#1166: K-2SO

K-2SO

LEGO STAR WARS: CONSTRACTION FIGURES

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Behold!  The gift reviews commence!  As I’ve done the last few years, I’ll be kicking off the Christmas gift reviews not with a Christmas gift, but instead with my anniversary gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  Think of this as “Day 0” of the Christmas reviews.

So, have you guys had enough of Star Wars?  I sure hope not, because I’ve got more Star Wars stuff.  It’s like there was a movie this year or something.  As I noted in my review of that movie that was released this year, my favorite new addition to the mythos is definitely that lovable security droid, K-2SO.  I’ve looked at the two Hasbro versions of the character, but there are a few other companies who have taken a shot at him, including LEGO, whose figure I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

k2solego2K-2 is one of the three Rogue One-themed LEGO Star Wars: Constraction Figures, released alongside the rest of the Rogue One products on Rogue Friday.  The “Constraction Figures” are similar to LEGO’s Bionicle and Hero Factory lines, but based on their licensed properties (mostly Star Wars as of late).  K-2 is built from 169 pieces (which is over 60 more pieces than either of his compatriots uses) and when fully assembled, the figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall (so he’s about 1/8 scale) and has 13(ish) points of articulation.  The Constraction stuff tends to take a lot of liberties with the source material in order to fit the LEGO style a bit better, but K-2’s design, being already robotic in nature, has actually made the transition a lot less changed.  There’s obviously some tweaking to streamline him ever so slightly, and there’s the whole “made out of LEGOs” bit, but he’s surprisingly accurate to the source material.  Particularly noteworthy is the head, which is pretty much just a straight recreation of his on-screen design, rivaling even Hasbro’s Black Series figure in terms of accuracy and quality. There’s a part of me that sort of wants to start compiling a Mego-style Rogue One crew just to go with this head sculpt.  The body is a slight step down, but for being built pretty much entirely out of pre-existing LEGO pieces, it’s still quite accurate, and certainly impressive.  LEGOs are generally light on the paint, and while this is mostly true for K-2, he does get some nice work on the shoulders, and some downright impressive work on the head (once again rivaling the Hasbro version; they really brought their A-game on the head).  While K-2 has no accessories, he does get an action feature.  It’s nothing major, but when you press on K-2’s back, his shoulders swing forward.  If you position his arms right, you can get him to do sort of a smashing pose this way.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in the intro, this figure was an anniversary present from my Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She was well aware of how much I liked K-2 and made a point of making a trip out to pick this guy up for me after we saw the movie.  I actually almost picked the set up myself while we were out and about on our anniversary, but she quietly steered me away (in hindsight, I should have noticed that she was encouraging me *not* to buy a figure.  Really a dead give away).  I really like this guy a lot.  I’m not super into doing licensed characters in this style, but K-2 is a good fit for the style, and a lot of work obviously went into making the final product as cool as possible.

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#1165: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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When Star Wars: The Black Series first starting to hit, I made up a list of figures I really wanted to see released, entirely made up of Original Trilogy characters.  As the line progressed, a lot of those figures found their way into release.  In series three, I hit my first real breaking point with the announcement of Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Rather than the OT, Alec Guinness version that most fans were hoping for, we got the Episode III version of the character.  The fact that it wasn’t the version most people wanted, coupled with the general weak quality of the final product made him one of the line’s longest lasting peg warmers (the fact that he was subsequently re-packed just a few series after his initial release didn’t help matters).  Without much effort, you can probably still find him in some retail stores, almost four years after his release.  That doesn’t really make a good case for releasing another version of the character, no matter how fan demanded it may be.  Fortunately, Hasbro wasn’t too deterred, and we’ve finally gotten a proper Alec Guinness Kenobi, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

obiwan2Obi-Wan was released in the fifth series of the Rogue One-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 32 in the line, which places him around the middle of this six-figure series numerically.  Obi-Wan was also one of the three summer convention exclusive Black Series figures for 2016, where he included an extra holographic Princess Leia accessory, but apart from that, the two releases are pretty much the same.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Like a lot of figures in this particular line, Obi-Wan is a mix of sculpted and tailored elements.  He’s mostly sculpted, with just the robe being cloth.  Cloth robes are nothing new, and Obi-Wan’s works pretty well, actually.  The rest of the figure is an all-new sculpt, which is probably one of Hasbro’s strongest Black Series sculpts to date.  In particular, the head sculpt is a very good recreation of Guinness’ likeness.  There have been some decent likenesses in this line before, but I think this is the best one they’ve ever done.  Heck, it’s just one of Hasbro’s best head sculpts period.  I really like it.  The rest of the sculpt, while not being quite as “wow” as the head, is still quite solid, and definitely translates his movie design into action figure form quite nicely.  Even the paintwork on this guy is pretty solid.  Everything is nice and clean, and the head has a lot of nice variance in the shading (it’s still a bit too blonde, but seems less off than Han and Krennic).  I wouldn’t have minded a bit of weathering on the robes, but they don’t look awful.  My one complaint about this figure has to do with the included extra.  He just includes his lightsaber, which is a perfectly fine extra, and is even quite nicely done.  The problem I ran into is that my Kenobi’s saber blade broke off, which is quite annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was anticipating finding this guy would be difficult, but it actually wasn’t.  I found him at the Gamestop outside of Super Awesome Girlfriend’s hometown, just mixed in with the Force Awakens and Rogue One figures.  I actually wasn’t going to get him (it was right before Christmas and my budget was a bit tight), but Super Awesome Girlfriend refused to let me leave him there and ended up buying him for me.  I’m really happy to have this guy, and he’s easily one of my favorite entries in this line.  After being rather letdown by the Tatooine Luke, this guy was a nice pick-me-up.  Here’s to more like him!

#1164: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader

SCARIF STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Like pretty much every single Star Wars film, Rogue One introduced it’s own set of faceless troopers, variations on the original Stormtroopers.  In addition to the basic Stormtroopers and TIE Fighter pilots, we also got Krennic’s bodyguards the Death Troopers, a few new vehicle pilots, and (my most favorite) the Scarif Troopers (also known as the Shoretroopers, a name I kind of prefer).  None of them really amounted to all that much in the final film, but they did make for a slightly more diverse selection of faceless mooks for the heroes to take out right and left.  There were a few different types of the Shoretroopers featured, and thus there are few different figures available.  I’ve already looked at the Black Series version of the basic Shoretrooper, but there’s also the Squad Leader, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

scarifsquadleader2The Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader was released as part of the second assortment of Rogue One-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which, as I noted in yesterday’s Krennic review, is actually the eighth series of red-boxed Black Series figures.  The Squad Leader is figure 28, making him the second numerically in this series of three.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, I’ve seen this figure before, both in terms of design, and in terms of the actual pieces in use.  Of course, he’s sporting the same design as the smaller Squad Leader, albeit slightly more detailed.  As far as pieces, he’s built on the Hovertank Pilot body, just like the basic Shoretrooper, and also makes use of the same helmet as the basic Shoretrooper.  These remain good pieces, and I can hardly fault the re-use, since they should be consistent.  He gets a new belt piece, which features the kama sported by the Squad Leader.  Surprisingly enough, the articulation isn’t all that affected by the new piece, and the general quality of the sculpt matches well with the rest of the pieces.  Most of the new-ness of this figure comes from the paintwork.  At the most basic level, it’s pretty similar to the basic Shroetrooper, which makes sense.  He’s also got a lot of very similar weathering to that figure, though it should be noted that it’s slightly different, which prevents the two of them from looking too cookie-cutter.  The main difference between the two figures is the presence of the blue detailing on his upper torso and left shoulder.  It does a lot to differentiate him, and I like the extra splash of color it adds.  In addition, the weathering seen on the rest of the armor is also seen on the blue sections, which looks pretty cool.  The Squad Leader includes a larger blaster rifle.  It’s got the same base as the usual Stormtrooper blaster, but with a number of extra add-ons.  It makes for a pretty fun new design.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Krennic, the Squad Leader was picked up for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, during a bit of a “stress buy.”  After getting the smaller version of this guy, I definitely wanted the larger one too, though I initially thought I’d be okay with the basic Shoretrooper.  Once I saw this guy, I knew I needed him too.  He’s just as much fun as the basic trooper, and I’m very happy to have gotten him.

Also, fun fact: the Rogue One products were solicited to retailers using code names.  The Rebels and the Imperials were the “SEALS” and “SHARKS,” and each figure was then given a short descriptor.  It seems Walmart never changed the codenames to the real names in their system, so this guy rung up as “SHRK TOOPER” which I found rather amusing.

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#1163: Director Krennic

DIRECTOR KRENNIC

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Star Wars is a franchise just as much defined by its villains as its heroes (if not more so).  Darth Vader is pretty much THE iconic movie villain, and every subsequent movie’s villain has had to do their best to live up to the shadow cast by Vader.  Rogue One of course made use of Vader himself, but only as an incidental antagonist.  The primary antagonist was Director Orson Krennic, who is pretty much a departure from Vader in every possible way.  He’s small in stature, largely unimposing, speaks in a notably unrefined manner, is a fan of empty threats, and is even dressed primarily in white.  He was a refreshing change of pace for the franchise’s villains, and Ben Mendelsohn gave a fantastic performance in the role.  Krennic has proven to be one of the more difficult characters to track down in figure form, though he’s available in both primary scales.  I was fortunate to get ahold of the larger figure, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

krenicbs2Director Krennic is part of the second series of Rogue One-based Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which is technically Series 8 of the “red box” Black Series that was launched with The Force Awakens.  Krennic is figure 27 in the line, making him numerically the first figure in the series.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Krennic is sporting an all-new sculpt, but I’ll be genuinely surprised if we don’t see most of this body again for Tarkin at the very least.  It’s a very good translation of the Imperial officer’s uniform seen in all of the OT films.  All of the smaller details are properly placed and there’s even a nice bit of texturing on the tunic and pants, showing the fiber of the fabric.  The neck is rather on the scrawny side (which, admittedly, is another point in favor of this being re-used for Tarkin), but that’s actually covered pretty well by the cape.  The cape is sculpted, which is different for the line, since all the prior capes/robes have been cloth.  I’m certainly not complaining; it’s obviously a bit restricting, but for a character like krenicbs4Krennic, who’s not incredibly mobile, and the end result is immensely better looking than a cloth piece would be.  The head sculpt is okay, but not anything outstanding.  From certain angles, you can see Mendelsohn in there, but by and large he’s rather off.  Still, it’s not an awful sculpt, and far from the worst likeness the line has given us.  Krennic’s paintwork continues the general upward trend we’ve been seeing on Hasbro’s collector oriented lines.  While he’s not as impressive as, say, K-2 or the Scarif Trooper, the work here is still very clean, and matches well with what’s seen on screen.  Of note, the hair is greyer here than it was on the Force Awakens Han from earlier this year, though it’s still a little closer to a light blonde than what’s seen in the movie.  Clearly, someone in licensing is against grey hair.  In addition to the removable cape, Krennic includes his custom blaster pistol, which can be stored in his holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While Super Awesome Girlfriend was looking for the Leia figure I reviewed yesterday, she came across this guy and decided that I needed him.  She does that a lot, but she also tends to be right about that a lot too, so yeah.  After seeing the movie, I’m definitely happy to have him, and this figure looks really cool when flanked by all of the specialized Trooper’s from the movie.

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#1162: Princess Leia

PRINCESS LEIA

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE

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Okay, I’d like to start today’s review by saying that the subject of today’s review was picked and put on the review schedule over a month ago.  Obviously, I wasn’t expecting Carrie Fisher’s recent heart attack.  I and everyone else here at the FiQ are praying for the best for Carrie and the rest of her family.  In honor of her and in support of her ongoing recovery, here’s this Princess Leia figure.

EDIT: I just learned of Ms. Fisher’s passing.  My thoughts and prayers go out to her family.  She will be greatly missed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

leiarebels2Princess Leia was released in the second series of Star Wars: Rogue One figures.  She’s not actually based on Rogue One, but is instead based on her appearance from Rebels.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  In Rebels, Leia’s design was based on some of the early Ralph McQuarrie designs for Leia, which is in keeping with the aesthetic of the rest of the show.  The figure gets an all-new sculpt, which does a pretty solid job of translating the design into plastic.  While Leia is a cartoon version of her character and meant to be a good decade or so younger than her movie appearances, you can still see a bit of Carrie Fisher in there, thus allowing you to pretty easily identify who she’s meant to be.  The proportions are all pretty sound (though obviously a little on the exaggerated side), and the details are all nice and sharply defined.  The hip articulation coulee possibly be worked into the sculpt a little more smoothly, but that’s really the only negative I can think of.  Her paintwork is probably some of the sharpest work I’ve seen on any of these smaller scale figures.  The color palette is nice and distinct, and all of the application is nice and clean.  No misplaced lines or wonky hair on this figure.  For accessories, Leia sports the E-11 Stormtrooper blaster, as well as yet another version of the grapple piece included with Cassian and Sabine.  It’s getting common enough that I think the missile launchers should be worried about being replaced.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was unable to find Leia when I picked up the rest of the Series 2 on Black Friday, which actually let me down a bit, since I was quite looking forward to the figure.  I ultimately found her a few weeks later at the same time as the Black Series Scarif Trooper, but only had the funds for one, so the trooper won out.   However, I mentioned it to Super Awesome Girlfriend and if you know anything about her, you know where this is going.  Yep, the next time she was at Walmart, she made a point of finding this Leia figure for me.  This is a pretty fun little figure, and a nice addition to my steadily growing Rebels collection.

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#1161: Contra

PLAYER 1 & PLAYER 2

CONTRA (NECA)

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I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely enjoyed Friday’s partner review.  And during the winter holidays, I think it’s a great time to deal with togetherness and stuff, so why not do another partner review? It’s definitely not just because this way I only have to do half the work.  What are you talking about?  Anyway, today I’m teaming up with my brother Christian to take a look at NECA’s recent Contra figures.  Any words to start us off Christian?

At this point, I do believe I’ve exclusively written about video game related toys. So to break the mold and expand into new horizons(*wink*), I’m talking about the Arnold-Contra-Guy, Bill Rizer (aka Player 1).

And I’ll be taking a look at Sly-Contra-Guy, Lance Bean (aka Player 2).  Let’s do this!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bill and Lance were released over this past summer as part of NECA’s Player Select. Unlike most of the line, this is a two-pack, because who in their right mind would release these two separately?  (Mattel probably would…)

PLAYER 1

contra5Ok. I’m not gonna be as much of a spicy meatball about the specifics as MC Ethan down below, but I got some things to say. So yadda-yadda he’s roughly 7 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. He’s got some like, uh, sand(?) all over his rippling biceps and pectorals and to accent this uber-testosterone he’s got like a bazillion bullets to refill his guns(but not those guns!*FLEX*). He’s waisted up with a knife(Heyo, I’m not Tim. I opened this box with a carving knife.) He looks really good and considering they only have the weird box art and 8-bit pixel patterns to work with and he’s a sturdy figure. In fact, maybe too sturdy. He’s not very easy to pose and is incredibly stiff. Other than that I have no issues. This is a well-made figure that does it’s job well: killing gosh darn aliens!

contra2I also kept the box, so let’s get cubular. The box art is an obvious homage to the original game’s box art and design(The NECA seal of approval looking like the Nintendo seal made me very happy; so thumbs up for effort!) This box is clearly trying hard to capitalize on the fans of the original and it does a fantastic job. This is not a box to throw away. As for what’s in the box, we’ve got a few accessories to choose from.   We’ve got the spread gun and the machine gun for your bullet-multiplying needs. We also have a sold and well-designed weapon capsule with the red falcon. These are very awesome assets to have and they really make these figures feel like more than just hit-it and quit-it NES inspired cash grabs. For me it’s a plus because rather than 18 million hands to not use to customize my figure, I get real in-game accoutrements that look cool in photos 🙂 

PLAYER 2

contra6Guess I gotta go all “spicy meatball” with the specifics here in my section.  Both Bill and Lance are built on NECA’s Jungle Encounter Dutch body.  As Christian noted above, the body is about 7 inches tall and sports 26 points of articulation.  The choice of body is pretty spot on; while Bill and Lance are commonly known to be patterned after Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, on the box art, both of the pair used shots of Schwarzenegger’s Dutch as models, making the use of actual Dutch bodies very appropriate.  It helps that the Dutch bodies are still amongst NECA’s strongest sculpts and are a very strong foundation for any figure.  Lance is sporting an all-new head sculpt based on his box art depiction.  For being based on a single two-dimensional image of a character we only ever see in profile, it does a remarkable job of capturing the general likeness of the character.  Not only is he almost perfect when viewed in profile, but he also just looks really good in general.  I know some people have expressed being slightly let down that he doesn’t really feature any sort of Stallone likeness, but I myself prefer him this way, as it let’s him actually be his own character, rather than just complete imitation of Rambo.  While the sculpt of the head is based on the box art, the rest of the figure, specifically the paint, is based on his actual in-game sprite.  Hence the bright blue clothing and the slightly strange shading on his upper half.  As with so many of NECA’s video game figures, their ability to simulate a pixelated character model on a fully detailed large scale figure is quite impressive, and Lance looks like the spitting image of his in-game model.  The accessories are mostly shared between these two figures, but Lance does get his own pistol and knife, as well as a base rifle to which you can add attachments to make the various types of guns that appear all throughout the game.

THE US HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Contra at a Goodwill for about 30 bucks. Currently, Contra has shot up in price nearing around $45-$50. It was one of the few non turn-based multiplayer games I had for my NES at the time(I don’t know how much over lap is, but thats’s the Nintendo Entertainment System for those in the dark about video game history. They just made another one, though it’s the small one from Las Vegas) and so I popped it in to play with my best an only bro, Ethan. Not being a child of the 80s, I didn’t have the Konami Code memorized(#F@#&Konami) and had to spend about ten minutes getting the code to work. From there it was free sailing and I had a blast playing it.  Close to a year later Ethan saw the figures in a Toys R Us in PA for only like $17. We picked it up and since Ethan and I are separated by 600 miles and both loved Contra about equally, we agreed to split the two-pack, but I got to keep the box. So by definition I win. Hee Hee!

Look at that, I didn’t have to write the outro! Alright!

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#1160: Hermey

HERMEY

RUDOLPH AND THE ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS (PLAYING MANTIS)

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Christmastime is here.  Happiness and cheer.  Wait, wait, sorry, that was last year.  Yes, it’s Christmas once again.  So, to those of you that celebrate, Merry Christmas.  And to those of you that don’t Happy Holidays! Last year was A Charlie Brown Christmas. This year, it’s the other big Christmas special, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.  Of course, I’m not looking at Rudolph himself.  No no, that would be too obvious.  Instead, I’m looking at his best pal Hermey, the elf who dreams of dentistry.  Because why not?  You do you, Hermey.  You do you.  Let’s get onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

hermie2Hermey was released in the first series of Playing Mantis’s Rudolf and the Island of Misfit Toys line from 2000.  As with many of Playing Mantis’s lines, Hermey was available as a single packed figure, as well as in a multi-pack with Sam the Snowman and Yukon Cornelius.  My figure was the single release.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Not the most posable figure ever, but he was actually pretty innovative for the time.  The hip articulation in particular is very clever, and pretty much entirely hidden.  Hermey’s sculpt is all-new to this particular figure.  It’s not a 100% accurate recreation of the stop-motion model from the special.  The head’s a little more rounded, especially around the chin, and his neck is a bit shorter.  That being said, he’s a pretty darn close recreation, and it seems the changes that were made were mostly in an effort to make the figure a little sturdier, which I can certainly appreciate.  The level of detailing on the sculpt is quite impressive.  The hair in particular is very well rendered.  The figure originally sported a removable hat, which mine is sadly missing.  It was actually pretty cool and it was secured on his head via a rather discrete set of raised ridges on the back of his hair.  Hermey’s paintwork is pretty solid work.  Most of it’s just pretty straightforward color work, but the face and hair sport some quite effective accent work, which offers the sculpt some “pop.”  Hermey included two large teeth (removed from Bumble), a pair of extracting tongs, a book on Dentistry, and a small hammer, which is a very nice assortment of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hermey when he was new.  I believe my Dad and I were running an errand to Target just prior to setting up the usual Christmas decorations, and I was allowed to pick something out for said decorating.  What a shock, I went for the action figure.  Yeah, I know.  Who’d have guessed?  Hermey’s always been my favorite character from Rudolph, and this figure’s a pretty darn good representation of him.  Playing Mantis had a tendency to take outside of the box properties and turn them into some pretty awesome toys, so it’s a shame that they aren’t still around.

#1159: ODST Rookie & Spartan Hayabusa

ODST ROOKIE & SPARTAN HAYABUSA

HALO MINIMATES

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Hey guys!  For today’s review, I’ll be doing something just a little bit different.  Today marks mine and Super Awesome Girlfriend’s third anniversary, and in honor of the occasion, we’re going to being partnering up for a review!  We’ll be looking at something that combines two of our favorite things: Minimates and Halo!  The set in question is ODST’s main character Rookie and Halo 3’s Hayabusa armor.  I’ll be looking at the Rookie, and Super Awesome Girlfriend will be following up with the Hayabusa. 

Ready Super Awesome Girlfriend?

Yes? O.O

Close enough!  Let’s see how this goes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Rookie and Hayabusa were released as part of the fourth TRU-exclusive series of Halo Minimates.  Both of them are exclusive to this particular two-pack (though there was another Hayabusa released later in a different color scheme).

ODST ROOKIE

odsthayabusa3It’s no secret (Seriously, it’s no secret at all, he geeks out about the armor every time he see it!) that I’m quite a fan of the ODST design.  Recently (well, several months ago, but within the last year), I played through Halo 3: ODST and it’s probably my favorite game in the series.  The only ODST proper to get released as a Minimate was the Rookie.  He’s not my favorite member of the ODST squad from the game (I didn’t really care for him either…), but he’s certainly better than nothing (and still plenty cool).  The Rookie stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (the boots remove the ankle articulation).  The figure uses the usual Minimate body as a starting point.  He’s got add-ons for his helmet, chestplate/belt, shoulder pads, thigh armor, gloves/wristbands, and boots.  It’s also worth noting that he uses the special thin waist piece created specifically for the Halo line in order to keep the belts from making them too tall.  The general quality of the sculpted pieces is pretty solid.  The helmet is the same one used on the Spartan ODST; I have some minor issues with it, but by-and-large it looks pretty good.  The rest of the parts capture the general ODST armor pretty nicely, though they do end up making him a bit bulkier than even the Spartans in this same line.  Still, independently he looks pretty awesome, and since scale’s never been totally perfect in ‘mates anyway, I don’t really mind all that much.  The paint on the Rookie is rather on the dull side, but that’s actually accurate to his in-game design, so that’s not a knock against him.  The application is overly pretty clean.  Not the sharpest work ever, but certainly not bad.  The Rookie included his signature silenced SMG, which he can hold decently enough, though not two handed as he does in the game.  I must say, it’s weird reviewing a ‘mate that predates when clear display stands were standard.

SPARTAN HAYABUSA

odsthayabusa2Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written an action figure review! I should probably catch up…

This isn’t the first Hayabusa figure that I’ve received from Ethan. The other figure is a much larger (blah-blah inches tall? It’s about 5 —Ethan) and is the only other Hayabusa figure that I know of (riiiiiiight Ethan? Apart from color variations, yes). Like the figure above, Haya is about 2 1/2 inches tall with a whopping 12 points of articulation. He has the standard Minimate body with the special Halo waist piece, he puts anorexic skinny to shame, see why it’s different in the section above. He’s got add-ons for his helmet, chestplate/belt, shoulder pads, thigh armor, gloves/wristbands, and boots. Haya’s boots and gloves/wristbands are thinner than previous Spartan minimates. His other add-ons are obviously unique, the Hayabusa armor is much different than your standard Spartan design or any other amor variant. I really enjoy the sculpting of this figure, I believe it’s a pretty good replica of the original armor considering the size of the figure. My favorite part of the figure is the helmet, I believe it’s the most difficult piece to make true to the video game design, but they did a fantastic job of it. It’s my favorite part because it looks like the figure is sporting a white Tom Selleck mustache. I know, it’s an odd thing to note about a figure but what can I say, I’m weird that way. The rest of the armor is also pretty cool, makes him look slick and intimidating. Haya’s paint job is a magnificent shade of bright red, much brighter than other Spartan Minimates. The white accents on the helmet and shoulder pads also help to brighten the red and make the figure POP! The only thing that I’m disappointed about with this figure is that he comes with just your standard battle rifle, which is my least favorite weapon. In the Halo games you can unlock a katana to go with the armor, which would have been wonderful to have. Now, I can understand why they wouldn’t include a katana, because it might’ve been to difficult to do. However, the figure doesn’t even come with an energy sword, one that the Elite’s tend to carry, which I believe would’ve added to his badassatude and definitely shows up in many game shots of the armor. Overall, it’s a pretty stellar figure that triggers the nostalgia and the memories of the hours spent over the summer collecting all the damn skulls to unlock that armor. Some of those memories were fonder than other, all of them had cursing or some childish variant if parents were in the room, it was a difficult armor to get.

THE US HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set from Yesterday’s Fun, while on vacation this year.  I’ve got a real soft spot for the ODSTs and I knew Jess really liked the Hayabusa, so the pairing was really quite convenient.  I know I was pretty happy wth the final product.  How ‘bout you, Super Awesome Girlfriend?

I really do love this figure! Hayabusa is by far my favorite Halo armor. Me and a friend of mine spent the majority of our summer in Middle School trying to get this armor in Halo 3. It took a lot of time, cursing, and Googling to find those skulls. We spent most of our time not in finding the skulls but getting to them without dying, our older siblings and parents had a lot of fun watching us and hearing our outbursts. This armor will always hold a special place in my heart, mostly because of them memories that went with it. As for figures, I have to agree with Ethan and say that I’m happy with the final product, really happy!

#1158: Mummy Boy

MUMMY BOY

NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS MINIMATES

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Merry day before the day before Christmas everyone!  As a Nightmare Before Christmas review, I had originally intended for this review to *actually* go up on Christmas Eve.  But, I’ve got a more important review for tomorrow, so this one got shifted just a day earlier on the schedule. So, I guess that’s good for those of you that like NBX?  This, like literally every NBX item in my collection, is a Minimate.  Now, I already looked at most of the main characters last year, so this time around I’m looking at one of film’s many distinctive background characters, the Mummy Boy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

mummyboy2The Mummy Boy was released in the second series of blind-bagged Nightmare Before Christmas Minimates.  He’s one of the Hot Topic-exclusive ‘mates from this particular set.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation.  He uses the smaller “kid” body that was recently added to the line.  Since the Mummy Boy was pretty small in the movie, it seems like a sensible choice.  Of course, in the movie he also had a more spherical head, but at some point, you have to draw the line, lest you lose the Minimate aesthetic.  The vast majority of the “character” of this guy is covered via paintwork.  The paint is actually pretty solid on this guy.  I really like the way they’ve conveyed the texturing on the bandages, and I particularly like the fact that the style on the bandages is ever so slightly different from those on Imhotep.  It makes for some nice diversity.  Mummy Boy’s only accessory is the standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Mummy Boy what feels like forever ago, on a trip to the mall with Super Awesome Girlfriend and some of her friends.  Super Awesome Girlfriend is a pretty big fan of NBX, so I was helping her find a few of the other characters in this series.  I found one bag that I was pretty sure had the Mummy Boy inside and liked him enough that I decided to get him for myself.  This guy’s fairly standard fare for a Minimate, but I can definitely appreciate him for his simplicity.

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#1157: Cyclops & Wolverine

ULTIMATE CYCLOPS & ULTIMATE WOLVERINE

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Minimates sure have come a long way.  There was a time when we all thought the line might just get those first three series and nothing else.  As such, many of the characters and designs represented in those early series were influenced by what was timely.  For instance, the earliest X-Men Minimates weren’t really based on any of the classic iterations of the team, but rather the just recently launched Ultimate X-Men, who also had the added benefit of having a slightly closer resemblance to the X-Men of the movies.  The characters released were also much more top tier, including today’s focus figures, Cyclops and Wolverine!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cyclops and Wolverine, like several of the other earliest ‘mates, were available in a few different ways.  The first way was as part of Series 3 of the main Marvel Minimates line, where Cyclops was paired with Jean Grey and Wolverine was paired with Storm.  They were also part of the TRU-exclusive five-pack with Storm, Logan, and Sabertooth.  The pair I’m looking at today are part of the first group of Target-exclusive ‘mates, which is the only time these two were packed together.

CYCLOPS

ultcyclopswolv3Poor Cyclops gets no respect, but the Ultimate universe certainly tried to give him his due.  On the plus side of things, he had one of the less sucky redesigns of the Ultimate ‘verse, since it pretty much stuck to his usual costume roots.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 inches tall.  He’s built on the pre-C3 base ‘mate body, so he’s got those weird long feet.  He’s got add-ons for his hair/visor and his belt.  Both pieces are certainly good for the time.  Not quite as detailed as later ‘mates would be, but also not as simplistic.  This is definitely one of the figures where elegant simplicity comes into play.  I like how they’ve summed up all the basic elements of Cyclops with as few details as possible.  The paintwork on Cyclops is decent enough.  What’s there is mostly pretty sharp, though there are a handful of misplaced lines, especially on the boots.  Obviously, he lacks the musculature and finer detailing that we’ve come to expect on more recent stuff, which look a little off.  Of course, thanks to the darker colorscheme, it’s a lot less of an issue here than it is on other ‘mates from the same time period.

WOLVERINE

ultcyclopswolv2Wolverine is no stranger to Minimates, but this was one of the first two he ever got.  It’s kind of strange to think that neither of his first two ‘mates featured his signature mask.  It’s worth noting that this figure is sporting Ultimate Wolverine’s second costume design.  It was a sensible choice, since it not only incorporates more of his classic costume’s design elements, but also fits better with the rest of the team.   Like Cyclops, he’s built on the pre-C3 body.  He has add-ons for his hair and belt, as well as clawed hands.  The hair isn’t the classic Wolverine style hair, but that’s actually accurate to the comic.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, and it would later see re-use on the first version of Quicksilver.  The claws are an older version of the hands, and are a little more rudimentary than those of the most recent Wolverines.  They’re not awful, but the improved versions were definitely warranted. The paint work on Wolverine is decent overall, but not without issue.  Most noticeably, there’s just a splotch of fellow on his right hand and wrist, which just looks rather odd.  Still, the overall appearance is decent enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cyclops was actually one of my earliest Minimates (as part of the first three two-packs I picked up), but that was the specialty release with Jean.  Over the years, I lost a number of pieces to both of them, so they’ve been incomplete for a while now.  I ended up finding this set at Player’s Choice, a gaming and collectibles store in the local mall, a few weekends ago.  Since I was looking to replace Cyclops and I never actually owned this Wolverine, I figured it was worth it to pick them up.  They’re not a bad set.  Sure, there have been lost of subsequent releases of both characters, but for Cyclops especially, it’s truly hard to top that first release in terms of memorability.