#0045: Han Solo

HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Han1

Today marks another Star Wars: The Black Series review.  This is a great line, and it’s steadily becoming one of my favorites.  This time around, I’ll be looking at my personal favorite figure from the line: Han Solo.  Han is of course the last piece of the main trio, and is my favorite character of the three, so there’s a lot riding on this figure.  Does it deliver?  Well, yeah.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han was released as part of the second series of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series line.  Like the others in the line, he’s got a figure number, #008.  Han is presented in his main look from the first Star Wars movie (The real one).  It’s a good choice because it’s probably the look most people think of when they think of the character.  He stands just about 6 inches tall, and features roughly 25 points of articulation.  Han features a brand new sculpt.  It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good.  With one or two exceptions, the articulation is integrated well into the sculpt, a great improvement over Leia.  His arms seem a bit too skinny, and I think the neck may be just a smidge too long, but with decent posing, neither of these issues is overly noticeable.  The paint is really the figure’s weakest point.  It’s not bad, but it doesn’t do much to bring out the sculpt.  In particular, I feel like the likeness on the head sculpt would be better with a more complimentary paint job.  As it stands, it looks the slightest bit off.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s obvious who it’s meant to be, but it could be phenomenal  with the proper paint.  On the flip side, the highlight of the figure is his accessories.  Decent accessories tend to be a rarity these days, but Han seems to have lucked out, with his trusty blaster pistol, a spare set of gloved hands, his regular belt, and the belt and blaster he stole from a Stormtrooper on the Death Star.  The accessories are all really great, and allow you to display with just about every look he has over the course of the film.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my previous two SW:TBS reviews, I’ve used this section to express some conflict between my feelings of the source material and the quality of the figures.  Not this time.  This figure is pretty much everything I wanted from the line when it was announced.  He’s a really great figure all around, and really shows off where this line can shine.  Plus, he’s Han Solo.  How can you not?

Han2

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#0044: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

BobaFett

Today, I’m looking at another figure from one of my new favorite lines:  Star Wars: The Black Series.  This time it’s fan favorite Boba Fett!  He needs no introduction because there’s really no backstory to introduce…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Boba is part of the second series of Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s obviously based on his look from the movies, specifically his look from The Empire Strikes Back.  The differences between his designs in Empire and Jedi are fairly miniscule, but the easiest tells are the gauntlets and jet pack, which are green on the Empire version.   Following Leia’s lead, Boba is numbered as #006. The figure stands almost 6 inches exact and features 23 points of articulation.  Boba’s sculpt is technically a reuse from the summer’s SDCC exclusive Boba, but since a) it was a limited release that goes for well over $100 and b) I don’t own that one,  I’ll be treating it like a new sculpt.  All the details are sharp, and it looks accurate to the source material.  Boba’s sculpt is topped off with a great paint job.  All the lines are clean, with no slop or bleed over.  The various insignias are done expertly, as well as the weathering on the armor and jump suit.  Boba also features a cloth cape.  This cloth is a heavier weight than the material used for the skirt on the Princess Leia figure, so it should hold up better over time.  Boba is accessorized with a removable jetpack, a blaster rifle, and a blaster pistol.  These pieces are just as well sculpted as the rest of the figure, and really pull the whole look together.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, confession time:  Much as I like the figure, and the design it’s based on, I don’t really get the overwhelming love for this character.  He looks cool and all, but as a character, he’s kinda void of…character.   But, this is a really, really cool figure.  Damn you Fett and your ability to leave me with confusing emotions!

#0043: Princess Leia

PRINCESS LEIA – SLAVE OUTFIT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Leia(Slave Outfit)2

Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers!  Today, I’ll be doing my first review from what is quickly becoming my favorite toy line on the market:  Star Wars: The Black Series.  I’m going to assume that everyone reading knows what Star Wars is.  However, here’s a little backstory on “The Black Series.”   For 35 years, Star Wars toys have been made in the very successful 3 ¾ inch scale.  I don’t mind the scale, and Star Wars made it a standard for quite a while.  However, the figures being as small as they are leads to limitations on the level of detail and articulation each figure gets.  Since the introduction of lines like DC Universe Classics and Marvel Legends, which helped popularize the 6-inch scale, Star Wars fans have been requesting a similar line for the Star Wars characters.  And this year, Hasbro obliged with Star Wars: The Black Series.  The figures are 6 inch scale, feature lots of articulation, and generally feature better paint and a few extra accessories.  I just got the second series of the line, so I’ll be taking a look at those in the next couple of days.  I’ll start with Princess Leia.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like I mentioned above, Leia is from the second series of Star Wars: The Black Series.  Hasbro’s decided to give each figure a number, and Leia is #005.  Leia is based on her look from early in Return of the Jedi, when she’s is taken captive by Jabba the Hutt.  It’s not her most definitive look, but I suppose it has a fairly sizeable fan base, for what would seem to be obvious reasons.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and features 18 points of articulation.  At first glance she seems a bit too small, especially next to the other figures in the line, but Carrie Fisher’s listed height is 5’1”(a full FOOT shorter than costar Harrison Ford), so she’s in proper scale for a 1:12 scale figure.   Leia’s a totally new sculpt, and it’s fairly good, apart from one glaring issue:  The articulation.  The joints on the figure are incredibly obvious.  Now, I’m not saying that I dislike visible articulation, but I don’t like when it gets to glaring, because that hurts the aesthetic of the figure.  Anyway, aside from the articulation issue, the sculpt is well done.  The likeness on the head is really good, and may very well be the best likeness in the line so far.  Unfortunately, the sculpt is hidden under some pretty sloppy paint.  Mine isn’t as bad as some others I’ve seen, but the paint has a tendency to be places it shouldn’t on the head.  The rest of the body is painted perfectly fine, and they even matched the painted flesh tone on the head with the molded flesh tone on the body, which can be tricky.  In addition to sculpted pieces, Leia features a cloth skirt.  I don’t hate it in theory, but I’m not a fan in practice.  It’s a piece of cheap, un-hemmed fabric, so it’s going to fray like crazy.  In fact, it was already fraying in the package.  I really wish they’d gone with something with a bit more durability.  Leia is rounded out with an axe thing, and a pole thing (technical terms!) that she uses in the film.  They’re sculpted well, and fit into Leia’s hands with ease.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like this figure, but I have my issues with it.  Chief among them is the fact that the fact that the first version of Princess Leia, a central character, released in this line is a fairly non-essential version of her.  Coupled with the fact that it’s probably the one look of hers that really doesn’t translate well to figure form, the figure’s a bit of a mixed bag.  I really hope that this one was just a practice round for one of her more definitive looks.

#0042: Tony Stark & Heartbreaker

TONY STARK & HEARTBREAKER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Tony&HeartBreakerTony&HeartBreakerAlt

Hey, look!  It’s review number 42!  And it’s doubly funny, because the not only  is 42 the answer to life, the universe, and everything, but it’s also a significant number in this year’s Iron Man 3.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at another selection from my large Minimates collection.  This set once again comes from the Marvel Minimates line.  It’s Tony Stark and the Heartbreaker from the Iron Man 3 tie-in Minimates.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released as a Toys R Us exclusive set in Diamond’s Iron Man 3 wave.

TONY STARK

Tony is depicted in his workshop gear from the film.  He’s built on the basic Minimate body, so he stands just over 2 inches tall and has either 14 or 12 points of articulation, depending on which pair of feet you decide to display him with.  He features sculpted hair, boots and gloves.  The hair piece is a generic piece that’s been used a few times before, but it’s accurate to Tony’s look from the film, so it works.  The boots and gloves are reused from the Mark 42 armor from this same wave of figures.  It’s a sensible reuse, given that they were just the boots and gloves from the Mark 42 in the film anyway.    Tony also includes a spare set of hands and feet.  They’re the basic Minimate pieces, molded/painted in the appropriate colors.  The rest of the detail on the figure is conveyed through paint.   The face is an okay depiction of RDJ, and is unique in that it has him wearing his control visor.  The detailing on the torso is also really cool, especially the texturing on the gray parts of the shirt.  Tony’s rounded off by a clear display stand.

HEARTBREAKER

The Heartbreaker armor is one of the many armors shown during the climactic battle in the film.  It’s a unique look, and one of my favorites from the film, so it was a good choice for the line.  The figure’s built on the base Minimate body, but with newly sculpted upper arms and legs.  He stands about 2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation due to his sculpted boots.  Heartbreaker features a sculpted helmet, torso-cover, waist-armor, gloves and boots.  As far as I can tell, everything but the boots is a new sculpt.  The sculpt is nice and clean, if a bit bulky in places.  The paintwork is a bit less detailed than most Minimates, relying mostly on the sculpted pieces.  Heartbreaker also includes a hair piece to trade out with the helmet to show the Tony head underneath.  It’s the same piece as the one featured on the Tony in this set which makes for good consistency.  Like his pack mate, he’s rounded off by a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These were yet another TRU.com purchase.  Like many TRU purchases, it was far from smooth.  In fact, if it weren’t for a very helpful poster on the Minimate Multiverse, who posted the SKUs for each set in the wave, I wouldn’t have been able to get this set, because TRU.com had every set in the wave labeled “Iron Man 3 Minimates Assortment”!  I’m really glad that I did get this set because I think it might be my favorite from the Iron Man 3 line.  In fact, one could say not getting this set would have been …heartbreaking!(Badumsh)

#0041: Robin & Beast Boy

ROBIN & BEAST BOY

TEEN TITANS GO! (BANDAI)

Keeping with the theme of cartoon adaptation toy lines from two days ago, I’ll be looking at two of the figures from Bandai’s Teen Titans Go! toy line, released to coincide with the Cartoon Network Teen Titans show.   The figures were released packaged with large, nonsensical vehicles, or packaged in two-packs.  I opted for the second option.  Today, I’ll be looking at the basic versions of Robin and Beast Boy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This two-pack was released as part of the first series of figures in Bandai’s 3 ½ inch line.

ROBIN

Robin

First up is the team leader, sidekick to Batman, Robin.  Robin is based on his look from the show.  He stands 3 ½ inches tall and features 9 points of articulation.  I feel it’s necessary to point out that this line was NOT 3 ½ inch scale, but rather every character was exactly 3 ½ inches tall.  It’s fine for the two I’m looking at today, but it will quickly become an issue.   Robin is a decent sculpt, but not the greatest.  The arms have been sculpted to hold the handles of the vehicle it was possible to purchase him with, making them awkward if you bought his separately like I did.  The legs also have a wide stance, and seem to be a tad long and definitely too bulky.  To top it all off, the head is passable at best, but certainly looks off in comparison to the show’s design.  The paint is okay, but there is a fair amount of overspray and fuzzy lines.  As you’ll notice, the paint was also not the most durable variety, with lots of the details scratched off with very little play.

BEAST BOY

Beastboy

Next is the team’s resident funny-man, Beast Boy.  Like Robin, he’s based on his look from the show.  He too stands 3 ½ inches tall and had 9 points of articulation.  He’s got an okay sculpt, but he’s definitely too tall, and his head is too small for his look from the show.  He has the same issue with the oddly positioned arms, and legs that aren’t the right proportion.  The paint on Beast Boy is a bit rougher than Robin, with even more noticeable slop, and a whole lot more wear, with very light play.  Also, the two different purple paints don’t really match very well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys were found on an excursion to Toys R Us with my Mom (who is super awesome, and super supportive of my insane hobby).  I recall being really excited to get them at the time, as there was a bit of a delay from the show’s premiere to the release of the toys.  I remember liking them at the time, but as time has gone by, I’ve started to see the flaws more and more.  The line did improve a bit, but man was this first wave a rough one!

#0040: Ultron

ULTRON

AVENGERS:  UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

Ah, yes, Avengers: United They Stand.  Poor A:UTS. it gets a lot of hate and I’m not certain it deserves it.  Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest depiction of the Avengers to grace the small screen(That honor goes to the more recent Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), but I didn’t think it was all that bad.  The designs and animation may be late 90s over complication at its finest, but I thought the characterization was actually nicely done, and I loved the fact that the focus was on the slightly lesser known Avengers instead of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor.  One of my other favorite things was the tie-in toyline, which is what I’ll look at today.  In particular, the toy counterpart of the shows recurring antagonist: Ultron!  This isn’t the first time Ultron’s been mentioned on this blog.  I previously mentioned him in passing in my Vision review, where I mentioned Ultron was the creator of Vision.  Ultron himself was the creation of Avengers founding member Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, aka Giant-Man, aka Goliath, aka Yellow Jacket, aka Wasp, aka Dude with serious identity issues!  Ultron rebelled on his creator and became a powerful Avengers foe.  He’s also set to be the villain in the upcoming Avengers sequel.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultron was released as part of the first wave of Toy Biz’s Avengers:United They Stand tie-in line.  Ultron had several different looks over the course of the show, but this one seems to be a bit of an amalgam of the various looks, with the largest portion of influence coming from his appearance in the show’s first two episodes.   He stands just over 5 inches tall, and features 11 points of articulation (13 if you count the moving knee-pads).  Ultron is a completely new sculpt.  It’s well done, and quite detailed, especially for its time of release.  In particular, the head really captures the look of the character.  The paint is pretty well done, being mostly all one color; a nice bluish silver.  There’s a wash over the whole figure to help bring out the details.  The figure also features a light-up feature.  By pressing the button on Ultron’s waist, you could make the figure’s eyes and mouth light up.  It’s a neat feature that helps to further simulate the look of the character from the show and comics.  At one point, Ultron had a large cannon that hooked onto his right arm, but I’ve since lost that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad bought Ultron for me when he was initially released.  We happened to stop at a Toys R Us and there he was.  He was one of the last figures I acquired from the line.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want one, but because the A:UTS figures were quite difficult to find initially, so I kind of got them when I saw them.  Growing up, he was the closest thing I had to a classic Ultron.  Because of that, I have quite the soft spot for him.

Read the Flashback Friday Figure Addendum here!

#0039: Ferro Lad

FERRO LAD

LEGION OF SUPERHEROES (DC DIRECT)

FerroLad

Today, we’re taking a look at another DC Direct figure.  This time around, it’s Ferro Lad, member of the Legion of Superheroes!  For those not in the know, the Legion of Superheroes is a group of teenaged superheroes  from the 30th Century, inspired into heroism by the stories of Superboy (this was back when Superboy was just a younger Clark Kent).  Ferro Lad, who joined the team not too long after they initially appeared, possessed the ability to turn his body into iron, kinda like Colossus of the X-Men (though Ferro Lad appeared about 10 years earlier).  Ferro Lad is mostly noteworthy for his place as the first Legionnaire to die (and stay dead) in the line of duty, sacrificing himself to defeat the Sun-Eater.  According to his creator Jim Shooter, Ferro Lad was meant to be the first black member of the team, an idea that the editors at DC at the time decided to veto.  So, instead, the first black legionnaire was Tyroc.  Thanks guys…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ferro Lad was released as part of the fourth series of DC Direct’s Legion of Superheroes line.  He stands roughly 6 inches tall and features 11 points of articulation.  Ferro Lad was built on the basic legion body that DC Direct introduced in the second series of the line.  It’s a well done base body, and features a decent set of proportions.  I wish it had a bit more articulation, but at least he fits in with the rest of the line.  He features a newly sculpted head, belt and wrist braces.  The belt and wrist braces are add-on pieces.  This works fine for the wrist braces, but the belt doesn’t sit quite right on the body, so it looks a bit odd.    Not terrible, but it could be better.  The head is the most important part, and it’s done very well, in all its simplistic glory.  The rest of the details on the figure are carried out with paint.  With the exception of the flesh tones, all of the paint is done with a nice metallic sheen that fits the character well.  I do wish the rivets were sculpted instead of painted, but the paint does a serviceable job of handling them.  All in all, a solid figure, not the greatest, but far from the worst DC Direct had to offer.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ferro Lad has long been my favorite member of the Legion.  Needless to say, I was extremely excited by DC Direct’s announcement that he’d be in the fourth wave of Legion figures.  It marks one of the earliest instances of me pre-ordering a figure, starting me down a very dangerous path.  When the figure finally arrived, I was thrilled beyond belief to have him.  I recognized the flaws, but I didn’t care, ‘cause I had a FERRO LAD ACTION FIGURE!

#0038: The Penguin

PENGUIN

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES

Penguin

Today, we’re jumping back to the 90s for a bit!  This is a piece from Kenner’s tie-in line for the immensely popular Batman: The Animated Series.  If you’re not familiar with B:TAS, go find some clips online.  You’ll thank me.  Anyway, Kenner produced a line of action figures based on the title character and his many nemeses (Incidentally, Jonathan Coulton’s “Nemeses” is playing on my iPod right now, which is pretty sweet!).  I’ll be taking a look at one of those foes:  The Penguin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Penguin was released as part of the first wave of B:TAS figures, though in all honestly, my version might be a rerelease from later on.  He is, of course, based on the Penguin’s appearance from B:TAS, though I feel I should specify that it’s based on his appearance from before the series was brought back and all the characters got redesigns.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall, which puts him in proper scale with the 5 inch scale of the line (ToyBiz should’ve taken note!).  He has 5 points of articulation, the Kenner standard at the time.  He was a totally new sculpt.  It’s well done, and captures the stylized look of the show’s animation fairly well.  He’s not spot on, but it’s not too bad.  Looking at some images, I feel his head in particular is a bit off.  Perhaps if it were just a touch larger.  For the most part, the figure is molded in the necessary colors, so there’s not a whole lot of paint, but what’s there is applied evenly and consistently.  There’s very little actual detail work to speak of, but it works for the style.  The images I’ve been able to find online of the figure show him including a coat and umbrella, but I honestly don’t remember mine having those, furthering my belief that he was a rerelease.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure was a gift from my Nana, given to me one year for Christmas along with a few other Batman figures.  I recall kind of wanting it, though I don’t really know why, as I’m not a very big fan of the Penguin.  Regardless, he spent many hours fighting the caped crusader and associates.

#0037: Mandarin & Dreadnought

MODERN/CLASSIC MANDARIN & DREADNOUGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Dreadnaught&MandarinDreadnaught&Mandarin(Classic)

Today, it’s another look at the behemoth that is Marvel Minimates!  This time, we’ll be looking at Iron Man’s number one foe Mandarin in both his Modern and Classic looks, as well as his villainous robo-minions, the Dreadnoughts.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The two Mandarins and the Dreadnoughts were released as part of the 36th wave of Marvel minimates, in order to tie in with 2010’s release of Iron Man 2.  Modern Mandarin was the regular set, with the Classic version as the one-per-case variant.

MODERN MANDARIN

First up, it’s the look that most would consider the definitive Mandarin, the “Modern” version.  This figure is based on his appearances from roughly the early 90s onward.  As usual for the line, Mandarin is built on the basic Minimate body.  He stands roughly 2 ½ ‘’ tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Instead of regular hands, Mandarin features sculpted claw like hands featuring his ten rings.  Mandarin also has a sculpted hair piece, robe, and sash.  I believe the sash is a reuse from an earlier figure, but the robe and hair are new pieces.  They are well done enough, though with the robe on, Mandarin is pretty much limited to standing with his arms raised, due to the robe’s solid construction.  This is less an issue with the figure itself, and more an issue with translating the design.  The ToyBiz Marvel Legends figure based on this design has the exact same issue.  Regardless, the robe can be removed, revealing a completely detailed torso underneath, if you desire to show off Mandarin sans robe and shirtless.  Whatever floats your boat…

CLASSIC MANDARIN

Next is the alternate look for the Mandarin.  This is the original design for the Mandarin from when he first appeared in the 60s.  I’m much more of a fan of this design and the resulting figure.  I know some people would find this design cheesy, but that’s the Mandarin for me.  Over the top cheesiness.  The figure’s the same basic body, standing about 2 ½ “ tall and featuring 14 points of articulation.  This Mandarin features the same sculpted hands as the previous one, which is fine as they suit the same purpose here.  Classic Mandarin features a sculpted mask, cape, wrist bands, sash/tunic combo, and cape.  All but the mask is reuse here, with the cape comic from Mephisto, the writ guards from Ocean Master, and the sash from Dr.  Strange.  This isn’t a bad thing, though, because all the reused parts work very well for their intended purpose.  The mask is well done, and accurately depicts Mandarin’s mask from the early comics.  Mandarin also includes an alternate hairpiece so that you can show him unmasked.  The detailing on the figure is nice, especially the face, which has a nice crazed expression which really works great for the character.

DREADNOUGHT

Last up is the robotic Dreadnought!  A dreadnought was included with both versions of the Mandarin, which is great for those who want to do the whole army building thing.  Like the other two figures, the Dreadnought was built on the basic Minimate body.  He stands about 2 ½ “ tall and features 14 points of articulation.  In place of the basic parts, the Dreadnought features a sculpted head and hands.  The head is an all new piece, but the hands are a reuse from Viggo the Carpatian.   The Dreadnought also features a set of sculpted boot tops which I believe are a reuse from the Dark Avengers Ares.  The paint is relatively basic, but it is well done.  Plus the metallic blue is just so awesome!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These guys were picked up at their time of release from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix.  I think the Mandarin is meant to be the main draw of these sets, but I actually really like the Dreadnoughts a lot.

#0036: Green Lantern (Armored)

GREEN LANTERN (ARMORED)

JUSTICE (DC DIRECT)

GL(Armored)

Today’s review is a piece of my quite large Green Lantern collection.  I’m a huge Green Lantern fan, so I have a tendency to buy figures based solely on the fact that they’re Green Lantern.  That’s kinda the case with today’s figure, based on Green Lantern’s armored appearance in Justice.  For those of you who don’t know, Justice was a 12 issue Maxi-Series released by DC Comics a few years ago.  It featured art by Alex Ross and was effectively a more modern day take on Challenge of the Superfriends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Armored GL was released in the 6th wave of DC Direct’s Justice line.  He stands just shy of 7 inches tall, and has 15 points of articulation.  Like I said above, he’s based on Green Lantern’s armored appearance from towards the end of the series, when the Justice League has their final showdown with the Legion of Doom.  It’s a neat design, and also very unique, which helps to break up some of the monotony of some of the other Green Lanterns.  The figure is an all new sculpt, which isn’t surprising given there was little room for reuse.  The body is pretty well done, though like many other DC Direct figures of the same time period, he has a slight pre-posed nature to him that doesn’t really work too well with the articulation given.  Granted, it’s nowhere near as bad here as it was on some others, so it doesn’t bother me too much.  There aren’t really any facial features to depict, but the faceplate looks cool.  Also, a really cool touch on the head is the face on the back of it.  In the comic, GL’s suit was actually Metal Men member Iron wrapping himself around GL for protection, so Iron’s face is shown in the back.  It’s a cool feature and adds a lot to the figure, almost making it a two-in-one figure!  The paint on the figure is solid, with little slop or bleed over.  GL’s only accessory was a stand, which is somewhere in a large box of stands from other DC Direct figures.  It was identical to the stand that was included with every other figure in the line.  It looked fine if you only had one figure on display, but any more and it just becomes overly large and cumbersome.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Armored GL from my local comic store Cosmic Comix during the store’s annual year end sale.  He was one of about 15 DC direct figures that I bought for 45% off of their original price (which brought his price to about $8.50).  I had held off on the figure before, but for that price it was definitely worth it.  He’s a fairly fun figure and I was glad to add him to my collection!