#1672: Han Solo’s Land Speeder (w/ Han Solo)

HAN SOLO’S LAND SPEEDER (w/ HAN SOLO)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“Han is cagey about where he scored this overpowered M-68 land speeder, saying little beyond that its previous owner no longer had need of it.  The M-68 is a design from the ancient Core World of Corellia, now a principal starship production facility for the Galactic Empire.”

This week sees the release of the latest entry in the Star Wars franchise, Solo: A Star Wars Story.  The film’s been the source of its share of controversy since day 1, with its entire premise being based around re-casting a very prominent pop-culture icon.  The firing of its initial directors a good way into production didn’t help either.  Of course, the replacement director is Ron Howard, and he’s pretty top-notch, so I’m trying to go in with an open mind.  Anyway, I’ve got some of the toys, and I’m kicking things off with the main man himself and one of his vehicles.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Since he doesn’t yet have the Falcon at the time of this new movie, Han’s got a few different toys.  If Star Wars has taught us anything, it’s that before a main character can get a space ship, they have to have a land speeder of some sort.  Han gets one that’s more of a sports car than the one that we saw Luke driving in the first movie, but that sort of fits his character, right?  Anyway, Han’s Speeder was part of the new Solo product launch, as a mid-sized vehicle (it’s at the same price point as the A-Wing and Canto Bight Police Speeder from The Last Jedi).  There’s less assembly on this guy than on other vehicles, with just the back tail fin needing to be popped into place.  The speeder measures 9 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide.  It’s got no articulated parts, not even the steering wheel, which was a little disappointing, but not incredibly surprising given other vehicles in this range.  As far as scaling goes, this is definitely the least scaled down of all the modern Star Wars vehicles, and going by what we’ve seen from the film, it looks like it’s not terribly far off from the intended size.  The sculpt is, of course, unique, and does a respectable job translating the design from the film, which looks to be a decent melding of the Prequel and Original Trilogy sensibilities.  I like it a lot.  Paint’s kind of basic, but it gets the job done, and there are at least a few cool dings and scrapes to make it look a bit more “real.”  The speeder has an action feature built into it.  There’s a spring under the driver’s seat, and it pops up when the front of the speeder is depressed, as if in a head on collision.  I’m guessing this is related to something that happens in the film, but time will tell.  The only real downside of this feature is the use of rubber for the front of the speeder, as I’m not quite sure how that will hold up long-term.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the vehicle is your main character, Han Solo, in his new, non-Harrison-Ford-y form.  This figure gives us a slightly different look than the standard jacketed look we’ve been seeing most places.  It looks to match the vehicle, though, which makes sense.  It’s a different look, though, and I quite like it.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt is new, but I’m going to assume the head’s probably shared with the other 3 3/4-inch Han figures from this line.  It’s a decent enough match for the actor, though clearly not at the same level as the larger Black Series figure.  The body’s a pretty decent piece as well.  The vest is separate, and can be removed if you so choose, though he’s definitely not designed with that in mind.  His legs are a little boxy for my taste, but for the most part, his proportions and build do seem pretty realistic.  Han’s paintwork is about par for the course on this line.  Its clean overall, and the important details are all there.  They’ve attempted some dirt detailing on his boots, but it really just looks like paint splatters.  Han is packed with a blaster, which is curiously different from his usual model.  He has no holster for it, but he can hold it well enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first stop looking for Solo product yielded only the Black Series Han, and no small-scale offerings.  My second stop was more successful, but it was on this second stop that I discovered that to get a smaller Han, you’re pretty much locked into at minimum a $30 purchase.  Given the choice between Han and the new Force Link reader and Han and a Speeder, I felt the speeder set was the better value.  Going by what I’ve seen on shelves, I’d say most fans agree with me.  This is a pretty fun set, provided you’re into this style of line.  If you liked the small vehicles from TLJ, you’ll like this one.  If you’re looking for something less toy-etic, this might not be for you.

Advertisements

#1671: Cull Obsidian

CULL OBSIDIAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Though in many ways calling back to the classic Infinity Gauntlet, Avengers: Infinity War did offer a few newer concepts as well.  Included amongst those new concepts were the members of the Black Order, Thanos’s generals from the Infinity event.  In the comics, the name of the big bruiser was “Black Dwarf,” but for the purposes of the movie, he’s Cull Obsidian…in theory.  His name’s never spoken on-screen.  I suppose he could get named in a deleted scene or something.  He still managed to get a figure out the deal, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cull Obsidian is the eponymous Build-A-Figure for the Cull Obsidian Series, the second Infinity War-themed series of Marvel Legends.  Though not as unquestionably perfect as Thanos was in the first series, he’s still a pretty solid choice, being one of the few other “large” character designs in the film.  I suppose they could have gone for the new Hulkbuster armor, but I’d much rather get a new character out of things.  Cull is the second member of the Black Order we’ve gotten in Legends form, following the Thanos Series’ Proxima Midnight figure.  The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Cull’s figure is sporting an all-new sculpt, based on his design from the film…in theory.  For whatever reason, despite the other three members of the team maintaining the same basic design for pretty much the entirety of the pre-production process, Cull Obsidian’s design went through some pretty major changes on the way to the final film.  Unfortunately, since action figures have a somewhat lengthy production process, this means this Cull Obsidian figure ended up based on an out of date design.  He’s a bit more savage, and less armored than his film counterpart, and ends up looking a little more like his comics counterpart (though even that’s not a perfect match).  It’s not Hasbro’s fault that design changed, though, so I guess the best that can be done is to just look at the sculpt on its own merits.  I have to admit, it’s actually pretty solid.  The head’s my favorite part, being the part that ends up the most accurate, but also the part that sports the sharpest detail work.  The rest of the sculpt is also pretty nicely detailed, though the arms and legs are noticeably softer on the details than the head and torso.  The articulation would probably be worked in a little smoother, especially on the arms and the mid-torso joint.  Nevertheless, it’s a sculpt that’s quite impressive as a whole.  The paintwork on Cull is pretty decent as well.  There’s some nice, subtle accent work on the skin of the head and torso. Sadly, this doesn’t continue beyond those sections.  I mean, it’s not horribly jarring, but it’s slightly frustrating.  Though he’s a Build-A-Figure, and therefore an accessory himself, Cull does still get an extra.  It’s his hammer…in theory.  You know how Cull’s design changed?  Yep, well that extends to the hammer as well.  It’s more of a pickaxe sort of a thing in the final film, and asymmetrical in design.  Here, it’s a perfectly symmetrical, very squared-off hammer.  Also, he can only hold it in his left hand, despite being a righty in the film.  Odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cull isn’t a majorly prominent character in Infinity War, but I liked him well enough in the film that I was looking forward to this figure.  Additionally, I was actively interested in 5 of the 6 figures it took to complete him.  Wasn’t much of a stretch to get him completed, really.  Despite his not being accurate to his final film design, I do actually like this figure quite a bit, and I think he’s a more exciting Build-A-Figure than the Thanos that preceded him.  It’s just a shame he’s not screen-accurate, since a second chance at him seems rather unlikely.

Cull Obsidian was assembled by purchasing this whole set of figures from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

The Blaster In Question #0054: First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (Heavy)

BlasterInQuestion1

STORMTROOPER DELUXE BLASTER

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (GLOWSTRIKE)

stormheavy1Hang on a minute… Haven’t I already reviewed this blaster?  Not exactly.  This is really just another example of Nerf running out of names for their products.  It’s hardly a new problem, just ask the Hornet, Snapfire, or Secret Shot, but this is indeed a different blaster from the previous The Force Awakens model.  Being a Stormtrooper blaster, we already know the accuracy is going to be abysmal, but let’s not start the review off biased.  Who knows, maybe it’s actually ok? 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

stormheavy2The First Order Stormtrooper Deluxe Blaster (I’ll call it the Heavy Blaster for clarity’s sake) was released in 2017 as part of the lineup of Star Wars branded blasters in conjunction with the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi.  It’s built on a standard electronic flywheel setup, albeit with the magazine sticking out the left side of the blaster instead of straight down.  Functionally it operates just like any of the other semi-auto flywheel blasters out there, but it does it with more pizzaz, just so long as pizzaz doesn’t include good performance (spoilers).  The FOSDHB does the same song and dance that all recent Star Wars Nerf products have been doing lately with the Glowstrike and the lights and sounds.  Pressing the rev switch turns on the UV LEDs in the chamber of the blaster as well as revving up the flywheels.  Pulling the trigger activates the lights and sounds regardless of whether or not the rev switch is pressed.  The lights and sounds are decent but could probably have used just a little refinement.  The lights along the barrel flash in succession when the trigger is pulled, creating a kind of laser pulse effect, but given how spread out they are on this blaster, they feel sluggish especially for something that should be traveling at light speed.  The sounds are similarly disappointing.  It seems like Nerf wanted to set the FOSDHB apart by giving it more than one blaster sound effect which sounds good on paper, but less so from the actual blaster.  Instead of having three distinct and stormheavy4unique blast sounds, the FOSDHB has a single “pew” but it is just randomly modulated into one of three pitches which sounds less like laying down suppressing fire on some rebel scum and more like you just suck at playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  Turns out Stormtroopers cant even hit a note.  (HOOOOOO!) That joke has probably been made at least a million times but I still went for it.  You can’t stop me.  The construction of the blaster is mostly pretty solid.  The stock feels a little flimsy but I haven’t had any actual problems with it yet.  At least it has a nifty feature where it can act as magazine storage if you have a spare lying around somewhere.  The ergonomics aren’t bad but it does seem like this blaster has a more modern style grip on it.  After digging around online, I believe this blaster is built on a Lewis Gun which has a very different grip and stock shape.  The blaster in the film also has a neat foldable stand that extends from the underside to create a mounted machine gun kind of setup.  Sadly, the Nerf version doesn’t have this feature but it does at least have a mounting bracket which can be used with the tripod from the Vulcan or RhinoFire if you have one of those.  I probably don’t need to say anything about this blaster’s performance given the enormous barrel, single set of batteries powering all the lights and sounds as well as the motors, or just the track record of Star Wars blasters’ performances, but I will anyway.  It’s bad.  It’s real bad.  stormheavy3The darts that leave the barrel when you fire are just not motivated at all.  I almost wish that instead of laser pew pew sounds, the blaster just had Alan Rickman’s lines from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  They don’t go far, they don’t hit hard, and by the time they’re out of the barrel, most of the glow-in-the-dark charge has faded.  It’s just really not a great blaster.  I would not recommend this one for use against younger siblings.  It does not have the power to back up how obscenely big and noisy it is so you’re more likely to come across as clownish rather than imposing and scary.  Even after all of these issues, I haven’t gotten to the biggest one of them all, the price.  I don’t usually mention the price of blasters unless there’s a good reason to, and in this case, for a vastly underpowered, unwieldy, pew pew Stryfe, an MSRP of $80 is imbecilically high.  It comes with 4 AA batteries already installed, so I guess you can deduct that from the price, but still.  The FOSDHB comes packaged with a 12 round magazine and 12 Glowstrike Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Thankfully, I did not pay full price for my blaster.  As with so many new purchases these days,  this came from ToysRUs, the UK to the toy industry’s European Union.  Based on what was said, we really thought they’d be gone by now.  What was I talking about?  Right, politics, that’s what you want from a toy blog.  This blaster is really disappointing, but that being said, if you want one, TRU still has plenty in stock and they’re getting cheaper, so there’s that.  Now let me tell you about Trump.  What’s that?  Ethan has just informed me that I’m fired if I start talking politics.  I suppose that’s reasonable.  Yay toys!

#1670: Wasp

WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Hope van Dyne gears up signature stingers and high tech wings as the buzz worthy hero, Wasp.”

Wasp has perhaps been one of the MCU’s most prominent missing heroes.  She was attached to the pre-MCU version of the Ant-Man movie, and then even appeared in initial drafts of 2012’s Avengers (before Iron Man 2 introduced Black Widow, who would take her place in the roster).  There were even numerous rumors of her playing a larger part in Ant-Man, but Janet Van Dyne was ultimately relegated to a brief cameo via flashback.  It was super cool, but not quite what some fans were hoping for.  Fortunately, the film’s stinger (no pun intended) hinted at Janet’s daughter Hope taking on the role, and this year’s sequel is taking that to heart, even elevating her to a full-fledged deuteragonist.  Perfect time for her to get some action figure love!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp is the last single-packed figure in the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  She completes the two-figure Ant-Man & The Wasp subset started by Ant-Man, obviously.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 31 points of articulation (those wings help pull her ahead of her partner).  Wasp is based on her design from the movie, of course.  It’s not quite the design we were shown in the first film’s stinger, but it’s not terribly far removed either.  It incorporates a lot of elements of the black and gold outfit that Jan wore for a while in the comics, but mixes things up by throwing in some reds and blues to keep her a little more visually interesting (and, I’d imagine, to also further distance her from Yellow Jacket’s design from the last film).  It also adds a helmet, similar to the one Scott’s sporting as Ant-Man.  All-in-all, it’s actually a pretty solid design, which nicely distills Wasp’s many designs over the years into one striking look.  The figure’s sculpt is all-new, of course, and is about on par with yesterday’s Ant-Man figure.  Actually, I’ll take that back.  This sculpt does one better on that one by including translucent plastic for the lenses of her mask and including her eyes beneath.  That’s an awesome touch, and it makes me wish even more that Ant-Man had also included it.  The paintwork on Wasp is pretty solid stuff.  The application is all nice and clean, something I know never to take for granted with a Hasbro figure.  All of the colors are pretty bold, and the reds and golds stand out well from the dark blue that makes up the base body.  The eyes beneath the mask are likewise clean, and well defined. I also really dig the translucent plastic on the wings.  Wasp includes an extra unmasked head, which sports a fantastic likeness of Evangeline Lily, as well as two sets of hands in both fists and flat-handed configurations, and a spare back-pack without the wings deployed.  It all adds up to a figure that gives you quite a few display options, thus making up for the fact that she doesn’t have as many figures as her co-star.  Wasp is also packed with the last piece of Cull Obsidian, his head.  That’s important, I’d say!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This incarnation of Wasp has no prior figures, so she has nothing to live up to in terms of direct comparison, but after the awesome Ant-Man figure from this same assortment, she definitely had a bar set to clear.  Fortunately, she buzzed right over it.  Ant-Man’s pretty awesome, but there were a few small flaws with that figure that this one corrects.  What’s more, it’s just really cool to finally have an MCU Wasp figure!

Wasp was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1669: Ant-Man

ANT-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Scott Lang suits up as Ant-Man with a specialized suit engineered by Pym Technologies that lets him blast into any battle, big or small.”

Ant-Man was a film that sure took its sweet time making its way to the big screen, but its sequel, Ant-Man & Wasp seems to have had a much easier time of it, being released just three years after its predecessor, and without any notable production issues.  Like the first film, it would appear this sequel will be serving as a little bit of a breather, following the much heavier Avengers: Infinity War.  The first time around, Ant-Man got its own series of Legends, which hung around for a bit.  This time, Hasbro’s rolled the Infinity War and Ant-Man & Wasp figures into one more generically “Avengers” themed assortment, which seems like a pretty smart move.  Up first, the guy who’s name is first in the title, Ant-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ant-Man is part of the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  Though the theme is more Infinity War, the first Ant-Man assortment had Ultron as the Build-A-Figure, so Ant-Man being part of an assortment that builds an Avengers foe isn’t without precedent.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This Ant-Man gets an all-new sculpt, based on his design from the upcoming film.  It appears that Ant-Man’s suit has been tweaked yet again, giving us something that’s sort of a midway point between his solo and Civil War designs.  It’s definitely my favorite of the the three we’ve gotten so far, and seems to preserve even more of the classic comics design than we’ve seen in previous costumes.  Unlike both Ant-Man and Giant-Man, this figure appears to actually be pretty darn close to the final film design, at least from what we’ve seen in the trailers.  At the very least, the helmet’s quite accurate, which is a tremendous improvement over the first figure.  His body also lacks the overall scrawniness of the Giant-Man figure, which is another plus.  Even without comparing it to the prior figures, the texturing, the layering, and the overall proportions of the sculpt are just really strong, and make it a definite standout.  If I have one complaint, it’s that I miss the visible eyes from the Giant-Man figure.  That would have added an extra kick to this already strong sculpt.  The paint work on this guy is also pretty strong.  The costume has a lot more red this time around, which I certainly prefer to all that black from the first design.  The application is all pretty solid, with only minimal bleed over.  I’m not super crazy about the swirly molded silver plastic on the helmet, but fortunately, all the other silvers are painted.  Ant-Man is packed with an extra, unmasked Scott Lang head.  It has a decent likeness of Paul Rudd, but that grin is definitely more caricature than realism.  I mean, I prefer it to another bland expression, and I’m glad Hasbro tried something different, but I’m going to be keeping this one helmeted.  Also included is the leg of the Build-A-Figure Cull Obsidian.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I made the most of it at the time, I was always a little let-down by the first film’s figure of its main character.  Sure, it’s not a terrible figure by any stretch, but there are more than a few inaccuracies.  Hasbro was just in a very different place when that figure was released, and this guy definitely shows that.  I didn’t know quite what to expect from this guy, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I got him in-hand.  A stand-out figure in an already very strong line-up.  If not for Black Knight’s presence in this series, I think Ant-Man could have been top-dog.

Ant-Man was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1668: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When the state of the universe is thrown into chaos, Thor sets out to protect Earth and beyond.”

You can’t honestly be that surprised, can you?  I’m looking at the latest set of Infinity War-themed Marvel Legends and it’s a Thursday.  *Of course* I’m looking at the newest Thor figure!  What choice do I have?  None.  I had no choice at all.  Sorry, Tony, it was the only way.  Wait, wrong moment…uhhh, let’s just look at this here Thor figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is the second of two Infinity War-themed single releases from the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  This is the second IW-based Thor Legends release, following the one from the three-pack with Rocket and Groot.  That one was the early film look, while this one’s his design from the film’s climax.  It’s more in line with the same basic design he’s been sporting from the beginning, but with the shorter hair, of course.  As a major focal point of the film, and the only major character to truly have multiple distinctive designs, a second figure for Thor makes a lot of sense.  As with his triple-packed compatriot, this Thor figure stands 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  The two figures share a fair number of pieces (fitting, since it’s the same base design of the same guy from the same film), with the hands and lower half being identical, and the upper body being ever so slightly tweaked to allow for the cape.  The head is similar to the last one, but missing the eye-patch, of course.  I thought it might be the same sculpt that was used for the Ragnarok figure, but there’s actually a sculpted scar over the eye, so it’s at least slightly changed.  He also gets new arms, featuring his sleeves of armor, as well as the previously mentioned cape.  The new pieces match well with the film design, as well as the pre-existing parts, and make for a rather solid looking figure.  The paintwork is overall very strong work, and an improvement over the three-pack.  He lacks any of the electric effects that plagued that figure (which is a bit ironic, since they’d actually make far more sense here than on that figure), and instead gets a lot more texture work, especially on the boots, which look nice and weathered.  My only complaint has to do with the head. It’s still well-crafted, but something about it is just very un-Hemsworth.  I don’t really know who it looks like, but it’s not Chris. Thor is packed with his new weapon Stormbreaker, the main selling point of this guy.  It’s incredibly well-detailed, and even features a removable lightning effect. I know it wouldn’t be strictly movie accurate, but I wish they’d included a non-powered up eye-patch Head here too, since we didn’t get one.  Instead, we just get another piece, specifically the left arm, of Cull Obsidian.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t really sold on this guy initially.  I definitely liked the three-pack variant better, and this guy felt a little extraneous.  Upon getting him in hand, I’m sort of torn. He’s a lot better than I’d expected, and fixes some of the other figure’s flaws, but I just don’t like that head quite as much.  Fortunately, they’re easily swapped, allowing me my perfect Thor.

Thor was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1667: Black Widow

BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An agent of espionage and expert in hand-to-hand combat, Black Widow is trained to take out any enemy of justice.”

Despite some bad luck initially when it comes to action figures (being the only main team member from the 6-inch line for the first Avengers, being available only in an online-exclusive boxed set for AoU, etc.), things are starting to look up for Natasha Romanov.  In less than a year, she’s had a whopping three Marvel Legends, as well as being included in all three styles of the Infinity War product.  I’ve looked at the basic line’s take on her, and today I’m following that up with the Legends release!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Widow is part of the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  Outside of the Build-A-Figure, she’s one of two Infinity War-based figures in the assortment.  She’s got the same look as the basic figure, which is reasonable, since it’s also Widow’s only look in the film and all.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Despite the last two MCU Widows using the same mold, this one is all-new.  I really liked the basic figure’s sculpt, and wasn’t sure how this one would fare when compared, but oh boy is this one just an all-around improvement.  The head is pretty solid.  I think the basic figure might have the better overall likeness (I’m getting a bit of a Charlize Theron vibe from this one), but this is definitely the more lifelike of the two.  The proportions of the body are nicely balanced, the details of the costume are crisp, and there’s a ton of texturing all throughout.  The vest is a little bit bulky, but there’s a good reason for that; it’s a separate overlay piece.  Pop off the head, and there’s a fully detailed torso underneath, showcasing Widow’s standard body sculpt.  Apparently she just threw a vest over her prior outfit.  That’s a cool detail.  Widow’s paintwork is pretty solid stuff too, matching up with the sculpt in quality.  She’s got the new face print tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and appears to be improving for every figure they use it on.  The body suit has a lot of subtle variations of blacks and greys, stepping up what we saw on the last two Widow releases and keeping her visually interesting.  Widow is packed with two pairs of hands (fists and gripping), her twin batons (which can snap together into one staff), and a pair of tasers to store in her holsters.  I wish the batons could be stowed on her back like in the movie, but beyond that it’s a pretty good assortment of extras.  She also includes the torso of Cull Obsidian, by far the largest piece of him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure had a high bar to clear, since the basic line’s version of her was quite good.  I was expecting to get more milage out of that release before this one came along, but not so much.  This is a very strong figure, perhaps one of Hasbro’s strongest MCU figures, and certainly the best figure of Widow out there.  Now, I’m hoping we get a slight tweak on this one for a proper red-haired variant.

Black Widow was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1666: Malekith

MALEKITH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim, Malekith the Accursed uses dark magic to bring vengeful destruction to  the universe.”

Oh hey, look, it’s—*snore*….Wuzzat?  Oh, must have dozed off for a second there. Sorry, this happens when I have to talk about *yawn* Malekith.  He’s sort of a walking snoozefest.  Okay, that’s not entirely fair.  He’s a walking snoozefest in The Dark World.  This here isn’t movie Malekith, it’s comic Malekith, who is at least slightly more interesting, even if he is just sort of Loki-lite.  At the very least, his design is far more exciting, and thereby more ripe for translation into an action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Malekith is the second of the two comics-based figures in the Cull Obsidian Series of Marvel Legends.  This figure is actually just a slight tweak on the Malekith included in the SDCC 2017-exclusive Thor set.  The ease of creating this figure is probably what got him the slot, since this is otherwise a pretty new-tooling-heavy assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Malekith’s build on the Reaper body, which seems appropriate, given the overall larger stature of most of the Thor-themed characters.  He uses the bracer-sporting forearms first introduced on Namor, which follow Malekith’s comics design pretty well.  He’s also got a brand-new head, plus add-ons for his collar/shoulder pads, his skirt, and his belt.  The head’s actually a pretty nice piece.  The main head and the hair are separate pieces, allowing for some more depth, and there’s a great mad grin on his face, which feels right for the character.  The hair’s a bit restrictive, but otherwise looks pretty nice.  The new add-on pieces fit pretty well on the body, and help to differentiate him from all the others on this same base body.  The collar is a little floaty, but the hair helps to keep it in place most of the time.  The pleated nature of the skirt means that hip movement is thankfully left mostly un-hindered, which is a plus with designs like this.  Malekith’s main change from the SDCC release is paint.  The SDCC release was a darker, black and red combo, based on more recent appearances, whereas this figure opts for his classic more predominately red design.  The differences between the two are incredibly minor, just like last year’s Enchantress.  It’ll mostly come down to personal preference.  Malekith is packed with a big blade, which his hooked at one end, and serrated down one side.  It’s doing a lot of damage is what I’m getting at here.  He also includes the arm of the Build-A-Figure Cull Obsidian.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I mostly just got Malekith because I wanted to complete Cull Obsidian, so I didn’t have any real expectations of him.  I’m actually pretty happy with him in the end.  Sure, he’s not gonna wow me like Black Knight, but I chalk that up to not really being that much of a fan of the character.

Malekith was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  You can visit them in person on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD, or you can view their sizable online catalogue via their online store or their eBay store front!

#1665: Black Knight

BLACK KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An expert horseman and superior swordsman, Black Knight has a checkered history as a powerful combatant with no clear allegiance.”

“No clear allegiance”?  Are we all talking about the same Black Knight here?  Because this is supposed to be a Dane Whitman figure, and apart from a case of mistaken identity early into his first appearance, he’s been pretty firmly allied with the side of good for his 50 year-career.  <sigh> I’m critiquing the bio again, aren’t I?  I really gotta stop doing that.

Black Knight’s a character that doesn’t get lots of toys.  I’d chalk that up to him being relatively minor, though he does have a pretty solid fan-following.  To date, he’s had five figures, and I’ll be looking at the most recent of those today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Knight is one of the two comics-based figures headlining the Cull Obsidian-series of Marvel Legends.  He was actually the first figure we saw from the line-up, back in October.  This is Black Knight’s second Legends figure, but it’s been 11 years since the last one, and that one was never particularly good in the first place.  That one was also based on a more modern, and ultimately more forgettable design, while this one goes back to the classic appearance.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Black Knight is similar to the recently reviewed King Cobra, in that he’s *technically* built on the Bucky Cap base, but he uses mostly derivative parts of that.  He’s got the Bucky Cap pelvis and boots; that’s it.  Beyond that, he’s got the Hob/Green Goblin arms and legs, Dr. Strange’s torso, US Agent’s flared gloves, Zemo’s loincloth/belt, and Polaris’s cape.  This is the same construction that was used for the Raft boxed-set’s Dreadnought, which is what was expected.  It’s a good combo of parts, and, like with King Cobra, it shows how far you can get with just re-used parts.  In addition to all the re-used parts, Black Knight also gets three newly sculpted heads.  The first two are based on two variations of Dane’s helmet.  There’s a first appearance-based one with wings on the sides, as well as the more streamlined design that became his go-to later on.  Of the two, the winged one is my favorite, which surprised me a little, since I tend to like the streamlined look a bit more.  I think it’s partially to do with the facial expressions.  The streamlined design has a teeth-gritted, angry expression, while the winged one has a calmer look that I just prefer for the character.  If I had one minor complaint, it would be that the expressions can’t be swapped between the two helmets; I think that would add a lot to the figure.  The third head isn’t Dane, but is instead the fully-enclosed helmet of his Arthurian-era ancestor Sir Percy of Scandinavia.  Technically, it’d not a perfect match for the body, but it’s close enough to work, and it gets us an extra character.  The figure’s paintwork is pretty solid; it’s more subdued than what we saw on the Marvel Universe figure in terms of coloring, but it still works.  The application is mostly pretty clean, though I did notice a few small spots of slop.  My only real complaint is that his neck peg is molded in the dark blue plastic of his torso and helmet, so it sticks out against the otherwise silver neck.  It can be hidden with careful posing, but it’s still annoying.  In addition to having the two extra heads to swap out, Black Knight also includes his Ebony Blade, which is a unique sculpt (at least as far as I can tell).  He has a little trouble holding it in his right hand (since it was originally sculpted to hold a gun), but it’s not terrible, and it can also be stashed on his belt.  Black Knight also includes the leg of the Build-A-Figure Cull Obsidian, who I’ll be looking at later this week.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I enjoy Black Knight a lot as a character, and I’m always down for new figures.  His last Legends release was a disappointment, and contributed a bit to me falling out of collecting the line.  So, the announcement of this guy was definitely exciting for me.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting his release, and was pleasantly surprised to have found him so early!

In addition to the excitement of getting Black Knight, I have another exciting announcement!  Black Knight was purchased from The Figure in Question’s official sponsor All Time Toys.  All Time has been one of my go-to places for all sorts of cool action figures since they opened in 2007, so I’m thrilled to be working with them in a more official capacity.  If you’re local to the Ellicott City, Maryland area, you can visit them in person on Main Street, or you can also view their sizable online catalogue via their eBay store front!

#1664: Green Lantern & Star Sapphire

GREEN LANTERN & STAR SAPPHIRE

DC MINIMATES

It’s been almost two years since I last looked at any proper DC Minimates.  Plenty of other Minimates in the mean time, but not DC.  It’s sort of sad, really.  At the time, they were a beacon of hope, combating fears that the brand might be dying out.  They came in, stepped things up, and then ended up dying out themselves just before Minimates as a brand really took off.  We got eight series, a decent enough run, with most major players covered.  The Green Lanterns did alright, starting from day one, in fact, with a Hal Jordan and Star Sapphire pairing.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Green Lantern and Star Sapphire were part of the first series of DC Minimates.  Initially, they were meant to hit at the same time as the second and third series, to jumpstart the line in a similar fashion to the Marvel line, but delays set in, and the first series ended up hitting on its lonesome.

GREEN LANTERN

Green Lantern was just at the beginning of his upswing in popularity when this line launched, so his place in the first assortment was definitely a sensible one.  They went with Hal to start, which was certainly the smart choice.  He’s got his Bronze Age design, which has always been my personal favorite.  The figure is based on the standard ‘mate body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His only add-on piece is for his hair.  It was shared with this series’ Superman.  It’s an okay piece, but lacks the higher detailing of more recent offerings.  I myself have never been really big on the s-curl piece for Hal, since it just feels a bit too distinctly Superman, and doesn’t match Hal’s usual style.  I ended up replacing it with another piece, though he’s seen un-altered here.  The rest of the work is paint, which is actually pretty top-notch, apart from one or two small issues.  The detailing on the face is very clean, and very true to the character, and the torso detailing is spot-on.  There’s even a little bit of detailing on his right hand for his ring.  My only minor complaint is the epaulets on his shoulders, which here cover a much larger section of the arm, making them look more like t-shirt sleeves.  Far from terrible, but a minor annoyance.  GL includes his power batter, which is a fantastic piece, and expertly sculpted.

STAR SAPPHIRE

While Batman and Superman both got their primary villains in Series 1, GL’s main bad Sinestro had to wait for Series 8.  Instead, we got Star Sapphire, who’s still a pretty solid choice.  Like GL, she’s the classic incarnation of the character.  By far the best.  Presumably, this is Carol Danvers, but in a pinch there are probably others it could be.  She’s got two sculpted add-ons; one for her hair/mask, and one for her collar.  Neither’s as good as they could be.  The hair/mask combo was perhaps not the best way to handle it; sure, her mask sticks out in the comics, but I feel it would look better as a painted element.  It’s just a bit bulky as is.  The collar’s a good concept, but execution is once again just too bulky.  It ends up removing most of her neck.  I think just the collar, without the flesh bit attached, would have worked better, but this was at the time when a Marvel figure of an equivalent design would be using a whole bulked-up torso, so this was better.  At the very least, the collar is easily removed if you don’t like it.  Her paint’s not quite as good as GL’s; the actual detail lines are fine, but the base colors seem a little sloppy.  Overall, though, not bad.  Star Sapphire had no accessories.  I feel like an energy effect, or an extra hair piece would have been cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set, like every other DC Minimates set, from Cosmic Comix, as soon as they were released.  Prior to their release, I was hugely excited to get them.  As a big GL fan, this is actually the set that got me back into Minimates after a bit of a break, and kept me in the game for a solid decade.  The ‘mates themselves aren’t anything amazing, but they were rather momentous for me, and I still really like them.