#1003: Battle Cat

BATTLE CAT

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2002)

BattleCat1

Masters of the Universe leans pretty hard on classical fantasy tropes. One of those tropes was the inclusion of steeds that were something other than a horse. The first animals inducted into the original Masters line were feline beasts, one for each side’s leader. Skeletor and the Evil Warriors got Panthor, and He-Man and the Heroic Warriors had Battle Cat, who’s the focus of today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

BattleCat3Battle Cat was released as a deluxe item alongside the first series of Masters of the Universe figures. He and Panthor were released at the same time. The figure stands about 3 ½ inches tall and is about 9 inches from nose to tail. The vintage Battle Cat didn’t feature any articulation, but the 2002 version changes things up a bit, giving him joints at the top of each leg and a swivel joint on the tail. There’s also a button on the figure’s back which, when pressed, swings the right front leg forward and opens the mouth. So, he’s still not super posable, but certainly an improvement over earlier figures.  Battle Cat makes use of four different add-ons for his armor. The torso piece is strapped into place, while he helmet and toe guards just snap into place. All of the pieces are very nicely sculpted, with lots of fun details that add a little bit of depth to the armor. In addition, the pieces all stay in place pretty securely, which is a definite plus. The underlying body is decently sculpted. Obviously, the areas left exposed by the armor are given the most detailing, but the face is surprisingly well detailed, despite being covered by the faceplate. The paintwork on Battle Cat is rather on the minimal size. For the most part, the colors are done via molded plastic with only the stripes and the eyes and mouth being actually painted. The stripes could possibly be a little cleaner, but other than that, the figure looks pretty good. In addition to the armor pieces, Battle Cat also included a pair of missile launching cannons, which could be attached to the shoulder armor. They were, however, not the slightest bit accurate to the show’s armor design.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never had a Battle Cat growing up. For whatever reason he was never my thing. I did want a Panthor, but never got one (I eventually got the MotUC version, so that’s a win for me). I ended up getting Battle Cat just a few weeks ago, at the same time as Teela. Mostly, I got him because he was $2, which I feel is just about always a good reason to get an action figure. Battle Cat was an improvement upon a figure than needed quite a bit of improving. That makes him a decent figure, but hardly anything stellar. Still, when paired with the He-Man from the same line, this figure does manage to look pretty darn awesome, and that’s more than worth the $2 I paid.

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#1002: Teela

TEELA

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2002)

Teela1

One of the common complaints about toylines aimed at the male demographic is the typical lack of any notable female presence. Most have at least one female character to offer, but not much more beyond that. In the ‘80s, this practice of token females was in full swing. Masters of the Universe was no exception, but, to their credit, they had a token female for each side of the battle (as well as the Sorceress, but she wasn’t really a direct participant in the fight). The heroic side’s resident female combatant was Teela, who is the focus of today’s review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Teela2Teela was released in Wave 1 of the 2003 Series of Masters of the Universe. She was the first female figure to make it into the line (though Evil-Lyn would join the line later that year).  The figure is a little under 6 inches tall and she has 12 points of articulation. Her waist joint is only slightly useful, though, since it’s got a spring-loaded feature, allowing her to have a swinging action of some sort. It’s more annoying than anything, but at least the feature doesn’t ruin her aesthetically. Teela’s sculpt isn’t bad at all. She’s leaning even harder into the stylization that He-Man was sporting, preventing her from really fitting in with anything but the 2002 Masters line, but that’s not a bad thing. There’s a lot of great detail work here, especially on the more ornate parts of her armor. The face is one of the more attractive faces that the Four Horsemen have put out, though it’s a little flat (a common issue with their female faces). I do think it’s worth noting that her legs are rather on the long side. It’s partly in keeping with the show’s design for her, but it still feels a bit exaggerated here, and it’s certainly not helped by the bent arms. Teela’s paintwork is solid. The gold and while work well together, and there’s minimal bleedover. There were two variations of Teela’s paint: one with a gold hair tie, and one where the hair tie was left the same brown as the hair. Mine is the latter version, which is a slight letdown, but far from the worst thing ever. Teela originally included a sword, cobra-headed staff, and a shield. My figure was secondhand, so I don’t have those parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Teela was a rather difficult to find figure back when these guys were new. I actually saw her once at a Target, but didn’t get her for whatever reason and regretted it for some time. I ended up getting her just a few weeks ago, from a Goodwill of all places. I found her and a large assortment of other figures for a very small amount of money (in fact, I didn’t actually pay anything for Teela, because she was bundled with a Castle Greyskull playset). I’m happy to have finally gotten this figure. She’s far from perfect, and had not aged particularly well, but she’s still pretty cool and was an important missing piece from my collection.

#1001: He-Man

HE-MAN

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2002)

HeMan200x1

In this day and age, action figures are almost exclusively a licensing game. Due to rising costs and falling demand, completely original toylines just aren’t worth the risk, which is really a shame. There was a time when the big companies were known for their own properties. Hasbro had G.I. Joe (and technically Transformers, though that one’s a bit complicated) and Mattel had Barbie. Mattel had also wanted to tap into the boys market, first trying with the moderately successful Big Jim, before striking it big with Masters of the Universe. Unfortunately for Mattel, Masters didn’t really find success any time after the early-to-mid-80s. They’ve still done their best to keep the line alive. They’re second attempt at bringing it back was in 2002, which was where I came in. Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s first version of the main guy, He-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HeMan200x2He-Man was released in the first series of Mattel’s re-launched Masters of the Universe line. The prototype and early shipments of the figure sported an iron cross logo (just like the vintage He-Man had), but later figures (such as mine) had the H-style logo from the 2002 cartoon. He-Man stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation. It’s worth noting that this figure was shipping at around the same time as the first series of Marvel Legends, so the articulation wasn’t the most stellar. Still, it’s better than the vintage figures had, so that’s a small win. The sculpt for He-Man (and the entire 200x MotU line) was handled by Four Horsemen Studios. The design is very angular and definitely is a product of its time, but it holds up. Despite Mattel’s penchant for re-use, He-Man’s sculpt was never used for anyone other than He-Man, and this figure was the first one to have it. It’s certainly a nice sculpt. The harness is a separate piece, which can be removed if one so chooses, so that’s cool. The paintwork on He-Man isn’t anything amazing, but it’s solid. The details are all pretty clean, and the hair even has some nice accent work. It would be nice if some of that accent work had ended up a few other spots, but it’s not horrible. He-Man included his sword of power (which could have the guard turned like on the show), a shield, and an axe. The sword can be stowed in the back of the harness, as can the axe and shield, if you’re patient.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t familiar with anything Masters of the Universe until Cartoon Network aired the first few episodes of the 2002 cartoon as a movie to kick off the series. After seeing the movie, I immediately wanted a He-Man. Unfortunately, it aired a little after the early shipments of figures had hit, which made finding a He-Man a little difficult. My Dad drove me to several different stores with no luck, but I eventually found him at a Target. I really liked the figure at the time. I don’t know that he’s one of my favorites now, but he certainly isn’t bad, and I can’t deny he’s a cool looking figure.

#1000: Captain America – Rescue Uniform Version

CAPTAIN AMERICA – RESCUE UNIFORM VERSION

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (HOT TOYS)

CapRescue1

Yes, dear reader, you read that review number correctly. Today marks the 1000th review on The Figure in Question! That’s a pretty big number, isn’t it? It’s kind of a turning point, since from here on out, that 0 at the beginning is gone. Goodbye little 0. You served me well.

Okay, let’s get the next 1000 reviews kicked off with one of my special Deluxe Reviews! This one is another Hot Toys figure, once again from their massive subset of Marvel Studios figures. As I noted in #0900, I generally try to avoid doubling up on characters when it comes to high-end collectibles. The one major exception to this, however, is Captain America. I’ve got a bit of Captain America addiction, mostly due to The First Avenger being my favorite of the Phase I solo films. In TFA, Steve has two distinct Captain America uniforms. The first is the Star Spangled Man look and the second is his main battle uniform. The figure I’m looking at today is sort of the bridge between those two looks.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapRescue2Rescue Uniform Captain America was figure 180 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series. He was one of the three SDCC exclusive figures from Hot Toys in 2012, though he didn’t technically ship until after the con. The Rescue Uniform is so called in reference to Cap wearing it during his mission to rescue the Hydra-captured Allied soldiers at The First Avenger’s mid-point. Pretty much, it’s some fatigues and a bomber jacket thrown over the “Star Spangled Man” costume, in reference to the times during WWII set comic stories where Steve wore his costume under his fatigues to maintain his secret identity, as well as the WWII battlefield uniform from The Ultimates. The figure is a little over 12 inches tall and, according to Sideshow’s website, he has “over 30 points of articulation.”

First up, let’s look at the figure’s head sculpt. This was Hot Toys’ first stab at an unmasked Chris Evans. Although CapRescu3later figures would come closer with the likeness, this is far from a bad first try. Facially, I think it’s pretty spot-on. What really seems to throw the whole likeness off just a tiny bit is the hair, which is much more matted to the head than Evans usually has it. That being said, it’s supposed to be under the helmet, so it doesn’t look that off. All-in-all, it’s not one of the strongest heads HT’s ever done, but it’s still a solid piece. My only real complaint is that it seems a little less textured than other sculpts. That’s pretty minor, though. The paintwork is nice and solid, looking just as lifelike as ever. The hair is a touch darker than usual, but this, coupled with the more matted sculpt, sells his hair as being sweaty and matted, which seems pretty accurate to what happens when you go on a mission wearing a metal helmet.

Cap’s costume is quite involved, and impressively so. He doesn’t get the whole “Star Spangled Man” costume; just the torso portion of the shirt and the trunks. That’s more than enough to sell the effect, though, and what we can see matches up pretty much perfectly with the full SSM Cap from later on. He also gets a faux-leather jacket, a pair of khaki trousers, gaiters, and a two-part harness with lots of pouches. The pieces are all very nicely tailored and fit well on the chosen body. He also gets a pair of sculpted shoes, which are both incredibly well detailed. As with the SSM Cap, the star logo on his torso is a sculpted element as well, which plugs into the center of his chest. The most important piece of his outfit is his helmet (and by extension, the goggles on the helmet). The helmet is two pieces (as a proper WW II helmet would be). The under piece is plastic, and has the straps and such attached to it, while the over piece is metal, and quite solid metal at that. It’s very nicely textured, and looks like the real prop from the movie. It also sits on his head just right, and is pretty secure when in place. The goggles are a little difficult to get on the helmet at first, but once they’re in place, they stay put and they look pretty great too.

Cap(Rescue)AccessoriesCap’s underlying body is a bit better than the last Cap I looked at, given that it’s less of a Frankenstein creation. It’s just a pretty standard muscle body, which means he loses some articulation for the sake of the upper body’s appearance. But, that just ends up making him a bit more realistic, and it’s a good fit for this particular design.

Captain America includes a somewhat smaller accessory compliment, due to the more complex costume. However, he still gets a few cool items, including:

  • 6 different hands
  • Machine gun
  • Pistol (w/ holster)
  • Knife (w/sheath)
  • Shield
  • Display stand

All of the hands are sculpted wearing the leather gloves he has in the movie. There’s a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed hands, a grip for the shield, and a grip with a trigger finger for the two guns.

The weapons are all very nicely sculpted to match the in-film props. The two guns have moving pieces, just like their real counterparts would, which is certainly a fun bonus. The holster and sheath can be attached to the figure, with the holster attaching to the belt on the waist and the sheath tying onto his shin. These all allow for a complete rescue look.

The shield is the same piece as the SSM version. However, while that one was totally clean, this one has scrapes and dirt all over it, matching the figure’s more battle-ready appearance. It’s definitely some solid work, and it helps to differentiate him from the other figure even further. It would have been nice to also get a version of the shield with a dent from where Red Skull punched it, but this is the more important of the two, so I’m happy to have it.

Lastly, there’s the display stand. It’s the same basic stand we’ve seen lots and lots of times before, but it still works for what it’s supposed to do, so that’s good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rescue Cap isn’t one of my first Hot Toys figures. He’s not even my first Hot Toys Cap. He is, however, the figure that is the most responsible for just how many Hot Toys figures are in my current collection, because he’s one of the earliest HT figures that I bought for myself. Rescue Cap is one of my favorite looks from the movies, so when HT first showed the prototype, I was eager to get him. It took a while for him to finally get slotted as a con exclusive, but he finally did and I sat on Sideshow’s website for several hours the day he went up for sale to make sure I got one. He’s probably my favorite HT figure I own, if I’m honest. There’s just a lot to like about this figure, and, above all, he’s a ton of fun! Of course, getting this figure led me to want to finish out the TFA Cap set, as well as picking up the Avengers Cap and, by extension, the rest of the Avengers. So, there was that…

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#0999: Taskmaster & Iron Spider-Man

TASKMASTER & IRON SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

IronSpider&Taskmaster1

Zounds! Is this another Minimate review? Why yes it is! I feel like I’ve been doing a lot less of them as of late, so two in a row’s kind of cool. This is another animation-based set, from the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. This set includes the somewhat controversial Iron Spider (here called Iron Spider-Man) as well as long time Marvel villain Taskmaster. Let’s check these two out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Taskmaster and Iron Spider-Man were released in Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates line. As noted in the intro, both figures are based on their designs from the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.

TASKMASTER

IronSpider&Taskmaster6Taskmaster makes his third appearance in the Minimates line. This is also the second time this year that this particular look has gotten a figure, after the Marvel Legend. This one’s a bit more strictly faithful to Taskmaster’s (second) animated design. The figure stands about 2 ½ inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation. Taskmaster gets two add-on pieces, for his hood/shoulder pads and his belt. Both of these are new to this particular figure, and they do a pretty decent job of capturing the animated look. The hood greatly restricts neck movement, though, which can be a bit frustrating. Taskmaster’s paintwork is pretty solid all around. There’s a good level of detail, and, unlike a lot of animated-style figures, he really shouldn’t have trouble fitting in with comic-styled ‘mates. Taskmaster is packed with his shield, a sword, and a clear display stand.

IRON SPIDER-MAN

IronSpider&Taskmaster7This is the third time we’ve gotten an Iron Spider Minimate (though only the second one to actually have the proper mechanical arms). For the purposes of the show, it’s just another Spider-Man look, but in the comics it was very much tied to the less-than-well-received original Civil War story, which has given the design a slightly…colored history. At least for me. This figure uses the same selection of pieces as the TRU-exclusive Iron Spider from the beginning of the year: he’s mostly a vanilla ‘mate, with a four piece backpack/mechanical arms add-on piece. It’s a pretty fun piece, and it even gives him an extra 3 points of articulation, which is really fun. The last two Iron Spiders had metallic paint schemes, but this one, being based on the animated appearance, uses flat colors with some creative shading. It’s not a bad look at all: the colors are really vibrant and all of the application is nice and clean. Iron Spider includes an extra, face revealed head, a jumping stand, and a clear display stand. If I’ve done my research right, I think that the face shown isn’t Peter, but Amadeus Cho, who wore this costume on the cartoon (which, by the way, makes this the first Amadeus Cho action figure).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Gamora and Drax, I found this set while looking for a pair of shoes. Fun times. I didn’t yet own either of these characters, and they’re also both pretty fun figures, so I’d definitely consider this set a win!

#0998: Gamora & Drax the Destroyer

GAMORA & DRAX THE DESTROYER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Drax&Gamora1

Hey, remember 251 days ago when I looked at the Minimates of Star-Lord and Groot from the current Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon? Probably not. I do, what with, you know, writing it and all. Well, why don’t you go read it and give me the extra views? Anyway, I’m referencing it here because today I’ll be looking at DST’s first follow-up to that set. It’s the rest of the main team, Drax and Gamora! Let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Drax and Gamora are part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates (which is actually the third series, thanks to the weird “1, 1.5, 2” numbering). They’re both based on their designs from the aforementioned cartoon.

GAMORA

Drax&Gamora3This marks Gamora’s third Minimate in the line, which isn’t too bad for someone most of the general public didn’t know about until two years ago. Gamora gets one of the more tweaked designs in the cartoon. It’s sort of based on her Ravager gear from the end of the movie, but it’s sort of, I don’t know, averaged with her main assassin look from the rest of the film, resulting in what we see here. It’s not a bad look, though it’s just a bit blander than her others, if I’m honest. Still, not bad. The figure is a little under 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which is also shared with this series’ Black Widow ‘mate. It’s not a bad piece. It’s definitely very stylized, but it works quite well for Gamora’s design from the show, and looks quite lively to boot. The rest of her details are handled via paint. It’s not as detailed as some Minimates, but the work here is incredibly sharp, and does quite a nice job of capturing the animated design, which, I might add, translates pretty flawlessly to the ‘mate aesthetic. Gamora includes her signature sword (which is the same piece as the Series 57 movie version’s), as well as a little potted Groot, which is probably one of my favorite Minimate accessories in quite some time.

DRAX THE DESTROYER

Drax&Gamora2Ah, finally. After it was dropped for the movie, animated Drax regains his “The Destroyer” sub-title. Yay! Like Gamora, this also marks Drax’s third Minimate. Drax’s design is a good deal closer to his movie appearance (specifically his Ravager gear) than Gamora’s. His tattoos are a bit simpler, and he’s straight grey rather than greyish green, but the overall look is pretty much the same. Drax makes use of three add-on pieces. His waist cap is a standard piece, which just gives him a little extra bulk. The gauntlets appear to be new pieces (I could be wrong on that), and they work quite nicely for Drax’s design. Drax’s paintwork is pretty solid. Once again, he’s a bit more simplistic than other recent ‘mates, but he looks really sharp. I especially like the tattoos, and I really appreciate the angry expression on his face. Drax includes a pair of knives (taken from the movie version).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After pretty much totally missing Series 1.5, I stumbled across this pair while looking for a pair of flip-flops at a nearby Walgreens. I know, I was in a Walgreens for something other than action figures! The shock! I figured I might as well pick them up to complete the set I started with Series 1. If I’m honest, potted Groot is what really sold me on this set. That being said, I find both Gamora and Drax to be high quality ‘mates, probably better than their movie versions.

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#0997: Captain Phasma

CAPTAIN PHASMA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

PhasmaSmall1

With the dust very definitely settled from The Force Awakens, it does seem that people went a little crazy over Captain Phasma. She was a perfectly entertaining character, and she definitely had a cool design, but there wasn’t much more than that. Which definitely upset some people. I had no real expectations, so I wasn’t let down. I would like to see more of her in the next one, though (especially after catching up on Game of Thrones and finding out just how awesome Gwendoline Christie can be), so here’s hoping. Phasma’s gotten at least one figure in each of The Force Awakens’ many lines, with the latest being from the smaller Black Series line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

PhasmaSmall2Phasma is the last of the three figures that make up the fourth series of Walmart’s exclusive 3 ¾-inch Star Wars: The Black Series. The figure stands a pretty sizeable 4 ¼ inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. Her design is quite similar to the First Order Stormtrooper, but the actual figure is a fair bit sturdier than the smaller Trooper, which is much appreciated. There’s plenty of great fine detail work (the helmet once again stands out), and the proportions are pretty nicely balanced. My only complaint is less about ther sculpt and more the way the figure was packaged: her shins are quite bowed, which makes keeping her standing quite difficult. The cape (which is a sculpted add-on) is thinner and less obstructive than the larger figure’s cape, which is good. It’s a little odd, since the aesthetics of this series so far have dictated cloth capes and such, but I can’t say I mind the sculpted piece. Like her two previous figures from Hasbro, this Phasma goes for flat silver paint, in place of the more chrome stylings of the movie. I’m still a little bummed by that, but it’s a little more acceptable on a more articulated figure such as this one. In spite of the flatter finish, the paintwork here is pretty solid. There’s a bit of bleed over on some of the black/silver changeovers, but that’s all pretty minor. Phasma is packed with her usual custom blaster, which she can hold much better than the troops she commands could hold theirs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Han and Leia, Phasma was purchased for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend. As with all the Phasmas I’ve looked at so far, I really like this one. I think the 6-inch one is still my favorite of the three versions, but this one’s still really solid, and I think she’s my favorite of the Series 4 figures!

#0996: Han Solo

HAN SOLO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

HanStarkiller1

Continuing off of what I said about Leia and Han yesterday: given the sizeable role of Han in The Force Awakens, it was no shock that he was the first of the pair to get added to the toyline.  It was a bit surprising that he was not offered in the higher-end 3 ¾ inch line, though.  However, that’s something that Hasbro has now amended, if perhaps not quite in the way we were expecting.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

HanStarkiller2Like Leia, Han was released in the fourth series of Walmart’s exclusive 3 ¾ inch Star Wars: The Black Series.  This is the second Han in this line (though the first one was from Jedi) and the third Force Awakens Han overall.  So, how is this not quite the Han we were expecting?  Well, in case you hadn’t noticed, he’s wearing his cold weather gear, which Han has for (parts of) the attack on Starkiller Base.  It’s not a look that he has for long, and it’s certainly less of a signature look than the black jacket. With that being said, it’s far less of an issue with Han than it was with Leia, since this isn’t Han’s first figure from TFA and it’s also not a bad look.  The figure is about 4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  The sculpt isn’t quite as good as his 6-inch counterpart, but it’s not bad.  The body definitely gets the best work, with tons of really great texturing on the jacket in particular.  I’m also glad that the holster can be plugged and unplugged from his leg, allowing for some additional movement that the prior Han did not.  I’m having trouble seeing much Harrison Ford in the head, but I think that may have more to do with paint than anything else.  Structurally, the head sculpt doesn’t look too far off from the 6-inch version, which was pretty good.  So, about that paint.  It could definitely be better.  The body isn’t bad, but the head is a bit of a mess.  Ignoring the brown hair (which seems to be a licensing thing), the application on the eyes is just off.  They’re not properly placed and they’re at least twice as big as they should be.  Han’s definitely got the crazy eyes going on.  The brown hair and larger eyes also have the misfortune of making him look far younger than he should, which is not what you want from an old-man Han.  Han includes his blaster pistol, which is nicely sculpted and very well painted.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just as with Leia, I didn’t find Han at any of the Walmarts near me.  In fact, I didn’t find him at all: Super Awesome Girlfriend did!  Han’s a figure that could definitely use some improvement.  He had a high bar to clear after the truly amazing 6-inch Han, and he didn’t quite do it.  That being said, he’s certainly not a bad figure.  I’d be curious to see if a better paint job could breathe some new life into him.

HanStarkiller3

#0995: Princess Leia Organa

PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

LeiaTFA1

When the initial few waves of The Force Awakens product hit, the old guard of characters were largely absent, despite the large role of Han Solo in the film, and the decently-sized (and certainly incredibly important) role of Leia Organa. Around February of this year, Han found his way into both the 3 ¾ and 6 inch-scale lines, but Leia was still noticeably absent. Until now, that is!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

LeiaTFA2Princess Leia was released in the fourth series of the Force Awakens-themed 3 ¾ inch Star Wars: The Black Series, a line which remains exclusive to Walmart. So, first bone of contention with this figure: the name. In the movie, it’s kind of a point that Leia’s not really royalty any more, and she’s almost exclusively referred to as “General Organa.” It’s a small thing, but it’s an important change for her character. The fact that the box just lists her as “Princess Leia Organa” is kind of annoying (and doubly so, since there’s already another figure in this line with that *exact* name, which is just confusing everybody). Of course, the name’s pretty easy to move past, since I didn’t keep her in the package. What’s a little less easy to move past is the costume choice. Leia spends most of her screen time in a military uniform, which is not unlike her look from the Endor scenes in Jedi. She then spends about 5 minutes at the very end of the movie in a blue dress. We got the blue dress look, which I can’t say is my favorite. Alas, I don’t work for Hasbro, so I guess I’ll just deal. The figure stands about 3 ½ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. She can get some decent motion out of her arms and neck, so that’s good. For what it’s worth, there’s a full body sculpt under her dress (she’s keeping it modest with a full-body stocking), articulated legs and all. The legs are rather limited, both by the obtrusive dress piece and by the decision to only give her cut joints at her hips.  Just as in the movie, her dress has a two-piece design, with the outer “jacket” being made from soft plastic and the under dress being real cloth. They mesh together pretty well, and it’s sort of a best of both worlds thing, preserving look and some of the movement as well. Issues with the design aside, I will admit that this is a pretty solid sculpt. The head captures Carrie Fisher pretty nicely, and I like the small texture details on the sculpted parts of the dress quite a bit. Leia actually doesn’t have much paint, with most of the dress being molded in the same blue. She gets some paint on her head, obviously. It’s not terrible, but it could certainly be better, especially the eyes. Leia includes no accessories, which is a bit of a bummer.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not had much luck with getting the Walmart-exclusive Black Series figures in my area, so I’ve yet to see any of these figures near me. However, Super Awesome Girlfriend is not cursed like me, and ended up just finding Leia by accident one day. Yay for me! I’ll be honest: this isn’t the Leia figure I was hoping for. Her other Force Awakens look is far more action figure-worthy, and would just make for an all-around better figure. With that said, this figure isn’t terrible, and I’ll definitely take this over no Leia at all. Here’s hoping the other version’s on the way.

#0994: Motorized Voltron Lion Force

MOTORIZED LION FORCE VOLTRON

VOLTRON (LJN)

Voltron7

Voltron, Defender of the universe!

Just last month, Netflix launched their reboot of the Voltron franchise, which was actually really quite good. As of yet, there’s been no news about toys from this particular incarnation, so I guess the best I can do is something based on the original series. Towards the beginning of this site’s reviews, I took a look at Mattel’s most recent set of Voltron figures. Today, I’ll be going all vintage, and looking at one of the Voltrons from the time of the original show.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Voltron2The five lions that make up Voltron were released by LJN in 1984, under the “Motorized Lion Force Voltron” name. The lions were available in two different ways: they could be purchased in pairs (Red/Blue and Green/Yellow, with Black being packed on its own), or as a complete set. The actual lions were identical; only the packaging differed. The Red and Green lions are about 3 inches long and each have 16 points of articulation. The Blue and Yellow Lions are each 4 inches long, and have 15 points of articulation. Finally, the Black lion is also about 4 inches long, but is also about 3 inches wide, and it has 18 points of movement. All five of the lions also have a set of wheels at their base, which when pulled back will launch the lion forward. I don’t know why, since they didn’t do anything like this on the show, but this is where the “motorized” part of their name comes from. The four smaller lions are all pretty decent matches for their cartoon counterparts, and feature decent sculpts for the time. The Black lion is a little less accurate to the show, in order to better facilitate the Voltron combination. It’s not horribly far off, but it’s definitely a lot boxier than the show design. When the five lions are combined into Voltron, the figure stands about 8 inches tall and has 20 points of functioning articulation (there are a few other spots of movement, but they don’t really benefit the Voltron form). This version of Voltron is a lot stockier and squared off than his cartoon incarnation, but such is the sacrifice of making a Voltron that can be both Voltron and the separate lions. Some compromises need to be made. This is a figure that does, admittedly, show his age a fair bit, as later Voltron’s have managed to be a bit closer. That being said, this one isn’t bad for the scale or the time, so good on LJN for that! The various details on Voltron are handled through a combination of decals and a small bit of paint. The decals are a little aged, but they’ve held up pretty well, and add some fun details to the figure. The paint work is all pretty basic, and there’s some slop here and there, but the overall effect is pretty great.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mattel’s more recent Voltron was my first proper Voltron, and as much as I love that one, its size makes it a little hard to manage, and also far from portable. So, I was in the market for something a little smaller that could be part of my travelling collection. I ended up finding this particular Voltron being sold as all of its individual parts at an antique store I was visiting with my family. The whole figure was about $20, which seemed reasonable enough. This is definitely a goofier Voltron than I’m used to, but he’s still pretty nifty to have, and I’m certainly happy to have a Voltron that I don’t need a crate to move around.

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