#0125: Fitness Instructor



So, just so everyone knows, I have seen the LEGO Movie, and it is indeed as awesome as it should be.  Go see it.  Go!

Okay, so now that your back, please enjoy this charming review of yet another LEGO Minifigure, from LEGO’s line of blind packaged minis.  This time, it’s the Fitness Instructor, here to get all your other LEGOs into shape, 80s style!


The Fitness Instructor was the 2nd figure in the 5th assortment of LEGO Minifigures.  She’s modeled after the fitness instructors one would see on a workout take in the late 80s and early 90s. Obviously, she’s built on the basic LEGO body, which stands about 2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  Her only sculpted piece is her hair, which is one of the basic LEGO female hairpieces.  The figure features painted details on her face, torso, pelvis, and legs.  The details are actually pretty darn good, and are more intricate than one would tend to expect from a LEGO.  The figure definitely has the right look to her, with a headband leotard and clashingly colored tights, and that wonderful can-do smile that all those fitness instructors seem to have.  The Fitness Instructor has a pick boombox, which I sadly lost prior to taking the photo, and the standard black stand.


The Fitness Instructor is a great example of the LEGO minifigure line taking an idea that I have no interest in owning as a figure, and interpreting it in such a way that it’s too perfect to not own.  I truly applaud them for this.

#0124: Gambit



So, Happy President’s Day, I guess.  Um, I don’t really have that much in the way of presidential action figures, so I’m just gonna go ahead as if it’s any other day.  But I thought I’d point it out anyway.  Just to mess with you.

Looking back at my past reviews, I’m actually a bit shocked by how few reviews I’ve done of ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends.  For a while back there they were, like, the only line I really collected, and I’ve done quite a few reviews of DC Direct figures, which I collected about the same time, so it seems odd I haven’t really looked at any of them.  I think part of this might be that I have some bad memories of trying to track certain figures down, and part of it might be that the figures just haven’t aged all that well.  Or, I’m going by a totally randomized list, and not as many of them have popped up.  Who knows? (Well, me but that kinda ruins my intro).

So, in an effort to attempt to correct some slight oversight, I’ll be reviewing the Marvel Legends version of the X-Men’s own resident scum bag, Gambit!  Gambit isn’t as big a deal as he once was, but he was pretty big in the 90s, and even into the early 2000s, hence his place in the line.  So, let’s take a look at the figure!


Gambit was released as part of the 4th wave of ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends line.  He stands about 6 inches tall, and he has 40 points of articulation.  The figure depicts Gambit in him classic pink/blue/black leotard and brown trench coat look that everyone thought was oh so rad in the 90s.  It’s a truly hideous design, but I can’t help but be so damned nostalgic about it, because being born in the 90s ruined me as a person.  The sculpt was pretty good at the time, but now feels like one of the more outdated sculpts in the line, with huge hands, some pretty serious monkey arms, and an overall emaciated look to him.  I think the head still holds up, with that perfect floppy Gambit hair, and the totally in character smirk.  The coat isn’t the best tailored thing ever, but it isn’t too bad, and it does somewhat mask the odd proportions of the figure.  The figure’s paint is pretty good, though it can be sloppy in some places, particularly the face, which I’ve seen have some variance from figure to figure.  I do appreciate that this is one of the only Gambit figures to give him the appropriate black sleeves with those weird pink squares, instead of just leaving them pink.  The figure had a really nice assortment of accessories that I wish I still had, including: his staff, an energy explosion with a set of cards to simulate his powers, and a base sculpted to look like a fallen Sentinel hand.  These pieces were all pretty cool, and I think I still have the stand in a box with some others, but the other two pieces are long gone.


Believe it or not, Gambit was one of my favorite ToyBiz Legends.  I’m not really sure why, as I’m not that big a fan of the character, and the figure isn’t that amazing, but I really liked him.  I suppose coming early  in the line, he got a lot more play time than some of the later figures, and he was one of the figures in the line who you didn’t have to devote all your free time to tracking down.

He hasn’t aged amazingly well, but he’s still held up better than some of the figures, which does give a leg up.  And given Gambit’s rather quick decline in popularity, the character has yet to see any kind of rerelease in the more recent incarnations of the line, which I suppose makes this guy a bit more valuable.

#0123: Ray Stanz



I am so resisting the urge to start this review off with “Who ya gonna call?”  I want to, but I feel it may be over played.

So, yeah, this is a Ghostbusters review.  My very first on the site.  Ghostbusters is another of those properties where I’m a pretty big fan of the movie, but the toys that have been made haven’t always been the best.  I like the minimates, because that’s my thing, but as far as actual figures, it’s been a bit lax.  Mattel picked up the license a few years ago, and there was a lot of excitement, but it was Mattel, so they ran it into the ground, surprising no one.

The best way to get stuff based on the characters is to check out some of the stuff based on The Real Ghostbusters, the cartoon made between the first and second movies.  There was a toyline released when the series was on the air, and when Ghostbusters got a bit of a resurgence a few years ago, there were a few more items released.

Mattel didn’t totally screw up their part of the cartoon stuff, and they released a nice set of figures to tie in to the hole Mego-styled retro figures craze.  I’ll be looking at that line’s version of Ray Stanz, who was played by Dan Akroyd in the movies and animation veteran Frank Welker in the cartoon.


As I mentioned in the intro, Ray is based on his appearance in the cartoon, after he received his more unique uniform along with the rest of the team.  The uniforms were mostly just a palate swap, and even then, Ray’s is probably the one that remained the closest to the uniforms from the first movie.  Ray stands about 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  If you’re familiar with the Mego style, then sculpting and such is pretty straight forward.  The figure is built on Mattel’s basic retro-style body, which was actually a little different from the more straight Mego riff that everyone else was using, because they’re the masters of “If it ain’t broke try and fix it anyway.”  It’s not bad, but I prefer the aesthetics of the body everyone else had.  Ray had a newly sculpted head, as well as a pair of black rubber boots, a proton pack with neutrino-wand, and, of course, a cloth jumpsuit.  The head is well done.  The style of the Mego type figure is very compatible with Ray’s cartoon design, so that works out well.  The boots are fairly generic boots, but that works pretty well.  The real star here is the proton pack, which has some very nice sculpted details, while still remaining faithful to the cartoon and Mego aesthetic.  The neutrino-wand is attached to the pack by a yellow tube, and can be clipped onto the side of the proton pack, or removed completely, depending on what you prefer.  Ray is sparse on the paint, but the work on the head and pack is all well done, with no real issues of slop or over bleed.  Ray’s one accessory is the spectral sniffer, which matches the proton pack in styling and fits nicely into Ray’s hand.


The retro-styled figures aren’t for everyone, but I really like them.  When I was growing up, I stayed at my grandparents’ house often, and my dad pulled out his old Mego figures so I had some things I could play with while I was there.  I really liked those figures and I have lots of fond memories of them, so seeing them have a brief return was pretty cool.  The Retro versions of the ‘Busters are actually one of the few complete versions of the team I own, so that probably adds to my appreciation even more.

I picked these figures up one at a time as I found them, usually at my local TRU.  Ray was actually the last of the four figures I found, so I was excited when I found him because I had finally completed the team!

#0122: Xenomorph – Big Chap



Today, I’ll be wrapping up my reviews of the second wave of NECA’s Aliens line.  The focus of today’s review is the original big bad, the somewhat humorously named “Big Chap.”  For a lot of people, this is THE definitive Alien, so this figure’s certainly got a lot riding on it, and is easily the anchor figure of the series.  So, let’s see how it turned out!


This guy is based on the appearance of the titular creature in the original film, ALIEN, otherwise known as the Big Chap to the crew of the film, and thereby many of the more die-hard fans as well.  The figure isn’t officially called this on the box, but Xenomorph is a long word, and spell check doesn’t like it, so I’m gonna call this guy by his nickname.  Anyway, the Big Chap stands between 8 and 9 inches tall, keeping him in scale with the rest of the line, and has 36 points of articulation.  Initially, upon seeing this figure, I assumed he would more or less be reuse of pieces from the Xenomorph Warrior, with, at most, a new head and hands, and maybe feet.  NECA’s really gone the extra mile on this figure, though, and the only pieces he actually shares with the previous figures are the pelvis, tail, and removable back fin thingy.  The torso looks to share some of the same sculpting, but the tendrils on the back are space out differently, and the neck is a new sculpt, meaning it was tweaked, and would still require new tooling costs.  So, how are the new pieces? Well, the quality is just as good as the previous aliens, and the details are all accurate to the Big Chap’s look in the movie.  The most important part for most is the head, which is one of the biggest differences between the two alien designs.  Kyle Windrix seems to have captured the Big Chap’s noggin perfectly, and there’s even the appropriate details hidden underneath of the misted dome, which is super cool.  The figure’s articulation is a bit more restricted than the previous Xenos, but that’s actually quite understandable, as the design of the Bog Chap was said to be much more restricting, and that was the big reason for the change when they made Aliens.  Like the rest of his series two compatriots, the paint is great all around.  I was glad to see this guy wasn’t plagued by the same issues as the series one Xeno, as it really helps the figure.  Like previous Xenos, the Big Chap doesn’t include any accessories.


So, this is it.  Final figure in Series two of NECA’s Aliens.   This guy was the one everyone was waiting for, and I feel NECA delivered.  Looking at the series as a whole, I have to say I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of this release.  I mean, I had no problems with the tribute figure, the Xeno certainly looked a bit better in blue, and the original alien is always important, but for some reason, I didn’t have the same enthusiasm as I did when series one was released.  However, once I received these figures in person, my opinion changed completely.  As much as I loved series one, I think series two improves upon the quality of the figures in more than one way, and these three were a whole lot of fun to mess around with.  I can’t wait to see what the lineup for series three is going to be, because I am totally hooked on this line!

#0121: Xenomorph Warrior – Blue



So, uh, it’s Valentine’s Day.  And in honor of the holiday, I’m reviewing…. a Xenomorph.  Yeah.  Well, he’s blue, so maybe he’s lonely because he doesn’t have a facehugger to call his own.  Or…uh…yeah.  Just… Let’s just move right along!

Okay, today I’ll be getting back to the Aliens Series 2 figures that I started last week!  Last time, it was a bit of a special review, so I didn’t do my whole frantically excited post about getting the second series and how awesome they were.


So, I’ve got series two of the line!  What brand new, exciting figure am I going to start with?  The Xenomorph Warrior!  You’ve already seen that one four times you say?  But, this one’s in blue.  That’s very different!


Okay, so you should probably know the drill by this point.  This figure is based on the appearance of the titular aliens in the second movie.  He’s part of the 2nd series of NECA’s Aliens line.  Being an 8-foot tall character in a 7-inch scale line, he’s between 8 and 9 inches tall, and he’s got 38 points of articulation.  The sculpt is exactly the same as the Xeno from the first series, and thereby the Xenos in the Genocide 2-pack and most of the Xeno in the Hicks vs Xeno 2-pack.  If you want my thoughts on the sculpt, I’ll point you to my review of the first series release.  The big difference between this figure and its predecessors is the paint scheme.  I talked before about the differing opinions of how the Aliens should be colored.  NECA seems to be taking the approach of pleasing all fans, so they’re planning on releasing the figure with all the possible color variant.  So far we’ve had black with brown highlights (series 1) and black with silver and bronze highlights (Genocide).  This figure uses the color choice that seems to be most popular with fans, which is black with blue highlights.  This is usually seen as the best look because that’s how the aliens were lit in the movie.  I mentioned liking the blue highlights when I reviewed the battle-damaged alien.  I’m really glad to have this scheme on an unscathed alien.  One of the biggest pluses of this figure is that the paint is quite a bit better than it was on the series 1 version.  I like the blue better in general, but NECA really seems to have cleaned it up a bit, which makes for an all-around better figure.


Like I did with series one, I preordered series two from an online store fairly early on.  The figures arrived last week, and I’ve had quite a bit of fun messing around with them.  This version of the Alien is my favorite version so far!  It’s got the best paint to show off the amazing sculpt that the Xenomorph figure has.  If you just want a single, basic Xenomorph, then this is the figure for you!

#0120: Brutok Novum Veridiohm & Crayboth Eaglet



Today, I’ll be finishing up my reviews of the most recent set of releases from Spy Monkey Creations’ Weaponeers of Monkaa line.  I mentioned in my first review that there were 4(ish) figures released.  Well, the ish is coming into play in today’s review.  I’ll be looking at both Brutok Novum Veridiohm and the Crayboth Eaglet, mostly because I don’t feel the Eaglet really warrants its own review.  Let’s take a look at these guys!



First up, I’ll take a look at the Eaglet, as it’ll be a quick little review.  The Eaglet is a crossover between Spy Monkey and Onell Design, another company that’s made a pretty big splash in the online, small production toy scene.  It’s nice to see these two companies working together, as it’s a refreshing change from the huge rivalries of the bigger toy companies.  The Eaglet stands about 2 inches tall, and has 4 points of articulation.  He’s made from 5 separate pieces, which are all compatible with the Weaponeers, although the Eaglet isn’t quite as modular.  He’s a bit stylistically different from the Weaponeers, but he fits alright.  For the most part, the figure is molded in the appropriate colors, but he’s got paint apps on each piece, which makes him a bit more detailed than some of the other figures.


Next, the main focus of this review is Brutok.  This is the second release of the former right hand man of the villainous Uberous, depicting him after his encounter with the Veridiohm in the recent “Golden Age” chapter of the Weaponeers story.  Brutok is reconstructed from the same energy that makes up the Veridiohm, resulting in him being all translucent green too.  Which is totally cool with me.  Brutok is built from the same selection of pieces as the rest of the figures in the line, and is molded in the same translucent green plastic as the Veridiohm figure.  In his default set up, Brutok stands 4 inches tall and has 17 points of articulation.  The sculpt is made up from the same pieces as previous figures, but Brutok actually throws a few more pieces into the mix.  He’s got four vac-metalized half-spheres which can plug into the ports on his arms and legs, and a larger half-sphere that can be plugged into his torso, in place of one of his insignia squares.  These pieces add a unique flair to the figure, and I really enjoy them.  As a DX release, Brutok has a more complicated paint job.  While it’s not as extensive as the one on Gearion, I think it’s a bit more intricate, with several “digital” looking textures painted at various points, not to mention the silver skin and yellow eyes present on each head.  Brutok is packaged with the standard short blade and sickle, molded in the same lovely green plastic as the rest of Brutok.


Like the rest of the set, I picked up these two as soon as they went up for sale.  The Eaglet is different, which adds a bit of diversity to the lineup.  Apparently, he was a big hit, as he was the first item to sell out.  Brutok wasn’t far behind him, and I can honestly say that’s not a surprise to me at all.  I thought it’d be tough for any of these releases to overthrow Lifespring Empyreus as my favorite figure in the line, but Brutok here seems to have done just that.  The coloring of the plastic coupled with the unique paint detailing on this figure make him really standout from the pack!

#0119: Veridiohm



Today marks the third entry in my reviews of the most recently released set of figures in the Weaponeers of Monkaa line.  So far, I’ve looked at Midas: the Golden Gohlem and Gearion: Lord of Light and leader of the Golden Gohlem army.  I’ll be jumping over to another segment of the line with the Veridiohm.   Let’s take a look at the figure!


The Veridiohm uses the basic layout of the Gohlem figures from the line, but according to Spy Monkey, this isn’t actually a Gohlem, it just looks like one.  Supposedly, the Veridiohm is like a hive-mind type entity made of green energy.  Pretty much it’s an excuse to release a Weaponeer in translucent green plastic.  And I most certainly won’t complain about that!  The Veridiohm is built on “Old Faithful”, the same set of parts used for every figure in the line.  In the default setup, the Veridiohm has 16 points of articulation and stands just shy of 4 inches tall.  Verodiohm is one of the basic releases, so he’s got a much more basic set of paint apps.  There pretty much exactly the same as those seen on Midas, but in green plastic instead of gold.  The insignias are nice and crisply painted, and the eyes don’t have any real slop or bleed over.  The Veridiohm includes the standard short blade and sickle, molded in the same green plastic as the rest of the figure.


The Veridiohm was purchased on the first day of release, as soon as they went up for sale on the Spy Monkey website.  As simple as he is, I really enjoy the figure, due mostly to the color of the plastic.  I’m a total sucker for translucent green!

#0118: Gearion – The Lord of Light



I’ll be continuing my look at the latest set of figures from Weaponeers of Monkaa today.  Yesterday, I looked at Midas, the Golden Gohlem.  Today, I’ll be looking at his leader, Gearion: The Lord of Light!  On to the review!


According to the backstory on the Spy Monkey website, Gearion is the former leader if the heroic Gearo, and the father of current leader Empyreus.  His look here is based on his appearance as the Lord of Light and the leader of the Golden Gohlem.  As with the tow previously reviewed figures, Gearion is built from the same basic parts as everyone else in the line.  Like Midas, Gearion is molded in gold plastic.  In his default setup, Gearion stands about 4 inches tall and has 17 points of articulation, 19 if you count the swivels on the ear thingies.  Like the rest of the line, he features all of the other heads in addition to the one he comes wearing, and he can use several of them to change up the build of the figure.  The sculpt is the same as the rest of the line, which is to be expected, as that is the nature of the figures.  The big thing that differentiates Gearion from Midas is the level of paint apps.  Gearion has what is probably the most intensive paint work in the line so far.  He’s got paint on every surface, and he’s even got a pretty sweet beard to help make him look a bit different than Empyreus, with whom he shares a head.  The other heads all have great work too, and look pretty good when switched out.  There’s a tiny bit more slop on Gearion than was present on the previous figures, but I’m willing to be more forgiving, given the more extensive nature.  As a DX figure, Gearion includes two vac-metalized swords, as well as the standard short blade and sickle, molded in gold to match Gearion’s armor.



I got Gearion and the rest of the new set of Weaponeers as soon as they were up for sale at the Spy Monkey Store.  Gearion is pretty impressive, especially since he features so much more paint than previous figures.  He’s not my favorite in the set, but he’s up there, and he continues the line’s trend of just being plain fun!

#0117: Midas: The Golden Gohlem



So, I took a one day break, and now I’m back to one of my favorite toylines of late, Weaponeers of Monkaa.  They just released their 4th set of figures about two weeks ago, and mine arrived earlier this week.  So, I’ll be taking a look at the  4(ish) figures that were just released.

Up first, it’s Midas: The Golden Gohlem!


Midas is one of the Gohlem, who are essentially the army builders of the line.  He’s the second case of one of the Gohlem getting an actual name, but the Gohlem are supposed to all look the same, so if you had a bunch of this figure, you could certainly build quite the Golden Gohlem army.  Most of the Gohlem don’t have a specific affiliation, which allows you to choose which side to put them on, but Midas and the rest of the Gohlems are actually affiliated with Gearion, who was also released as part of this set.  I’ll be looking at him tomorrow.  Like I mentioned in my review of Lifespring Empyreus, every figure in the line is built from roughly the same parts, just in different color sets.  Midas is (unsurprisingly) molded in gold plastic.  In his default setup, Midas has 16 points of articulation and stands a little under 4 inches tall.  However, my version of Midas stands a little taller, and has 3 additional points of articulation, as I added the ear-thingies from the Empyreus head and the lower torso piece, which is typically not included in the default Gohlem setup.  Not much new to say about the sculpt.  It’s exactly the same as Empyreus’s, and it looks just as nice here.  Midas is quite a bit lighter on the paint, with detailing only on his two insignia plates and the eyes on the various heads.  This is to be expected, as Midas is one of the basic releases, which have less paint apps.  What’s there is nice and clean, with no noticeable issues.  In addition to the assorted extra heads and the like, Midas includes the standard short blade and sickle, molded in gold.


I procured Midas along with the rest of this set as soon as they went up for sale.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting each subsequent release in this line.  Midas is a good example of what the basic figures in the line can offer.  And like I said in my review of Empyreus, I can’t recommend this line enough!

#0116: Father of Ultra



It’s been 25 days since my last Ultra-Act review, but man did that fly by for me.  It feels like just yesterday I was reviewing Mother of Ultra, and today I’ll be taking a look at her husband, Father of Ultra! …Or if you’re feeling a bit less formal, Ken.  But that doesn’t really have the same presence as “Father of Ultra!”  Like Mother of Ultra, Father’s name is a bit misleading, as he’s actually only the father of Ultraman Taro.  But, let’s not split hairs.

Father of Ultra was initially released late last year, but he sold out pretty quickly.  He just received a second run of figures, and he’s just now showing up in the US.  On to the figure!


Father of Ultra is one of the 2013 Ultra-Act figures, and he’s just received a 2014 re-release.  Ken here (I feel like I can be on a first name basis with my action figures) stands around 6 ½ inches tall, not counting his horns.  This makes him one of the taller figures in the line, and he’s certainly got the bulk to match.  He also features the standard 40 points of articulation that most of the figures in the line have.  Like his wife, Ken’s only really had the one look over the years, so Bandai had a pretty easy time picking which design to go with.  Ken’s sculpt was something of a point of contention for some of the more die-hard fans, as he’s been depicted a little bulkier than his live action appearances.  I can understand how that might annoy some, but honestly, it’s not that major, and I feel the figure really benefits from the change.  As he is now, he really stands out from the rest of the line, and has a more commanding appearance.  The sculpt is the usual fair for the line, and aside from the possible build issue for some, he looks accurate to the character’s appearance on the show.  He’s got a paint job to match, with no slop or bleed over.  It wouldn’t be a proper Ultra-Act release without a hefty compliment of accessories, and Ken certainly doesn’t disappoint on that front.  He’s got an extra head, an extra color timer, the “Ultra Array”, his cape, and 8 hands: Karate Chop (L and R), Open Gesture (L and R), Fists (L and R), Grasping (R), and a right hand with and energy beam attached.   The extra head and color timer are both in their “powered down” states, allowing you to show Ken after he’s been worn down in battle.  The Ultra Array is his dumbbell shaped weapon that he’s frequently depicted using.  It’s pretty cool and looks about right to the show.  The hands look standard for the line, and are pretty easy to swap out.  The cape is probably one of the coolest pieces.  It has its own articulation to allow you to put into various poses, which is pretty cool, and a much better solution than trying to mess with cloth capes at this scale.  My only complaint is that it can be a little easy to get it off of the figure once it’s attached.


Oh, boy there’s another story of annoyance, bad communication, and difficulty getting an item I had ordered.  I pre-ordered Father of Ultra from Amazon back in December when they put him up.  I was told he would be released on January 15th and I should receive mine shortly thereafter.  So I waited.  January 15th came, and nothing happened.  It’s understandable, I thought, for there to be a little bit of a delay in the item being sent out.  I’m a pretty patient guy.  I’ll wait a few days.  So, I waited a week, to the end of my projected delivery window.  Nothing.  No notification of stock arriving, certainly no ship notice.  So, I contacted Amazon.  I was told that estimates are just estimates, so the fact that it hadn’t shipped yet didn’t mean anything.  They had received the stock and they were shipping it out.  And they very kindly offered to bump mine to one day shipping so that I would get mine as soon as possible once they received the next shipment of stock.

Hold up, run that by me again.  You claim to have them in stock, but you’re actually waiting on another shipment?  That being the case, the next shipment must be arriving soon, right?  Well, no.  See, Amazon actually didn’t know when they’d be getting the shipment.

I’d like to point out, I’m not mad that they had to wait for a second shipment to fill my order.  That happens sometimes.  No biggie.  I’m not even mad about the lack of a firm arrival date.  That also happens.  What I’m mad about is the fact that Amazon didn’t feel they needed to contact their customers waiting for the item about this change.  If they’d just sent me an e-mail informing me that I’d have to wait a little extra time to get my item, I would have totally understood.  Instead, I spent a week wondering if my order had just been forgotten, and worrying about having to track the item down elsewhere.  A simple e-mail could have prevented that.

Anyway, as you can see, there wasn’t much of a delay at all.  The figure arrived about a week after I contacted Amazon, and all was well.  If they had just contacted me on the 15th, no issues would have been had at all!


As I mentioned in my review of Mother of Ultra, while staying at the beach over the Christmas holiday, I come across a nice little shop sell a few old Ultraman vinyl figures, and Father of Ultra was amongst them.  I thought it might be neat to do a comparison like I did with Mother of Ultra.

This version of Father of Ultra appears to have been released in 1989.  He stands aboiut the same height as the Ultra-Act version, though not as bulky.  He has a whopping 3 points of articulation as most of the vinyl figures did.  Like with Mother of Ultra the paint has worn off, which was a common problem with the older vinyl figures.  The sculpt isn’t bad.  The proportions could probably be a little better, but compared to stuff of the time it’s about average, and Father’s a bit better than mother in that respect.  It’s a fun little throwback, and shows how far the figures have come.