#3193: Speedball

SPEEDBALL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Robbie Baldwin is exposed to an extra-dimensional energy source, he becomes Speedball, able to project a kinetic energy field allowing him to bounce like a super-powered rubber ball!”

Introduced in 1988, Speedball was one of Marvel’s active attempts at recapturing the success of Spider-Man through another young hero, going so far as to include Steve Ditko in the character’s creation, just for that extra push. Though he ultimately didn’t meet their expectations, he did find some notoriety as a member of the New Warriors when that book was launched just a few years later.  He’d go on to become a defining member for the team throughout its many iterations, right up until they got totally discarded in order for big shocks in Civil War, at which point we got sad emo boy Robbie becoming the ultimate edgelord Penance…yeah, it’s not great.  But it’s okay, because he’s back to being Speedball, and now he’s even got an action figure, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Speedball is figure 4 in the Controller Series of Marvel Legends, which is ostensibly an Avengers assortment.  He’s the fourth member of the founding New Warriors in the line, following Night Thrasher, Firestar, and Nova.  Fingers crossed for a Justice figure in short order!  This is Speedball’s first figure, though Robbie did get a Minimate as Penance.  But I don’t wanna talk about it.  You can’t make me.  ….Anyway, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Speedball is built on the 2099 base body, which is a more than respectable choice for the character.  The build’s a pretty good match, and the articulation scheme, especially with those butterfly joints on the shoulders, makes for a lot of fun posing.  It’s a solid basic body choice for a guy with a pretty basic costume set-up.  It’s only real downside is that we still have the expose pins on the elbows and knees, but it’s going to take a little bit for such things to completely disappear from the line.  Speedball gets an all-new head sculpt, and it’s very definitely the star piece of the figure.  The hair has a wonderful dynamic flow, giving it that crazy flop that was so signature to the character’s look.  Gambit *wishes* his hair was this chaotic.  The face has a nice warm and friendly expression that feels right for a fun-loving guy like Robbie, and the goggles, which are separate pieces, top of the look pitch perfectly.  Speedball’s color work surprised me in its quality.  Not only is the base application all clean and sharp, they also handle his distinctive patterning on his gloves, belt, and boots quite well, without missing any noticeable spots or cutting anything too keep it simpler.  His face and hair also get a far bit more accenting than we’ve typically seen on the Hasbro Legends, which really just gives the whole thing a really polished feel.  If I have one complaint about this figure, it’s that he doesn’t get any accessories of his own.  A recoloring of the Havok/Polaris effects with his multicolored kinetic energy would have worked decently in a pinch, I feel.  That said, it’s not the end of the world, I suppose.  Ultimately, he’s packed with the torso for the Controller, which is the largest piece, so the box is far from empty feeling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was seven, I bought an issue of Wizard magazine because it had a feature on the upcoming Avengers: United They Stand cartoon, and I wanted to know everything I could about it.  Said issue also included a free preview copy of the latest iteration of the New Warriors at the time, which of course had Speedball front and center.  I’d not encountered him previously, and while I wouldn’t actually read most of his early New Warriors appearances until much later, the character’s distinctive visual always stuck with me.  I hated what they did with him in Civil War, and was always bummed that his only Minimate was as Penance.  So, this figure?  I was fairly excited.  He looked like a cool by-the-numbers figure.  In hand, that’s not what he is, because, despite the base body build, he’s not just a by-the-numbers figure.  He’s got a lot of care put into him, and he’s so much fun.  He’s simple, but he’s thus far my favorite Legend of the year.  And there was a Havok and a classic Cap this year, so that’s pretty high praise by me.

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.

#3192: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Tony Stark resolves to get back to basics, donning a new stripped-down Iron Man armor inspired by his most classic designs.”

Oh boy, are you guys ready for some more Marvel Legends?  I sure hope you are, because apparently the only settings on Hasbro’s release schedule for these are nothing at all and everything at once.  It’s…it’s a lot.  With no Avengers movies out or upcoming in the next year, the Avengers portion of the line is shifting over to purely comics based, which is where the most recent assortment sets its sights. The resident heavy hitter for this round is an Iron Man, who I’m gonna be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the non-numbered figure for the Controller Series of Marvel Legends. He’s based on Alex Ross’s updated Iron Man armor, which is his current set-up in the comics.  It’s a fairly nice merging of modern aesthetics with his classic design elements, offering a look that’s both unique, but still reads as a standard Iron Man.  Definitely a solid choice for the line-up.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  This Iron Man’s articulation scheme is probably the best we’ve gotten on a Legends Iron Man.  The 80th body and its spin-offs certainly weren’t bad from a movement perspective, but his figure takes a lot of the things that Hasbro’s learned from other lines and implements them for Marvel.  In particular, the neck is a mix of two ball joints and a universal, resulting in a ton of range we don’t usually see.  And, it’s all worked in really well from an aesthetic standpoint, making it doubly successful.  His sculpt is an all-new affair, of course.  It’s a really nice recreation of the armor as we’ve seen it on the page.  The depth of detail is also quite impressive, in part because it’s handled with so many separate pieces that are all assembled.  The only part I’m not super crazy about is the shoulder armor, which is a softer piece that goes over; when posing, it can be slightly restricting, and I worry about warping it by leaving the arms up for too long.  Beyond that, though, it’s a really strong sculpt.  His color work isn’t terrible, but it’s probably the figure’s weakest aspect.  The reds and golds are largely molded, rather than painted.  For the red, it means its not metallic; not the end of the world, but it doesn’t quite have that same pop.  For the gold, it means he’s got the swirls going on.  On my figure they’re rather prominent on the faceplate, which can be a tad distracting.  The actual paint application is all at least pretty clean, though, and I do like how the whites really stand out from the rest of the armor.  Iron Man is packed with two sets of hands (repulsor blasts and fists), and the two-part blast and smoke effects that were first included with Ironheart.  The replusor hands get the full wrist articulation, which I’m very happy about, and I’m also happy to see the Ironheart effects turn back up, as they’re honestly pretty cool.  It’s a shame that there’s not an unmasked Tony head, but there are at least options available.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With classic Iron Man and Modular Iron Man checked off, there’s not a ton left on my Iron Man checklist, but I’ll admit that I’ve liked this look since it was first shown off and was on-board for its inevitable Legends release.  When this one was announced, I was definitely planning to grab it, but didn’t think much beyond that.  It’s actually a pretty awesome figure.  He’s not my standard armor or anything, but it’s just hard to deny that this is a really, really good Iron Man figure.

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.

#3191: Rise of Boba Fett

BOBA FETT, BOSSK, & ANAKIN SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Ever since the Battle of Geonosis, young Boba Fett has made it his mission to confront the Jedi who defeated his father. Jango’s son doesn’t care that the duel between his father and Mace Windu was a fair battle between skilled warriors; Boba wants his chance to fight the Jedi. Eventually, his hunt is successful. He and Bossk fly Slave I to a planet where Mace and Anakin Skywalker are on a mission. The moment has come, and Boba is determined to make Windu pay for his actions on Geonosis, and to take his place as the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy.”

Prior to the Book of Boba Fett, as far as general audiences were concerned, Boba Fett was a character in three Star Wars films with about five lines spread across them, and very little in the way of motive or characterization.  I mean, there was probably something there, but it was easy to overlook.  Even within his expanded universe stories, the character’s main set-up was just being the ultimate undefeated bad-ass who was the best at everything all the time.  He was like a walking Chuck Norris joke.  It’s honestly kind of boring, narratively speaking.  The first real bit of character work he got came when he was worked into Clone Wars, seeking vengeance on Mace Windu, the Jedi that killed his father.  Since Clone Wars was a prequel to Revenge of the Sith, a story where Mace is still alive, so he can’t exactly have anything of note happen to him.  So, Boba’s revenge arc must instead take the form of a character study, as he faces inevitable failure.  Given he’s a character that was previously defined as undefeated, it’s a unique take, and one that made the character far more intriguing to follow.  There was a whole set of figures based on the arc from the show, and I’m looking at that (or a portion of it), today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“The Rise of Boba Fett” was a Toys R Us-exclusive Ultimate Battle Pack released in 2010 as part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars line.  It consisted of Boba Fett, Bossk, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, R3-B7, the Slave I, and Mace Windu’s Starfighter.  Today, I’m just focussing on Boba Fett, Bossk, and Anakin Skywalker.

BOBA FETT

There were two Boba Fett’s in the Clone Wars line, but this one was specifically based on Boba’s first arc on the show, where he sports his Kamino clone smock thing that he uses to infiltrate the cloning facilities, which is also effectively the same attire he’s got in Attack of the Clones…which begs the question, did Boba change his clothes between his appearances, or was he just running around in the same set of clothes for god knows how long?  Only Boba really knows.  Or perhaps those who were within smelling distance.  The figure stands 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Boba’s an all-new sculpt, sporting just shy of the line’s best articulation scheme.  All he’s really missing are the universal joints on the hips, but given the outfit, the t-hips are just fine. The sculpt is pretty solid, especially for that mid-line level of being fairly accurate to the show models, but just a bit removed for accuracy’s sake. He’s perhaps a little full-faced for animated Boba, especially when compared to the later single release, but it’s still a very good piece of work. Boba’s color work is largely pretty basic. Most of it’s just molded colors, but what paint application is present is all pretty clean. Boba included a display stand, a collector card, and a chance cube. Light for a figure on his own, but given how much other stuff came with the set, not too surprising.

BOSSK

Another OT character getting some representation in Clone Wars, it’s Bossk, whom the show confirmed had ties to Boba pre-Empire. He too appears to have not changed his clothes in the meantime. Of course, it’s a pressure suit, and presumably there’s other stuff beneath it, so I guess it’s maybe a bit less gross.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Bossk’s sculpt is all-new, and remained exclusive to this release.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It really embraces the style of the show, so that it’s clearly different from a standard movie Bossk figure.  I really enjoy the exaggerated proportions, as well as the lager scale relative to the other figures in the set, and I like how the articulation works with the rest of the sculpt.  The color scheme on the figure takes Bossk’s usual colors, and goes slightly brighter with them.  The paint work is pretty basic, but it’s clean, and it does what it needs to.  I particularly like the slight accenting on the exposed skin.  It really sells the detailing on the sculpt well.  Bossk is packed with his usual blaster rifle, as well as a display stand and a collector card.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER

You gotta have one of the main guys in the big sets, I suppose, so this one got an Anakin.  Not the worst thing ever, but, you know, it’s still another Anakin.  This one is, at the very least, a pretty good one.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articuation.  This Anakin re-uses the mold from the Space Suit Anakin, which, while it looks like just a re-use of the first series Anakin at first glance, was actually an updated mold, with a better articulation set-up, specifically giving him actual knee and ankle movement.  Beyond that, the sculpt is just a pretty impressive piece.  It’s fairly accurate to the show design, while still working in the articulation and everything pretty well.  Anakin’s color work is nicely handled; there’s a fair bit going on, and the detailing on the armored parts in particular is quite an impressive set-up.  Anakin is packed with his lightsaber, a display stand, and a collector card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember this set being released, but I was not in the market for the whole set-up, with the big vehicles and everything, especially at that time.  It just wasn’t really worthwhile for the two figures I actually wanted.  When these three came into All Time a couple of years back, I was able to get those two, plus the extra Anakin, which is honestly a pretty good one too, all in a more affordable package.  Boba got a slightly better figure later, but this one’s still cool, and the Bossk figure is very definitely hard to beat.

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

 

#3190: Iceman

ICEMAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice slides, ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs. And when he really concentrates, he can create a blinding snowstorm even in the middle of July! But most important of all, the X-Men know that no matter how hot the battle, Iceman always keeps his cool.”

Sometimes in the toy world, you discover an issue with an item way too late in the production process, or perhaps even completely after the production has wrapped, leaving you with no way to actually fix the issue.  So, what are you to do?  Well, sometimes you just ignore it.  Other times, you decide to double down on the money train, and do something to fix the issue quickly, all so you can rake in that sweet, sweet cheddar.  Or, ice, as it may be in this case.  This case being the first Toy Biz X-Men Iceman, whose clear plastic and thermochromatic paint caused issues with the intended “stick him in the freezer” gimmick, and meant that the figure just broke.  But it’s okay.  They made another one!  And this time he’s different!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman was released as part of Toy Biz’s first dedicated Repaint series of X-Men, released in late 1993/early 1994, around the main line’s 4th and 5th assortments.  He was perhaps the most sensible of the repaint choices, given the issues with the first release.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s the same mold as the prior release, which is a respectable classic Iceman sculpt, and fits in quite nicely with the early line figures.  The major difference between this one and the original is now he’s blue.  It’s a nice, consistent, transparent blue, which looks really cool, and makes him immediately different from his Series 2 counterpart.  He includes the same ice sled piece, which can still work with the freezing gimmick, with a little bit less risk of him breaking right away.  That said, you have to be careful with these things, especially given the age of the plastics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when I was a kid, this was the Iceman that my dad had in his collection, so I got to use it with my collection from time to time.  I never had one of my own, but did eventually get the re-release of the clear version from KB a few years later.  I eventually found this guy on his own in a bin of loose figures a few years ago, and, viola, now I have both.  Woo-hoo!

#3189: Spartan Buck

SPARTAN BUCK

HALO UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Wow, is this me, doing another Halo review?  Already?  I mean, yeah, I guess so.  If I’ve got the figure to review, I might as well.  During the lead-up to Halo 5‘s release, Microsoft was trying to move past the purely older age range of the franchise up to that point.  In keeping with that, they moved the master license for the property from McFarlane Toys over to Mattel.  Mattel’s handling of the license was kind of lackluster for the most part, but they were also doing stuff for Halo 5, which was also kind of lackluster, so I guess it fit.  While Mattel’s first batch of products were pretty much everywhere, the weak response to their offerings meant that all of the follow-ups were generally scarce.  Amongst those scarce items: the second series of their Halo Universe line, which happened to feature the only ODST-related figure the line had to offer, Spartan Edward Buck!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spartan Buck was part of the aforementioned Series 2 line-up of Halo Universe, which started to just show up online in little trickles over a year after the release of the first series.  Buck wasn’t even truly confirmed as part of Series 2 prior to its release, and he’d been long assumed cancelled when he just randomly showed up.  Yeah, that was really just how the end of Mattel’s run on the Halo license went in a nutshell.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This line’s scaling was definitely weird; the Spartans are supposed to be pretty big compared to regular people, so at only 6 1/2 inches tall, these guys don’t fit in with much.  But, I guess they had each other?  Sure is great that Mattel gave us a deep cast of characters, right?  Yeah… Given the general bulkiness of the figure and how Mattel figures generally were at the time, Buck’s articulation is surprisingly well-handled.  The range of motion is pretty decent, and he can pretty easily hold his weapon with both hands, something that I know the Series 1 figures really struggled with.  For this line, Mattel designed all of the Spartan figures to feature removable armor.  Given that we rarely see the Spartans without all of their armor, it was an odd choice, but I suppose their desire to do something different isn’t the worst thing. The construction means that he’s even bulkier than a Spartan usually would be, but it was consistent with the overall look of the line.  Mostly, it’s just the head being a bit too small that’s the issue, but I don’t hate it.  The armor actually looks pretty nice, and, apart from the calf armor having a tendency to pop out of place, it’s actually pretty secure.  The underlying suit is kind of goony looking, and I’m not ever gonna display him that way, but, again, it’s at least something different.  Buck’s paint work is largely on the basic side, but the application is clean, and he’s got a few pretty cool smaller details.  Buck is packed with an assault rifle, a knife, and an unmasked head.  The unmasked head is kind of on the large side relative to the helmet, but it’s a decent enough sculpt, and kudos to Mattel on actually giving him the extra head to swap, rather than trying to get an extra sale out of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m amongst the people who though this figure got cancelled back in the day.  I was really not into the first series of the line, and was at least a little curious about this guy, but when a year went by and the others all got clearanced out, I called it quits and didn’t pay it much attention.  In the years since, this figure’s value’s gotten really high on the aftermarket.  Fortunately for me, I was able to snag a loose one that got traded into All Time for a reasonable price.  He’s a better figure than I’d expected.  He’s still got his own odd quirks, but I actually kind of like him.

#3188: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

BLACK ADAM (SPIN MASTER)

In the bleak landscape that is the current state of the DC live action movies, there stands one un-cancelled, un-delayed film.  That film is Black Adam, the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-led spin-off of Shazam!  DC’s really banking on this one, and kinda banking on Black Adam a lot as a character right now.  I’m iffy on the whole prospect, really, but we’ll see how it goes.  To fill in the movie’s cast a bit, Black Adam is joined in his first cinematic venture by a small contingent of the Justice Society of America.  Pierce Brosnan is playing Doctor Fate, and I’m honestly not hating that, so when it comes to the tie-in toys, that’s what I’m hitting up to start.  I mean, Doctor Fate, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr Fate is part of the first assortment of basic figures from Spin Master’s Black Adam line.  As with their The Batman tie-in line, its an off-shoot of the main 3 3/4 inch DC line, so he can work with those figures as well.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s got the same basic articulation scheme as the rest of the line, though they’ve slightly changed up how the hips work, and it’s not quite as effective.  Beyond that, though, it works pretty decently given the scaling and size.  The figure’s got an all-new sculpt, which is loosely based on the film design for the character.  I say loosely because he’s clearly based on some sort of preliminary design for the character, as there are a fair number of details that don’t quite line up with the final film look.  The helmet is probably the closest piece (which tracks, since it looks like the helmet was actually a physical prop during filming), and it’s a pretty strong piece.  The body, especially the collar and belt, are off for sure.  I don’t think they look bad; they’re just inaccurate.  The actual quality of the sculpt is pretty solid; his proportions are more balanced than previous figures, so he’s not quite as ridiculously buff.  It works better for Fate, so I dig it.  The cape is a cloth piece; it’s that same papery cloth from before, but it’s at least lacking that hole in the back that most of the Bat-figures had.  The figure’s paint work is decent enough.  The helmet’s even got some pretty nifty accenting, so that’s cool.  There’s a bit of a color match issue on the blues on the legs, but otherwise he looks alright.  Certainly on par with the rest of these figures.  Dr Fate is packed with two magic effect pieces, which he can hold in his hands.  They’re honestly pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m skeptical about this movie, but I’m not skeptical about a cool Dr Fate figure. I’m not lining up to throw more money at McFarlane, so I was pretty happy to hear that Spin Master had their own line running.  I’ve only been seeing the Black Adam figure thus far, but I was out running errands the other day, and happened up this guy and jumped on it.  He’s not film accurate, but he’s still a lot of fun.  If I can just find that Atom Smasher figure, I’ll be all set.

#3187: Ultra Magnus – Shattered Glass

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS: SHATTERED GLASS COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Welcome to an alternate universe where the bad guys are good, and the good guys are bad…Shattered Glass is a mirror universe where Optimus Prime and the Autobots are the evil conquerors and ruling class of Cybertron, opposed by the noble Megatron and his heroic Decepticon rebels.

Ultra Magnus has become bored with warfare.  Having ended more sparks than he can count, he sets his sights on something greater: the destruction of the universe.”

First appearing in 2008 as the inspiration for a Botcon-exclusive boxed set, “Shattered Glass” is the Transformers version of a pretty classic sci-fi trope: the alternate universe where all the good guys are evil and all the bad guys are good…you know, kinda like it says in the italicized text above.  I guess Hasbro’s kind of okay at explaining that one too.  While all the tie-in toys were initially just handled by Fun Publications, the group in charge of both the Transformers and G.I. Joe Collector’s Clubs and their respective exclusives, and therefore not part of any of Hasbro’s proper Transformers lines, Hasbro officially brought “Shattered Glass” into their line with a Generations Select two-pack featuring the evil counterparts to Optimus Prime and Ratchet, in 2020.  In 2021, they launched a full sub-line, the Shattered Glass Collection, which was exclusive to Hasbro Pulse.  Personally, I’m not deep enough into Transformers to really need the Shattered Glass stuff, but…well, as you can see, there’s kind of an Ultra Magnus.  And, uhh, I kinda tend to just buy everything Ultra Magnus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus is figure #6 in the Shattered Glass Collection.  He’s the first of the second batch of figures for the line, and started arriving to those who pre-ordered him at the beginning of September, which was about a month ahead of his original projected release date.  Hey, it’s not as drastic as *some* of Hasbro’s recent date changes, right?  Right.  In his fully built up robot mode, the figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 20 workable points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s mostly the same as the Kingdom Magnus.  It’s a good, classic Magnus mold, and genuinely my favorite Magnus, so I’m certainly not hurt by seeing it turn up again.  There are a few quirks to this particular use of the mold, but they’re largely to do with the paint, so I’ll get to them in a moment.  Before that, I’ll discuss the one new part of this mold, which is the head.  The original BotCon Shattered Glass Magnus had a unique head sculpt, which gave Magnus a skeletal visage and a more sinister shaping to his helmet.  It’s certainly a different design for the character, and it’s kind of the one signature part of SG Magnus, so this figure gets a new head to match that look.  Personally, I feel it clashes just a bit stylistically with the rest of the body, but it’s not a bad piece in its own right.  The paint work marks the biggest change-up for this figure, as has been the case for all of the Shattered Glass releases.  While a lot of the palette shifts for the Autobots are more centered on giving them more classically evil colors to mess with, in Magnus’s case, he actually gets a throwback to his history, with the colors of Powered Convoy, the original toy Magnus used the molds from (which were almost Magnus’s colors as well, had Hasbro not decided to shift his colors before Transformers: The Movie‘s release).  It’s honestly a sensible choice for an alternate universe Magnus, since it involves reversing his color scheme, making it feel all evil and stuff.  Unfortunately, this color scheme winds up requiring some paint where there wasn’t on the first use of this mold, which messes with the tolerances on some of the moving parts just a bit.  On my figure, the prime offenders are the inner wrist guards and the shoulder rockets, neither of which really wants to sit just right.  Beyond that, though, they look pretty solid.  It’s worth noting that in the Transformers canon, the Powered Convoy colors have been made into a separate character, Delta Magnus, and in order to facilitate this guy pulling double duty, he also includes the standard Kingdom Magnus head colored to match the core body.  He’s also got his blaster rifle (now in red), as well as the sword, axe, and Matrix of Leadership from the Legacy Laser Prime.

As a re-use of the Kingdom mold, SG Magus has an inner bot under all of the outer armor.  His mold is totally unchanged, which is honestly just fine by me.  He does get a drastically different color scheme, however.  While the outer robot could pull double duty as Delta Magnus, the inner robot uses the original Powered Convoy inner bot colors, thus allowing him to serve as a third character, Magna Convoy.  I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know anything about Magna Convoy, and reading his wiki entry didn’t really help much on that front, but I do like the look of the color scheme he’s got.  Not enough to ever display this figure sans armor, but such is the curse of any inner Magnus bot.  The inner bot turns into the same truck cab as the original Kingdom release did, just with the updated colors, and just like that one, you can reconfigure the armor pieces into a trailer for the cab.  It’s still a little bit slapdash, but I still don’t really mind that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Max’s fault.  No, really, it’s totally Max’s fault.  He completely enabled me on this one.  I didn’t even know it was coming, he told me about its existence, and he even let me jump in on his Pulse Premium membership to help me get one.  How dare he?  Downright unreasonable.  In all seriousness, I’ve been wanting a Delta Magnus re-deco since Siege, and that only increased with the Kingdom mold in play.  I wasn’t expecting the Shattered Glass angle, but I can’t say I’m upset about it, since it just means extra stuff.  He’s gonna stay in the Delta Magnus mode for my display, but I’m always down for more options.

Oh, and there’s also a comic.  Right.  Genuinely forgot.  Was gonna do a bit and then I actually forgot.  He comes with the first issue of IDW’s Transformers: Shattered Glass II, which gets a special exclusive cover for this release.  It sure is a comic.  There are words.  Illustrations.  Colors.  Events occur.  Not sure I’d say it has a plot, but it’s sure got a lot of Magnus.  I can’t say it’s good or bad.  It just…is.

#3186: IG-86 Assassin Droid

IG-86 ASSASSIN DROID

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“An IG-86 Assassin Droid lies deactivated in a Trandoshan trader’s cargo hold until a buyer can be found for the dangerous droid. But he is accidentally reactivated by a clumsy astromech droid, and the lives of everyone on board the ship are in peril.”

In addition to fleshing out the prequel-era characters, The Clone Wars also placed a focus on more directly tying the two trilogies together.  We got handful of younger OT characters featured, as well as a few lineages, and predecessors to things seen in the OT.  Amongst those predecessors, a recurring feature were the IG-86s, precursors to IG-88 and other Assassin Droids of the same model.  They never really step beyond bit player, but they help to more fully fill-in the world around the characters, and they always make for a good toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The IG-86 Assassin Droid was released in 2008 as part of the first year of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, where he was figure #18.  The figure saw a few multipack releases as well during the line, with minimal deco changes, as well as one more widely changed version in the form of Ziro’s assassin droid, added to the line as figure #37 in the following year (that’s the one pictured next to Wilson over on the right).  All of the releases used the same mold.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The IG-86 mold was one of the most posable molds in the whole line, with universals on the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.  He’s also got posable hands as well, making for far better gripping of the weapons.  The point is, there’s just a lot you can do with this guy, and it’s a lot of fun.  The sculpt is one of the best from the line.  It’s a great recreation of the animation model, with a nice merging of function and form.  Figures like the most recent Vintage Collection IG-11 are totally still banking on how this figure worked.  For the first release, IG-86 got a tarnished and dirty finish, a stark contrast to the usually more clean Clone Wars offerings.  It was a really impressive set-up especially for the time, and captured the whole “deactivated” thing quite well.  Ziro’s assassin droid trades in the grime for a unique set of markings, as well as a less metallic finish than the original release.  It’s suitably different, but cool for its own set of reasons.  Both versions of the Assassin droid, included two droid-style blasters, as well as a backpack for storing both of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The standard IG-86 was one of my earliest purchases from the line, shortly after he hit retail.  I’ve always had a soft spot for IG-88, and I liked seeing the elements in animated form.  The sculpt, form, and function all just really work, making him one of the line’s very best.  I like him so much that I wound up snagging Ziro’s assassin from a collection that came into All Time, just so I could get another chance to mess with it.  They’re both really fun, and I love the two different decos.  Seriously top-notch.

#3185: Vulture

VULTURE

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“When his business partner attempted to swindle Adrian Toomes out of the flying harness he had invented, Toomes stole the harness back and embarked on a life of crime as the high-flying Vulture! Recently rejuvenated, the Vulture is now a more dangerous threat than ever – as Spider-Man has learned, to his lasting regret!”

Man, the ’90s were definitely rough on some characters, especially as they tried to stay hip and relevant.  Spider-Man foe the Vulture, perennially defined by being, like, the oldest man alive, got saddled with the whole “making myself young again by draining off other people’s lifeforce” thing, in addition to also getting a new armored look, which also had a headband built-in.  It was, like, all of the ’90s things at once.  And it didn’t really stick, which was probably for the best, really.  Man, what a time.  And that’s how we got his first action figure, no less.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Vulture was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line.  He was based on the character’s revamped design, which got a special focus on the show.  And, more specifically, he was actually kind of animation-based, in contrast to the likes of the X-Men line.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this sculpt before, albeit at twice the size, when its 10-inch equivalent was re-used for Savage Land Angel.  It’s a rather awkward sculpt, all things considered.  The body’s kind of scrawny and goony looking, and the head is rather large in comparative scale, which just makes the scrawny and goony thing even more apparent.  The armor detailing is at least pretty sharply handled.  You know, if you like your Vulture to be armored.  The paint work on the figure is basic, but pretty well handled.  There’s a little bit of bleedover on the edges of the lighter green, but otherwise it works well.  Vulture was originally packed with a small gun sort of thing, meant for storing in his side holster, thought that piece is missing from mine (and most loose ones, honestly; it was super easy to lose).  He also featured a “Spreading Wing Action”; squeezing his legs lifts his arms, thereby spreading his wings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you know how I was ragging on overly ’90s Vulture?  Yeah, well, as stupid as it may be, I kinda like the overly ’90s Vulture.  That being said, I didn’t own this figure, for whatever reason.  I remember looking at it, but I just never picked it up.  I wound up getting one loose a few years back at a toy show, in one of my pushes to complete my Toy Biz run.  He’s a really goofy figure, and I don’t know that he really captures the design as well as he could.  Or maybe he does, and it’s just destined to be forever super goofy.  You know what?  It’s probably that.

#3184: Alisha Hawthorne & Buzz Lightyear

ALISHA HAWTHORNE & BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

LIGHTYEAR: ALPHA CLASS (MATTEL)

For their summer offering this year, Pixar went back to the well that is Toy Story, but, having acknowledged that you can only wrap up the franchise’s loose ends so many times before you start to really see diminishing returns, they went a little bit different with things.  In the early 2000s, we got Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a Saturday morning cartoon that was meant to be the in-universe Saturday morning cartoon that went with the Buzz Lightyear toy from the movies.  In 2022, Pixar asked the question: “what if the cartoon and the toy were both actually based on a movie?”  And then they went ahead and made that movie.  And there was much rejoicing.  No, the other thing.  There was a lot of complaining, actually.  Mostly by people who didn’t, you know, actually see the movie.  But, that’s just our culture at the moment, I guess.  I liked it.  I also bought some toys, because, well, that’s who I am.  And I enjoy the recursiveness of the toys based on a movie based on the toy from a movie, which was in-universe based on a movie.  It’s mind-boggling in just the best possible way.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Alisha Hawthorne and Buzz Lightyear are a Target-exclusive two-pack release, courtesy of Mattel’s Lightyear: Alpha Class line.  There are a handful of different scales in play for the tie-ins, with the Alpha Class stuff being on par with Mattel’s other collector-geared lines, though they’re still definitely toys.

ALISHA HAWTHORNE

Buzz’s partner at the beginning of the film, Alisha winds up getting a small but very integral to the plot role in the movie.  Over the course of about 20 minutes of the film, we see her live out pretty much her entire life as Buzz checks in with her between his light speed jumps.  This figure is based on her look from about the mid-point of things, when she’s established herself as the commanding officer of their station, and gets the fancy dress uniform to go along with that.  Barring the classic Space Ranger attire, it’s her most distinctive look, and it is very snazzy.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Her movement is about the same as Mattel’s other collector lines, which is to say it’s actually pretty good.  They’re using pinless construction on the elbows and knees, so everything looks pretty slick.  The actual sculpt is unique to this release, and does a fairly respectable job of capturing Alisha’s design from the movie.  I quite like the way the hair turned out, and the uniform is nice and sharp.  Alisha’s paint work is pretty decently handled.  The base work is all very cleanly applied, and there’s some great small detail work on all of her ribbons and medals.  The eyes are perhaps a touch crazy looking, but I think that’s more an adaptation thing, just being one of those design elements that looks fine on screen but ever so slightly off on an actual physical object.  Alisha technically doesn’t really get any accessories, but, it’s honestly hard to say that with absolute certainty.  The stuff included all feels like it *should* go with the other figure, but there’s no reason you can’t share the load.  Product shots showed her with the knife, so I gave her that for the Wilson photo, just so she had something more to do.

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

As the titular character of the film, Buzz gets a lot of looks over the course of the movie, and pretty much all of those got toys.  Obviously, they’re not going to stick his main Space Ranger gear in an exclusive two-pack, so that’s not what this one gets.  Instead, this one is sporting the suit he does his last jump in, which is what sends him into the film’s “current” time.  It’s kind of an interesting choice, since it means he doesn’t really match up with Alisha, who is out of the story by the time he dawns this gear.  That said, it’s the one he spends the second most time in, so it’s at least a pretty prominent one.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme is very similar to Alisha’s, though he also gets a ball-jointed waist, which adds just a little more range to his posing.  The sculpt appears to be unique to this release.  It’s the only way thus far to get Buzz with the flight cap, so that’s cool and unique.  The detailing on the sculpt is generally pretty solid.  He’s definitely a good recreation of the animation model, and this particular look has a lot of cool intricate details to work with.  Some areas, notably the arms and legs, are a little softer on the detail work, but the overall look is pretty great.  Buzz’s paint work is fairly strong.  The base work is nice and clean, and the level of work on the small printing and insignias is particularly impressive.  Buzz is packed with his removable helmet, a rifle, the warp crystal in its case, an upgraded version of the IVAN autopilot, his portable computer (with closing lid), and a laser knife.  It’s a great selection of extras, and none of them feel phoned in at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Toy Story was my first movie in the theatre, so I definitely have more than a small attachment to the franchise.  As faithful readers will have no doubt picked up from the Matty’s Corner entry about some of the basic figures, I took my son Matthew to see the movie when it was released.  He, unsurprisingly, wanted toys, so I took him to pick out a few.  At the same time, I saw this set, and it really spoke to me.  It was also on sale.  Win-win.  It’s a really great set.  Both figures are really strong, but honestly, the Buzz just really steals the show for me.  The detailing, both in terms of sculpt and paint, as well as the accessories, just really put the whole thing over the top.