#1156: Justice Guild

THE STREAK, TOM TURBINE, BLACK SIREN, & GREEN GUARDSMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

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Some of the best characters are the ones that come about because creative teams aren’t allowed to use a pre-existing character.  One of the most famous examples of this is Watchmen, which was originally meant to make use of DC’s recently acquired Charlton characters.  DC seems to do this to their creators rather frequently, as this also cropped up a few times during the course of the DC Animated Universe.  My particular favorite of these was The Justice Guild of America, from the Justice League episode “Legends.”  The episode was originally drafted with the Justice Society in mind, but was ultimately changed when DC decided the direction of the story didn’t fit how they wanted the JSA portrayed.  Fortunately, this worked out pretty well, as it gave the creators more free reign with the characters, and resulted in one of the most entertaining entries in Justice League.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released as one of Matty Collector-exclusive four-packs from Mattel’s Justice League Unlimited line.  Now, it’s a Mattel review, so you’re probably already expecting a bit of Mattel hate.  Well, here it is:  Who in their right mind releases a four-pack based on a five member team?  On top of that, one of the four members released here is Black Siren, who is part of a duo with the unreleased member Catman.  The back of her box even has Catman in both of the screen shots of her!  Were they just rubbing it in our faces?  Seeing as the four-packs were actually just four single-carded figures packed together, and thus there wasn’t an issue of needing to redo the packaging, couldn’t they just have made this a five-pack?  Or, if they really felt the need to go with arbitrary number schemes, couldn’t they have just made it a six-pack and just thrown in a Green Lantern figure to round the set out?  No, that would be sensible.  Can’t have that, especially not on a Matty Collector-exclusive.  It wouldn’t be right!  Okay, I vented, let’s actually look at the figures.

THE STREAK

justiceguild2The Streak possessed super speed and was the leader of the Justice Guild of America, a team of Super Heroes from a simpler time.  Things got complicated when a group of strange heroes calling themselves the Justice League visited their home town of Seaboard City.” The Streak is the Guild’s answer to Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash.  As such, he takes a lot of design cues from Garrick, but trades out Jay’s more unique helmet for an old-school racing helmet. The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  He’s built on the mid-sized body (patterned on Green Lantern’s sculpt), which is a good fit for him.  He has an all-new head, as well as new legs to add in his boot cuffs.  The new pieces do a pretty good job of capturing his look on the show, and the head in particular is a very good rendition of the Streak’s look.  The paint on the Streak is bright, clean, and bold, which are all good things.  The red is noticeably brighter than the JLU version of the Flash (as it should be).  As a whole, this is a design that looks really good as an action figure.

TOM TURBINE

justiceguild4A power belt allowed Tom Turbine to generate energy as needed.  He and The Justice Guild protected Seaboard City for years, though between missions he continued to work on his pet project: a gateway capable of piercing the dimensional barriers between multiple earths!” Tom Turbine actually has a couple of analogues in the JSA.  While he actually replaced Al Pratt’s the Atom in “Legends,” and borrows from the Atom in a few areas of design, as well as stature, he also has a similar power set and limitations to Hourman, as well as the general demeanor of Mr. Terrific.  This results in him being by far the most unique of the five Justice Guilders, as well as the most rounded.  He’s built on the same medium body as the Streak, but the only piece that’s actually shared is the torso.  The head, arms, and legs are all unique to this figure, and he’s also got an add-on for his belt.  These new pieces are alright, though I can’t say any of them are as spot-on as the Streak.  The legs make him a little shorter, but it’s not actually enough to be all that noticeable.  I do like that the arms have two fists, since that’s sort of key to the character, but I can’t help but sort of wish they’d just sculpted them into the hands on the hips pose he sported a few times in the episode, since it’s not like the articulation’s good for anything anyway.  The head’s really where the accuracy slips up a bit.  It’s close, but just too squared off for Tom, who was slightly rounder in the face.  Tom’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The colors match up with those seen on the show, and everything’s pretty clean.  The change between the neck and the yellow of his shirt isn’t quite as overt as I’d like, but it’s hard to say what they could have done to fix that.

BLACK SIREN

justiceguild5A nuclear blast destroyed the world Black Siren fought to protect, along with the other members of the Justice Guild.  Then the world and the Guild were back, returned to life by the mental powers of Ray Thompson.  When the truth was revealed, the Guild has to destroy everything again – including themselves.”  Okay, seriously?  That’s Black Siren’s bio?  It’s not even about Black Siren!  It’s just a synopsis of “Legends” (and not even a particularly good one, at that).  I’m guessing Siren got the short end of the stick on bios, since any actual bio for her would have to mention Catman, and we wouldn’t want to remind everyone we left him out.  Of course, this bio mentions Ray, who was also never released, so zero points there.  Second round of venting done.  Okay, so Black Siren was based on Black Canary, who would eventually be properly brought into the show when the roster was expanded.  Her partnership with Catman is patterned on Black Canary’s frequent partnering with Wildcat (another thing that would be properly brought into the show later down the line).  Ultimately, Black Siren is kind of the shallowest character introduced in “Legends,” with her main purpose being to showcase the casual sexism of a bygone era.  Anyway, her figure is built on the standard female body, which wasn’t really one of the stronger bases they had at their disposal.  The legs are oddly spaced, causing the arms to bash into them, and pretty much all of the articulation is useless.  For her part, Black Siren got a unique head sculpt, which is a reasonable enough piece, I suppose.  The jawline seems a bit solid for Siren, but it’s not the worst.  Now, she really should also have a unique set of legs to properly replicate the boots, since those bands should be three-dimensional, but she just get’s the normal legs.  It seems odd that everyone else got all the pieces they needed and she didn’t.  The paintwork on Siren is pretty good overall.  The application is pretty solid and crisp.  Most of the colors match, but the lavender sections should be a more straight grey to be totally show accurate.  Siren is the only figure in the set to get an accessory: a display stand.  It’s good, because she can’t stand without it.  Of course, this is really the sort of thing that should have been standard for all of the figures.

GREEN GUARDSMAN

justiceguild3Powerless against anything aluminum, the Green Guardsman used his power ring to protect Seaboard City as a member of the Justice Guild.  A young John Stewart, who would grow up to become Green Lantern, read comic books of his adventures!” That’s a better bio, I suppose, but the bit about John seems really tacked on.  John doesn’t really interact with Green Guardsman at all.  So, in case it wasn’t obvious, Green Guardsman takes the place of Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern.  Like the other male figures in the set, Guardsman is built on the medium male body, with a unique head and an add-on piece for the cape.  The head’s okay, but probably the weakest of those included in the set.  It’s looks a little smooshed at the front.  The cape would actually go on to be shared with Alan Scott himself later on the line.  It’s a decent enough piece, but it makes him really difficult to keep standing.  The paintwork on Green Guardsman is about on par with the rest of the set.  It’s bright and bold, and the lifework is all pretty clean.  The only real nit is that the ring gets kind of lost on the hand.  Maybe an outline or something would have made it stand out?  Guardsman includes no accessories.  While that’s somewhat more forgivable with the others, this guy would have really benefited from some constructs or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this set hit Matty Collector, I had pretty much completely checked out of the JLU line, and Matty Collector too.  Turns out, a pretty large portion of the collector-base had done the same thing, which meant this, and a lot of the other sets from the same time period ended up being marked down on Matty Collector and later closed out and made available at a number of other retailers.  I ended up finding these four at Power Comics on small business Saturday, for a rather good price.  I’m still not happy about Catman being left out, especially since he’s never, ever going to get a figure at this point.  That being said, the rest if the figures are pretty cool, and I guess some are better then none.

#1155: Kanan Jarrus

KANAN JARRUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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So, when The Black Series was launched, the focus was most prominently on the Original Trilogy characters (with one or two Prequel characters here and there, but definitely secondary).  As the line has continued, it’s become a bit more inclusive, adding The Force Awakens, of course, but also some Clone Wars and Rebels characters (and in the most recent series, even a proper EU character).  Today, I’ll be looking at one of those Rebels figures, namely Kanan Jarrus!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

kananbs3Kanan was released in the sixth series of the third round of Star Wars: The Black Series (i.e. the sixth series of Force Awakens Black Series).  He’s figure #19 in the line, which I believe makes him the first Rebels figure numerically.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This figure takes Kanan’s animated design and sort of real-world-izes it.  It’s a good plan on Hasbro’s part; with the smaller scale figures, you’re guaranteed to get a larger quantity of them, so the stylized look won’t stand out as much, but for the larger figures, where animated releases will be far more spaced out, it’s far better to have them fit with the rest of the established line.  This way Kanan can get right to mowing through Stormtroopers without waiting for a proper Rebels Trooper release.  Overall, I think Kanan’s sculpt does a reasonable job of taking Kanan’s animated design and translating into how he might look in a live action film.  It’s not perfect, and I do really think Hasbro would have been smart to base Kanan on his voice actor Freddie Prinze, Jr in terms of likeness and build.  While it certainly looks like Kanan, he still ends up being a little more cartoony than a real person; his eyes (and head in general, really) are rather large, and his torso and arms seem very scrawny.  They’re certainly not as exaggerated as his animated counterpart, but when compared to some of the other figures from the line, he does look ever so slightly famished.  On the plus side, the texture work on the figure’s clothes is pretty outstanding, even better than a few of the other Black Series figures.  I like that each article of clothing has its own texture.  As far as the paint work goes, Kanan matches up with most of the more recent Black Series releases.  He’s a notable improvement over some of the prior figures, and most of the work is pretty sharp.  He could probably stand to have a little more accent work in a few spots, but what’s there works.  There is this weird clump scratched paint on his neck thing, almost like he was scratched before the paint had completely dried, but that’s the only real nit.  Kanan is packed with sidearm blaster, as well as his lightsaber, the hilt of which is designed got separate into two pieces that clip onto his belt, just like on the show.  It’s not the world’s largest accessory complement, but it’s better than several other figures in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, Kanan was released prior to me getting into Rebels, which means I saw him a number of times and passed him up, since I didn’t know the character (yes, I know I bought all of the Rogue One and Force Awakens stuff before seeing the movies and “knowing the characters.”  You’re very smart.  Now shut up).  By the time I got into the show and actually wanted this guy, he had pretty much disappeared from shelves.  Fortunately for me, there are still some cases of series 6 making their way out there, and one such case had hit the Target where I found the second series of Rogue One figures, allowing me to grab this guy at the same time.  Karan has his flaws, but so did a lot of figures in this particular series, and at least his don’t prevent him from being a fun action figure.

#1154: Firefly

FIREFLY

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

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Batman has perhaps the most memorable rogue’s gallery in comics.  It’s colorful, diverse, and has produced several of comics’ greatest villains.  But, when you’ve got a 75+ year old character with two to three appearances a month, you need a lot of villains, and they aren’t always going to be the most thrilling.  When it came to Batman: The Animated Series, the creators rather quickly realized that there were only so many top tier villains that could be used, so they started picking up some of the more minor foes and trying to inject a bit more life into them.  One of their less successful attempts was Firefly.  Oh, they gave it their best try, believe me.  He got a pretty sweet design and he was even voiced by Mark Rolston (Drake from Aliens), but he amounted to little more than a villain of the week.  He was also one of the characters totally left out of Kenner’s The New Batman Adventures line.  But, it seems DCC is determined to cover just about everyone they can, so he’s got a figure now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

firefly2Firefly is part of DCC’s Batman: Animated line.  He’s figure 28, which places his in Series 7 of the line.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Firefly was a TNBA-exclusive character, so there’s just the one design to choose from.  This figure is listed as specifically being based on Firefly’s first appearance “Torchsong,” but he could just as easily be based on “Legends of the Dark Knight” or even his brief Justice League appearance.  As I noted in the intro, it’s a design I quite like.  It’s fairly simple, but that gives it a sort of sleekness, which makes it really fit with the rest of the animated series designs.  The sculpt on this figure does a pretty reasonable job of capturing the design and translating it into three dimensions.  There are some liberties here and there.  The most obvious is the antenna on the right side of his head, which is about ten times larger than it should be, presumably so it would be less likely to break.  Apart from that, he stays pretty close.  One area where he takes a bit of a hit accuracy wise is the paint.  In every appearance, Firefly’s suit was depicted as having a definite metallic sheen.  Here, it’s just flat grey.  It sort of robs him of any sort of pop, since grey isn’t the most exciting color.  Even if silver was too much, at leas a slightly shinier finish to the grey would have gone a long way, making him not only more visually interesting, but also much more accurate.  Also, in the show, his lenses were black with a red highlight, which they still are here, but the highlights aren’t angled the same way, which makes them look less like highlights and more like really askew pupils. It’s mostly the left sense; if it were just a smidgen to the right, the whole thing would look much better.  Firefly is packed with four sets of hands (fists, relaxed, gripping, and trigger finger), his flamethrower gun, and a display stand.  It would have been nice to also get his flame sword that he uses in both of his TNBA appearances, but I guess what we got here is nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Firefly came from Cosmic Comix, specifically their Biggest Sale of the Year (TM).  I wasn’t actually able to be there in person this year, so he was picked up by proxy (i.e. my dad).  The figure is decent enough, but for a line that initially prided itself on remaining accurate to the source material, I’m finding more and more of the figures have had severe liberties taken, which can get a little frustrating.

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Rogue One: A Movie Review

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I don’t do a lot of movie reviews here, seeing as I’m running an action figure review site and all, but the Star Wars franchise, more than a lot of franchises, is almost entirely built on the action figures that can be sold to go along with each new film release.  As with last year’s The Force Awakens, I’m sure that this next week will see Rogue One reviews galore, but I figured I may as well throw my hat into the ring.

THE ACTUAL REVIEW

Spoiler Free:

Let me start out by saying I did really like the movie.  It didn’t have perhaps the same awe-inspiring feel I got out of The Force Awakens, but quite frankly, it was just a very different sort of movie.  Where prior entries in the franchise have placed a heavy focus on the “Star” portion of the name, this movie flips over to the “Wars” part.  There is no denying that this is a movie about war.  A lot of reviews have cited it as a fairly straight war movie.  I personally would cite it as having the trappings of both a war movie and a heist movie. It’s a very different feel for the franchise, but it offers a plethora of new ground to be covered in future “stand-alone” movies.

jynbseadu1Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso presents a slightly different type of lead than we’re used to.  Unlike Luke and Rey (and I suppose Anakin) who are unrelated innocents dragged into a grander conflict, Jyn is in it from the start, albeit in reluctant manner.  There’s a sort of a drive to Jyn that keeps her going, but at times it seems to just appear out of nowhere.  She’s certainly given motivation for each part of the mission, but sometimes her resolve seems stronger than her outward rebelliousness would indicate.

Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor takes the role of dashing rogue in this film.  However, where Cassian is still a charmer, he is perhaps one of the more compromised Rebels we’ve seen on screen.  Luna does a good job of conveying some of Cassian’s internal struggle, and he’s certainly likable, but he’s not a Han Solo clone; he’s cut from a rougher cloth.

cassianeadu3Alan Tudyk as K-2SO delivers what is easily my favorite performance in the film.  It’s an interesting commentary on the states of the various characters that he, a reprogrammed Imperial Droid, is the least compromised member of the titular team.  K-2 is, of course, CGI, but he’s built on Tudyk’s actual performance, and it really shows through.  There is a brief moment where K-2 passes another Security Droid, and just the way the two carry themselves when walking speaks volumes to what sort of a character K-2 is.  K-2 is sort of like Chewbacca, if Chewy happened to speak in a posh Brittish accent.  He lumbers about in the back of scenes, speaks to all of the characters with brash and blunt sort of innocence that makes him quite amusing and very relatable.

Donnie Yen and Jian Wong as Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus add another inseparable pair to the Star Wars universe.  The two have a lot of chemistry and feel like they’ve been companions for a good long while before the movie’s start.  They also offer up some of the movie’s best action sequences. Chirrut’s careful, plotted take down off the Stormtroopers on Jedha is beautifully choreographed, and then wonderfully contrasted with Baze’s portable lawnmower approach.

Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook is this sort of sad, well-meaning guy.  He’s sort of key in getting the movie’s action going, and is a genuinely likable guy.  Perhaps the only oddity to Bodhi is how alone he always seems to be.  While the rest of the crew seems to naturally form into these little teams, Bodhi never seems to find his comfort zone.  There’s a slight hint of a possible friendship for him and K-2, but the movie’s frantic pace never really allows for it.

Forrest Whitaker’s turn as Saw Gurera is important, because he’s actually the first cartoon character to make the jump to the big screen.  It’s a smaller part than I think a lot of us expected.  He still leaves quite an impact on the story, and provides us with a well-meaning but misguided extremist, the likes of which we haven’t really had before (in the main movies, anyway).  Whitaker gives a very convincing portrayal of a shell-shocked veteran who is just in too far over his head.  His interactions with Jyn are an intriguing analysis of the problems with a warrior trying to take on a paternal role.

Speaking of paternal roles, Mads Mikkelson’s Galen Erso continues the franchise’s trend of troubled parent-child relationships, but with with a different twist.  Galen is sort of a tragic figure, and his relationship with the Empire calls to mind Wernher Von Braun’s with the Nazis.

What good are heroes without some villains, though?  Well, the main villain is Ben Mendlesohn’s Director Krennic.  While the Imperial command have always been rather spineless, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten anyone quite as detestable and slimy as Krennic.  He’s an opportunist, and a manipulator, and it’s clear that even amongst the other Imperials he’s not very well-liked.  What’s interesting is just how separated from the rest of the cast Krennic is.  He spends much of his screen time scheming just off to the side of the main heroes, but rarely does he directly interact. 

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Spoilers after the jump!

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#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Hey ho, it’s another Minimate review. They kind of come in clusters, I guess. Of course, where yesterday’s focus figure came from way back at the beginning, today’s is a more recent addition to the line. So, without further ado, here’s Black Widow and Dark Avengers Iron Man!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As with all the Walgreens ‘mates, these two are animated series-based, specifically Avengers Assemble.

BLACK WIDOW

widowdaim2Black Widow is one of the main members of the team in Avengers Assemble, so her appearance here isn’t a huge shock, especially since they’ve been steadily working through the animated incarnation of the team. The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. Widow is based on her second costume from the show, which is a bit more distinct when compared to the same basic Widow we’ve gotten a few times, so definitely a good choice. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which she shares with the previously reviewed Gamora ‘mate. It’s a nice enough piece, and I guess it matches well enough with her animated design. The rest of her design is rendered via paint work, which is pretty solid. As I’ve noted a few times before, the animated designs really do translate pretty well to the ‘mate form, and Widow definitely fits that trend. The colors are nice, bright, and bold, and all of the line work is nice and crisp. The figure is packed with a pair of batons and a clear display stand.

DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

widowdaim3The second season of Avengers Assemble introduced frequent Marvel fixture the Squadron Supreme, who are the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. They took advantage of the Squadron’s alternate universe to also introduce the Dark Avengers, evil counterparts to the main heroes. DST decided to take advantage of these new designs to offer some slightly more unique designs for the characters we’ve all seen so many times before. The first one was Iron Man, whose design swaps out the red portions of his armor for black, because everyone knows black = evil, I guess. Construction-wise, he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt, as well as special upper arm pieces. Everything is reused, which is generally okay. The Mark 42 arms still aren’t among my favorites, mostly due to serious limitations they place on the shoulder movement. Aside from that, though, he does a decent enough job of capturing the look of the armor on the show. The paintwork on this guy is passable, but nowhere near as nice as some of the others in this subset. He’s rather drab, being a dark blue and a rather cold yellow. Ultimately, he ends up looking like a slightly blander version of the Marvel Now Iron Man from a few years ago. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which is a bit angrier than the usual Tony. The flesh tone on the face is kind of thin, so he ends up looking rather bluish. Also, the figure’s paint just seems rather sloppy in general. The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who bought them from a Walgreens during a trip back home over the summer. Apparently, she likes to buy things for me when she’s stressed. Widow’s a pretty solid ‘mate. Dark Avengers Iron Man is…well he doesn’t feel like the most inspired choice. Of all the Dark Avengers designs, his is really one of the less interesting, and to top it off, his paint work is noticeably lower in quality than others in the series. Overall, I think Widow’s enough to save the pack, but it would have been nice if her pack mate had been more exciting.

#1152: Bruce Lee

BRUCE LEE – ASCENSION OF THE DRAGON

BRUCE LEE MINIMATES

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Okay, let’s take a brief break from all this Star Wars stuff, and have a look at something else I like to review a lot: Minimates!  I’ve spoken a few times about the genesis of the current gen Minimates, and how the line was initially much larger in scale, and a bit smaller in scope.  Back in April, I actually took a look at my first 3-inch Minimates, based on 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  In a similar vein, today’s review takes a look at another of the earliest licenses to grace the Minimate form, Bruce Lee!  There were four different Bruce Lees available, each based on a different movie.  Today, I’ll be looking at the “Ascension of the Dragon” version of Bruce.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

bruceleemm2Bruce was released in the first and only (well, only to be released anyway; there was a second series of figures planned) series of Bruce Lee Minimates.  All four figures in the set were released both tubed and carded, but the figures within the packaging were essentially the same.  Now, this figure is titled “Ascension of the Dragon,” but his look is based on Lee’s character Hai Tien from Game of Death (the movie Lee was filming when he died, and thus never completed).  It’s the source of the yellow and black-striped jumpsuit that so many other forms of media have parodied since, and it’s kind of the defining Bruce Lee look, so it’s definitely a very solid choice for one of the four ‘mates produced.  The figure stands a little over 3 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the old 3-inch ‘mate body.  As I noted in my CTHD review, the body is very similar to the modern-day 2-inch body, but it has a few marked differences, and sort of shows some of the Minimate development process.  The figure has one add-on pice for his hair.  It’s obviously a lot more basic and geometric than more recent ‘mates but it does a suitable job of summing up the general look that Bruce had in the film.  The rest of his details are handled via paint.  As with pretty much every early ‘mate, the level of detail is definitely more on the simple side of things.  That being said, what’s there is very sharply detailed, and even with just a few scant details, the face does quite a nice job of conveying Lee’s likeness.  The ‘mate included a pair of nunchucks, a green pointed stick, and one of the weird puzzle piece things that all the early ‘mates included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get this guy new.  Of course, unlike the CTHD ‘mates, this is actually the sort of figure I might have actually picked up new, but I just never got around to it.  I ended up getting this guy at a flea market (the same one where I got Thallo and Savage Dragon, and in fact the same one where I got the CTHD ‘mates as well).  He’s certainly a fun figure.  Very different from modern ‘mates, but in a way that’s not of a lower quality, just a different one.

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#1151: Scarif Stormtrooper

SCARIF STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Last night, showings started for Rogue One. I was traveling yesterday, so I won’t actually be seeing it until later this evening, but I sure hope it’s good. I’ve got one more Rogue One-related review lined up for today. This one gives us another look into some of the Empire’s new (well newly appearing, anyway) Troopers, specifically of the Scarif variety. I’ve already looked at one of the Squad leaders, but now I’m looking at one of regular grunts!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

scariftrooperbs3The Scarif Stormtrooper is Walmart’s Star Wars: The Black Series exclusive for 2016. He just started hitting right at the beginning of December, but as is always the case with these sorts of figures, he might be more prevalent in some areas than others. The figure is about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. I’ve already covered a lot of this figure before, thanks to most of his parts being shared with the TRU-exclusive Hovertank Pilot. This figure is really just a new head and belt/skirt. The designs share a lot of common pieces on the actual costumes, so the reuse is certainly warranted, and I had actually guessed this reuse was imminent when I reviewed that figure. It’s certainly a decent base body to start with, and I like it just as much here as I did the first time around. The new pieces mesh quite well with the preexisting parts, and look to be fairly accurate to the movie. The paint work on this guy is pretty solid, and actually a bit better than a lot of prior Black Series releases. The colors match up pretty well with the movie designs, and the base work is all pretty clean. What’s really cool is there’s even some additional accent work and weathering, which helps to make the Trooper look nice and battle worn. After a disappointing number of totally spotless figures, it’s a refreshing change of pace. The Scarif Trooper’s only accessory is a basic Stormtrooper blaster, though it’s worth noting that this blaster’s got the extra detailing that we saw with the Eadu Jyn, which is cool to see be a continuing trend.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh boy, this guy. Was getting this guy a fun trek. So, he wasn’t ever really announced by Hasbro. News of him instead broke when someone’s Walmart started running the ad showing off the figure on their in-store monitors right around Rogue Friday. Most other stores, including the one closest to me, followed suit shortly thereafter. Of course, while there may have been an ad, there was no sign of the figure anywhere. It was quite surreal, because it’s very rare to see an ad for any action figure these days, and it’s usually for figures that have long since left shelves. Getting the ad for the figure months before we see even a production sample? That’s weird. With no indication of when the figure would be showing up, I ended up stopping in at the closest Walmart rather frequently, and getting more and more disappointed with each visit. But, as luck would have it, after almost completely giving up, I stopped once more last week on a whim. I actually almost missed him at first; he’s supposedly hitting in solid cases of just him, but there was only the one left by the time I got there. I’m really glad I finally found him. The Scarif Trooper is my favorite of the new designs, and this is a very well put together figure too!

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#1150: Darth Vader

DARTH VADER

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE

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I don’t have any specific numbers off of the top of my head, but if I had to hazard a guess as to which Star Wars character had the most action figures, I’d probably go for Darth Vader.  Something about this guy speaks to the fans, and that results in a lot of merchandise with his face (or mask, I guess) plastered all over it.  It’s not really a huge shock that Rogue One found a way to include good ol’ Darth in the film, especially since getting him in there didn’t take too many insane jumps of logic (I mean, I think.  Still haven’t seen the movie).  Vader has found his way into a few of the toylines for the film, because really, what licensee in their right mind wouldn’t take advantage of his latest appearance.  Today, I’ll be looking at his newest 3 3/4 inch figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

vaderro3Darth Vader is another figure from the second series of Hasbro’s Star Wars: Rogue One line.  The figure stands about 4 1/4 inches tall and has a whopping 6 points of articulation.  Waist articulation FTW!  Can that become standard again?  Believe it or not, Vader’s actually an entirely new sculpt, which is a pretty big deal.  He’s based specifically on his Rogue One design, which is itself just a slightly cleaned up version of the A New Hope design.  Believe it or not, ANH-accurate Vader’s are few and far between, which means this guy offers up something pretty darn cool, despite just being another Darth Vader.  On top of the ANH accuracy, the sculpt is also just one of the best Vader sculpts out there, especially when compared to Hasbro’s last few attempts at the character (including the less than stellar Black Series figure).  The scaling is right, the proportions are well matched, the details are sharp, and his left hand is doing his ANH force choke (which was slightly different from later films).  I suppose the lightsaber grip on the right hand could be a little better (his hold on the hilt is a little loose and awkward), but that’s really the only major complaint I can come up with.  He even gets a nice sculpted cape, which is much nicer than the mediocre cloth capes included with the last few Vaders.  Even the paint’s pretty good on this guy.  The color work is all pretty tight, and there’s some nice variation on the finish of the different blacks of his costume (to be truly ANH-accurate, the helmet should really be matte finish, but it looks like the shiny helmet was kept for Rogue One, meaning this guy’s still accurate).  Vader includes his lightsaber, as well as a big missile launcher, which is really, really goofy, especially with Vader.  He makes missile launchers goofier.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, oddly enough, Vader was my most wanted figure from the second series.  It’s strange, because it’s not like I don’t already have a handful of smaller-scale Vader figures, but I guess after getting the Rogue One Stormtrooper, which was such a great rendition of that design, I just really wanted a version of the big boss man himself that was of a matching quality.  Like the last four figures I’ve looked at, I picked up this Vader figure from Target late on Black Friday, and I was quite happy to find him.  The figure really turned out well, and this is definitely my go-to Vader moving forward!

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#1149: Chirrut Imwe

CHIRRUT IMWE

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE

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Of the five Star Wars figures I’m looking at today, only one of them is actually a new character (well, one of them’s debatably a new character, but it’s iffy at best), and that’s today’s focus, Chirrut Imwe.  Chirrut is portrayed Donnie Yen, who isn’t the biggest name in the States, but is a pretty big name action star in Hong Kong and other parts of Asia.  Given just how much of the original Star Wars was influenced by Asian cinema, Yen feels like a more than natural fit for the franchise.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him in action in the film.  Now, onto his figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

chirrut2Chirrut is another piece of the second series of Star Wars: Rogue One figures.  Given his prominence in the trailers, he was one of the more notable absences from the first wave of products, but he’s here now, and that’s what’s important.  The figure stands a little under 3 3/4 inches tall (he the shortest of the Rebels, excepting Jyn) and he has the usual 5 points of articulation.  I’m a little saddened that Hasbro didn’t take advantage of the loose sleeves to give him extra movement on the arms they war they did with the first Jyn figure, but oh well.  Chirrut’s sculpt is alright, but there are some oddities to it.  First and foremost, it’s by far the most pre-posed of the Rogue One figures. He’s posed sort of mid-stride, or something, but like only from the waist down.  His upper half is rather on the rigid side, but he also seems to have a slight hunch.  All that being said, the head sculpt has a halfway decent Donnie Yen likeness, which is certainly better than a number of other figures in the line.  The sculpt also does a nice enough job of translating his costume into plastic form.  It’s worth noting that we’re back to cutting the robes into an odd set of legs.  It actually works a bit better here than it does sometimes, though it’s quite clear it was sculpted as a solid piece and had the articulation cut into it.  The paint work on Chirrut is fairly well handled.  Th colors a pretty nice match for those from the film (well, I think so, anyway), and the application is all pretty clean.  His irises seem a little on the dark side, since he’s supposed to be blind and all, but they’re different enough from the normal figures’ eyes to be noticeable, which I guess is the important part.  Chirrut includes his staff, which he has a little trouble holding, but is overall a nice piece, as well as a giant missile launcher, which looks to be patterned after his crossbow-looking thing we’ve seen in some of the posters.  He has a lot of trouble holding the missile launcher, but it’s not like I’m really going to complain about that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember where I got the last two figures?  Wanna guess where I got Chirrut?  Yeah, same bat-place, same bat-story (wait, I thought this was a Staaaaar Wars post!).  Of the figures in Series 2, Chirrut was nearer the top of the list of the ones I wanted.  Ultimately, he’s not the best figure in the smaller scale line, but he’s hardly the worst either.  He’s certainly a nice addition to the team.

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#1148: Cassian Andor

CASSIAN ANDOR (EADU)

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE

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Perhaps the most glaring omission from the first 3 3/4 inch series of Hasbro’s Rogue One line was Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor.  He got a 6-inch figure, and he was included in the big U-Wing set, but there was no basic single release for him.  It’s not a huge surprise that he’s one of the main figures in the second assortment, albeit sporting a different look than the U-Wing figure (though it’s actually the exact same look as the 6-inch figure).  So, was he worth the extra wait?  Let’s find out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted above, Cassian Andor was released in Series 2 of Hasbro’s Star Wars: Rogue One line.  Like his larger counterpart, he’s based on his Eadu look, which is a look rather reminiscent of the Hoth looks from Empire Strikes Back.  It’s not a look we’ve seen him in very much in the trailers and such, but I suppose it’s just as valid as any, and it’s not like Cassian’s more prevalent brown-jacketed look isn’t getting it’s own share of figures in the coming months.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation.  Cassian is sporting a brand new sculpt, and while it’s decent enough, I think it’s one of the weaker sculpts from the Rogue One line.  It’s possible that it’s because I saw this design on the Black Series figure first and that’s coloring my opinion, since this one is a bit simpler in terms of details.  On its own, the sculpt is a passable translation of the design from the movie (from what I’ve seen, anyway).  The proportions are decently balanced, and he does actually look like he’s wearing all of the appropriate layers (always a concern with the Hoth-style looks).  The lower portion of the coat is a separate piece, glued in place.  While I certainly don’t mind, I do kind of wish Hasbro could stick to either this style or the “cutting everything like a normal set of legs” style; the jumping back and forth makes the figures less cohesive. The hat isn’t removable like the larger figure’s was (though it is still a separate piece, just glued to the head), which isn’t a surprise at this scale, but it robs him of that extra look the other figure had.  The likeness on the face still doesn’t look much like Luna to me; it’s looking like he’s the Oscar Isaac of this particular film in that respect.  The overall stance of the figure is a little stiffer than I’d like, but it’s not awful.  The paintwork on Cassian, like the sculpt, is certainly passable, but a little bit disappointing.  A lot of the issues are on the face, specifically the beard, which is really, really inconsistent.  For some reason, there’s this whole strip on the underside of his chin that’s just clean, unpainted flesh.  It looks weird.  Aside from that, the rest of the paint is okay, but a little on the drab side.  Like so many others from this line, he really feels like he’d benefit from any sort of accent work.  Cassian was packed with a small blaster and a zipline contraption.  The zipline is a slightly different model than the one included with Sabine (though it works the same way), but it’s still a pretty cool accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember how I got yesterday’s Rey figure?  Yeah, same story for Cassian.  Truth be told, this isn’t the Cassian I’ve been holding out for (that would be the jacketed one from the U-Wing, who’s set to be re-released in a two-pack sometime in the near future), but since I didn’t have the character at all in this scale, I felt sort of obligated.  I know, I have no restraint.  Ultimately, he’s not the most exciting figure, but I guess he’s not the worst thing ever.

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