#1470: Frankenstein’s Monster

FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS REACTION FIGURES (FUNKO)

Oooooooooooo!  Spoooooky!  Scaaaaaaarry!  Is that good?  Have I conveyed enough of the Halloween spirit?  No?  Well, fair enough.  How about I review something a little bit Halloween-y, then, shall I?  Now, I know I usually review some slightly spooky Minimates around this time of year, but this year I’ve decided to be a little different.  I’m still sticking with the general Universal Monsters theme I like oh so much, but this time I’m setting my sights on one of Funko’s ReAction Figures, specifically Frankenstein’s Monster!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Frankenstein’s Monster was one of the four figures in the first series of Universal Monsters ReAction Figures, which hit in late 2014, just in time for the Halloween season.  Good ol’ Frankie  looks to be most closely based on his appearance from the first Frankenstein film, albeit a colorized version of what we see on the screen.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall (he was amongst the tallest of the set) and he has 5 points of articulation.  Lack of articulation is generally pretty restrictive for most characters, but for Frankenstein’s Monster, it’s actually not bad, since it’s enough to get all of his usual poses done.  The sculpt is actually pretty decent.  I found the Universal Monsters to be when Funko really started to come into their own with the ReAction style.  It helps that this sort of property more generally lends itself to this style of figure, resulting in figures that are a bit more genuine looking than, say, Firefly ReAction Figures.  Frankie still has some of the tell-tale signs of an early ReAction Figure, notably the slightly flatter torso, but it’s far less noticeable on him, since he’s supposed to be stiff and squared off to begin with.  The detail work could possibly stand to be a little sharper, especially on the head, but there’s still a lot of solid work, and he certainly doesn’t look unfinished or anything.  In terms of paint, this guy’s a little on the dull side, but that’s to be expected.  He is based on a black and white film, after all.  He follows Sideshow’s model for the basic color scheme, with a green jacket a greenish-grey skin.  The different color to the jacket helps to add a little bit more diversity to the palette, which is definitely for the best.  The Monster included no accessories, which is a little sad, but also excusable.  There’s not a ton you can give him, really.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the ReAction stuff first started hitting, I fully intended to get a bunch of it.  And then I bought a handful of it, and thought better of investing too much of my time in the line.  Not that I hated any of the figures I bought, but the line was certainly flawed.  So, I mostly missed the Monsters line.  I bought this guy from Ollie’s just earlier this year, because, in addition to their usual lowered prices, they were also offering an additional 50% off all toys, meaning Frankie was $1.50.  That was enough to make me dig through the rack to find a figure still actually attached to his blister card and buy him.  He’s a good figure.  Not a great figure, but a good one.  He shows what the line should have focused on, in contrast to the plethora of modern properties it ultimately did focus on.

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#1469: Luke Skywalker – Jedi Master

LUKE SKYWALKER – JEDI MASTER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“After tragedy destroyed his attempt to rebuild the Jedi Knights, Luke Skywalker vanished from the galaxy. Now, the Resistance needs his help to thwart the efforts of the evil First Order.”

FINALLY!!!!!!  I got the freaking Black Series freaking Jedi Master freaking Luke freaking Skywalker!  And it only took me two freaking months to find it!  *deep breath*  Okay, it’s out of my system.  Sorry, it’s been a long journey to getting this guy.  But I have him, so now I’m gonna review him.  I thought about putting him in a nice casserole, but I didn’t really fit the formula.  So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to the review we go!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jedi Master Luke Skywalker was released in the first assortment of The Last Jedi-themed Star Wars: The Black Series figures.  He’s figure 46, which makes him the second to last figure in the set numerically.  This figure also saw an early release at SDCC this year, in a two-pack alongside Jedi Training Rey.  As far as I can tell, the only difference is the packaging; the actual figures are the same.  Like the smaller Jedi Master Luke, this one is sporting his garb from the end of The Force Awakens, which is certainly a solid design.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  The joints in his legs are obviously a little bit restricted by the lower portion of his robes, but you can still manage some fairly decent poses, and the rest of the joints are thankfully left unrestricted.  Luke’s sculpt is all-new, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Luke’s look from the two films.  The likeness on this figure is a reasonable approximation of Hamill, though I think I might actually like the smaller figure’s take just a little bit more.  Similarly, I do find myself drawn to the detailing of the smaller figure over this one.  It’s not that this one’s bad at all.  He’s actually quite well-done.  There’s a lot of nice layering and wrinkling to the clothing.  I just find it to be a little softer than the smaller figure, and I’m not a huge fan of that.  I’m also not a huge fan of the generic gripping pose on the hands, especially since he doesn’t include anything to hold.  It just seems to me that some more specific gestures might make for more dynamic posing options.  Also, like the smaller figure, this one had a loop from which to hang a lightsaber hilt, albeit one that’s not included.  I’m still appreciative of the forward thinking on Hasbro’s part, though; it’s not like I don’t have any Skywalker sabers laying around.  The paintwork on Luke is decent enough.  The best of it’s definitely on the head, which has some nice accent work on the hair and beard, as well as some of the cleanest eyes I’ve seen from this line so far.  In terms of extras, Luke’s got his cloak, which is a fabric piece.  It’s not great.  There’s no real way to keep it in place on the figure, so it just really flops off of him a lot.  I can’t see myself using it much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke, and by extension the rest of the first assortment of Last Jedi Black Series figures, has been quite difficult to find around these parts.  They were practically nonexistent on Force Friday, and they never really showed up after that either.  When I found Series 2, I was pretty much convinced I wasn’t finding Luke.  And then I did find him at an out of the way GameStop, about a week later.  Unfortunately, I’d dropped over $100 on action figures the day before, so I just couldn’t bring myself to buy him.  So, back to the car I went, with the hopes that he’d still be there at a later date.  I mentioned this to my dad, who pretty much immediately turned the car around, said “I didn’t buy anything yesterday” and marched into the GameStop to purchase this figure.  I swear, I try not to always buy stuff, but my family and friends won’t let me escape.  Because they love me or something.  It’s frustrating at times.  I’m happy to finally have this figure, especially after the long wait.  Is he perfect?  No, but he’s still solid, and definitely worth your time if you like this line.

The Blaster In Question #0030: Sledgefire

SLEDGEFIRE

ZOMBIE STRIKE

Boo! Haunted house!  What else could be scarier than a late review?  Muahahaha!  Ok, well, lots of things, I suppose.  Zombies, for instance. And if there are zombies, you know you’re gonna need to shoot at least a couple of them, you know, just to try it out. Sure, you could, in theory, use any of the quality blasters in the Nerf catalog, but what if one or even two darts at a time isn’t enough?  That’s when it’s time to consider the Sledgefire, and consider it we shall.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Sledgefire was released in 2013 as part of the first wave of Zombie Strike blasters alongside the Hammershot. Like the Barrel Break from last week, it operates using a break action with darts being loaded tip first into the barrel. The big difference between the Barrel Break and the Sledgefire is that the Sledgefire uses proprietary shells for loading which hold three darts a piece. Pressing the orange tab above the grip unlocks the barrel, allowing you to simultaneously open the action of the blaster and prime the air plunger. Once fully opened, you insert a shell and close the breach back up. Pulling the trigger fires all three darts out of the shell in one blast, there isn’t a staged trigger like on the Barrel Break, so it’s effectively a one-shot blaster that has a spread pattern. The outer shell is all original, featuring a pretty aggressive looking attachment rail on top, and sports a rather appealing turquoise blue color that we are yet to see on any other Nerf blaster, which I feel is a shame. The shells are unique to the Sledgefire and serve simply to hold the darts in position for loading and firing. The stock has cutouts that allow you to store the shells with the blaster so they don’t get lost, which is a nice feature since the blaster cannot work without the shells. You can buy more shells, but only through Amazon or via the Hasbro Toy Shop website, which is nice that they’re available, but I wish they had a proper retail release.  The ergonomics of the Sledgefire are pretty nice, the grip is comfortable even at such a steep angle which seems to be Nerf shorthand for “this is meant to be a shotgun” at this point. Everything feels nice and solid especially around the breach which is important for something like this to work well. Loading the shells into the blaster is pretty fiddly and takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s novel and has nice mechanical feedback so the fun of reloading makes up for some of the required fine motor control needed. Performance isn’t really the focus of the blaster, and as such, spreading the air pressure of a single plunger across three darts does make them fly a little shorter and softer than typical.  Additionally, I’m not sure what it is, but the Sledgefire is on of the worst blasters as far as dart crimping, where if you leave the darts loaded in the shells for any period of time more than a day or so, they get compressed and don’t fit the chamber as snugly so performance drops pretty dramatically.  It’s still quite effective against younger siblings whether you’re busting into their room or waiting in ambush to blast them. The imposing ka-chunk if snapping the breach closed only adds to the shock and awe impression its sure to leave. The Sledgefire comes packaged with 3 shells and 9 green Zombie Strike colored Elite darts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I figured this would be a pretty fun blaster to look at for Hallowe’en (or Samhain if that’s more your style) weekend.  It’s not really a practical blaster at all, but once again, the fun of it makes up for that in spades.  You can always count on shotguns for fun.

 

#1468: Golden Pharaoh

GOLDEN PHARAOH

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“British archaeologist Ashley Halberstam was at a dig in Giza, Egypt when he was engulfed by a bolt emanating from a laboratory on New Genesis. The bolt transformed Halberstam and conferred upon him the ”Power of the Pyramids,” as channeled through his magical pyramid staff. Virtuous and heroic by nature, Halberstam fought alongside Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman against the evil machinations of Darkseid and the legions of Apokolips, eternal enemies of New Genesis.”

Just two days ago, I was looking at a DC Icons figure, and lamenting the sad tale of that failed DC line.  How about another?  Yes, I’m feeling nostalgic, so let’s turn our sights to DC Universe Classics.  Admittedly, it’s funny to view this as a “failed” line, seeing as it ran 20 Series at retail and had two years of a subscription service after that.  It’s possibly the longest-running line of DC figures, especially if you factor in its precursor DC Superheroes or any of its numerous spin-offs.  It is, for all intents and purposes, the definitive DC toyline.  So, why is it a “failure?”  Mostly for retrospective reasons.  Despite it’s deep reach in terms of character selection, many teams were left sadly incomplete.  Choices of costumes and incarnations were frequently questionable.  And, if we’re being totally honest, with a few exceptions, the last quarter of the line was filled with mediocre, uninspired figures, leaving it as little more than a hollow shell of its former self.  Despite its flaws, the line is well-noted for its devotion to obscure characters, and even moreso for its recreation of Kenner’s Super Powers line, right down to the kooky original characters.  This includes today’s focus, Golden Pharaoh, who received his second figure ever courtesy of this line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Golden Pharaoh was released in Series 15 of DC Universe Classics.  From Series 8 forward, each assortment included one Super Powers-recreation figure.  Pharaoh would be the last one in the line (well, not including Samurai in the Super Friends series, but he was a slightly different story), as he wrapped up the “originals” set.  Pharaoh was easily the least developed of all the Kenner-original creations, so the fact that he was the last one to join the line isn’t a huge surprise.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  He was built on the medium-sized base body, with a unique head, torso, arms, and calves, as well as an add-on piece for his loincloth.  As noted in prior DCUC reviews, it’s a body that’s started to show its age, and it wasn’t exactly top-of-the-line when it was new, but for a character like Golden Pharaoh it’s really not bad.  The unique pieces manage to capture the essence of the original figure, while still managing to be modern and updated.  It’s definitely got a bit of an Ed McGuinness vibe to it, but that’s not a bad thing in the slightest.  The paintwork on Pharaoh is pretty solid work, especially for this point in the line.  There’s not a lot of accent work, but he makes up for it with the gold paint and the translucent purple plastic.  It certainly makes for a unique looking figure.  Golden Pharaoh was packed with his fabulous Golden Pharaoh staff, as well as a Super Powers display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy Golden Pharoh when he was new.  I can’t really tell you why.  Possibly because we got most of this assortment to finish the Validus Collect-N-Connect, and this guy didn’t come with a piece.  I ended up getting him just a few months ago from Cosmic Comix, who just got in a large collection of DCUC figures and was selling this guy for $7, which was about the right price for me to finally get him.

#1467: Rogue

ROGUE

X-MEN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

“The genetic abilities of the young drifter known as Rogue are both a blessing and a curse. The young mutant has the power to absorb the memories and powers of others through the slightest touch, but because she has no control over this talent, she must keep even those she cares for at a distance. She first met Wolverine when he saved her from an attacking angry mob and feels a special kinship with him because she once used her powers to absorb his mutant healing factor and memories in order to save her life. As a result, she understands why the mysterious loner has such a troubled soul.”

For 2000’s X-Men movie, Rogue was somewhat refitted into a focal point character, through whom the audience could be more easily introduced to the titular team of mutants.  Since it’s not a role the character had previously filled, she was refitted with some traits from the last two characters to fill this role, Kitty Pryde and Jubilee, which ended up making her a little less Rogue-like.  Still, she got to be a very central figure in on of the franchise’s most visible offerings, so it’s hardly the worst thing ever, right?  And she got toys out of the deal, which is always a win in my book.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men: The Movie tie-in line of figures.  The first two series of the line were actually released simultaneously, something Toy Biz did with a few lines at the time.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Most of that articulation is rendered essentially inert, thanks to some very low range of motion.  The neck has the hair to contend with, the cuffs of the jeans restrict the feet, and the hips are v-hips that are so shallow they barely even count as v-hips.  Essentially, she’s good for standing, and that’s about it.  Oh, and she can also wave her arms around.  That’s fun!  The sculpt was an all-new venture, and it’s decent enough for the time, I guess.  The body seems a little skinny for Anna Paquin, and the head doesn’t really look all that much like her, but it’s decent enough from a purely aesthetic standpoint.  She looks like an actual person, which is always a good thing.  The paint work is passable, if maybe a little basic for a figure that’s supposedly based on a real person.  There’s at least some fun detailing on her blouse and undershirt.  She’s got a streak of white in her hair, showing that she’s supposed to be from the end of the movie.  It’s only in the final film ever so briefly, and even the prototype didn’t have it, but one can certainly understand why Toy Biz would want Rogue to have at least one recognizable trait.  Rouge included an overcoat and scarf, both cloth, which completed her look from the film.  They were both rather over-sized and goofy, but better than nothing, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After rushing out to get Cyclops and Jean Grey when they were first released, I patiently waited for my 8th birthday to get the rest of the line.  Rogue was near the top of my list, but she and Toad were both short-packed, meaning they weren’t found for my actual birthday.  However, I did get a little money, which I immediately took to the nearest Toys R Us, where I found both Rogue and Toad in one fell swoop.  Nifty! Rogue is perhaps not the most thrilling figure, but she’s a pretty solid standard civilian, and you don’t get many of those.

#1466: Batman

BATMAN

DC ICONS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For today’s DC Icons Friday, I’m taking a bit of a leap back.  The last three weeks have all been figures from ore towards the end of the line’s run, but for this one I’ll actually be going all the way back to the earliest releases of the line.  I’ll be taking a look at the heaviest hitting of DC’s heavy hitters, Batman, in his inaugural Icons figure form.  Strap in FiQ-fans; this one might get a bit bumpy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman is figure 01 in the first series of DC Icons figures.  Interestingly, though he’s numerically the first, he ended up hitting a week after the other three Series 1 figures, for unknown reasons.  Batman’s packaging lists that he’s based on the “Last Rights” storyline, which was the follow-up to the “Batman R.I.P.” that deals with the various Bat-cast’s reactions to the death of Bruce Wayne.  It’s an odd choice for a Batman figure, since, as you might have guessed, he spends the story…well, dead…ish (it’s a long, convoluted, complicated story.  Best not to ask further questions).  I think there’s a flashback with Bruce in costume at some point, but it’s brief.  Odd choice of storyline aside, it’s really just a pretty standard pre-Final Crisis Batman, which is generally a good thing, since that’s a rather definitive take on the character.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall…yeah, you read that right.  Here’s what its hands down the greatest flaw of this figure: he’s too short.  He’s one of the shortest Icons figures produced.  And that just doesn’t quite work out, since he’s Batman, and he really shouldn’t be that short.  And it’s not like he just missed a little height in his legs or torso or something; he’s actually just a smaller scaled figure, so he looks out of place next to most contemporary 6-inch lines, including the line he’s actually a part of.  Looking at the positives, he’s got 29 points of articulation, and is without a doubt one of the best articulated Batman figures ever to be produced.  Only the later Rebirth Batman really surpasses him.  Some of the articulation could still be better, of course.  The lack of any joints on his thighs continues to be the biggest flaw of any Icons release, and his neck joint is rather limited (and his head has an annoying tendency to pop right off the joint at a moment’s notice).  Still, there’s a lot of great poses that this guy can pull off that no other Batman really can.  This Batman figure has a unique sculpt, which is definitely one of the better Batman sculpts out there.  Like the other figures in the line, it’s based on Ivan Reis’s work, and makes for a very satisfying Batman, at least from a design front.  He’s less pouty than his Rebirth compatriot, which I like, and is in general one of the more realistically built figures in the line.  I like the small details like the wrinkles in his costume, and I love how well the belt turned out.  Even the cape is well done, and I’m the sort of guy that’s hard to please when it comes to capes.  The only real issue I have is the gauntlets of his gloves, which have the “spikes” placed on the sides, when they actually should be running on the backs of his forearms.  It’s a symptom of the gloves originally having a swivel joint above them that was later removed; they were just affixed in the wrong position.  Paintwork on this figure is pretty decent overall.  The colors match up well with the usual look of a mid-00s Batman, and the application is mostly pretty clean, aside from a few very minor spots of slop.  There’s one slight oddity with the paint; for some reason he’s got a pair of black eyebrows painted on his cowl.  Now, eyebrows aren’t uncommon on Batman designs, but the modern look mostly dispensed with them, so they can look a little goofy.  Fortunately, they’re effectively invisible to the naked eye.  Batman is packed with two sets of hands in fists and gripping poses, as well as an additional left hand holding a grapple, and a pair of batarangs.  It’s a decent selection of extras, though I can’t say any of it’s terribly exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t buy this figure when he was new, largely due to the whole scale thing.  I thought he looked cool, but the size was a big obstacle.  Cosmic Comix also never seemed to keep him in stock for particularly long, so it’s not like there was one there to tempt me.  With the cancellation of the Icons line, I’ve been feeling a little bad for it, so I’m working on tracking down as many of them as I can.  Batman’s value’s actually taken a bit of a jump on the after market, so I didn’t really think I’d be getting him soon.  Then Cosmic Comix found one in their back room, and priced him at his original retail, so I figured why not?  This figure is frustrating.  Taken purely on his own, he’s possibly the greatest single Batman available.  The problem is he sort of exists in this weird vacuum, where nothing really goes with him.  On the plus side, I did remember that I had a similarly mis-scaled Tim Drake Robin from DC Universe Classics, so at the very least these two now have each other.

#1465: Iron Giant

IRON GIANT

VINIMATES (DST)

“Arriving on Earth from an unknown point of origin, a colossal robot explores his new environment and befriends a young boy. But as aggressive actions are taken against him by the military, he must battle his violent programming to be who he chooses to be.”

I love robots, I love period pieces, and I love Brad Bird, so it’s probably not a huge shock to find out that I also love The Iron Giant.  In fact, it’s safe to say that Iron Giant is one of my favorite films (I had the film’s poster hanging in my room for many years).  Since the film was never a huge commercial success, it only had a very modest selection of toys at the time of its release, followed by a whole lot of nothing.  Those few toys all carry a substantial after market value, so anyone nowadays looking for an Iron Giant fix is going to be a little let-down.  Or at least they would have been up until very recently.  Diamond Select Toys picked up Iron Giant as one of the slew of licenses they’ve added to their ever-expanding Vinimates line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Giant was released in May of this year as part of DST’s over-arching Vinimates line, alongside Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, Nite-Owl, Comedian, and Rorschach from Watchmen, and Lydia from Beetlejuice.  This is the standard version of the Giant, but there was also an SDCC-exclusive version sporting his “super hero” logo from the film.  This figure stands almost 5 inches tall and has a single point of articulation at his neck.  On the plus side, the neck joint is a ball-joint, which sure does offer a lot of possible posing options to mix things up a bit.  After looking at the B-9 Robot, which strayed quite a ways from the Minimate aesthetic which spawned this line, Iron Giant is a bit more of a return to form.  He’s still very specialized in his sculpt, of course, but it’s more conceivably built on the standard body…even if it actually isn’t.  The Giant makes the transition to this style very well; he was already very geometric to begin with, so it doesn’t take too much to get him to the end point.  My favorite part of the sculpt is definitely the head, which just really gets down the character of the Giant.  My only very, very minor issue with the head is the lack of the small dent near the top.  It’s sort of important to the plot, so its absence is more noticeable.  Still, very minor.  The Giant’s been given a hands-on-his-hips hero pose, which is certainly in keeping with the character, and allows for an easy translation to the “super hero” variant.  In terms of paint, the Giant is mostly a lot of greys, which are accurate to the source, but perhaps not the most exciting.  Some of the transitions between the shades of grey are a little sloppy, but the overall look is decent enough.  I do really like how well they’ve handled the eyes, giving them that sort of glowing feel.  It looks really cool!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was super excited when this figure was unveiled, and I was fully intending to pick him up as soon as he was released.  And then life got in the way and I got distracted for a while.  Bad on me.  So, I ended up waiting several months to pick him up, which turned out to be in my favor, since I was able to score him for $5, courtesy of a grand opening sale at Lost in Time Toys!  I really, really like this guy.  The B-9 was cool and all, but he didn’t really sell me on this line as a whole.  This guy’s a different story, because he shows what this line can be at its best: an augment for Minimates.  Sure, he’s not quite in scale with the little guys, but he’s large enough that you can comfortably put him with the Hogarth from the two-pack (which I still really need to grab) and have it look pretty darn respectable.  I’m all for more stuff like this!

#1464: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

Does that bio sound familiar?  It should, because it’s exactly the same as the one used for the last Elite Praetorian Guard review I did.  I’m not unnecessarily repeating myself,  I assure you.  Hasbro just used the same bio twice, that’s all.  And honestly?  I can’t really blame them.  It seems a little silly to write two distinct yet essentially identical bios for what is undoubtedly a rather minor character when it would be just as easy to use the same one twice.  So kudos to Hasbro and their efficient allocation of resources!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is another figure from the second Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure 50, which makes him the second figure in the assortment numerically.  As I’ve noted in my last two Praetorian Guard reviews, there are three different helmets for the guards.  The one I’m looking at today is the same one we saw on the smaller Black Series release.  I think it’s safe to say this one’s the lead guard, given he’s the only one currently available in all of the styles.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  There’s actually some pretty clever design work going on with this figure’s articulation.  First of all, we get the ball-jointed shoulder pads, which are a godsend, and always encouraged.  I initially didn’t care for the arms, and found them to be exceedingly limited in posability, but after messing with them a little bit, I discovered that there’s a separate floating piece hovering over the elbow joints.  It takes a little bit of careful work to get it going at first, but once you do, you’ve got an elbow joint that’s just as posable as any other figure’s but without breaking up the segmented design of the armor.  I really dig it.  I definitely prefer the sculpt on this guy to the smaller figure.  Lines are sharper and proportions are more balanced.  I also much prefer the soft plastic robe to the cloth one.  Yes, it’s a little more restricting on the leg articulation, but not horribly so, and it looks way better.  The paintwork on this guy is about the same as the other two guards I’ve looked at.  The design is decidedly basic on the color front, but the variance in finish looks pretty great, and all of the details that are there are clean.  Like the smaller figure, this guy’s one accessory is his spear.  It’s a bit more detailed, of course, and still looks pretty slick.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy at the same time as Leia and Poe.  He was a little more of an impulse buy than those two.  I had been contemplating holding out for the slightly more expensive Amazon exclusive Guard, since he’s sporting my favorite of the three helmets, but upon seeing this guy in person, I had a hard time passing him up.  Definitely my favorite Praetorian I’ve gotten so far.

#1463: Captain Poe Dameron

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“It takes defiant courage to stare down the threat of the First Order, and while Captain Poe Dameron is eager to fight, he worries that some of the Resistance leadership don’t have what it takes.”

What’s this?  Another Poe Dameron figure?  On this site?  Gadzooks, what a shock!

Okay, all joking aside, yes, I’m looking at another Poe Dameron figure today.  Now, this is in part because I just really like Poe and therefore want as many figures of him as possible, but it’s also because every single Poe figure released so far has been compromised in some way.  So, let’s see how the latest fares, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Poe Dameron is part of the second assortment of The Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He’s figure #53, placing him right after Leia, and he’s also the first proper Last Jedi Black Series figure I’ve looked at on the site.  As the rank in the name may have clued you in, this Poe is sporting his brand new jacketed look.  It’s the more obviously different of his two main looks from this film, so it makes sense for this release.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  It’s an all-new sculpt, which I’d definitely say is for the best.  Not only does the design not have much overlap with prior Poe designs, the last two Poes in this scale were also not super great when it came to sculpts.  In particular, Hasbro’s had a lot of trouble nailing down Oscar Isaac’s likeness, especially on the larger figures.  Without a doubt, this figure has the best Isaac sculpt we’ve seen to date.  It’s still not 100% there, but it’s definitely close.  I think the thing that really sells it for me is the nose.  Isaac has a very distinctive nose, and I think this figure really gets that down.  Not to be outshone by the head sculpt, the body’s got some pretty awesome detail work going on.  Gone are the issues with odd spots of softness like we saw with the prior Poes.  Paint on this figure is also a notable improvement on the prior figures, but given just how bad the last two Poes were in that department, it means there’s still a bit of room for improvement.  The basic paint is way cleaner, and the details have a very pleasant tendency to not totally miss the spots where they’re supposed to go.  Hasbro still seems very much perplexed by how to handle Poe’s slight stubble.  It’s still way to dark (at least on my figure; there’s a good degree of variance from figure to figure), but at least it doesn’t look like he just slathered solid grey paint on his face.  It certainly helps the likeness to shine through a little bit better.  Poe is packed with his smaller blaster pistol, which is actually painted all of the correct colors this time.  I wouldn’t have minded a little bit more, but it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Poe as the same time as yesterday’s Leia.  As much as I can appreciate the prior figures for what they are, they definitely left a little to be desired.  Early shots of this figure didn’t look much better, but once in-hand photos started showing, I definitely knew I wanted one!  The figure still has a few minor problems, but he’s hands down the best version of Poe to date.

#1462: General Leia Organa

GENERAL LEIA ORGANA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Despite all that she has endured and lost in a lifetime of war, General Leia Organa continues to shine as a beacon of hope for the loyal subjects of the Resistance under her command.”

Perhaps the most glaring omission from all of the Force Awakens product, even more than Luke Skywalker, was General Leia Organa.  Out of all the figures Hasbro released, there was exactly one older Leia, in the 3 3/4-inch Black Series line.  It’s *okay* but not great, and most annoyingly, it’s not sporting her main look from the film.  Two years after the film, we still haven’t gotten the basic Leia in the main line, but they have at least given her a larger-scale Black Series figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Leia Organa was released in the second assortment of Black Series figures following the Last Jedi re-launch.  She’s figure 52, meaning Hasbro’s really committed to keeping the numbering going this time around.  Also, she’s actually listed as a general on the packaging this time!  Yay!  She’s also finally wearing her actual military garb, which is definitely the more exciting of her two designs from TFA.  It just seems more true to the character.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall (keeping her consistent with the other Leia figures from the Black Series) and she has 27 points of articulation.  Leia has a brand new sculpt.  There was definitely an upward trend of improvement to these figures starting with the some of the later Rogue One offerings, and it looks like The Last Jedi is starting pretty strong right out of the gate.  This is definitely one of the stronger figures I’ve gotten from the line, and probably the strongest Leia sculpt we’ve gotten to date.  It’s certainly an improvement over the smaller figure.  The head has a pretty decent Carrie Fisher likeness, and the detail work on the clothing and such is pretty great.  The paintwork on Leia is fairly straightforward, but still a notable improvement over earlier offerings.  They’re still doing a lot of molded plastic for the colors, but there’s enough subtle accenting, especially on the face/hair, that she doesn’t look quite as bland and lifeless as the likes of the Tatooine Luke figure.  I do wish that her hair had a little more noticeable grey in it, but she’s doing a little better than the Han figure in that respect.  Leia is packed with a small blaster.  I don’t believe we actually see it in TFA, but it’s a cool design, and calls back to the one she carries at the beginning of A New Hope.  It’s nice to get at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a figure I’ve been wanting ever since the Force Awakens figures hit.  I was bummed when she didn’t show up around the time of the movie, and I continued to be bummed with the release of the rather lackluster small-scale figure.  When this figure was shown off at SDCC, I was excited, but a little apprehensive, since The Black Series has been rather scarce around these parts ever since the first assortment of Rogue One.  This was made worse by the fact that I’ve still yet to see most of the first Last Jedi assortment at retail, which left me a little worried about the prospects of finding Leia.  As luck would have it, I came across almost all of the second series while stopping for groceries at a slightly out of the way Target.  Leia is really awesome, and I’m really glad I got her. And, honestly, I’m sort of glad we had to wait, because it means she got added to the line right in the midst of its strongest run of figures to date.