jabba the Hutt, Han and his copilot, Chewbacca, had stayed with the Rebellion for several years, adventuring, piloting, smuggling, and ranking up an impressive rap sheet and bounty not only from Jabba, but also from the Empire. Following the evacuation of the Rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin, Han helped the Alliance scout out new locations for their base, and helped establish Echo Base on Hoth.”

Two weeks ago, I looked at Luke Skywalker in his Hoth gear.  Today, I’ll be looking at his natural counterpart, Han Solo in *his* Hoth gear.  Two different characters in Hoth gear?  That’s just crazy.  Okay, no it’s really not.  It’s kind of a normal, not at all weird thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo in Hoth Gear was released durning Power of the Force II’s second year.  He was the second version of Han we received in the line, though he would be joined by the Han in Carbonite figure very shortly after.  He predated the corresponding Luke by a year, because I guess people were just chomping at the bit for this particular version of Han (alternatively, there were two different Lukes already in this particular assortment).  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was unique to him, and it’s definitely a product of the time.  He’s bulky, and puffy, and a bit pre-posed.  Still noticeably toned down from the first year’s figures, of course, but still kind of ridiculous.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about this figure’s sculpt is how it gives us a look we don’t often see.  Most Hoth Han’s have the hood to his jacket pulled up, but this one doesn’t, revealing Han’s insulated cap, which matches the other rebels we see on Hoth.  It’s easy to forget he’s even wearing that under there, since it’s never seen directly in the film, but there it is.  Sort of an odd choice, but I can’t fault them too much for trying something different.  The paint marks something of a debate amongst the fanbase regarding the proper coloring of Han’s jacket.  The vintage figure’s was blue, based on how it appears to be colored in the film.  However, that was all the result of lighting; the actual prop jacket was brown, as seen on the figure here.  Of course, this leads to the whole debate about which color is truly accurate, similar to the color of the Ghostbusters’ jumpsuits.  At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.  Me?  I always preferred the blue, but that’s not a huge strike against this figure.  Han was packed with his standard blaster, as well as a larger one, if you want more options, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Han was a figure that haunted me for quite some time in my younger years.  All I wanted was a Hoth Luke, but he was harder to find, and Hoth Han was always there, watching me.  It was weird.  I never did get one, not new at least.  This one is a rather recent addition to my collection.  I grabbed him during a recent sidewalk sale that Lost In Time Toys was running, alongside a whole slew of other PotF figures.  I can’t say he’s really a favorite, but he’s certainly not a bad figure either.

#1725: Imperial Speeder (w/ AT-DP Pilot)

IMPERIAL SPEEDER (W/ AT-DP PILOT)

STAR WARS: REBELS

“AT-DP Pilots are elite ground vehicle pilots for the Empire. Equipped with unique armor, they are formidable opponents for all of the Empire’s enemies.”

While everyone else seems to have gotten in on the speeder bike game, our first taste of speeder bikes were property of the Empire.  They also had the absolute coolest variants of the Stormtroopers driving them, which was always a plus for me.  Rebels, which is set before the original trilogy, doesn’t make use of the Scout Troopers, but they do have their own unique pilots, which are pretty cool in their own right.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Imperial Speeder was released as an initially Toys R Us-exclusive item alongside the main Rogue One product launch.  It was a more informal exclusive, though, since it bore no actual denotation of the status (and, of course, now it’s not an exclusive at all).  Unlike the last two sets I looked at, it just had the one release, likely due to it being a pretty simple re-skin of Ezra’s Speeder from yesterday.  The only difference between the two sculpturally is the addition of a cannon on the left side of this one.  It’s a little obtrusive, but I guess it mixes things up a little better.  The paint work is the main changing point here, as it’s done up in a much milder palette than the last, which is certainly much more pleasant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the speeder is the AT-DP Pilot.  No, the speeder isn’t actually called the AT-DP, he’s technically the pilot of another vehicle, who’s been repurposed.  His sculpt’s been re-purposed as well, being a reissue of the Saga Legends figure from back in 2014.  But I missed the first one, so I appreciate the re-release.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is probably one of the finest to come out of the Rebels subset of figures, being a pretty awesome translation of his on-screen design.  The detail work is crisp, and there’s actually a ton of smaller detail work, even for him being one of the animated designs.  His paintwork is a pretty straightforward recreation of the first figure’s paint, which was itself a good recreation of the colorscheme from the show.  It’s pretty clean overall, though it gets a little fuzzy at some of the edges.  However, since it’s all shades of grey, it’s not all that off looking.  The AT-DP Pilot is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster, should you want him to be doing something other than driving.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, unlike the last two sets, this is actually an item I fully intended to buy when it was new.  However, I never actually saw it at retail, and then I sort of forgot it.  Fortunately, it showed up in pretty high numbers at my nearest Toys R Us during the liquidation process.  I gotta say, it’s a pretty simple set, and not really anything new, but I really dig it.

#1731: Ezra Bridger’s Speeder

EZRA BRIDGER’S SPEEDER

STAR WARS: REBELS (HASBRO)

“Once a lone street urchin stealing to survive on Lothal, Ezra Bridger has been taken in by the crew of the Ghost and is now a determined freedom fighter who plays a critical role in the rebellion against the Empire. With the help of his master, Kanan, Ezra is well on his way to becoming a Jedi – he uses the Force to fight the Imperial opposition that threatens to destroy the galaxy.”

If there’s a competitor to Kanan Jarrus for the “main character” slot in Rebels, it’s his apprentice Ezra Bridger, who is essentially Aladdin in space.  Cool?  But, instead of a magic carpet, he’s got a speeder bike.  So, that’s different, I guess.  Let’s just review this toy already.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Ah, yes, who can forget the eternally memorable, unmistakably distinctive…speeder owned by Ezra Bridger.  Okay, so I still haven’t actually gotten past more than the first season of Rebels, and I only watched it the once, so I don’t recall off-hand if this is actually in it.  I want to say it is.  But I doubt it’s a prominent fixture regardless.  Anyway, this set was part of the smaller scale vehicle releases that hit on the first Force Friday, alongside the Force Awakens products.  It was then re-released alongside the Rogue One product, which means it pretty much never, ever left store shelves.  The vehicle is about 6 inches long and stands about 2 inches tall.  It’s more of a basic seated bike than the ones from Return of the Jedi, which is fortunate given the reduced articulation of the figures.  It’s a pretty decent sculpt, slightly softer on the details like prior vehicles, but it’s not terrible.  It’s certainly sharper detailing than we saw on the Y-Wing yesterday, so that’s a plus.  The paintwork on the bike is certainly unique. Green and orange is quite a unique combo.  A hideous combo, but certainly a unique one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obviously, it would be odd to release Ezra Bridger’s Speeder without an Ezra figure, so here it is.  Of course, as sensible as it may be in this particular case, he ends up in the same boat as the Kanan figure, since at this point we had a ton of Ezra figures already (and, like Kanan, there was a single-packed Ezra, released at the same exact product launch as this one).  That said, this is actually the first figure of him I’ve gotten, so it’s not a total waste.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is largely the same as the first Rebels Ezra, but with the legs tweaked to add some pouches.  The sculpt does a respectable job of capturing the show design, and I think it’s a slightly better sculpt than the Kanan figure.  His paintwork is pretty clean, and pretty bright as well (this signifies that my figure is the later release; the earlier ones were rather washed out).  Ezra is packed with his lightsaber, which, unlike Kanan’s has a removable blade, which is pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Kanan and the Y-Wing, Ezra and his speeder were picked up in the TRU liquidation sales.  I hadn’t really planned on getting it, but I didn’t yet have an Ezra figure, and this was the easiest way to get him.  While it’s hardly the most thrilling set, I can appreciate it for what it is.

#1723: Y-Wing Scout Bomber

Y-WING SCOUT BOMBER (W/ KANAN JARRUS)

STAR WARS: REBELS (HASBRO)

“Discover exciting stories of good versus evil in a galaxy of starships and vehicles. Armed with proton bombs and laser cannons, this prototype Y-wing Scout Bomber uses its rotating engines to provide enhanced maneuverability during flight.”

For the next entry in my week of Star Wars vehicles, I’ll be starting off a trend that’s going to finish out the week: Star Wars: Rebels.  Rebels had its own devoted line of figures back when it first started out, but it was sort of swallowed up by the recent movie toylines (which is how I acquired my rather modest collection of figures).  The main crew has each cropped up at least twice, with a few of them popping up a little bit more than that.  Kanan Jarrus is probably the most common, and he’s part of today’s review, alongside a variation of the Y-Wing.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Y-Wing Scout Bomber was released as one of the mid-sized weapons in the Force Awakens toyline, and was re-released unchanged for the Rogue One line as well.  It’s a much smaller variant of the traditional Y-Wing from the original trilogy, with its roots in The Clone Wars.  The vehicle is actually an almost entirely re-used sculpt, from back in the Clone Wars days, but tweaked a bit to fit Chopper in place of a more standard astromech droid.  The ship is about 7 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide, and stands about 3 1/2 inches tall.  The thrusters on the back are both posable pieces, as is the turret for the astromech droid.  Overall, it’s a very squat and compact ship, which isn’t perhaps as impressive as a more standard piece, but for the price point, it’s about what you’d expect.  The paint work on this piece shifts it more from a Clone Wars design to something closer to the Original Trilogy, adding in some white and yellow.  The details are a little sloppy in some spots, but nothing too terrible.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Bomber is the aforementioned figure of Kanan Jarrus.  Kanan is sort of the show’s lead, I guess, so his prominence in the toy form makes a little bit of sense.  What makes less sense is how many times they released him the exact same get-up.  This was the fifth time this figure was released, more or less.  This one has a slightly tweaked head with the head set, but that’s the only difference.  Most egregiously, there was a standard Kanan in the launch wave of the Force Awakens product, so he was hitting twice on that same day.  The fact that he was picked over the less oft-released Chopper, whom the ship kind of needs to look complete, is rather frustrating.  It’s not like anyone who needed a Kanan was missing him.  But I digress.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  He’s using most of the same sculpt used several times before, but with the new head.  It’s Kanan’s basic garb, which works decently enough.  The sculpt is softer than later releases, in part due to his animated nature, but also due to him just being a slightly older sculpt.  He’s still a pretty respectable looking figure.  Kanan’s packed with his lightsaber, which is a pretty cool piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kanan and the bomber is a set I saw very many times, but never picked up.  However, in Toys R Us’s last days, they had a bunch of these various vehicles for rather cheap, and I got sucked in.  Honestly, it’s not much to write home about, but it’s a decent enough toy, especially for the much lowered price.

#1722: TIE Silencer (w/ Kylo Ren)

TIE SILENCER

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (HASBRO)

“Kylo Ren has inherited piloting skills from his father, though he uses these abilities to pursue the Resistance from the seat of his unique, angular TIE Fighter.”

In the last few months, I’ve picked up quite a few Star Wars ships. There was a store going out of business or something.  So, in an effort to make my way through them, I’ll be devoting this whole week to reviewing them.  Behold Star Wars Ships Week…which technically started yesterday.  Shhhh, don’t worry about it.  Yesterday, I looked at Han Solo and his signature Millennium Falcon.  Today, I’m following that up with his son, Ben Swollo Solo, and his ship, the TIE Silencer.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The TIE Silencer is the latest derivation of the TIE Fighter.  Like his grandfather before him, Kylo is flying a brand-new, advanced form of TIE amongst his troops.  After going more classic for the Force Awakens, this design is definitely more divergent.  This ship was the largest of the ships meant to interact with the figures from the Last Jedi toyline.  Size-wise, it’s footprint isn’t much smaller than the Kessel Run Millennium Falcon, though that’s largely due to the wings.  This makes the Silencer much closer to its proper scale than the Falcon.  It’s still a little smaller than it technically should be, but no worse than the X-Wing and TIE from the last film.  Kylo looks a little goofy in there, but worse things have happened.  Like some of the prior vehicles, the Silencer needs a little bit of assembly when you get it out of the box.  There wings need to be popped into place, and then the front guns need to be placed on.  Once assembled, the ship is about 12 inches tall, 8 1/2 inches wide, and stands 3 inches tall.  The Silencer’s sculpt is a pretty decent recreation of the ship’s design from the movie, following the proper shaping and internal proportions (even if it’s small). The internal cock-pit has had to be tweaked a bit to fit the smaller size, but isn’t far enough, and you won’t really be able to see much of it anyway.  The detail work, especially on the wings, is really in depth, which is a nice change of pace for these vehicles, which have a tendency to be lighter on such details when compared to the figures.  The paintwork on the ship is fairly scarce.  There are some silver details, but mostly it’s just the same very dark grey plastic. There’s one slight error there: the color of the (actually pretty cool) transparent windshield, is incorrect.  It’s just more grey here, but was red in the film.  In Hasbro’s defense, however, this was a rather late change, and the same error shows up across a lot of merchandising.  The Silencer, like the whole Last Jedi line, is Force Link compatible, and it’s probably the coolest bit of compatibility we saw from the line.  When you pick up the ship while wearing the bracelet, in addition to the usual swooshing sounds, there are also some light-up features.  It’s pretty fun, though I can understand why some people were upset about being unable to access those features without the reader.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Silencer is its pilot, Kylo Ren.  This figure’s just a slight tweak on the standard single-careded release.  He’s one of those figure’s that’s bafflingly different.  Like, why did they make a figure that’s technically all new molds, instead of just re-using the other figure?  I mean, I guess they didn’t want to force people to buy the same figure twice, but I can’t really say this is much better.  Between the two, I find myself preferring the last one, but I guess I can appreciate having the second to keep in the ship.  Kylo includes his lightsaber, should you want him to have some non-ship battles.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the one main vehicle I *didn’t* pick up on Force Friday II.  It was the most expensive, and I was already getting the basic Kylo, so that worked for me.  But then it sat around at my nearest Walmart for a good long while, and eventually got mega clearanced, and then it was cheap enough for me to get invested.  It’s a pretty fun ship, and a design that I certainly like, though I can’t say I find it quite as fun as the Falcon.  Guess I’ve always been more invested in the hero’s vehicles.