#0921: Lobo & Ambush Bug

LOBO & AMBUSH BUG

DC MINIMATES

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So, let’s talk DC Minimates.  Two weeks ago, I discussed Play Along’s use of legal loopholes to get out the first DC-based Minimates in the C3 Construction line.  That line unfortunately ended fairly abruptly, leaving a very incomplete collection of characters.  A few years down the road, DC Direct teamed up with Diamond Select Toys, creating an official line of DC Minimates, which offered a more diverse selection of characters.  Sadly, it too was short-lived, lasting only eight series before ending, once again leaving certain groups incomplete.  The diverse selection of characters ended up as both a blessing and a curse; off the wall characters were fun while the line was running, but after the fact the likes of Lobo and Ambush Bug, who I’m reviewing today, seem like wasted slots in a line that didn’t get us important members of the Justice League.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Lobo and Ambush Bug were released in the seventh series of DC Minimates.  They seem like something of an odd pairing, since I don’t believe the two of them have ever interacted.  Of course, they’re both weird, occasionally fourth wall breaking characters with a tendency to parody popular comics conventions of the time.  So, maybe they aren’t such a bad pairing.

LOBO

Lobo&Ambushbug3Lobo is, by and large, a parody of grungy 90s anti-heroes.  So, of course, he had a large fan base who missed the parody bit and took him as a straight character.  I’ve never been much for Lobo, but I did have a soft spot for his teen-spin-off Slobo, who appeared in Young Justice.  But, that’s neither here nor there; let’s talk about Lobo.  The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (due to his boots removing the ankle joints).  Lobo has 5 add-on pieces for his hair, vest, hook-chain-thing, and boots.  All of these parts were new to Lobo, but several of them have seen re-use since.  The parts are pretty well sculpted, and do a suitable job of bulking Lobo up a little bit.  Also, the chain on the hook is a real chain, which is a nice touch.  In general, Lobo is a good example of how great the sculpted work was on this line.  Lobo’s paintwork is fairly impressive; he’s fairly monochromatic, but there’s a lot of detailing, especially on the face and torso.  Lobo included no accessories.

AMBUSH BUG

Lobo&Ambushbug2Ambush Bug is one of the weirder characters in the DCU.  He doesn’t really belong to any particular realm of the universe, and he’s almost entirely absent from normal DCU stories, tending to reside in stories set firmly in his own corner of things.  But hey, he was played by Henry Winkler once, which is pretty cool.  Ambush Bug is mostly a vanilla ‘mate, with one small exception: the antennae on his forehead, which are glued in place.  They’re a pretty good translation of his weird antennae from the comics, so that’s good.  Other than that, everything’s done with paint.  He’s actually surprisingly detailed; DCD could have easily just done a blank green body with only detailing on the face, but Ambush Bug has small wrinkles (just like the ones he has in the comics) on just about every surface.  That’s really nice to see and keeps him from being too boring for the average fan.  I suppose they could have done him in his casual wear he’s known to wear in the comics, but this is his classic look, so it’s understandable.  Like Lobo, Ambush Bug includes no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with every figure in the DC Minimates line, I picked these two up from Cosmic Comix on the first day they were available.  I’ll admit that I was split on this set; I love Ambush Bug way more than I should, but Lobo’s not my thing.  At the end of the day, both ‘mates are pretty awesome, for totally divergent reasons.  It might be easy to say that these two are part of the reason the line ended so early, but given that the Marvel line just released Dazzler and Howard the Duck together, it’s hard to say.

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#0920: Whirlwind

WHIRLWIND – FORCES OF EVIL

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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The Marvel universe has a lot of pretty amazing super villains, but for me, the best sub-set of villains they have are the laughably terrible ones. The ones that keep showing up, getting their butts kicked, and generally being ineffective. The likes of Shocker, Stiltman, Batroc the Leaper, and even today’s focus character Whirlwind. He initially started his career as the Human Top, which isn’t as cool a name as Whirlwind, but is probably more fitting for the character. There’s actually one thing that sets Whirlwind apart from the other lame villains: he’s actually the got an arch-nemesis. Yep, ol’ spinhead here is the arch enemy of the Wasp (also her chauffeur, but that’s a whole other story). I mean, he still kinda sucks, but that’s part of the charm. Amazingly enough, Whirlwind has a whole three action figures in his tenure as a villain, the latest of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Whirlwind2Whirlwind is another figure from the third series of Captain America Marvel Legends(why he’s in a Captain America-themed series instead of getting a slot in last year’s Ant-Man Marvel Legends is anyone’s guess. Maybe Wasp finally got that restraining order). He’s been dubbed “Forces of Evil,” which is a name he shares with the Serpent Society’s Cottonmouth. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. Whirlwind is presented in his classic costume, after he’d added the chainmail (before that he’d just been shirtless, which was weird). He uses the slightly larger male body, introduced with Grim Reaper. To aid in making him more “Whirlwind-y” he has a new head, torso, and forearms. The head is actually two pieces: face and helmet. This results in a figure with the proper level of depth to his eye and mouth slits, which looks pretty neat. The actual helmet does a very nice job of capturing Whirlwind’s comic look. The torso also does a decent job of handling Whirlwind’s weird chest armor, and the forearms feature actual spinning blades, which is a nice touch. It’s a bit of a shame that he doesn’t have any chainmail detailing, but that would have meant giving him a 100% new sculpt, which seems like a bit much to ask for whirlwind3Whirlwind. Whirlwind’s paintwork isn’t particularly complex, but what’s there is fairly clean. I especially like how well the eyes turned out. Also, the choice of a metallic finish takes what could have been a slightly bland figure and gives him some pop. Whirlwind’s only accessory is his Build-A-Figure piece, which is the left arm of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On my search for the other three figures I wanted from this series, I saw quite a few Whirlwinds, and passed several times. It’s not that I don’t like the character, nor is it that I wasn’t excited for the figure, I guess I was just prioritizing the others. After finding the other three, I broke down and got Whirlwind. I’m glad I did. He’s a very well-put-together figure. He sticks to the established formula of a few new parts on a base body, but he’s the sort of character that really lends himself to such a concept.

#0919: Sharon Carter

SHARON CARTER – AGENTS OF SHIELD

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Hey look! It’s Agent Carter! No, not that Agent Carter! This is Sharon Carter, the other secret agent with the last name Carter who dated Captain America. I can understand the confusion. See, after Cap spent 20 70 years on ice, he still needed a love interest, since Peggy had gotten up there in years. So, they introduced Peggy’s sister niece, Sharon, who worked for SHIELD under the code name “Agent 13.” She’s been a fairly important part of Cap’s supporting cast since her introduction in 1966 (apart from being dead for a few years). Technically, she’s had two action figures, but one of them wasn’t actually named, so I’ll be looking at the first officially named Sharon Carter figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

SharonC2Sharon Carter is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends Series. She uses the “Agents of SHIELD” title, which she shares with the previously reviewed Mockingbird figure. It’s certainly appropriate for the character, so that’s good. The figure is a little under 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation. From the neck down, Sharon is identical to last year’s Maria Hill figure, which in turn means she shares some parts with the Winter Soldier version of Black Widow. I’ll admit, the body isn’t one of my favorites. While the Widow figure was fine, the pieces used don’t gel exceptionally well with the Maria Hill parts. Also, I still don’t like the gimpy, misshapen fist for the left hand. However, I will admit that the body seems to work a little bit better for Carter than it did for Hill. Maybe it’s the coloring or maybe it’s that there’s not a real person to compare it to. It could possibly SharonC3be the new head, which seems to sit a little better on the body. It’s not super stand-out work, but the piece does a decent enough job of capturing Sharon’s look from the comics. I’m actually tempted to pick up a second figure to use as the beginnings of a classic Mockingbird. Sharon’s paintwork is decent overall, but has a few drawbacks. Some of the smaller details are a little misaligned, which is a little annoying, but the most present issue is that the whites on the arms and legs don’t match up with the torso and hips, creating an odd contrast that shouldn’t be there. Sharon comes packed with a silver version of the weird sci-fi gun that came with Red Skull (I would have preferred something a bit more normal looking, but oh well), as well as the right leg of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After Mockingbird, Sharon was my second most-wanted character from this line-up. Currently, she’s one of the more difficult figures to find, so I had to do a bit of searching. My dad ended up finding her for me while at a small convention a few weekends ago. She’s not as strong a figure as Mockingbird or Taskmaster, but she’s reasonably well-done, and a good enough figure that I don’t feel like I wasted my money on her.

#0918: Taskmaster

TASKMASTER – MERCENARIES OF MAYHEM

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Superhero comics like foes who mimic the abilities of the heroes. Marvel in particular seems to like this concept, as they have several different characters with this gimmick (including one who’s actually named “Mimic”). Generally, such mimicry comes from some sort of mutant or otherwise built-in power. Not the case with Tony Masters, better known as Taskmaster. His mimicry was all based on him being a really good tactician with a photographic memory, allowing him to duplicate the physical movements of anyone he sees. Sure, he can’t mimic actual super powers, but he comes pretty darn close. He started out as a pretty straight villain, but has become more of an anti-villain, gun-for-hire sort of character over the years. Since his introduction in 1980, he’s gotten seven action figures, the latest of which I’ll be reviewing today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Taskmaster2Taskmaster is part of the third series of the Captain America Marvel Legends Series (the Infinite part’s been dropped on all Hasbro’s Marvel lines; should we be concerned that they’re all finite now?). His official title is “Mercenaries of Mayhem,” which is a name he shares with Demolition Man. The figure stands about 6 ½ inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation. The origin of the costume worn by this figure is somewhat complicated: in the early 2000s, UDON Studios redesigned Taskmaster, taking him out of the more classic superhero-styled costume he’d been wearing and replacing it (and the creepy skull face that went with it) with a much more tactical get-up. That look lasted for a while, but he eventually switched back to the classic costume. On the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, he was given a sort of an amalgam of his two looks, which is what this figure’s primary look is based on. As far as I know, it’s not a look that has appeared in the comics, so this figure is technically cartoon-based. The figure uses the torso, pelvis, and hips of the Bucky Cap body, along with an all-new head, arms, and legs, as well as add-on pieces for his shoulder holster and belt. The new arms and legs feature some cool, almost knight-like armor, and add a nice bit of heft to the figure. It’s nice that Hasbro didn’t just paint the basic Bucky Cap arms and legs silver, and it kind of makes me wonder what other figures they could get out of these parts. I certainly wouldn’t mind these being used as the starting point for a Doctor Doom. Taskmaster actually gets two all-new heads. The one he comes wearing is more classically inspired, with a skull-face and white hood. It’s true to his Ultimate Spider-Man design, but could also make for a nice classic Taskmaster, should someone want to build a full version of his original costume. The second head is based on the UDON design’s masked look, which allows you to sort of have Taskmaster as he appears in Captain America & Iron Man: Heroes United. He doesn’t have the hood there, but this way you can essentially have the UDON costume. I find myself preferring the UDON head, but I’m not 100% sold on the hood; both heads definitely have merit. Taskmaster’s paint is all pretty solid, and he’s probably got the cleanest paint I’ve gotten on a Hasbro figure in a little while. There’s a little slop on the hands, but other than that, everything’s pretty sharp, especially on the two heads. In addition to the second head, Taskmaster includes a shield (with exceptionally clean paint), a laser sword, and the head of Red Onslaught, the Build-A-Figure for this series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I picked up Mockingbird from Cosmic Comix, they also had this guy. However, I decided to hold out to see if I could find him elsewhere. After two weeks of looking, I didn’t find him, and Cosmic Comix still had him, so I went ahead and got him. I’m glad I did, because this is a pretty darn fun figure, and possibly my favorite from this particular series.

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#0917: Corporal Hicks

CORPORAL HICKS

MOVIE MANIACS (MCFARLANE)

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Do you guys know what day it is? It’s Alien Day! Yes, in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Aliens, today, April 26th (it’s 4-26, as in LV-426. Clever girl…) is officially Alien Day. There’s some cool contests and such, plus a whole ton of awesome Alien-themed merchandise, and even some showings of the first two films on the big screen. Obviously, I’d be remiss if I didn’t do something to celebrate. I’ve actually reviewed the vast majority of my Aliens collection, but have no fear; I’ve still got a few aces up my sleeve. Today, I’ll be looking back at one of the earliest examples of a figure based on Aliens’ human characters, with McFarlane Toys’ figure of Corporal Hicks. Buckle up guys; this might be a slightly bumpy ride.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HicksMM2Hicks was released in Series 7 of McFarlane’s Movie Maniacs line. By this point, they had more or less given up on keeping true to the “Maniacs” half of the title, but that was a trend that started in Series 4, so no one was super shocked. Corporal Hicks was available two different ways: there was a basic release with a pulse rifle and un-helmeted head, and there was also a McFarlane Collector’s Club version that included a helmeted head, a motion tracker, a face hugger and egg, and a shotgun. My figure is the regular release, so I don’t get all the fun extras. He stands about 7 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. Those 9 points don’t really amount to much of anything, though, since the figure is sculpted in this odd sort of leaning back/lunging forward pose (also, thanks to the fragility of McFarlane figures, my Hicks’ right shoulder broke sometime between me putting him in storage and taking him out to write this review). The best you can really do is turn his head and slightly change the pose of the arms. But, hey, the lack of movement’s okay, because the sculpt is really great, right? Well, not exactly. The sculpt definitely has its highlights, to be sure; the general level of detail on his uniform is quite good. There are a few inaccuracies, such as the ridges at the center of his chest armor, where it should be smooth, the fitting of the back of his armor to his shoulder blades, and the lack of one of his two belt pouches, but those are small. The main issue? The body that the uniform is resting on. Looking past the weird pose, the arms and legs are huge, way too huge for the torso. The arms in particular are super massive, and almost look misshapen. On top of that the head is a bit too small. Also, while I guess the face sort of looks like Hicks, it’s far from spot on (in fact, I don’t believe they ever officially got Biehn’s likeness rights; they weren’t very good about doing that sort of thing). He’s wearing his headset from later in the film, which makes him different from the NECA figure, but it also creates a slight continuity error, since he’s still got his shoulder lamp, which he’s ditched by the time he gets the headset. If there’s one area that’s pretty solid on this figure, it’s the paint (well, provided you aren’t comparing him to the NECA version). There’s the glaring issue of him being way too pale. He also lacks Hicks’ name at the top of his chest armor. The armored pieces are nice overall, but the camo is slightly off, and lacks the white elements. The camo on his uniform is pretty well-executed, though, and all of the small detail work is nice and tight, if a bit more basic than the NECA figure. Hicks includes his M41A Pulse Rifle (not quite as good as the NECA version, but not bad for the time), a locator, a knife, and a display stand that looks like the flooring of one of the Hadley’s Hope facilities. Later shipments of the figure also included the motion tracker included with the Collector’s Club version, but mine isn’t one of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’d actually seen Aliens when this figure was released, and I saw it at retail a few times, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pick it up (I think I was holding out for a Ripley to go with him). A few years later, I ended up getting him as a Christmas gift from my parents. This isn’t a figure that’s aged particularly well, especially in light of the far superior NECA version. Even when he was new, he felt sort of unfinished, due to neither the regular or exclusive versions offering a complete set of accessories. That said, taking him back out to review has reminded me of a lot of the more endearing qualities of the figure. There was a time when he was the best Hicks figure I owned, and I do still have some very fond memories of that.

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#0916: Tygra

TYGRA

THUNDERCATS (2011)

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They say that good things come in threes. Wait, no, I think they say bad things come in threes. Hmmm… Well, here’s my third Thundercats review. There may be some debate about which of those statements this review proves. Today, we’ll be looking at my personal favorite member of the Thundercats, Tygra, who isn’t to be confused with one of my favorite Avengers, Tigra. They’re very different.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tygra2Tygra was released in Series 1 of Bandai’s small-scale Thundercats line. The figure is a little over 4 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation. He loses the waist movement that Lion-O had and trades it for swivels right below the knees, which feels like a pretty fair trade off. The figure’s based on Tygra’s main, armored look from the show, as opposed to that totally clear, less armored look that I already reviewed. Tygra had one of the more radical redesigns of the main Thundercats, presumably to make him stand out a bit more from Lion-O, but it keeps most of the spirit of the classic Tygra design. Tygra’s sculpt is totally different from the one included with the Tower of Omens, even the head, which seems like a natural place for reuse. It does a pretty nice job of translating the design into three dimensions, though his hair’s a little more Wolverine-like than it was on the show. The sculpt is perhaps not as good a job as the Lion-O figure, but good nonetheless. His proportions are certainly well-handled; Tygra is appropriately a little heftier than Lion-O, offering some nice variety to the line. The belt is an add-on piece, which is a little bulkier than I’d like; on the plus side, it’s removable. The paint on Tygra is alright. Nothing really stands out as particularly bad, but the application isn’t super exciting. A figure with this sort of color palette would definitely benefit from some accent work or something. Tygra is packed with his signature whip, which is made out of soft rubber, and is a little difficult at this scale. He’s also got his blaster, which can be holstered on his belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I liked the Tygra included with the Tower of Omens, but a totally clear figure is hardly a definitive version of the character. And, seeing as Tygra’s my favorite of the Thundercats, I kind of wanted a regular version of him. It was actually Yesterday’s Fun having this particular figure that prompted me to pick up the Lion-O figure I reviewed yesterday. Lion-O is the better figure of the two, but Tygra’s certainly no slouch. I’m glad to have him!

 

#0915: Lion-O

LION-O

THUNDERCATS (2011)

LionO1

Thunder! Thunder! Thundercats! Ho!

Hey, how ‘bout some more Thundercats? You guys like that, right? Sure you do. And, if we’re gonna look at some Thundercats, it might as well be their stalwart leader, Lion-O. Yeah, let’s look at Lion-O!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LionO2Lion-O was released in the first series of Bandai’s smaller-scale Thundercats line. He, like the rest of the line, is based on his main appearance from the 2011 incarnation of the Thundercats cartoon. The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. Lion-O’s sculpt is unique to this figure, and it does a rather admirable job of translating the modern Lion-O design into three dimensions. The general proportions have been tweaked ever so slightly (his arms are a bit bulkier than they were in the show), but as a whole, he really looks like the does on the show, which is a pretty cool look. The articulation isn’t clunky, and is worked into the sculpt pretty well, aside from a few spots where joints stand out a bit. The quality of the paintwork isn’t quite as good as the sculpt, but it isn’t bad. The base colors all match up with the source material and everything is applied pretty cleanly. The only real issues are that a few spots are missing their paint apps, and the joints are totally different colors from the plastic around them. Lion-o included both long and short versions of the Sword of Omens (the short one can even be stowed at the top of his gauntlet), as well as a clip-on Gauntlet of Omens.  Thundercats was very ominous, wasn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I bought the Tower of Omens, I had no other Thundercats figures. My dad took one look at it and said “you know you’re gonna end up with a whole collection of Thundercats, right?” I swore up and down that that wouldn’t be the case. And then I was at Yesterday’s Fun, and they had a whole shelf of these guys, and I kinda caved. I’m down on Bandai America most of the time, but Lion-O is a surprisingly solid figure, and is probably the best Bandai America figure I’ve ever bought.

#0914: Tower of Omens

TOWER OF OMENS (W/ TYGRA)

THUNDERCATS (2011)

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Since fairly early on in the world of action figures, toy makers have recognized the need for said figures to have somewhere they could hangout. Why not create some cool locales for those figures? Well, they did, and that’s where we got playsets. Playsets made their first big splash in the 1970s (with Mego making some of the coolest), and really hit their stride in the ‘80s. They continued into the ‘90s (so I had quite a number of them), but have more or less gone away in recent years, due to the rising costs of manufacturing. They haven’t totally disappeared, though, and today I’ll be looking at the Tower of Omens playset from the recent Thundercats re-launch.

THE PLAYSET ITSELF

TowerOfOmen6The Tower of Omens was released as the largest item in Bandai’s Thundercats line from 2011. It’s based on the design of the Tower from the most recent cartoon, and is nominally meant to go with Bandai’s 3 ¾-inch line of figures, though it’s been scaled down a fair bit to make it more economically feasible. There are two main pieces to this set: the main tower and the gate. The tower is about 18 inches tall. It’s topped by a beacon sort of thing, which features the Thundercats logo on each side. The red of the beacon is translucent, but there’s apparently a light-up feature, but I didn’t put in any batteries to try it out. The top level of the tower pops open on either side, providing a flat surface for the TowerOfOmen2figures to stand on (though not a whole lot), and the front panel of the tower can be removed and placed on either side to act as a slide, though the effect is middling at best. At the base of the tower, there are four pillars, which I think are supposed to act as extra support, but just end up falling off a lot. The interior of the tower has an elevator. There aren’t any fancy mechanisms here; you just move it by hand through use of the handle on the back. The gate stands a little less than half the height of the tower, but it’s about 16 inches wide. It appears to be a bit closer to proper scale, but is still a bit undersized. The actual doorway is a pretty solid piece, and features some excellent sculpting, especially on the cat head. The Thundercats line tried to work in a weird magnetic gimmick wherever possible; on this set, when you TowerOfOmen5place the back of a figure up to the “nose” of the doorway, the doors pop open. It’s kind of a neat feature, but the doors have a tendency to get stuck open. The actual gate portion is made up of two fairly flimsy pieces attached to either side of the doorway. It looks okay from the front, but is hollow on the other side. Also, the gate falls apart a lot; were I planning to use this for any long stretch of time, I’d probably find some way of permanently affixing the gate to the doors. There’s not a whole lot of paint on this set; it’s predominately just molded in a dull brownish sort of color. However, there’s some pretty sweet metallic blue accent work, which adds some nice pop to the set. In addition to the two main pieces, the set includes a catapult, a three-wheeled vehicle, and a Tygra figure. The catapult is kinda boring, since there isn’t a spring-feature or anything. Also, the two boulders included are TowerOfOmen7each only half a rock. The vehicle is sort of interesting, but rather goofy. The front has a missile launcher, and there’s another magnet gimmick, where the cat head on the back pops up when a figure is placed in the driver’s seat. The Tygra figure’s actually pretty cool. The figure’s 3 ¾ inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation. He’s a different sculpt from the normal Tygra; there’s less articulation and his outfit is totally different. He’s totally clear, which seems kinda random, but I think makes him pretty nifty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time that I bought this, I owned no other Thundercats figures and hadn’t seen a single episode of the 2011 series (I’d probably seen one or two episodes of the original show, but I don’t remember them all that well). So, why’d I get it? Well, last summer, I was at an Ollie’s with my brother and Tim and I found this set for $6. I figured “why not?” and got it. It’s not as thrilling as the playsets I grew up with, to be sure. I can definitely see why it ended up at close out prices. Still, for the price I paid, it feels like I got a decent enough deal.

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#0913: Vision & Hawkeye

VISION & HAWKEYE

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Civil War is almost upon us (well, some people have already seen it. Lucky ducks…) and the tie-in product is starting to hit, though not as explosively as in prior years. Still, there’s notably more stuff then we got for Winter Soldier. As with all the recent Marvel Studios films, there are some Minimates based on the movie, and the Toys R Us assortment just started showing up. Today, I’ll be looking at two of my favorite Avengers, Vision and Hawkeye!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vision and Hawkeye are the Toys R Us-exclusive set from the first series of Civil War Minimates (which are Series 66 of the specialty Marvel Minimates line). It’s actually fairly amusing that their packed together, since Vision and Hawkeye’s very first Minimates (from way back in Series 20) were also packed together.

VISION

VisionHawkeyeCW2With the exception of the face detailing, this Vision is the same as the Series 63 version of the character. That was a pretty nice translation of the film version of Vision, and since his design hasn’t changed between the two movies, the new figure’s pretty accurate to Civil War as well. He gets a new, more detailed face, which has a better likeness of Paul Bettany, and adds some of the detail lines that were absent from the last figure’s face. There’s actually a pretty good rationale for this almost total re-release: Vision was a specialty exclusive in the AoU assortments, meaning he was one of the two Avengers not available to TRU consumers. Now everybody gets a Vision! Vision includes both a clear display stand and a flight stand.

HAWKEYE

VisionHawkeyeCW3Of all the costumes in the first Avengers movie, Hawkeye’s was the one that most disappointed me. Hawkeye’s got one of the coolest costumes in comics, and the movie version sucked a lot of the originality out of it. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, since Hawkeye’s gotten a slightly tweaked design in both subsequent reappearances. In AoU, he added a pretty cool coat to his look, but he still seemed to lack some of his comics counterpart’s flair. Civil War seems dead set on amending that, as it’s given Hawkeye possibly his coolest look yet, taking major cues from his West Coast Avengers/Heroic Age design. This ‘mate replicates that design. He has add-on pieces for his hair, quiver, and holster. All of these parts are re-used pieces (being mostly fairly generic parts), but they certainly fit what we’ve seen of Hawkeye’s look so far. Hawkeye’s paintwork is pretty impressive, with a whole ton of great detail work on his uniform, giving him a lot of dimension. His colors also pop; I think this is my favorite shade of purple that I’ve seen on a movie Hawkeye. The likeness on the face bears a resemblance to Jeremy Renner, but I think the Winter Ops Hawkeye still has the closest resemblance. Hawkeye includes a bow, three arrows, a pistol, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across this set at my local TRU. Shocking, right? For whatever reason, this was the set I was most looking forward to in this series. Vision’s essentially a re-release, but the minor changes go a long way, at least for me, and I prefer this one to the AoU version. The new Hawkeye design is pretty strong, and it translates quite nicely to the ‘mate aesthetic, resulting in what is probably the best MCU version of the character so far. This set might be easy to overlook, but it’s definitely one I’m glad I got.

#0912: Captain Phasma

CAPTAIN PHASMA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Hoo boy did people get upset about Captain Phasma. First there was the frenzy when she was revealed to be female. Then there was the frustration of finding either of her (slightly under-packed) figures. Then, when the movie finally got released, people were upset that she had a small part, because, without much prompting, lots of folks decided she was supposed to be the next big thing. She had been touted as the next Boba Fett, and suddenly people backtracked. That amuses me, since Phasma did more in The Force Awakens than Fett did in all three of his onscreen appearances. But I digress…

Phasma has been pretty hard to find in just about every scale. I managed to get a smaller Phasma from the First Order Legion set, but I hadn’t managed to find her larger The Black Series figure. Well, not until now…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapPhas2Captain Phasma is figure #06 in the Force Awakens re-branded Star Wars: The Black Series, making her numerically the first figure in the second series. The figure stands a whopping 7 ¼ inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation. Her range of motion is fairly similar to the basic First Order Stormtrooper, though she’s made a bit more limited by the slightly taller thigh armor and the addition of the cape. Granted, she wasn’t super mobile in the movie (apart from that time she got tackled by Chewbacca), so it’s not like there are a lot of scene-specific poses that she can’t pull off. The actual quality of the sculpt is pretty great; she’s pretty similar to the Stormtrooper, but with additional detailing, as well as an all-around sharper look, which makes her a pretty awesome piece. The cape, though restrictive, is very well textured, and shaped very nicely to her shoulders. The paintwork on Phasma is incredibly clean, possibly the cleanest I’ve seen on a recent The Black Series figure. The colors are all clean and distinct, and she really pops when placed with the rest of the line. The elephant in the room here is the finish of the armor: Hasbro opted for flat silver, as opposed to going the vac-metalized route. It’s understandable, as basic paint holds up a little better to play, but she does lose some of the coolness of her on-screen counterpart. Phasma includes her custom blaster rifle, which, like all the Stormtrooper weapons, can be stowed on her right leg.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rest assured, dear readers, I didn’t shell out the big bucks for Phasma. It would appear that Hasbro has started shipping out more cases containing Phasma figures, because I didn’t have to try particularly hard to find this one. My dad actually came across her at Target, just in with the other Black Series figures. I even saw another Phasma a few days later. I’m glad to finally have one of these. Sure, her part was relatively small, but she still has a really awesome design, and it translates really well to action figure form. That being said, I’m really glad I waited for the price to fall; at retail, she’s an entertaining figure, but for much more than that, I can see her being a disappointment.

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