#0759: Laser Blast Cyclops




When they held the license for Marvel, Toy Biz tried applying the Marvel brand to everything. Literally everything. This was in part due to Toy Biz being a subsidiary of Marvel, and therefore not having any licensing fees to cover, so they had a certain degree of leeway to try out new stuff. In the early-to-mid-2000s, one of the better selling toy brands on the market was Rescue Heroes, a line of stylized, younger kid friendly action figures. This led to all sorts of imitators, including Toy Biz’s Spider-Man & Friends line, which presented some of the better known Marvel heroes in a near identical style. Despite being a Spider-Man line in name, the line actually covered a pretty decent subsection of the Marvel universe, including their resident Merry Mutants, the X-Men. That included founding member Cyclops, who we’ll be looking at today.


CyclopsSF2Laser Blast Cyclops was part of Series 5 of Spider-Man & Friends, released in mid-2003. While some of the characters received an assortment of variants from the line, Laser Blast Cyclops was the only time Cyclops showed up. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. His design is based on Cyclops’s movie look from the X-Men and X2, which was relevant at the time. His color scheme has, unsurprisingly, been changed to something a bit brighter, since it was a kid-aimed line. Cyclops got his own, totally unique sculpt, done to match the style of the rest of the line. His face looks a fair bit younger, and the size of his head, hands, and feet are all above the norm. In general, the figure is just a lot stockier than the typical super hero figure, no doubt to boost stability a little bit. He’s also got the standard back port that all the figures had, which allowed for the attachment of the various backpacks included with each figure (and Cyclops’s conveniently houses his battery compartment). He may be a more kid-oriented toy, but Toy Biz certainly didn’t slack off on the sculpted details, though. His uniform has all the various stitching and padding of the film look, and there are even some nice technical details on the visor. Texturing and the like has been toned down a bit, but that doesn’t hold the figure back at all. As noted above, the color scheme for this figure is a lot brighter than the movie look that inspired the sculpt. He’s been given the more traditional blue/yellow scheme, though he does still keep the black for his boots, gloves, and visor. The end result looks pretty great, and fits in very nicely with the rest of the line. Cyclops was packed with a weird yellow backpack with a blaster/gun sort of thing attached to it. It almost looks like a Ghostbusters proton pack, to be honest. In addition, he also had a light-up feature. When his head was pushed down, his visor would light up red to simulate his optic blasts. This has the unfortunate side effect of making his neck joint more prone to breakage than his compatriots.


This was the only figure I owned from this line, since I was a little out of its age range. My brother, on the other hand, was a pretty big fan, and had a sizeable collection of figures, as well as one of the playsets. So, I got a Cyclops so that I would have a figure for when he wanted me to play with them with him. My first Cyclops actually ended up breaking (at that pesky neck joint) while a friend’s daughter was playing with him. I recently picked up a replacement for that figure, courtesy of Yesterday’s Fun. These were actually some pretty awesome toys, and it’s a shame that Hasbro opted not to continue the line when they took over. At least we got the ones we did!

#0758: Goss Toowers




In spite of it being a series very much built around its fancy space ships and fully autonomous robots, the main entries in the Star Wars franchise never really places any focus on the mechanical experts necessary to keep such things running for any real period of time. It’s interesting, since the main characters tend to cover a wide gamut of various places in the two main armies. I mean, even Batman’s got a mechanic, certainly Luke Skywalker does too! It would seem the makers of The Force Awakens are at least somewhat aware of this ill-covered area, if Goss Toower’s bio is anything to go by.


Goss2Goss Toowers is part of the tireless technical crew that provides mechanical support for the Resistance’s fleet of Starfighters.” See that? See, he’s mechanical support for the Resistance! Ha ha! Also, that’s literally the only thing I know about this guy, so…yeah. Like PZ-4C0, Goss is a part of the second round of the basic 3 ¾ inch figures from The Force Awakens. Goss is another part of the second assortment of the “Jungle” sub-set of figures. He’s a little shy of 3 ¾ inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation for the smaller scale line. Goss is one of the many new alien characters from TFA, and he doesn’t appear to be from one of the pre-existing races. That’s cool, we needed some new, exciting aliens, right? He’s mostly pretty humanoid, with most of his more alien parts being on what little we can see of his face. He’s also got three fingered hands, and generally a shorter and stockier build than the other characters we’ve seen, which adds a bit of variety. The sculpt seems to be a fairly decent translation of the onscreen look, going by the only character art we’ve been given, anyway. The folds and textures of his clothing are nice and sharp, and he doesn’t feel lacking for detail. His weird helmet thing is a little restrictive, so his head has a tendency to pop Goss4off if moved too far to one side or the other. He’s also just a bit forward leaning, so standing him can be a bit frustrating. The paint work on Goss is alright, but not the greatest. The colors work fine, and I like the gold on the gloves in particular, but the application is a mess; the boots start a good millimeter before their paint does, and the various uniform colors tend to be applied at best in the general area of where the sculpted lines place them. Goss includes a small handheld device, which I assume is a drill or welder or something, as well as another piece to the build-a-thing, which looks not unlike a push mower.


I found Goss at the same time as PZ. I wasn’t going to get him. I really wasn’t. His design is just okay, and I don’t know the character, so I could just wait until after the movie. But, Super Awesome Girlfriend was with me, and, well, she won’t stand for me not buying figures, so I ended up getting him, because there’s no point fighting her. I actually kind of like him, so I’m glad I got him. Just as long as he’s not another Jar Jar…


#0757: Thor & Malekith




Phase two of the Marvel movies was, generally, pretty well-received amongst fans. That said, it seems that there’s no real common consensus as to which of the sequel films offered therein was the best and which was the worst. It seems like everybody’s got one they really like and one they really don’t like. For me, the one I didn’t like was Thor: The Dark World. Okay, that’s not fair. I did actually like the movie, but I didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I’d hoped. When the movie was good, it was really good, but when it was bad, it really pulled me out. And don’t get me started on the mounted turrets in Asgard! Anyway, most of my major issues with the film lied with the main antagonist Malekith, who I just found dreadfully boring, which isn’t exactly what you want from the guy stepping in to replace Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Anyway, I generally passed on toys of Malekith, but I did end up with one, unsurprisingly coming from the Marvel Minimates based on the film. So, let’s look at him and his pack-mate Thor.


Thor and Malekith were released in Series 53 of the Marvel Minimates line, which was based on Thor: The Dark World.


ThorMal2You can’t have a set of toys based on a Thor movie and not have Thor, so here he is! Hemsworth’s Thor has stayed pretty consistent looking throughout the Marvel films, but his design did take a slight jump towards his modern comic look starting with The Dark World (and, by nature of him having almost the same design, AoU). This figure is based upon his look in TDW, specifically his full-sleeved look from a lot of the fight scenes. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 12 points of articulation (down from the usual 14, thanks to the boots). Structually, Thor uses the basic Minimate body, with six add-on pieces for his hair, chest/cape, wristbands, and boots. These pieces all originated here, though they were all later used on the Series 61 AoU Thor. They do a pretty good job of summing up his look from the film and have a lot of nice detail work. Thor’s paint work is generally pretty nicely handled; the base colors are applied fairly cleanly, and the detail work is nice and sharp. The face doesn’t really scream Hemsworth, and he definitely looks a bit too old, but, overall, he seems pretty cool. Thor includes Mjolnir and a clear display stand.


ThorMal3Zzzzzzzzzzzz…….Oh, sorry! Must’ve dozed off for a sec there. Malekith does that to me sometimes. *Ahem* Well, here’s Malekith. Look at him. There he is. So, he’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his helmet/hair, hands, and torso/cape. These parts are all pretty well-sculpt, and are accurate to the source material. The hands are shared with the Dark Elves, which is reasonable, since he is their leader. All in all, he looks like the guy from the movie, so that’s good. His paintwork is mostly blacks and off-whites, which are done reasonably enough. The level of detail on the legs is actually pretty fantastic, so you can see that DST was definitely putting in the effort on this guy. The basic head depicts Malekith with the right half of his face all scarred up, as it is in the second half of the film, which is a somewhat interesting look. He doesn’t really look a whole lot like Christopher Eccleston, but he doesn’t not look like Eccleston either. Also, the eyes aren’t accurate to the movie, where they’re mostly black. Malekith is packed with a spare, unscarred head, which matches the regular look, as well as a clear display stand.


Unlike most Marvel Minimates, where I rush out to get them on the day they’re released, I actually skipped this pair for a good long while, mostly due to my disinterest in Malekith. This pack ended up being one of the items in the grab bags I got from Luke’s Toy Store during their 6th Anniversary sale. It’s still not a set I would be inclined to pick up on my own, especially since the AoU Thor is similar to this one, but it’s at least a quality made set.

#0756: Cyclops & Mr. Sinister




Last month, I took a look at one of Toy Biz’s many experiments with the Marvel license from the 90s, ­X-Men: Steel Mutants. They were a line of small scale versions of the X-Men, which featured a heavy dose of die-cast metal parts, hence the “Steel” part of the name. Toy Biz actually offered a pretty good selection of the X-Men in this line, including not one, but two versions of founding member Cyclops. Today, we’ll be looking at one of those, along with his pack-mate Mr. Sinister.


Cyclops and Mr. Sinister were released in the second series of X-Men: Steel Mutants. Like all the others in the line, they work both as comic and cartoon versions of the characters.


SinisterCyclops2This is the second of the two Cyclopses released in this line. While Wolverine got three totally different looks for his three figures, Cyclops just gets a new pose. As opposed to the straight standing look, this one’s got a bit of a running start sort of a thing going. I guess that’s new and exciting. The figure stands roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 4 points of articulation. Cyclops’s head and arms are plastic, and the torso and legs are metal, like all the other figures in the line. He uses the same head, torso, and left arm as the first Cyclops, along with a new right arm and legs, showing off that deep lunging thing he’s got going on. His sculpt, like that of the first Cyclops, is really a scaling down of the 5 inch Cyclops II figure. That was Toy Biz’s standard Cyclops, and it was a pretty good summation of the character, so it works. The torso’s a bit on the large side for Scott, but hey, it was the 90s, everybody was juicing. All in all, the figure’s pretty well detailed, and not terrible on the proportions, for the time at least. Cyclops’s deep stance makes him a little bit more difficult to keep standing than, say, Gambit, but not as much as you might think. Toy Biz clearly put a lot of effort into making sure these guys were properly balanced, which is good on their part. Cyclops’s paint work is decent for the scale, though there’s some noticeable slop on the changes from yellow to blue, which is slightly annoying. But, smaller details, such as the “X”s on his belt and chest harness are surprisingly clean, and the figure as a whole looks pretty good when viewed from a far.


SinisterCyclops3Mr. Sinister is a pretty natural choice for this line, given his prominence in the cartoon, and he certainly makes sense packed with Cyclops, since they interacted a lot in both the comics and the cartoon. And, unlike Cyclops, this figure doesn’t feel redundant to anyone who had the first series of the line. Sinister was a new sculpt for the Steel Mutants line, though he was more or less just a scaled down version of the 5 inch Sinister from the main line, with the articulation scheme changed. Like that figure, this one feels a little on the small side for Sinister, who was usually depicted as being at least a little bigger than the average person. Aside from that, though, he does a pretty good job of capturing the character’s design. The cape is a separate, removable piece, made from plastic. It clips around the figure’s neck, and doesn’t quite sit right, but it’s close enough not to look too off at this scale. As far as paint goes, Sinister’s mostly painted in the same shade of dark blue, which seems to be a little thickly applied. The rest of the paint is pretty good, though he’s totally lacking Sinister’s usual facial hair. The prototype shows him sporting a full goatee, which is still not correct. Maybe the factory could only do goatee or clean shaven, with no in between? I suppose this would be the preferable choice in that case. There was actually a later single release of this figure that had the goatee, but never one with the character’s actual beard.


Cyclops and Sinister were purchased for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, when we visited Yesterday’s Fun this past summer. She recognized them as being from the same line as Gambit and Bishop and insisted on buying them for me. I actually had the later single releases of both of these figures, though I can’t say I know where they ended up. All in all, these are another fun little addition, and I’m happy to have them!

#0755: PZ-4C0




The toys from The Force Awakens were supposed to start out with a bang, but then Force Friday happened and turned out to be more of a fizzle. Since then, there’s been sort of a slow trickle of figures for each of the various lines. The 3 ¾ inch line seems to be getting most of the focus, with a handful of new characters being added with each assortment. Of course, until the movie’s actually released, we won’t know which characters are actually major parts of the film and which ones are background scenery. So, let’s take the gamble and see what we got, starting with one of the brand new droids, PZ-4C0.


PZ4CO2PZ-4C0 is a constant fixture in Resistance base control rooms, offering tactical data and communications support during important operations.” So, there’s your background on this character. Check out that epic tale. Anyway, PZ-4C0 was released as part of the second round of basic 3 ¾ inch The Force Awakens figures. She’s part of the second assortment of the “Jungle” sub-set of figures. She stands about 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation. PZ has an all-new sculpt, based on her design from the movie. The design is a tweaking of the basic protocol droid design introduced with C-3PO, with a slightly more alien set of proportions. I don’t know that it’s a perfect design; the functionality of the neck joint is definitely a bit impaired; but, it’s pretty visually interesting, and definitely fits in well with the other designs we’ve seen so far. The quality of the sculpt is actually pretty good. The armored parts are more smooth, and they have a nice symmetrical balance to them, and the circuitry bits are well detailed and add a lot of depth to the figure. PZ’s color scheme is definitely another unique aspect of the figure. The main blue color is a nice change of pace, and the painted accents and scuffs are all pretty cleanly done, so that’s cool. PZ-4C0 includes no character specific accessories, but she does include two pieces for the weird build-a-thingy. These are a set of rocket attachments, and they can be placed on her legs, which makes for a sort of a nifty look.


Whilst on a trip to visit my family in NC, I stopped by the nearby Wal-Mart, which just so happened to have a few of the latest Force Awakens figures, PZ included. I had actually seen shots of PZ online and thought she had a pretty neat design, so I was pretty excited to find the figure in-hand. She’s actually a pretty fun little figure, and one of my favorites of the smaller-scale TFA figures I’ve picked up.


#0754: US Agent



Who’s up for a history lesson? Well, too bad, cuz I’m giving one anyway.

Let’s talk about US Agent. As a member of the West Coast Avengers, he was carried over into the reformation of the team, Force Works. Force Works had the luck of being relevant at the time of the 90s Iron Man cartoon, resulting in the team serving as Tony’s primary supporting cast for the first season of the show. US Agent, while a member in the comics, was never on the show. But, since the cartoon’s toyline was taking just as many cues from the comics as it was the cartoon itself, US Agent was slated to be released in the third series of the line. Unfortunately, he was cut from the line-up at the last minute, due to a change in the case pack-outs. His tooling was shelved, and later re-purposed for the proposed Living Laser figure in Series 5 of the same line. When that figure was also canceled, the body was re-re-purposed into the “Muntant” Armor version of Professor X. Then, in 1997, with no rhyme or reason, a slow trickle of US Agent figures began appearing from overseas. They were dubbed a “Limited Release” courtesy of Elegant Way, and were very quickly discovered to be unsanctioned by Marvel or Toy Biz. Some 10,000 units were produced before Toy Biz could halt production, but they did their best to make sure as few as possible made it to the US, ironically making US Agent exclusive to areas outside of the US, and quite a pricey commodity amongst US-based collectors. What does all this have to do with me? Well, in case you hadn’t figured it out, I got one.


USAgent2US Agent was, as noted above, supposed to be released as part of Series 3 of the 90s Iron Man line. Ultimately, he ended up being released on his own, as an unsanctioned product, so this is effectively a bootleg. However, unlike most bootlegs, the quality of the figure seems to be about on par with the official figures. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation. He only has elbow movement on his left arm, due to a spring-loaded feature being implemented on his right. I’ve actually reviewed most of this figure before, when I looked at Astral Projection Professor X. The right arm, upper left arm, and upper legs are identical between the two figures. The torso and lower legs are mostly the same, though the Professor X pieces had ports for armor add-ons, and the US Agent’s torso has an additional sculpted insignia on his torso. The left hand has a tighter grip on this figure, which is odd, since he doesn’t actually have anything to hold, but it looks fine. The end result is a body that is nearly indistinguishable from Professor X’s to the average viewer. The body’s not the greatest sculpt ever; that torso still looks wonky. That said, it does work a lot better for US Agent than it did Xavier, which makes sense, since US Agent was the character for whom it was intended. US Agent does have his own, totally unique head sculpt, which is cool. It’s not exceptional work or anything, but it is pretty nice, and it gives Walker an appropriately sneer-y expression, plus it sits well on the body. US Agent’s paint work is generally pretty good. Unsurprisingly for a guy named “US Agent,” he consists mostly of red, white, and blue. The blue is molded and the rest is painted on; the application is decent enough, though there’s some slop around the edges. The official prototype shots for US Agent showed him with black in place of the blue, but it’s not unlikely that Toy Biz themselves might have made this change before dropping the figure. US Agent included an energy shield (which has trouble staying in place, due to the spring feature), and one of the standard Iron Man line badges, though it does not have the usual character bio, presumably due to Toy Biz never writing one.


Back in the 90s, when I was first getting into toy collecting, the Iron Man and Fantastic Four lines from Toy Biz were my jam. I got every figure I could, and I even saved the backs of the packaging so that I could cut out the small thumbnail images of all the other available figures. US Agent was one of the ones I remember having that little thumbnail for, but never being able to find. In those days, you didn’t have many ways of finding out about cancelled figures, so I just assumed he wasn’t out yet. It wasn’t until a little later, after discovering the awesome Iron Man Achive on Raving Toy Maniac, that I found out he never came to be. Then it was another several years or so before I found out he actually had come to be, but not in an easily attainable for a 10 year old sort of way. So, I was excited beyond belief when I came across a dealer at this year’s Baltimore Comic Con selling this guy loose, and not even for a small fortune. I’m really happy to finally have this guy, and to have finally completed my Series 3 collection!


#0753: B.A.T.




After being a fairly straightforward military-based line of toys, and then a mostly down to earth adventure series for the first 20 years of its life, in the 80s, G.I. Joe gave up on that whole real world thing and threw caution to the wind. Okay, that’s not true. The first year of the 3 ¾ inch line was actually pretty modest. Then 1983 added Destro and Gung-Ho to the line and all bets were off. Prepare for the neon colors, the wacky specialists, and even the Battle Android Troopers!


BATVint2The B.A.T. was released in the 1986 series of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (which, as I noted in my Lifeline review, was a pretty good year for the line). The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and has 15 points of articulation. That’s one more point than most of the line! Structurally, the figure was all new at the time, though his pieces would get used for a few other figures (though, none of them were B.A.T.s. It depicts the B.A.T. in its Cobra uniform, but there are actually some nice hints at it being a robot under the clothes, rather than just a normal person. The details are generally pretty sharp, at least for a figure of the time, and the mechanical arms in particular are very nicely detailed. The B.A.T. definitely looks unique from the other Cobra forces, while still fitting in great stylistically. The figure originally had a lenticular piece in the middle of the torso, detailing some of the B.A.T.’s internal mechanics. Sadly, my figure does not have this piece. The paint on the B.A.T. is decent, though not the greatest thing ever. The orange/yellow bits are a bit on the sloppy side, especially around the edges. That said, the overall look is pretty good. The Bat is pretty well accessorized, with four different right hand attachments (normal hand, claw, flame thrower, and gun), as well as a backpack to hold the extra attachments. Also, my figure has a small pistol thrown in, but that isn’t from the original figure.


I picked up the B.A.T. loose from local toy store All Time Toys this past summer. I’ve always loved the B.A.T. design, and I’ve had several of the figures over the years, but I never had the original. Now I do! He’s a pretty nifty little figure, though I do think he’s been surpassed by a few of his successors.


#0752: Age of Ultron Minimates Boxed Set




So, Series 61 and 63 of Marvel Minimates, plus the two TRU exclusive sets and the blind bagged figures, did a pretty reasonable job of getting us just about every important character from Age of Ultron. We got the whole Avengers team, plus several Ultrons, a few Iron Legion drones, two minor villains, and the Hulkbuster. However, DST felt that wasn’t quite enough, so we’ve gotten an extra, special five figure (that’s a whole extra figure!) boxed set to fill a few holes in the collection.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Final Form Ultron, Iron Legion 01, Tony Stark, Iron Man Mark 45, and Nick Fury!


This set was one of the SDCC-exclusive sets offered by DST this year. The sets were then available at various retailers following the show.


AoUMatesBox3Ultron looks a little….I don’t want to say puffy…  Yeah, so this is Ultron in his Vibranium infused body from the film’s big climactic battle, which is ever so slightly different from his main look for the rest of the movie. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Ultron uses the base Minimate body, with non-standard pieces for the head, hands, and feet, as well as add-ons for the shoulders and torso extension. All of these pieces are re-used from prior figures; the head is from Ultron Prime, the hands originated on DC Minimates’ Cheetah, the feet are from Nightcrawler, and the add-ons are pieces we’ve seen on numerous prior ‘mates. It’s definitely a hodge-podge of pieces, but the end result actually looks pretty sleek. Also, he amends the issue of size that plagued Ultron Prime; he’s not huge, but he’s certainly got a level of imposing-ness to him. The paintwork on this figure is superb. The silver is nice and cleanly applied, the detail lines are nice and sharp, and he does a pretty great job of replicating the film design. Everything looks really great, and he’s even got a full set of detail lines on the normal arms under the bulked up shoulders. Ultron includes a spare set of normal hands and feet painted silver, for those that don’t want the more unique pieces, as well as a clear display stand.


AoUMatesBox6Okay, so if there’s one thing this set might have been okay without, it’s another Iron Legion drone. The blind bags ran into a bit of an issue by seriously over-packing drones 02 and 04, which kind of got us all down on the drones in general. That said, there are actually supposed to be five of these guys, and we only had two (three if you count the Ultron Mk 1 as drone 03), so I guess getting another of them isn’t the worst thing. Of course, if I were choosing one more, I’d probably go with 05, since you could include the scepter the drone steals, but DST went with 01. I guess having 01, 02, 03, and 04 is better than having 02, 03, 04, and 05. This figure is virtually identical to the other two drones we got (reviewed here). He’s a vanilla ‘mate, with a fair amount of painted details. Obviously, he’s got “01” in place of the preceding “02” and “04,” and he’s also got grey accents as opposed to the blue and black, respectively, of the other two.


AoUMatesBox2Hey, it wouldn’t be the Avengers without another Tony Stark, right? The “trying to lift the hammer” sequence from AoU was definitely one of the more popular scenes from the movie, so it’s not a huge surprise to see Tony in his look from that scene. Tony has 5 sculpted add-on pieces for his hair, vest, tie, and rolled up sleeves. These are all pieces we’ve seen numerous times before, and they do a good job of capturing his look from the scene. His paint is pretty simple, with mostly base color work. The facial likeness somewhat resembles RDJ, though I don’t think it’s as good as some of DST’s other versions of the guy. It’s also a little bit too high set. Tony includes one of his Iron Man gauntlets (taken from the Mark 43), which is kind of key to the scene, as well as a spare set of arms and a jacket piece, and a clear display stand. It would have been cool to include Mjolnir here, but I can’t say this guy’s lacking for extras.


AoUMatesBox5We got the Mark 43, we got the Hulkbuster, and we got a basic Tony. What’s left? The Mark 45, Tony’s armor from the last fight scene. It’s only a little bit different from the Mark 43, but it’s still its own armor, and it continues the trend of each model streamlining the basic design just a bit more. Structurally, he’s just a basic ‘mate, with the helmet from the Mark 42/43. It’s not 100% accurate, but at this scale, it’s close enough. The paint is the important part here, and it’s handled quite nicely. The red and gold are distinctly different from each other, and they’re both nice and bright. The details of the suit are rendered pretty nicely on the body, and look pretty accurate to the source material. Under the helmet, there’s another Tony face, which is much angrier looking than the regular Tony. It looks even less like RDJ, but I much prefer a different expression that looks less like the actor than the same expression over and over again. The figure includes the same hairpiece included with the other Tony, as well as a flight stand, and a clear display stand.


AoUMatesBox7At last! A character who wasn’t released in any of the other AoU assortments! Fury was originally slated to be one of the figures in the blind bagged assortment before being pulled from the lineup, so it’s not a huge shock to see him turn up here. The figure depicts Fury in his somewhat more distinct look from his earlier appearances in the film. He gets two add-on pieces for his hat and coat. The hat comes from the Amazing Spider-Man Vigilante Spider-Man, and the coat is from Punisher War-Zone’s Frank Castle. These parts match up pretty closely with the look from the film, and their well-sculpted in general, so that’s good. Fury’s paint is fairly simple. He’s got a fairly drab color scheme, with a bit of detailing for the belt, shirt, and face. The face doesn’t really look much like SLJ, but he’s a decent looking Fury. Also, I really like that the eye patch’s strap goes all the way around the head, even under the hat, though it’s a little frustrating that the head has a peg hole at the top for the hat. Fury includes a spare head with the eye patch removed, a handgun, and a clear display stand.


Since I didn’t go to SDCC, I picked this set after the fact, courtesy of Luke’s Toy Store. This set doesn’t cover a whole lot of new ground, but it’s still a solid addition. Ultron is a significant improvement to Ultron Prime, Fury and Stark are both valid variants, and the Mark 45 and the Legion drone are decent enough. The final AoU line-up is pretty impressive!


#0751: Batman




Hey, do you guys remember how last year DC Collectibles debuted their line of super awesome figures based on Batman: The Animated Series? And do you remember when I reviewed the first figure in the line, which was Batman? And how I noted that he was actually Batman from the second incarnation of the show? And then I pointed out that the original design was slated for release later on in the line? Are you getting tired of these questions? Me too. So, yeah, the original Batman: The Animated Series Batman figure is finally here. Let’s see how it turned out!


BatmanTAS6Batman is figure #13 in DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line. Technically, this makes him the first figure in Series 4 of the line, but it seems DCC has completely given up on releasing these in actual assortments, so Batman shipped out on his own, though a few other figures arrived in the surrounding weeks. The figure is just shy of 6 ½ inches tall and has 24 points of articulation. The figure lacks the usual swivel joint on the lower leg, which is quite a pain when it comes to posing or even just trying to get him to stand, and also leaves him eternally pigeon-toed. The boots are even separate from the rest of the leg, so it looks like there should be movement, but there’s not. Batman’s sculpt has the task of translating a 2D character model into 3D, which is certainly not easy. From the neck down, the figure works pretty well. Everything seems proportioned right, and he’s more or less identical to the guy we saw on the screen. He seems a little on the small side compared to some of the other figures, but not terribly so. What about the head? Well, it’s hard to say. The prototype looked pretty dead on, but this doesn’t seem to have made it to the final figure. The shape of the eyes in particular seems off, and they feel way too small. It’s possible it’s a paint issue, so it’s hard to judge the accuracy of the sculpt. This figure only gets one cape, in contrast to the two included with the last Batman; all we get is the swept back look. To be fair, this is the preferred of the two looks, and the cape is accurate to the source material, but the option BatmanTAS7would have been nice. This figure makes out okay paint-wise. There’s the previously mentioned issue with the eyes, but other than that, the paint is pretty clean, and they seem to have done a pretty good job matching the colors from the show. Batman is packed with a B:TAS accurate batarang, a grappling hook, 7 hands (a pair of fists, a pair of basic grip, a pair for holding the batarang, and one with the grappling hook sculpted in place), and a display stand with his character design sheet printed on it. It’s not quite as much as was included with the last Batman, but it’s still a pretty impressive allotment.


Batman was purchased from my local comic store, Cosmic Comix. They had just gotten him and Poison Ivy in and I only had the money for one, so I went with him (I went back for Ivy later). I was pretty eager to get this figure when it was announced, what with it being my Batman and all, but I have to say, I was…disappointed with the final product. It really sucks to have to say that, to be totally honest, but it’s true. He’s not a bad figure, but the issues with the head and lack of movement in the legs hold him back. On any other figure, this might be forgivable, but on the definitive Batman, it’s a pretty big letdown. This figure is supposed to be repackaged with a new head in a two-pack with Phantasm early next year. It would be nice if DCC could fix the issues for that release. Until then, this guy’s certainly serviceable.


#0750: Alien Warrior




What’s this? Another Alien review? On my site? Why, that’s just unheard of! …Or, maybe not. So, what’s different about this review? Well, amongst other things, it’s a figure based on a movie I don’t like. Yeah, this here is one of the Alien Warriors from the first Alien vs. Predator film, a movie that’s only real saving grace is that it’s not as bad as its own sequel. In fact, it’s not a bad movie, just a mediocre one. That doesn’t seem right for Alien vs. Predator, which should really be a “go big or go home” affair. But, alas, we got the film we got, and it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see another. Sorry, this is actually supposed to be a toy review! Let’s get on to the figure!


AlienAVP2The Alien Warrior is a part of Bandai’s S.H. MonsterArts line, and was released as a standalone item in early 2014. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall (a little taller than Bandai’s Big Chap) and has 63 points of articulation. As noted in the intro, this figure is based on the Alien vs. Predator design for the Alien Warrior. It’s interesting that they opted to release this version of the alien so far after the movie instead of something more iconic, such as the Aliens version, but if I had to guess, I’d say AvP’s probably just the cheapest of the licenses to procure. I find that each successive iteration of the Xenomorph design after Aliens loses a little of what made the first two designs work, and in particular, I found the Xenos in AvP to be too skinny and waaaaay too slimy and goopy. While this figure does strive to be an overall fairly accurate translation of the design, I find it changes a few minor things that result in a much better end product. For one thing, the details and texturing feel much sharper here than in the film, which is definitely a change I appreciate. In addition, it seems they’ve shrunk the size of the head ever so slightly, so that makes the body feel less skinny by comparison. In general, the sculpt has some incredible detail work and there’s some really great touches that they could have gotten away with leaving out, like the fully sculpted head under the dome. That’s something we don’t see in the movie, but they put it there anyway. Also, like the Big Chap, the knees and the tip of the figure’s tail are made from die-cast metal, which is a cool little, easily missed touch. The figure also has the signature Xeno inner-jaw, though the instructions tell you to remove the whole outer jaw to get it out (side note: looks like they got an actual translator for the instructions on this one. It makes for a more professional end product, but I must admit to missing the just slightly off English of the Big Chap’s instructions. Oh well.)  The paintwork on the figure is pretty much what you’d expect on a figure of a Xeno; it’s black with silver highlights. The dark brown transparent dome is definitely a cool look, and I was quite happy to see that the fully sculpted head was also fully painted under there. The Alien Warrior includes an alien egg, a chestburster, two sets of hands in splayed and closed poses, and a display stand, which, like the Big Chap’s, seems a little out of place with this figure.


After getting me the Big Chap for Christmas, my boy Tim got me this guy as a birthday present. Though I don’t love the movie, and I’m not a big fan of the Xeno design as it’s presented in the film, I actually really like this figure a lot. He’s a ton of fun to pose, and the tweaks Bandai made to the design make it a lot better looking. Definitely an awesome addition to the collection!