#1378: IG97 & Rom Mohc

IG97 & ROM MOHC

STAR WARS: LEGACY COLLECTION COMIC PACKS (HASBRO)

“Rom Mohc is an Imperial general involved in the testing of advanced battle droids known as Dark Troopers. One of these droids ends up on Tatooine and becomes activated by scavenging Jawas. The Dark Trooper attacks three friends camping in the desert. But things change when the prototype encounters a clumsy IG97 Battle Droid on Tatooine, and the machines battle each other.”

The Star Wars Expanded Universe may not be as “official” as it once was, but when it was in full swing, it encompassed a whole lot of stuff.  TV, video games, novels, and of course, comic books.  There are many, many unique characters there-in, with many of them remaining exclusive to one medium or the other.  Only a handful of characters have made appearances in multiple forms of media.  The set I’m looking at today includes one of those cross-over characters, as well as a character that only has one appearance to date.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at IG97 and Rom Mohc.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in 2010, during the Star Wars: Legacy Collection line.  They were part of the Comic Packs sub-line, and were offered as a Walmart-exclusive set.  The two are based on the Star Wars Tales #4 story “Sand Blasted,” in theory at least…

IG97

IG97, or IG-97 as he would be if he followed the usual droid naming conventions, is the less frequently appearing of the two figures included in this set.  In fact, his only appearance is in Star Wars Tales #4.  While he’s not the most major player in the story, he’s a fairly sensible choice.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  He’s surprisingly posable for a figure of his scale, and definitely a lot of fun to play with.  IG-97 is built using the body of the 2009 Legacy Collection version of the Battle Droids from the prequels.  It’s a pretty close match for the design of the  droid from the comic, and it was one of the best droid bodies Hasbro had at the time (and even now, it really hasn’t been topped).  He gets a new head, which is based on the art from the book.  This is a point of contention for some, who find him to be too cartoony and goofy to truly fit in with the rest of the figures of this era.  Personally, I rather like him, and enjoy the character and expression present in the head sculpt.  I certainly prefer this look to the basic Battle Droid head.  For a figure that’s largely a pale tan color, the paint on this guy is surprisingly well-done.  He’s molded in the base tan, and then has a darker brown wash, which brings out the details of his sculpt very nicely, and also helps to replicate the line-art from the comic.  IG-97 included a standard Battle Droid blaster, as well as both the standard and commander back-packs from the Battle Droid.

ROM MOHC

Rom Mohc is a character with a decent chunk of appearances, in a number of differing mediums.  He first appeared as the antagonist of the Dark Forces video game.  Subsequent appearances have been related to that, by and large.  Him getting a figure isn’t that odd, but it being part of a set based on “Sand Blasted” is somewhat strange, given that he only appears in about 3 panels of the story at the very beginning, and he’s almost completely divorced from everything else that’s going on.  But, he’s here nonetheless.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 paint of articulation.  Despite technically having more articulation than his pack-mate, he’s much stiffer, and way more limited in posability.  The figure is largely re-used, with his upper torso and arms coming from the Revenge of the Sith Tarkin (which also served as the basis for the previously reviewed Comic Pack Tarkin) and his legs coming from Janek Sunber.  He gets a new head to top it all off.  While the actual quality of the pieces used isn’t bad, they don’t add up to a figure that looks much of anything like any of Mohc’s appearances; certainly not the comic that this guy was actually supposed to be based on.  A lot of it comes from the re-used body, which just doesn’t have the right build for Mohc.  All of the available Imperial officer bodies were on the skinny side, so there’s not much Hasbro could have done, I guess.  The paint on Mohc is decent enough.  It’s not terribly exciting, being mostly drab colors, but it gets the job done.  He’s packed with a SE-14C blaster, which he has a little bit of trouble holding.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t super familiar with either character in this set prior to acquiring it, but I’m always a sucker for a cool robot toy, meaning this sets been in my sights for a little while.  I spotted the two at Yesterday’s Fun, and Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on getting them for me as an early birthday present.  I can take or leave Mohc, since he’s not super exciting.  Still, he works as a nice generic Imperial Officer, so that’s something.  IG-97 more than makes up for any of Mohc’s shortcomings, and is easily one of my favorite Star Wars figures I’ve gotten in a while.

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#1377: Wrestler Spider-Man

WRESTLER SPIDER-MAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

In light of the recent re-re-launch of Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming, why not have a look back at Spidey’s first turn as a movie star.  Though they have been eclipsed a bit by some of Marvel’s more recent offerings, the Raimi Spider-Man films are still some of my favorites (yes, even the much maligned Spider-Man 3).  Another favorite thing of mine?  Prototype super hero suits.  Today’s figure combines both of these things.  Without further ado, here’s Wrestler Spider-Man!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wrestler Spider-Man was released in the third, and final, series of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Movie tie-in line. The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  He’s based on Peter’s initial costume, which, as the name suggests, he makes for his wrestling match against Bone Saw McGraw.  Well, part of the figure is based on that, anyway.  This guy’s actually a two-in-one, representing both a standard Spider-Man *and* Wrestler Spider-Man.  The base figure is the standard Spidey, which is generally pretty nicely sculpted.  He’s not quite as mobile as the actual standard Spider-Man from this line, but you can get some pretty solid poses.  There’s a touch of preposing to him, with a slight hunch to his torso, which makes for some Spidey-worthy poses.  The head is unmasked, and is a pretty spot-on likeness of Tobey McGuire as Peter.  The standard Spidey look is finished off with a removable mask.  Said was prone to tearing, which is why my figure is missing his.  The paint work on the standard Spidey is really quite nice; the suit has the basic colors down, and there’s a ton of great accent work exhibited throughout.  The head also gets a pretty solid paint job, though the skin does seem a little bit pale and pasty.  Still, it’s far from bad.  To transform him into the Wrestler Spider-Man, the figure includes a spare set of arms and feet, as well as a rubber shirt piece, mask, and pants.  The sculpted parts are quite nicely detailed, and swap out with relative ease.  The extra add-on pieces are a little difficult to get on, but the end result is that they’re pretty form-fitting, and that makes for a much better final figure.  Like the standard mask, the Wrestler mask was also rather prone to tearing, meaning my figure’s missing that one, too.  Good thing he’s got that nice Tobey McGuire likeness, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in the intro, I really like prototype super suits, and this particular design is one of my favorites (the year Spider-Man was released, I actually made this costume to wear for Halloween).  I remember this guy being announced in ToyFare, and anxiously awaiting his release.  I ended up getting him during a trip to KB Toys with my Grandmother.  He’s definitely my favorite figure from this particular line; I just wish the masks had held up a little bit better.

The Blaster In Question #0017: Motofury Rapid Rally Set

MOTOFURY RAPID RALLY

NITRO

One of the most prominent trends in Nerf marketing is the considerable groundswell surrounding the release of a new type of ammunition.  It happened with Vortex, it happened with Elite darts, it happened with Accustrike.  This makes the substantial lack of hype for the new Nitro series curious.  Ok, maybe not that curious once you realize that Nitro is doing something completely different from the Nerf dart blaster lines.  That something is cars.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really grabbed by the premise of Nitro, but the launchers themselves were similar enough to the dart blasters that I was willing to give it a try, so today I’m looking at the Motofury Rapid Rally set.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Motofury Rapid Rally set was released in 2017 as the flagship of the Nerf Nitro line of car launchers.  It uses a flywheel system to fire the foam cars, much like any of the numerous flywheel Nerf blasters, however, it only uses a single wheel as opposed to the pair of wheels seen in blasters.  I guess in a sense, you could say this is the Stryfe of the Nitro line, but the comparisons really stop after the use of flywheel propulsion.  As with all of the Nitro launchers, the underside of the launcher is flat and designed in such a way that prevents a car from being fired if its not on a flat surface.  At least, that’s the idea.  It’s not difficult at all to press in the rev switch on the bottom of the grip with one hand while holding the launcher with the other, although I’m not really sure why you would want to.  It should be pretty obvious that cars handle rolling along the ground much better than being unceremoniously chucked through the air.  Keeping its intended position in mind, the Motofury feels solid in the hand, or rather, on the floor.  This is the only of the Nitro launchers to use a detachable magazine to feed cars into the firing mechanism as well as the only electronic launcher.  It does feel a little weird getting prone on the floor in order to shoulder and aim the launcher as instructed, but there’s nothing stopping you from launching cars from a regular seated position.  Speaking of aiming, the Motofury features a flip up sight for maybe aiming, I guess.  It’s just a single sight with nothing else to align it with so it’s effectively useless, but you do feel a little like a sniper lining up a shot if you bother with the sight at all.  For the most part, launched cars travel pretty straight and at high enough velocity to be fun, but not enough that you’ll hurt anybody or damage anything.  One complaint I have with firing the cars is that there is a considerable delay between when the trigger is pulled and when the car actually exits the launcher.  For someone used to the quick, snappy response of Nerf blasters, this delay can seem like a misfire and pulling the trigger again before the first car has been launched can result in a jam fairly easily.  The MotoFury requires 4 AA batteries to work and comes with 9 cars in 3 styles, and a 9-car magazine.  Now that would be fine and dandy if it were just the launcher, but what makes this a set is the extras that come with it.  Included in the box are 4 red barrels, 4 crates, 4 tire stacks, a high jump ramp, and a long jump ramp.  The random obstacles are pretty plain.  You can set them up and crash cars into them and that’s about it.  The ramps, however, are quite fun as they dramatically affect the trajectory of cars that reach them.  As you can imagine, the long jump ramp makes the cars fly pretty far through the air and the high jump ramp gives them considerable height.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was an impulse buy for me.  I was at a local TRU with my boy Ethan looking for any of the newest wave of Nerf blasters.  I didn’t find any of them, but there was a sale specifically for Nitro products.  I was curious about the line and the extra 20% off was enough to get me to pick up the Motofury and I’m glad I did.  It’s not a Nerf blaster, but it’s a lot of fun.  I don’t see myself getting any more Nitro after this, so I don’t mind splurging just a little to get the top of the line.

#1376: TIE Fighter Pilot

TIE FIGHTER PILOT

POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“With its vast space fleet, the Imperial Navy is a model of military efficiency. The best pilots in its ranks are rigorously trained to useto use highly maneuverable and heavily armed Twin Ion Engine (TIE) fighters. The small ships are used to both attack – and defend against – Rebel forces.”

Do I have to turn in my nerd card if I admit that until I read that bio in preparation for this review, I actually had no clue what TIE stood for?  I kinda thought it was because they looked like bow ties.  Now I know, and knowing is half the battle!  Wait, wrong 3 3/4-inch-based franchise!  Without further ado, let’s look at one of these Twin Ion Engine fighter pilots!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The TIE Fighter Pilot was released in 1996, during Power of the Force II’s second year.  This marks the second time this design had been seen in plastic, following the vintage figure.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation, which was standard for the line.  The figure’s sculpt was unique to him, and does a fairly decent job of capturing the TIE design from the movies.  He’s surprisingly tame in his stylization and his pre-posing, and also helped by not having a likeness to really worry about.  The lack of pre-pose is likely owed to his intended use with the actual TIE Fighter vehicle (which, fun fact, arrived on store shelves a year before this guy’s release), since too much of a pose would have made seating him in the ship rather difficult.  I appreciate that the figure’s been designed in such a way as to keep his neck movement, by way of attaching the tubes and box to his head.  It can look a little weird when turned to certain angles, but is by-and-large a well-worked out concept.  The paint on this guy could have been rather lazy and un-inspired, but Kenner went the extra mile and added differing sheens to the various black tones, as well as making sure he has all of the proper insignias.  It’s really quite remarkable work.  This figure was packed with two different blasters, one large, and one small.  Neither really seems to go with the figure, and mine has been without both for a little while.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, in addition to grandchild-specific gifts, both sets of grandparents would tend to go out and buy one smaller item in bulk, to give everyone that one same item.  The TIE Fighter was one such gift, given to all of the grandkids on my Dad’s side one year for Christmas.  We were all pretty into Star Wars at the time, so it was pretty sensible.  While I’ve never really had a particular attachment to the TIE Fighter pilot, I do still really like this guy, and he’s always been a steady fixture of my collection.

#1375: Ahab

AHAB

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A houndmaster from a future timeline in which mutants are hunted down and destroyed, Ahab has time-traveled to the present to continue his mission of eliminating dangerous mutants. Employing advanced Sentinel technology in his powerful cyborg body, Ahab ruthlessly enslaves those mutants he does not kill, transforming them into telepathic hounds which he uses to track down others of their kind. Only the combined powers of the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four were able to put a stop to Ahab’s murderous rampage through our time in the past. Should he reappear, who knows what havoc he might wreak!”

You know how sometimes there’s bad figures of good characters?  Or, on the flip side, good figures of bad characters?  Today represents neither of those things.  Today, I look at what might be one of the very worst figures ever released in Toy Biz’s 5-inch X-Men line.  He’s a little figure by the name of Ahab.  Let’s just get straight to it, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahab was released in Series 5 of X-Men.  In a series populated by fan-favorites, he’s…well, he’s not.  He’s an odd choice for the set, and the line in general really.  I mean, I guess he was involved in some semi-important stories in the comics.  But, given that one of the characters completely absent from Toy Biz’s entire run was Rachel Summers, who’s sort of the only reason Ahab matters at all, he feels out of place.  Maybe there’s a big Ahab fanbase out there or something.  I don’t know.  Anyway, the figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  For reasons I’m not entirely sure of, he lacks neck and elbow movement, which makes for a very stiff figure.  Already not the greatest start.  Ahab has what has to be one of the clunkiest sculpts of any figure in this line.  I genuinely don’t know how they managed to mess him up this bad.  I mean, he’s hardly got the greatest design in the comics, but it’s better than this, to be sure.  Everything about this figure is blocky, stiff, and inorganic.  That’s fine for the blocky, stiff, and inorganic parts, but not so much for the parts that aren’t those things. His head is particularly bad, given it’s incredibly thin, tall look, and complete lack of neck.  He’s got this sort of cyborg-zombie-Abraham-Lincoln thing going on, and the sculpt doesn’t seem to be able to decide what’s his hair and what’s his headgear.  They just sort of meld together. He’s also got this look on his face like he just crapped his pants.  Which, in a gross way, leads me to my next complaint: his legs.  Or, more specifically, his hips, which are oddly shaped, not particularly accurate to his comics design, and start a considerable distance after his torso ends.  Ahab’s paintwork is decent enough for what it is. It’s pretty basic, and far from the most appealing color scheme.  Burnt sienna and lavender isn’t exactly an imposing combo.  Also, we get the same issues the sculpt had with the hair/headgear changeover, which just sort of…happens.  The figure was originally packed with a missile launcher and three “harpoons,” which I don’t have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, if I hate this guy so much, why do I own him?  Is he another gift from a confused family member?  Nope, he’s actually a pretty recent acquisition.  In the last few months, I’ve decided to try and complete my ‘90s X-Men collection.  That meant I was gonna have to get this guy eventually.  I found this one at Yesterday’s Fun for $1, which is really about the cap of how much I’m willing to pay for him.  He’s an awful figure.  Just awful.  But, I like to look at the positives: the collection only improves from here!

#1374: Roboto

ROBOTO

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2002)

One year ago exactly, I wrapped up a two-week stretch of Masters of the Universe reviews with a review of the Castle Grayskull playset from the 2002 line.  In what I guess is going to become a birthday tradition on the site, I’m looking at yet another MotU figure today.  It’s one of my favorite characters from the franchise, Roboto, Heroic Mechanical Warrior!  I’ve actually looked at Roboto once before, having looked at his vintage counterpart, but today I look at his super awesome 2002 version!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roboto was added to the re-launched Masters of the Universe series in 2003, as part of the fifth assortment of Heroic Warriors.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (13 if you count the very slight mobility of his jaw).  Where the vintage Roboto made use of a couple of pieces from Trap-Jaw, this Roboto was a totally unique sculpt.  This figure takes Roboto’s admittedly rather goofy vintage design, and does its very best to make him look, you know, actually pretty cool.  Unlike a lot of things that Mattel tries at, this figure succeeds.  In fact, this is easily one of my favorite designs from the 2002 line, and really Masters of the Universe in general.  He keeps all of the important details from the original Roboto, so you can clearly tell it’s the same character, but all of these details have been made much sharper, more robotic, and more in line with other cool robots of the last few decades.  The head in particular ditches the duck-billed knight looking design of the vintage figure in favor of a more futuristic warrior look, which made more sense in the setting of the updated cartoon.  Like his vintage counterpart, this guy takes advantage of the usual hollow torso of these figures, and has molded it in clear plastic and placed an assortment of gears inside, representing his inner workings.  In terms of paintwork, this guy is pretty great; the application is all very clean, and I really like the metallic re-working of his classic color scheme.  It really pops.  The figure is packed with two arm attachments for his right arm: a claw and a blaster.  Both are updates of the same pieces included with the vintage figures, updated to match the new figure’s style.  He loses the third attachment (the axe) but gains an extra armored piece for his torso, as well as a missile for his blaster arm.  Not a bad assortment of extras at all!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Roboto’s debut episode was one of my favorites of the 2002 show, so I always wanted this figure.  Remember how I mentioned that his re-design was one of my favorites?  Well, I wasn’t alone in this thought.  That, coupled with Mattel’s incredibly stupid methods of packing cases and distribution, meant that I never once saw this figure at retail.  It also meant he was one of the figures to hold onto his aftermarket value, even well after most of the line had fallen way down in price.  Honestly, I’d never even seen this guy in person.  So, when I found him at Lost In Time Toys a few weeks ago, I was pretty excited.  I was even more excited when I found out that he was half-off his given price, allowing me to get him for a more than reasonable price.  I’m thrilled to finally have this guy, and for all the ragging I do on Mattel, there’s no denying that this is a cool toy.

*As an added bonus, Roboto was also the 4000th unique figure to be added to my collection!  Wow, that’s a lot of figures!

#1373: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

“A long-time friend and confidant of Tony Stark, chopper pilot Jim Rhodes was rewarded for his loyalty with his own suit of technological combat armor, turning him into a one man War Machine!  Now armed with an impressive array of cutting-edge weaponry almost the equal of Iron Man’s, War Machine battles shoulder-to-shoulder with the armored avenger in his secret war against the forces of the Mandarin!”

And, just like that, we’re back to Marvel.  That’s gonna be happening a lot.  So, today, I’ll be going back to a ‘90s Marvel line that I feel I haven’t looked at enough: Iron Man!  With just four series (plus a fifth one that was cancelled), it’s hardly one of Toy Biz’s longer-running entries, but four series of an Iron Man line more than a decade before the general public cared about Iron Man is far from the worst thing.  Attempting to capitalize on the success of the then-current cartoon, the line provided us with most of ol’ Shellhead’s supporting players from the show, including Tony’s wingman, Jim “Rhodey” Rhodes, aka War Machine!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Iron Man line.  This was the very first War Machine figure ever produced (though not the first James Rhodes; Rhodey was still Iron Man at the time of Secret Wars, meaning that figure is technically him).  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  War Machine is based on the second version of the armor, which was the first one worn by Rhodey.  It’s the version seen in the cartoon, and is one of the best known versions of the character.  As I noted in my review of Space Armor Iron Man, the Iron Man line’s armored figures were handled in a slightly unique way; each of them was a basic figure, with extra clip-on armor parts to really complete their look.  War Machine was actually one of the more faithful basic figures, and can essentially function without the extra pieces if need be, which is a definite plus in his favor.  The sculpt is generally pretty sharp, and the details of the armor match up pretty well with both the show and the comics, though some parts are more condensed and streamlined.  There are the armor ports, of course, which still look a little goofy, but they’re far from the worst thing.  There were 10 clip-on armor pieces included with War Machine: Chest plate, back plate, belt (front and back), shoulder pads, gauntlets, and shin covers.  These pieces serve to enhance the look of the figure, and really make for quite a faithful War Machine figure.  War Machine had one of the better paint schemes of the armored figures; all of the basic paint is nice and clean, and the armor, by virtue of it’s silver coloring, is less prone to issues with chipping and such, which plagued the more colorful Iron Men.  In addition to the clip-on armor, War Machine also included two cannons to be mounted on his shoulders, one of which has missile launching feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with a number of the ‘90s Marvel lines, I had to play a little bit of catch-up on the first series of Iron Man figures.  By the time I was really collecting the line for myself, they were onto Series 2.  While I was able to track down a few of the Series 1 figures, I had to settle for Series 4’s War Machine II as my main version of the character.  I’ve been looking for this guy for a little while, but the armored figures from this line aren’t always the easiest to find, especially when you primarily go for loose offerings, like I do.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a loose but complete War Machine at Pop Culture Exchange, for under $5, no less.  He’s definitely a strong offering for the line, and I’m very happy to have finally tracked him down!

#1372: Martian Manhunter

MARTIAN MANHUNTER (aka “Martin Spartan”)

RETRO ACTION DC SUPER HEROES (MATTEL)

It’s been the better part of a month since I’ve looked at a DC Comics-based item, so I guess I should go ahead and give them some coverage too!  So, hey, that Justice League trailer just hit and it looks…about the same as everything other DC movie that’s been released in the last 4 years.  Oh goody.  I must admit, I’m not a huge fan of the line-up they’ve chosen for the team’s first live-action outing.  Obviously, I’m lamenting the lack of my personal favorite heavy hitter, Green Lantern, but I’m also really not digging the lack of J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter.  Sure, he’s not the team’s most prominent member, but it’s a bit like if they’d left Hawkeye out of the first Avengers movie.  Alas, there’s no going back now.  Anyway, I’m gonna make myself feel better by reviewing this here Martian Manhunter in all of his retro-inspired goodness.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Martian Manhunter (or “Martin Spartan,” as Super Awesome Girlfriend accidentally named him) was released in the fourth, and final, series of Mattel’s Mego-inspired Retro Action DC Super Heroes line of figures.  Like a large number of figures in the line, he has no original Mego counterpart.  The figure stands roughly 8 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  J’onn was built on Mattel’s Mego-equivalent body, which is different from the standard body in ways that make it…different.  That’s it.  They’re changes for the sake of change, with no actual improvements to the basic body.  It’s just Mattel being weird, really, but hey, what else is new, right?  It’s certainly workable, and at a glance really isn’t much different, so that’s good.  Manhunter has a unique head-sculpt, which depicts an earlier, more human-like version of the character, which is certainly befitting of a Mego-styled figure.  Apart from a slight molding error on my figure, it’s a pretty great sculpt.  Manhunter has an outfit made up of a cloth jumpsuit, a cape, and a pair of rubber buccaneer boots.  The jumpsuit makes up his exposed skin, which is true to the old Mego style, and it has some nice extra bits attached to it make up his actual costume.  I particularly like the use of pleather for the straps and belt, though I do wish there were an actual buckle.  The cape is a little thin for my taste, but overall a nice addition.  The boots are nicer than a lot of the Retro Action figures, and look a good deal less bulky.  Manhunter is largely without paint; the only actual paint is on his eyes, and it’s probably my one real point of contention with this figure.  The sculpt is clearly a classic Manhunter, so his eyes should be white, and possibly even have pupils, but they are instead red, as they would be on a modern Martian Manhunter design.  It’s a small nit, but it sort of throws the whole retro thing off for me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad and I collected this whole line of figures together when it was first released, so I remember when this guy first hit.  The ones we collected are more part of my dad’s collection than mine, since he was the one with the vintage Mego collection, so I only have the few spares I picked up along the way.  This guy came into my collection when Super Awesome Girlfriend and I found him at a 2nd Avenue for $2.  Super Awesome Girlfriend felt sorry for him, and insisted that I add him to my collection.  He’s a pretty fun figure.  Definitely for a specific demographic, but fun nonetheless.

#1371: Maverick

MAVERICK

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“A secret agent formerly allied with both Wolverine and Sabretooth, Maverick is as tough a customer as they come! A master strategist and martial artist, Maverick is one of the foremost mercenaries in the world, accepting any assignment… as long as the price is right! With both espionage skills and the mutant ability to absorb kinetic impact, Maverick is a hard man to keep down indeed!”

Maverick is about as ‘90s X-Men as a ‘90s X-Men character can get.  Shoulder pads? Check.  Former ally of Wolverine?  Check.  Sketchy past?  Check.  Single word name picked purely because it sounded cool?  Check.  Vague power set that ultimately translates to “has a big gun”?  That’s a bingo.  Of course, like a lot of uber ‘90s X-Men characters, I have something of a soft-spot for the guy, given his presence in both X-Men: The Animated Series and the corresponding X-Men toyline from Toy Biz.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As you’ve probably pieced together from the intro, Maverick was released as part of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  There are two versions of Maverick available, and there’s a bit of a saga behind those two figures being released.  The gold and silver Maverick was originally slated for release in Series 5 of the main line, as a replacement for the cancelled Gauntlet/Barrage figure.  However, Maverick himself was cut from the line up rather early on in the process, and bumped to the next series, whose line-up he remained a part of long enough for his prototype to be in the line-up shot that was meant to go on the figure cardbacks.  He was dropped from this assortment as well, and his prototype was hastily cut out of the Series 6 photos (you can actually still see his gun overlapping Morph’s hand on the card backs).  This version would eventually see release alongside Series 6’s Trevor Fitzroy in a KB Toys-exclusive two-pack, but did not see a single-carded release.  The single-carded Maverick is the  blue version seen above, and he was released as part of the “Mutant Genesis” series, two years after he was originally supposed to hit retail.  That seems like a whole lot of trouble to go through for Maverick, but I guess it’s nice he finally made it out.  Both figures share the same mold, and thus both figures stand about 5 1/4 inches tall and have 8 points of articulation.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one, overall.  It’s very similar to the other ’93-’94 X-Men figures stylistically, meaning he’s not quite as large and exaggerated as some of the later figures would become.  He’s a little on the stiff side (which was common to a lot of the figures from this point), which isn’t really helped by his lack of neck articulation.  However, for a character like Maverick, who was usual fairly rigid in his movement, it’s not terrible. The sculpt captures Maverick’s (admittedly rater unattractive) design rather nicely, and offers some rather intricate work on the various small details of the armor.  The cables are a softer material, which I suppose would be cool if he had neck articulation, but since he doesn’t, it’s a nice thought that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  At least they tried?  The rest of the figure is done in a much stiffer plastic, which means that his shoulder pads can break if you’re not careful (you can see this breakage on gold/silver Maverick’s left shoulder).  Paint is, of course, the divergent bit of these two.  The original one was gold and silver, and more or less follows Maverick’s design from the comics.  There are a few spots where paint is obviously missing, but he’s generally a good match for his 2-D counterpart.  The second figure opted to replace the silver parts with blue, for…reasons?  I don’t believe this follows any established look for the character, and it looks a bit off.  It wouldn’t be so bad if the blue were a more subdued shade.  Some of the missing paint from the first figure is corrected here, but a few other bits are lost, making for a pretty equivalent trade.  While the blue color scheme is generally fine as its own thing, the one part I’m not much of a fan of is the hair, which goes from a rather believable dirty blond to some sort of off green/grey sort of thing.  Yuck.  Both figures originally included a gun; silver for the gold/silver figure, and black for the blue figure.  It fits in his right hand, and is worked into his “quick-draw” feature, which swings his arm downward when you press the lever on his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Maverick is another more recent purchase.  I always wanted one of these two, but I just never found one in-person.  I ended up finding the blue version at Bobakhan Toys on my way out of Seattle this summer.  At the time, I lamented that they didn’t have the silver one, and then two days later I ended up fishing him out of a $1 bin at Pop Culture Exchange, which was pretty cool.  Even without owning him as a kid, I’ve always had a bit of sentimental attachment to the character, due to his inclusion in the board game X-Men Alert, where he was very frequently on my team.  Neither Maverick figure is perfect, but they’re both still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have been able to add them both to my collection.

#1370: Diamondhead

DIAMONDHEAD

BEN 10 (BANDAI)

Much as I tried, Ben 10 was one of those shows I just could never really keep up with.  I don’t really know why.  I liked the concept and I loved the character designs.  Heck, I even had a handful of the toys, despite the fact that they were made by Bandai America.  But I just never really got into the show.  Well, at least I still have the toys, right?  That’s always the most important thing.  Today, I’m gonna look at one of those toys!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Diamondhead was released in the basic figure series of Bandai’s main Ben 10 line.  He was in the second wave of figures, hitting a few months after the initial assortment.  He represents Ben’s initial Diamondhead look.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  As with a lot of Bandai America figures, he’s rather under-scaled in comparison to the rest of the line, but he looks halfway decent when placed with other aliens that are meant to be of similar stature.  His articulation is a bit lower than the usual Bandai fare, to the point of not being useful for a whole lot other than standing.  I mean, it’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s still rather on the lacking side.  The sculpt was unique to this guy, and, on the plus side, it was actually a pretty solid piece of work.  He manages to be a mostly spot-on recreation of Diamondhead as seen in the show, and is generally just really sharp looking.  This is one of the better sculpts that this line produced to be sure.  The paint work on this figure is perfectly acceptable, but ultimately rather uninspired.  The colors are all chosen well enough, and the application’s pretty clean for the most part.  Heck, there aren’t even any missing paint apps, a rarity when it comes to Bandai America products.  The issue?  The diamond parts.  In the show, it’s clear that he’s not just one single shade of opaque blue-green, but that’s exactly what he is here.  This figure really would have benefited from some sort of slightly translucent or even pearlescent plastic for his exposed diamond skin.  As it is?  He feels a little drab and lackluster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Here’s something I don’t say much on this site: I don’t know where I got this figure.  That generally doesn’t bode well, since if I don’t remember getting it, it means I’m not very attached to it.  This is perhaps the one Ben 10 figure I own whose origins I can’t relay.  Going back and reviewing the figure, I can’t say that’s a surprise.  He’s not anything special, and he’s not particularly fun.  Sure, the sculpt’s decent, but that’s really it.  Nothing about this figure goes beyond so-so, and without any sentimental value, I can’t say he does a whole lot for me.