#1682: Daredevil & Ghost Rider

MARVEL NOW! DAREDEVIL & ROBBIE REYES GHOST RIDER

MARVEL MINIMATES

And we’re back with the odd-ball pairings.  I started the week out with the somewhat strange Punisher/Moon Knight combo, and now I’m wrapping it up with another somewhat odd pairing: Daredevil and Ghost Rider.  It’s not actually completely unprecedented in this line.  There was a Target-exclusive pack that included both of them back in the day (though that was a Johnny Blaze figure).  Here they are again.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Daredevil and Ghost Rider were part of Series 75 of Marvel Minimates.  Though Ghost Rider’s tie to the theme is somewhat dubious, Daredevil is part of the newest version of the Defenders, as well as being the central piece of the Netflix shows.

This set also includes the last piece of the Build-A-Figure Quake, her head.  I’ll be reviewing the whole of her tomorrow!

DAREDEVIL

Daredevil’s spot in this Anniversary-themed assortment is actually quite sensible, as Daredevil was included in two of Series 1’s three sets.  This marks his 14th time as a Minimate.  This one’s a slight departure from some of the others, being based on his current design, a mostly black number that is clearly inspired by his Season 1 garb from his show.  It’s actually a pretty sharp look, though I’m of course still partial to the classic red.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his mask, wrist wraps, and holsters.  The mask and holsters come from the Series 43 version of DD (though that release only had a single holster, not two), and make sense, since the design elements have remained consistent.  The arm wraps are from Street Fighter VS Tekken’s Heihachi (also re-used on the Best Of Iron Fist), and are pretty basic pieces, which certainly work for his comics look.  The paint on DD is quite good.  The color scheme is bold, and the line work is super crisp.  The grey high lights are a very effective way of creating dimension on the torso, legs, and mask, and make the suit look quite dynamic.  The face under the mask is great for action set-ups, with his teeth gritted and his brow furrowed.  The way they’ve done his pupils is unique from other characters, and helps sell that he’s blind.  DD includes a pair of billy clubs (just two, though, leaving one slot in each holster empty), an extra hair piece (re-used from Terminator 2’s young John Connor), and a clear display stand.

GHOST RIDER

Though Ghost Rider’s no stranger to Minimates, this one is actually a debut, since it’s the latest Rider, Robbie Reyes.  Robbie’s been getting the push from Marvel for a little while, and his appearances on Agents of SHIELD mean he fits in decently enough with the assortment’s TV-inspired theme.  The figure gets one add-on piece, which is his flaming, skull-inspired helmet.  It’s a new piece, and it does a respectable job of replicating the design of the helmet from the comics.  The rest of the detailing is done via paint.  Like Daredevil, there’s a nice contrast to this figure’s look.  The black and white looks really sharp, and I like the visual similarities to Johnny Blaze’s original design.  Under the mask is a fully detailed Robbie Reyes face, which seems to be in keeping with his comics likeness.  Robbie is packed with a pair of chains (because he just has to one-up Johnny, apparently), an extra hair piece, and a clear display stand.  He is, of course, missing his ride, but since Robbie drives a car instead of a bike, its absence feels more excusable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the three preceding sets, this pair came from Cosmic Comix.  A new Daredevil wasn’t a necessity, but this one is definitely a fun figure, and there’s a lot of really sharp work going into him.  Robbie isn’t Johnny, so for me he’s not *the* Ghost Rider, but he’s got a cool look, he’s gotten exposure recently, and it’s nice to get a new character.  His ‘mate isn’t the star of this series, but he’s still a solid offering.

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#1681: Jessica Jones & Purple Man

JESSICA JONES & PURPLE MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Retcons.  I hate these guys.”

-Me, 2018

You know what I don’t like?  Retcons.  I know.  What a shock.  You couldn’t have seen that coming.  Half of today’s review subject is a retcon.  You see, when Brian Michael Bendis wanted to write a series about Jessica Drew, aka Spider-Woman, he wasn’t allowed to use her, so he created his own, somewhat similar character, and then forcibly shoved her into the history of the Avengers.  Ta-da!  It’s Jessica Jones!  Yay?  Yeah, not a huge fan.  But, I am a fan of Minimates, and I don’t hate the other half of this set, Purple Man.  So, let’s see how this goes.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jessica Jones and Purple Man were released in Series 75 of Marvel Minimates.  Like yesterday’s set, they continue the modern-day Defenders theme, but also work as more of a self-contained pairing.

This set also includes another pair of pieces to the Build-A-Figure Quake ‘mate, specifically her arms and gauntlets.

JESSICA JONES

Oh boy, here she is.  Jessica Jones.  Woooo.  So, this is Jessica’s second time as a Minimate, following her Netflix-based ‘mate from her show.  This one is comic-based, but admittedly, it doesn’t make for an incredibly different look overall, but she’s slightly different aesthetically, of course.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so she stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s got one add-on piece for her hair.  It’s re-used from Big Bang Theory’s Penny, and it’s actually a really nice piece, as far as detailing and shaping goes.  It’s also a pretty decent match for her usual comics hair.  No jacket piece used for this ‘mate, but I actually think it works a bit better, especially since it would have meant not being able to use the hair piece.  The paintwork on Jessica is pretty decent.  Application is clean, and the lifework is nice and sharp.  The expression on the face could maybe do with a bit more character, but it’s not terrible as it is.  The color scheme is rather dull, but that’s true to the character.  She includes a camera (re-used from the SM3 Peter Parker), a coffee mug with the Avengers logo, a smart phone, and a clear display stand.

PURPLE MAN

Though he’s linked to Jessica Jones now, Purple Man started off as a Daredevil villain.  Interestingly, my first introduction to him was in an episode of X-Men: The Animated Series.  What a weird world we live in, right?  Purple Man started his career wearing a spandex getup, but pretty quickly moved onto wearing suits and the like, in variations of purple.  It’s that later look that this figure goes with, which is a sensible choice.  The figure uses three add-on pieces to complete the look.  He’s got a hair piece (re-used from Thor: Ragnarok’s Grandmaster), jacket (re-used from the “World of the Psychic” Peter Venkman), and a collar piece (re-used from Admiral Kirk).  All re-used, but all very well chosen.  They make for a sharp looking combo.  The rest of the work is paint, and it’s actually quite impressive.  The variations of purple are easily distinguished from each other, and they compliment each other quite nicely.  The facial detailing is particularly nice, and captures Jebadiah’s creepy smirk pretty darn well.  Just makes you feel like you need a shower.  Purple Man’s only extra is a clear display stand, but I can’t really think of what else you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set came from the same purchase as the last two.  Jessica’s maybe not my favorite character, but DST definitely put the effort in on this Minimate.  Even divorced from the character, it’s actually a pretty solid ‘mate, and one of the better civilians done in this style.  Purple Man’s the star of the set for me.  He’s a fairly basic design, but the execution’s really top-notch.  Details like the collar, which could have easily been overlooked, weren’t, and so he really benefits from that.

#1680: Luke Cage & Iron Fist

MARVEL NOW! LUKE CAGE & MARVEL NOW! IRON FIST

MARVEL MINIMATES

There’s not really a better cut and dry pairing of heroes (at least on the Marvel side; back off Caped Crusaders!) than Luke Cage and Iron Fist.  Amusingly, they’re only paired off because both of their comics were on the verge of cancellation.  It ended up being pretty perfect, though, and the pair’s lasted a good long while.  They’ve been paired off two times prior for Minimates, and this time marks the third.*

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luke & Danny are the second set in the milestone 75th Series of Marvel Minimates.  Unlike yesterday’s set, they’re both centrally placed in the recent street-hero incarnation of the Defenders, so they really fit the theme.

Like yesterday’s set, this one also includes a piece of the Build-A-Figure Quake, specifically the torso, pelvis, and harness.  It appears to match the Series 51 Maria Hill, which is good for consistency’s sake.

LUKE CAGE

Luke Cage seems to be kind of cursed to the most dated costumes ever.  While I’m partial to his classic poofy-sleeved, tiara-sporting look, it’s fair to say it’s not easily taken seriously in this day and age.  He went through more of a thuggish look a few years back, but now he’s moved up to a more polished vested look.  Less super-hero-y than his original, but a sharp look nonetheless.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Luke is built on the standard ‘mate body, and has add-ons for his vest and rolled-up sleeves.  The sleeves are re-used from the Spirit set, and the vest is a new piece.  It’s a little bit bulky, and perhaps a little blocky, but it’s overall a decent piece.  It helps keep Luke from being too shrimpy, like most of his prior figures have been.  The rest of the work has been done via paint.  The application is pretty clean, though it would appear that the white application on my figure’s face has been slightly offset.  It’s not enough to be overly noticeable, but it’s a minor annoyance.  Beyond that, it’s pretty solid.  Luke’s expression is intense, though less so than the Best Of release, so it’s a little more versatile.  Luke’s light on the accessories, with only a clear display stand.  I’m not really sure what else he could be given, though.

IRON FIST

Like his partner, Danny Rand’s had his fair share of dated costume designs.  This one actually seems to play that up a bit, giving him a track-suited design, inspired by Bruce Lee’s yellow and black get-up from Ascension.  I think his David Aja design’s still his best, but this one’s certainly got character, and it’s his most recent look.  Iron Fist has add-ons for his mask and his collar.  Though they both have definite similarities to prior pieces, both are all-new to this figure.  They’re alright, I suppose.  I’ve never been much of a fan of how the collar pieces hide the neck.  The mask looks okay, but doesn’t have any of the shaping that some of the others had.  Iron Fist’s paint work is a little cleaner than Luke’s.  My only minor complaint would be that the eyes on the mask seem a little too high-set, but they don’t look terrible.  The gold detailing works surprisingly well, and I appreciate that the track-lines go all the way up his sides.    Iron Fist makes up for Luke’s lack of extras, with a spare hairpiece, a pair of nunchucks, and “Iron Fist” effect piece, and a clear display stand.  Not a bad little assortment of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was acquired at the same time as yesterday’s, courtesy of a joint partnership between Cosmic Comix and Tim.  Luke Cage has had some troubles with getting a decent Minimate.  This one is perhaps not as exciting as others, but it’s still probably his best.  Iron Fist’s design isn’t quite as versatile as older versions, but this figure still translates it pretty well to ‘mate form.

*It’s worth noting that they’ve both actually had four comics-based ‘mates.  Each of them got one release without the other.  The less said about those particular releases, the better.

#1679: Moon Knight & Punisher

MOON KNIGHT & PUNISHER

MARVEL MINIMATES

2018 marks the fifteenth year of Marvel Minimates, if you can believe it, and DST’s celebrating that with Series 75 (which, of course, all long-term fans know, is actually only the 74th Series in actual count, thanks to Series 15, the only series of Marvel Minimates ever to be outright cancelled).  75 is Marvel Knights/Defenders themed, offering up some of Marvel’s lower level characters.  Today, I’m looking at the one set in the series not to actually feature any of the current Defenders members (but don’t hold that against them), Moon Knight & Punisher!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

As noted above, Moon Knight and Punisher are part of Series 75 of Marvel Minimates, which takes loose inspiration from the Netflix slate of Marvel shows.  Moon Knight’s kind of out of the odd man out in this respect, but maybe he’ll show up in the next slate of them?  Please?

Also included in this set are two pieces of the very first Minimate Build-A-Figure, Quake!  In this set, we get both the legs.  They’re just standard legs, done up in colors to match the SHIELD agents from Series 43 and 51.

MARVEL NOW MOON KNIGHT

This is only Moon Knight’s sophomore figure in the Minimates line.  His last was all the way back in Series 29, 46 series and 9 years ago.  I think that’s a decent enough wait time for a re-do, don’t you?  This one’s not actually a straight re-do; it’s based on his armored look from Warren Ellis’s re-boot of the character.  It wasn’t his main look during Ellis’s run, but it was picked up by others, and has shown up in a few games and one of the cartoons.  I think it’s a solid re-imagining of his usual look.  Of course, as luck would have it, he went back to his all-white look a few months before this guy hit shelves.  Oh, darn, I guess we’ll just need another Moon Knight.  The figure stands 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Moon Knight’s sculpted elements are limited to his signature cloak.  Like his last Minimate, the hood and cape are two separate pieces, in order to help maximize posability.  These have been the source of some contention in the fanbase, with lots of debating over which cloak is the superior one.  While the old one always looked nice, it was never much for posing, and made keeping him standing nearly impossible.  This new one dials things back a bit, and gives us a more simplified design.  It’s still not perfect.  The hood in particular bugs me; something about its shape is slightly off.  Still, it’s an improvement in terms of playabilty, which makes for a better figure. Moon Knight’s paintwork is nice and bold.  It’s coming at the character from an entirely different angle than the last ‘mate, being very sleek and clean.  There’s a little bit of bleed over on some of the black-to-white changes, but for the most part, he looks pretty sharp.  In particular, the wider eyes seen on this version’s mask feel more in tune with the character than the tiny squinting eyes from the last one, and I also really like the grey highlights, which keep the black sections from getting too monotonous. Included with Moon Knight are his staff and a clear display stand.  The staff is re-used from the animated Proxima Midnight, but it a decent match for the staff Moon Knight is usually seen carrying about.

FRONTAL ASSAULT PUNISHER

I’m not sure of how comfortable I am with the “Frontal Assault” descriptor.  Wouldn’t such a name would be more appropriate for one of the trench-coated variants?  To DST’s credit, there are only so many buzzwords you can throw in front of the name “Punisher.”  Just plain “assault” was already taken and yet another character with the “Marvel Now” moniker might tear open a rift in the space time continuum.  But, I digress. Frank Castle is no stranger to Minimates, this being his eighth entry in the line.  This one’s his first comics-based ‘mate since 2013 (barring the 2016 re-release of the Best Of ‘mate), and it’s based on his pre-Secret Wars look from around 2014 or so.  It’s a nice sort of tactical look for the character, and also offers something in keeping with how the character looks in the Netflix shows. Punisher has add-on pieces for his hair and tactical vest.  I believe both of these are new to this particular figure.  The vest definitely is, but the hair is throwing me.  Regardless, both pieces are incredibly well-sculpted, and very nicely suited to the character.  The vest in particular just really encapsulates how I feel the Punisher should look. Punisher’s paint work is really a collection of pleasant surprises.  Let’s start from the weakest point and move upwards: his vest and sleeves show a little bit of slop.  Nothing too terrible, but notable given the quality of the rest of the paint.  The face is pretty classic Frank Castle, all grizzled and angry.  The application’s quite clean, and I like that they’ve even given him his stubble (not that stubble’s exactly a new thing on Minimates).  Under the vest, there’s a skull-emblazened t-shirt, which is a very nice touch.  He’s also got some incredible small detail work on his arms and legs, with the legs in particular standing out with all the stitching and line work associated with the tactical pants.  Really great attention to detail there. Punisher includes an HK94A3 Rifle (first included with the T2 SWAT officer), as well as a skull-faced mask piece (based on a mask he was frequently seen wearing during the 2014 run), and a clear display stand.  I’d have liked to get some additional guns.  Just the rifle seems a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set from my LCS, Cosmic Comix (okay, technically I got it from Tim, who bought it from CCX; he was paying me back for grabbing him an Obsidian Fury).  Moon Knight’s been due another Minimate for a while now.  This one takes a decidedly different approach to the character than the last one, so a direct comparison is a bit difficult, but this offering walks the line of look vs playability better than the last one.  I’m hopeful an all-white variant might show up in the near future.  In the mean time, this one’s a solid addition.  In a set where the clear selling point was Moon Knight, Punisher serves as sort of a sleeper figure.  As only a moderate fan of the character, I wasn’t anticipating much from him, but he’s a high quality, truly exceptional ‘mate.

The Blaster In Question #0055: Proton

BlasterInQuestion1

PROTON

VORTEX

proton1You may have heard that Vortex is back.  Yes, it seems the once-thought dead line of blasters has miraculous come back to life like Jesus, or Dracula.  While my money is squarely on this being a hasty rejiggering of an intended TRU exclusive, the Vortex VTX line seems to be solely in Target’s hands now.  So while the hype train is just slowly starting to pull away from the station, I figured I’d jump on board in order to bring you today’s review of the Proton.  I’m feeling pretty positive about this one.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

proton2Ok, while this is a Vortex blaster, it’s not part of the VTX lineup, so I’m less of a passenger on the hype train and more of that guy with the accordion who just walks from car to car demanding money in exchange for giving you tinnitus.  The Proton was released in 2011 as the smallest (at the time) entry in the newly unveiled Vortex series of blasters.  The big draw for Vortex blasters was their supposed super long ranges thanks to the mini-frisbee type of ammo instead of traditional darts.  The disks use their aerofoil shape to glide through the air which does allow them to travel pretty far, all things considered, but it also means that they lose speed quite quickly.  I’ve talked about this before in my Revonix 360 review and it holds true here and across the line.  The Proton, specifically, is a single shot pistol which is loaded through the rear of the blaster by pulling back the slide, placing a diskproton3 in the tray, and hitting the slide release lever on the side of the blaster.  Honestly, this was the feature that made me buy the Proton in the first place.  Regardless of performance, I just wanted a blaster with a functional slide release lever so I could do dramatic reloads while creeping around the house at 2:00 AM.  The shell of the Proton is all original which you’d kind of expect given how vastly different the internals of this blaster are compared to something like the NiteFinder.  There is at least a standard Nerf rail on the top of the barrel, but there’s not really anything you can put on it without making the blaster really top and front heavy, and that’s no good.  The Proton is meant to be nice and light, right around 1.67×10-27kg.  Not literally light, that’s photon, with an h.  Running the action of the Proton is nice and smooth and unless you did something really wrong, it’s very uncommon to have any kind of jam or malfunction, so that’s a positive.  The ergonomics are decent with all the controls where it makes sense for them to be.  The grip is a little skinny but not so much that it’s really a problem.  As with most Vortex blasters, there are a lot of safety locks inside the Proton, the most important of which prevents the trigger from being pulled when the chamber is empty. proton4 It’s good to know so that, if you’re storing the blaster somewhere for more than a day, it’s probably smart to fire off one round just to de-prime the blaster so you won’t wear out the spring.  If that happens, it’s like it loses its charge, and you’re left with a neutron.  It’s also a good idea to keep it away from stray electrons, because then it just becomes hydrogen, and that  tends to poof away into the air.  As far as using the Proton against younger siblings, I’d recommend it for longer-distance pot shots rather than the whole busting into their room method.  The Proton comes packaged with 3 Vortex disks in the classic Vortex green.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

Ah, I see you made it past my science jokes.  Good for you.  All in all, for as lukewarm as I am to the Vortex series as a whole, I actually quite like the Proton.  It’s fairly compact and has that really unique loading mechanism, which is honestly fun to play with just that.  While I don’t usually go for recolors of existing blasters, I must admit, the blue and green VTX color scheme looks pretty sharp, so I might not mind picking up another Proton if they come out with it.  Then I just need some neutrons and I can whip up some helium.

#1678: T-800 & Endoskeleton

T-800 & ENDOSKELETON

TERMINATOR 2 MINIMATES

In the summer of 2009, DST was really starting to hit it in stride with Minimates.  Just two years prior, the brand looked to be at death’s door.  The DC brand swept in and reinvigorated things a bit, but its quick exit definitely left some question marks about the future.  Fortunately, DST was quick to add some new things to their plate, as well as partnering up with Toys R Us to give those lines a jumpstart.  One of the new lines they added was Terminator 2.  Interestingly, today’s set isn’t based on the sequel, but instead the first film.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The T-800 and Endoskeleton were one of the two Series 1 sets available at both specialty and Toys R Us.  When the specialty set was first solicited, the T-800 was supposed to be the three-per-case figure, with Kyle Reese swapping out as his variant, but Kyle was shifted elsewhere, and this set wound up as the heaviest packed.

T-800

This figure depicts the original film’s villainous terminator, specifically in his iconic Police station storming get-up.  It’s the look that would influence all future Terminators, and definitely the more definitive of the two looks from the movie.  The figure is built on the usual body, so he’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He has three add-on pieces, for his hair/glasses, jacket, and pelvis piece.  The hair piece was new, and remains unique to this figure.  It does a solid job of recreating his singed hair and distinctive Gargoyle shades.  The jacket is a re-used piece, first showing up on the disguised Marty from the second BTTF set, and, though not quite a perfect match, its pretty darn close.  The paintwork on the figure is mostly pretty straightforward, matching up well with the source material.  The Schwarzenegger likeness is pretty spot-on, and they’ve even gone the extra mile and included his exposed endo eye.  He also includes a spair hair piece without the glasses, as well as a SPAS-12 shotgun and an AR-18 rifle.

ENDOSKELETON

This Endo was initially released in the single-packs case of figures that launched this line, before being re-packed here.  He’s largely the same as the previously reviewed scorched Endo, just with a cleaner silver finish.  As I noted in the earlier review, I have mixed opinions on some of the design choices here.  Nevertheless, I do still like the figure overall, and I think the cleaner silver works better for the overall design.  Like the scorched variant, this one includes the plasma rifle, which he still has trouble holding.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I grabbed this set back when it was new.  They hit TRU first, so that’s where I got mine.  Of all the sets in this assortment, this one was the least exciting for me, but I think it’s still a competently put together pair, and this T-800 is definitely worth tracking down.

#1677: Wampa & Luke Skywalker (Hoth)

WAMPA & LUKE SKYWALKER (HOTH)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“Wampas are powerful furred bipeds that dwell in the snowy wastes of the ice world Hoth. These hulking predators have razor-sharp fangs and claws, yet move with surprising stealth, relying on their white fur for camouflage while hunting prey such as tauntauns.”

As with any good Star Wars line, Solo isn’t afraid to pepper in a few things from prior movies to keep the older fans happy.  A running sub-theme since TFA has been figures based on Empire.  Today’s offering, Luke and the deadly Wampa, continues that trend.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Wampa and Luke are part of the first assortment of deluxe sets from the Solo line.  They fulfill the same purpose as Last Jedi‘s Creature Sets (and, in fact, this is just a re-purposed Creature set, and one of the other two in the assortment is a straight re-release of one; only Enfys Nest’s Swoop Bike doesn’t fit that descriptor).

WAMPA

The Wampa’s a rather straightforward monster, really.  It’s just a space-yeti.  A simple adventure story trope with a sci-fi bend, perfectly emblematic of Star Wars at its best.  As a fairly humanoid monster, it’s also an easy choice for toys.  This is the third Wampa we’ve gotten at this scale.  The Wampa stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  If the articulation were perfectly mirrored as it is on most figures, that count would be 1 higher, but as it stands, this Wampa, like other Wampas, sacrifices a little articulation in the name of spectacle.  A more simple peg/swivel joint makes for a more easily removed right arm, thus allowing you to give the Wampa the “battle damage” inflicted upon him by Luke’s light saber slash.  The figure’s sporting an all-new sculpt; it’s somewhat aesthetically similar to the Black Series release, but this one’s more accurate to the movie design by my eye.  The level of detailing on the sculpt is definitely impressive.  He possesses some of the same issues of joints breaking up the fur that the Black Series Chewbacca had, but at this scale, and with the bulkier nature of his design, it’s less noticeable.  The paintwork on the Wampa is actually a fair bit better than the photos attached to this review might lead you to believe.  In person, the yellowish accenting on the fur is subtler, and not quite as garish.  It could perhaps be a little better, but I don’t hate it, and it’s certainly better than no detail at all.

LUKE SKYWALKER (HOTH)

Luke in his cold-weather gear is kind of a natural companion piece for the Wampa, since they spend their scenes on Hoth together.  Luke’s Hoth gear is a popular variant, from the vintage line onward.  It’s actually been released as recently as the Star Wars: Saga Legends Mission Packs, but despite that, this figure is an all-new one.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation, if you count the moving scarf on his head.  The sculpt is pretty solid.  He’s based on his appearance post-Wampa attack, which seems sensible. That means no goggles and with some facial scarring.  It does a nice job of capturing the design, with some cool detailing on the quilting and such on the outfit.  The facial likeness is a good match for Hamill as seen in the movie, and the scarring even appears to have been sculpted, rather than being just painted on.  The pose is pretty nice as well, being a fairly basic standing pose that also looks nice dangling upside down from the ceiling.  The paint on this figure is pretty decent.  It’s fairly basic, and kind of subdued, but it matches the movie well.  Luke is packed with his lightsaber and his blaster pistol (which is technically inaccurate for the post-Wampa attack look, but the empty holster would be sort of silly).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking forward to this set ever since it was shown off during the initial Last Jedi showings.  The old Hoth Luke was a favorite of mine, and I’ve never had a Wampa figure.  Despite not being a “new” offering, it was near the top of my list of wants.  It’s one of the last items I found, as it would appear it’s the shortpack of the case, at least initially.  I really like this set.  The Wampa is one of the best small-scale Star Wars figures that Hasbro’s put out recently, and Luke’s nothing to slouch at either.

FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5 #0005: Top 5 Han Solo Figures

Hey there FiQ-Fans!  Another month has passed, which means it’s time for another FiQ Friday Fab 5 @ 5!  Since today marks the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I think it’s only proper I take a look at the top 5 Han Solo action figures!

#5:     Cantina Han Solo — Power of the Force II (Hasbro)

Of all the Power of the Force II offerings, Han’s are, by-and-large, the ones that hold up the worst.  He didn’t really get any decent figures until the line was almost over.  Fortunately, Kenner made up for it by offering one of the best figures in the whole line, and one of the best takes on Han’s classic smuggler’s outfit.

#4:     TFA Han Solo — Star Wars: The Black Series (Hasbro)

The elder Han was held back from initial product offerings for The Force Awakens, but he got a handful of figures after the movie’s release.  The best of the bunch was his larger-scale Black Series release, which is one of the figures that helped set The Black Series on the path back to greatness (though it was not an immediate shift).  It’s  definitely got one of the best Ford likenesses out there, and for a while it was Han’s best Black Series offering.

#3:     Bespin Han Solo — The Empire Strikes Back (Kenner)

A recurring theme of these lists is that it’s hard to beat the classics.  Han’s vintage figures are all pretty decent, but by far the best is his Bespin attire from Empire.  Not only is it just Han’s coolest look, but it’s also just a solid figure all-around.

#2:     Smuggler Han Solo — Star Wars: 30th Anniversary (Hasbro)

There are a lot of options out there if you’re looking for Han’s classic A New Hope attire, with all sorts of minor variations.  This one is very clearly Han piloting the Falcon.  The headset and gloves make for a unique, but still very true to the character look, and this figure hit after Hasbro started making great strides in how they handled articulation.

#1:     Young Han Solo — Star Wars: The Black Series (Hasbro)

I know, I know; it’s blasphemy that the number one slot on this list would go to a non-Harrison Ford Han Solo figure.  The fact of the matter is that this is hands down the best action figure of Han Solo we’ve gotten.  It’s a wonderfully detailed figure, with a fantastic likeness, and an all-around good toy.  Should Hasbro release a Harrison Solo figure of this quality, I could easily see him dethroning this guy.

#1676: Enfys Nest’s Swoop Bike (w/ Enfys Nest)

ENFYS NEST’S SWOOP BIKE (w/ ENFYS NEST)

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“The Cloud-Rider gang led by Enfys Nest terrorizes the skies atop their mean-looking swoop bikes.  Little more than engines with seats, swoops are hard to control but capable of incredible speed.”

Alright, Solo is officially out today!  …I haven’t actually had a chance to see it yet, and probably won’t be able to until after the weekend, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep right on reviewing the toys!  I’ve taken a look at some of the “heroes” (a loose term, given it’s a heist film) from the movie, but how about looking at one of the film’s villains, the mysterious Enfys Nest, leader of the Cloud-Rider gang (a gang who, fun fact, originated in a comic from 1977; pretty nifty, right?).  Next to nothing is known about Nest, including gender, so this will certainly be an interesting review.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Though Enfys Nest is very much the title-part of this set, the actual main focus is Enfys’s swoop bike.  Now, this is actually not the first swoop bike I’ve looked at on this site.  The first came from the Shadows of the Empire line in ’96, and it’s been a little while since then.  That one was definitely more on the conservative side as well, which can’t so much be said about this one.  The bike measures 9 inches in length, and is 3 3/4 inches tall and it’s highest point.  There aren’t any moving pieces on the bike, but as a hover bike, that’s not a huge shock.  The all-new sculpt on this bike is pretty impressive.  There’s quite a bit of detail work, especially on the main body.  I was impressed by how small and intricate a lot of the work was, and the fins and such don’t feel too heavy or clunky.  There’s a nice flow to this vehicle.  My only concern is one of construction; it’s a very frail design, and in some spots, especially the front half, it can feel like it’s going to fold in half if you look at it funny.  I’ve had no issues with it as of yet, though.  The paint work on the bike is pretty decent stuff, and it’s certainly a step up from the last swoop I looked at.  While it’s not exactly real-world level detailing, there’s some definite effort that’s been placed into making it look pretty convincing, and it’s not as bland as some vehicles can be.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obviously Enfys Nest’s Swoop Bike is going to include an Enfys Nest figure, right?  It’d be a little odd if it didn’t, right?  I mean, that’s what I think.  Anyway, Enfys here is so far exclusive to this particular pack.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall measuring to the top of the head (it’s a more even 4 if you count the horns), and it has 7 points of articulation.  Like Qi’ra, Enfys has wrist articulation, presumably to make piloting the bike a bit more manageable.  Enfys is another new sculpt.  I was surprised by how slight of frame he/she is, but after double checking against some shots from the movie, this is actually pretty accurate.  Overall, I like the sculpt, but it’s ever so slightly hindered by being designed to go in the bike. The limbs are all angled out a bit, and the feet are somewhat pigeon-toed.  Just standing around, Enfys looks a little bit awkward.  On the plus side, the armor and such has been translated quite well.  Enfys has a unique look, and that’s been captured here.  The mixed medium on the cape with the sculpted shoulders is an interesting way of handling it, and probably the most sensible, since the figure is meant to be able to sit, and I can’t really see a plastic cape accommodating that.  Enfys’ paintwork is decent enough, though this is certainly a figure that would benefit from a little bit more work in the accenting department; that armor really should be a bit grimier than it ends up here.  Still, it’s far from bad.  Enfys is packed with a staff, which is pretty sensible, since the character is seen carrying it in pretty much all of the promotional stuff we’ve seen.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was procured at the same time as the Range Trooper, during my third round of Solo purchases.  It was one of the items I was most looking forward to, since I rather like Enfys’s design.  The bike is fine for what it is (I’ve got a lot of speeder bikes, so one more isn’t really going to blow my mind or anything), and the figure’s certainly passable.  I can’t say this is my favorite of the items I’ve gotten for the movie (that would probably be Han’s Land Speeder), but for the price and the scale, I’m happy with it.

#1675: Range Trooper

RANGE TROOPER

SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (HASBRO)

“The Imperial expansion requires the settlement of vital operations on remote outpost worlds. These frontier Stormtroopers form a backbone of stubborn defense against would-be thieves and pirates.”

Ah, Hasbro and Stormtrooper variants.  They go together like…well, like a successful toy company and a successful franchise’s totally reasonable way to keep producing new toys of with hardcore fans are almost guaranteed to buy multiples.  One of the classic pairs, really.  Though I am perhaps not as committed to building an army as some fans are, I will admit to being drawn in by just about every new trooper that Hasbro puts out, today’s focus, the Range Trooper, included.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Range Trooper is part of the first series of basic Solo figures.  He’s one of two trooper based army builders in the set, and so far he’s been the easier of the two to find at retail.  This new trooper design is meant for more extreme environments, and from the looks of this figure, he specializes in cold areas.  Why do we get the Range Trooper instead of just seeing the Snowtrooper again?  Well, the best answer in-universe is that this movie’s set more than a decade before the Snowtroopers appear in Empire, and it’s probably fair to assume the Imperials have changed up their gear at least a little bit.  The best answer out-of-universe is that this way they can sell more toys.  Works for me.  Anyway, the figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The Range Trooper’s sporting an all-new sculpt, which seems unlikely to see any re-use going forward.  It’s pretty well crafted, depicting him a reasonably bulked up from the additional padding, and handling the actual details of his clothes and armor quite nicely.  He’s definitely on-par with Qi’ra in that regard.  I like that there are some common design elements from other films, with the chestplate being quite similar to the Snowtrooper piece, and the helmet having a few similarities to the Shoretrooper helmets we saw in Rogue One.  It definitely lends some credence to them being an earlier iteration of the Snowtrooper, and also helps solidify that the Shoretrooper helmets were an older environment-based design that was just slowly worked out.  He’s also got those big honking boots, which we learned from the trailers are some sort of magnetic/gravity boots.  They’re a neat design.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty solid work as well.  It’s a lot of off-white, of course, but there’s some pretty decent accent work on the boots.  I just wish it extended to the fur collar, but alas, he’ll just have to be a little cleaner looking than I wanted.  The Range Trooper is packed with a blaster.  At first glance, I thought it was just the standard E-11, but it’s actually slightly tweaked to have a longer barrel and a further forwards scope.  I guess that helps with the range?  That would make sense.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Lando, this guy proved a little more difficult to acquire, at least at first.  I was fortunate enough to find him the following weekend, at a Target near my brother’s college.  I wasn’t 100% sure about this design when I first saw it, but I find myself really liking it in figure form.  Perhaps I’ll have to track down the Black Series figure at some point down the line.