The Blaster In Question #0016: Deploy CS-6

DEPLOY CS-6

N-STRIKE

This may come as a bit of a surprise to you but I love Nerf blasters.  Shocking, I know.  As such, I like to keep up with the Nerf community of fans, while perhaps not in person, but at least for news and updates.  If I have one problem with the Nerf community (sweeping generalization) it’s the seemingly arbitrary hatred most members have for certain blasters.  If you read my review of the Crossbolt, you probably picked up on some of that.  This week, I’ll be looking at another widely hated blaster, the Deploy CS-6.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Deploy CS-6 was released in 2010 in the N-Strike line, not Elite, just regular.  As with most clip-system blasters of that era, the internals are largely identical from one to the next.  The Deploy’s selling point was its unique collapsible design that allowed it to be stored or carried in its more compact “flashlight mode,” a design choice that I suspect was made in response to the growing hype surrounding the real world firearm, the FMG9 from Magpul.  In flashlight mode, there are only 2 controls.  The first is the on/off switch for the single tiny red LED which comprises the flashlight portion of the blaster.  The second control is the deploy button on the top side of the carry handle.  This is where it gets interesting.  Pressing the button causes the flashlight/magazine well portion of the blaster to swing down to the left, and the stock portion to shoot backward, exposing the grip and trigger.  This was very exciting for me the first time I saw it because, at the time, I was deeply invested in the game Mass Effect which features, among many other things, folding/collapsible guns.  Also, things that fold up are just cool.  That’s a fact.  It’s clear that the design of the Deploy was intended to be compact so some dimensions like the length of the stock feel a little small, but still perfectly usable.  The sideways-facing magazine is a little finicky and not quite as smooth to operate as the Raider CS-35 but it just takes a little practice.  The blaster can also still be used with the magazine well facing up although this does block the sights.  I only have 2 real complaints about the function of the blaster, the first being that said magazine well does not lock into the downward position, so running around with a big old drum magazine sticking out the side means it’s going to bounce quite a bit.  Second is just a problem inherent with the material, it creaks an awful lot, but with that many external moving parts, it’s not really surprising and is certainly not the deal breaker I’ve heard it described as.  For its time, the Deploy’s performance was respectable.  Nowadays, particularly since the launch of the Elite series, it doesn’t quite hold up.  Darts hit moderately hard at close range but quickly lose momentum and end up diving into the ground.  This probably isn’t helped by the ammo as clip-system blasters were still using Streamline darts.  Take all my complaints about Elite darts and cut the range back to a third and that’s Streamlines.  To be honest, I doubt you’d get much of a response from busting into your siblings room and blasting away with this.  It’s definitely an indoor blaster.  The Deploy comes packaged with a 6-round magazine, 6 Streamline darts, and a sling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Deploy has its problems, that’s true.  But none of these are enough to make me say it’s a bad blaster.  In fact, back in my collegiate Humans vs Zombies days, this blaster saved my figurative life a number of times thanks to it’s folding design which meant it could be tucked into a backpack with relative ease.  So no, I don’t agree with the Nerf Community on this one.  If you really don’t like the Deploy, send it to me, don’t chop it up with an axe and blow up the remains.

 

#1369: Spider-Woman

SPIDER-WOMAN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“Once an illegal operative, Jessica Drew left the group called Hydra to fight crime as the original Spider-Woman! With the ability to climb walls and emit bio-electric spider-blasts, Spider-Woman put many super-villains behind bars. Eventually giving up her identity as Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew now fights crime as a private investigator!”

When does a spin-off character have nothing to do with the original?  When they’re Spider-Woman, of course.  The first Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, was introduced in 1977 as little more than a way of preventing Filmation from putting out a cartoon with their own Spider-Woman.  She had a similar power set to everyone’s favorite wall-crawler, but there the similarities ended.  The two characters wouldn’t even meet for quite a long time after her creation.  Which makes the fact that her very first figure came from a Spider-Man toyline all the more amusing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Woman was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in toyline.  She wasn’t based on a cartoon appearance (likely to avoid viewer confusion; her successor, Julia Carpenter, was a regular on the Iron Man cartoon at the same time).  In fact, Series 7 was right about the time that the series stopped focussing on following the cartoon, so Spider-Woman was not the only non-show figure in the series.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 8 points of articulation.  Jessica’s sculpt is a reworking of the Julia Carpenter Spider-Woman from Series 1 of the Iron Man line.  This would be the first time they’d share a sculpt, but far from the last.  Given the similarities in design, it’s a rather practical way of getting an extra use out of the molds, I suppose.  She’s been tweaked to add in elbow joints and also to remove Spider-Woman II’s action feature.  Sadly, they didn’t go as far as to add back in the neck movement lost due to the action feature, but that would have been a more hefty re-working, I suppose.  The sculpt is a pretty decent one overall.  The proportions are fairly balanced, and pretty decent for the time.  The hair has a pretty nice sculpt, and sits nicely, and the face isn’t too terrible.  The one main drag with this sculpt is just how stiff it is.  She doesn’t really look natural in any pose.  It’s largely to do with the arms, or more specifically, the hands.  She’s got this karate chop thing going on, and it just looks rather out of place.  The paint is really the key part of this figure, and it’s pretty decent.  The colors match well with her comics counterpart, and the work is generally on the clean side.  Some of the black lines are a little fuzzy, but it’s not terrible.  In terms of accessories, Jessica was about on par with most of the other figures of this time, which means she has a bunch of random stuff that doesn’t amount to much of anything.  There was like a shield and a weird gun-thing I think?  Mine has neither piece, and that’s just fine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spider-Woman wasn’t one of my childhood figures.  My dad had one, but I didn’t, largely due to not being overly familiar with Jessica Drew.  I’ve since picked up some knowledge and appreciation for the character, so I’ve been on the look out for this figure.  I found her at Yesterday’s Fun last week, but ultimately put her (and a few others) back in favor a few other things.  My Dad apparently took note of this, and presented me with the whole lot the next day.  He’s nice like that.  She’s a decent enough figure, I suppose.  Nothing amazing, but certainly entertaining.

#1368: Ms. Marvel & Kang

MS. MARVEL & KANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey-ho there readers!  So, today’s gonna be another Marvel review, because, like 95% of what I’ve bought recently is Marvel.  On the plus side, I’m actually looking at a relatively new item for a change.  That’s cool, right?  I’ll be heading back over to the Minimates corner of my collection, and taking a look at one of my favorite new additions to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan, alongside long-time Avengers for Kang the Conqueror!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ms. Marvel and Kang were released in the fifth Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  Both are based on their appearances in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but in both cases, this translates to a look that’s essentially identical to their comics counterparts.

MS. MARVEL

“Exposed to the Terrigin Mists, Inhuman high-schooler Kamala Khan gains the ability to shape-shift, and decides to become one of the super-heroes she idolizes.”

It’s been a good year for Kamala!  First she got a Marvel Legend, and now she’s got a Minimate too!  Not too shabby for a character that’s only been around since 2014.  Ms. Marvel makes her Minimate debut here, and is based upon her appearance in the episode “The Inhuman Condition.”  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, scarf, and skirt.  The skirt appears to be a fairly standard piece, but the scarf and hair are both new.  They’re decent enough pieces, I suppose.  Obviously, they’re a bit more on the simplistic side, as is the case with most of the animation-based mates.  It’s really only noticeable on the hair, which you can easily replace if you really want a more realistic look.  That being said, the pieces mimic her design from the show pretty well, and fit the character nicely.  The paint work on her is generally pretty solid; the colors are still a little more washed out than I’d like, but she generally looks like she does in the comics, and the colors have more “pop” than some of the others.  I’m not the biggest fan of the rather bland expression on the face, though; Kamala’s usually depicted as rather jovial, so a smile or grin would have been more true to the character in my opinion.  Ms. Marvel is packed with a spare right hand and left arm (borrowed from Mr. Fantastic), simulating her stretchy powers, as well as the usual clear display stand.

KANG

“Kang is a time-traveling warlord from the 30th century who finds himself repeatedly embroiled in conflict with the 21st century Avengers.”

Wow, another Kang?  Man, it was such a big deal to get him the first time, but I think I might have burned out all of the excitement.  Of course, that ‘mate was only in an exclusive 4-pack, which not everyone got, so I suppose a new one makes sense.  Like Ms. Marvel, he’s built on the standard body, and has the usual articulation.  He has add-ons for his head-piece, shoulder bit, and skirt.  The shoulder thing is re-used from the last Kang ‘mate (rather sensible), and the other two parts appear to be new.  They’re decently sculpted, though I’m not 100% sold on the head piece.  It’s an odd looking thing in the comics, and neither attempt at translating it into ‘mate form is particularly right.  This one’s not terrible.  This figure uses the standard upper-arms, which is one change I’m in favor of, since I was never much of a fan of the puffy sleeves from the last one.  As far as paint goes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the paint on this guy; the colors just aren’t vibrant enough for my taste.  The green in particular just feels really dull and boring.  I’m also not a big fan of the reduced detail work, since the things like the wrinkles of the shirt and the lines on his mask were some of my favorite parts of the last Kang.  In terms of accessories, he only includes a display stand.  I feel like there has to be something else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these two while looking for Marvel Legends at Walgreens.  I’ve largely fallen out of collecting Minimates hardcore, in part because of the difficulty of finding the Walgreens releases, so these two sort of snuck up on me, and I was really surprised to find them as quickly as I did.  Ms. Marvel’s the real draw of the set for me, and aside from the slight disappointment with the expression, I’m really happy with her.  Kang is kind of meh.  Rather drab and un-interesting to me.  Perhaps it’d be different if I didn’t have the first one.  Still, it’s a pretty decent set all in all.

#1367: Falcon

THE FALCON

MARVEL SUPER HEROES: SECRET WARS (MATTEL)

“Transported to a strange planet by a force from beyond the universe, earth’s deadliest villains try to destroy the Marvel Super Heroes – as they fight the Secret Wars through the use of secret messages!”

Before Toy Biz came along and gave us just about every single Marvel character under the sun in the ‘90s, there was a very eclectic selection of Marvel characters available in toy format.  Major characters went completely figureless for years.  And yet, in the chaos of pre-Toy Biz Marvel stuff, somehow The Falcon, a relatively minor character until very recently, wound up with not one, but two whole figures.  I’ll be looking at the second of those, courtesy of Mattel’s Secret Wars line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Falcon was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes: Secret Wars, alongside the previously reviewed Daredevil, Black Costume Spider-Man, and Baron Zemo.  As with DD and Zemo, Falcon is another character in the line who wasn’t present in the maxi-series at all.  Not sure why they went with so many non-series stars, but if it gets me a Falcon figure, I won’t complain.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation, counting the wings.  He’s built on the same basic body as most of the line, at least for the torso and legs, anyway.  His arms are from Captain America, and his head was an all-new sculpt.  The head is sort of iffy.  I think part of the problem is that he’s the only Secret Wars figure to incorporate hair, and Mattel clearly wasn’t up to hair in terms of sculpting prowess.  He’s also rather wide, and somewhat nondescript.  The standard torso’s been tweaked slightly to allow for the attachment of his wings.  The wings don’t really follow the usual layout for Falcon; his wings have classically been attached to his arms, but these are purely attached to his back, sticking straight out like Angel or Hawkman’s wings.  I find it doesn’t look as cool as his traditional look, but doing them the right way wouldn’t have really been possible given the constraints of the base body.  The paint on Falcon is about on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s passable, but far from stellar.  The colors sort of run together, I find, and for whatever reason his shoes are the same color as his skin.  He’s also missing any detailing on the eyes, which comes across as incredibly cheap and lazy in my opinion.  Also, like all of the other figures I’ve looked at, this guy’s exhibiting some rather noticeable paint wear, a symptom of the lower quality paint that was used.  The worst of it’s the missing spot on the nose, which is a little frustrating, but far from horrible.  He was originally packed with his sidekick Redwing, as well as one of the goofy lenticular shields.  Mine has neither, but I can’t really say I’m hurting for either piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Falcon is a figure that’s eluded me for quite some time.  Cosmic Comix got one in about a decade ago, which I wanted to get, but decided to come back for later.  Sadly, he was gone when I got back, and not long after I discovered that he’s actually one of the rarer releases from the line.  I was able to finally track him down, courtesy of Heywood Comics in Asheville, NC.  He’s not in perfect condition, but he’s decent enough that I’m happy with him.  The figure’s not one of Mattel’s stronger offerings, but I can’t say he’s out of place with this line.  He could be worse.

#1366: Venom Space Knight

VENOM SPACE KNIGHT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Oh blind bags.  How I loathe thee.  There are certainly things that I hate more than blind bags, but they honestly aren’t coming to mind right now.  So, blind bags are number one right now.  I can sort of see the novelty of the concept to a certain degree, but beyond the first couple of figures, it just sort of wears out its welcome.  Which is really an issue when it comes to introducing blind bags to a pre-existing line.  DST started working the idea into their various Minimates properties to varying success.  It’s finally made its way into the main Marvel comic line, and I’m not super sure how I feel about that.  I’m giving it a try, though, and looking at one of them today.  Yes, it’s another Flash Thompson Venom, but this time, he’s a Space Knight.  And why not?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venom Space Knight is part of the inaugural Blind Bag series of comic-based Marvel Minimates.  He’s one of the less common figures in the case; he’s not a one-per-case-r like Silk, but he’s not one of the heavier packed ones.  Which is sensible enough, since Venom’s moderately popular, but not quite as hugely popular as Iron Man and Spider-Man.  The figure’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation, taking the boots into account.  He’s got 12 add-on pieces for his helmet, chest piece, upper arms, hands, pelvis cover, upper legs, boots, and torso extender.  Most of the parts are re-used from other bulked up characters (including a few other Venom ‘mates).  The helmet’s all-new, and does a really nice job of translating the comics design into the ‘mate form.  In general, this design translated quite nicely into the ‘mate aesthetic.  Definitely a well-chosen design for the line.  The paintwork on this guy is all pretty solid; the line work is nice and crisp, and the colors are well chosen for the character.  The dark blue chosen for the bulk of the character is pretty nifty, and the white stands out nicely against it.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face and torso, showing Flash in his non-armored look.  There’s also a spare set of arms and legs, as well as a hairpiece, allowing for you to complete the dressed down look, which is essentially a whole second figure.  The paintwork is still solid on these extra pieces (especially the arms), and I really dig the artificial legs.  In addition to the alt pieces, he also includes the standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I held off on this set for a good long while.  I didn’t really want to buy a whole case, and nobody was really selling them individually.  Fortunately, Cosmic Comix got in a case of them, thus allowing me to just grab one of them.  As luck would have it, it was Venom, who was the ‘mate I wanted the most from the set.  He’s actually a really solid ‘mate, and I love all the extras he includes.  All-in-all, I think this is my first experience with blind bagged Minimates that didn’t leave me feeling dirty and used.  I guess that’s a good thing?

#1365: Sunfire

SUNFIRE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The champion of Japan, the solar-powered mutant known as Sunfire considers himself a modern-day samurai — and will do nothing to betray his code of personal honor! Possessing the power to fly and to gernerate intensely hot flaming plasma, Sunfire seeks out the enemies of his nation — be they mutant or human — and turns on the heat!”

Sunfire!  Oh it’s sunfire.  I’ve reviewed a surprising number of Sunfire figures on this site.  Of the of the six available Sunfires, I’ve already looked at three.  Not a bad spread, if I do say so myself.  I’m looking at the fourth  of the six figures today.  This one’s actually his first, and unlike the last three, it’s from a slightly different source.  Let’s just get to the review already!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sunfire was released in the Mutant Genesis Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line (it was numerically, for those that are curious).  As noted, this was his very first action figure.  He stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Unlike prior Sunfire figures, which were based on his classic appearance (which is my personal favorite look), this one is based on his, at the time current, ‘90s appearance, which does not possess the same timeless feel as his other look.  It’s super ‘90s, what with the armor, the shoulder pads, and the over designing.  Also, the crap ton of muscles.  Because ‘90s, I guess.  This particular suit was design to amplify his powers and stuff.  And also look less like the Japanese flag, which I guess was a good thing.  Unfortunately, I can’t really say it’s one of the character’s better looks.  Personally, I’ve always found he looked pretty darn goofy.  This figure lives up to that goofy-ness, presenting him with impossibly muscle-y proportions, as well as the really odd and goofy pony tail he was sporting at the time.  I guess it’s an accurate sculpt, and it avoids the scrawniness of TB’s other Sunfire figure, but something feels a little off about it.  To me, this just doesn’t feel like Sunfire, but maybe I’m just picky.  At the very least, I think we can all agree that his face looks a bit silly, right?  His jawbone looks like it could conquer a thousand kingdoms.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but there it is.  His paintwork is generally decent enough.  It’s cleanly applied, and follows the design from the comics. Can’t say it’s the most exciting color scheme, but it’s fairly standard for Sunfire, so that’s good, I guess.  Sunfire included a bit of clip-on armor, which goes over his shoulders and has been vac-metalized.  It fits well enough and looks pretty cool, so that’s nice.  He’s also got a shield, which matches the other armor and can be held in his right hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve held off on this guy for a while.  This is a figure I’ve had my eye on since about the time I was 9 or 10, but never got him because, quite frankly, he just doesn’t look like Sunfire to me.  However, he was at Power Comics, and he was half-off his already low price, and I’m working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men figures, so I kind of needed him.  He’s really weird and goofy and strange, but he’s part of the set, and honestly he feels right at home.  And I can’t really ask for more.

Guest Review #0041: Harry Potter

HARRY POTTER

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS (NECA)

Hey! So it’s that time again, that super rare time where Jill has a review to write for the figure in question (because Ethan is not in a state to write this in time!). Harry Potter is back, and he’s got an awesome backpack because he’s a high school drop out. This figure, like the Sirius Black figure from The Order of the Phoenix was a Christmas gift from Ethan when he and Tim were trying to convince me to be interested in toys and action figures. (Unfortunately for my wallet, they have been successful).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This figure of Harry from The Deathly Hallows has 8 points of articulation, none of which are in his legs, like all my other NECA figures. He also comes with a removable backpack and a wand. I thought for a few minutes that his glasses were removable, but after some careful tinkering, I have discovered that they are just precariously attached. He stands about 8 inches tall, and has a passing likeness for Daniel Radcliffe during part one of the Deathly Hallows movies. It’s not perfect, but it’s ok. He’s recognizable. It is a little frustrating that his legs do not have any articulation, it makes it so he only really has one pose that makes sense, which is a battle pose, but his facial expression definitely doesn’t look like he’s in battle.

The backpack is fun, I like being able to pose him with or without it, and it’s accurate for the movie. The wand is both my absolute favorite and my least favorite part of this. This tiny, 1 inch strip of plastic is actually very close to what Harry’s wand looks like in the movies (I should know, I won the fancy prop version in a Harry Potter trivia contest my freshman year of college) and I think the effort that went into making this teeny-tiny little prop is exceptional. However, it is a teeny-tiny little strip of plastic that bends easy and is not held securely in his hand, which means that my greatest fear is that I’m going to lose it. If it falls out of his hand, there’s no getting this back. (My complaints about Sirius’ wand were very similar).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was my second Christmas present from Ethan, and it helped to establish the trend the boys have started of getting me action figures and toys as presents until the completionist in me had to start looking for the entire series of multiple toys. This figure is one of the first action figures I actually owned, and since I have gotten him I have bought several figures (including Rue) and established other collections thanks to Tim and Ethan (I own most of the Alex figures in the minecraft lines, and several other series, including some composers). My collection is not as vast of broad as Ethan and Tim’s, but it is growing, and this Harry Potter figure is part of the reason why. He’s not perfect, but he is important to my collection journey.

#1364: Juggernaut

JUGGERNAUT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Virtually unstoppable and possessing super-human strength, the Juggernaut is one of the X-Men’s oldest and most powerful foes! Gaining his power from the mystic Cyttorak gem, the Juggernaut is vulnerable to psychic attack-but only when his helmet is removed! With a jealousy and hatred for his brother Charles Xavier, the Juggernaut will not stop until he has destroyed the X-Men!”

Okay, so two weeks ago I said this month was gonna be really Marvel heavy.  The last two weeks haven’t been as Marvel heavy as I’d initially anticipated, but this week I’m throwing in the towel and just doing a whole week of Marvel.  Strap in, guys. Let’s start the week off with an entry from the behemoth that was Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  It’s one of the team’s oldest foes, Cain Marko, better known as the unstoppable Juggernaut!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Juggernaut was released in the “Light-Up Weapons Series” of Toy Biz’s X-Men line; it was the thirteenth series in the line.  This marks Juggernaut’s second figure in the line, following his inclusion in Series 1.  This one marked an improvement in size, detail, and articulation.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit down from the usual for the line at the time (he loses movement in the arms to allow for the light-up deal), but was actually an improvement over the prior figure.  This guy had an all-new sculpt (which would later be partially re-used for the X-Men vs. Street Fighter version).  It’s not perfect, but it was a solid offering at the time.  He’s suitably bulked up, though the arms are definitely a bit on the long side, and conversely, the legs seem a bit short.  The musculature is rather exaggerated, but it’s the sort of thing that you expect to see with Juggernaut.  The big selling point of this guy was the inclusion of a removable helmet, allowing you to replicate said helmet’s removal at the end of like every fight he’s ever had with the X-Men.  The head under the helmet gives us a rather angry looking Cain Marko, who looks to be patterned after his appearance on the ‘90s animated series. The actual helmet is fairly nicely handled.  It lines up well with the face and it sits tight on his head.  The paint work on this guy is generally pretty decent.  It could have been somewhat drab, but there’s actually a nice bit of variety to the various shades of brown and such to keep it interesting.  That’s definitely a nice touch.  In addition to the removable helmet, Juggernaut also includes a…hammer…thing?  Not 100% sure what it is, but it’s the light-up bit of the figure.  Some of the light-up features made more sense than others.  This one’s nearer the bottom of the list of sensibility.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I originally got this version of Juggernaut at the same time as my first Light-Up Gambit figure; he was a gift from my Grandparents on my mom’s side.  This was the one of the two that I wanted the most, largely due to that awesome removable helmet.  I’m not 100% sure what happened to that figure.  Suffice to say, I needed a replacement, which was one of the handful of figures I grabbed from Bobakhan Toys at the beginning of the summer.  He’s still one of my favorite Juggernaut figures, goofy light-up feature and all.

#1363: Tyrion Lannister

TYRION LANNISTER

GAME OF THRONES: LEGACY COLLECTION (FUNKO)

Bet you weren’t expecting to see another Game of Thrones review.  Or maybe you were, given my tendency to time reviews up with current happenings, like, for instance the season premier of a TV show.    When it comes to GoT, the best figures are still those from Funko’s sadly short-lived Legacy Collection.  I’ve looked at one of each of the characters presented by that line, but I hadn’t yet tackled the handful of variants offered for both Dany and Tyrion.  Today, I take a look at another Tyrion, because you can never have too many Tyrions!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tyrion was part of Series 1 of Funko’s Game of Thrones: Legacy Collection.  He’s figure 2 in the set, a number he shares with the prior Tyrion I reviewed.  The last Tyrion I looked at was the Walgreens-exclusive Hand of the King version of Tyrion; this figure is the basic Series 1 release, which depicts him in his armor he’s seen wearing towards the ends of Seasons 1 and 2.  I don’t find it to be quite as essential a look for Tyrion as the prior figure, but it’s still an important version of the character, I suppose.  Like the prior figure, this figure stands roughly 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  On the plus side of things, the articulation, particularly the elbows, of this figure offers a better range than the Hand of the King figure.  Given he’s supposed to be more “battle-ready” than his counterpart, this is pretty sensible.  As with the other Tyrion, this figure sports one of the best sculpts in the line.  The head is the same one used on the Hand of the King figure, meaning it has a solid Dinklage likeness.  The body is unique, and has some tremendous detail work, especially on the armor.  It’s a shame that we never got any other characters in the King’s Landing armor, because it really would have been nice to see this detail at a larger scale.  Regardless, it’s a truly impressive sculpt.  The paintwork on the figure is largely pretty solid work overall, with one small set of issues.  The work on the armor is really sharp, with the base colors being super clean, and the weathering and the like on top of them offering a nice bit of realism.  The only real issue is with the head; for whatever reason, the color choices for his hair, skin, and stubble make this figure look less like Peter Dinklage than the Walgreens variant.  Minor changes that make for a rather different look.  It’s amazing what effect a color palette can have on something.  Tyrion is packed with a battle axe, which is a slightly more impressive extra than the small dagger included with the last figure.  That being said, it’s really a shame that the regular release didn’t also include the helmet that came with the SDCC variant, since it was already tooled and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up the Hand of the King Tyrion, I really hadn’t planned on getting this guy.  I was really trying to just go with one of each character for this line, as I had high hopes for the smaller-scale line Funko launched last year.  Sadly, that line was middling at best, and it doesn’t appear it will be moving any further forward.  So, I was kind of jonesing for some more GoT stuff.  When I found this guy at Half-Priced Books just outside of Seattle earlier this summer, he was enough to tide me over, I suppose.  The other Tyrion is still my preferred version of the character, but there’s no denying that this guy’s a super fun figure.

The Blaster In Question #0015: Apollo XV-700

APOLLO XV-700

RIVAL

I don’t think there was ever a more anticipated Nerf release than there was for the 2015 debut of the Rival line of blasters.  The N-Strike Elite series was already considered to be the performance driven group of blasters with just a few gimmicks here and there.  Rival took that even further with entirely new hardware built from the ground up with zero gimmicks to provide what is likely the best out-of-the-box foam blaster performance available.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the two premier blasters from the Rival line, the Apollo XV-700.  Let’s get right into it.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Apollo hit retail in 2015 alongside the Zeus MXV-1200 to kick off the Rival brand.  I mentioned earlier that these blasters were entirely new and I meant entirely. They fire the golf-ball inspired High-Impact Rounds instead of traditional darts, which greatly contributes to their performance potential.  The magazines were also completely new, unsurprisingly, which in the case of the Apollo, meant we got the first magazine-fed Nerf blaster that loaded through the grip like a proper pistol.  Holding the Apollo in hand really gives away the fact that Nerf was really gearing these products toward an older demographic than their typical audience.  The grip is large and solidly made.  The priming handle on the top of the blaster requires a considerable amount of force to cycle it but it does make a very satisfying racking sound like cocking a shotgun, and it gives you a good idea of exactly how powerful the blaster is even before you fire it.  The Apollo has a short attachment rail at the front of the blaster for accessories, although it should be noted that it is a proprietary Rival rail and not the traditional Nerf rail found on dart- firing blasters.  The body of the Apollo extends a good ways behind the grip and can be effectively shouldered like a stock, which makes it odd in my opinion that the designers behind the blaster didn’t put one in.  That is one of my two very minor complaints about the Apollo, the other being that the priming handle prevents any kind of sighting along the top of the blaster unless you happen to have one of the awesome Rival Red Dot Sight attachments (sold separately) on hand.  Either way, these are petty complaints that do very little to sway my opinion of the blaster overall.  Being released alongside the Zeus, the Apollo definitely feels like it was intended as a sidearm and it can work as one of those if you should choose, but it can also hold its own as a primary if you feel like running it as one.  Reloading is super fast with the Rival magazines and with a little practice, you can fire off rounds in pretty rapid succession.  As with pretty much all Rival blasters, the Apollo is an outside blaster.  Shots travel fast and far and hit hard when they land.  Unless you have very very forgiving siblings, I would recommend not busting into their rooms and opening fire with this one.  It kinda speaks to the power of the blaster when Nerf feels the need to release full face masks for the Rival line.  The Apollo comes packaged with a 7-round magazine and 7 Rival High-Impact Rounds.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll be completely honest, I was expecting this review to be one of those counterintuitive moments where the blaster is awesome but the review is kinda dull cause it’s just me going on and on about how great the thing is.  Hopefully I didn’t bore you too badly.  When Rival first started hitting shelves, they were just about impossible to find anywhere in my area.  My boy Ethan managed to pick up a Zeus for me fairly early on, but the Apollo took me a good month or so of regular Target, TRU, and Walmart stops to find one.  The whole ordeal was a major pain, but I gotta say, it was super worth it.