#1613: Gipsy Avenger

GIPSY AVENGER

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“Gipsy Avenger honors the heroic legacy of her namesake as the flagship leader of the Mark VI Fleet.  More than just a jaeger, she is a symbol of hope to millions.”

One of my very favorite movies of the last decade is Pacific Rim, Guillermo Del Toro’s majestic throwback to the Kaiju flicks of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  After five years, it’s finally getting a sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising, which is officially hitting theaters today.  By the time you guys read this, I’ll have already seen it (I got tickets for Thursday night, of course), but for now I’m writing this review with some blissful anticipation of the awesome that is to come.  The first film was a little slower with the rollout of the toys, since no one knew what kind of business it would be doing, but for the sequel several companies have already jumped on the gravy train.  Over the next three days, I’ll be looking at Bandai Japan’s offerings, starting with the main Jaeger Gipsy Avenger.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gipsy Avenger is part of Bandai’s Robot Spirits toyline, numbered as figure 228, chronologically the first of the Uprising Jaegers.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Obviously, this figure’s not designed to scale correctly with the NECA figures from the first movie (the DST figures coming later this month will be better matched), but she’s actually a fair bit taller than I was expecting.  She’ll certainly look fine with Bandai’s various Ultramen, if you’re like me and just want a super awesome epic Kaiju killing force.  But hey, that might just be me.  If you’re used to the NECA offerings, this figure’s sculpt is going to be a bit different, since it uses the Bandai approach of assembling the figure from lots and lots of tiny little parts, similar to how the actual Jaeger might be built.  The end result is a figure that has a whole lot of depth to its sculpt.  The lines are sharp, and it’s a pretty solid translation of the design, at least based on what we’ve seen of it so far.  The multi-piece construction of the outer armor and such also allows for this figure to have maximized movement, so you can get Gipsy into some pretty epic poses, though if you go too extreme, some times parts are prone to pop out of place.  Gipsy is actually a little lighter on paint than you might expect.  The majority of the color work is rendered via molded plastic.  For the most part, it works pretty well, especially for the slightly metallic blue that makes up most of the figure.  I’m also quite a fan of the multi-piece, multi-colored way they handled the visor on the head.  The only downside to the molded colors is the silver; molded silver is rarely convincing, since you always get all of those little swirly elements, and it’s a bit dull.  But, that’s rather minor.  There are a few painted details, mostly for Gipsy’s identifying numbers and insignias.  They’re nice and sharply detailed, and add a nice bit of polish to the figure.  Gipsy is packed with a pretty decent assortment of extras.  There are spare open grip hands, as well as a plasma cannon to swap out for the right forearm, and a sword-bearing left forearm.  It pretty much gives you all of the essential Gipsy elements in one convenient package.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for these guys to hit ever since they were first announced, and I knew for certain Gipsy was at the top of my list.  Imagine my surprise when I walked into Toys R Us and found an entire rack of this figure.  That won’t be happening ever again.  Gipsy is an awesome figure, well worth the $20 price tag.  Here’s hoping the figure’s an indication of the movie’s quality!

#1612: Cardassian Borg

CARDASSIAN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, we looked at the Borg of the species I like, and we looked at the Borg of the species I don’t know but that looks cool.  Now, we look at this Borg.  It’s not a Borg of a species I like.  It’s actually the opposite of that.  It’s the Borg of a species I actively dislike.  And it’s not even cool like the last one.  It’s…it’s just the third one, and I have this unhealthy need to finish things.  So, without further ado, here’s the Cardassian Borg.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cardassian Borg, designated 3 of 3, is the final figure in the Borg: Assimilation line from Art Asylum*.  The Cardassian is the shortest of the three Borg figures, at a little under 8 inches tall.  He’s got 17 points of articulation, which includes moving arms on his left arm attachment, which is pretty cool, actually.  That’s probably the last time I’m using “pretty cool” in this here review.  Because this is a Cardassian, perhaps one of the most boring races in all of Star Trek.  This figure has an all-new sculpt, which is, from a technical standpoint, pretty solid.  The Cardassian Borg is probably the least borg-ified of the bunch, lacking the shoulder pads and more obvious technical implants, and also having his neck and one of his hands exposed, which keeps him looking more like a standard Cardassian.  Even the armor’s detailing follows the usual Cardassians design more closely than the others in this assortment.  Even the facial expression lacks that dead-ness that the other two figures have.  He’s got the same sort of a sneering expression that seemed to be a genetic trait of those wacky Cardassians.  The paint on this guy is pretty much on par with the other two, which is to say it’s honestly pretty good.  Hey, look at that.  I almost said “pretty cool” again.  Well, what do you know.  Like the other two figures in this assortment, the Cardassian Borg’s only accessory is that weird coin thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really only got this guy to complete the set.  I’m guessing you probably could have gathered that from the review.  Honestly, just as a figure, this one’s the weakest of the three, but he’s not atrocious. It’s more that I just don’t really like Deep Space 9, and I sort of associate the Cardassians entirely with that show.  He could be worse, I suppose.

*There were actually four Borg figures originally designed for this assortment.  The fourth would have been a Ferengi, but for a number of reasons, the assortment was cut back to three figures.  The Ferengi would have likely been in a second series, had there been one.

#1611: Hirogen Borg

HIROGEN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, so this post isn’t brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend like yesterday’s.  I mean, it’s still inspired by her, since it follows a theme she set forth, but…yeah…

Today, we’re looking at a combo of two of the badassiest threats in Sci Fi!  Yeah, it’s not only a Borg, it’s also a Predator—what’s that?  Oh, it seems I’m getting reports that this is not, in fact, a Predator.  Apparently, it’s a Hirogen.  What’s a Hirogen?  Well, according to Memory Alpha, they’re “a nomadic species of hunters.”  Are we sure they aren’t just Predators?  Because they sound like Predators.  Ah, what do I know?  Let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hirogen Borg was officially designated 2 of 3 and was part of Art Asylum’s one-series wonder Borg: Assimilation.  Fun fact: this borg-ified variant of the Hirogen is actually the only Hirogen action figure in existence.  Yes, even in all of Playmates’ insane coverage of the license, they never ever made a single Hirogen.  I think that speaks to the obscurity, right?  Or to the fact that they were on Voyager.  Either way, no prior figures.  The Hirogen is the tallest of the three Borg figures, at 8 1/4 inches tall.  He’s also got 17 points of articulation.  The sculpt is once again all-new, and very, very impressive.  In particular, the texture work on the face is really sharp.  In terms of design, the Hirogen Borg is far more symmetric than the Klingon.  There’s still some definite asymmetry in a few spots, but by and large he’s a lot more balanced than the last figure.  His stance is also straighter, which is another nice change, helping to sell the differences between the two species.  He still keeps the slight stylization present on the Klingon, which is nice for consistency’s sake, and I believe makes for the superior sculpt.  As with the Klingon, the paintwork on the Hirogen is monochromatic, but still very much top-notch.  It’s impressive the kind of range AA was able to pull out of variations on silver and grey, but they certainly did a lot.  He’s a little cleaner looking than the Klingon, which once again seems to fit with the stylistic differences they were pushing with the sculpt as well.  Like his Klingon compatriot, the Hirogen’s only accessory is the weird coin thing, but, once again, he’s hardly hindered by it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I certainly checked out the Klingon figure when he was new, the Hirogen didn’t even cross my radar.  Chalk it up to me knowing nothing about the Hirogen in the slightest.  Upon seeing the full set of three figures in person, the Hirogen actually stood out to me the most of the three, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite of the bunch.  Not bad for a figure of a race I didn’t know a single thing about until a month ago.

#1610: Klingon Borg

KLINGON BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Today’s post is brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  No, she didn’t buy me this figure, but she did point to this spot on my calendar of upcoming reviews, hold up today’s figure and say “you should do this one on that day.”  Who am I to argue?  Well, the owner and head writer of the site, I guess, but I’m really not going to push this one.

In the early ’00s, after Playmates had held the Star Trek license for over a decade, the reins were passed to up-and-coming company Art Asylum.  Poor AA ended up with some of the worst Trek properties to merch (Enterprise and Nemesis), but still put out a solid selection of figures.  They weren’t afraid to experiment a little bit with things.  One of those experiments was their Borg: Assimilation line, which toyed with what non-human races would look like when assimilated by the Borg.  Today, I’m looking at the Klingon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Klingon Borg, officially designated 1 of 3, was part of the first, and only, series of Art Asylum’s Borg: Assimilation line.  The figure stands a whopping 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  He’s a little restricted in terms of movement, but he was fairly decent for the time.  The big claim to fame of any Art Asylum figure was sculpting.  The Klingon Borg had an all-new sculpt, featuring a tremendous amount of detail work.  Every surfaced is covered with some sort of texture or small detail, from the ridges on his forehead, to the machinery of his Borg components.  This guy lives up to the Borg’s penchant for asymmetry, with one cybernetic eye, two differently shaped shoulder-pads, and one big honking claw arm to replace his right limb.  He loses the usual Klingon dreads, which impacts his design a bit; originally, he was designed with a bevy of cables that would replace the hair, but apparently this made him look too Klingon.  As it stands, he’s got just the one big wire, which is a decent halfway point.  His face is a good mix of Klingon and Borg sensibilities, with a determined, but still somewhat lifeless stare to his eyes.  It’s worth noting that this figure is a fair bit more stylized than many of AA’s Trek offerings, with a more pronounced set of features on his face, slightly exaggerated proportions, and a decidedly slouched pre-posed nature.  But, as a concept figure, this guy is more about what could be, outside of the limitations of a live-action sci-fi show’s budget.  Though his paint is somewhat monochromatic, it is no less carefully detailed than the sculpt.  His cybernetic sections in particular are rife with small detail work, showcasing a variance in silvers, greys, and brasses that keep him from looking too bland, and give him that nice “used future” feel.  For accessories, all this guy had was the weird themed coin thing that all of the AA Trek figures got.  This one’s red and has the Borg symbol on one side.  Not really much to do with the figure, but given the effort that went into the figure’s design and sculpt, the lack of real extras doesn’t hinder him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this guy when he was new.  He seemed to hang around KB Toys for a little while.  I almost got him on several occasions, but kept passing for other things.  He and the rest of this series ended up being part of this year’s Farpoint charity auction, and it was that wonderful mix of being something I’d been looking for and also being for a good cause, so I went for it.  Though I’m hardly the world’s largest Trek fan, I can’t deny this is one cool figure.

#1609: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS – 12-INCH (HASBRO)

Did you know that wolverines are also known as “quickhatch”?  That’s your fun FiQ fact for the day!  Sorry, the last time I looked at a tiger-stripe Wolverine, I went with this gag, so I’m doing it again.  Aren’t I so clever?

Wolverine hasn’t ever had a true break from Marvel Legends, but he was certainly less of a focus for a few years (being dead might have contributed to that).  But, things seem to be normalizing a bit, and he’s finally re-appearing with fairly regular frequency.  Good for him?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is a 2018 release for the 12-inch Marvel Legends line.  He’s done up in Wolverine’s classic blue and yellow tiger-stripe costume, which actually doesn’t have a Legends release in the scale (since the Toy Biz Icons figure was in his Astonishing costume), so it’s a pleasant choice.  It’s also worth noting that it predates the release of the same design in the regular Legends scale for this iteration of Legends, though that’ll be amended later this year.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  Wolverine is rocking an all-new sculpt, albeit one that is at least a little bit inspired by the smaller scale brown costume Wolverine.  It’s pretty solid overall.  The texture work on his arms, his boots, and his gloves is very impressive, and while the proportions aren’t exactly lifelike, they do match up pretty well with how Logan is usually depicted.  While I like the head sculpt overall (especially the sheer amount of character in the small section of his face we can see), I do feel that the ears of his mask are shaped a little bit oddly.  It’s possible this was caused by some slight warping from the packaging.  Whatever the case, it’s not awful, and it certainly doesn’t ruin the figure.  Interestingly, despite how most figures in this line have been handled, Wolverine’s design is actually unchanged from his comics appearance.  That’s certainly a bold move.  The paint continues this, presenting his costume in all it’s bright, primary colored glory.  It actually works really well with the sculpt, and it’s applied quite nicely.  I particularly like the accent work on the yellow, which helps to prevent it from looking too bland and void of detail.  Wolverine includes an unmasked head and pulled back mask, a set of un-clawed hands, and an extra head and shoulder pads depicting battle damage.  My favorite parts are definitely the damaged bits, as they make for quite a dynamic look for the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wolverine was a gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend, picked up from the GameStop where she works.  They had gotten this guy in, and I expressed a slight interest, which, as we all know, is really all it takes for her to buy me something.  He adds to my ever-growing 12-Inch Marvel Legends collection, and he continues the trend of them being very, very cool figures.  This is definitely one of the best Wolverines out there.

#1608: Green Lantern – Kyle Rayner

GREEN LANTERN – KYLE RAYNER

JLA: CLASSIFIED (DC DIRECT)

Despite getting into comics and such in the ‘90s, my first and favorite Green Lantern was *not* the then current holder of the role, Kyle Rayner.  I was aware of Kyle.  I had figures of Kyle (although, my small child brain hadn’t initially processed that he and Hal were not one and the same).  But I didn’t like him much.  At least not originally.  I’ve acquired an appreciation for him in more recent years, and also acquired a few more figures as well.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kyle was released in Series 2 of DC Direct’s JLA: Classified line.  The whole assortment was ‘90s-themed, so Kyle in his classic costume was a perfect fit.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Mobility was never at the forefront on these particular figures, and Kyle’s not really much of an exception.  He’s good for standing there and maybe some slight adjustments to the arms, but not much beyond that.  As with all of the figures in this line, Kyle’s sculpt is based on the style of Ed McGuinness.  I’m not actually sure McGuinness ever drew Kyle in this costume, or even at all, but he does seem to fit MgGuinness’s bolder illustration sensibilities.  I mean, he’s definitely a bit more of a beefcake than Kyle tends to be, but isn’t everyone when illustrated by Ed McGuinness.  He ends up using a lot of the same pieces as the Superman Blue/Red, but does get some unique parts for his head, gloves, and boots.  The head is actually one of my favorites from this subset of figures.  Apart from being perhaps slightly serious in expression for Kyle, it does a solid job of capturing the character, right down to his floppy ‘90s hair, and that goofy crab-mask thing.  Kyle’s paintwork is very clean, and very sharp.  The metallic green is actually a lot better than the sorts of metallic greens that you usually see, being much brighter and thus truer to the comics.  I also dig the slightly pearlescent finish to the white, which contrasts well with the flat black paint on the base body.  Kyle’s only accessory was a JLA: Classified-branded display stand.  A power battery might have been cool, but with the hands both being fists, I guess he couldn’t hold it anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time of this figure’s release, I was pretty well invested in DC Universe Classics, so I wasn’t really picking up any DCD figures.  As such, this guy went under my radar.  I’ve not really seen the figure since, but always was interesting in tracking him down at some point.  I ended up finding him loose at House of Fun this past November.  He’s a rather stylized figure, and certainly requires you to like this particular group of figures.  For me, I quite like him, and I’m happy to add another Kyle figure to my collection.

The Blaster In Question #0047: Tennis Ball Blaster

BlasterInQuestion1TENNIS BALL BLASTER

NERF DOG

dog1

I’m not dead! I swear! Turns out my sister having a sleepover can be almost as disruptive to Nerf reviews as having my world exploded. Almost. Not only that, but have a bit of a weird one for you this week. It turns out Nerf makes a whole line of dog toys which mainly consist of the standard chewy footballs and lengths of rope, but also, as it turns out, a blaster. My family does own a dog but she’s not really the playing type, but that hardly stopped me from picking one of these up.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

dog2It’s a little hard to track down the relevant information, but it seems like the Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster was released in 2015 as part of the Nerf Dog line. The mechanism seems to be unique to this particular blaster as it doesn’t use the traditional air pressure to launch the projectile, in this case a tennis ball, but rather just uses the power of the spring inside the blaster to kick the ball out directly. There aren’t any fancy gimmicks or controls, you just load the ball in the barrel, pull the top handle back to prime it and then pull the trigger. The outer shell is completely original too, which isn’t surprising given the rather purpose-built nature of the blaster. The overall feel of the blaster is that its built so that even a non-Nerf savvy person couldn’t mess it up too badly. The construction is hefty and solid and the grip has plenty of surface to hold onto. I get the feeling it’s meant to be fired one handed like a pistol because the front end is very wide to accommodate the ammo type, but this means it’s a bit awkward trying to hold it as you would a rifle type blaster. There is a ball holder on the underside of the blaster for storing the tennis ball when not dog3loaded into the barrel. While the ball included is Nerf branded, it is dimensionally the same as a regular tennis ball, so you could use any brand you like. Now, obviously, I can’t tell you to go harass any younger siblings you might have with this blaster. That would actually be abuse. But I can tell you that in the amount of range testing I did, I honestly found the performance pretty disappointing. I’m not athletic, like, at all, but I could easily throw a tennis ball farther than this can launch one. Some of you may be thinking that it’s not meant to be better than a functioning human arm, but it will let people who can’t throw (age, injury, etc.) play with their dog. But then I’d say, if you don’t have the physical faculty to throw a ball by hand, priming back the spring in this blaster is likely to be as much if not more of a challenge. Really, it seems like this blaster is meant for people who like gadgets or are fans of Nerf who also like playing with their dog, that or college kids who want to modify it into a big shotgun for HvZ, but that’s a different story altogether. The Nerf Dog Tennis Ball Blaster comes with an orange and blue Nerf Dog branded tennis ball.

Now, I feel I should take the time to introduce Nerf Dog. Not the product line, the tennis ball. ND will be filling in for Penn for the time being while he’s away on holiday, that is to say, until I figure out where the heck Penn even went. But fear not, for I have it on good authority that ND is exactly the same size and therefore will do a fine job as a stand-in. Who knows, if he does a good job, there might be a more permanent position opening.dog4

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t planning to buy a Nerf blaster when I walked into the local grocery store with my girlfriend. I didn’t even expect to see any aside from the usual array of Jolt reskins. I had seen this blaster online before and thought it looked fun, even if I didn’t have the recommended dog with which to play, but I never bought it until I saw it in person for a substantially reduced price. Most people have impulse grocery purchases like a pack of Oreos or a cake or something. I walked out with an impulse Nerf blaster, because of course I did.

#1607: Han Solo – Cantina

HAN SOLO – CANTINA

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (HASBRO)

“Inside Mos Eisley’s cantina, Han Solo just negotiated a lucrative deal to transport two men to Alderaan – enough to pay off his debt to crimelord Jabba the Hutt. But it’s too late: bounty hunter Greedo has come to collect – though all the Rodian gets is a shot to the chest from Solo’s blaster.”

Towards the end of their run with Power of the Force II Hasbro officially started putting their name on the line, and also used this as sort of an excuse to circle back around and give us new and improved standard versions of the main characters.  After going a whole year with no Han Solo figures (which seems downright crazy if you ask me), they offered up a brand new figure of him in his classic smuggler’s outfit from A New Hope.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cantina Han Solo was released in the 1999 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  He was designed specifically to go with a new version of Greedo, and is meant to directly recreate Han from the encounter with Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He had knee joints!  You can’t begin to imagine how big a deal that was back in ’99.  It was all so that he could sit at a booth at the cantina.  A non-existent booth, but hey, that’s not the point.  Han’s sculpt is one of the finest the POTF2 line had to offer.  His proportions are actually pretty realistic, he’s slightly pre-posed but not extremely so, and he’s even got a pretty decent Harrison Ford likeness.  The detail work on his clothing, the shirt in particular, is quite impressively handled.  I also really like the posturing of his hands; it adds a lot of life and character to the figure.  Han’s paintwork is all pretty standard fare, but it’s still pretty good.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and matches up pretty well with the movie.  Han is packed with his usual blaster (which was notably less over-scaled than prior versions).  Also, as a 1999 release, he was part of the whole CommTech venture, so he comes with a CommTech stand.  I never actually got the reader, but it still works well as a somewhat unique looking stand, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember getting this guy with some money I’d gotten for my 7th birthday.  My parents took me out to Toys R Us to use the money, and this guy was amongst the figures I bought.  I’m not entirely sure why, but I just liked him for whatever reason.  To this day, he remains perhaps my favorite Han Solo figure in my collection, and definitely one of my favorite Power of the Force II figures.  He holds up quite well!

#1606: Tactical Killmonger & Casino T’Challa

TACTICAL KILLMONGER & CASINO T’CHALLA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Movie merchandise is always a tricky thing, especially with “top secret” movies like the Marvel Studios stuff.  It can often prove difficult to determine which characters, and more specifically, which designs for those characters, are going to end up with the most prominence in the final product.  For Black Panther, while it was a pretty safe bet which look would be T’Challa’s main costume, his primary antagonist Killmonger proved a different story all together.  His rogue Black Panther look ended up on all of the merch, and while that was prominent, it was actually his more unique tactical gear that most people were drawn to.  Unfortunately, if you want a properly articulated version of this design, Minimates are your only way to go.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tactical Killmonger and Casino T’Challa are the second Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-pack.  Though they don’t quite interact with these particular looks, Killmonger’s rescue of Klaue happens just after the Casino sequence, so they fit together reasonably well in the timeline of the film.

TACTICAL KILLMONGER

Obviously, this figure is the draw of this set.  Erik’s tactical design doesn’t really have direct comics counterpart (though it does share a few elements with some of his looks over the years), but it offers him a more unique design than the basic Panther-riff.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Killmonger has a single add-on piece, but it’s a good one.  It’s the tribal mask he steals during his museum heist with Klaue, which he then uses to obscure his face later on.  It’s only worn in one scene in the film, but it certainly has a lasting impact.  For this figure, it’s an all-new piece, which does a pretty respectable job of recreating the mask and simplifying it enough to look proper on the ‘mate.  The rest of Killmonger’s design is handled via paintwork.  The armor plating on the torso is definitely impressive, as is the camo and all of the stitched elements on his pants.  The likeness under the mask is also quite good; it depicts a slightly calmer Killmonger than is seen on the first ‘mate, which makes for nice variety.  There are a few spots of white on his face, but otherwise all of the paint is quite clean, and the colors are nice and vibrant.  Killmonger is packed with the same hairpiece as the last figure, allowing for the much needed unmasked look, as well as a pair of blades (the same stylings as were included in with the Legends figure), and a clear display stand.

CASINO T’CHALLA

Not quite a “civilian” take on the character, but very close, Casino T’Challa depicts T’Challa as he is seen when he goes undercover in South Korea while on the hunt for Klaue.  I would guess this look was chosen over T’Challa’s other “civilian” look in the film because this one could be made with all pre-existing parts.  And made with pre-existing parts he is!  The hair is the same piece used for the unmasked look on both of the prior Black Panthers from this line, and the jacket is re-used from all the way back on the very first George McFly Minimate.  That one’s gotten some milage.  The paint does the hard work here, selling this guy as “all-new.”  The likeness on the face gives us yet another T’Challa expression.  This one’s somewhere between the other two in terms of intensity, but certainly still looks like the same guy.  The jacket and arms get extra detailing, depicting the texturing of his jacket from the film, and preventing this figure from being dressed in just flat black.  Casino T’Challa’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  A little light, but I think Killmonger makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the set I went to Walgreens to get, the others were all just along for the ride.  Of the two Killmonger designs, this one was definitely my preferred, and this being only way to really get it right now, makes this guy top priority.  Fortunately, he’s one of the best ‘mates from the whole assortment.  Casino T’Challa’s not anything to write home about, being essentially just a guy in casual clothes, but he’s still a solid figure overall, and I certainly don’t mind that we got him.

#1605: Powered Up Black Panther & Everett Ross

POWERED UP BLACK PANTHER & EVERETT ROSS

MARVEL MINIMATES

For Black Panther, we had a few returning players.  In addition to T’Challa and Ulysses Klaue, there was another, more minor return in Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross.  It’s not a shock, since Ross began his comics carrier as a Black Panther supporting player, and all.  I have to say, after getting virtually no impression from the character at all in Civil War, I was actually quite pleased by his reappearance.  Suffice to say, I was happy to find he was one of the many Minimates offered for the film, alongside a variant of its main character.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Powered Up Black Panther and Everett Ross are the first of the two Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-packs.  It’s not actually a terrible pairing, since Ross first appears during the sequence that also introduces Panther’s new uniform’s kinetic deflection abilities.

POWERED UP BLACK PANTHER

Our first proper Black Panther variant.  Very cool.  This is, of course, the same suit as the last one, just fully charged up with kinetic energy.  So, the construction is identical between the two.  He’s still 2 1/4 inches tall with 14 points of articulation, and he still has the mask add-on and clawed hands.  Everything works just as well here as it did on the first ‘mate, and the consistency is certainly sensible.  The main changes are obviously to the paint.  It’s the same basic starting point, but with some additional metallic blue details added to indicate his energy build-up.  It’s a subtle difference, but a cool one, and I actually find myself overall liking the look of this one a little more.  Under the mask, we get a second expression for T’Challa.  This one’s angrier, which makes sense for this particular look.  He’s packed with an extra hair piece and a clear display stand.

EVERETT ROSS

This is Everett Ross’s first ever figure, but won’t be his last (or, shouldn’t, anyway.  His Legends figure was set to be a TRU-exclusive.  It’s future’s a bit up in the air at the moment).  For a normal guy in a suit, that’s not terrible.  Ross is seen here in his suit and tie from the Casino sequence. It’s probably the best overall look for the guy, and it’s the same look he had in Civil War, so there’s crossover appeal.  He has add-ons for his hair, jacket, and tie.  All of these are re-used from elsewhere, though I don’t know 100% where the hair first showed up.  I just know it’s been used on others.  The pieces are all perfectly fine for Ross.  Generic, but that’s rather true to the character.  His paintwork is fairly straightforward stuff.  Lots of greys, which don’t excite all that much, but the Freeman likeness is quite good, so that’s a plus.  Ross is packed with a display stand.  It would have been nice for him to get a gun or something.  He just feels a bit light otherwise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair as the same time as Panther/M’Baku and Killmonger/Klaue, during Walgreens’ recent sale on Minimates.  I was impressed by Ross in the film, and liked how the powered up effect looked in action, so I was definitely on board.  Sure, there’s not a whole lot of new going on here, but they’re both still pretty solid ‘mates.