#2690: Grand Admiral Thrawn

GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES ARCHIVE (HASBRO)

“Thrawn was a male Chiss, known for his brilliant strategic mind and ruthlessness, he was determined to ‘pull the Rebels apart piece by piece’ for the Empire.”

Late last year, I did my first review centered on Grand Admiral Thrawn, a rather notable character in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, and one of the first elements from the old EU to be officially canonized by Disney following their take-over of the franchise.  Thrawn’s inclusion in Rebels netted him a couple of new figures, a feature in Star Wars: The Black Series included.  Thrawn was originally an SDCC release, and then got a standard release alongside the first chunk of Last Jedi items in late 2017.  Both of them proved rather scarce even at the time, and in light of the rest of the Rebels figures getting re-released over the fall, Thrawn was in dire need of some sort of reissue.  Thankfully, Hasbro’s Archive series is here to the rescue on that one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grand Admiral Thrawn is part of the four figure line-up that makes the third series of The Black Series Archive.  Thrawn, like the rest of the Rebels figures, is designed to be a real world approximation of his animation model.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is, of course, identical to his original two releases.  Additionally, his articulation scheme follows the set-up of the other Imperial Officers we’ve gotten in the line.  Interestingly, however, he’s got no parts in common with any of those figures.  Presumably, it’s in order to make Thrawn a little taller than the other Officers.  Whatever the case, it’s a good sculpt, and matches the other officers well, while still adding a bit more variety to the Officer’s line-up.  Compared to some of the more recent figures in the line, his articulation is a little bit restrictive (the vast improvements really started to hit just after this guy was released), but it’s certainly enough for the sorts of poses you’ll be putting Thrawn into.  Thrawn’s head sculpt is a solid translation of his animated design into a more real world appearance.  Like with Hera, the more alien elements do seem to aid a bit in the transition, so he doesn’t wind up looking quite as wonky as Kanan or Ezra.  Thrawn’s paint work is generally pretty cleanly handled.  It’s mostly pretty basic work, but the application’s pretty sharp.  The one notable change-up for this release is the transition to the printing technique on the face.  It’s not as drastic a change on Thrawn as it is on other figures, but it’s a touch more lifelike and generally looks quite nice.  Thrawn’s only accessory is a small blaster, which he can hold, or stow in his holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on Thrawn the first time around.  I don’t believe I ever actually saw him in person, and, admittedly, I wasn’t really looking, since I hadn’t really had any exposure to the character at the time.  I’ve subsequently read a bit of Timothy Zahn’s work with the character and watched through Rebels, which left me really wanting to have him in figure form.  Thankfully, the Archive release hit just at the right time for me, allowing me to finally put this updated version of the character on the shelf.

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

#2689: Pumpkin Rapper

PUMPKIN RAPPER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Ooh, you Rangers make me mad, waking me up with a rap that bad!”

Hey, did you know that Power Rangers launched in the ’90s?  I know, that’s crazy.  It’s so easy to forget, what with there being no notable clues about the decade contained within the show, in any way that might date it and make it really zany and hokey when you look back on it.  None at all.  Just devoid of that sort of thing, right?  Now, let’s discuss this action figure of a rapping pumpkin monster, so wonderfully named “Pumpkin Rapper.”  Truly a timeless creation, this one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Pumpkin Rapper is part of the inaugural assortment of the “Monsters” spin-off line of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection line, alongside fellow MMPR monster King Sphynx.  Since he was a Zyu2 creation, Pumkin Rapper wasn’t privy to a toy tie-ins at the time of the show’s airing, since no molds already existed for him.  Because of this, this guy’s the first proper figure treatment Pumpkin Rapper has gotten, which is pretty nifty.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme for this guy is essentially the same as the standard Rangers, with the exception of the neck joint, which is a balljoint connected to a cut joint.  It’s a kind of odd design, and means the head has a tendency to come off a lot, but it does give him a good range of motion on the head.  So, it’s ultimately a decent trade off all things considered.  His sculpt is an all-new one, and it’s a pretty solid translation of the suit from the show.  The head sculpt is definitely the coolest part, and really does the mask from the show justice.  The body suit gets the proper quilted pattern as well, and adds a nice bit of variety and texture to the sculpt.  When it comes to the paint, Hasbro definitely put in some effort on this guy, but still does wind up coming up a bit short on some elements.  They’ve added some accenting to both the head and the collar, in order to bring out some of the sculpted details.  Largely, this works out okay, but on the head in particular, it feels like he could really use some darker detailing on the eyes, because they have a tendency to get a little lost as is.  It’s also a little jarring that there’s accenting on the head and collar, but nowhere else.  It makes him look a touch uneven.  Pumpkin Rapper has a decent selection of accessories, including two sets of hands (gripping and an open/fist combo), two different vine whips, an effects piece, and three smaller pumpkins.  The pumpkins are definitely a lot of fun, thanks to the inclusion of a socket compatible with the standard Ranger neck joints.  It makes for some amusing display options to be sure!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I only caught the occasional episode of MMPR when they were airing, and mostly in the syndication re-runs or the odd VHS copy from Blockbuster, so I didn’t see Pumpkin Rapper’s debut episode as a kid, but he’s one of those designs that just really feels very classic MMPR, and as I’ve gotten back into Power Rangers stuff as an adult, he’s very definitely one of those Monsters that I’ve really come to appreciate.  So, when they announced they would be doing some monsters, and that he’d be in the first round, I was definitely on board for it.  Ultimately, he’d benefit from a slightly improved paint job, but overall this is a very fun release.  I look forward to other figures in this set.

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

#2688: In Space Red Ranger vs Astronema

IN SPACE RED RANGER VS ASTRONEMA

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Hitting the airwaves in 1998, Power Rangers In Space was, as noted previously on this site, kind of my jam.  I was six at the time, and that made me very much in the right target audience at the right time.  With the show being my jam and all, I had some of the toys as a kid, but I’ve been waiting to get some proper updates for a good while now.  I’m still kind of waiting, but at leas there’s been *some* progress made, because Hasbro is slowly feeding the show’s cast into their Lightning Collection line.  We’ve already gotten the whole Psycho Rangers line-up, as well as our first member of the main cast, the Yellow Ranger, Ashley Hammond, but now we’re getting both the team leader and Red Ranger Andros and the show’s main villain (who is also secretly Andros’ long-lost sister…spoilers) Astronema, in one convenient two-pack!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The In Space Red Ranger and Astronema make up one half of the second assortment of two-packs for The Lightning Collection, the other being the SPD A and B Squad Blues.  It follows the thus far established versus trend of the two-packs (well, the main release ones, anyway).

IN SPACE RED RANGER

Andros is clearly following in the footsteps of Galaxy Red, placing the team’s leader in a two-pack shortly after getting another team member in the main line.  It’s admittedly mildly surprising for him to show up in a two-pack first, but given Galaxy Red’s also getting a single release later this year, I’d imagine we’ll see a single release Andros sooner than later.  Hopefully they’ll at least give us a few other members of the team first.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, there’s not a ton of new stuff here, which I suppose isn’t a huge shock.  He’s using the basic core Ranger body, with his own helmet and belt pieces added in.  Andros is definitely one of those times that I feel the standard body is just a touch too bulky for the character, but it’s not terribly far off, I suppose.  The new helmet piece matches up nicely with Ashley’s in terms of design, and is likewise a pretty good match for the helmets as seen on the show.  The belt is likewise a pretty decent piece, and one I’m certain will be seeing re-use for the rest of the male Space Rangers.  The paint work on this guy is pretty basic, but also pretty straight forward.  The application’s pretty cleanly rendered, following the overall improved trend of the last two main line assortments.  Andros is packed with two sets of hands (pointing/fist combo, and gipping), his Spiral Saber, Astro Blaster, and an alternate unmasked head.  The unmasked head’s definitely one of the better ones we’ve gotten, with a more than passable likeness of Christopher Khayman Lee.  Notably, Andros includes no effects pieces for himself, a first for one of the Rangers in this line.  I can’t say I miss it *that much* but still notable.

ASTRONEMA

Oh wow!  Is that a non-Ranger antagonist from one of the non-MMPR shows?  That’s certainly a first!  …Okay, yes, I do know that she eventually served as a Ranger later down the line, but she’s not one here.  Don’t take this from me.  Everybody be cool.  Astronema is a character that kind of does a little bit of everything available for the Power Rangers mythos.  She’s the main villain for In Space, but ultimately follows the path of redemption, and even becomes a Ranger proper in the following incarnation of the the show, albeit for a brief time.  She’s also got that whole “sister of the Red Ranger” angle going on, and even gets to be brainwashed and crazy for a bit.  Astronema really just liked checking off all of the possible boxes, huh?  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 30 points of articulation.  She’s using some of the parts from Ranger Slayer, with the upper torso, abdomen, upper arms, and lower legs overlapping between the two figures.  I had some issues with the ankle joints on Ranger Slayer, but on this release, they seem a lot more solid, and Astronema has far less issue staying standing.  She gets a new head, forearms, and add-ons for her torso armor and the strap on her leg.  The new head is definitely the star piece; it’s got a great likeness of Melody Perkins in the role, and specifically is based on her blue-haired appearance from episodes 26-29 of the show.  I sums up her general look from the show quite nicely.  The new forearm pieces have a lot of really great detail work going into them as well, and the torso armor is designed so that it can be removed, adding some variety to her potential appearances.  Astronema’s paint work is generally pretty decent, but has a few drawbacks.  The biggest issue is on the face; they’ve attempted to emulate some blush on her cheeks, but they’ve gone just a touch too intense with the coverage, making her look a little too clown-esque for my taste.  It’s not the worst thing ever, and it’s better than it looked on some of the prototype shots, but it could definitely look a bit better.  Otherwise, things aren’t too bad.  The edge of the silver on her waist is a little fuzzy, and there are a few spots on the armor that would certainly benefit from some extra accenting, but for the most part it looks pretty decent.  In terms of accessories, Astronema is packed with two sets of hands (fists and gripping), her Wrath Staff, the boomerang looking thing she has on her leg, and an effects piece for her staff.  It’s a shame there aren’t any alternate heads with her differing hair.  We even saw a cyborg Astronema head when this figure was originally shown off, so clearly they planned for it.  Ultimately, I guess it just didn’t cost out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Given how much of an In Space fan I am, it’s surely no surprise that I’ve been waiting to get more of them since this line launched.  Obviously, I was all in for an Andros, since I definitely want the main team, but I was also holding out at least a little bit of hope for an Astronema, given that she’s always been left out previously.  Getting both of them together?  That was bliss, honestly.  Sure, Andros is rather by the numbers, and Astronema could stand to have a couple of improvements, but ultimately I really like this set, and I look forward to a deeper In Space component for the line.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review.  If you’re looking for Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2687: Aunt Beru

AUNT BERU

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Beru Lars was the closest thing to a mother that Luke Skywalker ever knew. She and husband Owen lovingly raised Luke as their nephew, and trained him in the mundane ways of moisture farming on their arid Tatooine homestead.. All along, Aunt Beru understood that a larger destiny awaited Luke. Years before, on another part of Tatooine, the slave Shmi Skywalker raised the boy who would become Luke’s father-Anakin Skywalker. Like Aunt Beru, she sadly understood she could only love and nurture her boy for a relatively short period of time before she had to allow him the freedom to fly on his own wings.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why does Shmi Skywalker get mentioned in Aunt Beru’s bio?  Isn’t that a weird reach?”  Yes.  Yes, it is.  But it’s okay, because weird reaches are something that defined this particular branch of the Power of the Force line.  In celebration of the upcoming Prequel Trilogy, Hasbro (who was once again putting their name on action figures, after deciding to shut down their Kenner division) decided to celebrate in the best possible way you can when you can’t actually release anything from the movie you’re promoting: awkward, forced tie-ins.  Instead of actual Episode 1 based product, they produced the “Flashback Photo” figures, a set of Original Trilogy figures that each had a tie to someone from the new movie.  Figures like Vader, Obi-Wan, R2, or 3PO all made sense, being in both sets of movies and all, but what of other characters?  Well, you get pairings like Beru and Shmi, who aren’t related, and don’t actually interact on-screen….but, I guess they’re sort of similar?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aunt Beru was added to the Power of the Force line in 1999, as part of the second round of the “Flashback Photo” figures that were leading into the new film.  This was Beru’s first figure (not an exceptional shock, really), and remains the only OT Beru figure we’ve ever gotten.  Clearly she’s overdue for Black Series treatment, right?  Riiiiight.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She’s rather limited on the mobility front, due to the harder plastic skirt, but it’s Beru; it’s not like she was exactly action oriented.  Her sculpt was an all-new thing, and it’s actually a rather nice offering.  The proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, and pre-posing is kept to a minimum.  Her outfit is fairly well detailed, and she’s even got a halfway decent likeness of actress Sheila Mary Fraser.  Generally, just pretty good sculpting for the time when you get down to it.  Additionally, the paint work’s not too bad either.  Mostly, it’s flat base color work, but there’s some decent work on the pattern of her collar, and the accenting on the hair also works quite well.  Beru’s real selling point is the accessories.  She gets the best ever accessories for an Aunt Beru figure: a pitch and cup of blue milk!  It’s kind of a signature thing, so it’s nice they put it in there.  Hasbro obviously knew that old woman in a sensible jacket and dress serving a good, calcium building beverage wasn’t going to fly off shelves, so they packed Beru with one of the Lars family Service Droids.  Though simply dubbed “Service Droid” on the package, this guy is actually a WED-15-77 Treadwell droid, which is a somewhat recurring type of droid from the films and expanded universe material.  Treadwell even has a single joint at the base of his treads, and a spot for keeping the milk, making him the perfect companion piece to Beru.  Lastly, there’s the “Flashback Photo” piece, which is really just an extra piece of packaging that you’d be forgiven for immediately throwing away.  It’s a picture of Beru on a set of shutters; pull the tab down, and they flip to show Shmi Skywalker.  Thrilling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is one of those oddball releases that isn’t really ripe for buying as a kid…so I didn’t.  She got traded into All Time over the summer, and I snagged her then, as I continue my quest of getting all of Power of the Force.  Honestly, while she may not be the most thrilling character, Beru is a better figure than you might expect, and holds up surprisingly well for this line.  For me, though, Treadwell is the real star.  He’s just so nifty!

#2686: Apocalypse

APOCALYPSE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Apocalypse is the ruler of America. New York City is now Apocalypse Island, and all humans are sentenced to slavery! Only the most powerful mutants survive to reign alongside the high lord En Sabah Nur! Those who oppose him, like Magneto and his X-Men must live in hiding, under the constant threat of being caught – or surrender. This is not some bleak view of the future – this is now… the Age of Apocalypse.”

Hey, look at that, two AoA Apocalypse figures within the same month.  That’s pretty nifty.  It’s almost like I…planned it.  Yeah, sure, that’s why I delayed reviewing the Legends figure for so long.  Just for this awkward tie in here.  Yep.  That’s totally it.  Let’s go with that.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Apocalypse is another figure from the twelfth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was totally inspired by the “Age of Apocalypse” event that was just wrapping up in the comics at the time.  He’s really the most obvious figure out of the set, what with the event being named after him and all.  It marked his third figure in the line, though this one was something of a departure from the prior releases.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He gained extra movement at the forearms on both of his arms, but notably lost the movement at the neck, for some reason.  He and Magneto were both very anti-neck movement, I guess.  Apocalypse’s AoA design was in some ways a bit less built up than his mainstream look, but was more built up in others.  Whatever the case, it was different, and required an all-new sculpt.  It’s alright, but not quite as strong as either of the prior two Apocalypses.  His proportions are really wonky, especially on the arms, which make up about 50% of the figure’s mass.  He’s also a bit lighter on detailing than other Apocalypse figures, in part due to how the design works out.  The hands can be popped at the forearms (hence the extra joints there), but they definitely have some trouble staying in place.  Likewise, the cape and collar are separate from the main body, but have trouble really staying attached, since there’s nothing to really hold them there.  So, they just kind of jostle around a lot.  Not a ton of fun to play with, really.  The paint work on Apocalypse is pretty straight forward, and not bad overall.  The only part I’m really iffy about is the metallic purple, used on the head, hands, and part of the boots.  It’s not a terrible color, but it does kind of clash with the other colors on the figure.  Apocalypse was packed with an extra buzzsaw arm attachment, which can swap with either of his standard arms, as well as an imprisoned Shadow King, which is actually a pretty cool little extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, Apocalypse I was my Apocalypse, and I never really cared enough about the character to feel the need to own another version.  So, I didn’t.  This guy wound up being a more recent addition to the collection.  I picked him up along with a batch of other sealed Toy Biz figures a couple of years ago from Collector’s Corner, who were running a sale on them at the time.  He’s remained sealed since then, and I really only opened him for the review (which is the case with a handful of my more recent Toy Biz acquisitions), meaning he’s largely removed from any real nostalgia or anything.  He’s not a terribly impressive figure, to be honest, and lacks a lot of the toyetic qualities that made the prior two figures fun.

#2685: J. Jonah Jameson

J JONAH JAMESON

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Tough, gruff, and loud, J. Jonah Jameson is a force to be reckoned with in the boardroom and on the front pages of the Daily Bugle. As the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Jameson is a perennial thorn in the side for both Peter Parker and Spider-Man.”

Not quite a villain, but certainly an antagonist, J. Jonah Jameson has been part of the Spider-Man mythos since almost the very beginning.  As really just a guy in a suit, though, you wouldn’t exactly expect him to be a very frequent part of the tie-in toys.  You would, however, be surprised by just how often he actually winds up getting proper action figure treatment.  He’s almost got Mary Jane beat!  What he’s never officially had, however, is a Marvel Legend, though he’s gotten close, since he had a 6 inch movie figure back in the Toy Biz days, and was also one of the extra heads included with Chameleon.  But now he’s official.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

J. Jonah Jameson is in the same boat as yesterday’s Black Cat figure; he’s a standalone release for the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  He’s also the third civilian release under this particular banner, so I guess the exciting package is good for something, huh?  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Jameson is built on the suit body, specifically the variant of the suit body that was used for Klaue, which is specifically designed for that vested appearance.  He additionally uses the Jameson head that was previously included with the Chameleon figure (taking a page out of the Toy Biz playbook), which was a pretty solid piece it’s first time around, and remains a really great character piece for Jameson.  In order to become sufficiently Jameson-esque, the body gets an assortment of new parts, including a new set of forearms, a new tie piece, and an add-on for the vest.  This vest/tie combo works better to help the body not be too bulked up, as it was on the Klaue body.  This set-up pretty nicely matches with Jameson’s usual newsroom appearances.  Additionally, the vest piece is open, so it can easily be removed, adding for an extra set of looks for the figure.  Jameson’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  It’s rather monotone, but that’s true to the character’s usual looks.  I quite like the pattern on the tie, and the application on the head is much improved over the one included with Chameleon.  Jameson gets a pretty solid selection of accessories to top everything off.  He’s got two sets of hands (one gripping, the other pointing/fist combo), the rolled up newspaper we saw included with Gwen (it makes way more sense here), and an unrolled copy as well, which features a ton of fun little references and in jokes.  Now, why it’s so much wider than the rolled up one is anyone’s guess; maybe it’s the proof they assembled before they sent it to the printers?  Actually, that would probably make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jameson is one of those essential characters that you just forget you don’t have a proper figure for.  The extra head was cool, but none of the available bodies really seemed to fit the character.  Getting a full figure for him wasn’t expected, but was certainly appreciated.  In hand, he’s a bit of an unsung figure, I think.  He’s quite nice, and he’ll go great with a display, but he doesn’t quite pop the way some of the costumed figures do.  Still, he’s definitely cool to have.

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

#2684: Black Cat

BLACK CAT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Black Cat is the most confident, cunning burglar the world has ever seen! Donning a black costume and mask, heiress Felicia Hardy changes into her Super Hero persona and prowls the streets with Spider-Man at her side.”

A definite fixture of Spider-Man’s supporting cast (thought not truly consistently a rogue), Black Cat has had her fair share of toys over the years.  Perhaps it’s the striking visual that helps, but it could also be that she’s probably Spidey’s most notable female rogue…that is, when she’s being a rogue.  She’s gotten more prominent in the toys as she’s grown more prominent in the comics.  While she had just one figure during the Toy Biz 5 inch days, and just one more when they moved to 6 inch, Hasbro’s now coming in on their third time doing the character since they relaunched Legends in 2014.  Not a bad set up for her, now is it?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Cat is part of the Spider-centric Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  At this point, Hasbro doesn’t really seem to be focussing on assortments for this style, so much as just dropping new figures one at a time when they feel like it.  Black Cat was, subsequently, her own solo release.  Black Cat has had a few looks over the years, and she pretty much gets a different one every time she gets a new figure.  This one in particular goes for her early ’90s variant on her classic look, which was also the design used for her appearance in Spider-Man: The Animated Series.  That’s proved a major influence on most of these Retro Collection figures, so it’s a sensible choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  The vast majority of this figure’s parts come from the Skyline Sirens version of the character from 2014.  That one was built on the Moonstone base body, and generally did a decent job of capturing Black Cat’s usual figure.  It’s not quite as well articulated as more recent bodies, however, which can be a bit of an issue when it comes to posing.  My figure in particular wound up being rather bow-legged.  Since this version of the costume doesn’t have the fur collar, the figure swaps out the upper torso for the basic Moonstone body piece.  She also borrows the calm head from the Dark Phoenix figure, as well as the studded collar from the Hellfire Club Black Queen figure.  She’s really going for that evil Jean Grey vibe, I guess?  The head sits a touch low on the neck, but overall it’s a nice selection of parts, and adds up to a decent recreation of the design they’re going for.  It’s amazing what you can do with nothing but re-used parts, huh?  The paint work on this figure is overall pretty basic and straight forward.  I do like how crisp and clean the detailing on the face and mask is, and the very slight accenting on the fur works quite well to showcase the sculpt.  It certainly looks a bit better than the blue from the earlier figure.  Black Cat is packed with the same whip as the Sirens figure (albeit in different colors), and a recolored version of Goose, this time as a…black…cat.  Actually having a cat’s more of a Catwoman thing than a Black Cat thing, but she’s already copying DC’s homework, so let’s just roll with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was fortunate enough to actually get the Skyline Sirens Black Cat at retail, but a lot of people weren’t, which meant a lot of people’s only viable Black Cat was the Kingpin Series one.  It’s not a terrible figure, but it’s not a classic Black Cat by any stretch.  With the real push for that ’90s Spider-Man vibe, a redo of some sort felt pretty essential, and here she is.  She’s a decent figure.  Nothing amazing, or definitive, but a solid take on the character, and another somewhat unique costume for this scale.  At least this one’s a bit easier to get.

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

#2683: Stilt-Man

STILT-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Wilbur Day was a mild-mannered scientist – until he stole the plans for a hydraulic ramming device which he soon used to invent his battle-suit. As Stilt Man, Wilbur has fought against the likes of Spider-Man, Captain America and even Thor himself!”

Oh man, first I get to look at Frog-Man, and now I’m looking at Stilt-Man?  I’ll take that particular win for sure!  Obscure, far reach characters are definitely my bread and butter when it comes to the likes of Marvel Legends, but are usually isolated from each other in differing assortments.  Getting multiples at the same time is definitely pretty sweet.  Stilt-Man’s pretty old school Marvel himself, first appearing in 1965’s Daredevil #8, and hanging around as a recurring foe for a number of prominent Marvel heroes, up until someone decided it was a good idea to have Punisher shoot him in the head shortly after Civil War.  Fortunately, comic book death is rarely permanent, and he was brought back during Dan Slott’s run on Spider-Man, in order to start antagonizing Marvel’s heroes anew.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Stilt-Man is the titular Build-A-Figure for the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends.  Believe it or not, this *isn’t* his first time as a toy; he got a Minimate back in 2010.  But, it’s been over a decade, and he’s never had a Legend before, so here we are now.  In his standard configuration (I’ll touch on that in just a moment), the figure stands 11 3/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Obviously, the great majority of his movement is on the upper body of the figure, which is pretty much articulated the way any basic body has been for a while in this line.  He lacks some of the newer articulation layouts, such as the butterfly shoulders, but it’s a reasonable selection for the character.  The stilt legs aren’t particularly mobile, since they’re not really supposed to be, but he does at least get universal joints on the the ankles, which is useful for keeping him standing.  On my figure, the hips are a little loose, and this is something I imagine will only get worse with the stilts attached.  I’m probably going to pick up an extra torso as a precaution, but ultimately it’s not the end of the world.  Even with slightly looser hips, he’s still fairly stable.  Stilt-Man’s an all-new sculpt, which is honestly a little bit surprising, but certainly not unwelcome.  At the very least, it means he’s got the pinless design for the elbow joints, which helps to keep him looking rather sleek.  In general, the sculpt just does a very nice job of capturing his classic design.  Of course, there’s certainly a bit of room to say “hey, I sure wish my Stilt-Man figure was taller.”  Well, fear not, because by simply popping off the feet on his stilt-legs, you can make the legs completely modular.  Every new section adds another 6 inches to the figure’s height.  So, with enough Hand Ninjas (or, at least, just they’re BaF parts), you can make a Stilt-Man that’s as tall as you want.  You want a 12′ Stilt-Man to really accent your foyer?  Go for it you absolutely crazy person!  That’s pretty dope, right?*  Stilt-Man’s paint is pretty basic.  He’s largely just molded in silver plastic, with the paint being confined to his head.  Basic, but also low room for error, so it works out.  Despite being a Build-A-Figure, Stilt-Man is actually quite well accessorized.  He’s got two sets of hands in gripping and fists, a gun (re-used from Yon-Rogg), a briefcase full of money, and a stand.  It pretty much covers everything you could ever want from a Stilt-Man, which is certainly quite impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been all about Stilt-Man ever since he cameoed on the Iron Man cartoon in the ’90s, and I’ve pretty much wanted a toy of him since.  I loved the Minimate when he was released, but I’ve kind of moved away from ‘mates overall.  I definitely wanted a Legends figure, and the confirmation of this guy early last year was definitely dope.  The final figure is very nicely implemented.  The core figure’s awesome on his own, and the extras just push him to the next level.  I’m also really excited by the modular nature of those stilts, and I’ve made it my mission to get this guy as tall as possible, though I’m playing the waiting game so that I don’t have to buy myself an army of Hand Ninjas to get there.

After a year full of a lot of middling or mixed assortments, this set is surprisingly strong and consistent.  The Spider-Verse figures are definitely the star attractions, and Gwen’s my favorite out of that set.  On the other side is Prowler, who isn’t quite as impressive, but isn’t at all bad either.  Miles and Peter are a great use of new parts for very specific designs, and will definitely be the break away figures for most people, I think.  The comics side is no slouch either, though.  The Hand Ninja’s not one of my favorite designs, but the figure’s well-done, and Frog-Man and Stilt-Man are top tier figures of those goofy characters I oh so love.  This is genuinely one of Hasbro’s best assortments of Marvel Legends.

*The Minimate had a similar set-up, but required purchasing an additional Stilt-Man and Iron Man for every set of stilts you wanted, which made it a little more difficult to do than the Legends set-up.

#2682: Frog-Man

FROG-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Eugene Patilio suits up as Frog-Man in a misguided attempt to restore his family’s good name.”

FROG-MAN!?! They made a Frog-Man!?!  …Okay, can I really be that surprised at this point?  Probably not.  I don’t know.  Everything is skewed these days, and the current state of Legends is such that making previously unthought of characters no longer seems so unthought of.  Where was I?  Frog-Man.  Right. So, for those of you who aren’t so familiar with Frog-Man (which I’m going to assume is most people, because he’s Frog-Man), he’s actually a little bit of a legacy character.  His father, Vincent, was the Daredevil villain Leap-Frog, and after he gave up on the whole super villain thing, Eugene took over his gear, and took up as a would-be hero, now using Frog-Man, after Leap-Frog was deemed too goofy.  Eugene has mostly stuck to the background of the Marvel universe, but turns up every now and then, including most recently as one of Tony Stark’s allies in the newest Iron Man series.  And hey, now he’s got a toy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Frog-Man is figure 6 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, and he’s the second of the comics-based figures in the set.  He’s this assortment’s resident odd-ball figure, picking up from last year’s inclusion of White Rabbit (a character Frog-Man’s got a little bit of history with, so there’s that).  The figure is 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Frog-Man’s construction is largely made-up of re-use, specifically of the Doc Ock body from 2018.  It’s a good body, and one that so far hadn’t seen any sort of re-use, so it’s still rather unique.  It also matches up quite well with Frog-Man’s design in the comics, which makes it quite a sensible choice for re-use.  The only slight downside is that it means he’s still got visible pins on his elbows and knees, but they’re at least comparatively smaller than some of the others.  In order to switch him from Ock to Frog-Man, this guy gets a new head, feet, and an add-on piece for the back pack.  The head’s definitely the most distinctive part, and it’s pretty nicely implemented, with clear differentiating for the mask and what we can see of the underlying head.  The head under the mask is perhaps a touch intense, I think, for Frog-Man, but it’s a minor thing, and I really like how the mask looks.  The feet give him not only his flippers, but also the springs on the heels that give the suit its jumping abilities.  He’s quite stable on these feet, which makes him quite easy to pose.  The back pack is useful in covering up the one character-specific remnant of the Ock sculpt, the ports for his arms on his back.  It plugs into the top ports to keep it secure, and otherwise works out pretty well for the look.  Frog-Man’s paint work is largely pretty basic.  Most of the colors are molded plastic, but what paint is there is pretty cleanly applied.  I do like the pattern on the darker sections; it helps sell the goofy comics design even further.  Frog-Man doesn’t seem like a character who lends himself to accessories, but he does still get two sets of hands, in both fists and open gesture poses, so that’s pretty cool.  He also gets the left arm, extra hand, and gun for the Stilt-Man Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Frog-Man’s one of those characters so minor that I know him more from his reputation of being minor than from actually reading his comics appearances.  I’ve definitely read a few of his appearances, and I have this sort of soft spot for the guy, even without that really direct connection. I was not expecting him at all before he was officially shown off, and I didn’t pay him too much attention in light of the rest of the set.  After getting them in hand, though, he really works for me, just because I didn’t expect him, so I just got to enjoy him for being the cool, goofy toy that he is.  And boy is he cool and goofy.  And boy do I love him.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2681: The Hand Ninja

THE HAND NINJA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Skilled in martial arts and espionage, the ninjas of The Hand are a force to be reckoned with.”

Remember how Ethan didn’t really care for the Red Ninjas?  Think that’s gonna come up again?  It’s a pretty safe bet.  First introduced in the pages of Daredevil #174 in 1981 by Frank Miller, the Hand were an ancient order of…well, pretty generic ninjas really.  They share a lot of common ground with the Red Ninjas, serving as a force of rather generic ninjas mostly just there to give the bad guys some minions.  They’ve kind of become the go to ninja foes for the Marvel Universe, and showed up in the second season of Daredevil on Netflix, as well as seasons of other shows that I’d prefer to not acknowledge the existence of at this juncture.  They’re…well, there just kind of generic ninjas, but people seem to have gotten really attached to them.  They’ve shown up twice before as Marvel Legends, but it’s been a little while, so the latest series has given us an update.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hand Ninja is figure 5 in the Stilt-Man Series of Marvel Legends, and is the first of the the three comics-based figures in the line-up.  He’s sort of a loose attachment to the overall Spider-Man theme of the line-up, falling a bit more into the Daredevil side, but DD stuff usually goes with Spidey anyway, so I guess it works.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  At first glance, the Hand Ninja looked like an all-new mold, but the visible pins on the elbows and knees got me to do a little bit of detective work, and confirm that his arms come from Mordo and the legs (up to the ankle, anyway) come from that same assortment’s Doctor Strange.  Not the worst choice for re-used parts, I suppose, though it’s a shame they couldn’t get reworked like Gwen and Prowler’s re-used parts to bring them up to speed with the new releases.  He still gets a new head, torso, pelvis, and feet, as well as add-ons for his bandolier/sheath and belt/skirt.  These new parts implement some of the newer articulation standards, such as butterfly joints at the shoulders, and the newer balljoint/crunch combo for the torso.  They work pretty well in terms of posing, and I was happy to see that the skirt didn’t impact the posability on the legs too much.  In terms of the newly sculpted parts, I do find that there are some areas where the parts don’t quite fit together as well as I’d like.  The head definitely sits a little too high on the neck, and the bandolier is rather loose and ill-fitted to the torso.  It’s a weird enough fit that I had to double check a few times to see if it was a re-use.  I don’t think it is, but whatever the case, it’s definitely a bit loose.  For the most part, however, the sculpt looks pretty decent, and is a respectable sort of all-encompassing take on the various Hand Ninja looks from over the years, leaning more towards the more basic end of things.  The paint work on the Hand Ninja is a lot of reds, as expected.  They mesh together well, and he’s even got those eerie milky grey/green eyes that we tend to see on Hand Ninjas, which is a nifty enough design.  The Hand Ninja is packed with two sets of hands (gripping and open gesture), a sword, and two Kama.  Aside from having nowhere to keep the Kama when not holding them, it’s a pretty cool set-up.  And, most importantly, the Hand Ninja includes the Stilt-Legs to Stilt-Man, as well as a stand for said legs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hand Ninjas don’t, as a rule, thrill me, much like the Red Ninjas.  I don’t tend to like them so much as a story telling device, as I often find them to be kind of bland and boring (ie: most of the of their Netflix appearances).  That being said, they can make a good toy, with the first Hand Ninja Minimate being a pretty stand out piece.  I’ve not picked up any of their earlier Hasbro figures, but I did have the Articulated Icons Basic Red, which was a good stand-in.  Did I need this guy?  No.  But then I saw that he came with Stilt-Man’s Stilt-Legs, and I kind of was locked in.  Ultimately, after being disappointed by the Red Ninja, I was pleasantly surprised by this release.  He’s got his flaws, but I like the overall appearance of the figure.  I don’t see myself army building him, or anything, but he’s perfectly acceptable on his own.

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 and their eBay storefront.