#1763: Magneto

MAGNETO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Living up to his namesake, Magneto is a master manipulator of magnetism, controlling and using its energy to defeat his enemies.”

Debuting alongside the team in X-Men #1, Magneto has been by far the most enduring of the X-Men’s foes…or allies…or teammates…or whatever he is this week.  He’s a popular choice for toys as well.  While he doesn’t quite rival Wolverine, he’s certainly giving Cyclops a run for his money.  Sadly, in the realm of Marvel Legends, he’s always seemed to come up short.  His very first Legends release was a hastily re-tooled Iron Man that didn’t quite work right.  This was followed by quite a lengthy waiting period for another, in 2014, which was not only an extremely illusive Toys R Us exclusive, it also wasn’t very good.  That leads us to today’s figure, the beacon of hope that maybe, just maybe, a Legends Magneto might not suck.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto–sorry, Marvel’s Magneto is figure 2 in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  Like Colossus before him, Magneto’s source design is a point of contention for some of the fanbase.  A lot of fans were hoping for another stab at his classic togs, but Hasbro has instead opted for a more modern appearance, based on his relatively recent design from the All-New, All-Different re-launch in 2015.  I was myself angling for another classic figure, but I can somewhat understand Hasbro not wanting to release that costume again right away, since it’s only been a few years since the last attempt.  What’s more, this particular design is actually not a bad look for old Magnus, and given Hasbro’s recent track record with the likes of Namor and Taskmaster, it likely serves as a trial run for them to get everything in order for a more proper variant down the line.  Magneto stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The figure is built on the Spider-UK body, a fact I’m quite pleased about.  As soon as I saw that figure, I was hoping Hasbro would have it ear-marked for Magneto, so I’m happy to see they were on the same wavelength.  He gets a new head, forearms, and boots, as well as an add-on for his cape.  The head features the helmet as a separate, non-removable piece, as has become the norm for these guys.  The helmet follows the more streamlined nature of the helmet, which first cropped up in the X-Men: First Class design in 2011.  It sits quite well on his head (which is a surprisingly big win for a 6-inch Magneto figure; none of the others have really gotten that part down), and the underlying face perfectly captures Magneto’s noble streak.  The forearms and boots both capture those little raised ridges that Magneto seems to be really into, as well as meshing well with the existing body.  The cape gave me some pause when I first took the figure out of the box, because it wouldn’t sit flat and seemed oddly malformed.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that the shoulder pads were separate pieces, designed to slide *under* the cape, and one of them had accidentally popped over.  If you look closely at the prototype on the figure’s package you can see that not even Hasbro caught this mix-up.  Once everything’s laying properly, the cape is actually pretty darn awesome, and quite fitting for the character.  If there’s a slight downside to this figure, it’s his paint work.  It’s not *terrible* but the application is noticeably sloppier than on a lot of Hasbro’s other recent releases.  The red paint in particular seems to have some real issues with going on too thinly, leaving the underlying black plastic exposed.  The worst of it’s at the front of the helmet and on his thighs; beyond those points, it’s actually pretty passable overall.  Magneto makes out pretty well in terms of accessories.  He’s got an extra head, sans-helmet, displaying his beautiful Jim Lee-era locks.  While the helmeted head is still my favorite of the two, there’s no denying the quality of this one.  He also includes two different sets of hands.  He’s got basic black fists, as well as open gesture ones that have been molded in translucent purple.  There are some electricity effects to match.  Honestly, I’m a little surprised we didn’t see that swirly effects piece another time, since that’s what Polaris got, but I guess Hasbro was reading the room and sensing that piece’s over-use.  Lastly, Magneto includes the right arm of the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m always down for a good Magneto figure, which is why it’s always been so disappointing that he’s never been privy to a good Legends release.  I still searched everywhere for the last one, even despite it’s lower quality, but never could find him, and certainly wasn’t paying a mark-up for him.  So, when this guy was announced, I was pretty excited, even if he’s not quite the version I wanted.  In hand, he’s got some minor flaws, but I’m overall happy with this figure, and glad I finally have a Magneto for my X-Men shelf.

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The Blaster In Question #0063: Tri-Break

BlasterInQuestion1

TRI-BREAK

N-STRIKE ELITE (MEGA)

tribreak1Since its inception, the MEGA series of Nerf blasters has lent itself well to oversized, chunky blasters.  Sure, there are some actual size constraints given the dimensions of the ammunition, but most MEGA blasters go well beyond what is necessary as far as the size of the actual blaster.  The pistols in the line, especially, seem to have steadily gotten bigger and bigger relative to their ammo capacity.  Today, I’ll be looking at perhaps the biggest 3-shot pistol in my Nerf arsenal, the MEGA Tri-Break.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

tribreak2The MEGA Tri-Break was released in 2018, unsurprisingly as part of the MEGA subset of the N-Strike Elite line.  It uses a pretty standard 3-round smart AR system with a jolt-style priming bar in the grip.  That’s right, for all its bulk and flare, it’s a jolt (triad) reskin.  It does go a little beyond just a basic reskin by the use of its primary gimmick, that being the pseudo break-action… thing it has.  In the trigger well, there is a button on the forward end that, when pressed, releases the front half of the blaster, allowing it to pivot down like a break-action shotgun, or Hellboy’s Samaritan.  This gives you access to the barrels in order to load the blaster, but the overall implementation of this feature raises some design questions.  First off, it’s interesting to note that the front end of the Tri-Break is a purely cosmetic piece.  It contains none of the mechanism required to operate the blaster.  As such, being as short as it is, you can actually load the blaster reasonably easily without breaking it open.  Second, the catch that holds the front end locked in the closed position is located right at the pivot.  tribreak3Given the size of the blaster, particularly in the vertical direction, this means there is a lot of mechanical advantage when any force is applied to the upper forward section of the faux barrels.  You know, right where the accessory rail is, right where you might be inclined to add extra weight.  Now, I’ve seen other reviews of this blaster where the front end drops down after even firing the blaster, and I will say, I’ve not had that issue, but I do still agree that the catch mechanism feels pretty weak.  On the more functional side, the blaster has decent ergonomics and feels good in the hand.  It might feel a little more imposing if I had more confidence in the barrel catch, but if you can play it off well, it’ll still make quite the impression on any younger siblings who find themselves staring down the barrel.  The priming stroke is surprisingly long for this style of plunger tube, but I’m hardly complaining because that extra air flow means the darts hit with the expected oomf you’d want from a MEGA blaster. The MEGA Tri-Break comes packaged with 3 MEGA darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I think Nerf likes to tease me on purpose.  They must know I have a thing for break-action blasters after hearing me go on and on about the Sledgefire and the Barrel Break.  When I first heard about this blaster, I thought, just for a second, that this was going to be just as fun if not more so than those two.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I do, quite a bit, actually.  But in this case, the inclusion of the break-action seems questionable and just pure gimmick whereas it was integral, new, and fun on the Sledgefire and Barrel Break.

#1762: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Razor-sharp claws and an incredible accelerated healing ability make Wolverine a nearly unstoppable threat.”

Did you know that the scientific name for the wolverine is “Gulo Gulo”?  That’s your fun FiQ fact of the day…or at least of this particular tiger-stripe Wolverine review.  Listen, I’ve got a small handful of running gags on this site, and if I don’t keep up with them, the universe might end.  Or my reviews might be slightly less fun to write.  It could really go either way.

So, it’s that wonderful time of year.  That one time each year where we get an X-Men-themed series of Marvel Legends.  And there was much rejoicing (yaaaay…).  There is, of course, a Wolverine figure in this assortment, surprising pretty much no one, but given how good the last few Wolverines I’ve gotten from Hasbro were, this one’s got a lot of traction from my end.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is figure 1 in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends, which is the third wide-release X-Men assortment since the Infinite Series relaunch.  The first assortment gave us Wolverine in his brown costume, an important look for the character, but perhaps not quite his definitive look.  After going a bit off the wall last year with an Old Man Logan release, Hasbro’s going back to the basics this year, and finally giving us an update to Logan’s yellow and blue, tiger-stripe number.  While it hasn’t been quite as long since we’ve seen this one as it had for the brown one, it’s still been a decade since the last release.  We also got a preview of this particular figure a little earlier this year, in the form of the 12-inch Legends Wolverine, who got me quite pumped for this guy.  This figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  This guy shares more than a few parts with the Brown Costumed version from 2016, but does still get his fair share of new pieces.  This includes a new head and belt, shoulderpads, and arms that are, at the very least, slightly retooled.  All of the new pieces are very similar to the ones we saw on the 12-inch figure, which makes a lot of sense, what with them being the same costume and all.  The new head definitely took some getting used to at first; I was quite a fan of the brown costume’s head sculpt, and was a little worried about this one’s ears being a little too close to the head.  In person, I actually quite like how they look, and I’m very happy with the slight differences in the masks between the two costumes.  It helps that this new head also sits a little further down on the neck peg, alleviating one of my complaints about the prior figure.  The “new” arms have been changed up to add a little more detail, specifically of the arm-hair variety (since Wolverine is a hairy dude), but also to allow for the attachment of the shoulderpads.  Like the new head, the shoulderpads help to cover up the slightly disconnected shoulders of the base body, thereby removing another of my issues with the last figure.  If I have one small complaint, it’s to do with the belt, which is sporting the “X” logo.  I’ve never been much of a fan of that particular look (I like the more basic buckle), but it’s accurate, and I can’t fault them for giving us a new piece.  The paint on this figure is largely very similar to that of the 12-inch figure, albeit with a slightly oranger color for the yellow.  This matches with the Cyclops figure from the last series, so it makes sense, and it’s certainly nice looking.  Wolverine is packed with a pair of non-clawed hands, as well as the two arm tubes for the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse.  It’s a shame we’re not getting an unmasked head for each Wolverine, but this is, at the very least, an improvement over Old Man Logan.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Juggernaut Series Wolverine was one of my favorite figures to come out of that series, and has been my go-to since its release.  I was initially unsure if this variant would be able to live up to those standards.  When I picked up the 12-inch release a few months back, I started getting a bit more excited to see how Hasbro could do translating that into the smaller scale.  I’m happy to say they’ve done a pretty spot-on job of shrinking that figure down, and they’ve created my favorite Legends Wolverine to date.

Wolverine was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in purchasing other Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1761: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE MIGHTY MUGGS

What’s this?  More Mighty Muggs?  That’s crazy!  But wait, this one’s different!  This one’s vintage….ish.

After their success with their licensed properties of Marvel, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones in the Mighty Muggs format, Hasbro decided to go all-in and start offering up some of their in-house properties in that same style.  While that did eventually grow to include the likes of ROM and the Visionaries, the primary focus was on Transformers and G.I. Joe.  I’ll be looking at one of the latter’s characters today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes was released in the first series of G.I. Joe Mighty Muggs, which hit stores in late 2008.  He’s based on Snake Eyes’ 1985 v2 look, which is kind of the go-to for Snake Eyes.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation.  While the legs are a separate piece, they aren’t actually articulated, or at least there’s no practical movement to be had from them.  Snake Eyes is built on the basic Muggs body from the old days.  It’s a fair bit taller than the newer Muggs, and the proportions are slightly different, with the head being noticeably smaller in comparison to the rest of the body.  He doesn’t have any add-on pieces or anything, which is rather sensible for Snake Eyes, and also fairly common for the older Muggs.  The detailing of course all comes from the paint work.  The original Mighty Muggs were a bit different in terms of how the details were handled.  They had more of an art-deco/designer vinyl sort of vibe to it, where it boils down things to the most simple designs, but also adds in some creative shading.  It’s the sort of look that really fits well with the general design of the character.  In particular, I quite like the faux-reflective nature of the visor.  Though accessories were not the norm for the line, Snake Eyes was actually pretty well armed, betting both his sword and machine gun, allowing for him to go for that whole commando/ninja combo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I liked the original Mighty Muggs quite a bit, by the time this line came along, my focus had moved to other things, so I didn’t get this guy new.  Instead, I actually picked him up just a couple of weeks ago, as sort of a birthday present to myself, from 2nd Chance Toyz.  Obviously, he’s as much an acquired taste as any of the others, but I really like him, and I think he was a really good choice for the style.

#1760: Endor Rebel Commando Infantryman

ENDOR REBEL COMMANDO INFANTRYMAN

MILITARIES OF STAR WARS (SIDESHOW)

“The men and women of the Rebel Alliance were fiercely dedicated to the principle of freedom, and would lay down their lives to win their objectives. Some were Imperials disillusioned with their government’s tyranny. Some were from worlds subjugated by the Empire. In stark contrast to the faceless anonymity of the stormtrooper ranks or the precision drilling of Imperial Academy training, Alliance troops were aggressively individualistic and much more rag-tag.”

Back in the day, Sideshow Toys was a much smaller company, whose primary focus was largely horror.  Their first big break came along in the form of Star Wars, a property that had previously been confined pretty much exclusively to mass retail.  They were granted a special license (no small feat when you take all of Hasbro’s exclusivity deals), and got right to work producing characters from all throughout the saga.  The line’s still running (though they’ve started partnering with Hot Toys for a lot of releases), but today I’ll be jumping back to the line’s earliest days, and having a look at one of my favorite “characters” from Star Wars, the Endor Rebel Commando!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Endor Rebel Commando was released by Sideshow in 2007, as the debut offering in their Militaries of Star Wars line.  The Rebel was no doubt chosen for the relative ease of creation, especially when compared to the likes of the Stormtroopers.  There were three versions of the Commando available: the Infantryman, the Pathfinder, and the Sergeant.  The figure seen here is the Infantryman, the most widely available of the three, and the one meant to represent the most basic “army builder.”  It’s the same basic design as the Endor Rebel Soldier I looked at from the PotF2 line, though he’s obviously aiming for a more screen accurate appearance.  The figure stands 12 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

The headsculpt was a slight change of pace for Sideshow’s Star Wars stuff, since he’s not meant to be based on one particular actor or character.  However, he’d look kind of odd if he were too generic. So, what Sideshow did was create a sculpt that was realistic, and clearly one individual, but still generic enough that if you have a few of them standing around, it’s not going to look too odd.  While I don’t know that the sculpt they gave us is my ideal head for a Rebel Soldier, there’s no denying it’s a very well crafted sculpt, which looks quite lifelike given the period of time in which it was released.  He’s perhaps a little cartoonish by modern 1/6 standards, but he’s right on par with the rest of Sideshow’s stuff at the time, and a marked improvement over the types of sculpts we were getting from Hasbro just a few years prior.  The paint work is somewhat thickly applied and a little basic by modern sculpts, but once again was very good for the time, and, admittedly, not bad even by modern standards.   The eyes in particular showcase some incredibly lifelike work.

The figure’s outfit showcases another area where the industry really changed following this figure’s release.  It’s a mixed media affair, as you’d expect.  He’s got a vest, jacket, undershirt, and pants that are all tailored pieces.  Though by today’s standards, they may be somewhat bulky, loose-fitting, and sport some rather sizable seems, they were decent work for the time, and again an improvement over similar figures from other companies.  With a little bit of careful posing, you can get them to look pretty great.  He also gets a belt with number of sculpted pouches (and one cloth one) and a bandolier, which both match the other offerings in style, and replicate the gear the Rebels were carrying in the movie.  His boots and gloves are sculpted.  The gloves are actually just hands, and they’re very nicely detailed, and quite well scaled to the body.  Sideshow at this time was always very good with the gloves.  The boots are, unlike with later figures, actually boots that slip over the figure’s feet.  Due to being made from a softer material, their detailing isn’t quite as sharp, but they’re still very good.  Lastly, and most importantly, the Infantryman has his helmet.  The Endor helmets are my favorite aspect of this design, and while this one isn’t a 100% match for the ones from the movie (it’s a little flat at the top, and sits a little high on his head), it’s still a very nice piece, and really pulls the whole figure together.

The primary failing of this, and really all of the early Sideshow Star Wars offerings, is the base body he’s built on.  He uses Sideshow’s Buck body, which was decent when they first started using it, but was almost a decade old by the time of this figure’s release.  It’s a rather stiff body, and clothes have trouble hanging the right way on it.  It’s also very skinny and suffers from some very odd internal proportions.  It’s this body that makes the uniform look a bit more off than it should, despite how it looks when not on this body.

The Infantryman’s uniform was more involved than some of the line’s other figures, so by comparison, he’s a little lighter on accessories.  He includes a Blastech A-295 blaster rifle, his hard-pack survival pack, and a display stand with the Star Wars logo on it.  He doesn’t get some of the more interesting smaller extras, but what he gets all of the basics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It took me quite a while to actually break into the Sideshow Star Wars line, and it was a ways after this figure’s release.  I remember being very interested in possibly getting this figure, but I just never did.  He’s not a bad figure at all, especially when you look at when he was released.  What’s more, this is still the only time that the Endor Rebels have been released in this scale.

The item reviewed here is not from my personal collection, but was instead loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you are interested in owning the figure from this review, he’s available through All Time’s eBay page.  And, if you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1757: Thor & Lady Sif

THOR & LADY SIF

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Though very successful, and overall very good at creating a sense of consistency throughout its films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not without its missteps.  Incredible Hulk is the result of inheriting an initially unrelated production late in the game, but I still like it.  Iron Man 2 is a slightly bungled attempt at doing the whole wider universe thing in a solo film, but once again, I still quit like it.  So, let’s talk about my least favorite MCU entry by some measure, Thor: The Dark World.  Boy did I want to like it.  And it’s not a *bad* movie.  In fact, there are some truly fantastic sequences in it.  The trouble is, they all seem to be immediately followed or preceded by a rather terrible sequence that just sucks all the joy right out of you.  Through coincidence, The Dark World is also the least merchandised of the MCU films.  While the first Thor got a rather comprehensive 3 3/4 line, plus a Legends scale Thor, and Ragnarok at the very least got its most prominent players as Legends, The Dark World only got a very small handful of 3 3/4 inch figures from Hasbro, and no Legends at all.  At least that last bit’s getting amended now, with Thor and Lady Sif!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor and Lady Sif are entry 5 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  It follows the lead of the Captain America and Crossbones pack, with one brand-new figure, and one slightly tweaked.

THOR

Thor fills the slot for “slightly tweaked.”  Of course, that’s far less of an issue for this figure than it was for Cap, since the Amazon-exclusive figure this Thor’s based on was actually a pretty solid offering from the start.  This figure’s purpose is more to offer a slightly tweaked costume design. Like the figure he is built from, this guy stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  While it’s a little odd to be getting a figure at this point in the line that lacks the usual style of neck articulation, thanks to the hair, it’s not like he’s missing anything.  This figure uses most of the same pieces as his AoU counterpart, but gets a new set of chain-mailed arms to differentiate him ever so slightly.  Differentiating him even a little bit more is the paint work.  Aside from the obvious changes to the arms, they’ve also slightly changed the shade of the metal bits on the front of his costume, so that they now match the gold-er hue from The Dark World.  Of course, the biggest change by far is on the head, since this figure makes use of the fancy new face printing technique.  This does sort of have one downside, which is now that I’ve seen this head with a much better paint job, I now know for certain that it’s the sculpt and not the paint that had a slightly off Hemsworth likeness.  Well, at least he looks more like a real person, right?  Thor is, as usual, packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which remains a very well sculpted piece.

LADY SIF

And, of course, Sif is the brand-new component here.  Though she never got a super huge part, Jaime Alexander’s Lady Sif was one of my very favorite parts of the first two Thor films (in fact, the scenes with her and the Warriors Three are the real saving grace of The Dark World for me), so the fact that she hadn’t yet gotten the Legends treatment was quite sad indeed.  Sif is seen here in her slightly tweaked Dark World armor (which was also used for her appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), which I will admit is a slightly better design than her look from the first movie.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s got an all-new sculpt, and it’s a very strong offering.  The head has a pretty much spot-on likeness of Alexander, and the hair manages to not be incredibly limiting for the neck joint, which is certainly a plus.  The body is possibly a touch skinny for Sif’s fully armored appearance, but it’s not terribly far off, and the detail work is definitely impressive.  The use of separate pieces for her shoulder plates works out well, allowing for slightly better mobility, greater depth to the sculpt, and a much cleaner transition from skin to armor.  Sif’s paint work is all quite clean, and replicates her color scheme from the movie very well.  Like Thor, she uses the face printing technique, which really pays off here, and further highlights the sculpt’s likeness of the actress.  They’ve even gotten the small beauty spot on her right cheek; an easy to miss detail, but one that sells the likeness that much more.  Sif is packed with her shield, a single version of her sword, and two other swords that can be connected into a staff, just like in the movie.  Not a bad assortment at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the other three of these, I got this pair from Super Awesome Fiancee, who picked them up for me from work.  I wasn’t initially sold on getting the second Thor figure, since I had the Amazon one and all, but he’s definitely a solid figure, and I don’t mind getting the slight variation.  Sif is a truly amazing figure, and I’m glad to have finally been able to add her to the collection.  The only downside is that now I really want the Warriors Three to go with her…

#1758: Captain America & Crossbones

CAPTAIN AMERICA & CROSSBONES

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Although the Avengers survive a strike by Crossbones on Lagos, dozens of civilians are killed in the altercation. As a result, the team is presented with the Sokovia Accords – an agreement designed to keep the heroes in check – and must individually choose which side of the law they stand with.”

Like Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain America: Civil War was fortunate to come late enough in the MCU game that Hasbro was finally comfortable actually doing a pretty decent line-up of tie-in Legends.  However, while it got greater coverage than prior entries, it also had a far larger roster of characters in need of figures.  While Hasbro did their best to include everyone they could (and then to follow up and fill some of the gaps using Infinity War), the heroes really ate up all of the slots.  If nothing else, this Marvel Studios anthology line has really been about the bad guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Crossbones are entry 9 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Both figures are based on the characters as they appear in Civil War‘s opening battle.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

America’s first super soldier, Captain America must decide if he stands by his government in the aftermath of a disastrous strike on Lagos, Nigeria.”

Now, before we get to the new hotness, let’s review the old busted.  Okay, perhaps “busted” isn’t a completely fair assessment of things here.  While Cap wasn’t without a figure from Civil War (he got two, in fact; helps to have your name in the title), there’s no denying that the figure we received had some issues. This one is meant to amend….some of those issues.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Pretty standard stuff there.  Now, the good news is that Cap has received not one, but two different new head sculpts.  He’s got both helmeted and un-helmeted.  Both heads are very good sculpts.  The helmeted head has a decent likeness of Evans (or at least what you can see of him), and via its use of a separate piece for the helmet, has a great sense of depth to his look that prior MCU Caps have not.  The un-helmeted head edges out the other one just a bit, in no small part due to the absolutely spot-on likeness of Chris Evans.  After years of “close but not quite,” this guy gets it down nearly perfect.  Alright, I’ve raved about the good.  Ready for the bad?  You know those two amazing head sculpts that Hasbro produced, that can finally replace the two sub-par ones we’d been dealing with since Winter Soldier?  Well, they went and slapped them on the slight variation of that body from Age of Ultron.  I was already frustrated by its re-use for the original Civil War release, given the inaccuracies of the costume details, as well as the somewhat scrawny nature of the limbs.  It’s made even more egregious by the fact that Hasbro created an entirely unique mold for the Infinity War Cap, which is, canonically, wearing the same uniform as this figure.  With a handful of new pieces, that mold would have made for a far more accurate body for this figure.  Instead, for the third time, we get a Civil War Captain America whose costume is just incorrect.  That’s a real shame.  On the plus side, he does get new paint to match those new parts.  The body isn’t far removed from the prior release, but both heads are now sporting the face-print tech, which makes a world of difference in terms of making him look like a real person.  In addition to the new unmasked head, Cap also has his shield, which is another new sculpt.  I like this one better than prior releases, though I can’t really say it’s too noticeably different.

CROSSBONES

“A Hydra agent and former double-agent at SHIELD, Crossbones makes it his mission to take out Captain America, no matter the loss of life at stake.”

And here we have the new hotness.  Crossbones may not be in Civil War for super long, but he had a very important roll to play, and, more importantly when it comes to toys, he had a pretty sweet design.  At the time of the movie’s release, he got a Minimate and one of those Microverse figures, but that was all.  Obviously, that means this figure is a very welcome addition.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Unlike his pack-mate, his sculpt is completely new.  It’s quite an impressive piece of work, with lots of separately sculpted pieces that just give the whole figure a ton of depth.  I love the helmet, especially the way they’ve handled the eyes; they’re a separate piece from the actual mask, so it looks like there’s really a whole face under there.  The vest and his “fighting fists” are likewise separate pieces, although in this case they’re removable.  The vest isn’t really meant to be removed, though, so the underlying torso’s a little off.  The figure’s legs also end up looking a little bit wonky, but that’s about the only complaint I can come up with, and even that’s a rather minor one.  Crossbones’ paintwork is fairly decent.  A lot of it’s very subtle, with just some slight variations of black and dark brown.  The white parts stand out quite well, though, and I love how the eyes turned out.  Crossbones is packed with an extra un-masked head, depicting his scarred visage from the film.  It’s actually a little bit toned down from the movie, but close enough to get the point across.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cap and Crossbones are actually the last of these figures that I got, though they were still picked up for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  They arrived at her work about a week after the others.  This set was second on my list, after Ronan.  Crossbones was just a really cool design that I really wanted a good figure of, and I was hopeful that the second try at the Civil War Cap would be much better.  Crossbones lives up to my expectations, no denying that.  Cap?  Well, like the last several MCU Caps I’ve gotten from Hasbro, he’s frustrating.  Sure, the new heads are awesome, but saddling him with the same old body is super weak, and prevents him from being the definitive Cap I was really hoping for.  I guess there’s always Avengers 4

#1757: Ronan

RONAN

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

An avid loyalist to the Kree whose family was killed by the Kree-Nova War, Ronan agrees to a partnership with Thanos in order to take down the Nova Corps on Xandar once and for all.

Sent on a mission by Thanos to recover the mystical entity known as the Orb, Ronan discovers that the target he seeks is in fact an all-powerful Infinity Stone.  Ronan uses the stone to destroy the Nova Corps’s fleet, but is ultimately destroyed by his own greed when the Guardians of the Galaxy take the Orb back and use it to entirely obliterate him.”

I *almost* posted the Thor review today.  How foolish I was.  It’s okay, I’m looking at another tall, hammer-wielding dude from space, Ronan the Accuser!

The first Guardians had decent Legends coverage, but with quite a sizeable cast, there were more than a few notable missing players.  The Vol. 2 figures got us Yondu and Nebula, but the team’s main antagonist wasn’t quite so lucky.  Fortunately, he got in on this anniversary business.  Lucky him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ronan is entry 6 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Hasbro’s main Marvel Legends line. Like Red Skull, he’s one of the three standard single-release offerings (Mark VII Iron Man is the last of the three).  Ronan stands 7 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The figure is sporting an all-new sculpt, patterned on Ronan’s design from the movie.  The sculpt, not unlike Ronan’s design from the movie, is not without its quirks.  The biggest of these “quirks” is to do with his head piece and shoulder pads.  They are done here as one single piece, connected to the top of his head.  This has the unintended side effect of giving Ronan a very strange appearance should you decide to move his head, as his shoulder pads will be traveling with it.  It’s a very odd choice, but in the defense of this figure, it seems to be firmly rooted in the actual costume design, since Lee Pace wasn’t moving his head much in the movie either.  At least this way he still technically has all of his motion unencumbered, right?  Apart from that, the sculpt is actually pretty strong.  The texture work on his costume is nothing short of astonishing, capturing all of the various textures of his costume from the movie.  It also captures his rather imposing build, which means he looks appropriately menacing next to the rest of the Guardians.  If I had one other complaint about this figure’s sculpt, I’d say it’s the way the mid-torso joint’s been worked into the sculpt.  It’s a little bit obvious and slightly cumbersome.  The other articulation is worked in fine, though, so I can’t complain.  Ronan’s paintwork is overall pretty decent.  Not quite a subtly handled as some of the other recent MCU figures, but a bit of a step-up from the original Guardians offerings.  His eyes are really purple, signifying that this is a post-stone-powered Ronan, which makes him the best for fighting all of your Guardians.  Ronan is packed with his hammer, suitable for accusatory purposes.  It matches up with Ronan’s powered-up eyes, featuring the power stone mounted on one side.  It’s a shame yesterday’s Red Skull didn’t come with the Tesseract, since we could have assembled a bunch of the stone.  Oh well.  Ronan himself feels a little bit on the light side, with just the one extra, but I don’t know what else he could have gotten.  I suppose his larger size makes up for it a bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a soft spot for Ronan, so I was a little bummed when he was left out of the assortment for the first movie (it didn’t help that I had missed out on the comic-based Ronan Legend from a few years prior).  Needless to say, I was delighted when he was announced to be part of this line, and was definitely at the top of my list.  Fortunately, Super Awesome Fiancee had my back, and grabbed him for me from my work.  Ronan may not be a perfect figure, but he’s a very good one, and one I’m very, very happy to finally have in my collection.

#1756: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Obsessed with the power of the Tesseract, Johann Schmidt teams up with Dr. Arnim Zola to create a super-charged arms force that will change the fate of World War II…and the world.

Hydra leader Johann Schmidt creates Tesseract-powered weapons to destroy American cities, but doesn’t anticipate interference from newly-dubbed hero, Captain America.  In their first meeting, Schmidt removes his mask to reveal crimson skin, a signature that has earned him the name ‘Red Skull.'”

The MCU has run through an interesting period when it comes to tie-in toys.  Iron Man kicked things off with some Legends-esqe figures, which were a decent hit with the fanbase.  By the time of IM2, Hasbro was in the midst of their push for 3 3/4 inch figures, so it, and all of the movies up to Captain America: Winter Soldier would be in that smaller scale, with only a few choice offerings at the larger scale.  The recent shift has been completely to the Legends scale, but thanks to the rapid pace at which the MCU films hit, there are more than a few prominent characters missing from the line-up.  In honor of the MCU’s tenth anniversary, Hasbro’s put together a special sub-line of Marvel Legends, devoted to celebrating those prior films.  I’m kicking things off today with a look at one of the most prominent missing villains, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is entry 2 in the Marvel Legends — Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of figures.  He’s one of the three standard single-packed figures in the line-up, alongside the Mark VII Iron Man and Ronan the Accuser.  This figure gives us Red Skull in his more basic Hydra uniform, as he’s seen inside the Hydra base during several sequences of the film (there’s also a long-coated variant, which was offered at SDCC this year). Perhaps not his coolest look, but there’s a good reason for this choice.  He stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s sporting a brand-new sculpt, which is a pretty solid recreation of Skull’s look from the movie.  The head has a teeth-gritting expression, which is always a nice throw-back to the Skull’s earlier comics design.  Thanks to it being released 7 years after the fact, it’s also able to be far more accurate to the film’s Skull face than it would have at the time of the movie, so hey, bonus!  The body captures his uniform pretty well, though the articulation is perhaps not as worked into the sculpt as I might like. It’s especially noticeable at the mid torso joint; I feel an ab-crunch might have worked a little better there.  That said, it’s hardly the worst implementation of articulation I’ve seen.  He’s still got decent mobility, and the sculpt isn’t too terribly broken because of it.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty usual fare for an MCU release.  It’s pretty cleanly applied, and matches well to the movie.  The head actually gets some pretty subtle accent work all throughout, so that it’s not just a big chunk of bright red plastic with some eyes.  Speaking of eyes, the ones on this figure are using the printed technique, which doesn’t have quite the same impact here that it does on more human looking figures, but it does still make at least some difference.  Remember up at the top, when I said there was a good reason for this figure’s costume choice?  Well, the accessories are where that comes into play.  Skull doesn’t get anything character specific, but he does get three extra heads, a tactical harness, a Hydra gun, and an extra hand, allowing him to be turned into a few different configurations of the Hydra Soldier.  Sure, the uniforms aren’t quite an exact match, but they’re close enough to work in a pinch, and it’s really the thought that counts.  As an added bonus, if you’ve got any of the Black Series FO Officer bodies laying around, with a tiny bit of modification, they work pretty well for quickly building an army.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Skull was purchased for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  She got a few of the Marvel Studios sets in at her work, and was kind enough to grab them for me.  First Avenger was my favorite of the Phase 1 films, so I was always rather saddened that it seemed to draw the short straw when it came to toys.  I’m glad that Hasbro’s been able to go back and retroactively amend that.  Red Skull isn’t a perfect figure, but I’d say he’s a fair bit better than he would have been had he been released at the time of the movie.  The added Hydra Soldiers pieces are just icing on the cake.  Now I’m resisting the urge to buy multiples…

The Blaster In Question #0062: Evader

BlasterInQuestion1

EVADER

MODULUS (GHOST OPS)

evader1What’s this?  A review of an actually new blaster?  Yes, we’re well into August and so that inevitably means getting hit by a wave of new Nerf blasters, many of which were seen at NY Toy Fair back in February.  Today’s review is one of those blasters.  It’s also an example of a spin-off of a spin-off, where at first we had N-Strike Elite, then Modulus, now we have Modulus Ghost Ops.  Spooky.  Let’s take a look at the blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

evader2If you hadn’t yet read the title of this post, I am indeed reviewing the Modulus Ghost Ops Evader.  It was released in 2018 as the first and, so far, only blaster in the Ghost Ops sub-series.  Functionally, it’s a Stryfe just with a side-loading magazine, still using the same flywheel semi-auto mechanism.  Hey, if it works, use it.  The big draw for the Evader is the completely clear plastic the shell is cast in, and subsequently, the light-up feature that this allows.  The main pistol grip contains all of the standard flywheel controls we’re used to, but the fore-grip also has a button which, when pressed, activates the green LEDs inside the body of the blaster, giving it an almost night-vision kind of look.  That is, as long as it’s not too bright wherever you are.  The effect definitely gets stronger in darker conditions, unsurprisingly.  Assisting the LEDs is an array of light piping and refractive surfaces that give the light more places to bounce off so you can actually see it.  It should be noted that the button for the lights has to be held down to keep the lights on.  I had to jerry-rig my blaster to keep it lit for one of the photos without my hands getting in the way, so don’t expect that to be the norm.  The lights are overall pretty well incorporated into the blaster’s design, and I especially like the lights inside the muzzle that are only activated when you attach the included barrel extension.  The shell appears to be well made, but it’s hard to see what the shape of it really is the way you could with an opaque blaster. evader3 When I first took it out of the box, it was a lot bigger than I expected but that turned out to be ok since it addressed my concern that the thumbhole fore-grip might be small and awkward.  It’s still not conventional but even with my larger hands, I can say it’s perfectly functional.  Being a Modulus blaster, the Evader sports a top, bottom and side rail (right side only), as well as attachment points for a stock and a barrel.  I’ve only used the Evader with the batteries that came installed from the store, but even as such, it seems like it has a decent amount of power behind it.  Shots travel far and hit hard.  It’s already been proven to be effective in combat in my ongoing campaign against the spider crickets in my basement.  I expect it would perform just as admirably against younger siblings, especially if you use the light-up feature as some sort of psychological/intimidation tactic in conjunction with the actual darts.  The Evader comes packaged with the barrel extension, 12 white Modulus Elite darts, a 12 round magazine, and the 4 AA batteries that power both the lights and flywheels already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

The Evader was the first of the new 2018 wave of blasters that I purchased, but not the first I attempted to buy.  A few weeks earlier, I had found the Delta Trooper on shelves at my local Target, but when I went to go check out, I was told they couldn’t sell it to me so I had to leave without it.  When I eventually went back, I found that they had just recently put out the new blasters with the one exception being the Delta Trooper.  It doesn’t really have much to do with the Evader itself but its a bit of a story.