#1197: K-2SO

K-2SO

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES

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By now, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to pull up the site at see K-2’s name at the top of the page.  He was by far my favorite part of Rogue One, and one of my favorite parts of the Star Wars universe in general.  I’m steadily working my way to owning every possible action figure version of this guy.  I’ve already gotten the obligatory 3 3/4 inch and Black Series figures, plus the Lego Constraction figure, and even the Pop! figure.  The line I almost always overlook is the Disney’s in-house line of die-cast figures, available exclusively at the Disney Store, but, as with Poe, I did track down the die-cast K-2 figure, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

k2diecast2K-2 was part of the assortment of Rogue One-related Star Wars: Elite Series released back on Rogue Friday.  The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and has 19 points of articulation.  If you read my Poe review, you’ll probably remember that he was in a 7-inch scale.  Now, if you reference my Black Series K-2 review, you’ll note that I gave that figure’s height at 7 1/2 inches.  No, I didn’t mess either measurement up; these two figures are the exact same size, which means this guy’s actually 1/12 scale, and thus not actually in scale with the rest of the Elite Series figures.  In Disney’s defense, in order to be in proper scale with the rest of the Elite Series, K-2 would have to be almost 9 inches tall; the materials cost alone would mean he’d have to be in his own unique price point.  At this size, he’s still about a half inch taller than Poe, meaning he won’t look horribly out of place.  The flip side of all this is that this figure is perfectly scaled with The Black Series, so if you aren’t happy with your Black Series K-2 or are unable to find that particular figure, you have a second option.  In terms of construction, K-2 is mostly metal, with plastic being used only for his head and hands.  Like Poe, this means he’s a little more restricted in terms of motion than, say his, Black Series counterpart.  However, unlike Poe, where the there were some issues with looking a little too soft due to the metal parts, K-2 seems to do alright on the details.  If anything, he’s the one figure that it makes total sense to do in die-cast, being a droid and all, and his more geometric stylings lend themselves far more to this style of figure.  Another improvement over Poe: all those pesky screws on the back now have covers.  You can still see where they are, but they stick out a whole lot less.  In terms of accuracy to the source material, I think this figure’s actually a little closer to the movie design than the Black Series figure.  The head’s certainly superior on this figure at least.  The rest you can sort of chalk cup to differences of materials.  About the only real negative is the way the neck articulation has been implemented; rather than sticking with the movie design, there’s now a trench running just above the neck, allowing you to place his head straight up, which is just the most unnatural looking thing.  In terms of paint, this K-2 gets the proper gunmetal grey finish that his other figures have lacked, and also gets the proper grey detailing on the shoulder joints.  Aside from that, though, he’s a bit of a step down from the Black Series figure, loosing out on a lot of that figure’s really cool weathering, and also getting an inaccurate Imperial logo on both shoulders.  K-2’s only accessory is a display stand, which is the same as Poe’s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

K-2 was picked up for me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend while we were out at the mall.  I caught sight of him through the window of the Disney Store on the way to another store and made a note to go back for him, but she snuck off later and grabbed him for me.  I’m a little disappointed that he’s not truly in scale with the Elite Series not because scale matters all that much to me, but more because him being the same size as the Black Series figure now leaves me eternally wondering which one I prefer.  If you want posablity and playability, go with the Black Series, but if you just want a cool looking K-2 for the shelf (and something you can possibly fend off home invaders with), you could do a lot worse than this guy.

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#1196: Dr Z – Rubin Zellar

“DR. Z” — RUBIN ZELLAR

SEAQUEST DSV (PLAYMATES)

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Okay, I went slightly ‘90s with yesterday’s Cannonball and Domino review.  I went a little more ‘90s with the Superman Red review.  Today, I’m going full ‘90s.  Yes, today I tackle SeaQuest DSV. SeaQuest, to those of you that don’t know, was a sci-fi series from the early ‘90s set in the futuristic world of 2018, aboard the naval submarine SeaQuest DSV 4600.  It was a little like classic Trek, but in the water.  Its first season was very strong, and heavy on the actual science (each episode ended with Dr. Robert Ballard explaining the science of that week’s plot), and featuring a diverse and fun cast of characters.  There were two seasons after that, but it’s generally in everyone’s best interest not to talk about them.  The series was fortunate enough to get a short-lived line of toys by Playmates (the then current holders of the Trek license, no less), which covered most of the main crew, plus two of the show’s antagonists.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the antagonists, Biochemical Terrorist Rubin “Dr. Z” Zellar from the episode “Games.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

drz2Dr. Z was released in 1993 as part of the first and only series of Playmates’ SeaQuest DSV line.  He’s based on his early appearance from “Games,” when he’s first picked up by the SeaQuest and is masquerading as a prison warden.  He probably spends a greater portion of the episode wearing a borrowed SeaQuest science staff uniform, but that might have proved slightly confusing in the toyline, since it would have made him look like an actual member of the crew.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall (putting him in the same scale as Playmates’ Trek line) and has 14 points of articulation.  While the Trek figures all got saddled with those wonky v-hips, the SeaQuest figures actually got pretty traditional t-hips, and also got thigh swivels too.  Odd that the unproven show got the better treatment.  The sculpt is pretty similar to the Trek stuff in style, which is to say it’s not super ultra realistic, but it’s still a halfway decent recreation of Zellar’s look from the show.  The head sports a passable likeness of Zellar’s actor Alan Scarfe, and the general proportions are actually a little better than the Trek stuff I’ve looked at.  The standout bit of this figure is definitely the fur coat, which is surprisingly well detailed for a figure of this era and scale.  Zellar’s paintwork is pretty solid; it’s not the most exciting work, but what’s there is nice and clean, and the once again the jacket stands out with some detail work to keep it from being too drab.  Zellar was packed with a number of cool accessories, including a pick axe, a display stand, and a ….weird gun thing.  The coolest piece is the T5-6000 Cryo-Chamber, originally meant to carry Zellar, but in actuality carrying the prison warden he replaced.  It’s just a simple plastic shell with a cardboard illustration on top, but I really like it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Zellar from Yesterday’s Fun this past summer, as he was one of the two SeaQuest figures I didn’t yet have.  There’s no denying he’s a well done figure, but he’s also one of the most frustrating figures from the line.  SeaQuest was hardly defined by its antagonists, so the fact that we got two of them in place of the three missing members of the Season 1 crew, is really annoying.  “Games” is certainly a memorable episode, and Zellar’s a compelling villain, but the success of the episode hinges more on its focus on Dr. Kristin Westphalen, who was absent from the toyline (interestingly enough, she was the only of the three unreleased crew members to get a prototype, but was left unreleased for whatever reason).  Zellar’s presence in the line seems to have come at the expense of the character that would give him an actual reason to be in the line at all, which just feels rather backwards.

#1195: Cannonball & Domino

CANNONBALL & DOMINO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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Hasbro’s early days with the Marvel license were an odd time.  Truth be told, they didn’t really come into their own with the product until somewhere around Iron Man 2, which was a good three years into their run with the license.  Until then, there were some weird experiments, intermixed with just sort of copying a lot of Toy Biz’s stuff, mostly when it came to Marvel Legends.  The first two series of their Legends were almost entirely chosen and designed by Toy Biz, which gave them a bit of time to figure out some of their own stuff for the half-formed Series 3 assortment.  The first two series hit in early 2007, and the third wouldn’t hit until almost the end of the year.  Hasbro filled the gap between two and three with a handful of exclusives.  Today, I look at Cannonball and Domino, one of those exclusives.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cannonball and Domino were a Walmart-exclusive two-pack.  They were released alongside the similarly exclusive Cable and Marvel Girl two-pack in the summer of 2007, as only the third round of Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends.  Both characters were at something of a low-point in terms of relevance, but and were actually the first X-Force alumni outside of Cable and Deadpool to join the line.

CANNONBALL

cannonballdomino3Sam Guthrie is one of the more successful characters from his era of comics.  Cannonball started out as a member of the New Mutants and not only make it all the way through that series’ run, heal also transferred into its follow-up X-Force, and then moved onto the main X-Men team, where he was a pretty prominent character for a while.  He fell back into obscurity for a bit, but was recently brought on as one of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers, which seems to have gone pretty well for him.  This figure is loosely based on his first X-Force design (loosely due to the necessities of parts re-use, which I’ll touch on in a sec).  He stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  That’s a lot of movement, but, as you can see, it’s sort of at the cost of the sculpt.  The sculpt, it should be noted, originally hails from Toy Biz’s Johhny Blaze version of Ghost Rider.  It was heralded as a great sculpt at the time, but it’s sort of specifically tailored to Blaze, since it’s skeletally skinny.  It’s not that Cannonball hasn’t frequently been depicted as rail thin (because he was for most of his early career), but this seems a bit extreme even for him.  It probably doesn’t help that when he was with the X-Force he was usually depicted as only being a little smaller than Cable.  The point is, this figure makes Sam look more than a little emaciated.  For what it’s worth, the costume details do match up surprisingly well with his X-Force togs, and there’s a lot of really fun detail sculpted into this figure.  I can get why they wanted to re-use the parts, it’s just a bit questionable, that’s all.  As far as new pieces go, Sam got a new head, which captures his slender mug pretty well, as well as a weird dicky sort of piece that slips over GR’s exposed neck and shoulders.  They do their job well enough, and also fit pretty well with the body (though the neck is a bit jarringly smooth).  One last thing about the sculpt: Sam is a testament to why you should avoid soft rubber on action figures.  There’s rubber for the upper torso, and while mine has held up okay (only two very small tears), I’ve seen others that weren’t so fortunate. The paintwork on Cannonball is decent enough.  It takes his color scheme from the comics and translates it into something a bit more consumable by the human eye.  The application is mostly pretty clean but there’s some slop here and there, especially on the white piping of the jumpsuit.  Cannonball included no accessories.

DOMINO

cannonballdomino2Domino’s not a character I really have that much affinity for, so I don’t know a whole lot about her.  She’s got luck-based powers, but it was the ‘90s so that translated to “carries a gun.”  Everything seemed to translate to “carries a gun” in the ‘90s.  Domino’s had her fair share of looks over the years (mostly because no one can make up their minds about how to draw her), and this figure seems to be based on her look from the early ‘00s.  She stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 33 points of articulation.  Despite all that articulation, she still can’t sit, thanks to being built on a body from Toy Biz’s period of useless hip joints.  Bleh.  She uses the body of the X-Treme Rogue from TB’s 2006 X-Men line.  It’s actually a pretty good match for the art I’ve been able to find of Domino in this costume.  The proportions are still quite on the wonky side, and don’t get me started on whatever the heck’s going on with the torso (she moves at the boobs and the abdomen?  That’s odd), but Toy Biz certainly produced worse, and Hasbro put out worse the same year as this figure’s release.  So, this isn’t awful.  The head and hands were unique to this figure.  The head is a pretty decent, no-nonsense head, and looks like the later interpretations of Domino.  The hands are sculpted to hold her guns, which is a nice thing to see on a character whose whole thing is having guns.  Domino also got a new add-on piece for her belt, which is fixed with a holster for each leg.  The holsters would probably limit hip movement, but the actual hip joints beat them to it, so not a huge loss, I guess.  Domino’s paintwork is alright.  There’s some really strong work on the head, but the jumpsuit exhibits a lot of slop, in very obvious places.  Domino was packed with a pair of pistols (I seem to have misplaced one of mine…)

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures were released, my dad was after the Marvel Girl from the other set.  When he finally found them, our local Walmart was already clearancing them, so he went ahead and grabbed this set as well, on the off chance that I might want it.  As luck would have it, I was still into collecting action figures that particular day, so I did want this set!  Who would have guessed?  Despite not knowing a whole lot about him, I’ve always had a soft spot for Cannonball, and this figure was no exception.  I can point to all the figure’s flaws, but I still really like him.  Domino?  She’s just sort of there.  She’s not a bad figure, but I just feel nothing about her, so she just came along for the ride.  Of course, now that I actually have a Cable, she’s not quite as out of place, so that’s good!

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#1194: First Order Stormtrooper Squad Leader

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

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It’s been almost a week since the last time I looked at a Star Wars toy.  And I amassed quite a number of them towards the backend of last year, so there’s just sort of this pile of them waiting to be reviewed.  Here’s one off the pile.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

fosquadleader2The First Order Stormtrooper Squad Leader was part of the early 2016 Snow Gear assortment, alongside unmasked Kylo Ren and Nien Nunb).  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  In terms of construction, the Squad Leader uses the same basic tooling as the standard FO Trooper (and by extension, all of it’s deviations, reviewed in the First Order Legion set), which is sensible.  As I noted when I reviewed it before, it’s a pretty strong sculpt, and accurately recreates the First Order armor from the movie.  The main appeal of this figure is the web-gear, which is unique to this guy.  It’s a combination of the Heavy Artillery Trooper’s ammo vest with an Officer’s pauldron.  It’s different enough to keep him interesting, which I guess is the point.  Paintwork for this figure is pretty much on par with the other FO Troopers I’ve looked at.  There are some fuzzy lines here and there, but by and large he’s pretty good.  The Squad Leader includes a basic blaster rifle, as well as a much larger blaster that’s part of the build-a-whatsit.  It’s kind of a cool piece, though it’s actually taller than he his, so getting him to hold it is kind of tricky.  Still, better than a lot of the pieces included with these figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Being part of one of the later assortments of the Force Awakens line, this guy never really showed up at retail in full force.  I ended up getting this guy from Cosmic Comix during their Biggest Sale of the Year! (TM).  I like the Heavy Trooper look, and I liked this variation of it, so I got him.  Is he really different from figures I already own?  Not really, but he’s still pretty fun.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0002: Hydro Claw Robin

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For my second Flashback Friday Figure Addendum, I’ll be following the lead of my actual reviews, and taking another look at my very first figure of the other half of the Dynamic Duo.  Let’s look back at Hydro Claw Robin!

So, yesterday’s post was about my very first action figure, Batman.  And, because a hero’s no good without his sidekick, here’s my very first figure of his old chum: Robin.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydro Claw Robin is a Robin variant from the Batman Forever line.  He’s actually a fairly standard looking Robin, though he’s not THE standard looking Robin of the line.  His main feature, now lost to me, was a jetpack with wings, a rebreather, and the eponymous “Hydro Claw.”  It’s really unfortunate that I’ve lost this piece, as I recall that it was really quite cool, but alas, 4 year old me was not very good at keeping track of such things!  Even without the accessory, this is still a pretty stand up version of Robin, even if it is based on the utterly terrible Chris O’Donnell.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure is a good deal less of a mystery than the Night Hunter Batman.  This guy was a gift from my dear Aunt Susan for Christmas 1995.  I had asked for a Robin figure to prevent my caped crusader from being too lonely, and she was more than happy to oblige.  Christmas morning I opened this guy up and joyfully danced around the room for a good 5 minutes, humming the Batman theme song.  I know, that story is so sweet it almost hurts, doesn’t it?

Man, I always forget how brief I used to be with these reviews.  I don’t know if my wordiness is a good thing or a bad thing.

Once again, I’ve left out a number of things I would now consider standard, namely that the figure is about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation. The main thing missing the first time I reviewed the figure was his wingpack, which has a rebreather and the titular Hydro Claw attached.  It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the figure, and I was quite bummed that it was missing, so discovering it was one of my biggest bits of excitement during “the Great Find.”  What’s pretty neat about this piece is how it sort of completes the classic Robin color scheme, with its large presence of yellow.

I love this figure no matter what, but he really feels so much more awesome now that he’s complete again!  Now he and Night Hunter Batman are proudly adorning one of the bookshelves in my living room, and I really couldn’t be happier about that.  Even if he’s still based on Chris O’Donnell….

#1193: A.I.M. Soldier

A.I.M. SOLDIER

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Back when Toy Biz was still handling Marvel toys, they were prone to showing off figures that would never see the light of day (and they frequently showed them after these decisions were made, because apparently someone working there just loooooved rubbing salt in wounds).  For the 13th series of Marvel Legends, dubbed “Bring on the Bad Guys,” they initially planned to pack each villain with one of the Marvel universe’s many faceless henchmen, but they were eventually cut and replaced with the Onslaught Build-A-Figure.  Seven henchmen were shown: a Skull, a Brood, a Hand Ninja, a Hellfire Club Guard, a Doom Bot, a Hydra Agent, and an A.I.M. Soldier.  The Scrull and Brood eventually were released as part of DST’s Marvel Select line, and Hasbro would release their own versions of the Hydra Agent and Hand Ninja.  When it came time to make an A.I.M. Soldier, Hasbro has switched to the smaller-scale Marvel Universe line; he was a cool figure and all, but it just wasn’t the same.  Eight years after Series 13’s release, the A.I.M. Soldier finally made his way into Marvel Legends.  That’s the figure I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

aim2The A.I.M. Soldier was released in the first series of the Captain America: The Winter Solider Marvel Legends Infinite Series.  The official title is “Soldiers of A.I.M.” which he shared with Baron Zemo (who I reviewed back when he was new).  It certainly fits him better than it did Zemo.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  At the time of his release, the A.I.M. Soldier was an all-new sculpt, but most of the body was re-used for last year’s Ghost Rider. He has a different head, obviously, depicting the signature “beekeeper’s mask,” as well as different forearms, and a unique belt.  The overall appearance is that of the classic A.I.M. design.  There are some slight discrepancies on the front of the chest and the specifics of the gloves, due to this body being preemptively designed to work for the comic version of Star-Lord released just a few months after this figure.  The discrepancies aren’t anything incredibly distracting, and there have been enough slight variations to the A.I.M. design that it doesn’t immediately jump out as being “wrong.”  Plus, it’s just an A.I.M. Soldier.  How important is it for them to be spot on?  The figure also gets an add-on piece for his bandolier, which gives him some nice extra details (and also covers up some of those inaccuracies on the torso).  In terms of paint, the A.I.M. Soldier is decent enough.  He manages use lots of yellow without looking totally ridiculous (he’s still ridiculous, but not totally ridiculous), and most of the application is pretty clean.  There’s a slight matching issue with the yellow at the bottom of the belt piece, but that’s really it.  The A.I.M. Soldier included two blasters, one large and one small, as well as right arm of the Mandroid (the same piece included with Zemo).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mandroid Series was back when Hasbro was  still working out some of their distribution issues, and also still learning some hard lessons about case-packouts.  While I got all of the necessary pieces for the Mandroid, I never had any luck finding the two swap figures.  While I was out for my birthday last year, I found this guy at 2nd Chance Toyz.  He was loose, but I already had the BAF piece, so no big deal there.  I’m glad to finally have him, and I feel he was worth the wait.  Now, I’ll take my Hellfire Club Guard whenever you’re ready, Hasbro.

#1192: Superman Red

SUPERMAN RED

JLA (KENNER)

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A ways back, almost 600 reviews ago now, I tackled the wonderfully ‘90s concept of the electrically powered Superman Blue, DC’s second bid at re-inventing Superman in that particular decade.  Not long after that, I also tackled Superman Red, who was the end result of Superman Blue getting split into two different entities.  The whole thing was ultimately pretty short-lived, but it was timed just perfectly enough that both versions were still the official status quo take on Superman when Kenner launched their JLA line in the ‘90s, thus placing them in the line instead of the more conventional take on the character, and giving us the first of a handful of figures based on the designs.  Today, I’ll be looking at the hot-headed Superman Red!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

supermanredjla2Both Superman Blue and Red were released in the first series of single-carded JLA figures.  However, while Blue was also available in the first boxed set of figures, Red was exclusive to the singles (and is the only figure from Series 1 to be so).  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has the standard 5 points of articulation for the time.  JLA was largely a way for Kenner to reuse their old Total Justice molds another time (though later assortments would steadily add more and more unique pieces to get a few more characters not released in Total Justice), so it’s not really a surprise that Superman Red was a total re-use.  That being said, he was certainly a more uneventful re-use than some of the other figures.  Most of the first series were just simple repaints of their TJ counterparts, but since Superman’s design had changed more than a little, they had to Frankenstein him a bit to get as close as possible.  He (along with Superman Blue and the evil Hardlight Superman from the second boxed set) uses the torso, arms, and legs of the Total Justice Superman, with the head from Man of Steel’s Hunter Prey Superman (the one packed with Doomsday).  The result is close enough…if you squint.  The body still has the belt, shorts, and boots of the original figure, just painted over as if they aren’t there, which is certainly odd, but not too horribly distracting.  What is distracting is the head’s painting over the clearly defined edges of the head gear, giving him these obvious lines running down his cheeks and across his forehead. Sure, the paint application’s clean for what it is, but what it is is a flagrant disregarding of the actual sculpted material.  On the plus side, he’s a nice, bright red, which means he really pops on the shelf.  So, that sorta makes up for it, right?  JLA figures were usually pretty light on the accessories, but Superman, like the rest of them, includes a display stand.  It’s even in red.   There’s also a cover on the back of his box which can be cut out and placed on the back of his stand.  It’s JLA #7, which is kind of an odd choice, since not only is Superman Red not on the cover, he’s not in the issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was never much of a fan of Superman Red or Blue growing up.  It was sort of a weird period of time, and all the Superman merchandise was one of these two, and it felt wrong to me.  So, I didn’t have this figure or his blue counterpart (I did have the Hardlight one, though), and instead waited for the proper classic Superman later on in the line.  As time as gone by, I’ve gotten lots of classic Supermen, and now I have this weird nostalgic twinge for these designs.  I found this guy in the bargain bin at this nearby comics and games store called Player’s Choice, and he called to me.  He’s sort of a goofy figure, but it was a goofy concept to begin with.

#1191: Ripley & Newt

RIPLEY & NEWT

ALIENS (NECA)

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Here we are at the finish line for the 2016 post-Christmas reviews.  I’m ending things the way I finished them: Aliens!  It’s hardly the Christmas season without a good helping of Aliens merch!

NECA’s a company generally known for doing the “impossible” when it comes to action figure licenses.  When they started off their Aliens line, Hicks, Hudson, and Bishop were the only guaranteed likenesses, and Ripley was most definitely not on the table.  That is, until she was.  But NECA swore up and down there was no way we were getting a Newt figure.  Not only was the likeness not available, but her unique sculpt would make her less than realistic for the line.  No way she was happening.  Until she did.  Yep, during last year’s big Alien Day celebration NECA and actress Carrie Henn unveiled the Newt figure.  She was set for a SDCC release, which made some collectors a bit worried, but NECA assured fans that everyone who wanted a Newt would get one.  They finally made good on that promise, albeit in a slightly roundabout way.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ripley and Newt were released as part of the “Rescuing Newt” two-pack, which is sort of the last major hurrah of the Aliens anniversary product.  It was originally supposed to hit in November, but was pushed back until right before Christmas.

RIPLEY

ripleynewtneca2While clearly not the main focus of this set, NECA used this as an opportunity to get the Aliens Ripley out there one more time, for fans who missed her Series 5 release.  However, for those of us that have been faithfully following the line, they made her different enough to not feel like a total repeat.  The first figure depicts Ripley towards the beginning of her journey into the hive, and this one depicts her closer to the end.  I’ve looked at about 90% of this figure twice before; she shares everything below the neck with both the Series 5 Ripley and the TRU-exclusive Kenner Ripley.  I loved the sculpt the first time, and I loved it the second time, and I still love it the third time.  NECA really nailed the details for this look, and I can hardly blame them for wanting to get as much milage out of these pieces as possible.  But enough about the old, what about the new?  Well, Ripley gets a unique head sculpt, which reflects her more dilapidated appearance late in the film.  The hair’s a lot more pressed to her head, the eyes more tired, and the mouth ever so slightly open, showing she’s catching her breath after kicking all that Xeno butt.  I gotta say, I was a little underwhelmed by the sculpt when I saw it in the package, but after taking it out and looking at it from a few different angles, I’e warmed up to it.  The Series 5 version is still my preferred look, and has the better overall Weaver likeness, but this one’s a solid runner up, and, if nothing else, fixes the minor issue of the neck looking a bit underscaled on the last two uses of this body.   As similar as the two may look, the paint work on this figure is also a bit of a change from her Series 5 counterpart.  ripleynewtneca4The basics are all pretty much the same, but the stains on her clothes have definitely intensified from the last figure.  In particular, I think the sweat stains on the shirt look a bit more realistic this time around, which now that I’ve typed it out seems like a very strange compliment to pay something, but there it is.  My one complaint about the figure is something I feel certain is confined to my figure: they pupils are off center from each other, which makes her look a bit cockeyed from certain angles.  It’s not the worst thing ever but you can see it a bit in the shots here.  This Ripley includes the same flamethrower/pulse rifle combo from the first figure, but this time she also includes a nifty flame effect attachment, which is a nice touch that could have very easily been overlooked (it’s also compatible with Frost and Windrix’s flamethrowers as well, which makes it extra fun).

NEWT

ripleynewtneca3Let’s be honest, nobody was really buying this set for the Ripley figure (okay, that’s probably not true….)  The real star here is Rebecca “Newt” Jorden.  The set’s named after her and everything. This figure is a pretty straight re-release of the SDCC version (which is exactly what we were all expecting and what most people wanted).  Of course, I never got the SDCC version, so she’s all-new to me.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is a pretty solid one.  The face sports a strong Carrie Henn likeness, and the hair’s pretty not-terrible, which is quite a compliment when it comes to long, sculpted hair.  The body feels a touch too lanky to me, but it’s not like it’s really far off, just ever so slightly.  The incredible level of detail seen on the clothes more than makes up for it.  Everything’s got texture on this figure, and it really looks like she’s the character from the movie.  The only slight inaccuracy I noticed is that the tear on the right shoulder of her shirt isn’t quite as large as it is in the movie, and let’s be honest, that’s reaching pretty far.  One area where things could maybe be just a little bit better is Newt’s paint.  It’s far from bad, but there are a few sloppy spots, especially on the transitions from skin to clothing on the knees and wrists.  Her shoes are also not really symmetrical, with a lot of the paint on ripleynewtneca6her left foot missing sculpted lines almost completely.  Of course, each foot is about half an inch in size, so it’s not like it’s the end of the world.  Apart from those issues, the work is generally pretty good, and she’s at the very least on par with Series 1-3 of the line, so she’s not going to stick out or anything.  The SDCC version of Newt included her doll Cassie’s head, Hick’s helmet (which she’s seen wearing in one scene), a flashlight (just like the one included with Bishop), and her citizenship award that the Marines get her name from.  For this figure, everything but Cassie was cut.  While the other extras were certainly cool, Cassie’s really the only essential accessory for Newt, and this way, those that spent extra money on the SDCC version still get a few unique items.  I mean, it’s gonna eat at me from now until the end of time that I’m missing those three pieces, but such is my life.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had originally hoped to be able to get the SDCC version of Newt after the con, as NECA usually finds a few ways of distributing their exclusives, but for a number of reasons, they were unable to do that this year.  This was sort of freaky, because there was something of a delay between the SDCC figure hitting and NECA confirming exactly how they were planning on getting more Newt figures out there, and I almost caved and bought a marked up Newt more than once.  Fortunately, they finally announced this two-pack, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.  This set ended up being a Christmas present from my parents.  It didn’t actually arrive in time for Christmas morning, but it made it just a few days later, which gave me one last little burst of present opening.  Yay!  This is a pretty great way of not only getting Newt to retail, but also offering up another chance for people to get Ripley.  Both figures are strong additions to the line, and I’m beyond thrilled to add Newt to my collection (and, as an added bonus, now I’ve got an extra Ripley to pilot the Power Loader!)

ripleynewtneca5

#1190: Daredevil & Punisher

DAREDEVIL & PUNISHER

MARVEL MINIMATES

ddpunisher1

Today marks the penultimate post-Christmas review for 2016.  This review is more or less a continuation of yesterday’s.  I’ll be looking at the remaining Marvel Minimates based on Netflix’s Daredevil series.  Yesterday’s set was heavy on the civilian looks, but this set turns things around, giving us Daredevil’s official, more superhero-y costume, as well as his fellow Hell’s Kitchen vigilante, Frank Castle, aka the Punisher!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

DD and Punisher were released as an exclusive two-pack at SDCC 2016.  They served as a way of hyping up the rest of the Netflix-based sets, as well as tying into the recently released second season of Daredevil.  The set was supposed to get a wider release following the, but some issues with misplaced product in one of Diamond’s warehouses meant that a good chunk of the sets didn’t arrive until almost the end of 2016.

DAREDEVIL

ddpunisher2After spending 13 episodes in Season 1 sporting the all-black number seen yesterday, the final battle of the season finally gave DD his more familiar red getup.  This figure isn’t *quite* that version, but is instead based on his look from the back 3/4 of Season 2, after a stray bullet from the Punisher cracks his original helmet and he has to get a replacement.  The differences are negligible, really, but it’s still important to note.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, and as such stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s got add-ons for his mask and thigh holster.  The holster is the same piece seen on yesterday’s Season 1 DD (though flipped to the other leg, as it was in the show), but the mask is all-new to this particular figure.  It’s a decent enough translation of his second mask, though the forehead section seems a little too tall.  It’s a minor enough issue not to really bug me.  His paintwork is far more complex than any of yesterday’s ‘mates, and does a pretty solid job of capturing the suit seen in the show.  The colors are a good match, and all of the line work is nice and sharp.  Under the mask, there’s another Matt Murdock face, this time a bit more intense than either of the two in yesterday’s set.  It’s perfectly fine (the stubble in particular is very impressive), but something about this particular expression messes with the likeness a bit; I’m not seeing much of Charlie Cox in there.  DD is packed with his billy club (the same pieces as the eskrima sticks, but in red this time), an extra hairpiece for an unmasked look, and a clear display stand.

PUNISHER

ddpunisher3Frank Castle serves as the antagonist for the first several episodes of Daredevil’s second season, before becoming something of a dueling protagonist as the season progresses.  Season 2 was admittedly a slight step down from the show’s first season, but Jon Bernthal’s turn as the Punisher was easily the high point of the season, and this is coming from a guy who’s never really liked the Punisher.  His presence as the second half of this pack is far from surprising.  Frank spends most of the season in rather normal clothes, but does finally dawn a pretty straight forward Punisher costume during the second season finale.  It’s only on-screen for a few minutes, but it’s a pretty distinctive look.  Punisher uses add-ons for his hair and  coat.  The hair is a new piece, specifically designed to replicate his close-cropped style.  It does alright in that respect, though I feel like something more along the lines of the Red Hulk hairpiece might have done the job a bit better.  The coat is the long coat piece first introduced way back in 2007 on the very first Doc Brown, and it’s a nice, basic piece, which does its job pretty well.  Punisher’s paintwork is more on par with the Season 1 set than DD, being mostly a lot of black.  That being said, there’s a lot of really great detail work on the front of the torso and the belt.  He also has a pretty good likeness of Jon Bernthal, and the detailing on his hair even continues under the hair piece, allowing for him to be displayed with his closer cropped ‘do from earlier in the season (even if he’s not wearing the right jacket and shirt).  In terms of accessories, Frank is packed with a spare set of arms with rolled up sleeves, a machine gun, two handguns, and a clear display stand.  I wouldn’t have minded getting the larger rifle he uses during the final battle with the hand, or even the mini gun he was seen carrying at the very end of the finale, but I guess this assortment works alright too.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I didn’t attend SDCC, I couldn’t pick up this set in person.  I also missed out on the initial supplies that hit online, so I ended up having to play the waiting game.  Ultimately, they were a Christmas present from my parents (who have been supplying me with pretty much all of my Minimates as of late).  This is a great counterpart to yesterday’s set, and gives me another two of my favorite characters from one of my favorite shows!

#1189: Daredevil Season 1

MATT MURDOCK, FOGGY NELSON, WILSON FISK, & CLAIRE TEMPLE

MARVEL MINIMATES

ddseasonone1

For day 22 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’m heading back over to the world of Marvel Minimates.  Said Minimates are my first venture into the merchandising for Marvel’s widely successful Netflix shows.  The first (and in my opinion, the best) of those shows is based on Marvel’s resident Man Without Fear, Daredevil.  His show’s success took a lot of people by surprise, especially merchandisers, including DST, who had no plans for any Minimates from the show until well after it started streaming.  Fortunately, they picked up the license for the Netflix stuff last year, and have gotten to work offering some boxed sets, each based on one season of one of the shows.  Up first were Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the former of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Matt, Foggy, Fisk, and Claire are all based on their Season 1 appearances on Daredevil. The set was released in November of last year.

MATT MURDOCK

ddseasonone3Up first, the show’s titular character.  Of course, the box only refers to him by his real identity of Matt Murdock.  It’s fitting, since this is his Season 1 prototype costume, and he hadn’t yet fully embraced the name until a ways into the season.  The costume is a departure from the usual red togs from the comics (or even his red and yellow first appearance costume, of which I am a huge fan), but it’s not without its roots in DD history, being inspired by both his prototype costume from Frank Miller’s Man Without Fear and his costume from his first live-action appearance in “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” back in the ‘80s.  Matt is built on the usual Minimate body, with add-ons for his mask, belt, and leg holster.  All three add-on pieces are reused, with the mask coming from Iron Fist, the belt being a standard piece, and the holster being introduced with the Series 43 Daredevil.  All of the parts are good fits for his ddseasonone2on-screen design, and the costume translates to Minimate form exceptionally well.  While the paintwork is mostly just flat back, he does have a fully detailed torso, with subtle highlighting to show off his musculature, as well as the tiny bit of red piping on the shoulders.  Under the mask, there’s also a fully detailed Matt Murdock face, with a pretty solid likeness of Charlie Cox.  For his base look, DD includes his wooden eskrima sticks, given to him by…Stick, as well as the usual clear display stand.  He also includes a spare head, hair, torso, tie, suit jacket, hands, and walking stick, allowing you to turn him into a civilian version of Matt.  Supply your own arms and legs, and you’ve got yourself a whole second figure!

FOGGY NELSON

ddseasonone5Matt’s nothing without his law partner Franklin P. Nelson, better known as Foggy.  Foggy’s a pretty major part of Season 1 and the DD mythos as a whole, so his presence here isn’t a huge surprise. The ‘mate’s really just another guy in a suit, but that’s true to the character, so you can hardly blame DST there.  Foggy uses the same basic pieces as Matt’s alt look, as well as the hair from Series 39’s Thor, which is actually a better fit for Foggy than it was for Thor, if I’m honest.  The pieces add up to a decent enough Foggy, so that’s good.  Foggy’s paintwork is once again pretty basic, but the colors are rather unique, and everything is pretty cleanly done.  He’s packed with a briefcase and a tan messenger bag, as well as a clear display stand.  It might have been nice to get some extra shirt sleeves for him, since the pink is rather unique, but it’s not like he comes with nothing.

WILSON FISK

ddseasonone4Season 1 is as much an origin story for Wilson Fisk (better known in the comics as the Kingpin) as it is for Daredevil.  He’s the main antagonist for the whole season, and it would be silly to leave him out.  That being said…he’s really just another guy in a suit.  An important guy in a suit, but still.  He uses two add-ons: his coat/shirt and a waist riser piece to make him a bit taller.  He’s still lacks some of his show counterpart’s intimidation factor, but there’s only so much you can do, right?  The coat is re-used from 24’s Tony Almeida, and its a good fit for the types of suits he wore on the show.  Paint’s once again a lot of black, but he has a slight splash of dark blue for the shirt, as well as a pretty decent likeness of Vincent D’Onofrio as Fisk.  Fisk includes a clear display stand, and that’s it.

CLAIRE TEMPLE

ddseasonone6Effectively the Coulson of the Netflix shows (being the connective tissue that holds them all together), Claire Temple started out in the comics as a Luke Cage supporting character, which made her turning up in the first season of DD a slight surprise.  Her being in this set of Minimates is also a *slight* surprise, since there are a number of characters more prominent than her in the first season (Karen was held back for the Season 2 set, which is fine, but Ben’s another pivotal character still missing.  Of course, he would have been another guy in a suit, so…).  Of course, releasing her here frees up some space in the other sets, so I guess that’s good.  She’s seen here in her “Night Nurse” garb that she’s wearing when she and Matt interrogate a thug on the rooftop.  It’s probably the most visually interesting of her looks, so it’s a good choice.  In her basic layout, she has Lady Sif’s hair, which is a reasonably close match to Rosario Dawson’s hair in the show, and Amy’s hoody.  Her paintwork is a bit more exciting than the others, with like five whole colors.  The application’s all pretty clean, which is always good.  The likeness on the face is a passable Dawson likeness.  It’s maybe sits a tad too high on the headblock, but that’s my only real complaint.  She includes a knife and a clear display stand, as well as a pulled up hood, and an extra head and hands, so as to complete her disguised look from when she was interrogating the guy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was another Christmas present from my parents.  It’s a set I’ve been patiently waiting for, since I really loved DD Season 1.  I know I ragged on this set a bit for being guys in suits, but that’s more because guys in suits aren’t the most exciting things to review.  The actual figures are really a lot of fun, and this set is really worth it just for DD alone.  That guy’s definitely one of my new favorite ‘mates!