#1308: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

X-MEN: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“The most feared member of the X-Men, and some would say, the most loyal as well.  His razor-sharp claws and his ferocious attitude make his enemies think twice about crossing him!”

Did you know that wolverines are part of the weasel family?  That’s your fun FiQ fact of the day!

I have reviewed a surprisingly small number of Wolverine figures on this site, which is a little odd, given how many I owned growing up.  It was the ‘90s, after all, and he was at critical mass in terms of popularity.  I’ve reviewed even less of Toy Biz’s 10-inch figures, the larger scale brethren of their main 5-inch line.  Today, I’m killing two birds with one stone, and looking at one of the many 10-inch Wolverine figures in my collection!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is one of the earliest entries in this scale, released as part of the first series of the X-Men: Deluxe Edition line.  That’s right, he’s from before the whole scale was thrown together under one line, and while they were still passing them off as a more “premium” line.  Both those went out the window pretty quickly.  This figure stands 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  This figure was an up-scaling of the Wolverine II figure from the smaller-scale X-Men line; it’s about as basic Wolverine as you can get.  He’s actually one of the better classic Wolverine sculpts out there, presenting a solid late ‘70s-style Wolverine that we’ve pretty much not seen since.  It’s also one of the sculpts that really benefited from the larger scale treatment; the smaller figure was a bit rudimentary in certain areas, but this figure looks a bit more organic, and thus more aesthetically pleasing.  There are some very clear differences in place. The sculpt’s still pretty stylized, but it’s less so than, say, the Cyclops figure.  He’s at the very least internally consistent.  Like a lot of the up-scaled figures, Wolverine removes the action features of his smaller figure, namely the torso spinner-thin and the spring-loaded claws.  Of course, my figure actually just removes the claws entirely, but that’s purely limited to mine.  They were there at one point, and they looked cool, I assume.  I was rather amused to see that the two sets attached to the hands in two completely different ways.  That seems kind of odd to me, but whatever.  The paint on Wolverine is pretty straight forward; it’s just basic color work, but it’s all pretty clean.  The colors are bright and vibrant, and everything really pops.  In particular, I think the blue just really hits the right hue, which is something that has been lost on a lot of more recent Wolverines.  Wolverine was originally packed with a weird gun thing.  Because why not, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was just a bit young for the earliest 10-inch figures, so I didn’t have this guy new (though I had a handful of the repaints based on him).  This figure actually came into my possession more than a decade after his release, at a time when I was largely beyond collecting these guys.  My brother’s second grade teacher had this box of various toys that her students were allowed to take something from when they did a particularly good job in class.  Apparently, this guy was in the box, and my brother got him and rather excitedly brought him home for me.  Because he’s thoughtful like that.  It’s actually a pretty solid figure, especially for the time!

#1307: Amanda Ripley

AMANDA RIPLEY

ALIENS (NECA)

“15 years after the disappearance of the commercial towing vessel Nostromo, the ship’s flight recorder is discovered floating in deep space. Its owner, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, immediately dispatches a team of representatives to Sevastopol Station to retrieve it. Among their number is Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley, the Nostromo’s warrant officer.”

It’s no secret that Aliens is my favorite movie of pretty much all time (though Guardians Vol 2 has given it some serious competition, not gonna lie).  As I was -6 when the film was released, I never saw it in theaters.  I instead caught it many years later when it was released on DVD.  On the DVD, the default version is the director’s cut, which adds 16 minutes of footage.  There’s a lot of simply cut lines, but a few whole scenes, and by extension underlying subplots, were cut.  The removal of Newt’s family and the other scenes at the colony is the biggest excision, but not far behind it is the removal of the pre-inquest scene where Ripley discovers the fate of her daughter, Amanda, who died during Ripley’s 57 years away from Earth.  All we get is a name, a picture, and her age at time of death.  28 years later, we got Alien: Isolation, a game centered on Amanda and her quest to find out what happened to her mother.  Real shocker here: she runs into a Xenomorph along the way.  Who could have foreseen that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Amanda Ripley was released in Series 6 of NECA’s Aliens line, which was a whole series devoted to Isolation.  There were two Amanda figures in the set; this one depicts her in her main jumpsuit-ed look, which she’s sporting for a good chunk of the game.  There was also a figure of her in her compression suit, which I never got around to picking up.  This figure stands about 7 1/4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As it was supposed to be nearer in the timeline to Alien than to Aliens, Isolation took a lot of its design elements from the first film.  By extension, each of the three figures in Series 6 borrows liberally from prior NECA Aliens figures.  This Amanda figure is built using about 95% of the parts from the Jumpsuit Ripley figure from Series 4, along with a new head and upper arms.  The designs of the jumpsuits are close enough that this makes for a pretty decent recreation.  If you want to get super nitpicky, the pattern of the seams and “belt” on the pelvis section is incorrect, and she’s missing the leather pads on her shoulders.  However, it’s hardly noticeable; you have to be looking for inaccuracies (which, I as a reviewer am paid to do.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  There’s no money in this.  It’d be nice, though, wouldn’t it?).  The new pieces blend well with the old, and make her sufficiently different from her mom. The head does a suitable job of capturing Amanda’s likeness from the game; it does seem a tad on the small side to me, though.  Amanda’s paint work is decent, but it does have a few issues.  The overall application is pretty solid, and the colors all seem to match what’s seen on the screen.  She’s got painted skin, which I don’t like quite as much as the molded skin, but I guess it’s alright.  There are a few scuffs on my figure, and she’s got a weird splotch of discoloration on her forehead.  Overall, though, she’s really not bad.  Amanda is packed with a flamethrower (the very same one included with her mother), as well as her self-assembled motion tracker, and her backpack.  A great selection of extras all around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first Amanda Ripley figure I bought actually wasn’t for me, but was instead for my brother Christian.  My exposure to the game was watching him play through it, so I thought it was only proper he get the figure first.  Other things took priority over getting an Amanda for myself, so I just never got around to grabbing her.  Last summer, the day before Movie Stop went out of business, several of us went to see what was left.  Poor Amanda was one of about three NECA figures left, and I ended up getting her for something like 90% off.  She’s a pretty solid figure, thanks in no small part to being built on the same body as one of NECA’s best.  It’s just a shame we never got a Worker Joe to harass her.  Guess I’ll just have to make due with the Xeno….

Hey, look at that; I managed to go this whole Alien-themed review without mentioning my seething hatred for Covenant.  Good on me!

The Blaster In Question #0007: Roughcut 2×4

ROUGHCUT 2X4

N-STRIKE ELITE

Shotguns are kind of a weird area for Nerf.  There are plenty of blasters available that do a decent job replicating the look and feel of a shotgun, but it’s a rarer thing to find one that actually functions like one i.e. actually firing a spread of darts.  One of the more successful implementations of this feature came to us in the form of the Roughcut 2×4.  While the name evokes a plank of wood, the actual blaster is a lot more interesting, unless you’re one of those lumber fanatics, in which case, no judgement, more power to you.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Roughcut 2×4 was released in 2013 as one of the first original blasters in the N-Strike Elite line.  It was also one of 2 blasters in the very short-lived Multi-Shot Madness collection alongside the Diatron from the disk-based Vortex series.  Mechanically, the blaster borrows heavily from the Barrel Break IX-2, featuring 2 separate plunger systems side by side.  If your trigger finger is very precise, this setup allows the user to fire either one barrel at a time or both at once.  Even the grips of both blasters are severely inclined, almost parallel with the barrels.  The main difference is that the Roughcut opted for a more straightforward front loading design with 8 barrels arranged in 2 columns of 4 (hence the name) as opposed to the Barrel Break’s weird breach-loading action and only 2 barrels.  Additionally, the Roughcut is pump-operated, so successive shots can be fired off much faster.  Aside from the aforementioned grip, the blaster is pretty run-of-the-mill in terms of how it feels.  Everything that’s supposed to move moves well, and everything that isn’t feels sturdy.  The Roughcut features some sights, although they do strike me as a little more of an after-the-fact addition than on a lot of other blasters.  There’s also a rail along the top of the blaster for attachments.  Being part of the core N-Strike Elite series, performance is strong.  Darts fly a good distance and land with a solid impact.  Decent range paired with a fairly compact form-factor and the ability to shotgun darts makes the Roughcut great for either ranged outdoor battles or just to keep handy for close encounters.  Just try not to hit anything fragile like your mom’s china or someone’s face.  The Roughcut 2×4 comes packaged with 8 Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Man, do I love shotguns.  Practically every shotgun-type blaster that Nerf has released in the last 15 years has been a favorite of mine.  The Hornet AS-6 was great apart from its cumbersome cocking and pumping mechanism.  The Barrel Break IX-2 was great apart from its awkward slide and break breach mechanism.  The Sledgefire was great apart from its finicky— you see the pattern.  To be fair, when working with Nerf darts, making an actual shotgun that works well in all aspects is difficult and things can get complicated very quickly.  Just goes to show that, in the case of the Roughcut, simplicity pays off

#1306: Han Solo in Carbonite

HAN SOLO IN CARBONITE

STAR WARS: THE POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“After escaping from Imperial forces in the Hoth system, Han Solo and Princess Leia, Chewbacca and C-3PO, landed the damaged Millenium Falcon on Bespin’s Cloud City for repairs. The four put their trust in the city’s administrator, Lando Calrissian, unaware of the dangers awaiting them. A dashing ex-gambler and long time acquaintance of Solo’s, Calrissian had grudgingly made an agreement with Darth Vader to betray Solo and his friends. In return, the band would be set free once their capture had lured Luke Skywalker into Vader’s grasp. The Dark Lord had no intention of keeping any promises: on his order a carbonite freezing chamber was modified for use on humans, especially Luke Skywalker, to render him helpless for safe delivery to the Emperor. To test the chamber, Solo was frozen and then turned over to the Bounty Hunter Boba Fett. for delivery to the crimelord Jabba the Hutt. He became the favorite decoration in Jabba’s Palace on Tatooine, until a daring rescue attempt led by Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia freed Han and returned him to the enduring cause of the Rebel Alliance.”

Man, they went all out on that bio, didn’t they.  Not much need for me to add anything, so here’s a Han Solo figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han Solo in Carbonite was originally released in 1996, as part of that year’s first assortment of Star Wars: The Power of the Force II figures.  The figure saw a number of re-releases over the course of the line’s run, and is one of the more common figures out there from the line.  He stands about 4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Han is depicted here just after being freed from his frozen carbonite prison at the beginning of Return of the Jedi.  We can tell he’s an “after carbonite” figure from his lack ofthe shackles he had in Empire.  Technically, I guess the hair could also be a tell, but all of the early PotF2 Hans had the exact same hair anyway.  The head is the same one used for all the other Han figures from this line (well, barring the final one from just before the end), which doesn’t have much in the way of a Harrison Ford likeness.  At least they were keeping it consistent.  The rest of the figure’s sculpt was new to him.  He’s still got the really exaggerated proportions and super tight clothing, but is otherwise one of the tamest sculpts to come out of this line.  He’s pretty much just in a basic standing pose, with no goofy mid-step thing or oddly bent arms.  The one main inaccuracy that stuck out at me was the shirt, which follows the pattern of his A New Hope shirt, rather than the more detailed ones from Empire and Jedi.  It’s far from the worst mistake, and 9 out of 10 people wouldn’t notice it, but I am that tenth person.  The paintwork on Han is about on par with the rest of the line.  It’s fairly basic and the colors aren’t terribly thrilling, but it gets the job done.  Han’s main accessory is, of course, the carbonite block.  It’s a pretty cool piece; the front is a pretty faithful recreation of the movie prop, and the flip side is hollow, with a clip at waist height, allowing for the figure to be placed on the underside.  Han also includes a small blaster, patterned on the one he uses to save Lando from the Sarlac.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This version of Han was the second Hon Solo I owned, following the mail-away Stormtrooper disguise figure.  He was procured on a trip with my grandmother, I think, though I’m not 100% sure on that.  It’s irrelevant at this point, because I don’t own the figure anymore.  I rather foolishly sold it about 15 years ago, on the basis that I already owned other Hans, which doesn’t even makes sense to me anymore.  The figure you see in this review is a replacement, which, like the last several PotF2 figures I’ve reviewed, was picked up during the Farpoint charity auction.  This figure’s actually a bit better than I remember him being, and is probably the best of the Hans from early in this line (though the later ones kind of surpassed all the others).  Not bad at all.

#1305: Captain America – Addendum

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

-ADDENDUM-

Since Hasbro relaunched Marvel Legends, I’ve been consistently displeased with the heads on their Steve Rogers figures.  When the line was relaunched, all of the unmasked males suffered from what I call “Hasbro-Face”: they would have a deep scowl and incredibly squared-off features, and just generally look more like the titular character from The Goon than the superhero characters they were supposed to be replicating.  As the line has progressed, the Hasbro-Face has slowly died out, with the exception of Steve Rogers.  I guess Hasbro wants to keep all of the versions of him consistent, but it means I haven’t truly been happy with a Legends Captain America since Toy Biz.

In today’s review of Captain America, I noted that a major contributing factor to my finally acquiring him was seeing an image online of a mod for the figure.  This mod replaced the stock figure’s atrocious head with that of the very first ML Cap figure, which, in my opinion, is still the best Cap head ever.  The biggest hoop in performing this mod is getting the first TB Cap.  I have my old one, but I really didn’t want to put that one under the knife (or drill, as the case may be).  Fortunately, I was able to find a loose one sans accessories for $5, which is really the main thing that sparked this whole project (ironically, I actually paid a dollar more for my “junk” Cap than I did my original).

Perhaps the most difficult part of this whole project was just getting the TB Cap’s head off the body.  Toy Biz heads weren’t really designed for easy removal like their Hasbro brethren, so you’re pretty much going to have to use the boil-and-pop method, and even then, it took me a few rounds to finally get it popped off the joint.

As you can clearly see from the photo, the socket on the TB Cap’s head is maybe an eighth the size of the åHasbro figure’s ball-joint.  In order to get it to fit, it needed some significant plastic removal.  The best tool for such a project is really a dremel; I didn’t have one handy, so I just made do with a basic power drill, starting with a drill bit just a little larger than the socket and slowly working my way to larger bits, until it was a good fit.  I actually went the slightest bit too large on the socket, but that’s an easy fix.  All you need is to put little bit of super glue in the socket, do a few turns while on the joint, and then take the head off and let it dry for a few minutes.  This gives the socket a little more texture, which helps the head stay put on the joint.

Throw in the shoulder harness from the Target 3-pack Cap to replace the wonky straps from the original figure, and I’m pretty happy with this figure.  The head/body paint matches up surprisingly well (any differences are virtually invisible to the naked eye).  The smaller head is scaled much better with the body, and it even makes the body look a little less chunky (I think the chunkiness I was seeing was actually an optical illusion).  And, best of all, he cost me less than the retail of your average Legends release to put together.  Now I have a Legends Captain America I can be proud of! Added bonus: with the left over parts I can put together a pretty sweet Cap Wolf!

#1305: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Steve Rogers is a soldier with superhuman strength and an indestructible shield!”

Generally speaking, I’m a pretty big supporter of Hasbro these days.  They run two of my favorite lines and generally do things that I support.  They get a lot of hate, and I think a lot of it’s undeserved.  With all that said, about a decade ago, I was NOT much of a Hasbro fan, due to a lot of very silly decisions on their part, both with the end of their DC license and the early days of their Marvel license.  While they’ve improved leaps and bounds, they do still have the occasional slip-up.  Today, I’m looking at one such slip-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is the first figure in the Red Onslaught Series of Marvel Legends, which was the first of the three vaguely Captain America: Civil War-themed series released last year.  I looked at a handful of figures from the series back when they were still new, but never got around to this guy, mostly for the aforementioned “slip-up” reasons.  This figure is, or is at least intended to be, an updated classic Captain America, which was a nice thought, given that the last actual classic Cap before this one was the Face Off version from Toy Biz.  He stands a little over 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Cap is built on the Reaper body, which most of us had figured would be the case as soon as the Reaper body showed up.  I’m not sure it’s the best base for the character; it seems a little chunky for him.  That being said, it’s certainly an improvement on the body that was previously being used for Cap, so that’s a plus.  Cap got unique pieces for his head, forearms, shoulder straps, belt, and boots (the forearms, belt, and boots would later be re-used for Red Guardian).  The majority of the pieces are decent work, and they fit well on the body.  He really, really could have used at least one fist, but that’s minor. The first major nit I have with the figure is the straps on the shoulders; previous pieces have always been done as a single harness piece, but for some reason this time Hasbro opted to go with two separate pieces.  The issue is that they don’t have anything to connect to, nor do they have the tension that would be brought by connecting to each other, so the end result is that they’re pretty much impossible to keep in place.  They just fall right off the arms.  Just getting the one photo with them was a nightmare.  The second major nit, and the primary reason I held off on getting this figure for so long is the head sculpt.  I’ve never been happy with the Hasbro Legends take on Steve Rogers, and this figure really exhibits the worst of that, even more so than prior figures.  His head looks thuggish and angry, and just all-around ugly, which is hardly how I think of Cap.  He takes the squared off, scowlly “Hasbro Face” that I so despise and dials it up to 11.  On top of that, the head is super, super wide, like it’s been stepped on or something, and is in general just way too large for this body.  It’s almost like they scaled it to the Hyperion.  I wish I had something nice to say about this head, but I really, really hate it.  The paint on this guy is okay, but hardly Hasbro’s best.  It’s a bit weird stepping back a year to just before they started really making the strides in paint quality.  He’s okay, but there’s some noticeable slop, especially on the white sections.  Ironically, the head gets probably the best work, but it’s not enough to save it.  Cap is packed with his mighty shield (which is the same mold used for Taskmaster, Red Guardian, and Vance), a pair of gripping hands, a left hand that’s pointing, a right hands that flat, an extra Cap Wolf head (which is probably the coolest included piece, and at least gives the figure *some* value), and the back-thingy of Red Onslaught.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this figure a ton of times over the course of the last year, but, despite being rather excited when he was initially announced, I just couldn’t bring myself to pay full retail for this guy.  A few things happened that finally got me to buy him.  First of all, Hasbro’s eBay shop marked the figure down to $8.99, which for those of you playing at home is less than half of the original retail price.  On top of that, I came across an image of a mod for the figure (which I’ll be posting about later today), which finally convinced me he was worth owning.  The basic figure is certainly disappointing.  That head is just terrible, and the shoulder straps are beyond annoying.  However, the base body is pretty decent, and at lest he’s got the extra Cap Wolf to make him more worthwhile.

*Want a Captain America figure of your own?  He’s currently in-stock with our sponsors over at All Time Toys!  Click here to check him out!

The Blaster In Question #0006: Allegiant Blaster

ALLEGIANT BLASTER

REBELLE

If you’ve read the title of this review, you can probably tell that I’m a big fan of Divergent. I especially liked the part where Katniss has to play Nerve because she’s made of grenades— what’s that?… I’m being told that’s not in Divergent. Are you sure? Well, I mean, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. Ok ok ok, I don’t actually know or care much about the Divergent series but they did get a couple Nerf blaster tie-ins and I do care about those. So let’s take a look at the biggest blaster from the bunch, the Allegiant Blaster.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Allegiant Blaster was released in 2016 as a promotional item for the new Allegiant movie from the Divergent series. The blaster itself is a recolor of the Rapid Glow, also in the Rebelle line, which in turn is essentially a reskin of the Recon or Retaliator which are built on the Bucky Cap body. Wait, scratch that last part. Differing from the Rapid Glow is the magazine which is the same type used in the Rapid Red, though also recolored. As with many blasters in the Rebelle line, the proportions on this blaster almost seem like they’ve been shrunken down, which I don’t entirely understand. I know Rebelle is targeted to girls, and statistically speaking, girls tend to be slightly smaller than boys, but the size difference on things like the grip and stock versus core N-Strike equivalents is kind of absurd. As such, the grip feels very cramped for me and my adult hands, and the stock is almost entirely cosmetic with no practical use. However, despite its size, the overall shape of the blaster is very smooth with rounded edges and flowing lines, which do add a little bit to the ergonomics. I just wish the dang thing were bigger. The magazine holds 12 darts and is completely interchangeable with other Nerf magazines. The blaster doesn’t feature and sights but has a single attachment rail on the slide. In addition to being typically smaller, most Rebelle blasters perform just slightly worse than core N-Strike Elite and this is also the case here. It’s not the kind of difference that will make or break the blaster for most people, but side by side, it is noticeable, making it more suited for indoor play. This is doubly true if you are like me and have to keep all the original darts with the gun since it comes with its own custom assortment of colors. The blaster comes packed with the magazine and 12 “collectible” darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Several of my friends and myself volunteer as tribute (like in Divergent) to help run a local convention every year. I purchased this blaster from Amazon so I could arm them to help enforce some of the rules. Unfortunately, the blaster didn’t arrive in time, so I was forced to bring a selection of other blasters in my arsenal. All in all it didn’t seem to affect our ability to lay down the law, Judge Dredd style, and either way, I got a new blaster out of it. While it’s not a standout blaster in any measurable sense, one of my favorite things about it is the aesthetics with the nice color scheme and the pictures of the mockingjays. And with that, I’m gonna end the review before actual Divergent fans start throwing things.

 

P.S. What day is it today? Thursday? Good gods, it seems like I missed my regularly scheduled time slot. I hope you don’t mind too much since the last weekend almost killed me with school work. Regular posts will resume Saturday, so don’t worry.

#1304: Hal Jordan – Classic

HAL JORDAN — CLASSIC

GREEN LANTERN CORPS (DC DIRECT)

“Armed with the miraculous Power Ring that makes his every thought a reality, Hal Jordan left behind a heroic legacy that will never be forgotten.”

Every so often, I like to remind my faithful readers that I was, at least at one point in time, a really, really big Green Lantern fan.  It’s rare that you get to be a fan of something both before AND after it was cool, you know?  Amongst Green Lantern fans, everyone’s got their personal favorite Lantern, be they human or alien.  A lot of people rag on Hal Jordan, but he’s still my favorite, which is why I own 54 action figures of him.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of my earlier Jordan figures, who hails from DC Direct’s long run of DC figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Classic Hal Jordan was released in the third series of DC Direct’s Green Lantern Corps line, alongside Guy Gardner and…Effigy?  Yeah, okay.  This was the fourth Hal Jordan figure DCD offered, and the first not to just be a straight repaint of the “Hard Traveling Heroes” figure.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation. This figure hit just as DCD started experimenting with articulation.  It’s basic, but it works, and doesn’t impede the quality of the sculpt.  Hal sported an all-new sculpt, based on the artwork of Gil Kane, who designed Hal and drew his very first appearance in Showcase #22, as well as handling the art on 69 of the first 75 issues of Hal’s solo title.  Kane had a rather distinctive take on Hal, and I believe this is the only time we’ve gotten a figure based directly on Kane’s work, in general.  The sculpt does a decent enough job of translating Kane’s renditions of Hal into three dimensions; he’s definitely been cleaned up a little bit, but I like to think of this as a “cover” Hal, as opposed to an “interior” Hal.  The body’s a little stiff, but thankfully predates DCD’s move to odd pre-posing, so it’s pretty exceptible.  The head sports some really nice work, and I like that they really nailed the shape of Hal’s hair.  It’s all flippy in the front, just as it should be.  Hal’s paint is pretty decent.  It’s pretty simple, but that’s appropriate for this style of figure.  The application’s all pretty clean, and I particularly like that they got the appropriate version of his insignia, as it was a bit different when Kane was drawing him.  When Kane drew him, Hal was frequently shown with visible pupils, which aren’t seen here.  Admittedly, it’s hard to get the pupils to not look really goofy, and it was about 50/50 as to whether they’d be there or not, so it’s hardly like they’re inaccurate.  Maybe an extra head would have been cool, but that was hardly a common-place idea when this figure was released.  Hal was packed with his lantern-shaped Power Battery, which, like his insignia, replicates the more unique shaping seen in Kane’s illustrations.  Also, here’s a fun fact: Hal was released during the brief period of time that DCD was doing their resealable clamshell packaging idea.  I always really liked it, but I guess it wasn’t cost effective, since it was worked out by the end of 2003.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Hal hit during a time when getting any Green Lantern at all was a pretty big deal, so I was pretty pumped for his release.  He’s I think my second or third proper Hal Jordan GL.  I got him from Phoenix Comics, which was a really neat little comic store that I’m not even sure is still around.  He was still a relatively new figure at the time and they were even selling him for a little below the going rate for DCD figures at the time.  He’s a pretty solid figure, even 14 years after his release, and a really great recreation of the early Hal Jordan appearances.

#1303: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with this ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Poor Cassian seems to keep drawing the short straw on the action figures. Jyn’s main looks were covered as widely-released single-packed figures.  We got a single-packed version of Cassian in both main scales, but they were both sporting his Eadu attire, which he only wears for short periods of the film. For whatever reason, Cassian’s main brown-jacketed look has been primarily limited to larger multi-packs.  The only version of that design to be released on his own is today’s focus figure, who was still a rather difficult to find exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cassian is the second of the four figures in the Walmart-exclusive Rogue One assortment of the small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Like Jyn, Cassian’s articulation is a significant step up from what we saw with the Force Awakens figures, making for a much more playable figure.  He sports an all-new sculpt, which is definitely one of Hasbro’s finest, especially at this scale.  Prior Cassian’s have really struggled to capture Diego Luna’s likeness, but I think this one just about nailed it.  It’s really not wildly different from the previous sculpts, but there are subtleties that just make all the difference.  The body does feel a little on the bulky side for Cassian (I think the two-pack/U-Wing figure may have gotten the build down better), but the detail work is definitely top notch, with the jacket in particular really impressing me. I also appreciate that the joints don’t stick out like sore thumbs on this guy.  Bad integration of the joints was a really issue on the Force Awakens figures, and I’m really happy to see them moving past it.  Cassian’s paint is largely pretty good, barring a few small issues.  It’s definitely cleaner than the two-pack version, and the eyes/eyebrows in particular are very clean and well-placed.  That can be really tricky, and was something that marred both my Poe and Han figures from the prior assortments.  My one really complaint with this guy is the beard.  It still isn’t quite right for Cassian; they keep giving him a full goatee, when it should really be a lot less pronounced on the sides.  Still, that’s quite minor, and it looks better here than on prior figures.  In a similar fashion to Jyn, Cassian includes his modular blaster, which can be broken down into three parts.  Of course, this is more key for Cassian, since we actually see his full blaster in action in the movie.  The stock is a little loose and prone to falling off, but I’m otherwise quite impressed with how well they executed this blaster’s design. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had wanted this version of Cassian as soon as it was shown, but I was unfortunately unable to find him anywhere at retail at the time of his release.  That’s really the main reason I ended up grabbing the TRU-exclusive one, since I didn’t want to be without this particular look for Cassian.  I was thrilled to actually find this guy at retail last week, and at half-price too!  Jyn was a fantastic figure, and Cassian manages to top her.  This is a truly impressive figure, and hands down the very best version of Cassian out there.  He rivals the larger K-2 figure for the spot of my favorite figure to come out of the Rogue One merch.

#1302: Sergeant Jyn Erso

SERGEANT JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A highly skilled soldier in the Rebel Alliance, Jyn Erso is an impetuous, defiant warrior eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Jyn has little patience for debate within Alliance High Command, enough that she takes matters into her own hands.”

Remember back last year when I reviewed those special smaller-scale Black Series figures based on the characters from The Force Awakens?  Well, Hasbro also did a set of those for Rogue One, albeit a more concise one.  They were a bit more difficult to find, since stores seem to still be swimming in the last few series just prior.  I did manage to finally track down some of them, including that set’s version of the film’s primary protagonist, Jyn Erso!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn is one of the four figures from the Rogue One-themed assortment of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  She hit in late November (well, in theory) and, like all of the small-scale Black Series figures since The Force Awakens, she’s a Walmart exclusive.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  I’m happy to report that they seem to have realized how difficult to pose some of the Force Awakens figures were, and have reworked the articulation scheme for the Rogue One offerings.  While I’m still not totally sold on the hip joints, the overall poseablity really great.  This figure sports an all-new sculpt, and she’s notable for being a Jyn look that we hadn’t yet gotten in plastic form.  Granted, it’s just a slight variation of the main look that we’ve gotten in both the small and larger scales; it’s her main Scarif look, which is her vested look, but without the underlying green jacket that she’s had on the prior vested figures.  All of the Black Series Jyn figures have had rather nice sculpts, and this figure is no exception.  I honestly think it’s the best Felicity Jones likeness of the bunch (this was also true of the Rey figure from this line), and the body sports halfway decent proportions, which is good for this line.  The vest is a removable piece; she looks a bit off with it removed, but it’s nice to have the extra option.  The paint work on Jyn is quite good for the scale; there’s not a ton of super intricate work, but the application is all pretty clean, especially on the face.  There’s some slight slop here and there, but I find it to be lot better than earlier figures in this style.  Jyn is packed with her small blaster pistol, along with two attachments for it to be converted into a sniper rifle configuration.  It’s not something we saw in the film, but it did show up in Battlefront, and it’s a cool concept.  Certainly a better extra than yet another giant missile launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This particular series of figures *mostly* eluded me at retail.  Jyn was the one figure that I actually saw.  In fact, I saw about ten of her right after Christmas, but since she was all alone and there were so many of her, I figured I’d wait.  Of course, then I didn’t see her or any of the other figures anywhere for the next five months, so I figured I’d missed my window.  Last week, I was killing some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend, and I happened upon a whole rack of the smaller Black Series figures, Jyn included.  For half-price no less!  I had resigned myself never to find her, but I’m super happy to have found her.  Genuinely the best version of Jyn on the market, and a marked improvement over the so-so Walmart-exclusive Force Awakens figures.