#3287: Starscream – Armada Universe

STARSCREAM — ARMADA UNIVERSE

TRANSFORMERS LEGACY (HASBRO)

Launched in 2002, Transformers: Armada really did a great job of moving the collective consciousness back to vehicle mode Transformers after the shift caused by Beast Wars.  With it celebrating 20 years last year, it’s being given a little bit of extra focus in Hasbro’s Legacy imprint, albeit in a rather slow and drawn out sense.  To kick things off, Hasbro’s starting with one of the show’s real fan-favorites, its uniquely heroic take on Starscream.  I’m taking a look at that guy today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starscream is part of the third Voyager Class assortment of Transformers Legacy, alongside the Beast Wars version of Inferno.  The figures hit just before the end of last year.  This figure marks Armada Starscream’s second update since the original Armada run, following up on the Thrilling 30 release from 2014.  In his robot mode, Starscream stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 workable points of articulation.  He’s quite a bit more posable than his older release, which is definitely cool.  He’s definitely good for more than just standing around like the old one.  The all-new sculpt is a pretty solid piece.  He’s not quite as thick and blocky as the original figure, but he’s not as angular and thin as the Thrilling 30 release.  It’s a nice middle ground, as I always felt the Thrilling release was just a bit too far removed from that much bulkier Armada aesthetic.  This version hits the spot a lot better, and does a nice job of sticking pretty closely to how he looks in animation.  There’s one sizable downside to this sculpt: his complete lack of any sort of Mini Con ports.  The Cons were pretty essential to the whole Armada thing, and even if packing them in with the figures doesn’t cost out, not including the ports means that they can’t even be released after the fact.  Fortunately, it looks like there was a rather quick course correct on this one, as the upcoming Hot Shot has the ports accounted fore.  Like his sculpt, Starscream’s color work is likewise a pretty good match for his animated design.  The only notable change up is the lack of the black “collar” around the neck.  Otherwise, it looks spot-on, and the application’s all nice and cleanly applied.  Starscream is packed with his Energon Sword (designed to mimic the folding wing sword from the original release), as well as a small version of the Star Saber.

Like his original toy, this version of Armada Starscream transforms into a sci-fi jet.  The same sci-fi jet, even, which is nice bout of consistency.  His transformation sequence is a little more involved than the original, but it’s still got a similar layout.  It’s not too tricky, and it ultimately winds up with a pretty satisfying jet-mode.  He’s stripped of any of the electronic features of the original, but I can’t say I miss them.  In this mode, the swords can both be mounted under the wings, which isn’t quite as convenient and worked in as the original figure, but at least they can go somewhere?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Armada hits a real soft spot for me, being the first iteration of the franchise that I actively followed, while it was still fresh and new, no less.  I only had three figures during the original line’s run, but Starscream was one of them, and I’ve always enjoyed this take on the character.  I got a direct replacement for my original Starscream back in 2021, but the idea of an update, especially one a little more true to the character than the Thrilling 30 release.  The lack of Mini Con ports really does suck, but other than that, he’s a very fun update on a figure that I already really liked.  I’m even more hyped for Hot Shot now!

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

#3286: Nebula & Drax

NEBULA & DRAX

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos! The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.”

On December 20 of 2017, I noted in the intro to my Minimates Taserface and Mantis review that I hadn’t picked up the Toys R Us-exclusive Nebula and Drax two-pack. Well, the times they are a-changin…in the spring of 2018…when I actually bought this set.  And…then I took quite a few years to actually review it.  And I’m probably making it worse by drawing attention to it here.  But, you know what, I’m just going for it.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Nebula and Drax were the TRU-exclusive pack in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates, hitting about two months before the film’s release in 2017.  This pair rounded out the titular team from the film.

NEBULA

For the first movie, Nebula was exclusive to the specialty assortment, while this time around flipped the script and moved her over to TRU.  Still exclusive, but differently so, I suppose.  This release places her in her updated outfit she gets from the Ravagers mid-way through the film.  It’s not crazy different, but it’s got sleeves, and it’s a little redder.  The figure is based on the standard post-C3 Minimate body, so she’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Like her first release, Nebula is a vanilla ‘mate with no add-ons.  It makes sense, since she’s pretty svelte, and has no notable things that would require anything extra on the standard body.  Nebula’s paint is where the main work is going on.  The detail work is pretty solid; she gets things toned down a bit compared to the previous version, but it’s still impressive, as is the base color work.  Nebula is packed with a blaster pistol and a clear display stand.

DRAX

Drax’s look is the least changed of the main characters in the second Guardians, which makes this release seem pretty unneeded at first glance.  However, this one was largely used to correct an issue with the last release, which bulked him up with a bulky chest piece, generally seen as not the greatest choice for the character.  This one’s only sculpted add-on is a generic pelvis cap piece, which gives him a little more bulk without going too overboard.  Beyond the change of sculpt there are also some changes in terms of paint.  The upper half of the figure is fairly similar to the first movie version, but just a touch crisper on the details.  He also gets the blue Nova uniform pants, rather than the all-black ones, which feature a fair bit more detailing than the all-black ones from the first film.  Drax is packed with his two knives and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I got the whole Specialty assortment for this movie within a few months after their release, I held off on this one, for a few reasons.  Firstly, I hadn’t gone out and actually tried to find them, and moreover, I was content with the prior versions.  But, with TRU going out of business in 2018, I had another chance at them, for a much better deal.  Nebula I can take or leave; the first one is still a favorite of mine, so this one’s just different to be different.  Drax is actually an improvement, and I quite like the changes they’ve made here.

#3285: Warhawk

WARHAWK

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

“In the not too distant future, an older Bruce Wayne trains high school student Terry McGinnis to become the new Batman, ensuring the protection of Gotham City for years to come. This new Batman eventually joins the future JLU, teaming up with heroes such as Warhawk, the tough-as-nails son of John Stewart and Shayera Hol.”

Since Batman Beyond‘s tie-in toyline from when it was on the air wasn’t particularly comprehensive, and was effectively non-existent by the time of the later seasons, its best toy coverage came not in its own line, but rather as part of the line for its follow-up show, Justice League Unlimited.  JLU the show was used to more clearly tie the entire DCAU together, in particular giving a little more time to Beyond, as well as its own continuation of the Justice League, the Justice League….Unlimited.  Team member Warhawk, who had previously been something of a blank canvas, was given an actual proper backstory, which wound up being a key plot point within JLU‘s last couple seasons.  As such, he was a pretty natural fit to get his first action figure in JLU‘s tie-in line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Warhawk was released in one of the final retail three-pack assortments for Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line, alongside the previously reviewed Batman Beyond and Bruce Wayne.  The figure stands about 4 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 5 points of articulation.  Warhawk’s starting point was the medium base body, which was patterned on Green Lantern.  Given Warhawk’s parentage, as well as his usual build in the shows, it’s a pretty solid choice of base.  He gets a new head and an overlay piece for his shoulder plating and wings.  The head is a solid piece, though it seems to be a little more inspired by his Beyond appearances than by JLU proper.  They’re not terribly different, so it’s not like it’s really terribly noticeable, especially at this scale.  The overlay is pretty basic; while the hawk symbol appears to be a cut out piece on the show, it’s just painted here, probably for the sake of integrity of the piece.  The wings are separate pieces, glued in place here.  Warhawk’s paint work is fairly well handled.  It’s again going more for the Beyond appearance, given the shading of the skin, but the rest of the colors are pretty neutral for both sets of appearances.  Warhawk was without any accessories.  Most of the three-packs didn’t get any extras, and Warhawk already got quite a few new parts, so it’s not terribly surprising.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my review of Bruce and Terry, I was mostly out of the line by the time this set came along.  I saw the prototypes, but never anything in person.  Through All Time, I was able to get the other two a couple of years back, which was pretty cool.  But, I certainly had this distinct lack of a Warhawk figure in my collection, and, as luck would have it, the missing piece of the set made its way into All Time.  Boom.  Warhawk.  I’m glad I got him, because he’s honestly the best in the set.  Sure, it would be nice to have the whole team, but at least this guy got a cool toy out of it all.

#3284: Sgt Slaughter

SGT SLAUGHTER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Just about every member of the G.I. Joe team is qualified to be a drill instructor so it takes a special brand of heavy duty honcho to keep ’em squared away. Sgt. Slaughter fits the bill the way his bullet head fits his Smokey the Bear hat. Let’s face it, the man be rough and he take no guff.”

Wrestling isn’t really a thing I know much about, or even really pretend to know much about.  Sure, there’s a lot of action figure coverage for it, but none of it’s really my forte.  I do have my few exceptions, mostly in the scheme of wrestling working its way into other media.  For instance, G.I. Joe has the wonderful cross-section that is Sgt Slaughter!  After relaunching the brand into its smaller form, as well as successfully launching a comic book and a cartoon, Hasbro decided to add a slightly more fictionalized version of Robert Remus’s wrestling alter-ego to the Joe team.  He first appeared during the “Arise, Serpentor, Arise” five-part story which launched the cartoon’s second season, and joined the toyline in 1986, first as a mail-away figure, and then as a vehicle driver.  He got two more figures during the vintage line’s run, and has been an infrequent inclusion since.  When Classified Series launched, Slaughter’s rights were tied up with Action Force, but Hasbro was able to fairly quickly get things sorted out, in order to let the Sarge join the 6-inch Joes in proper form.  And hey, he’s not even a crazy stupid exclusive like the last three!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sgt Slaughter is figure 53 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up.  He’s his own Fan Channel-exclusive single release, officially occupying Hasbro’s more deluxe price point (presumably to help cover extra licensing costs).  This Sarge is based on his V2 figure from ’86, which was the one that actually gave him his show and comics accurate design, rather than just repurposing his wrestling attire.  It’s honestly the more sensible choice, and allows him to better mesh with the other figures we’ve already gotten from the line, so I dig it.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Slaughter’s sculpt re-uses the torso and arms from the Amazon-exclusive V1-style Roadblock, with the rest of his parts being all-new.  It has the side effect of his elbows not being pinless, while his knees are.  It’s a bit backwards, since that means he’s got the visible pins on his exposed arms, which messes with the flow just a little bit.  That said, it’s not the end of the world by any stretch.  The new parts are a good selection, which match well with the re-used stuff, while also sticking pretty close to his original look.  The head sports a likeness that merges the Sarge circa the ’80s with the general stylings of the modern line and how the characters tend to look.  His hat and glasses are both removable.  There’s always concern about how well such pieces are going to stay in place, but they actually go on pretty securely and stay there.  It makes for a very clean looking Sarge, which is exactly what you hope for.  The paint work is generally pretty straight forward.  It does what it needs to and the application is fairly sharp.  Slaughter is packed with a rather impressive selection of extras.  There’s the removable hat and glasses, of course, as well as his whistle and baton, plus an assault rifle, four sets of hands (fists, open gesture, gripping, and pointing), and a “World’s Smallest” Sgt Slaughter action figure, complete with its own packaging.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a definite soft spot for G.I. Joe: The Movie, so I’m a fan of all of its central characters.  Slaughter gets a pretty sizable role there, and it’s always stuck with me.  Amazingly, up to this point, I’ve not actually gotten any Slaughter figures, so Classified gave me the opportunity to finally fix that.  This guy’s a lot of fun.  There’s a lot going on here, which keeps him from quite falling into that “the old figure but larger” trap that the line’s unfortunately seeming to get stuck in a lot more recently.  He’s a fantastic stand alone piece.

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

#3283: Python Patrol Viper

PYTHON PATROL VIPER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Alright, for the ninth entry in this truly maddening concept that is the “Day of the Vipers”….hang on, wait, that was, like, five years ago, wasn’t it?  Well, maybe the Day of the Vipers just keeps going and going and going…you know, not unlike the Energizer Bunny.  Or an exceptionally bad joke that I refuse to let die.  It’s definitely one of those things.  The point here is that I’ve got another Viper to review.  So, I’m gonna do that.  Has to be done.  In 1989, Hasbro repainted a bunch of their Cobra troops in a rather garish new color scheme and dubbed the whole group “The Python Patrol”, who were like the regular troops but “pythonized.”  I’m not even kidding.  “Pythonizing” is used on the file cards and everything.  Though they’re a pretty easy justification for a repaint in more modern lines, they only really surface every so often, probably due to how garish the aforementioned color scheme is.  Classified has decided to tap into the Python Patrol for their latest round of Target-exclusives, and, surprising no one, I have the Viper.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Python Patrol Cobra Viper is figure 42 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up.  As mentioned in the intro, all of the Python Patrol stuff is Target-exclusive.  The Viper is the second of them, after the B.A.T., although they both hit pretty much in tandem, alongside the Tiger Force Outback figure.  The figure stands roughly 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Like the three-pack from last year, this guy is built from the same selection of parts as the initial Cobra Island Viper.  It’s a pretty solid selection of parts, and it keeps all the Vipers consistent across the board.  It also makes perfect sense for the Python Patrol figure to be a straight repaint, because all of the other Python Patrol Vipers have been, too.  The main change-up here is the paint, which makes the expected shift to grey, yellow, black, and red.  The layout of the colors works out pretty well with the newer mold; some of the details wind up shuffled around a bit, but the overall look reads very similar to the original.  The actual application isn’t quite as strong as previous Vipers, unfortunately.  On mine, there’s quite a bit of slop, especially on the yellows.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen from Hasbro, but it’s on the lower end for more recent figures.  This figure’s accessory selection is largely the same as the standard Viper, but there are some changes, and none of them are particularly good.  He’s got the goggles, the rifle with the removable magazine, the pistol, the arm guards, and the back pack.  So, on a positive note, the arms guards here are the easiest to remove of all of the uses of this mold so far, which is a definite plus.  Unfortunately, the goggles are the worst fit thus far, and they simply do not want to stay on unless you really jam them on, far past where it really feels safe.  I definitely worry about them breaking over time.  Also, while all other uses of the mold have included the bandana, this is the first one to leave it out.  Given that he’s a total repaint, and retailing above the cost of the original, it feels almost insulting to leave the piece out, especially when even the three-pack made sure that all three Vipers got it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had mixed feelings about this guy from the start.  On one hand, I wasn’t thrilled about this one being another Target exclusive, but on the other, I feel like he’s kind of the perfect choice, since it’s not like Python Patrol is anyone’s primary look.  Certainly not mine.  That said, I do sure like my Vipers, in all the various colors, so I put in my pre-order when they dropped, and played the waiting game.  I was half expecting the order to get cancelled, but it just showed up at my door one day.  Of the five Vipers we’ve gotten in the line, he’s the weakest.  He’s not bad, mind you, but his execution definitely feels a bit lacking.  Still, it’s another Viper, and I won’t complain about that.

#3282: Khonshu

KHONSHU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Did I hear somebody say I should do more Moon Knight-themed reviews?  I’m pretty sure I did.  I mean, it was probably me.  I probably said that.  And it’s my site, so that honestly carries more weight than anything else.  So, more Moon Knight reviews.  It tracks.  I’ve looked at quite a number of Moon Knights, but I’ve never looked at any of his supporting cast.  In my defense, that’s because they’ve never actually made figures of any of his supporting cast.  Can’t blame me for that.  It’s okay, though, because he’s got a TV show under his belt now, which gives an excuse for things around him to get extra focus.  And what good is Moon Knight without the deity he serves?  So, let’s check out Khonshu, you guys!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Khonshu is the Build-A-Figure for the series of Marvel Legends bearing his name.  It’s all Disney+ themed, but it’s curiously an assortment without any Moon Knight figures in its line-up, much like how the last assortment had a What If…? Ultron without any What If…? figures.  It almost feels like maybe the two BaFs should have been swapped, but who knows exactly what was going on behind the scenes there.  Whatever the case, we got him, and I built him, so here he is.  The figure stands 8 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is a little bit restricted compared to other recent offerings, making him feel a little more like a figure from a few years ago than one from the line’s current run.  This is generally a design thing, since the layout of his look doesn’t quite allow for full motion on everything.  Khonshu largely just stood around in the show, so it’s certainly not the end of the world.  Khonshu sports an all-new sculpt, which adapts his fully formed deity look from the show, which is itself patterned on Declan Shalvey’s redesign for Khonshu from the 2014 run.  It’s a distinctive look, and a more visually interesting concept that “Moon Knight but with stereotypical Egyptian gear added”, so it’s one that works well both on the screen and in figure form.  The sculpt, which is courtesy of sculptor Rene Aldrete, does a quite nice job of capturing his model from the show.  The detailing is pretty nicely rendered, and the star piece by far is definitely the head, which captures the distinctive shaping of the skull.  Since Khonshu’s head is just floating over his body, with no actual neck, in the show, the sculpt has to get a little bit creative there.  It’s a little bit of a compromise, but it’s what you kind of have to do here.  The sort of wisp-y structure is still visible, but it’s woven into the rest of the sculpt well enough that it doesn’t mess with the overall flow.  Khonshu’s color work is actually quite an impressive set-up.  While the standard Moon Knight just relied on sculpted texture work to carry itself, Khonshu actually gets quite a bit of accenting on his wrappings, giving them a much dirtier, worn-in look, with a similar touch on head, albeit with a slightly different look to more suggest bone.  It’s really nice, and sells the sculpt very well.  Khonshu is packed with his staff, which, like him, has to be assembled, since it comes in two pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was thrilled beyond belief that the Moon Knight show existed, and the further thrilled that we got the two Moon Knights from the show.  And, sure, I wanted more, but I certainly didn’t expect it, because, again, just thrilled about what I’d already gotten.  Since Khonshu wasn’t bundled in with the two Moon Knight figures, I wasn’t really expecting to see him quickly, so this was a pleasant surprise.  He’s a very nice figure, and honestly, he’s probably the best Build-A-Figure this year.

This assortment kind of feels like the MCU equivalent of the Bonebreaker series, given how oddball and kind of off the wall the character choices are.  Khonshu was my primary reason for getting the set, of course, and is ultimately my favorite piece.  That said, the singles are all pretty decent themselves.  Red Skull is the best of the singles, though he’s just a minor tweak on a prior figure.  Howard and Classic Loki are both figures with flaws, but they wind up being a lot of fun regardless.  Zombie Scarlet Witch is pretty by the numbers, but still solid, and He-Who-Remains isn’t thrilling or anything, but he does what he needs to. Jimmy Woo winds up as the kind of underdog success for this round.  He doesn’t look like much, he doesn’t seem like much, but he’s quite fun.  All-in-all, this is a very balanced series.  No one really jumps ahead of the pack, but no one’s really a bad offering, either.

#3281: Asajj Ventress

ASAJJ VENTRESS

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Asajj Ventress communicates via a holographic projector to her mentor, Count Dooku, as they twist events against the Jedi. Ventress can wield a lightsaber with devastating skill and precision and is fueled by the power of the dark side and her hatred of the Jedi.”

Perhaps the most important thing to come out of Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars cartoon (well, apart from General Grievous, who was actually already slated to show up in Episode III when he was added to the show) was Dooku’s apprentice, Asajj Ventress.  She made the jump from 2D to 3D, and went on to be a pretty prominent player in the 3D show’s run…well, at least until you get to the end part where they never got around to producing the episodes that would have wrapped up her story.  Maybe some day.  Well, in the meantime, how about another action figure?  She’s got a nice little handful to choose from, but let’s set our sights on the 2008 version.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Asajj Ventress is figure 15 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, right after Plo Koon numerically.  She was part of the third assortment and was one of the two Sith additions to the line in this particular assortment (the other being her mentor Count Dooku).  The figure stands right around 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 18 points of articulation.  Early in the line, the female non-clones actually made out a bit better than the male non-clones in terms of articulation, and as such Asajj actually gets a full set-up of leg articulation, which makes her quit mobile.  She does lose out on the elbow movement, but, honestly, where would they put it?  Asajj’s sculpt was an all-new one, based on her animation model from the show.  This whole assortment marked a definite step-up in accuracy to the show within the sculpts, and that’s very evident in Asajj, who sticks quite close to her show design.  There’s some really impressive detail work, especially on the texturing of her outfit.  her skirt is a separate, cloth piece.  It’s a nice, heavy fabric, which looks pretty decent, and allows for full movement on her legs.  It’s also removable, so that you can replicate the times on the show she’d ditch it to save the animators trouble free up her movement.  Asajj’s paint work is generally pretty solid stuff.  The small details are nice and clean, and there’s no notably missing elements, which is all pretty cool.  Asajj was packed with her two curved hilt lightsabers, as well as a small hologram of Count Dooku, which I don’t at all recall my figure ever having, but she absolutely did at some point, I suppose.  I’m just losing my mind.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get Asajj during her first run.  She was rather tricky to find at retail, and wound up getting scalped a lot.  I also hadn’t really warmed to the character yet at that point, so I certainly wasn’t down for paying more.  As the show progressed, I came to like her more, and I recall finding this figure during her second run in the new packaging, along with a stack of other figures.  I wanna say it was during a errand for Christmas decorations with my dad, but it might have been for non-Christmas related purposes.  She’s a pretty strong figure, and holds up well this many years later.

#3280: Hulk Buster Iron Man

HULK BUSTER IRON MAN

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“When Iron Man’s regular armor isn’t powerful enough to get the job done, Tony Stark devises new specialty suits of armor — each tailored to the needs of a specific mission! The heavy combat armor contains few built-in weapons — but it boosts Iron Man’s physical strength to near-impossible levels!”

First appearing in Iron Man #304 as an add-on for the newly introduced Modular Armor, Iron Man’s Hulk Buster armor has become a steady fixture of the character’s armor set-ups.  It was quickly adapted into animation as part of the ’90s cartoon, and with its official appearance in the show occurring the much-improved second season.  The design was granted its first figure in that show’s tie-in line, and I’m taking a look at said figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk Buster Iron Man is part of Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line, as one of three Iron Man variants in the line-up.  Though the armor appeared in the show, this figure’s design owes less to that look and more to his appearance in the comics, likely owing to this figure being released prior to the show’s second season, and the final design not yet being ready*.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  The Hulkbuster armor is typically a lot larger in stature than a standard Iron Man, but this one’s only a very slight bit taller, with most of his difference in size being more of a width thing.  He’s certainly bulkier, but he definitely feels somewhat diminutive compared to where he should be.  This was presumably done to keep him within the standard price point range.  As with the rest of the line, the figure’s assembly consists of a core figure with a number of armor add-on pieces, though there are notably a lot less of the armor pieces for this release than there were for the others.  The underlying figure isn’t too far removed from the whole design, but he’s certainly less impactful than the fully-assembled look.  Fully assembled, he gets an additional helmet (rare for these figures), shoulder pads, wrists gauntlets, and boots.  The coloring is a mix of metallic and flat.  It works out alright, but there’s definitely a little clashing between the reds.  At least the yellows match.  Beyond the extra armor pieces, the Hulk Buster doesn’t have any other accessories.  Not that there’s a ton more you could include, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a really big fan of the Iron Man cartoon and its corresponding toy line when I was a kid, so I actually had most of the figures, especially the Iron Men.  Hulk Buster was included.  I don’t recall exactly how I got him, though I assume he was probably a gift from my parents, because they got me most of my Iron Man figures.  While I lost a few of the armor pieces to my original over the years, I was able to snag a replacement that came through All Time a few years ago.  Calling it a win.  I was always the slightest bit let-down by this figure’s scale, but he’s otherwise not a bad little figure.

*Had the Iron Man tie-in line continued, we would have received a more accurate recreation of the show’s actual animation design, also matching the stature and general concept of the Hulkbuster a bit more.  The figure was ultimately scrapped, but the molds would resurface for a few other releases, including the Battle-Action Mega Armor Wolverine.

#3279: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The Red Skull sets his HYDRA forces against the Allies’ lone super-soldier, Captain Margaret “Peggy” Carter.”

What If…? provides us with alternate designs and looks for a good number of Marvel characters, but it also relies on pre-established designs for an even greater host of them, given that things are meant to only be diverging at one specific point and all.  For the most part, the characters who don’t change aren’t really in need of new figures, since, well, they don’t change.  Red Skull, for instance, serves as the main antagonist of the premiere episode, but is sporting a look that’s not changed from his The First Avenger appearance.  So, he doesn’t *need* another figure.  But, umm, he got one anyway?  Just go with it, guys.  It’s another Red Skull.  And it’s maybe not bad.  Let’s give it a try.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is figure 6 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the last of the What If…? based figures, and the single figures in general (since I’m not reviewing the Zombie Iron Man, what with him not having a BaF piece and all).  He’s seen here in his long-jacketed look, which has gotten Legends treatment once before, albeit as a con-exclusive.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure is the same sculpt as the SDCC figure from 2018 (which itself has arms and legs in common with the standard retail version).  It makes sense, since it’s supposed to be the same design in-universe, and the parts didn’t get much use.  It does mean that he’s still got visible pins on the elbows and knees, but it’s not the end of the world.  I myself never got to mess with the SDCC figure, so I dig getting another shot at the mold, and honestly find myself preferring this mold to the standard release.  This release gets a new head, which is a little more dialed into the animated design for Red Skull.  The more movie-based look wasn’t *bad*, but I think the nature of the design didn’t translate quite so well on the last two figures.  The more animated one, with its slightly more pronounced features, works a little better in toy form, I think.  The color work on this guy is a lot of black and red, which is what you expect.  The face gets a lot of accenting, somewhat simulating the shading from the show, and helping to sell the details of the sculpt.  Red Skull is packed with the Tesseract, as well as the right arm of the Khonshu Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had the standard Ten Years Red Skull, which isn’t a bad figure, but was never my preferred look from the film.  The SDCC figure was harder to find, so I just made due.  Over the years, I’ve gotten a little iffy on the head sculpt used for them, so I was actually pretty happy to see this one.  Sure, he’s not an essential release, and he only very loosely fits the What If…? theme, but he’s still a lot of fun, and certainly the best MCU Red Skull to date.

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

#3278: Howard the Duck

HOWARD THE DUCK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When an alternate Thor turns earth into an intergalactic tourist destination, Howard the Duck arrives to join in the festivities.”

Oh man, is that a Howard the Duck figure?  Like, on his own?  Not packed with, like, a Silver Surfer, or something?  That’s crazy.  Is that allowed?  I guess so.  I mean, here’s the figure.  So, you know, it exists.

Prior to his appearance in his self-titled, George Lucas-produced film in 1986, Howard the Duck began as a back-up feature in Adventure into Fear, headlined by Man-Thing of all characters.  He was a breakaway hit, getting spun-off into his own series, and then getting the aforementioned movie, which was both a critical and financial failure.  The character fell out of the spotlight after that, but resurfaced in the public eye for a cameo in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy film.  He’s gotten a few more spots in the MCU since then, and got a little bit of actual focus in What If…?, which was enough to net him another figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Howard the Duck is figure 5 in the Khonshu Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third What If…? based figure in the set.  Interestingly, bio suggests the figure is based on “What If…Thor Were An Only Child?”, which is admittedly odd.  While Howard *is* in that episode, and does get a little bit of focus, he’s far from important to the overall plot.  On the flip side, “What If…T’Challa Became Star-Lord?” gives Howard an actual plot relevant focus, and is the episode of the two that’s gotten figure coverage already from Legends.  It’s also just a much better episode.  It’s all kind of irrelevant, I suppose, though, since his animation model’s the same across the board.  Who am I to complain about specifically which episode I get my Howard the Duck action figure from?  Also, the bios aren’t even on the box anymore, so the whole thing becomes increasingly irrelevant.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Howard’s articulation is on the lesser side of things.  I mean, sure, he’s more posable than the *last* Legends Howard, but that one was just a pack-in, not his own figure.  This one gets decent movement on the arms, okay movement on the neck and waist, and movement that barely counts as movement on the ankles.  There’s nothing actually on the legs proper, which, with a lot of things on this figure, seems to be a licensing thing, since we know Disney’s very particular about Howard merch.  The sculpt is all-new, and it’s fairly accurate to the source material, which is itself a pretty nice Howard the Duck design.  The one notable deviation from his main look is the inclusion of the hat, which is its own piece, but is glued in place on the head, so it’s not budging.  This again seems to be a licensing thing, since we know the Minimate was also required to have the non-removable hat.  It’s a minor issue, and I’m curious to see how hard it might be to remove it with some modding.  The color work on him is pretty basic; largely it’s molded in the proper colors, but there’s some paint work head and torso, which gets all the important stuff.  Howard has no accessories of his own, but the pack also includes the disembodied head version of Scott Lang from “What If…Zombies?”, which doesn’t really have anything to do with Howard, but it offsets the smaller size of the figure.  It also looks nothing like actual Paul Rudd (though I suppose it’s not a *terrible* take on the animated likeness), so it’s really only context that sells what it is.  To further offset the core figure’s smaller size, there’s also the torso of Khonshu, complete with his robe, which is the largest piece of the Build-A-Figure by far.  Like, to the point that, in the box, the torso is actually packed in the “figure” slot, and Howard is bagged up like one of the accessories.  It’s kinda goofy, but I sorta love it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was honestly pretty excited about Howard, because he’s just such a rarity in the toy world, and harkens back to the earliest days of Legends.  I tempered my expectations, of course, because the legal requirements always mess with the end product.  With that in mind, I acknowledge that this guy’s got some definite flaws, but he’s also just still a lot of fun.  Probably a bit pricey for what you get, but certainly more worthwhile if you’re after the Build-A-Figure.  Honestly, the only part of this package I’m not really thrilled about it Scott, and that’s probably more to do with my general lack of enthusiasm about the episode that spawned him.  But Howard’s definitely cool.

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