#1922: Black Cat

BLACK CAT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sometimes Spider-Man’s ally and sometimes his enemy, Felicia Hardy prowls the city as the Black Cat.”

Introduced in 1979, Black Cat is Spider-Man’s equivalent to Catwoman, a foe with whom he had a fair bit of romantic tension, which eventually led to her being less than a foe.  That is, until Peter’s mind was overwritten by Doctor Octopus, and Otto used Felicia’s skills to his advantage before dumping her off with nearest authorities and she swore vengeance against him, leading to her becoming one of New York’s biggest crime lords, all because she didn’t know it wasn’t really Peter in there at the time.  Comics everybody!  Black Cat is a common choice for Spidey-centric toylines, and her latest costume update from the comics has made for an easy transition into more toys, as is the case with today’s offering!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Cat is officially figure #1 in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends (since Six-Armed Spidey isn’t actually numbered).  She’s based on Felicia’s post-Superior Spider-Man costume, when she was working to become an established crimelord.  It keeps a lot of common elements from prior costumes, but is decidedly heavier on the black sections.  I don’t hate the design, but I’m not huge on the weird cat eyes near her shoulders.  They look sort of off.  Still, it’s a fairly recent look, and it got some solid coverage, so there are certainly worse choices.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Black Cat is built on the catsuited body from the Legendary Riders Widow figure.  I liked that one a fair bit, and it definitely makes a lot of sense here.  She gets a new head, collar, belt, and fur add-ons for her arms and legs.  She also borrows the clawed hands from her prior Legends release, which I suppose is good for consistency.  The new head is a decent enough piece.  I don’t like it quite as much as the last one overall, but I do appreciate Hasbro trying something with the less stoic expression.  I also like that they sculpted her missing tooth, since that’s an important detail from her downfall in the comics.  The fur pieces work about as well as sculpted fur ever does, but they certainly don’t look bad.  The belt’s alright on its own, but it’s a little annoying that it’s not removable, making the included whip piece a little questionable, since they’re actually supposed to be one and the same.  Black Cat’s paintwork is pretty simple and straightforward, but also very clean, which is always a plus.  The lack of the odd blue wash on her hair is certainly a welcome change.  The Cat is included with the previously mentioned whip piece, which is of course a little problematic when taking the belt into account, but is otherwise a decent piece.  She is also packed with the right arm and cane for Kingpin.  Including the cane with Felicia’s an especially smart move, since it can easily work as a piece of loot for her, should you not choose to complete the Build-A-Figure!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty happy with the first modern Legends Black Cat, and am not really enough of a fan of the character that I was really looking to replace her.  So, this figure’s announcement didn’t exactly do a lot for me, nor can I really say I had my opinion of her changed all that much by getting her in hand.  The last figure’s still my preferred version to be sure.  That being said, this Black Cat is still a solid figure in its own right, and for anyone unable to get the last one (which was quite a few people; she was kind of hard to get for a while there), this one’s a more than serviceable replacement.

I purchased Black Cat from my friends at All Time Toys, who set me up with this whole set to review.  While she’s not currently still in-stock at their webstore, they should be getting in some more sets soon.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out All Time’s website and their eBay storefront.

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#1921: Spider-Man – Six-Arms

SPIDER-MAN — SIX ARMS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Hoping to cure his spider powers, Peter Parker drinks a special mixture and wakes up with four extra arms.”

Let that be a lesson to you kids: if you drink special mixtures, you might just wake up one day with four extra arms.  And then what are you gonna do?  Hide your four arms in your pants when your Aunt May comes around?  Doesn’t that sound awkward?  It sure does!  The message is clear: don’t drink strange mixtures!

Vague sort of PSA thing aside, the six-armed variant of Spider-Man is something of a classic one.  First introduced in the comics in the ‘70s, and then brought to a new audience courtesy of the ‘90s cartoon, the Six-Armed Spider-Man asks a pretty simple question: what if Spidey had eight limbs, you know, like a spider?  The answer is, unsurprisingly, extra toys to sell.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the first figure in the Kingpin Series of Marvel Legends, the first Spidey-themed assortment of 2019.  He’s one of two Spidey variants, and definitely the most classic figure in the line-up.  He’s also the only one you don’t need to complete the Kingpin figure, but let’s not hold that against him.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has a whopping 58 points of articulation.  All those extra arms are certainly good for something.  Of course, it’s a bit of give and take on the articulation.  Though all of the arms sport the standard articulation, the figure’s torso lacks any sort of movement.  While I can understand the complexities of getting a working ab-crunch in with all of the arms, the lack of a waist joint seems particularly egregious.  There’s no practical reason for that joint to be missing, so I can only assume it was a cost saving choice.   Fortunately, the rest of the figure is able to somewhat pick up the slack, and ultimately the lost posability doesn’t hold the figure back *too much*.  This Spider-Man breaks from the last several mainline variants of Peter by being built on a body other than the Pizza Spidey body.  Upon first glance, I thought he might be an all-new sculpt, but a little bit of double-checking shows that he’s actually re-using the vast majority of the ASM2-based Spider-Man from the Ultimate Green Goblin assortment.  The figure was well-regarded when it was new, and a lot of people were content to have it as their standard comic Spidey, but with the introduction of Pizza Spidey the next year, the ASM2 mold was kind of abandoned.  That makes its use here somewhat odd.  I can only guess it’s one of two things.  Either they developed this figure shortly after the ASM2 figure’s release, before it was clear the ASM2 aesthetics were going to be dropped, and just sat on the mold for a while, or they opted for this mold because of its sculpted weblines, allowing for another bit of cost-cutting.  I’m leaning more towards the latter.  Whatever the reason, it means this sculpt doesn’t quite jibe with the rest of our Spidey variants, much like last year’s Spider-Ham.  I will say that at least the weblines are recessed on this sculpt (in contrast to the raised ones on Spider-Ham), so at least giving him painted weblines on your own won’t be quite as hard.  He does also benefit from the ASM2 figure just being a good figure in its own right, and by extension making this one very playable himself.  Even the newly sculpted torso and arms are pretty solid, with the detailing on the torso matching well with the rest of the figure, and the layout of his arms being such that he can actually let them rest pretty well by his sides.  I was anticipating it would be a lot harder to work with them than that.  I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the shoulders on the extra arms have sculpted torn sleeves; I expected those to just be painted on.  The paintwork on Spidey is fine.  It’s clean.  It’s bright.  It’s missing the weblines, of course, but I knew that going in. I’m still frustrated by those red pegs on the underside of his arms.  Certainly there’s some sort of fix they can come up with for that, isn’t there?  Spidey is packed with no accessories.  At the very least, I would have liked to see some extra hands.  At least with all the arms in the package, he doesn’t look too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m gonna be honest, I was prepared to hate this figure.  After being so letdown by the Spider-Ham figure, I saw a lot of the same flaws on this one when its prototype was shown off.  I mostly just bought him because I was getting the whole set.  Then I actually opened him up and played with him a bit, and I realized I really didn’t hate the figure at all.  Sure, there are some definite issues.  I don’t like seeing the articulation cut, and I hope the unpainted weblines aren’t a trend that continues.  Beyond that, though, I found this figure to be a lot of fun.

Six-Arm Spider-Man was purchased from All Time Toys, who got me this whole set to review.  He’s currently still in-stock at their webstore.  And, as always, if your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1920: Han Solo – Endor Gear

HAN SOLO — ENDOR GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Han Solo commanded a strike force of freedom fighters whose mission it was to sabotage the Imperial shield generator protecting the new Death Star. However, a surprise visit from some of Endor’s native Ewoks appears to present an uncalculated setback.”

On the Forrest Moon of Endor, everybody needs camo.  While Leia and Luke are just sporting some ponchos, that just wouldn’t do for the coolest guy in the whole of the galaxy far, far away, so Han Solo got to be all badass long-coat-y.  Given the generally retread-ish nature of Han’s costume from Jedi, this long-coat is his go-to look for Jedi-based toys of Han, as was the case for the ‘90s Power of the Force line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo in his Endor Gear was released in the 1997 assortment of the Power of the Force line.  He was the fourth version of Han to grace the line, and one of two Hans released that year.  He was also a nice compliment to the Endor Luke and Leia figures that were packed with the Speeder Bikes released that same year.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The formula for building Endor Han was pretty straight-forward; he’s pretty much just the first PotF2 Han, but with a new set of arms and a jacket overlay piece.  It’s consistent with the rest of the line’s offerings, but also means that this figure is saddled with one of the most “off” sculpts in the line.  The head never looked much like Harrison Ford, and the body was super, super bulked up.  Also, if you want to get technical, the shirt under the vest should be different if you’re going for an authentic Jedi version of Han.  Topping it all off, the jacket’s just really, really bulky looking, just further adding to the steroid-fueled appearance for Han.  On the paint side of things, there are some plusses and minuses.  The jacket works out pretty well with its camo and everything.  The biggest issue with my figure is the pants.  The initial release of this figure had blue pants instead of brown.  Later releases corrected this, but generally speaking, this is the one that seems to crop up most often, so odds are very good that you’re going to have an incorrect version if you get one.  Han was packed with one accessory: his standard blaster.  It’s oversized, as was the trend at this point, but otherwise a worthy addition.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most Hans from this line, I wasn’t particularly interested in this figure growing up, since it’s so far off from his actual movie look.  I ended up adding him to my collection while on my recent quest to get a complete run of Power of the Force II figures, which my friends at All Time Toys are doing their best to assist me with.  I got this one from their bin of loose figures, so he wasn’t much of an investment.  Ultimately, he’s not one of the better Han figures from this line, but he’s not terrible either.

#1919: Mumm-Ra

MUMM-RA

SAVAGE WORLD: THUNDERCATS (FUNKO)

It feels a bit boiler plate to have to start every Funko review off by noting that the company has the license to everything you love, everything you hate, and just about everything in between, but that’s just how I do.  Apart from Pops, which seem to remain a fairly evergreen investment, Funko seems to slide from style to style.  For a while, they had their ReAction line, based on the Kenner stylings of the late ‘70s, but now they’ve moved forward a bit, with their new Savage World branding, which takes they stylings of Mattel’s vintage Masters of the Universe line.  So far, they’ve done Mortal Kombat, an assortment of slasher flick stars, some DC super heroes, and, perhaps most sensibly, Thundercats, which is the line I’ll be focusing on today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mumm-Ra is one of the four figures in the first series of Savage World: Thundercats.  While some of the other lines have been sort of modifying the characters to better fit the Savage World style, the Thundercats line are more straight adaptations of the characters.  This Mumm-Ra in particular is based on his powered up “Mumm-Ra, the Ever-Living” form, which is a sensible choice, given its inherently muscle-bound appearance.  The figure stands 6 inches tall going by the top of the horns (about 5 1/2 without them) and he has 6 points of articulation.  The sculpt is unique to Mumm-Ra, and is a pretty sensible recreation of his design.  Obviously, he’s super buff, as is the style for the line, but given the usual look for Mumm-Ra, it’s not much of an adjustment.  The detailing on the sculpt is clean and sharp, and the head in particular has a lot of really nice detail work on both the face and the helmet.  The cape is affixed to the torso, and not removable, which was slightly surprising, but I don’t mind it too much, since it means it’s not flapping all over the place.  Like the sculpt, the paintwork on Mumm-Ra is clean and sharp.  He’s bright and eye-catching, and he has all of the important details that he should.  He doesn’t really have any of the smaller details like the Leatherface did, but it’s befitting of Mumm-Ra’s cleaner design.  Mumm-Ra is packed with his double-bladed sword, which he has a little bit of trouble holding, but is otherwise a pretty cool piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never been a super hardcore Thundercats fan, but I do have some of the toys from the 2011 relaunch, and I can certainly appreciate the style they’re going for with these figures.  This one’s not actually mine.  As with Leatherface, Mumm-Ra arrived at the store with a limb popped out of place (though it was an arm this time).  While I don’t know that I would have chosen Mumm-Ra on my own, I certainly like this figure, and I’m definitely planning to pick up at lest the Tygra figure from Series 2.

As noted above, the Mumm-Ra figure featured here was provided to me for review by my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’d like one of your own, they still have them in-stock through their web store.  And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, check out their eBay store front or their web store!

#1918: Havok

HAVOK

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“Separated from his brother Scott — who would eventually grow into the mutant Cyclops — and cut off from his own powers by Mr. Sinister, Alex Summers grew up ignorant of his mutant heritage. As a result, he wasn’t trained in the use of his powers until late in life. He has since overcome that obstacle and turned into a powerful hero in his own right, leading a team of mutant adventurers into deep space against the insane despot Vulcan.”

For the seventeenth, and I do believe final, entry in this year’s roundup of post-Christmas reviews, I’m touching on one of the little quirks of my collecting habits: owning every figure of certain characters.  There are just some characters that really resonate with me, and are minor enough that owning all of their figures is actually a totally attainable thing*.  One of those characters is my favorite member of the X-Men, Alex Summers, also known as Havok!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Havok was released in Wave 8 of Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line, which was the third assortment of the line’s second year.  He was numbered 018, following the relaunched numbering stucture of 2010, and was also one of the five Fan’s Choice figures released in the line that year.  There were two different versions of Havok to be had.  The regular release was his then-current costume, while the variant release, which I’m looking at here, was his classic gear.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Havok made use of the body originally used for Black-Costumed Spidey, one of Hasbro’s favorite bodies from this line.  It was one of the better bodies from the line’s debut year, but it was still a little wonky.  It feels a bit like the antithesis of the body Moon Knight was on; this figure seems to have gained the segment of torso length that was missing from the former.  Also, the very skinny nature of this figure’s legs had a tendency to give him some stability issues.  A later variant of this body added swivel joints to his thighs to aid somewhat, but no such luck this early into the line.  Havok sports a brand new head sculpt, which is definitely the highlight of the figure.  Early MU sculpts weren’t the most detailed, but Havok’s actually looks pretty decent, and I certainly applaud their choice not to go with a screaming look, while still giving him that proper Alex Summers pout.  His distinctive headgear is actually a separate piece, and it’s not held in place by anything more than some rather shallow pegs, meaning it’s a little on the floppy side.  I found that a small touch of super glue was needed to keep the figure from being too frustrating.  I’m not entirely sure why it wasn’t just glued down in the first place, but there you have it.  Havok’s paintwork is rather on the simple side, but the application is all pretty clean, and his design looks just as striking as it should.  Havok was packed with an energy effect piece (borrowed from the prior year’s classic Iron Man), as well as a display stand with his name and number on it. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is the last Havok figure I didn’t own, and he’s kind of been my white whale for a little while.  I mean, not in a crazy, ranting and raving, risk my life to get him sort of a way, but more a “always be the one that got away” sort of a way.  I grabbed the standard Havok when he was new, and I knew this guy was supposed to be showing up in revision cases, but I never once saw him.  Then the line was done, and he was going for some crazy high prices for a while, and I just sort of gave up and accepted my little Havok collection as incomplete.  Of course, my parents, who got me into this whole Havok-collecting thing in the first place, weren’t going to stand for any of that nonsense, and so this guy was among my presents this past Christmas.  Is he the greatest Havok figure ever? Nah, but I do sure like him a lot, and I’m happy to have the whole group together!

*To date, I’ve attained this with three characters of note.  Havok, of course, as this review indicates, as well as Wonder Man and Elongated Man.

#1917: Doctor Who Series 6 set

ELEVENTH DOCTOR W/ COWBOY HAT, CORRODED CYBERMAN, & SILENCE

DOCTOR WHO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

Hey, remember yesterday when I reviewed some Doctor Who figures?  Wanna see me do it again?  I sure hope you do, because…uhh, well, that’s what I’m doing.  But these Who figures come from way later in the franchise, because timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly something or other.  Yeah, that’s it.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The three figures featured in today’s review make up the Series 6 boxed set, which are all based on the second series of Matt Smith’s run as the character.  There’s a variant of Eleven, a variant of a Cyberman, and a variant of a Silence.  It’s just variants all around!

ELEVENTH DOCTOR

Hey!  It’s another Eleventh Doctor.  But this one’s different!  He’s got a new hat!  No, really, that’s the big difference.  They took the basic Eleven from the 11 Doctors set, slapped a Cowboy hat on him, and called it a day.  If you want to know my opinions on the sculpt, go read that review, because, yeah, just the new head on this one.  The hat’s decent enough; it’s molded in place, since that’s really the only way to handle it with Smith’s big mop of hair.  The paint is actually a fair bit different, and not really in a good way.  There was a lot of subtle work going on with the prior figure that I really liked, but this one ends up stripping it down to just the basics.  The shirt, for instance, is straight white, despite the fact that I don’t believe Eleven ever just wore straight white.  Oh well.  He’s packed with his standard sonic screwdriver, which is the only accessory in this set.

CORRODED CYBERMAN

Hey!  It’s another Cyberman!  But this one’s different!  He’s got a new corrosion!  …Yeah, umm, so they kind of did it again.  This figure is built from the same base parts as the Cyberman from the Doomsday set I looked at back during the site’s first year.  There’s a tweaked torso simulating the damage, and then a really mucked up paint job, giving him that extra corroded feel.  I’ve always liked the Cyberman sculpt, and I certainly like seeing it here with some slightly different accent work.

SILENCE

Hey!  It’s another Silence!  But this one’s…actually not really that different from the last one.  Yeah, it’s one of these reviews.  This Silence is virtually identical to the prior Silence figure I reviewed.  The difference between the two is the head, which on this figure is sporting a sort of a screaming expression, I guess.  The Silence would do this from time to time.  I don’t really find it to be as versatile as the basic figure’s expression, but I guess it works well enough.  Beyond that, he’s the same figure, just minus the electricity effects, which is kind of a shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, this trio came from my Super Awesome Fiancee’s parents.  It’s not the most exciting bunch of figures.  Eleven’s non-standard, but not distinct enough to really feel worth it.  The Cyberman and Silence are nice enough figures, and technically army builders, so they aren’t a waste, but they do feel a little redundant if you already have the single releases.  Ultimately, it’s a set that probably should have been split up and packed with more exciting figures, because as it stands, it lacks any real hook.

#1916: The Fourth Doctor & Dalek

THE FOURTH DOCTOR & DALEK

DOCTOR WHO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

So, I was all prepped to kick this review off by remarking how freakishly long it had been since I’d reviewed anything Doctor Who…and then I realized I totally reviewed a figure of the Tenth Doctor back in August.  I mean, that’s still five months and all, but hardly a cause for exclamation, really.  An area of the franchise I’ve only just touched on is Classic Who.  My introduction to the show was with Eccleston, and a lot of the merchandise was driven by the Tennant and Smith eras, but there’s still a healthy helping of merch for the older doctors as well, especially for Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor, seen by many as the definitive take on the character (not by me, but that’s a whole other thing).  I’ll be looking at variant of Four today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pairing was one of 11 “Doctor and Dalek” two-packs released in 2013 as exclusives to the UK-branch of Toys R Us, before being distributed through specialty shops in the US.  This pair of figures is based on “Genesis of the Daleks,” one of the most popular serials from the Fourth Doctor’s tenure.

THE FOURTH DOCTOR

This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at the Fourth Doctor, since I also did that mammoth-sized review of the 11 Doctors boxed set, which nearly killed me.  This one seems less death-inducing.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation, keeping consistent with the line as a whole.  The Doctor’s sculpt did surprise me slightly, since it’s not just the same as the prior figure I looked at.  It’s still a repaint (because all of the figures in the “Doctor and Dalek” line-up were), but this Fourth Doctor is actually wearing a rather different outfit from the last one.  It’s the same overall appearance, of course, and the two share a number of pieces between them for consistency’s sake.  The main differences are the jacket, tie, and shoes.  While I like the new shoes, which feature some nifty detailing, the much smoother jacket doesn’t seem quite as cool to me, since the detailing on the jacket was one of my favorite parts of the last figure.  Paint’s another area where the figure slightly changes things up, with a few color swaps here and there.  For the most part, it’s about the same quality as the last one, though the skin tone on this one seems a little less organic than the last one.  The Fourth Doctor’s one accessory is his Sonic Screwdriver.

DALEK

Obviously, a “Doctor and Dalek” set needs a Dalek.  So, here he is.  He’s a pretty straightforward “classic” Dalek.  He’s about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation, like most Daleks do.  This one is pretty similar in construction to the Dalek Sek figure I looked at way back when, just with slightly different “horns” on his head to show that he’s not from the RTD era like that one was.  It’s a very nice sculpt, filled with lots of in depth details, which really make him look like a scaled down prop from the show.  This Dalek is somewhat less colorful than others have been, with a sort of grayish-blue as his main hue.  It does the sculpt well, though, and ends up being pretty eye-catching.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair were a Christmas gift from my Super Awesome Fiancee’s parents, based on some suggestions from Super Awesome Fiancee herself.  I think they may have been part of a bulk buy of some other Who stuff.  I don’t know that this Fourth Doctor really out-paces the 11 Doctors one, but he’s a decent enough offering.  The Dalek, on the other hand, is a lot of fun, and will likely end up nearer the front of my Who shelf.

#1915: Turbo Builder Set

TURBO BUILDER SET (W/ JONESY & RAVEN)

FORTNITE (JAZWARES)

Well, with another week of Post-Christmas reviews under my belt, and a theme thoroughly exhausted, let’s go back to the beginning.  Yep, I started this year’s round of gift reviews off with a Fortnite item, and here I am with another.  I know, I’m as surprised as all of you.  With my last Fortnite review being on the smaller side, I’m jumping over the other end of the spectrum, and taking a look at one of the largest offerings in the line, the Turbo Builder Set, featuring Jonesy and Raven!

THE SET ITSELF

The Turbo Builder Set is the largest offering so far from Jazwares’ Fortnite line.  It’s made up of the two figures, the AC/DC and standard pickaxe harvesting tools, the hunting rifle, revolver, submachine gun, tactical shotgun, and, of course, the main focus, a whopping 81 building plates, evenly divided between wooden planks, sheet metal, and brick and mortar.  There are a lot of building options with the plates, and they are of course completely inter-compatible with the ones included with Rust Lord and Raptor.  They can be a little tricky to assemble and take back apart multiple times, which led to a few broken connectors on mine, but with the sheer quantity offered here, I don’t foresee it being too much of an issue.

JONESY

Jonesy is another character that seems to be leaning heavily on the G.I. Joe end of the spectrum, and also being about as standard issue as you can get.  There are a lot of potential variants of Jonesy, but this one seems to be based on his “Survival” variant, which again looks to be using some pretty standard issue looks.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  He’s built in the same fashion as the last two figures I looked at, meaning there are a number of similarities to the 25th Anniversary Joes.  Jonesy has the first parts re-use I’ve seen in the line, with a small handful of parts being shared with the Rust Lord figures.  It’s just the lower arms, lower legs, and pelvis, which appear to be pretty similar elements in game as well.  I was surprised by how few of those parts were actually re-used, given that some of the uniquely sculpted parts are just small tweaks away from being the same.  Hey, I’m not going to knock the attention to detail, though.  Jonesy’s head is further on the cartoony side of things than some of the line’s other offerings, which I’m not huge on, because it’ll make slotting him in with Joes a little harder.  That said, it’s still a decent enough sculpt, and it’s pretty accurate to the game design.  His paintwork is pretty decently handled.  Application is clean, and there don’t appear to be any missing applications.  I was also quite impressed by the tattoo on his right arm; that’s a nice attention to detail.

RAVEN

Definitely the most unique of the figures I’ve looked at from this line, Raven moves away from the knock-off G.I. Joe bit that the others possess.  Raven’s design is one of the ones that’s a bit more dependent on the game’s animation style to sell it, which makes its translation to toy form a little more difficult.  The end result is okay, but not quite as impressive as I’d hoped.  The biggest letdown is the implementation of his head; in the game, he’s got a hood that obscures is face, so that all you can see are his eyes peering out.  I was expecting something along the lines of a Moon Knight figure, with a featureless black head underneath of a sculpted hood.  Instead, the figure has an empty head with some eyes sculpted on it.  It’s pretty shallow, so it never seems to look quite right, especially when directly lit.  The design of the body also ends up limiting the articulation a bit more than usual, especially in the arms.  Beyond that, there are still some nice details worked throughout, and he’s still a generally enjoyable figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on in my Black Series reviews, there was some slight worry about those figures not arriving in time for Christmas.  Since they were going to be my main gift, Super Awesome Fiancee wanted to make sure I had *something* and since I’d mentioned this set in passing when I got Rust Lord, she tracked one down for me.  Of course the Black Series figures ended up arriving on time, so I guess it just worked out well for me.  Jonesy’s another for my “augmenting my Joes” venture, Raven’s a flawed but entertaining figure, and the building plates are certainly going to make for some fun diorama building.  All in all, another winning piece from this line.  I hope that Jazwares can keep it up!

#1914: Rio Durant

RIO DURANT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rio Durant has carried out dangerous operations alongside the scoundrel Tobias Beckett for years. The good-natured Ardennian pilot is up for any challenge, not unlike his young counterpart Han Solo.”

What do Rio Durant and head Mandolorian Pre Vizla have in common?  Well, in addition to both being characters from the prequel era of Star Wars, they’re also both voiced by director Jon Favreau, who will once more be returning to the world of  Star Wars for the TV-bound The Mandalorian.  But, let’s stay focused on the here and now!  It’s time to look at this here Rio Durant action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rio is figure 77 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the four Solo figures, and the final figure in general in the latest assortment of Black Series figures.  Rio’s seen here in his basic pilot’s gear, which is really the only prominent look he’s got.  Fortunately, it’s a good one.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 41 points of articulation.  All those extra arms sure do help him keep that articulation count high!  Rio’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and it’s a top-notch one, just like the rest of this assortment.  As with L3, the figure really benefits from having waited until all of the final designs were available, thus allowing him to be as screen-accurate as possible.  He’s pretty much a pitch-perfect recreation of the on-screen design, and there’s a lot of very sharp detail work going on here.  Additionally, the articulation has been very nicely implemented, so he’s really, really posable.  They’ve even wisely given his holster an easy to pop-out plug, thereby removing the potential of restricting his hip joint on that leg.  It’s simple, but one of the more inventive things I’ve seen Hasbro implement on these figures.  Rio’s paintwork is clean, bold, and eye-catching.  There’s some slight weathering on his belt and jumpsuit, plus some pretty subtle accent work on his exposed skin, giving him a nice real-world-quality.  Rio is packed with a blaster pistol, a larger blaster rifle, and a removable pair of goggles, making him one of the best accessorized figures in the assortment.  The rifle in particular is one of my favorites from the line, just because of how unique and different it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rio was one of my favorite parts of Solo, and like L3, I was a little bummed that he wasn’t among any of the earlier offerings.  As a whole, this assortment had quite a few figures that were very high on my want list, and Rio still found himself near the top of the list.  A lot of great work went into this guy, and he continues the Solo sub-line’s trend of just being really darn good.  I’m happy to have finally rounded out Beckett’s crew, and even happier that it was with such a great figure.

#1913: Lando Calrissian – Skiff Guard

LANDO CALRISSIAN — SKIFF GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Once a smooth-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire. When his old friend Han was held captive in the palace of Jabba the Hutt, Lando joined Princess Leia in a mission to rescue him from certain demise.”

Lando Calrissian may not have joined our heroes until their second outing, but he has maintained a notoriety amongst the fanbase, no doubt due to his suave scoundrel-y nature.  Despite this, he didn’t actually join the Black Series line-up until four years into its run, and with a figure that only saw moderate release at that.  Fortunately, his presence in 2018’s Solo brought him more into the spotlight, with two separate Black Series releases.  The first was based on his Solo appearance, but the follow-up gives us Lando’s Palace Guard disguise from Return of the Jedi‘s opening moments.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Skiff Guard Lando is figure 76 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the second to last figure in the newest assortment, as well as the final of the OT figures this time around.  The costume is from Jedi, which makes it slightly out of place in a Solo/Empire split assortment, but it’s actually pretty well chosen, given the costume’s cameo appearance as Beckett’s heist disguise in Solo.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This Lando is head-to-toe a new sculpt.  While prior Skiff Landos have been known to reuse previous heads, that is thankfully not the case here.  While the prior Black Series head wasn’t *bad*, the likeness definitely could have been better, as this one deftly illustrates.  It’s hands down the best Billy Dee Williams likeness we’ve ever gotten from Hasbro.  The rest of the sculpt is pretty strong in its own right, with nice balanced proportions and a ton of detail worked all throughout.  There’s no shortage of texturing on this guy, meaning he’ll fit right in with the other denizens of Jabba’s palace.  The paint work on this figure is in line with the current improved standards of the line.  The base work is all clean, and there’s some pretty substantial accent work, showcasing that Jabba’s palace really isn’t the cleanest place to hang out.  He also uses the face-print tech, which builds on the figure’s already very strong head sculpt to give us a very realistic looking Lando.  Lando is packed with his Skiff Guard helmet, as well as the standard guard armament, the vibro-axe.  He doesn’t include the blaster we usually see with Skiff variants of Lando, but his hand is molded with a trigger finger, should you wish to arm Lando yourself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first Lando hit at a time when I wasn’t really able to buy many figures, so the one time I saw him, I had to pass on him.  While the Solo variant was certainly a strong offering, I was really hoping for a proper OT version.  While the Skiff Guard set-up isn’t necessarily my go-to look for Lando, there’s no denying that this is the best version of the character available.  I’m hopeful that Hasbro may give us a slightly udpated Bespin Lando down the line, maybe as part of the Archive line.  Until then, this guy will hold me over just fine.