#0305: Yondu & Sakaar Trooper

YONDU & SAKAAR TROOPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Guardians of the Galaxy was an awesome movie. Minimates are one of the greatest toylines of all time. These are indisputable facts. Sorry if you disagree, but that’s just how it is. So, the combination of these two things can be nothing if not amazing!

The Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates are a subset of Diamond Select Toys’ flagship Marvel Minimates line. Their just starting to hit stores, starting with the Toys R Us assortment. Today, I’ll be looking at Yondu and the Sakaar Trooper.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Yondu and the Sakaar Trooper are the exclusive set from the TRU assortment of Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates. The Sakaar Trooper will also be packed with Nebula in Marvel Minimates Series 57, making Yondu the only true TRU exclusive.

YONDU

Sakaaran&YonduWilson2Yondu holds the honor of being the only of the original Guardians of the Galaxy to appear in the film. He also ended up being the character that had perhaps the most changes made to him. I guess the world just wasn’t ready for a blue-skined 30th century archer who sports a 2 foot red mohawk and spandex. And that’s a shame. The Minimate is of course based on the film version of the character. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He uses the standard Minimate body, with all new pieces for Yondu’s “mohawk” and scavenger jacket. Both pieces are well sculpted and look accurate to the source material. Perhaps the details on the jacket could be a bit sharper, but that feels a bit nit-picky. The painted details on Yondu are top-notch. Even with blue skin and red eyes, that’s definitely Michael Rooker’s face. Yondu’s uniform is also quite impressive. There’s tons of folds, straps, pouches and zippers present, which really helps the figure convey the “scavenger” look. The Mohawk piece is red, which isn’t quite right to the movie, where it was a silver piece that glowed red, but I actually prefer the red. Yondu’s only accessory is a clear display stand. It’s a little disappointing that he didn’t get any of his little console doodads, or at the very least his golden arrow, but I suppose the line has to be drawn somewhere.

SAKAAR TROOPER

Sakaaran&YonduWilson1The Sakaar are yet another alien race elevated to movie-dom thanks to Marvel Studios not having the rights to all the top-notch aliens.  They and the Chitari must just laugh it up every time the Skrulls and the Baddoon stop by! The Sakaar Trooper stands 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. The Sakaar Trooper is built on the base Minimate body, with the addition of a newly sculpted helmet. The helmet is a decent piece. It has the look of a rough sculpt, but that’s pretty accurate to the look of the Sakaar from the movie. The rest of the figure’s details are handled via painted details. They’ve done a pretty great job of boiling down the rather complex Sakaar design into a basic set of painted details. Like Groot, the Sakaar Trooper features some rather extensive texture detailing that wraps around many of the surfaces. The Sakaar Trooper includes a blaster and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I purchased this set at the same time as yesterday’s Drax, Groot & Rocket. This being the exclusive set, it was the one I was actually looking for at TRU. Yondu’s a pretty cool ‘mate of a pretty cool character, so I’m glad to have gotten a hold of him. The Sakaar Trooper isn’t the most exciting Minimate, but he could be worse. Maybe he’ll be cooler when I have two of him…

#0304: Drax, Groot & Rocket Raccoon

DRAX, GROOT & ROCKET RACOON

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Hey, you know how Guardians of the Galaxy was an awesome movie? Were you aware that, being a Marvel movie, it’s guaranteed to get its own assortment of Minimates? Did you know I love Minimates?

Yes, I love Minimates, and I also loved Guardians of the Galaxy. Put those together, and you’ve got a product I just can’t resist. The Minimates for the movie are just starting to hit, and I’ve already begun to pick them up. Today, we’ll be starting off with Drax, Groot & Rocket Raccoon. Wait a second… three minimates? Not two or four? How is this possible? Read and find out…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Drax, Groot & Rocket are one of the overlap sets from Daimond’s two assortments of Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates. They’re included in both the Toys R Us assortment and Marvel Minimates Series 57, which ships to comicbook stores and specialty shops. My set comes from TRU, as the specialty sets haven’t been released just yet.

DRAX

GrootRocketDrax2Amazingly, this isn’t the first Drax Minimate I’ve reviewed here. Way back in review #0162, I took a look at the classic comic version of the character released in the Infinity Gauntlet set. It’s safe to say that was a fairly different take on the character. This version of Drax is based on the movie version, which is in turn based on the character’s more recent design. Drax is more specifically meant to represent Drax from the middle point of the film, after they escape from the Kyln, but before they get matching uniforms. Drax stands about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, and features 4 sculpted add-ons: a bulked up torso, a waist cover, and a pair of big stompy boots. The torso has previously been used on figures such as the Best-Of version of Venom and the waist piece has been used on more figures than I can count. The waist piece works, as Drax is definitely meant to be a thick guy, but I’m not sure about the chest piece. On its own, it’s alright, but coupled with the really skinny arms, it looks very out of place. As far as I can tell, the big stompy boots are new. They’re well sculpted, so that’s good. Drax’s paint work is good from a technical stand point. Everything is clean and there’s no real slop or bleed over. I do wish that his skin were a brighter green and the tattoos were a bit bolder, just so he wasn’t quite so muddled, but it doesn’t look bad, per say, just a bit drab. I guess he’s a Drab Drax… heh heh. Drax comes armed with twin knives and a clear display stand.

GROOT & ROCKET RACCOON

GrootRocketDrax3If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s that these two stole the whole movie. I think Groot in particular surprised a lot of audiences. So, you’re probably thinking “Why are you reviewing both Groot and Rocket at the same time?” Quite simply, it’s because only one of them’s a Minimate. I’ll start with Groot, because he’s actually the figure here. Groot is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 pointes of articulation. Like Drax, he uses the basic Minimate body, with unique pieces for his head, hands, and feet, as well as a torso extender add-on that’s seen use a few times. The new pieces are all pretty great. My only complaint is that the head has two tabs on the back to allow for Rocket to be propped on Groot’s shoulder. It’s an okay idea in theory, but it’s difficult to get Rocket to stay in place, and it leaves Groot with two rather noticeable tabs sticking out of his head. The paintwork on Groot is really great, and superbly detailed. His bark detailing even continues around the sides of his torso, which is certainly impressive. Groot comes with a clear display stand and Rocket. Rocket is about 1 ½ inches tall and is unarticulated. He has been sculpted to appear as though he has the same 14 points as the typical Minimate. He is sculpted holding a gun in one hand, with his arm outstretched. He’s well sculpted, and his paint isn’t too sloppy. It’d be nice if he could move, but I guess it’s good to have him at least.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These three were purchased at a TRU not too far from the hotel I was staying at for a local convention. They capped off a pretty awesome night hanging with a few of my friends and Super Awesome Girlfriend. On our drive to dinner, my buddy Tim and I saw the TRU and insisted on going in. I found this set, as well as the exclusive Yondu & Sakaar Trooper and Star Lord & Ronan. I left Star Lord & Ronan there, as it’s a shared set, but I gave in to my impatience on these three. I just had to have Rocket and Groot! All three figures in this set are pretty impressive, even if there are a few small issues. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the main Guardians turn out!

#0303: Scunner

SCUNNER

PACIFIC RIM

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There’s been plenty of movies that have come out since Pacific Rim that have delivered on the awesome quotient, but it’s a movie that had its own definitive style, and it left a very lasting impression on me. That impression was mostly: Holy crap those robots fighting those giant monsters were SO AWESOME!

NECA picked up the license to do figures for the movie. The first two series of figures weren’t bad, but they weren’t quite as awesome as the movie. Most notably, the monsters, or Kaiju, were lacking in detail, articulation, and especially size. Beginning with Series Three, NECA set out to fix this, going so far as to split the Kaiju off into their own sub-line so that they could truly be the gargantuan creatures they deserved to be. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the Kaiju from the film’s climactic underwater battle, Scunner!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ScunnerWilsonScunner was actually not part of a series-proper. He ended up being a single release in NECA’s Pacific Rim Kaiju sub-line, hitting just a few months after Series One. The figure is about 8 inches standing tall, and it features 29 points of articulation, plus a bendy tail! That’s certainly an improvement over the original Knifehead’s less than 7 inch height and 15 points of articulation. Scunner makes use of the new and improved Knifehead body from the first series of Kaiju. It’s a sensible re-use, as the creature designs used many of the same elements, and it’s also a key plot-point that the creatures are all manufactured by mixing and matching parts. If you’re going to get extra mileage out of a sculpt, this is definitely a good one to do so with. The sculpt is well-detailed, well-proportioned, and well-articulated to boot. In addition to the Knifehead parts, Scunner gets a brand new head sculpt and a torso overlay to reflect his slightly tweaked design. The pieces match the quality of the body pieces very nicely, and accurately reflect the design of the creature in the movie. Scunner has been molded in a dark gray/brown plastic, with paint to add texturing as well as Scunner’s bioluminescent features. The paintwork is mostly good, and is definitely a step up from previous Kaiju offerings, but there are still a few areas of slop, most noticeably around the edges of the bioluminescent green. Fortunately they aren’t too distracting, but it would be nice if it were a bit cleaner. Scunner includes no accessories, but given the lack of any real accessories to include coupled with the sheer size and mass of the figure, this is forgiveable.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Scunner was picked up from a small toy store called All Time Toys, located near where I live. While Super Awesome Girlfriend was visiting, she and I went out and about to explore the area. We stopped by the store, and I was definitely intrigued by their impressive Pacific Rim display. I resisted the urge to buy anything, and we continued exploring. However, we had to pass the store on our way back to the car, and Super Awesome Girlfriend, living up to her name, encouraged me to go back in for one of the Kaiju. I decided on Scunner, as I felt he offered the most unique look of the possible options. He’s really a fun figure, and it’s nice to finally have a Kaiju that matches the quality of the very impressive Cherno Alpha from the most recent series of Jaegers.

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#0302: Ant-Man

ANT-MAN

AVENGERS INFINITE

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Avengers Infinite, which serves as Hasbro’s replacement for Marvel Universe, certainly has an interesting character selection. When it was first announced by Hasbro that MU was going to be rebranded with the Avengers name to make it more marketable, a lot of fans were worried that this would mean other areas of the Marvel universe would be left out. Given that, of the figures I’ve reviewed recently, there’s been one actual Avengers member (and a more recent one at that) and two characters not really related to the Avengers at all (not to mention the assortment also including Cyclops, who at this point is like the only X-Man NOT to be a member of the Avengers), I think it’s safe to say the “Avengers” section of the title is mostly a formality. Still, Hasbro is doing their best to keep the Avengers mainstays coming, as evidenced by today’s figure of founding Avenger Ant-Man.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AntManWilsonAnt-Man is part of the third series of Avengers Infinite, which is just now starting to hit stores. Ant-Man was long rumored to be part of a two-pack in Marvel Universe before the line’s cancellation, but he never saw release. You guys sensing a common theme with this series of AI, because I sure am. According to the back of the box, he’s the Hank Pym version of the character, but it could just as easily be Scott Lang if you so desire. It’s mostly based on the character’s original design, although the helmet seems to be a bit more Ultimates inspired. The figure stands about 4 inches tall and sports 24 points of articulation. He’s built on the Black Spider-Man body, specifically the incarnation of it from the end of the MU line when they added the thigh cuts. The body is one of the older bodies from the MU line, and while it doesn’t such, it’s not the greatest. In a perfect world, Hasbro would come up with another “skinny” buck, but this one works okay in a pinch. Ant-Man’s only new piece is his head. I’m not a fan of The Ultimates, so I’d prefer a more classically inspired helmet, but this one’s not terrible. It’s well sculpted, and there are a lot of nice details, so that’s cool. There are holes where it looks like they meant to place antennae, but there’s nothing there. I guess they couldn’t get them to work feasibly. For the most part, Ant-Man is molded in red plastic, except for his head, which is skin tone. Everything else is handled via paint. The paint aps are overall pretty clean, though the red to blue transitions are a bit rough. They’ve chosen to give his straight gloves and boots instead of his usual jagged ones. It’s unfortunate, as it robs the figure of a unique design element. Ant-Man includes one accessory: a mini Ant-Man, similar to the mini Wasp included with her figure.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ant-Man is the fourth, and final, of the Avengers Infinite figures I picked up from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix. I’ve always been a pretty big Ant-Man fan, so I’ve been waiting for this figure since he was supposed to be in a two-pack way back in the MU line. I’m glad to finally have the figure, but he’s at best middle of the road. I’m more of a Scott Lang Ant-Man fan, and while this one works perfectly fine as Scott, I would mind seeing him get a figure based on either of his more recent designs.

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#0301: Marvel’s Death’s Head

MARVEL’S DEATH’S HEAD

AVENGERS INFINITE

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Would you believe me if I told you that I had definitive proof that Transformers and Doctor Who share the same universe with just about every Marvel Comics super hero? Because they do, thanks to a set of appearances by one character: Death’s Head. As you clearly see in the title, he’s Marvel’s Death’s Head (which has two possessives. If I want to talk about the clasp on his cape, I’m talking about Marvel’s Death’s Head’s cape’s clasp. Think about that for a while…). Death’s Head was created for a Transformers comic while Marvel held the license. Not wanting to potentially lose a unique character to Hasbro, they quickly created a short strip featuring the character that was published in several of the comics in their UK line. Marvel also happened to be publishing a Doctor Who comic at the time, which also saw an appearance from Death’s Head before he finally made his way to the main Marvel universe. Now, 27 years after his original appearance, he’s finally gotten his very own action figure made by…. Hasbro. How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DeathsHeadWilsonDeath’s Head was part of the second series of Hasbro’s Avengers Infinite, the line which serves as a replacement for Marvel Universe. He was long rumored to be an upcoming figure in the MU line, so following that line’s cancellation, the figure’s fate was uncertain. Fortunately, he found a home in AI, so everybody still has a chance to have a toy of their favorite tri-dimensional bounty hunter. He stands just over 4 inches in height and features 27 points of articulation. Death’s Head makes use of the MU Colossus body as a starting point, reusing the arms, upper and lower torso, and legs from the boot up. Given that both characters are larger in stature and both feature a similar banded metal patter, the choice of re-use is inspired. In addition to these pieces, the figure also has brand new pieces for his head, hands, shins, and feet, as well as add-ons for the cape/shoulder-pads and the belt/loincloth/waist armor. The new pieces are really great sculpts. The head sculpt looks to have been lifted directly from the character’s comic appearances, and the armor pieces have some really wonderful denting and weathering. My only complaint is how loose the cape add-on is, as it causes it to sit incorrectly if you aren’t careful. The paintwork on Death’s Head is nice and clean for the most part. There’s a bit of bleed over here and there, but nothing too distracting. The metallic blues in particular make the figure really pop. Death’s Head is armed with an axe, a mace, and a shield, all of which are new pieces that look pretty great and fit the figure’s hands well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Deathlok and Valkyrie, Death’s Head was picked up from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix. Like Valkyrie, Death’s Head is a figure that I’ve wanted since the initial rumors of his release started cropping up. I’m not entirely sure why I’m so interested in the figure. I’ve read maybe two or three of Death’s Head’s comic appearances. I guess something about the character’s design just resonates with me. Unsurprisingly for a character designed for a toyline-tie-in, Death’s Head translates really well to the action figure format and makes for a pretty neat toy.

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#0300: The Hulk

HULK

AVENGERS (HOT TOYS)

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I still have two more Avengers Infinite reviews to do, but I’ll be taking a break from them today. Why, you ask? Because, surprisingly enough, I’ve made it through 300 of these reviews.  I can honestly say I haven’t stuck with any of my projects for this long. I think the most surprising thing here is that you guys are still reading my reviews. Maybe I don’t suck after all! In honor of another milestone review, I’ll be doing another “Deluxe Review.”

This is another figure from Hot Toys, a company renowned for their high-end action figures. Their bread and butter in recent years has been super hero movies, and one of their most successful licenses was 2012’s The Avengers. I’ll be looking at the biggest (in more way than one) release of the line, the Incredible Hulk!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is part of HT’s Movie Masterpiece Series, which is their primary line. Hulk is number 186, which places him right after the previously reviewed Iron Man Mark VII in the numerical sequence. Hulk is just about 18 inches tall in height, and he features 18 points of articulation. 20 if you count the individually moving eyes. He’s based on Hulk’s design in The Avengers, obviously, but more specifically Hulk’s look during the final battle, which can be determined by the darker color of the pants.

Aside from a pair of tattered pants, the Hulk relies mostly on sculpting for his look. This is different from a lot of HT’s figures, but makes sense with the Hulk’s design. Hulk has a fairly unique body type, which means he got an all new sculpt to reflect that. The design is undoubtedly based on the 3D model designed for the movie, but it was sculpted by hand, so there’s a few areas that are a little off. Let’s start with what is on model. The head sculpt is virtually indistinguishable from the Hulk in the movie. You can definitely see some of Mark Ruffalo’s likeness shining through. It’s truly a magnificent head sculpt. The arms and legs are pretty similarly accurate. They have superb detailing, that makes this figure look possibly more lifelike than the CGI version in the film. The knee joints are a bit distraction, but they aren’t too had to hide with some careful positioning of the edges of the pants. This big issue is the torso. It’s just too… defined. One of the nice things about Hulk in The Avengers was that he looked like a real person. He had a certain degree of, for lack of a better word, flab. This figure doesn’t have that, and it diminishes the overall look ever so slightly. It doesn’t ruin the figure by any means, but it is a bit disappointing.

Paint work is one of HT’s strongest suits, and this figure is no exception. Every surface has amazing detail. There are beads of sweat on his face for Pete’s sake! That’s a serious commitment to detail. The teeth look like real teeth, minor yellowing and all. His skin is a bit uneven, his veins are a slightly different color from the rest of his skin. Everything looks absolutely spot on.

Perhaps the figures one downfall is accessories. Given the immense size, it’s forgivable, but it’s a bit of a bummer compared to other HT releases. As it stands, Hulk’s only accessories are a pair of alternate hands with poseable fingers. They aren’t a bad addition, but it would have been nice to at least get a stand with his name on it, just so he could fit in with the rest of the Avengers. Oh well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As is the case with most of the HT figures I own, Hulk was obtained via a pre-order on Sideshow Toys’ website. Like Iron Man and Captain America before him, Hulk was a figure I wasn’t quite sure I was going to get. But as pictures started to come in of the prototype, I got more and more impressed. I eventually folded, but not before the figure had sold out through Sideshow. Fortunately, they have a very helpful Wait List tool, which allowed me to get on the list in case someone else cancelled. Sure enough, someone did and I was able to get the jade giant for my collection. He’s the most I’ve ever paid for a single figure, but I don’t doubt for a minute that he was worth it. He’s definitely a stand out piece, and he makes The Avengers display work.

#0299: Marvel’s Valkyrie

MARVEL’S VALKYRIE

AVENGERS INFINITE

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While Deathlok has just been granted a new lease on life by Agents of SHIELD, Valkyrie (or should I say “Marvel’s Valkyrie”) has not quite lucked out just yet. There’s certainly hope, I mean who though the Guardians of the Galaxy would be the next hit? So, here’s to Valkyrie getting her due! In the mean time, she was fortunate enough to get a figure in the most recent series of Hasbro’s Avengers Infinite. Perhaps her prospects are moving up!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ValkyreWilsonValkyrie was released in Series Three of Avengers Infinite. She was originally meant to be released in a three-pack with the Executioner and a Thor variant, which would have been one of the final releases in the Marvel Universe line. When the set fell through, Hasbro moved Valkyrie over to the new line. The figure stands about 4 inches tall and sports 29 points of articulation. She’s based on the most recent Valkyrie design, which she wore towards the tail end of the first volume of Secret Avengers. It’s not too different from her classic design. She just traded in the cape for some pants, which seems like a fair move on her part. For most of her sculpt, Valkyrie makes use of the larger female buck from the Marvel Universe line, which first saw use on She-Hulk. It’s a pretty good body, with fairly normal proportions and some pretty great articulation, so its use here is acceptable. Valkyrie gets a newly sculpted head and hands. The hands are fairly basic gripping hands. Nothing really new there. The head is the star piece here, and it’s a pretty great sculpt. It captures Valkyrie pretty well, and doesn’t look too spaced out, a definite step up from quite a few female face sculpts. Valkyrie is molded in appropriate colors where possible, with some painted details for the silver areas, as well as detail work on the face and hair. For the most part, the paint is applied cleanly, although there are a few instances of fuzzy lines and slop. Nothing too distracting, though. Valkyrie includes a sword accessory, which is quite well sculpted and fits in Valkyrie’s hands pretty well. The plastic used is a bit on the soft side, but it’s workable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Valkyrie was picked up from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, along with yesterday’s Deathlok and a couple others a few weeks ago. Valkyrie is a figure I had wanted since she was initially announced in the MU three-pack, so I was pretty eager to get her. Valkyrie is a character that’s only seen a few figures, which makes it even more important for her figures to be decent. Fortunately, this one is a pretty great interpretation of the character and an all-around great toy!

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#0298: Deathlok

DEATHLOK

AVENGERS INFINITE

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Ah, Deathlok. There’s a character I’m sure no one was expecting to see turn up as a recurring character on a prime-time show on ABC. I know some people were a bit disappointed by how he turned out in the show, but I enjoyed J August Richards’s performance as the character. As an added plus, it’s brought the character some more notoriety, which has translated to an action figure. And, umm, well, I like action figures…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DeathlockWilsonDeathlok is part of the third series of Hasbro’s Avengers Infinite line, which serves as the replacement for Hasbro’s previous Marvel Universe line. He stands about 4 inches tall and features 26 points of articulation. He’s based on the classic Deathlok look, which was sported by the first two Deathloks. It’s built using one of the larger male bucks as a base, with a metal right arm and metal legs. It’s possible these pieces were used elsewhere, but I don’t know off-hand. The head is definitely new, and it’s a pretty great representation of everyone’s favorite half killing machine/half pacifist government controlled warrior. It’s perhaps a bit on the smooth side, but I’m willing to be slightly more forgiving at this scale. Deathlok also features sculpted add-ons for his belt (with holster) and his back pack, both of which do a pretty good job interpreting the design. The back pack is easily removable, but the belt and holster would take some creative thinking to remove. Deathlok is mostly molded in the appropriate colors. The torso and left arm are red plastic, the legs and right arm are silver, and the head is a brownish-orange. The rest is paint, and it all looks pretty good. All of the line work is sharp and clean, and there’s no real occurrence of bleed over or slop. Deathlok includes two guns: one smaller, one larger. As far as I can tell, both are new pieces. They both fit nicely in Deathlok’s hands, and the smaller gun can also be placed in his belt holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Deathlok from my local comicbook store, Cosmic Comix, along with a few other figures from the Avengers Infinite line. I had planned on getting a few of the figures in the series when they were initially announced, but they had actually slipped my mind. So, I was actually caught a bit by surprise. Deathlok is a character I might have passed over in previous years (I only have the Marvel Legends version because he included a piece of Galactus), but the character’s recent turn on Agents of SHIELD has sparked my interest enough to pick up this guy. He’s a pretty decent figure, and one I’m sure fans of the character will be happy with.

#0297: Groot, Rocket Raccoon & Nova Corps Officer

GROOT, ROCKET RACCOON & NOVA CORPS OFFICER

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

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Guardians of the Galaxy was a truly awesome movie. I haven’t had a chance to mention that here, so there it is. If you haven’t seen Guardians do yourself a favor and do so as soon as possible. It’s one of those rare films that truly has something for everyone. Captain America may still be my favorite movie of the year, but Guardians is the most fun.

Hasbro’s offering the film’s cast in a few different scales. I’ve already taken a look at the 6 inch scale figures, which offer the most detailed takes on the characters. Sadly, that line is just the main Guardians. If you want to get a larger selection, you need to turn to the 2 ½ inch line. I made my first venture into the line with Groot, Rocket, and a Nova Corps Officer. Let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This trio was released as part of the first, and so far only, series of 2 ½ inch figures. Most of the sets are two packs, but this one is a three-pack due to Rocket’s smaller stature.

GROOT

GrootRocket&NovaWilson1He is Groot. Oh boy is he. Groot is the tallest of the set, at almost 3 inches in height. He also sports 5 points of articulation, which is basic, though not surprising at this scale. There are actually two Groots in this line, with the difference being paint. I think this one’s the less “default” one, for reasons I’ll get to shortly. The sculpt of the figure is pretty good. It’s certainly not as detailed as the larger Marvel Legends Groot, but it does an admirable job with the scale. Groot’s design, being a bit more alien probably lends itself a bit more to the smaller scale. The paint work on Groot is my only real issue with the figure. For the most part, there isn’t much paint. He’s molded in the appropriate brown, with some paint for his eyes. My issue is the thing that makes him a less than standard Groot. For some reason, they’ve thrown some green paint on his right arm, the upper right section of his torso, and the right half of his face. I think it’s meant to represent when he gets a bit more plant-like at certain pints of the movie, but it ends up just looking like lots of green paint.

ROCKET RACCOON

GrootRocket&NovaWilson2Rocket’s kind of an accessory to Groot, I think. He’s the shortest figure (though not quite as short as he should be) at a little over 2 inches and he features no articulation.  Like Groot, there are actually two versions of Rocket in the line. However, the two Rocket figures provide two unique sculpts. This Rocket is the “relaxed” Rocket sculpt. He’s in a neutral standing position, and he features no weapon. He does have an open hand, so I guess he could hold one if you so desired. His sculpt is pretty good for a solid chunk of plastic. He’s got a fair bit of character too him, and he looks overall accurate to the source material. The paint work on Rocket is more intricate than that of Groot. They’ve also avoided taking any strange liberties with the paint, so that’s good, I suppose.

NOVA CORPS OFFICER

GrootRocket&NovaWilson3The army builder of the set is the Nova Corps Officer here. He’s also the first of the figures I’ve looked at so far to be unique to the smaller scale line, and hence, the reason I picked up the set. He’s average height at roughly 2 ½ inches and he features 5 points f articulation. His waist is a separate piece from his torso, but there’s no movement there. NCO (his full name’s hard to type) features an all new sculpt, which is actually quite detailed for the scale. The small area of face that’s visible seems a bit blank, but aside from that, he’s got some amazing sculpted work. NCO is molded in a basic blue, with paint for all the other colors. The torso has some nice work, and the arms aren’t too bad. Sadly, the head has some pretty obvious bleed over around the exposed area of skin, which is a bit distracting. Still, given the scale, it’s forgivable. One thing that is less forgivable is the total lack of any sort of paint on the legs. He clearly has sculpted parts meant to be painted a different color, but they’ve just been left the basic blue.

I should point out that this set included a giant missile launcher (hey, it’s Hasbro’s trademark. They can’t leave it out.) and an accessory-tree of random parts. I’m pretty sure these are all meant to go with NCO, but I can’t tell for sure. Heck, I can’t even totally identify what some of them are…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While walking through Toys R Us on my birthday, I came across a rather large Guardians display, and the 2 ½ inch figures were among them. I did NOT buy this set there, because TRU is charging a full $4 more per set than everyone else. Instead, I went to the Target across the street. They only had this one set, but it was actually the one I wanted the most anyway. I like Rocket and Groot, and I definitely wanted a Nova guy, who is so far only available in this line (the minimate is out sometime next month). This set was definitely a trial set for the line, and I must say I’m impressed. For $6 you get three pretty nifty figures in a fun little scale. If you’re willing to splurge a bit, you can even get a few of the vehicles, which seem to be the line’s main purpose.

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#0296: Lava Strike Force

LAVA STRIKE FORCE

WEAPONEERS OF MONKAA

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I love Weaponeers of Monkaa. There, I got that out of the way. I’ve said that in pretty much every review I’ve done of the line so far, I’ll continue to say it in all future reviews. Hopefully, it’ll remain true. There’s only so many ways to say it, so I figured I’d just cut to the chase this time. Spy Monkey Creations, aka the people responsible for this line that I love, just put out their fifth assortment of figures. Being that I love the line, I picked up all of the figures, aside from the re-release of the Magma Gohlem. I’ve looked at the two star attractions of this assortment, Fyreball and Ehmber, now I’ll look at the one who allegedly started the theme that led to their creation, Lava Strike Force.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LavaStrikeWilsonThe Lava Strike Force was released as part of the fifth assortment of Weaponeers of Monkaa, which is also titled Lava Strike Force. According to Spy Monkey, this figure was supposed to be a limited release figure, done to be released with a batch of extra Magma Gohlems they found. However, they decided to bump it up to a full release day by adding Fyreball and Ehmber, and in honor of the originating figure, the whole set has been branded “Lava Strike Force.” Like every other figure in the line, Lava Strike Force is made from the same basic set of pieces. Their totally modular, so you can configure him just about any way you’d like, which adds an extra level of fun to the figures. In the default set-up, Lava Strike Force is 4 inches tall and features 17 points of articulation. The pieces maintain the same sleek look, and they’re very well designed and sculpted. The default head is the Gohlem head, though I don’t think Lava Strike Force is meant to be one of the Gohlems. It’s a nice, basic robot-looking head, so it’s got a fair bit of versatility. Lava Strike Force is molded in all black, with orange detail lines outlining many of the sculpted elements, plus some white details on the heads. Lava Strike Force includes an assortment of weapons painted to match, including two hilts, two straight blades, two bent blades, two serrated blades, two blasters and two sickles, as well as all of the possible heads, to allow for the alternate looks.

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THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just like Ehmber and Fyreball, I picked up Lava Strike Force as soon as Spy Monkey put the figure up for sale. Apparently I was one of the lucky ones, as I understand that this particular figure sold out rather quickly. It’s a figure that’s up to par with the rest of the Weaponeers, though I don’t know that I would have gone searching for it had I missed out. It’s not much different from the previously released Flaw figure, plus you can essentially build it out of parts from Fyreball and Ehmber. That being said, it’s still a WoM figure, so it’s still super cool!

WeaponeersGroup