#0739: NBX Minimates

JACK SKELLINGTON, OOGIE BOOGIE, SALLY, DR. FINKLESTIEN, & THE MAYOR

NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS MINIMATES

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Hey! It’s Halloween! And, uhh, well these things are Halloween-y, right? Sure, Nightmare Before Christmas is ostensibly a Christmas movie (as the title notes) and is set after Halloween. But the main characters are residents of Halloweentown, are they not? So…yeah.

I’ve seen NBX a few times over the years, and I enjoy it, but I’ve never really gotten into any of the toys. So, what got me to break? If you guessed Minimates, you guessed correctly. Nightmare Before Christmas is an interesting choice for Minimates. Typically, Minimates try to stick to properties where most of the characters can be built on the base body and preserve the “aesthetic” of the brand. NBX has more than a few very unique character designs, so it’s definitely one of the more different lines of ‘mates out there. The first series of ‘mates are hitting most places now, so I’ll be looking at the five basic figures from the line today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These five figures are available blindbagged, both from specialty stores and Hot Topic, as well as in two-packs through Toys R Us. My set are the specialty blindbag versions, but I believe these five are pretty much the same in all the releases.

JACK SKELLINGTON

NBX2Jack’s kind of a given here, what with being the star of the film and all. This is actually his second time as a Minimate, after having shown up as a promo-mate last year. This one’s pretty much the same as that one, though there are a few minor differences. The figure stands a little over 2 ½ inches tall and he has the standard 14 points of articulation. While he’s mostly built on the standard Minimates body, his main torso piece is actually taller and thinner than the average ‘mate’s, which better captures Jack’s skeletal nature from the film. It’s a piece that DST has used a few times before, and it works pretty decently here. The rest of the main body pieces are just the standard parts. Some people have expressed some dismay at the normal head being used in place of something more spherical, but I think this works pretty well. He’s also got some new add-on pieces for his tie and the tails of his coat, both of which are pretty great. The paintwork is what really makes this guy. He’s obviously monochromatic, which is certainly different, but he’s got some great detailing for the pinstripes on his suit and his face represents the character very nicely. Jack’s one accessory is a clear display stand.

OOGIE BOOGIE

NBX3Oogie’s kind of a late player in the film, but he’s certainly an important one. His figure goes the furthest away from the standard body. He gets an all-new head and lower arms (but no hands, so that loses him two points of articulation, pelvis, and legs (without knees, so that’s another two points gone), as well as an add-on piece for his upper torso. The pieces are decent enough, though they lack any sort of the burlap texturing that Oogie had in the film, so he’s a little bland, and honestly looks a little like a plucked chicken. But, it’s not like he doesn’t look like the character. Paint-wise, he’s really just one consistent beige color, with black detailing for the face. Once again, some texturing would have been cool, but the face at least looks pretty decent. Like Jack, all he includes is a clear display stand.

SALLY

NBX4Sally here fulfils the patchwork creature slot of the classic horror tropes, but subverts the usual traits of such a character by actually having a personality and managing to be the only real character in the film to ever think anything through. She ends up sticking mostly to the basic body, though she does get an all new torso piece, as well as add-ons for her shoulders, skirt, and hair. All of these pieces are pretty well sculpted, especially the dress, which has some great stitching texturing. The paintwork on Sally accents the sculpt very nicely, and continues the great patchwork texturing to her arms and legs, as well as capturing her face pretty well. She also has the notoriety of being the most colorful figure of the bunch, which makes her pop pretty nicely. Once again, the only accessory here is a clear display stand, but that’s pretty reasonable.

DR. FINKLESTIEN

NBX6This guy is the reason I didn’t watch this movie for years after it was released.  Seriously, this dude gave me nightmares. He freaked me out so much. I was four, so I think I have an excuse. He starts off with the standard ‘mate body, but gets his own unique head, complete with sculpted glasses and a flip up cranium, revealing his brain, just like in the movie. He also gets a pair of fairly standard flared gloves, as well as a piece for the bottom section of his coat. The coat is sculpted so that he’s permanently stuck sitting (so no Dr. Horrible quick customs from this one…), but given the whole wheelchair bit, that seems reasonable. Speaking of the wheel chair, that thing is definitely the main focus of this guy, because it’s pretty darn awesome. It’s very nicely detailed and suits him very nicely. The wheels don’t move, which is a bummer, but it’s still a cool piece. Paint-wise, he’s pretty straightforward, being mostly off-white, but what’s there is clean and accurate to the film.

THE MAYOR

NBX5He’s definitely the most minor character of the five looked at here, but the Mayor is definitely a present fixture in the film. He’s essentially walking exposition, which is nice in a movie like NBX, which could be a little confusing otherwise. Though he may not look it, he’s actually mostly made from the standard ‘mate parts. He has the “kimono” sleeves from the Marvel line’s Mariko, as well as the shortened kid legs we’ve seen a few times. Other than that, the hat and coat are add-ons, and pretty decent ones at that. The open sides on the coat are a little weird, but they aren’t that bad. The Mayor’s paint is pretty good overall, though there’s a bit of slop here and there. The best part is definitely the head, which accurately represents the Mayor’s two-faced look. The Mayor is the only figure in the set to get more than just the display stand, also getting his signature megaphone, which looks pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These are blind bagged figures, but I didn’t feel like going through that again. So, I said screw it and paid a little extra to buy an already opened set from Luke’s Toy Store. I’m glad I decided to get them because this is actually a pretty fun set of figures. I’ll certainly be tracking down a few more.

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#0738: Hulkbuster

HULKBUSTER

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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If you’ve been keeping up with the last week of reviews, the focus of today’s review being the Hulkbuster really shouldn’t come as much of a shock to you.

So, umm, yeah. Hulkbuster! Whoooooo! That’s…well, not really new or different, or anything. Not that that’s a bad thing! Just, everybody and there mother’s been doing Hulkbuster figures recently (gee, I can’t imagine why…), so I’ve kinda run out of things to say about the armor. Let’s just get to the freaking review already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HulkbusterML2The Hulkbuster armor is the build-a-figure for the (appropriately named) “Hulkbuster Series” of the Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series line. This marks the second time that the Hulkbuster’s made into the Marvel Legends line, but it’s the first one in quite a while. He’s based on the design from Avengers: Age of Ultron, so he goes with that subset of Legends figures, though he also fits in just fine with the comic-based legends. The figure is 9 ¼ inches tall and has 31 points of articulation, which is pretty darn impressive for a figure this bulky. He also weighs a metric ton. No lightweight build-a-figure this time! Hulkbuster gets an all-new sculpt, and while it’s not Hot Toys level of detailing, it’s pretty great. Everything is nice and symmetrical, and they’ve done a pretty decent job of balancing the aesthetic of the sculpt with range of motion on the joints. As far as accuracy to what’s on the screen, he’s a little bit off. Not a lot, but enough to make it noticeable. In general, it seems Hasbro opted to give HulkbusterML4the suit a slightly more “heroic” build, broadening the shoulders, shrinking the head a bit, and lengthening the arms and legs. All minor nudges, but the end result is a bit different. Of course, it also ends up being something that looks more at home with the rest of the figures in this series, so I can see why they might tweak him. If there’s one area on this figure that has room for improvement, it’s the paint. Now, let me follow that up by saying that this figure’s paint is by no means bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty good for Hasbro. What’s there is bold and cleanly applied. It’s a good looking figure. However, the color palate is much too bright to be movie accurate (especially noticeable when this figure is placed next to the Mark 43) and the sculpt would very much benefit from a paintjob that does a better job of accentuating it. As is, it’s solid work, but with a better paint job it could be fantastic work.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Yeah, so, umm, see that build-a-figure part up there? Wanna take a guess as to how I got mine? As soon as this guy was shown off, I knew I wanted one. None of the other Hulkbuster stuff really excited me, but this one did. The final figure may have its flaws, but, like I said, this is still a really solid figure. Both metaphorically and physically. Seriously, in event of my house getting broken into, forget the baseball bat, I’m grabbing this guy!

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#0737: Blizzard

BLIZZARD

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Remember how I talked about Hasbro refusing to let a Marvel Legends prototype go unused? Well, guess what? Yep, today’s another of those figures! This one’s kind of special though, because he rounds out the famed “Jubilee Series” from before Legends’ switch to the Infinite Series branding. Last year’s TRU exclusive X-Men series got us the Jubilee Build-A-Figure, the holiday season Avengers three-pack gave us Radioactive Man, the Thanos series brought us Batroc, and the Ultron series threw in Tiger Shark, leaving just poor old Blizzard out in the cold. Fortunately, that didn’t last long, and now we’ve officially gotten every figure from the most impossible series of Marvel Legends ever thought up.*

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blizzard2Blizzard (or “Marvel’s Blizzard” as he’s listed on the box) is the last single-release figure in the Hulkbuster series of the Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures. It’s interesting to note that he’s one of three figures in the series to get his own name on the box, which is a tad surprising, given that he’s freaking Blizzard. Not exactly a name that’s gonna get people lining up, but hey, I don’t mind. I’m just happy to have the figure! Blizzard stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, which is a good fit, and he gets an all-new head sculpt. It’s not really anything groundbreaking, but it’s a pretty great sculpt of a dude in a full face mask. So, that’s cool. Most of what makes this figure Blizzard is paintwork, which is actually pretty great. They’ve gone with the design of the more recent Donny Gill version of the character. It’s not my favorite of the two looks, but it’s certainly not bad. This could have been a pretty bland paintjob, but Hasbro opted to make the blue metallic and the white pearlescent, which makes him look pretty darn spiffy! Also, it’s a minor thing, but it’s really great to see that they successfully matched the painted and molded plastic colors, so the figure doesn’t clash. A lot of figures don’t get that down, so I’m really happy this one did. Blizzard gets no character-specific accessories, which is a bit of a letdown, but he does get the upper torso of the Hulkbuster, so that kind of makes up for it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Blizzard is a figure I’ve been waiting for pretty much since he was originally announced. After getting the other three figures from the set, I was anxious to get him to finish up the group. He ended up being one of the four figures from this series I found at Walgreens, which was pretty cool. While I still think Valkyrie is the best figure in the series, I think I’d give this guy second best. He may not do much new, but he’s a pretty solid figure, and he’s got a fair bit of novelty to him.

*Seriously, can we address the Batman-level gambit that Hasbro played here? They legit showed off an entire series of villains who are at best C-list, with a Build-A-Figure of a has-been X-Man from the ‘90s (and a GIRL, no less). No big names, no special gimmicks. There was no way a retailer was gonna touch that line-up. But they showed it off at Toy Fair anyway, and built up all this pent-up fan demand for these literal nobodies, allowing them to slot every single one of those figures into a later assortment. The final scenario is literally the only case that any of these guys would have ever seen release. That’s damned impressive.

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#0736: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Recently, Hasbro’s been putting a lot of effort into making sure that no Marvel Legends prototype gets left behind, so a decent percentage of just about every new series of the line in the last year has been made up of figures we’ve seen in some capacity before. Most of the time, these figures are comic-based figures who take advantage of movie popularity to get their sales, but today’s figure bucks that trend, actually being a movie-based figure who was salvaged from the scrap heap. So, let’s have a look at War Machine, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

WarMachine2War Machine is the second to last figure in the Hulkbuster Series of the Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures. He also has the notoriety of being the only movie-based figure in a series with a movie-based Build-A-Figure, which has caused some people a bit of frustration. This figure was originally supposed to be a part of the third series of the Iron Man 3 Marvel Legends, but that series ended up cancelled. He was meant to be based on the concept drawings for the pre-Iron Patriot War Machine 2.0 armor, but now he gets to be based on the actual armor design from Age of Ultron. Yes, it’s the same design, but now it’s more official, right? The figure stands roughly 6 ¼ inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation (counting the shoulder pads and the mounted gun). Sculpturally, this figure is an almost 100% re-use of the Iron Man 3 Marvel Legends Col. James Rhodes/Iron Patriot figure. Literally the only difference between the two sculpts is the left hand, which was open on the Iron Patriot figure, but is closed here. However, this is one of those cases where re-use is not only warranted, but pretty much necessary for the appropriate look. They’re supposed to be the same armor in-universe. It helps that the Iron Patriot sculpt was a pretty good one, too. The fine detail work is just great, it’s super accurate to the source material, and he has decent proportions to boot. The only real downside to this guy is the mounted gun, which doesn’t get the full mobility of the film version, resulting in it being stuck in a somewhat hard to work with pose. It’s workable, but a little frustrating. The main difference on this guy is that paint job. The Iron Patriot figure was (obviously) in more patriotic colors. This figure returns Rhodey to his more traditional black and grey color scheme for which he’s what he’s more known. It’s not the most exciting color selection of all time, but it’s accurate. Plus, he still has all the small writing and insignias that were seen on Iron Patriot, which is definitely nice to see. Another big difference between this guy and his predecessor is his accessory compliment. In addition to the requisite Hulkbuster piece, War Machine also gets an alternate head with his faceplate up, revealing a pretty decent Don Cheadle likeness.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I definitely got this guy for the Hulkbuster piece. There’s no two ways about that. When he was initially announced for the IM3 Legends line-up, I was definitely going to pass. I like the armor design and all, but I find the Iron Patriot color-scheme much more exciting, so that was the figure for me. But, then he got moved to this set and I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. Honestly, he’s a pretty great figure. He’s the same great sculpt, plus he gets that cool new head sculpt, which really makes him work. I don’t regret getting this guy.

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#0735: Valkyrie

VALKYRIE – FEARLESS DEFENDERS

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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One of the cool things about the Marvel Universe is that it actually has a pretty wide range of differing female heroes and villains. They aren’t simply limited to one single type of role, just like their male counterparts. So, a few years ago, when a lot of the interesting female characters got booted out of the spotlight in favor of a near-unending stream of gruff, emotionless women who must compensate for not being as physically strong as their male counterparts, I was a little bummed. Good ol’ Valkyrie here managed to not be totally cast aside, mostly due to already being a somewhat minor character to begin with. She hasn’t really been a focus character or anything, but rumor has it that she’ll be making an appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, which should certainly boost her visibility, at least a little bit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Valkyrie2Valkyrie is a part of the Hulkbuster Series (aka series 3) of the Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series. She’s listed as Fearless Defenders on the package, a name she shares with Thundra. The name is a much better fit for Valkyrie, given that she’s spent most of her career as a member of The Defenders, and she was in fact a main character in the recent Fearless Defenders comicbook. This figure opts to present Valkyrie in her most recent costume, which she started wearing towards the tail-end of the first volume of Secret Avengers, the same costume used for her Marvel Universe figure. I don’t find the design to be quite as striking as her classic look (I really miss the cape), but it’s a serviceable enough look. The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. She uses the same She-Hulk base body as Thundra and Hela, which is reasonable, but does have one notable issue: she’s just too tall! Her listed height is 6’3”, which puts her at just an inch taller than Captain America. At this scale, that should be a negligible difference; she certainly shouldn’t tower over the average male the way this figure does. On the other hand, Hasbro does seem to be up-scaling the Asgardians in general for this line, so compared to the most recent Thor figure, for instance, she isn’t quite as out of scale. Maybe the Asgardians have been juicing? Anyway, this figure has the same arms and legs as the other She-Hulk body figures, along with an all-new head and upper and lower torso pieces. The head is very nice piece. She’s got a nice, determined look to her; not as angry as Thundra, but certainly not as laid back as Wasp or even Captain Marvel. The face is much more angular than most female faces, which certainly works well conveying Valkyrie’s Nordic features. The hair is a separate, glued on piece, which is pretty nicely sculpted. The braids actually don’t look too ridiculous, which is always good, and the texturing on the various strands adds some nice dimension. She does have a pretty noticeable seam running along the right side of the hair, which is a bit distracting, but that’s the only real issue. The torso pieces are just a slight tweak on the more generic parts, really. One weird thing I noticed is that she’s got these weird ridges running down her backside; they aren’t present on any other figures using this body type, and I don’t believe they come from the comic design, so I’m not sure what they’re supposed to be. Weird. The collar and ….little circle things (?) are sculpted on, and look pretty good, certainly better than if they’d been painted. She also has an add-on for her belt, which is glued in place. The paintwork on Valkyrie is decent enough. It’s not terribly exciting (that’s kind of true to the comic design too, thought). The colors are pretty good and the transitions are pretty clean, so that’s good. The hair gets a nice warm brown wash to bring out the details. The face is pretty clean, even the eyes; not a huge fan of the bright red lips, but they don’t ruin the figure. Valkyrie includes her trusty sword Dragonfang, which is a little generic, but pretty good, as well as the arm of the Hulkbuster figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This marks the second time that Valkyrie has made it into the Legends style; her first figure was part of a Fan’s Choice two-pack, which also included an Ed McGuinness-styled Hulk. However, the set wasn’t the easiest to procure and holds a pretty hefty after-market value.  What’s that got to do with this? Well, I missed out on the first Valkyrie, which kinda sucked. So, when this figure was announced, I was pretty excited. I was a little bit down on her at first (since the costume’s not the most exciting thing) but I have to say, the figure’s really grown on me, and I think she might very well be the best single release figure in the series.

#0733: Doctor Strange – Marvel Heroes

DOCTOR STRANGE – MARVEL HEROES

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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One does not simply review one or two Marvel Legends figures. Oh, no no. If you’re gonna review Legends, you gotta go all in, do a whole series. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. Hey, so, Marvel Legends. Yaaaaay. Today, I’ll be looking at an up and coming player (for the MCU anyway) Doctor Stephen Strange (yes, that’s his real name), the Sorcerer Supreme!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DrStrange2Doctor Strange is another figure from the recent Hulkbuster series of Avenger Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures. He is officially named “Marvel Heroes,” which he share with series-mate Vision. Still feel it’s a bit generic, but whatever. He is presented here in the look he received not too long before Marvel Now!, which was his primary look until the month this figure was released. Well, they tried to be topical, I guess. Honestly, it had a decent enough run in the comics that it feels worthy of a figure, so I can’t complain. The figure stands about 6 ¼ inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Sculpturally, he is head-to-toe identical to the Astral Projection Doctor Strange from this year’s SDCC set. That seems sensible, since he’s the same guy and all. I liked the sculpt a lot there, and I continue to like it here. Rather than being molded in clear plastic, the good doctor is now showcased in full color. He’s…well, he’s alright. The paint is actually pretty clean for a Hasbro figure, so that’s good. The red and black looks pretty sharp as a color scheme, even if I do miss the classic blue look a bit. The only real trouble with the paint is the head, which isn’t bad, just kind of…meh. The eyes are definitely the worst part of it; they look just a bit off. If they were better, I think the figure as a whole would be better. Doctor Strange is packed with a pair of the same spell-casting pieces we saw with both Scarlet Witch and his Astral form, but in a nice, muted green this time. They still remain very cool pieces, though they are a little difficult to get seated properly on his wrists. He also includes the left leg of the Hulkbuster, which continues the trend amongst Hulkbuster pieces of being freaking ginormous.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Doctor Strange is one of the four figures from this series I was able to grab at Walgreens. I’d actually been looking forward to him a little bit, since the Toy Biz version was always one of my favorite Legends figures. That being said, in-hand he was a little bit of a let-down. I think that’s largely due to having already seen the sculpt on the Astral version, which was aided by not having to rely on the Hasbro paint apps. Compared to that figure, this guy just feels like the inferior figure. Which is a shame, because I think he’s actually pretty well done, just not quite as well done as the last figure.

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#0733: Iron Man – Marvel Now!

IRON MAN – MARVEL NOW!

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Well, after looking at a totally new to toys, out of left field character with yesterday’s Thundra review, we jump right on over to a guy who’s had sooooooooooooooo many figures. Yep, it’s another Iron Man. Hey, somebody had to sell this series to retailers, right? Let’s look at the increasingly inaccurately named “Marvel Now! Iron Man.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IMNow2Iron Man is actually figure 1 in the latest set of Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures. He’s also one of the three figures in said series to actually get his own name on the box, but that’s not a huge shock. Hasbro was definitely not going to miss out on the chance to get Iron Man’s name on the box. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall and has 31 points of articulation, counting the shoulderpad movement. The hips are a little archaic in motion, and the neck is really loose, but the rest of the movement works very smoothly. Iron Man is seen here in the armor he was wearing at the beginning of the Marvel Now! relaunch from a few years ago. Structurally, this guy is 100% the same sculpt as the Iron Man 2 Mark IV figure. Since the Iron Man book’s primary artist Greg Land lifted his interpretation of the armor pretty much wholesale from the movie design (other artists actually stuck to more visually interesting look of the design sheet, but that’s another thing all together), this seems like a pretty reasonable bit of re-use on Hasbro’s part. The sculpt is certainly well-done, so that’s good. One thing I would note is that the shoulder pads have a tendency to pop off from time to time, so definitely be mindful of that. The paint work on this figure is kind of important, it being a repaint and all. Fortunately, the figure actually delivers quite nicely on that front. The gold parts are all nice and clean, and the changes are very sharp, especially for Hasbro. The various red dots don’t line up with the sculpt (except, obviously, the big central one) but they’re accurate to the design. The arc reactor even has a nice gradient bit going on, which is marred only by the small dash of missing paint at the center. Iron Man gets no accessories for him directly, but he does include the leg of the Hulkbuster, which distracts nicely from the lack of anything else. Seriously, it weighs twice as much as him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding four of the seven figures necessary to complete the Hulkbuster at Walgreens, I ended up splitting a full set of the series (courtesy of Big Bad Toy Store) with my dad. I wouldn’t have ever bought this figure if not for the Hulkbuster piece, but he’s actually not that bad. At the very least, the black/gold combo is sufficiently different from all the other Iron Men Hasbro’s given us, so he sticks out a little on the shelf.

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#0732: Thundra – Fearless Defenders

THUNDRA – FEARLESS DEFENDERS

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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While Marvel’s various licensors have been “politely discouraged” from releasing any Fantastic Four-related characters, there comes a point where the character is left-field enough that, despite their relation to the team, it doesn’t really give Fant4stic any real publicity. So, let’s talk about Thundra, member of the future-based Femizons (just go with it). Seriously, how many people would look at Thundra here and go: “Better go see that Fantastic Four movie.” No one. Because people who like Thundra have taste and people that actively wanted to see Fant4stic don’t. There’s next to no overlap, though that’s probably because no one seemed to actually *like* Fant4stic. I’m getting off-topic. Sorry, let’s just look at this here Thundra figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thundra2Thundra is part of the third series of Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series, which is officially dubbed the “Hulkbuster Series.” On the packaging, she is referred to as “Fearless Defenders,” a name she shares with series-mate Valkyrie. Given the two characters sharing the name, I feel like “Lady Liberators” may have been more comic appropriate, but I guess Fearless Defenders is a bit more gender neutral. The figure is a little over 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation. Thundra is based on the Red She-Hulk body (which we last saw on the SDCC exclusive Hela). It’s a decent sculpt overall, though the hip joints are still out of date. The body does feel just a touch on the skinny side for Thundra, especially on the legs, but it’s a close enough fit that it’s not a huge issue. She gets an all-new head/hair and hands (though, the hands are shared with Valkyrie). I had initially thought she might share some pieces with the un-released She-Hulk Lyra figure, but a quick look at that figure’s prototype shows that isn’t the case. The head is a pretty good sculpt; it’s nice to see a female facial expression that isn’t just vacant, but I wouldn’t have minded them taking her a bit angrier. The hair is certainly well sculpted and accurate to the source material, but it does render her neck movement essentially inert. In addition to the head and hands, Thundra also gets a new belt piece; it’s a fairly standard piece, which was certainly designed with re-use in mind, but it’s nicely sculpted and it sits well on the figure. Technically, to be properly accurate, Thundra should also get a set of cuffed boots, but a whole new set of shins presumably didn’t cost out for a low-tier character like Thundra. It’s honestly not that distracting in person, and some art for the character shows her this way, so it’s not totally inaccurate. Thundra’s paint work is passable. Most of it is pretty cleanly handled, and the colors are nice and vibrant. The gold lightning bolts on the sides of her legs are surprisingly sharp, which is cool, but they don’t match up with the boots, which is less cool. The “collar” of her shirt would probably look better if it were sculpted instead of painted, but it’s handled well enough, so I really can’t complain. One somewhat perplexing issue with the paint: for some reason, she’s got a bunch of red, right around her left elbow joint. No clue how that got there, but it’s kind of annoying. Thundra was packed with her signature “ball and chain” weapon thingy, which is a little awkward for her to hold, but looks pretty good in the right pose. She also has the Hulkbuster’s left arm, which is almost as big as she is!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Vision, I came across Thundra here while at a nearby Walgreens. That was certainly a bit of a surprise. I’ve always liked Thundra in the comics, so I was pleased to see she was getting a figure. Sure, she’s not perfect, but it’s literally the only figure of Thundra ever produced, so I’m more willing to cut them some slack.

#0731: Vision – Marvel Heroes

VISION – MARVEL HEROES

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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With the exception of the AoU boxed set (which only kind of an honorary entry) it’s been a little while since I’ve looked at any Marvel Legends. That’ll change very quickly. Vision’s been making a pretty big splash recently. Something to do with a movie or something. The character’s renewed popularity reminded us all that we hadn’t gotten an ML Vision since very early in Hasbro’s run, and that one also wasn’t very good. So now there’s a new one! Let’s see how this one turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

VisionNow2Vision is a part of the third series of Avengers Marvel Legends Infinite Series figures, referred to by Hasbro as the “Hulkbuster Series” in reference to the Build-A-Figure. On the package, Vision is officially called “Marvel Heroes,” which may just be the most generic shared name to date. I guess they couldn’t think of any other common traits for Vision and Dr. Strange. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. Vision is presented here in his Marvel Now! costume (which, it should be noted, is NOT his current costume) most commonly seen in his Avengers A.I. appearances. It’s not too far removed from his classic look and it also has a few elements in common with his movie design, so I can see the appeal of this design. The figure is built on the Bucky Cap body, which is clearly one of Hasbro’s favorites. It’s a good body, and certainly a good fit for the character, so it works. He also gets a pair of hands from the recent “pizza” Spidey, which certainly make more sense than a pair of fists. The cape is the same one we saw on Grim Reaper and Brother Voodoo, and it’s really not one of my favorites. It’s got a strange flow to it and it sticks out way too far in the back. Plus, it doesn’t work for the seamless continuation from the torso that the comic design sports. I really hope they realize how flawed this piece is before it makes its way onto too many other figures. Vision’s one new piece is his head sculpt. It’s passable, but not fantastic. Above all, it just feels a bit too wide. It could certainly be worse, though. The paintwork on the figure is generally pretty decent. The head has some slop going on around the edge of the cowl, which is kind of annoying. From the neck down, it’s much better, with very little bleed over or slop. I do wish the diamond of the logo were a little bigger, but that’s minor. The metallic greens are definitely a highlight, though. Vision’s only extra is the lower torso of the Hulkbuster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In case you hadn’t gleaned from prior Vision reviews, I’m a pretty big fan of the character. So, I was pretty excited to hear he was getting a new Legends figure, even if it was his Now! costume, of which I am only a moderate fan. Most of my Legends buying has been moved online, but I actually found this guy at a Walgreens, which was cool. He then ended up being part of the big “Unboxening” I did a few weeks ago, which was cool. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the tiniest bit let down by this figure. He’s not bad, but he lacks the excitement of other figures from the line. I will say my opinion of him did improve immensely once I ditched the cape for a spare of the old Toy Biz one.

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#0730: Nightwing – Force Shield

NIGHTWING – FORCE SHIELD

THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (KENNER)

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In case you missed it, The Figure in Question has officially made it through two years of reviews. In honor of that, today’s review will a little bit more special. I’ll get to that in a bit.

In the mid-80s, Dick Grayson gave up his Robin identity, going without a costumed identity for a little while before taking on the identity of Nightwing (previously the Kandorian alter-ego of Superman. It’s a long story). To the general populace, Dick remained Robin, mostly due to his presence in the role for Batman: The Animated Series. Nightwing made his way into the public eye in that show’s sequel series, which is how I became familiar with the character. That series’ toyline also provided the character with several of his earliest figures, one of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

NightwingFS2Force Shield Nightwing was part of Kenner’s The New Batman Adventures line. He was the second version of the character in the line, released not long after the first. The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has Kenner’s signature 5 points of articulation. It’s a pretty low articulation count, but it’s a standard for the time, and aside from the neck joint, which is limited by the hair, the movement is pretty decent. Nightwing is, obviously, based on his design from the show, sculpturally at least. As a “wacky variant” of Nightwing, a little parts re-use is to be expected. What’s actually a bit surprising is that this Nightwing is NOT a complete reuse. The head, arms, and legs are all the same as the regular Nightwing release, but the torso is a new piece, which removes the weird plug from the original’s back. So this one’s sculpt is actually more accurate than the normal one. Nifty! The sculpt does a pretty spot on job of translating Nightwing’s show design to three dimensions, which is nice to see. The etched in logo is a nice touch, especially since it could have easily just been painted on. The paintwork is what really sets this guy apart from the prior Nightwing. Rather than the usual blue logo, this one keeps the logo black, and paints the surrounding area gold. Certainly a different look, but it’s handled pretty well. The gold, like a lot of gold paint has faded over time, but it still stands out well enough. Nightwing was originally packed with a big grappling hook launcher (Kenner was a Hasbro subsidiary at that point…), as well as his titular force shield. I’ve lost it, but it was shaped like his logo, bright yellow, and the “wings” folded out to reveal pictures of the various Batman allies and rogues. It’s an odd gimmick, but there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hey, so, this is actually my first Nightwing figure! Cool!

Story time: When I was 5, my parents took me down to visit my Dad’s family home in North Carolina. My dad came and got me from school, and one of our stops was, I believe, a Kmart, where I found this guy. I had yet to see any of his appearances on the cartoon, so my dad had to explain to me who he was. I thought he looked super cool, so my dad was nice enough to buy him for me. This guy went on the trip with me, all the way down there and back again, so I formed a bit of a bond with the guy.

Over the years, my collection grew, and this guy fell by the side. Somewhere along the way, I decided to paint him up like Jace from Space Ghost. I have no idea why. Anyway, he just got thrown in a box for a while, until I rescued him just a few years ago, while deep in my whole indexing my collection project. He was still covered in paint, but it was acrylic, so I began the process of returning him back to his original state. I finally got him cleaned up just in time to take him with me on my fifth trip down to NC. Here he is on the mantle place. Doesn’t he look so happy?

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