#0066: War Machine



Today, I’ll be taking a look at another figure from the Marvel Select line.  This time around, it’s from the small assortment of figures released in the line to coincide with the release of Iron Man 3 this past summer.


War Machine was released as part of the Iron Man 3 subset of the Marvel Select line.  Like the rest of the Marvel Select line, they don’t have specific “series”.  They tend to just be released on their own, or in pairs.  This figure is of course based on the War Machine 2.0 look from the *Tie-In comics to the* Summer Blockbuster Iron Man 3.  Yeah, despite it’s presence throughout the tie-in toys, the actual War Machine paint scheme is only in the lead-in comic, and makes no actual appearance in the film.  And yet this is the main release figure, and the Iron Patriot is the store exclusive.  Bleh. The figure stands roughly 7 inches tall, and has 26 points of articulation.  The sculpt is accurate to the suit design from the movie, although it’s a bit thin in the waist area.  All the details are nicely done, but some of the armor details are slightly soft.  The paint is adequate.  It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just a bit bland.  It’s lots and lots of greys and silvers.  War Machine comes with a stand that resembles a stall from the hall of armor, and an alternate head sans faceplate, so you can see Rhodey’s face.  The stand is nice, but it takes up a lot of space.  The extra head is cool, and the Don Cheadle likeness is pretty good, although I feel like his skin tone is a tad light for Cheadle, and the eyes are a bit on the wonky side.


Yeah, so right off the bat, this is a figure that ties into a movie where the look presented doesn’t appear in the film.  I like the sculpt, but I think with the more exciting Iron Patriot paint scheme, this figure would pop a lot more.  They actually did make an Iron Patriot from this sculpt, but it was a Disney Store exclusive, and is difficult to find.  And this figure was $12.  At $12, this figure is pretty good.

#0065: Venom Through the Ages Minimates



So, yeah, it’s…uhh…Venom.  And Venom.  And Venom and Venom.  That’s 4 Venoms.  What is it?  1995?  Anyway, it’s more Marvel Minimates.  This time around, it’s a boxed set commemorating all the different incarnations of Venom from over the years.  Because Venom’s such a diverse character.  Regardless, that’s the set I’m looking at today.


These guys were released last year, as the “Venom Through the Ages” boxed set.


First up, it’s the real star of the show.  This is the version of Venom that most people think of when they think of the character.  It’s the big, bulky, long-tongued, slobbering version of the character.  If you read my review of the recent TRU Venom, you’ve pretty much seen this figure before.  This one’s got most of the same pieces, only this time, cast in black instead of the dark blue from that figure.  To counteract this, they’ve done the muscle detailing in a light blue instead of black.  It’s all nice and cleanly done.  This one doesn’t have a Spider-Man under all the pieces, instead showing a crazed Eddie Brock.  He also includes a spare mask that is partly pulled back to reveal Eddies face, and an alternate hairpiece to show Eddie totally revealed.


Next, it’s another version of Eddie Brock.  This time around, it’s based on his more svelte look from his earlier appearances.  He’s built on the basic Minimate body, with all the usual articulation.  In place of regular hands, he’s got a pair of clawed hands, which have been used for Venom a few times before.  He’s also got a torso cover that’s been used a few times in the past for some of the more bulky characters.  It’s not my favorite piece, due to its blockage of the figures shoulders and neck articulation, and its overall odd shape, but it works okay, I guess.  Instead of a sculpted head, Venom’s face is all paint on this one.  It looks pretty accurate to the material, and fits the minimate aesthetic a bit better.  The rest of his detailing is similar, though not identical, to that on the Venom Unleashed figure.  Venom also includes an alternate Eddie brock head, this time with a more calm expression than the last one.


Next, it’s Ann Weying, one of the attempts to make a “She-Venom” back in the 90s, when everything Venom sold millions.  She was Eddie Brock’s ex-wife, or something, and had the symbiote for a little while, during one of Eddie’s many breaks from the role.  Quality story telling there.  She’s on the typical Minimate body, though with the same clawed hands that the Eddie Venom used.  Like Eddie, she has a painted face instead of a sculpted one.  The only other sculpted piece she has is a tendril piece that goes over her neck.  She’s detailed similarly to the Eddie Venom, though a bit more simplistic, and of course, more feminine.  She includes an unmasked head with hair.


Lastly, it’s Flash Thompson’s Venom.  This one’s kind of the outlier of the set, being form the last few years.  He’s also the only one that’s not a variation on the same basic look.  And he’s heroic to boot.  Flash’s design is of course based on his look from his series that’s been running the last few years.  For him, the symbiote is used more as a tool, and not a controlling force.  It’s an interesting take, and that’s actually not sarcasm.  Anyway, he’s on the usual body, but he’s got a whole bunch of add-ons.  He’s got a mask, vest, gloves, a belt, a holster, and boots.  With the exception of the mask, which has been used several times before, all the pieces are new to this figure.  They all look accurate to the source material, which is good.  Flash has minimal detailing, but it’s all well done.  The eyes and logo stand out nicely, and there’s a nice pattern representing the texturing on his arms.  Flash also includes an assault rifle, a handgun, and a hair piece to display him unmasked.


I’m honestly not the world’s biggest Venom fan, but my usual online store had this set marked down during their Black Friday Sale, so I picked it up.  Eddie and Ann aren’t gonna win any awards, but Unleashed and Flash are both really cool, so I’m glad to have picked it up.

#0064: Lara Croft




Another Minimate review!  It’s another previously un-reviewed line, this time based on the popular video game franchise Tomb Raider.  Diamond Select Toys picked up the license for the most recent game in the series, and have released a line of Minimates to coincide.  I’ll be looking at the Battle-Damaged variant of the main character, Lara Croft.


This version of Lara was released as part of the first series of Tomb Raider Minimates.  She was packed with the Armored Tomb Raider Scavenger, but I picked Lara up loose, all by herself, so I won’t be looking at that one.  Lara is based on her look from later in the game after she’s been raiding tombs, or whatever.  She’s got sculpted hair, belt and shoulder strap.  These pieces are all new to the figure, though, the hair’s been seen before on this site, in my review of Rescue & Robot Hulk.  I liked the piece there, and I like it here.  It’s a nice piece and I would be glad to see it used more often.  The belt’s got a holster for her pistol, and the shoulder strap’s got a clip for her machine gun.  The paint on this figure is nothing short of amazing.  She’s got scuffs and stains everywhere, and is all bandaged up.  There’s even mud in her hair.  Lara comes with a handgun, a climbing axe, a machine gun and a shotgun.


I’ve never actually played any of the Tomb Raider games, nor do I know all that much about the series (in case you couldn’t tell from my description of Lara’s activities as “raiding tombs or whatever”).  But, I was ordering a bunch of stuff from Luke’s Toy Store during their Black Friday sale, and I saw her loose for a good price, and thought it was a cool enough figure.

#0063: Captain Archer & Dolim



So, yeah, it’s more Minimates today.  This time, they’re from a line I haven’t yet looked at, Star Trek.  Minimates actually owe a lot to Star Trek, as Trek was one of the earliest licenses, back when the figures were still 3 inch scale.  Sadly, Trek hasn’t seen a load of success in the Minimates world.  The 3 inch line only lasted a single series, and the first 2 inch line only went 5 series, barely making it past the classic Trek crew.  In the last year, Diamond attempted to relaunch the line again as Star Trek Legacy.  This time around, they focused on several of the Trek show simultaneously, releasing the captain from each series with one other character.  There were Toys R Us and Specialty assortments, with 4 two-packs each.  Today, I’ll be looking at Archer and Dolim from Star Trek: Enterprise.


These two were released as part of the first specialty series of the Star Trek Legacy Minimates line.


First up, it’s the captain, and de facto lead of the show, Captain Nathanial Archer.  He’s shown here in his basic look from the show, his blue jumpsuit.  He’s built on the basic Minimate body, so he stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has sculpted hair and a belt.  These pieces both look to be new.  The belt is rather basic, and could conceivably work for many different purposes.  The hair piece looks fairly accurate to Archer’s hair from the show, but I’m not sure it’s spot on.  The paint detailing is all well done.  The face looks to be set a slight bit too high in the head, but it looks to be a pretty good interpretation of Scott Bakula.  If I had one complaint, it would be that he looks a bit stern for Archer, who tended to be more jovial.  Archer includes a communicator, a tri-corder, a phase pistol, and a clear display stand.


Next, it’s Dolim.  He’s one of the great…umm…wait…no, he’s, hmmm.  Yeah, I don’t actually know who Dolim is.  According to the box, he’s “A reptilian commander in the Xindi alliance…”  So, there’s that I guess.  I honestly wasn’t watching Enterprise when this guy showed up, so I know nothing about him.  Nor do I have any kind of attachment to him, but he was in the box with Archer, so here he is.  He’s on the usual Minimate body, so he’s got the 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  In place of the basic head and hands, Dolim has uniquely sculpted pieces.  He also has a sculpted robe thingy, which covers most of the body.  The paint is up to the usual standards of a Minimate, though there’s a bit of slop on the robe.  Dolim’s only accessory is a clear display stand.


So, another controversial opinion of mine:  I actually don’t mind Star Trek: Enterprise.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was my favorite Trek after the original.  I’ve never been able to get into DS9 or Voyager, and Next Gen was just too stretched out for me, and I tend to like Scott Bakula’s work.  Anyway, I was rather excited to see Captain Archer get a release in the line, even if I did have to buy a villain I didn’t really want.   I kind of wish Archer had come with his pet beagle, but I guess this is Archer after Scotty lost it in a transporter accident.  That would explain the stern expression…

#0062: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER                   


Previously, I’ve taken a look at a few odd figures from DC Direct, a company that produced DC Comics figures meant to be sold directly through comic book shops.  This allowed them to do story specific looks and some of the more obscure characters.  With that company’s success, Marvel wanted to get in on some of the action, so they licensed Diamond Select Toys to do a line of “specialty” figures of their characters.  It took a while, and some of the early figures weren’t so great, but their line, Marvel Select, has started to pick up some decent coverage, and put out some very nice figures.  They just recently put out a Silver Surfer figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.


As I said above, Silver Surfer was just released.  Marvel Select doesn’t use the typical “series” structure that many other lines use, instead releasing the figures one at a time.  Surfer’s not exactly a character with a huge variety of looks, having just the one, but this figure appears to be based on Surfer’s more classic 70s-80s look.  He stands roughly 7 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Surfer’s sculpt is simplistic, but that’s not a bad thing in his case.  That’s also not to say there’s no detail work.  In particular, I like that they went the extra mile to put wrinkles on the waist, denoting the shorts that the Surfer was typically shown wearing until the 90s or so.  The head has a great look of calmness that characterizes the Surfer very well.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, it’s that the abs are perhaps a bit too defined to match the rest of the figure’s aesthetic.  Surfer comes armed with a fair number of accessories.  He’s got his trusty Surf Board, a spare set of hands, to hand-blast pieces, the Infinity Gauntlet, and a display stand made to look like the Surfer is hovering over a rocky surface.  The board is well done, with nice clean line work.  It suffers from the common problem of figures of the Surfer in that it has to have foot pegs to hold him in place.  The hands are only minor variation, he’s got the flatter hands for basic “surfing” poses, and a pair where the fingers are slightly curled to allow the energy blasts to fit properly.   The Infinity Gauntlet is a cool add-in.  You have to remove the Surfer’s hand to put it on, and it doesn’t have a peg or anything, so it just kind of has to be wedged on just right.  It looks cool, though I don’t know of a time when the Surfer actually had it in his possession.  The stand is interesting.  It has a blue swooshing effect that the board slides into, but it also has foot prints and a foot peg to allow the Surfer to stand directly on the rocky surface.  It’s nice in theory, but there’s no way to remove the swoosh effect, leaving it looking a bit odd.


This guy was picked up from my favorite online store, Luke’s Toy Store, during their Black Friday sale.  I had been wanting the figure, but wasn’t sure about paying full price.  Luke’s had it for $16, which was good enough for me.  I’m a moderate fan of the Surfer, and I’m glad to see a decent figure of him.  It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than a lot of his recent figures!

#0061: Space Villain



Today, I’ll be taking a look at another block figure, though this one’s probably more widely known.  When block figures started to hit it big, LEGO, the originator of the “block figure” decided to get in on the action.  Typically, the only way to get a LEGO minifigure, you would have to buy a LEGO set, but LEGO decided to start up a new line of just the minifigures.  These guys are blind bagged, meaning getting a particular figure can be a bit tricky, but overall, the line’s been a huge hit.  They offer a wide variety of figures, and today I’ll be reviewing the “Space Villain.”


The Space Villain was the 13th figure in the 3rd series of the LEGO Minifigures line.  The Space Villain is built on the traditional LEGO body, with a peg-leg in the place of his right leg, and a mechanical arm in place of his right arm.  He also has a sculpted helmet with a removable yellow visor.  The face and torso feature the figure’s only paint.  The details are nice and sharp, and they feature some very nice metallic silver.  The Space Villain has a laser gun with a removable laser blast, and comes with the black stand included with all the LEGO Minifigures.


I got the Space Villain from my local LEGO Store, with a handful of others I had grabbed from their display at random.  He’s cool enough, not one of my favorites, but a well put together figure.

#0060: Ultra Humanite



Hey, two new thingies to my blog:  DC Universe Classics and Build-A-Figures.  DC Universe Classics was a great line of DC figures released by Mattel over the past few years.  It was one of the most expansive DC lines to date, and even though not every decision was perfect, it was a really fun line.  Unfortunately, the advent of the New 52*, DC mandated that the classic looks of the characters wouldn’t appear at retail.  So, Mattel attempted to move the line to their online store, Matty Collector.  However, questionable character choices, no advertising, unreasonably high prices and an over-reliance on a blind-faith all or nothing method of distribution on the figures meant that the sub just barely made it through two years before dying with a whimper (Batzarro?  Seriously!?!  That’s the line’s final figure?).  But, the line did give us some great figures, like the one I’m looking at today.

This figure’s a build-a-figure, or Collect-n-Connect as Mattel branded them.  That meant that each figure in a particular series included a piece to one larger figure, so if you got the whole series, you’d have a cool extra figure.  This time around, it’s everyone’s favorite body-hopping mad scientist with a propensity for albino apes:  The Ultra Humanite!


Ultra Humanite was the Collect-N-Connect figure for the 14th series of DC Universe Classics, which was also the 3rd series of the line exclusive to Wal-Mart.  He stands around 8 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  Humanite’s had a few distinctive looks over the years, but Mattel decided to go with his albino ape in a red unitard look.  It’s a good choice, as it’s by far the most distinctive look that the character’s had over the years, and had some prominence a few years ago when the character appeared on the Justice League animated series.  Humanite is mostly a new sculpt, though he does share arms with previous C-n-C Gorilla Grodd.  It makes sense given their design similarities.  Everything else is new, and it’s all very well done.  The hair detailing continues over his whole body, and looks good enough. His clothing is a bit jarring in its smoothness when compared to the rest of the body, but that’s accurate to the characters design, so I suppose it’s to be expected.  The head sculpt is easily my favorite part of the figure.  It perfectly conveys Humanite’s smug superiority, while perfectly replicating his ape features.  The paint is nice and consistent with no slop or bleed.  There’s a nice wash on the body to bring out the detail in the sculpt.  It’s a bit heavy in a few places, but it does the job well.  Humanite didn’t include any accessories, but given he’s technically an accessory himself, that’s okay.


Due to the unfortunate distribution of the DCUC line, this was actually the first C-n-C I got all the pieces for.  And even then, it was more a stroke of luck finding the necessary figures at a nearby Wal-Mart.  But I’m really glad I was able to get him built with relative ease, as I feel he’s one of the strongest figures in the line.

*In 2011, DC decided to do a line-wide reboot of their entire line of comics, AGAIN.  So, they redesigned all the characters, and launched 52 new titles, referred to as the “New 52.”  I feel there’s enough nerd rage in this review already, so I won’t delve into my opinion on that idea at this time.

#0059: Rescue & Robot Hulk



Today marks the final entry from the most recent Toys R Us exclusive series of Diamond’s quite expansive Marvel Minimates line.  For the last review, I’ll be looking at not quite Iron Man, and not quite the Hulk.  So, maybe it’s not quite a review…


These two were released as part of the 17th Toys R Us exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.


First up, it’s Iron Man…according to the box anyway.  In actuality, it’s Pepper, Tony’s on-again-off-again-love-interest.  She recently (okay, in the last five years or so) got her own suit of armor and took up heroing under the name “Rescue.”  I guess Toys R Us wasn’t interested in a figure just called Rescue, but add Iron Man to the end, and their on board!  That ends up being a little awkward for Pepper, who really doesn’t qualify as Iron MAN, but if anyone can bend gender stereotypes, it’s Pepper Potts!  The figue is built on the basic Minimate body, with a few sculpted add-ons, so she’s got 12 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  She’s got sculpted boots and gloves, as well as a slip over mask.  All these pieces have been used before, but are put to a good effect.  The paint on Rescue is quite well done, with no noticeable slop, smudges or fuzziness, and lots of fine detail work.  The metallic red and silver are also nice and consistent.  Rescue includes a blast off stand, a clear display stand and a spare hair piece to display Pepper unmasked.  That last accessory is great because, Pepper’s unmasked face is one of the highlights of the figure.


Next, it’s Robot Hulk, the robot approximation of Hulk.  Yeah, it’s a complicated concept.  He’s based on…the minds of toy makers everywhere.  Robo Hulk is based on the basic Minimate body with sculpted parts, so he’s got 12 points of articulation and stands a little over 2 ½ inches tall.  He’s got sculpted hair, torso cover, hands, thigh covers and feet.  All but the hair were previously used on the Marvel vs Capcom Sentinel, and the hair is taken from one of the recent Colossuses.  The reuse is warranted and gives him a nice angular, robotic look.  The paint work is all nice and sharp.  Like yesterday’s Venom, Robot Hulk also has a whole nother Minimate underneath all of his sculpted parts.  This time around, it depicts a terminator like rob-suit, piloted by long-time Hulk and Iron Man foe the Gremlin.  It’s a great touch and really adds a lot to the figure.  Robot Hulk is topped off by a clear display stand.


As with the rest of this series, the two were ordered from TRU’s online store, with a shocking amount of ease.  Rescue gives us a great comic styled Pepper, which has been a long time coming.  Robot Hulk is kind of filler, but he’s really cool filler, and his importance is helped by the little image of Gremlin piloting, kind of making this a new character.

#0058: Nova & Alien Symbiote Venom



Today, it’s another entry from the Marvel Minimates line.  Like the last two reviews, this set comes from the most recent Toys R Us Exclusive series.  This time around, it’s the latest incarnation of the character Marvel really wants to take off Nova, and villainous Spider-Man knock-off Venom.


These two were released as part of the 17th Toys R Us exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.


First up, it’s everyone’s favorite Galactic Law enforcer!  No, it’s not Ryan Reynolds, it’s actually Nova, specifically of the All New variety.  It’s Sam Alexander, the most recent incarnation of Nova.  He’s built on the usual Minimate body, so he’s got 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  He’s got a sculpted helmet, shoulder pads, and gloves.  The shoulder pads are reused from Wolverine, but the helmet and gloves are new pieces.  They look to be accurate to the source material, which is good.  The paint isn’t terrible, though there is some noticeable slop and a few fuzzy lines.  It’s not terrible, but it keeps the figure from being “great”.   Nova also includes an extra golden helmet to replace his regular one, an extra head w/ hair to make the figure into Sam’s dad, a clear blue blast off base, and the usual clear display stand.


Next, it’s everyone’s favorite Topher Grace role!  …okay, not really…look, it’s Venom, okay?  Happy?  Venom is based on the look that Venom’s pretty consistently had since his introduction.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.  The characters size has varied over the years, and this figure’s meant to show him all ‘roided out like he was towards the end of the 90s.  The figure’s built on the basic Minimate body, with some sculpted parts which bring his articulation to 12 points and his height to a little over 2 ½ inches.  Venom’s got a sculpted mask, torso cover, pelvis cover, thigh covers, feet, upper arm covers and clawed hands.  The bulked up pieces have been used on several of the larger Marvel characters before, and the Venom specific parts have been used before in the Venom: Through the Ages set.  Venom is usually depicted in black and white, but for this figure, Diamond’s replaced the usual black with a dark, semi-metallic blue.  It’s not a huge difference, but it makes the figure different from previous releases I guess.  The paint is pretty good overall, with less of the slop that’s present on Nova.  As a cool bonus, if you remove all the added on parts, and give him the included normal hands and feet, you can assemble a black-costume Spider-Man.   Venom also includes a tendril that can be swapped out for one of his hands, and a clear display stand.


Like the rest of this series, I got these two from TRU’s online store, with no real issues for a change.  This set is a perfectly fine addition to my collection, even if it isn’t necessarily.  The ability to use Venom as a Symbiote Spider-Man adds a whole lot to the set, as I think it might be my favorite take on that particular version of the character yet.

#0057: Hawkeye & Black Widow



Today, it’s another entry from the Marvel Minimates line.  The two are once again from the recently acquired Toys R Us Exclusive series.  This time around, its Hawkeye and Black Widow, two characters who received a lot of notoriety from last year’s film The Avengers.


These two were released as part of the 17th Toys R Us exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.


First up, it’s nobody’s favorite Avenger, Hawkeye (okay, that’s not true.  He’s actually one of my favorites)!  Hawkeye is depicted here in his most recent costume, prominently featured in his current solo series.  I follows the tradition of changing a character’s look to be more in line with their movie look of which Marvel’s grown so fond.  It’s not a terrible look, and it translated well, so no complaints here.  Hawkeye’s built on the basic Minimate body, so he stands about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got a fair deal of sculpted bits, including:  hair, gloves, utility harness with a quiver, a belt, and leg bands.  The hair, belt, leg bands and harness are reused from previous figures, but they are chosen well, so no issues there.  The quiver and gloves appear to be new.  The quiver looks appropriate to the character, and the gloves are a might in the bulky side, but not too bad.  The paint on the figure is a bit hit and miss, the face looks perfect for the version of the character they’re going for, and the change in finish to designate the boots looks cool, but places like the edges of his sleeves are rather fuzzy.  It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s annoying.  Hawkeye is topped off by a bow, three arrows, and the now standard clear display stand.  These pieces are all reused, but if it works, it works.


Second, it’s the best former Soviet spy turned kick-ass Avenger Marvel’s got: Black Widow!  Widow’s rocked the black skintight catsuit quite a few times over the years, but this figure is based on the look she has currently in particular.  It’s a look that’s lasted for so many years for a good reason, so its use here sees no complaining from me.  Like Hawkeye, she’s on the typical Minimate body, so she has 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall.  She features sculpted hair, wrist bands, and leg holsters.  The pieces are all reused, but they all work appropriately for the desired look.  The paint on Widow is a bit better than Hawkeye, though there is a tiny bit of slop on her neckline.  Widow includes two silver handguns and a clear display stand.


Like the rest of this series, these two were gotten off of TRU’s website, with no real issues this time around.  I’m really glad because these two are definitely the set from the series I was looking forward to the most.  These two definitely didn’t disappoint.  Widow is a grate update to her traditional look, and while Hawkeye’s not my favorite of his looks, the Minimate is really well done.