#0586: Uncle Overlord

UNCLE OVERLORD

WEAPONEERS OF MONKAA

UncOverlord1

What is a hero without an arch foe? Sure, they’re still a hero, but life’s probably at least a little on the boring side, right? Besides, all the best heroes have their own arch enemies. And He-Ma—sorry, The Eternal Barbarian—has his own arch enemy in the form of the evil Skeleto—I mean … Uncle Overlord. Which is just a fantastic name, by the way. I mean that in the sincerest way possible.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

UncOverlord2Uncle Overlord was one of two exclusive Weaponeers of Monkaa figures offered at the 2014 Designer Con. It seems that Spy Monkey Creations learned from the shortage of stock of the Eternal Barbarian figure, as this one showed up on their online store following the convention, without the need for a second run. Uncle Overlord’s sub-heading is “Evil Uncle Overlord of The Good Guy,” which, I gotta be honest, is a descriptor on par with the figure’s name in the level of amusement it brings me. If you’ve read any of my previous WoM reviews, you pretty much know the drill on construction. In his basic set-up, he’s about 4 inches tall and has 19 points of articulation. He’s assembled from the same set of pieces as every other figure in the line. No surprises there. He uses the Umberus head as his standard piece, which is fitting, given that Umberus looks something like the love child of Skeletor and Megatron. It’s actually my favorite of the basic UncOverlord3heads, so I’m always happy to see it as the primary piece. The head is, of course, decked out in purple and yellow, and evokes Skeletor very nicely. The rest of the body follows suit. It’s actually pretty nice to see the blue here, as there’s kind of a shortage of blue Weaponeers. The paint work here isn’t quite as complicated as what we saw with The Eternal Barbarian, but it does manage to be a fair bit cleaner in application. That seems like a fair enough tradeoff to me. Uncle Overlord is packed with all of the extra heads we’ve seen before. None of them have particularly exciting color schemes, but they match the rest of the body quite nicely. Uncle O also includes the basic blade and sickle, as well as the more expansive weapons pack, featuring guns, handles, hilts, sickles, and three types of blades. And, thanks to the interchangeability of the line, you can even approximate Skeletor’s signature staff!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Somehow, in some way that is beyond my own personal comprehension, I managed to miss this guy being put up on the SMC store. He completely slipped by me, until I happened to check in on the store before their Granite Warriors drop. Fortunately for me, he didn’t sell out very quickly, so I was able to pick him up a little bit after the fact. Truth be told, I think I may actually enjoy this guy even more than the Barbarian. Something about him really just speaks to me. The paint is sharp, the colors are great, and the names and sub-titles make it clear that the folks at SMC had a fun time putting this guy together.

UncOverlord7

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#0585: The Eternal Barbarian

ETERNAL BARBARIAN

WEAPONEERS OF MONKAA

EtBarbarian1

“I have the Powe—er, the, umm, the… Weaponeers of Monkaa?” That’s how it goes, right? That’s the catchphrase of that He-Guy dude, isn’t it? Sounds right.

There’s no denying that Weaponeers of Monkaa pays tribute to several popular toylines of the 80s. One such line is Mattel’s Masters of the Universe. In fact, WoM made its debut at Power Con, a convention devoted to MotU, and the whole line spawned out of Spy Monkey’s weapon sets that were designed to be compatible with Masters of the Universe Classics. This time around, SMC has taken the tribute one step further, creating the Eternal Barbarian, a figure with some striking similarities to a certain Master of the Universe.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EtBarbarian2The Eternal Barbarian was initially available exclusively at Power Con 2013. Excess stock was supposed to go up on the Spy Monkey online store a little while after, but he sold out at Power Con. Due to the popularity of the figure, Spy Monkey decided to do another run of the figure to be released alongside the Granite Warriors assortment. The Barbarian is touted as the “Strongest Gearo in the Universe,” so the guy is meant to be one of the heroic Gearo faction, but other than that, I don’t know exactly how he fits into WoM-lore. Like just about every other WoM figure, the Barbarian is about 4 inches tall and sports 19 points of articulation in his default set-up. The Barbarian is constructed from the same selection of parts that we’ve seen many times before in this line. It’s good set of pieces, and the figure has a nice retro toy feel to it. His default head is the Empyreus head, which is a good, generic hero guy head, so it works quite nicely here. Of course, the figure still includes the other four possibly heads, should you want to change things up. EtBarbarian4WoM figures are defined by their color-schemes, and oh boy, is this one well-defined. SMC was clearly going for a He-Man homage with this guy, and he ends up with a fair bit more paint than the average Weaponeer. The body exhibits mostly clean work, and does a very nice job of applying the He-Man style to the WoM body. In place of the usual heroic gear symbol, he’s been given He-Man’s classic Iron Cross symbol, which really sells the homage. The heads are a little sloppier with the paint application (though certainly nothing too bad), but what’s cool about them is that they each have a completely unique paint scheme, and two of them even throw an additional two MotU characters into the mix, which just adds to the fun! The Barbarian is packed with the usual short blade and sickle, but he also includes an additional weapon pack, with two guns, hilts, short blades, serrated blades, angled blades, and sickles. Quite an impressive assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Seeing as I’ve never attended a Power Con (being only a moderate MotU fan at best), I missed out on the first run of Eternal Barbarians. So, I was quite happy to find out that SMC was doing a second run. I placed my order for this guy alongside my Granite series order. He’s definitely a fun figure, even to those not a fan of MotU, and he shows some of the versatility of the Weaponeer body.

EtBarbarian3

#0584: Nexus

NEXUS

ASSEMBLE BORG (REVOLTECH)

Nexus1

A lot of the entries on this site are reviews of licensed properties. Quite frankly, a lot of action figures in general are licensed. It’s easier to sell something that people already know, and, as a buyer, it’s far easier to be swayed on a purchase when it’s something you’re familiar with already. However, action figures didn’t begin their life as a licensing thing, they began with GI Joe (which, ironically enough, has become a property that is licensed). As someone who appreciates action figures as action figures first, I get an immense enjoyment out of figures that are something all their own. Things like Micronauts, Weaponeers of Monkaa, or even I Am Elemental, offer a totally different experience than something that’s just licensed, and, when done right, they’re pretty much pure fun. I’ve recently stumbled across another such line, from the toymakers Revoltech, called Assemble Borg. Today, I’ll be looking at my first figure from the line, Nexus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nexus3Nexus is entry 020 in the Assemble Borg line. Technically, that makes him the 20th item in the overarching line, but it should be noted that the original Assemble Borg line actually went on hiatus a couple of years ago, and Nexus is in fact the first figure in the re-launched version of the line, which now bears the sub-heading of Nexus. So, if you want to really get technical here, this is actually an Assemble Borg Nexus Nexus. That’s not confusing or anything! Initially, Assemble Borg focused on a set of characters, divided into heroes and villains, who were sold as established figures whose parts could be interchanged. The focus was very much on collecting each specific character, much like a traditional action figure line. For Nexus, things have changed ever so slightly. Instead of many figures, there are two figures. One is Nexus, who is the base figure from which many other figures can be built. The idea here is that, in theory, you can have as many Nexuses as you want, and they can all be different, through use of either the extra pieces FANG Versionpacked in with this figure or with complimentary pieces included in various add-on sets that are available (more on those later). The line is built around the collector’s creativity, which makes each collection completely unique. In his most basic set-up, Nexus stands 6 inches tall and features 42 points of articulation. As a Revoltech figure, Nexus’s body is built out of a large number of pieces, each connected by a Revoltech revolver joint.  Many Revoltech figures will have sculpts that are made to mask these joints, however, the Assemble Borg figures leave them pretty much fully exposed to allow the fullest possible range of motion. That being said, the sculpt still does quite a bit to make the joints “meld” with the overall flow of the sculpt, so the figure doesn’t look flimsy or hastily put together. Each piece of the figure has a nice mixture of textured mechanical sculpting and smoother housing components, which ends up being really cool looking. ToGaliber Version aid in customizability, many portions of the body feature ports that will fit any basic Revoltech, meaning you can pretty much plug anything into anything else. You want Nexus to have hands on his calves? I mean, that’s kind of weird, but you have the ability to do it. If I had one complaint, it would be that there aren’t quite enough of these ports. For instance, there aren’t any on the arms, which can be a little limiting. More ports = more fun! Now, the cool thing about this figure is all the extra parts he comes with. In his basic, out-of-the-box load-out, Nexus has a faceplate, a set of shoulder pads, a center piece for the torso, and a pair of fists. According to the back of the box, this is the “Fang” setup. The faceplate is the most “face-like” of those included, with eyes and such outlined, and he’s got quite a bit of orange going on.  This is probably the slimmest combination of parts and it seems the most “conventional” of the bunch. On the opposite end is the “Galiber” set-up, Edge Versionwhich features a much blockier selection of parts, with lots of squared edges. I liked the look of this one on the box, but the face plate ends up sitting at a weird angle, which I was not a fan of. Also, the bulkier shoulders are cool, but you need revolver joints to hold them in place, so they do sit out just a bit far. On the plus side, these can be used in place of the hands, for a metal fighting fists type of set-up, which is sweet. The final set-up is called “Edge,” and it’s a sharp one. No, literally, it’s sharp. Everything is blades on this one, except for the face, which is simple and smooth. In addition to the three sets of faceplates, chest armor, and shoulder pads, Nexus also includes a pair of gripping hands, a pair of splayed hands, a gun, a sword, two holster pieces, and two double port pieces, as well a wide selection of various Revoltech joints and connectors so that you can configure the figure (say that ten times fast!) however you like.

Nexus4 Nexus2 Nexus9 Nexus8

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Tim’s fault. No, really, it’s all Tim’s fault, start to finish. He told me he found this cool line of figures (always a bad thing to say to me) and followed up by saying that people were comparing them to Micronauts (an even worse thing to say to me). He then tells me he’s already ordered himself two of the figures and shows the pictures to me. Well, great, now I have to buy myself a few of these. But then, Tim texts me a few days later and tells me that Amazon accidentally sent him two of Nexus, and they’re letting him keep the second. He then asks if I might, possibly, just maybe, be interested in the spare. Seeing as I just reviewed the figure, you can probably guess what my answer was. Now, the prototype shots of Nexus were cool, but I wasn’t super sold on any of the set-ups. Then I got him in hand and discovered the whole “plug anything into anything” bit, and the figure became oh so much better. So, I bulked him way up, gave him fighting fists and a handle face, and now he’s one of coolest figures I own. This line is just way too cool.

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Exciting News!

MMCHi guys!  Breaking from the reviews for just a second to share some pretty awesome news.  Today, over at Minimates Central, is a brand-new Minimate review written by yours truly.  This is my first post as an official member of the MMC Staff, which I’m really excited about!  From here on out, I’ll be posting a few reviews there every month.  Some of them will be re-fitted versions of reviews you’ve already seen here, while some will be all-new (though, have no fear, they’ll find their way here a little later).  So, please check out the site, check out my review of Captain America & Scarlet Witch, and check out my fellow reviewers’ work as well.  That’s all for now!

-Ethan

#0583: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

NightwingCapullo1

Ah, yes the New 52. I didn’t really care for it. But, that’s okay, because it’s gone now! And it’s been replaced by something….more or less identical. Well, fair enough. One of the things that will not be carrying forward into the Non-52, however, is Nightwing. Of course, that’s actually not changing any of the continuity, since Dick Grayson ditched the identity following his unmasking in Forever Evil. So, the figure I’m reviewing today is essentially irrelevant. Oh well. Hardly the first time I’ve looked at such a figure here!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NightwingCapullo2Nightwing was released as part of the first series of the DC Comics Designer Series. Like Tuesday’s Zero Year Batman, this figure is based on the work of Greg Capullo, who has been the primary artist on the main Batman series since the New 52 began. The figure is roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 31 points of articulation. The figure features an all-new sculpt, though, as far as the body construction goes, he’s rather similar to Batman. The musculature is similar, as is the overall articulation scheme (Nightwing does manage to get some additional movement in the wrist area). The detailing on the body is simpler than Batman, which is befitting of Nightwing. Also, his uniform features more folds and wrinkles, effectively conveying that it is a spandex leotard, and not a carefully tailored suit of body armor. The head sculpt is a little on the mixed side. From some angles, it looks great. From others, not so much. The technical details of the piece are all very nice. He’s got some great texture work on his hair, and his facial features are cleanly defined. But, he’s also got these huge ears, which can look rather out of place, and they aren’t helped by the fact that the hair slopes inward as it goes down, emphasizing the issue. Nightwing’s paintwork is quite well-handled. The colors are nice and bold and everything is where it should be. I’m not the biggest fan of the red, but it’s true to the design, so I can’t really fault the figure there. The black of the body and of the armored parts are broken up through use of matte and glossy finishes, which look really great. Nightwing is not amazingly accessorized, but he does include his signature escrima sticks, which fit nicely in his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nightwing was the other half of the Amazon purchase that got me Zero Year Batman. I saw this figure several times in a few different stores and passed on him every time. So, what changed? Two things: I had a gift card and the figure got marked down about $10. That was enough for me to finally get the figure. Is he the greatest version of the character ever? That’s hard to say. It really depends on what you think of the New 52 Nightwing costume. Like I said in the paint section, I don’t care for the red accents and would much prefer blue. Still, even with that I do think the figure is a pretty decent take on the character.

#0582: April O’Neil

APRIL O’NEIL

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MINIMATES

 

AprilOneilMM1A while back, I reviewed the majority of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. I picked up that set from K-Mart, so it didn’t include a few of the figures that showed up in other assortments. Of the three figures not represented there, two were “Mutagen” variants of the Turtles, so I didn’t feel an undying need to track them down. However, I was missing out on April O’Neil, who’s a rather important piece of the Turtles mythos. I finally got around to tracking her down, so let’s have a look at the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

AprilOneilMM2April is part of the first series of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates. As I noted above, she wasn’t part of the K-Mart assortment, however, she was in both the Toys R Us and specialty assortments. At TRU, she was packed with Raphael, while she was packed alone in a blind bag for the specialty assortment. For posterity, it should be noted that my figure is from the specialty release, so she doesn’t have the TRU’s keychain piece. The figure stands roughly 2 ½ inches tall and features the usual 14 points of articulation. Just like the rest of the line, April is based on her appearance in the current Nickolodeon cartoon. She’s probably got one of the more unique looks from the show (what with having to keep her appearance “modern” and all), but it retains a lot of the character’s signature traits. April is built on the standard Minimate body, with an add-on piece for her hair. The hair is new to this figure, and it does a very nice job of translating April’s show appearance to the ‘mate form. It’s simple, but effective. The rest of the design is handled via paint, which is….mixed at best. The detail lines are generally pretty good. They’re sharp and relatively clean and do a good job of conveying what April’s supposed to look like. The real trouble, like with so many of the other figures in this series, lies with the base paint. The colors themselves are all fine, but the application is pretty bad. Most of the edges are seriously wavy and uneven, and many spots, such as the eyes and lips, don’t stay within the detail lines. The worst paint is definitely on the hair piece, where the head band is merely hovering in the general area of the sculpted piece, with incredibly uneven edges. It’s pretty bad. April includes a fan and a clear display stand. A sword or something would have been nice, but these are both acceptable pieces.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I ended up buying April loose from Luke’s Toy Store, while ordering a bunch of other figures. I’ve been meaning to get her for several months now, but kept putting it off. In my defense, she’s hardly the most exciting figure in the line. I’m glad I finally got her, as she’s a key piece of the collection, but I can’t say my less than excited opinion of the figure has really changed. She’s an okay figure, but she’s more heavily hit by the bad paint than others in the line due to her design already being a slightly boring one. At the very least, I think it’s worth noting that April’s design does work a little better in ‘mate form than it does in any other figure form, so the figure has that going for it.

#0581: Batman – Zero Year

BATMAN – ZERO YEAR

DC COMICS DESIGNER SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

BatmanZero1

When DC’s The New 52 began, I gave it a try. I picked up quite a few titles in that first month. I stuck with a very small handful of them, but after a few cancellations and creative team changes, I quickly found myself reading absolutely no DC Comics for quite a stretch of time. Whenever a discussion of the New 52’s quality begins, people will inevitably bring up the fact that the Batman titles have stayed pretty good. I gotta be honest, I like Batman, but I’ve never been a faithful reader of the comics. That being said, I love me some cool toys, and Batman sure does have a knack of having some wonderful toys. So, let’s look at this Batman figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BatmanZero2Batman is from the 3rd Series of the DC Comics Designer Series, which is the second series of the line to be based on the work of DC artist Greg Capullo. The figure is based on Batman’s design from Zero Year, which was the New 52 retelling of Batman’s early career. This a more modernized take on Batman’s first appearance costume from the original Detective Comics #27. It’s close to the original design, but the original’s black shorts have been ditched (cuz DC thinks they’re lame), and some textured bits of black padding have been added to the arms and legs. The figure stands roughly 6 ½ inches tall and has 29 points of articulation. The figure has what appears to be a completely unique sculpt. With a Batman variant, you sort of assume that some parts might be re-used, but he doesn’t look to have any pieces in common with the regular Capullo Batman. It’s a pretty strong sculpt. The proportions are all pretty great, the articulation is worked in pretty smoothly, and the details are all well-defined. The head is a little flat when viewed from the side, but nothing too bad, and it looks pretty fantastic head-on or in three-quarter view. The only real issues seem to be mostly related to the “add-on” parts. The belt seems like it’s meant to be fragmented, as permanent part of the costume, but it stands out from the figure. When double-checking whether it was supposed to look like that, I discovered that the shape of it is actually quite off. The two yellow pouches should be closer to the center and the buckle should be bigger. It seems odd that these were changed, but they were. The holster could also stand to be a little closer to the body, though that’s minor, and the cape, well, I’m not sure about the cape. It’s not terrible, but it flares out in weird ways, and it’s split in the middle for some reason I’m not sure of. Batman’s paintwork is pretty decent all-around. It’s nothing super exciting or anything, but the colors are all good and there isn’t any bleed over or slop to speak of. The figure includes a gun (I’m gonna assume it’s a grappling gun of some sort), an alternate hand for said gun, and two teeny, tiny, little batarangs, which look kind of silly in his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I avoided DCC at first after they did their whole re-branding thing, mostly due to the fact that I’d moved away from DCD not long before that, and the New 52 designs certainly weren’t going to draw me back in. When this figure was solicited, I thought he looked kind of cool, but I ultimately didn’t pick him up. Then, I broke into DCC’s New 52 stuff with Orion, who I quite liked. That made me take another look at some of the other DCC stuff.  I had an Amazon Gift Card from my parents, so I decided to use it on this guy and the Capullo Nightwing. While I certainly don’t see this being my default Batman, it’s a really fun version of the character, and it’s probably one of the best that DCD/DCC has produced!

BatmanZero3

#0580: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Chewbacca1

Once a line of figures gets a few series in, there will inevitably crop up one or two characters that are noticeably absent. Following the first three series of Star Wars: The Black Series, it was quite obvious that these two characters were Darth Vader and Chewbacca. Then, both found their way into the 5th series of the line. And there was much rejoicing! Yay! Except for one small issue: they weren’t exactly easy to find. See, there were two things that led to this. The first was that stores were sitting on lots of unsold stock of the first four series, so they under-ordered Series 5. In addition, while the series was all new figures, two of the four were variants of previously released characters. Obviously, this made the two new characters even more desirable, causing quite a bit of scarcity. I myself missed out on Chewbacca the first time around, but, fortunately for me, he got a rerelease!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca2Chewbacca was originally part of Series 5 of Star Wars: The Black Series, however he eventually found his way into Series 7 cases as well. He’s figure number 04 in the second round of numbering for the line. The figure has 27 points of articulation and stands a whopping 8 inches tall. He’s actually so tall that he was pushed back to Series 5 from Series 4 so that Hasbro would have time to re-design the packaging so that poor Chewy wouldn’t have to be crammed in some contorted pose in order to be properly seen. Dude’s really big.  Chewbacca is one of the handful of characters who essentially look the same in all of the Star Wars films they appear in. That being said, you can sort of tell which movie he’s from by what his “bangs” are doing. For this figure, they’ve gone with the slicked back A New Hope look, which works fine with me. Given Chewbacca’s unique look, it’s no surprise that he makes use of an entirely new set of sculpted pieces. To be totally honest, it isn’t one of my favorites that the line has produced. It’s certainly not bad, and in fact, they’ve done an admirable job of translating a design that doesn’t work very well on an articulated figure to…umm…an articulated figure. The fur is all pretty well textured, but the breaks for articulation are rather obvious and obtrusive. Not sure it could have been any better, but it looks off. The head was actually the part of the figure I liked the least at first, but my opinion has changed over time and now I think it might be my favorite part of the figure. I’m still not 100% sold on the decision for the mouth to be open, but it looks perfectly fine in person. The sculpt being a little on the wonky side is not at all helped by an iffy paint job. Now, to be fair, this paint isn’t poorly applied or messy. It’s all exactly where it should be. It’s just not as…subtle as it could be. There are two different shades of brown: one dark and one light. The problem is that there’s no shade between, so the change from one to another is rather sudden. It really doesn’t help that many of these changes occur at the connections of joints, which are already a bit jarring to begin with. Chewbacca is armed only with his trusty bowcaster. It might have been nice to get another Stormtrooper rifle or maybe a set of handcuffs, but the lighter accessory load is excusable given the figure’s size.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Series 5 was announced, I knew I wanted to get a Chewbacca figure. However, when I ended up finding the series, I could only find Luke and Vader, with no sign of Chewbacca. That bummed me out quite a bit. I mentioned it to my dad, who kept an eye out for Chewbacca for several months. He finally came across one while getting lunch from Wegman’s one day, much to my excitement. I know I was a little down on this guy in my actual review. I stand by that, but I will say that just having the figure in hand improves my personal opinion of the figure, even if the actual quality could be a bit better. I think part of it is just that Chewy is an important piece of the films and a collection wouldn’t be complete without him.

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#0579: Bossk

BOSSK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

Bossk1

After going a fair bit of time with no new Black Series figures, I’ve actually managed to pick up a few of them in a relatively short span of time. And, as an added bonus, I didn’t actually have to resort to breaking my “no prequel figures” rule again. Yay? Empire Strikes Back is a lot of people’s favorite film of the original trilogy, due in no small part to the introduction of a rather memorable selection of bounty hunters. Now, they certainly can’t all be Boba Fett when it comes to popularity, but today’s focus, Bossk, is certainly up there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bossk2Bossk was released as part of Series 7 of Star Wars: The Black Series. He’s figure number 10 in the line, though it is important to note that he’s number 10 of the second batch of numbers. Because Hasbro enjoys confusing people. The figure stands just over 6 inches in height and sports 30 points of articulation. His jaw moves, guys. His jaw moves. That’s pretty cool. Bossk features a sculpt that is all-new to this figure. Simply put, the sculpt is nothing short of amazing. The design from the movies has been translated quite nicely. The figure is also just covered in texturing, which makes him quite interesting to look at and shows that Hasbro definitely didn’t phone things in on this guy. Bossk’s paintwork is decent, though not quite up to par with the sculpt. This is Hasbro we’re dealing with here. On the plus side, the base color work is all very well-matched to the film look, and the colors are nice and clean. He also has a nice wash over his head, hands, and feet, which really brings out the smaller details of the sculpt. So, what’s the bad with the paint? Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find an edge on this figure that doesn’t have any bleed over, and you’d be just as hard-pressed to find a surface devoid of any stray marks of incorrect colors. From a few feet away, it’s hardly noticeable, but up close, the figure looks pretty rough. Not terrible, but rough. Bossk’s lone accessory is his blaster rifle. It’s a little difficult to get into his hands, but it’s well sculpted, and once it’s in place it looks great.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Bossk was purchased for me by my Dad. He was grabbing lunch at Wegman’s of all places and they had a case of this series. Here I was sitting in Political Science and in comes a text asking if I want Bossk and Chewbacca. Bossk was something of a slow-burn figure for me. I knew I wanted to see him made when the line began, and I was certainly happy to see the prototype, but I just never got really excited about him. That did change a little, but not as much as I would have hoped. The figure probably has the best sculpt in the line so far, but he’s really pulled back by the less than stellar paint. I really wish that Hasbro would put some more work into the paint on their figures, because so many fantastic sculpts are being hidden by lackluster paint.

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#0578: Banshee & Pyro

BANSHEE & PYRO

MARVEL MINIMATES

Banshee&Pyro1

In the 90s, the X-Men were just the very biggest thing at Marvel. They were in everything, they had everything. They even had two rather extensive lines of toys running, offering pretty much everyone who showed up even for just a little while. After the 90s ended, that cooled down a bit, and they haven’t had nearly as extensive a hold on the market since. However, Diamond Select Toys, with their extensive Marvel Minimates line, is doing their very best to live up to the 90s X-Men toylines. The most recent round of ‘mates is once again centered around the team, and does its fair share to fill a few X-shaped holes. Let’s kick things off with my favorite set, Banshee vs. Pyro!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This two pack is part of Marvel Minimates Series 60. The series is an even split between the X-Men and their foes the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Each set includes one X-Man and one Brotherhood member, and, as an added bonus, three of the four sets feature parts to turn the X-Man into another member of the team.

BANSHEE

Banshee&Pyro3Banshee is a figure we’ve been waiting quite some time for. He started popping up on wishlists just a few series into the line, mostly due to his absence from the Giant-Size X-Men #1 boxed set. Then he showed up as one of the choices in the Series 50 poll, but was ultimately not one of the finalists. Now we’ve finally gotten him. Of course, he’s in his 90s Strike Force uniform instead of his traditional green and yellow, but let’s not split hairs here. We got Banshee! Focus on the positive! The figure stands 2 ½ inches tall and features the usual 14 points of articulation. As I noted above, this is Banshee’s Jim Lee design from the 90s. It’s not his longest lasting look, but he did wear it in a few noteworthy appearances. He uses the standard Minimate body, with the addition of a hairpiece, cape, gloves, leg straps, and boot straps. I believe that the gloves are new to this series, though they are used on all of the X-Men in this series. The rest of the pieces are some rather clever re-use. The hair is from the Infinity Gauntlet set’s Adam Warlock, the cape is from the Secret Wars set’s Photon, and the straps are all from Series 34’s 90s Cyclops. All of the pieces are well-sculpted and well-chosen for Banshee’s look. Banshee’s paintwork is generally pretty good. The colors are nice and bold, and the detail lines are all very well Banshee&Pyro2applied. There is a little bit of bleed over here and there on the changes from blue to yellow, and the belt buckle isn’t fully red like it should be. All minor things, but things that it would be nice to see handled just a bit better. Banshee is packed with a piece replicating his sonic scream ability, a flight stand, and a clear display stand. In addition to the Banshee parts, he also includes parts to transform the figure into Gambit. He has a head, hairpiece, set of card throwing hands, and a satchel. All of these pieces are very nice, and they translate the figure to Gambit quite expertly.

PYRO

Banshee&Pyro5Now, the wait for Pyro alone hasn’t quite been as extensive as it was for Banshee, but he and his fellow Brotherhood members have been waiting in the wings for a little while. Like Banshee, Pyro is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. The collar piece is a little bit restricting of the head movement, but it’s still there, so that’s good. Pyro makes use of add-on pieces for his mask, collar, and gloves. All of these pieces are new to Pyro, and they’re all pretty good adaptations of his comic design. The mask is a little soft on the details, but it’s not too bad. The paintwork on Pyro isn’t quite as good as Banshee, but it’s still not horrid. The biggest issues seem to occur on the mask, where the paint is only in the same general area of where it should be, which is rather distressing. Aside from that, the colors are nicely chosen and the linework is all pretty clean. In particular, I really like the fully detailed face under the mask. It has a lot of personality. Pyro includes two flame constructs and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up all by itself from my local comicbook store. They had three of the four other sets, but this was the only one I felt like I had to get right away. These are two of my favorite X-Men characters, and they turned out quite nicely. I can’t wait to get the rest of the series now!

Banshee&Pyro4