#0216: Batman – Power Armor

BATMAN – POWER ARMOR

BATMAN BEYOND

In the 90s, the DC Animated Universe was in its prime. Kenner held the license for the toys, and they were doing some pretty great stuff too. Batman: The Animated Series got a great line, with the majority of the characters seeing release. Sure, it wasn’t all winners, but it was a decent line.  Superman: The Animated Series came along, and while Kenner didn’t quite have the nice selection that B:TAS had gotten, most of the key characters had been released in their basic looks. And then, there was Batman Beyond. Oh, boy was there Batman Beyond. The show was great, but the toyline released along with it was… strange to say the least. For starters, they never actually released a proper normal Batman, and the supporting cast and villains were pretty much non-existent. They weren’t bad toys per say, but they didn’t do the cartoon justice. Case in point, today I’ll be looking at the line’s release of BB’s alter ego, Terry McGuinness, wearing that red and gray power armor he was so known to wear…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Okay, officially, this wasn’t a Terry McGuinness figure. He was actually labeled “Power Armor Batman” on the box. Let’s be real here: people didn’t buy this figure because it was “Power Armor Batman,” they wanted the Terry McGuinness head. Anyway, the figure was released in one of the later assortments of the first series of Kenner’s Batman Beyond line. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and features 5 points of articulation. Kenner were big fans of the 5 and 5 set-up. From a purely technical standpoint, the sculpted work on the figure is pretty top notch. The circuits in his underlying suit look great, and the head is the spitting image of Terry’s appearance on the show. Stylistically, the figure’s body sculpt is completely wrong for the designs of the show, but it was in keeping with the rest of the line, so at least Kenner was consistent. The paint work is passable, with no real slop or bleed over (though mine has suffered some minor wear). For some reason, they’ve gone with a bright red and gray color scheme. Terry’s Batsuit on the show had red circuitry, so I suppose that’s what they were going for, but the light gray armor is just plain weird. The figure was accessorized with several snap-on armor pieces, a removable helmet, and a robotic bird. It’s red, green and yellow, so maybe they were going for a Robin thing? Yep, according to the package, it’s a strike R.O.B.I.N. Okay then.*

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Odd variants aside, I was very excited for the Batman Beyond line at the time of its release. I actually recall seeing this figure at the store several months before I actually got one. I saw the figure on a trip to the store with my parents, who told me I’d have to get it some other time. Little did they know that it would end up being one of the harder to find figures in the line. So, months went by, and I just assumed I’d missed my chance at the figure. Then, on another routine trip to the store, I wandered to the toy aisle, where I found this figure, as well as Blight. My parents were more than happy to get them for me this time around. As strange as this line was, I still have a major soft spot for those two figures in particular. Plus, they actually are pretty good toys!

*While doing some research on this figure, I discovered that Kenner did a repaint of this figure in more appropriate colors for their Deluxe line. He was dubbed “Strikecycle Batman,” if you’re curious. 

Action Figures For The Questioning #009: Day-Of

I’ve been in the action figure world for about 20 years.  So, it’s safe to say I’ve got a fair bit of knowledge on the terms that tend to be thrown around by collectors with little or no explanation as to what they mean.  I generally try to explain a concept on its first appearance on this site, but much as Stan Lee once said to assume every comic book was somebody’s first, I too must assume that every review on this site might be the first to be read by a new visitor.  As such, I’ve decided to put together a guide to some of the more frequently used terms and names that might show up.

DAY-OF

DayOf

What is it?:

When an item is released online, at a specific time, and there are no pre-sales, it is typically referred to as a “Day-of” sale.  Depending on the nature of the site, Day-of sales can range anywhere from relatively painless to living hell.

Example:

Matty Collector runs on Day-of sales.  They tend to be an example of the “living hell.”

#0215: Agent Coulson, Frost Giant, & Jane Foster

AGENT COULSON, FROST GIANT, & JANE FOSTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Coulson&FrostGiantJaneFoster&FrostGiant

I have to be honest, I’m totally running out of ways to start the Minimates reviews. I mean, how many ways can I say “this is my favorite line, there’s a lot of them, yes I’m reviewing them again,” without it getting boring. Not too many I suppose. Sorry if these intros get a bit repetitive. Anyway, I’m looking at another set of Marvel Minimates. This time around, it’s everyone’s favorite SHIELD Agent, Phil Coulson, Thor’s astrophysicist girlfriend, Jane Foster, and a generic Frost Giant. Yay!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These figures were released as part of series 39 of the Marvel Minimates line. The wave was based on 2011’s Thor film. Coulson was the regular release, with Jane Foster as the one per case variant, with each packed with the Frost Giant.

AGENT COULSON

Coulson played a key role in the first Thor, so his inclusion here makes sense. This figure depicts him back before we know him as Phil. His first name was Agent! The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, so he has 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. He features sculpted hair and jacket add-ons. Both of these pieces are re-use, but they work, so no complaints there. The paint work is pretty basic, with detailing only on his face, torso and pelvis. All of it is applied nice and cleanly, although the jacket is molded in a slightly different color than the rest of his body, which is quite distracting. Coulson included a handgun, and a megaphone, both of which he can easily hold. I think the megaphone in particular is quite cool.

FROST GIANT

The Frost Giants provided some neat generic foes for Thor to face off against in his first screen adventure, and the Minimates provided them for about the same purpose. Sadly, they aren’t really all that giant, being built on the standard Minimate body, with no real extensions. The Frost Giant seems to be an amalgamation of several of the Frost Giants we see over the course of the movie, which works pretty well. The figure features four sculpted add-ons: Helmet, two wrist guards, and a bulked up torso piece with a built in shoulder pad and belt/loincloth thing. All of these are new to the figure, and they look pretty nice. The Frost Giant features some pretty cool painted detail work, with lots of scarring and a really nasty, angry face. They’ve also added a white frosting to all of his armor, giving him the proper icy look. It’s a great touch. The Frost Giant included no accessories, which is a shame, but I suppose he does have a decent selection of sculpted parts to make up for it.

JANE FOSTER

Jane Foster is a very pivotal character in the film, being a large part of Thor’s character development and all. That being the case, I was a bit surprised that Diamond chose to release her as the one per case variant instead of Coulson, who was comparatively more minor. Coulson’s probably the more popular character now, but at the time it was a bit…odd. Oh well. Jane had a few looks in the movie, but I believe this one’s meant to be based on her look when Thor first appears at the beginning. Jane is built on the standard Minimate body, and features hair and lower jacket add-ons. I know the waist piece is a re-use, but I do believe this was the first use of this particular hair. They’re both perfectly fine pieces, if not the most exciting. The paint work on Jane is passable, though there are a few fuzzy lines, especially around her boots. Her feet also fall off a lot. Jane included no accessories, which was a bit of a let-down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the whole set of Series 39 from my local comicbook store (Cosmic Comix, for those of you in the Catonsville area!). I recall really being excited for them at the time. I have to say, they don’t really hold up that well, which is kind of a first for Minimates. Coulson and Jane aren’t the most exciting figures, and most notably, they seem to be made of lower quality plastic than the typical Minimate release. I actually do kind of like the Frost Giant, and these are the only available versions of Coulson and Jane, but I can’t help but feel a bit “meh” about these figures.

#0214: Spider-Girl – Skyline Siren

SPIDER-GIRL – SKYLINE SIREN

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

Spider-Girl

Sometimes you buy a figure because it’s a character you love, or like, or at least decently interested in. Other times you buy a figure because it’s in a set with others you want or because it includes that final Build-A-Figure piece you’ve been looking for. On rare occasions, you buy a figure because it’s just that darn cool. Today’s figure is in the last category.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s not that I’m completely unaware of the most recent person to call herself Spider-Girl. In fact, I’ve even read a few of her comicbook appearances. She’s a perfectly entertaining character. Normally, I’d write a Backstory for a figure like this, but given my own lack of knowledge about the character, you might just be better googling her. Anyway, let’s take a look at why I bought the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Girl was released as part of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marvel Legends Infinite Series. She is labeled “Skyline Sirens” on the package, and appeared in the second wave of the series, as a replacement for the initial Black Cat figure. The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. The body sculpt looks to be a 6-inch scaled version of the basic female body used for the Marvel Universe versions of Wasp and Scarlet Witch, but I’m not certain. I’m also not sure whether it’s been used on any previous figures. Regardless, it’s easily one of the best female body sculpts I’ve seen. The proportions aren’t 100% realistic, but they still look pretty good, and it doesn’t seem to have the short-armed problem present on the MU body. The figure is topped off with an awesome headsculpt, which is truly a beautiful piece of work. Female headsculpts tend to either look too man-ish or totally void of personality, but neither is an issue here. The paintwork is not quite as outstanding as the sculpt. She has some fuzzy lines in a few spots on her logo, and there are a few spots where the paint missed covering up some of the dark red plastic her head was molded in. It’s nothing too terrible, but I do wish it were a little cleaner. Spider-Girl’s only accessory is the torso of the Ultimate Green Goblin, this series’ Build-A-Figure. I’ve got no interest in completing this one, so I guess I’ll just have a spare torso laying around. Yay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In an increasingly rare circumstance, I actually found Spider-Girl at my local Target, and marked down to $17.99 at that! The figure ended up being a spur of the moment purchase, which is something I don’t tend to do anymore. However, this figure exceeded my expectations, and presented me with an outstandingly fun figure. Generally, a good female figure is still only as good as an average male figure in terms of quality, but Spider-Girl is one of the most fun action figures I’ve gotten in quite some time!

*Want a Spider-Girl figure of your own?  She’s currently in-stock with our sponsors over at All Time Toys!  Click here to check her out!

Action Figures For The Questioning #008: Build-A-Figure

I’ve been in the action figure world for about 20 years.  So, it’s safe to say I’ve got a fair bit of knowledge on the terms that tend to be thrown around by collectors with little or no explanation as to what they mean.  I generally try to explain a concept on its first appearance on this site, but much as Stan Lee once said to assume every comic book was somebody’s first, I too must assume that every review on this site might be the first to be read by a new visitor.  As such, I’ve decided to put together a guide to some of the more frequently used terms and names that might show up.

BUILD-A-FIGURE

BuildAFigure

What is it?:

A way of releasing larger or less desirable characters.  The figure is divided into several pieces and a piece is included with each figure in a given series.  It is common for figures in that series to be related to the Build-A-Figure in some way, but not necessary.

Example:

The idea was pioneered by Marvel Legends, where it was used to release larger characters such as Galactus and the Sentinel.

___________________________________________________

COLLECT-N-CONNECT

What is it?:

The Mattel equivalent of a Build-A-Figure.  Exactly the same idea, just under a different name.

Example:

Used in just about every series of DC Universe Classics, for characters such as the Ultra Humanite

#0213: Quicksilver

QUICKSILVER

MARVEL LEGENDS

Quicksilver

ToyBiz’s Marvel Legends was seen by many fans as the definitive Marvel toyline (not by me, but that’s a whole other thing). So, many were dismayed to find out that at the end of 2006, the Marvel license would be moving to Hasbro. Hasbro quickly assured that they intended to continue production of Marvel Legends, in the same scale and style. People were definitely worried. Those first few waves were certainly rough, with a very mixed selection of figures. But, eventually, Hasbro started to get it, and has recently turned Marvel Legends into one of the greatest toylines on the market. Today, I’ll be looking at one of their earliest releases, Quicksilver. If you’d like more info on the character, check out his entry in the Backstories section. On to the figure…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver was released as part of the second series of Marvel Legends under Hasbro. He is supposedly one of the prototypes already completed by ToyBiz before the property transferred over. He’s based on Quicksilver’s second costume, which seems to be the one most people associate with the character, given it prevalence in his action figure releases. There was also a variant of this figure in his original green costume, but I never got that one. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and features 40 points of articulation. He’s built on a body that originated on ToyBiz’s version of Bullseye from an earlier wave, with hands and feet that were previously used on the line’s version of Havok. Quicksilver gets a brand new head, which looks great. It’s really perfect for the character, and they even managed to make his hair not look silly, which is quite a feat, let me tell you. The paint is rather bland, I must say. He features minimal detailing. It’s cleanly applied and all, but it doesn’t do much to make the figure’s sculpt pop. I feel this sculpt could look downright amazing with a good paint job. Quicksilver included a piece of the series’ Build-A-Figure, the Blob.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quicksilver was a gift from my always supportive Mom! I had wanted to finish up my Blob figure, and she very kindly went out and bought me the remaining figures I needed. I have to say, most of them weren’t very good (but I still appreciated them. A gift’s a gift, and they were an incredibly thoughtful one.), but Quicksilver was definitely an exception. Bland paint apps aside, he’s a really great figure. How is it that Quicksilver keeps getting good figures but most of Scarlet Witch’s figures end up looking like pond scum? That ain’t right…

#0212: Minimate Multiverse Blank

MINIMATE MULTIVERSE BLANK

PROMO MINIMATES

Multiverse

Anyone who’s read a decent sampling of my reviews should be pretty familiar with Diamond Select Toys’ Minimates, a line of which I am a huge fan. They are generally known for their wide variety of licenses, but they don’t just do those. Diamond appears at numerous conventions around the country, and at some of the larger ones, they like to hand out free items to get more people into the line. These Minimates feature little to no detailing, leading to them to be referred to as “Blanks.” Recently, Diamond produced a blank featuring the logo of the Minimate Multiverse, the Minimates forum. I’m sure no one’s surprised to learn that I’m a member of said form.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Minimate Multiverse blank was an exclusive blank handed out at this year’s C2E2. The figure is built on the basic Minimate body, which means it features 14 points of articulation and stands about 2 ½ inches tall. The figure features no sculpted add-ons, being a “Blank” and all. I find these types of Minimates really showcase the base body very well, though. It’s not often that the focus is solely on the body and not a particular character, so it’s cool to just get to focus on that. The figure is molded in translucent blue, which is super awesome looking, and features painted detailing on its torso. The detailing is a globe, like the Multiverse logo, and it’s very cleanly applied and looks really great. The detailing is even present on both sides of the torso, allowing you to display either side of the globe frontwards. Really cool!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was not able to attend C2E2, what with it being in Chicago and me being in Maryland. However, DST’s Marketing Supervisor Zach Oat was kind enough to send a bunch of blanks home with Shanester, one of the site’s Admins. Shane’s been doing a great job coming up with some fun contests to get the blanks out to various members. I got mine by being one of the first three people to come up with 7 words using the letters in Mr. Oat’s name. I’m really happy to have gotten the blank, and it’s really neat to have been part of a community that has gotten such recognition.

MultiverseBack

Action Figures For The Questioning #007: Buck System

I’ve been in the action figure world for about 20 years.  So, it’s safe to say I’ve got a fair bit of knowledge on the terms that tend to be thrown around by collectors with little or no explanation as to what they mean.  I generally try to explain a concept on its first appearance on this site, but much as Stan Lee once said to assume every comic book was somebody’s first, I too must assume that every review on this site might be the first to be read by a new visitor.  As such, I’ve decided to put together a guide to some of the more frequently used terms and names that might show up.

BUCK SYSTEM

BuckSystem

What is it?:

A method of creating a small set of base bodies on which multiple figures can be built.  Commonly used as a way to cut costs.  However, it may also be used to make releasing additional figures and characters a quicker process.

Example:

Masters of the Universe is perhaps the greatest example of this system, but it has been seen on other lines, such as DC Universe Classics, another Mattel line.

#0211: Stormtroopers

STORMTROOPERS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Stormtroopers

THE FIGURE IN QUESTION

EPISODE 211

It was a dark time for the FIGURE IN QUESTION. Negotiations have broken down following the disappointment of the Slave Leia figure. The rebellion has recovered from this blow with the release of the Bespin Luke Skywalker figure. The rebels quietly celebrate their victory. Little do they know that the evil Galactic Empire has plans for an awesome figure of their own. If only the collectors could find that figure….

Yep, Star Wars: The Black Series is a pretty cool line, but I can’t help but feel that it’s a bit short on representing the Empire. Sure, we got a pretty cool Sandtrooper back in series one, but that’s just a Sandtrooper. It can’t even find the droids it’s looking for! But then, Hasbro announced the Stormtrooper! Everyone loves the Stormtroopers! And you can buy a bunch, meaning that your Empire’s ranks could quickly grow, right? Yeah, in theory anyway. But then Hasbro decided to pack him one per case. So…that didn’t go so well. After a few months I finally tracked a couple, but man…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Stormtrooper was released in the third series of Star Wars: The Black Series. His number is #09. The Stormtrooper is pretty much the same in every movie (I know there are some differences that a die-hard fan could point out, but I don’t know them.), so they’ve gone with the one look.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. In a first for the line, the Stormtrooper’s sculpt is mostly re-use. The figure shares everything but the belt and left shin with series one’s Sandtrooper. The head might also be a new sculpt, but I can’t tell. The difference might just be paint releated. Anyway, the sculpt was nice to begin with, so it works really nicely here. The big difference between this figure and the Sandtrooper is the paint. The Stormtrooper is much cleaner, which makes the figures sculpt look a bit bolder. The figure is mostly molded in the appropriate white, but he has some black detailing, which is mostly clean. I did notice a few areas of slop, but they seem to vary from figure to figure, so check them if you have the opportunity. The Stormtrooper includes two accessories: his basic rifle, which is reused from both the Sandtrooper and Han Solo, as well as a larger rifle, which is speculated to see a re-use with robot assassin IG-88. Once again, this is a bit of a step down from earlier series, but I can’t really think of anything else to give the troopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After a while of searching, I finally caught the Stormtrooper while it was in stock on Amazon. I was able to get two of them, because you can’t just have one Stormtrooper, that would be wrong. I had enjoyed the Sandtrooper quite a bit, and was eager to see how the sculpt would look when used for the main trooper. Aside from the issues finding the figures, they really didn’t disappoint!

StormTrooperswbubble

#0210: Luke Skywalker – Bespin

LUKE SKYWALKER – BESPIN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Luke(Bespin)

I’m just a moderate Star Wars fan, but I am an action figure fan (in case the site hadn’t already clued you in on that…), and that means I frequently find myself venturing into the galaxy far, far away for my purchases. Hasbro recently brought the characters into the 6 inch scale with their new Star Wars: The Black Series. The line boasts improved sculpts, better articulation, and a greater selection of accessories. It’s also quickly become one of my favorite lines. The third series proved to be a bit difficult to procure at first, but I’ve finally tracked a set down and I’ll be reviewing them today and tomorrow (It’s only a three figure assortment and I don’t need prequel Obi Wan, so just the two for me.)

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke comes from the third series of Star Wars: The Black Series. Each figure in the line gets a number, and Luke is #011. He’s presented here in his main gear from The Empire Strikes Back, generally referred to as his Bespin look. It’s generally see as one of the character’s definitive looks, so it’s great to see it in the line. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and features 29 points of articulation. All of the articulation seems to work pretty well, though I am slightly annoyed by the choice to give both hands a forward/back joint instead of the usual mix of one forward/back, one left/right. It’s a minor issue, but it limits the pose-ability a bit. Luke features an entirely new sculpt, which is great all-around. It’s well proportioned, nicely detailed, and the head has more than a passing resemblance to Mark Hamill. He also features an add-on belt piece, which could probably be removed if you so desired, but isn’t meant to be. On the paint side, he’s not quite as good as previous waves, but he’s not bad, and seems a lot better than I’d heard from other reviews. My figure seems to have received a decent paint job with no slop or bleed over. He’s got a decent wash on his body-suit, which does an excellent job bringing out the details in the sculpt. Luke is accessorized with a blaster and a lightsaber, both of which are reused from the previous LightsabersLuke. This is a bit of a letdown, given the larger selection featured with the rest of the line. Heck, the previous Luke even included a helmet in addition to these two pieces. I’d have liked to at least get a few extra hands, or at bare minimum that his right hand was removable to recreate the Bespin duel. Alas, he just gets the two pieces. Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Luke from Amazon. He’s been in stock there for a little while, but I wanted to wait until they got in the Stormtrooper at a reasonable price before ordering him. Initially, I wasn’t sure I was going to get this figure. I already had the pilot version of the character from series one, and that’s a really cool figure. However, once I saw some pictures of this figure, I knew I couldn’t miss out on him. Plus, he’s Bespin Luke. What kind of a fan would I be if I didn’t have him? Anyway, I’m really glad I got this figure, and I’m going to have a lot of trouble picking which of the two Lukes will be my default.

SwBlacks1vss2