#1870: A.I.M. Scientist & Trooper

A.I.M. SCIENTIST & A.I.M. TROOPER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A.I.M., or Advanced Idea Mechanics, is a scientific organization bent on designing the technology that can take over the world.  Combined with the brute force of the Shock Trooper, the A.I.M. scientists innovate international design in the pursuit of world domination.”

Though in many ways the Legends brand was revitalized from the time Hasbro slapped “Infinite Series” on the box, there was still a little bit of a learning curve in those earlier days of the line.  In particular, swap figures, something they’d introduced during the Return of Marvel Legends era, which replaced one figure in early assortments with another for refreshment cases, still persisted throughout Infinite Series’ first year (and the shared names would continue for a few more after that).  One of the earliest Infinite Series offerings, the Captain America-themed Mandroid Series, was perhaps most affected.  Though both versions of the Agents of Hydra (Red Skull and a Hydra Agent) and the Soldiers of A.I.M. (Zemo and an A.I.M. Soldier) shipped side by side in early cases, the revision cases that hit a few months later strangely chose to repack only the non-army builder versions, leaving the army builders with a rather hefty after market value.  Hasbro first tackled this issue with the TRU exclusive “Agents of Hydra” two-pack from last year, which offered up one of the two army builders.  It was initially scarce, due to TRU’s spotty distribution, but with them out of the way, it’s actually become quite easy to get.  Hasbro has wisely chosen to follow that set up with a complimentary A.I.M. two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Soldiers of A.I.M. two-pack is an Entertainment Earth “exclusive” (meaning it’s available to all of the retail establishments that order through EE).  EE has picked up most of the former TRU-exclusives (including unsold stock of the Hydra pack), so It’s not hard to imagine this pair were originally slated for a TRU release.

A.I.M. SCIENTIST

Pairing off with the Hydra Agent from the other pack is the A.I.M. Scientist.  He’s more or less a reissue of the A.I.M. Soldier from the Mandroid series.  That being said, there the Hydra Agent’s differences were really limited to just the accessories, the Scientist’s changes go a little further.  Basic construction is the same.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He uses the jumpsuit-ed body from the original, which works just as well now as it did the first time.  The only notable tweak is that his head seems to sit a little lower on the neck, which is a definite improvement.  Of course, it’s possible that my original was just slightly mis-molded.  The paint work has had some changes as well.  He’s the same basic yellow as the last one (so they’ll match up fine for army builders), but his visor and gloves are now black, and the “skirt” of his belt piece is molded yellow rather than painted, so it actually matches this time.  While I was initially a little bummed by the switch to black for the visor, I actually find myself preferring how it looks overall.  Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff: the accessories!  Now, it’s worth noting that this set’s accessories are a lot less figure specific than the Hydra set’s were, so I’ve tried to group them as best I could.  Like the prior release, this figure includes a bandolier, a large blaster, and a small blaster.  These are all the same as before (apart from a little extra detailing on the bandolier), and are still fun additions.  I particularly like “A.I.M.” being printed on the sides of the guns.  He also includes a shoulder harness molded in brown, and a second head (repainted from Paladin).  The head could just as easily go with the other figure (especially since it was on the other body in its original release, but I think it really works here, in a Bill, Agent of A.I.M. sort of way.

A.I.M. TROOPER

The second figure is sort of a counterpart to the Hydra Enforcer, dubbed a Shock Trooper by the back of the packaging.  He’s not your standard A.I.M. guy, that’s for sure.  He too is complete re-use, but is a rather crafty selection of parts.  He’s built on Paladin’s body (which was itself re-worked from Blade, who was in turn re-worked from ASM2 Electro), with Scourge’s head thrown on it (sort of pairing off with the Taskmaster head from the Hydra set), all done up in A.I.M.’s signature black and yellow.  A new coat of paint makes these parts look surprisingly new.  And while he’s still got a very distinct look about him, he also lends himself far more to being a troop builder than I felt the Enforcer did.  This guy comes packed with a knife and pistol, done up in colors to match him, as well as one of Deadpools rifles, again colored to match.  For variety’s sake, the Trooper also includes another shoulder harness (this time in a grey/blue), Deathlok’s backpack in yellow, and another standard issue A.I.M. beekeeper’s mask.  The last piece looks a little goofy on this guy, but I appreciate the option to further A.I.M.-ize him, and I even more appreciate the ability to make my prior A.I.M. Soldiers properly match up with this new set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I actually found an A.I.M. Soldier, there wasn’t as much of a dire need to get this set as there was with the Hydra pack, so when they were shown off, I knew I’d want one, but I was kind of ambivalent to the whole thing.  Then I saw it in person, and my mind changed.  And then I opened it up and my mind changed even more.  The Hydra set may have been more essential to me, but this one’s more fun.  The improvements to the standard A.I.M. guy are enough to make him the superior offering when compared to the original release, and I find myself really, really liking the Trooper, far more than I did the Enforcer, and far more than I’d expected to.  Hasbro’s inventiveness is really well showcased here.

I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  As of this writing, this pack is still in-stock, so if you’re interested in this, or any other Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

Advertisements

#1869: Wasp

WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Despite being a character for whom “constantly changing look” is a defining trait, poor Janet Van Dyne’s figures all seem to gravitate between the same two costumes.  Either she’s in first appearance mode, or she’s wearing the dreaded black and gold number.  There’s no in-betweens.  Well, not until now, at least!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp is the fourth figure from the second series of the Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  Like yesterday’s Vision figure, she switches things up and gives us a predominately new offering.  Rather than one of the two Wasp costumes we have oh-so-many of already, this figure instead gives us one of Jan’s Perez-designed costumes from his run during the late ‘90s/early ‘00s.  It’s not just some random choice on Hasbro’s part, either, because this is the exact same costume that was supposed to serve as one of the two variants for Toy Biz’s first Legends Wasp back in the day.  It never went to full production, leaving a very small handful of samples out there, and thereby making it one of the rarest Legends pieces (alongside the admittedly less-demanded silver shirted Luke Cage).  So this figure’s more than a decade in the making.  All I can say is “finally!”  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 33 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the prior figure.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Wasp’s head is a different one, though it’s not a new one.  It’s actually a rather clever re-use, borrowed from the Sasquatch Series’ Domino figure.  Since her head was done up with a very unique paint scheme, it looks quite a bit different here, and matches up well with Jan’s style at the time of this costume to boot.  Wasp’s paintwork is clean and bold, which are my favorite things in a Legends paint job.  The white is slightly pearlescent, which gives it a nice, polished look, and I definitely this new color scheme for the wings.  Far more appealing than the ones on the last figure, that’s for sure.  Wasp is packed with a miniature version of her husband Hank in his Ant-Man form.  It’s a piece we’ve seen a good number of times before, but it continues to be a solid inclusion, and makes a lot of sense here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since being let-down by Toy Biz’s standard release Wasp, I’ve been waiting for this look, never to have it arrive.  She and Ant-Man ended up being the first of these figures we actually saw, and I knew immediately that I’d definitely be tracking her down.  She popped up at the same time as Vision, which certainly made me happy, as I was able to get my two top wants in one fell swoop.  I was content with the last Wasp figure from Hasbro, but hoped for more.  I’m happy to finally be able to replace that black and gold monstrosity, let me tell you.  Now, is it too much to ask for her asymmetrical, jazzercise-looking white and blue number from the ‘80s? 

#1868: Vision

VISION

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The Vision is an android who mimics virtually every organic function of a human being, including independent thought!”

In a stark change from the last two days, it’s actually been a little while since I’ve looked at a Vision figure.  The last one was his movie-inspired Legends figure from Infinity War, and that was all the way back in April.  Given how much I like Vision, I think it’s time to change that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vision is another figure from Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line, he marks the assortment’s turn into decidedly “new” territory.  We’ve had three Visions in the main Legends line since the Infinite Series-switch-over, but they’ve all been later costume designs, and all of them have had some issues plaguing them.  This one returns him back to his classic roots, for the first time in a decade.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The three prior Visions were all built on the Bucky Cap body, but this one changes that up, moving him to the 2099 body.  Like Silver Surfer, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this.  I understand the desire to move away from the Bucky Cap, and I was never super attached to it for Vision anyway.  That said, I tend to see Vision as having a larger stature.  In a perfect world, I’d like to see him built on the Spider-UK body.  All that said, I don’t mind this one.  He appears to use the same head sculpt as the Hulkbuster Series Vision, though with less molding issues this time around.  He actually gets a brand-new piece for his cape; that actually surprised me, but it was really necessity to do this the right way.  It’s very similar to the Marvel Universe cape, which I rather liked, and it’s very appropriate for a classic Vision.  Prior Visions have really fallen down when it comes to paint work.  This one, on the other hand, truly excels in this area.  The application is very clean, and the metallic green is really, really slick looking.  Something about the cleaner nature of the paint actually makes the head sculpt look a lot better than it did the first time around.  Vision’s one accessory is the head from the first Hasbro Legends Ultron, calling back to a frequent state for Ultron, especially in Vision’s earliest appearances.  It’s a nice accessory, although I really would have liked to get an extra pair of hands in an open gesture.  Or at least just one of them, so that he can match the illustration on his packaging.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a big Vision fan, I’m always in the market for a good figure of him.  Unfortunately, Hasbro’s last three attempts each seemed to just miss the mark.  When this guy was shown off, he quickly climbed to the top of my list (alongside figure I’ll be looking at tomorrow).  There are still some minor issues (I’m really going to need to find him some more expressive hands), but I gotta say, I really, really like this guy.  Definitely the best version of the character on the market.

#1867: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“With the sleekness of the jungle cat whose name he bears, T’Challa — King of Wakanda — stalks both the concrete city and the underground of the Veldt”

At the beginning of this year, in conjunction with the release of his movie, Walmart offered up an exclusive variant of Black Panther.  It was kind of a curious offering, being a fully powered-up, energy-effect ridden version of a costume we hadn’t yet received a standard release of.  And, unlike most instances of such variants, there was no confirmation of a standard version anywhere in the pipeline.  That is, until Panther’s name cropped up on the list of rumored Series 2 Vintage figures.  Since we’d *just* gotten a re-release of the classic Panther, could this possibly be the missing All New, All Different Panther?  Why yes, yes it could!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is the second figure in Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  He uses the aforementioned “All New, All Different” design, which is a pretty solid one.  It takes the classic Panther look and just sort of streamlines it.  I’m still partial to the classic look, but I can see the appeal of this one.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the same basic construction as the Walmart-exclusive release, with a few minor change-ups.  He’s still built on the Spider-UK body, which I still like a lot for T’Challa.  He has the same streamlined head sculpt and necklace add-on.  He swaps out the last figure’s Rocket Raccoon Series Panther hands for the Civil War Panther hands.  I’m not entirely sure why Hasbro keeps switching back and forth between them, but there’s at least some variety.  He also adds a basic belt piece (borrowed from Prowler), to break things up, I guess?  Hey, I can’t complain about an extra piece.  The main selling point here is, of course, the paint.  Since the last one had all the pink tron-lines, this one goes fully powered down.  Though, rather than the straight black I think we’d all been expecting, he’s actually an iridescent dark blue, which works quite well, and ends up a bit more striking than if he’d just been pure black.  Panther gets the same accessory set-up as the powered-up version, minus the extra head (not really a big loss, there): a spare set of hands, and two energy pieces for the hands, this time in an etherial white.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being pleasantly surprised by the Powered Up Panther, I was somewhat intrigued by this release.  When he showed up alongside Scarlet Spider at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, she was kind enough to pick him up for me.  Ultimately, he hasn’t displaced my classic Panther on the shelf, and doesn’t quite have the pop of the prior figure, but he’s still entertaining in his own right.

#1866: Scarlet Spider

SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The clone of Peter Parker left New York and wandered the country returning years later calling himself Ben Reilly.  He became the superhero known as the Scarlet Spider!”

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was reviewing a Legends Scarlet Spider, but I assure you, this one’s totally different and distinct from that one.  Now, of course, you might recall that I reviewed *another* Legends Scarlet Spider a few years ago.  Well, I assure you, this one’s…more or less the same as that one.  But that one has a super hefty aftermarket price, so hey, re-release time, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlet Spider headlines the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line.  For the second round of figures, Hasbro’s really taken the Black Widow thread to heart, and tried to give us more than straight re-issues of prior figures…well, except for this guy.  This Scarlet Spider is by design supposed to be very similar to the Rhino Series figure from 2015.  Apart from one small change, the sculpt is the same between the two figures.  That means he’s 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation, and is build on the Pizza Spidey body.  I was very happy with this sculpt the first time around, and I still really like it three years later.  The small change has to do with his web-shooters, which are now the more rounded capsules we saw with Spider-Girl and Black Widow.  They’re a bit more accurate than the more squared off versions we saw before (which were usually more associated with Ben’s Spider-Man costume).  Apart from that, the biggest changes between the two figures are in the paint department.  His blue hoodie has remained more or less the same, but his red body suit is now far less orange, and his eyes no longer have the black outline.  The brown of his accent pieces is also more of a tan this tome around.  Honestly, I don’t know which version I prefer.  They’re certainly different, but neither really jumps out as “better.”  This release of Scarlet Spider drops the Rhino heads from the last release, obviously, but also loses the open gesture hands from the last one, which I was a little saddened by, especially with the reds not matching.  On the plus side, he does get an unmasked Ben Reilly head, which we’ve not gotten before.  Sure, it’s just a repaint of the unmasked Peter Parker from the Spidey/MJ two-pack, but given how scarce that set was, it’s new to me. Also, he’s a clone, so I guess re-use makes sense.  That’s probably the better rationale, isn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially planning to get this figure.  I’m happy with the prior release, and while I did like this one’s unmasked appearance, I wasn’t sure that would really warrant the purchase.  But, Super Awesome Fiancee’s store got him in, and she sent me a picture, and I liked how he looked in person, so I kind of caved.  There’s not a lot of new going on here, and I don’t really see this guy replacing the prior release, but I do like the extra head, and I think he’s distinct enough to be worth my time.  And, for someone who missed the first release, he’ll be awesome, which is really the main point.

The Blaster In Question #0071: Spectre REV-5

BlasterInQuestion1

SPECTRE REV-5

N-STRIKE

Spectre1Knife-wrench: its a knife and wrench, mostly wrench. And then he accidentally stabs himself in the leg and we all have a good chuckle. That reminds me of this week’s blaster. No, not the stabbing part, but being a weird combination of two things, namely being a rifle and a pistol. Now that I’m thinking about it that’s hardly a unique design feature for this blaster, but I made a Scrubs reference, what do you want?  This week I’ll be looking at the Spectre REV-5. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

spectre2The Spectre was released in 2010 as part of the original N-Strike line, then again in 2013 as the Elite version. I do own both versions, but I didn’t have the Elite model on hand when I was taking photos, so just keep that in mind. Most stuff I’ll touch on applies to both blasters but I’ll point out any differences. The Spectre is a 5 shot revolver style blaster similar to the Maverick or Strongarm, but with slightly lower capacity. The shell of the original was all new and the only changes to the Elite version besides color are the slots in the sides of the body for the slide to interface with the internals. The cylinder swings out to the left side of the blaster, which, itself, sports a barrel lug, a stock lug, and an accessory rail. At the time of its initial release, what set the Spectre apart from other pistols was its ability to accept barrel extensions and stocks, like those included, to transform it into more of a rifle type blaster. As I recall, the spectre3accessories that came with the Spectre were perhaps more highly sought after than the actual blaster. First off, the stock, while kinda flimsy, was the first example of a side folding stock to hit the market, so that was cool. Also, the barrel had the double distinction of having a bore wide enough that it wouldn’t affect performance, and it looked like a cool suppressor. The ergonomics of the blaster are pretty standard, functional but not mind blowing, though having both attachments on does make it feel like some sort of covert scout rifle, which is fun. Performance on the Elite version is substantially improved over the original but neither version is all that great, to be honest.  At the very least, you can feel like a hit man when you attach the suppressor before busting into your younger siblings’ room and start blasting. The Spectre REV-5 comes with a barrel attachment, a folding stock and either 5 whistler darts or 5 Elite darts, depending on which model. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

The concept of a single blaster that can effectively fill both roles of a pistol and rifle is and continues to be an intriguing one, but the Spectre sadly doesn’t pull it off. It’s an ok pistol, and a meh rifle, but there are better examples of each separately. That seems to be the way it goes, except with drill fork. It’s a drill and fork. I mean, come on, that’s pure gold right there. 

#1865: Ghostbusters Boxed Set

DR. PETER VENKMAN, DR. EGON SPENGLER, DANA BARRET, & LOUIS TULLY

GHOSTBUSTERS MINIMATES

“Are you troubled by strange noises in the middle of the night? Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic? Have you or your family ever seen a spook, spectre or ghost?”

The nature of Minimates, pretty much since the Marvel ones got on the scene in 2003, has been to have one flagship line, and a secondary line that’s still doing a lot of the business.  For 99% of the brand’s run, Marvel’s been the flagship (apart from a brief dark period for the line, which resulted in DC having the upper hand for about a year), but that secondary slot has filtered its way through a few other properties.  From 2009 to 2011, that secondary property was Ghostbusters.  Today, I’m looking at the set that introduced the property!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Venkman, Spengler, Dana, and Louis were the first boxed set, and the first official entry in DST’s Ghostbuster Minimates (TRU’s exclusive two-packs hit just days later, though).  All four figures are, of course, based on the first film, and the set is designed to pair off with the second boxed set, which rounded out the main team, and gave us the two remaining villains.

DR. PETER VENKMAN

Venkman is arguably the lead character of Ghostbusters, and is the face of the group, so his placement in the first set is definitely sensible.  Plus, it gave DST an extra leg-up when comparing their assortment to Mattel’s own figures, where Venkman wound up as the fifth figure in the line, causing a degree of controversy about whether he’d actually show up at all.  No worries about that in this line-up.  The figure uses the usual ‘mate body as a starting point, so he’s about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Venkman was built using add-ons for his hair, torso/proton pack, and elbow pads.  All of them were new pieces to this set, but they’ve been subsequently re-used a number of times, notably on the “I Love This City” version of Venkman, who used everything but the torso piece.  The torso piece is kind of noteworthy, as it’s really the one thing that held these releases back, and it’s definitely the one thing that signifies them as out of date amongst newer offerings.  The bulked up nature just looks off, since the ‘busters were just average joes.  Still, the piece does exhibit a nice selection of details, especially on the proton pack.  The paintwork on Peter is fairly decent.  The earlier ‘busters used a prop-accurate grey for their jumpsuits, which doesn’t quite match the on-screen appearance but is *technically* more accurate.  His face has a passable Murray likeness.  It’s not as spot-on as some of the later offerings, but it’s not bad.  Venkman is packed with his radio (which can be mounted on his belt) as well as an energy stream effect for his neutrino wand.

DR. EGON SPENGLER

My personal favorite ‘buster, Egon is the second member of the team represented in this set.  Harold Ramis had been doing a lot of rounds talking about the production of the movie right around this time, so he, and by extension, Egon, were quite in the spotlight.  Egon is very similar to Venkman in construction, just with a different hair piece.  It’s the weakest of the new parts for this set; it’s just too reserved for Egon’s distinctive pompadour from the movies.  That’s probably why it was replaced fairly quickly as the line progressed.  Egon’s paintwork is once again fairly similar to Venkman’s, though with the obvious change-up for the face, as well as extra detailing for his boots.  Egon is packed with his PKE meter (again, belt mountable), and another energy stream  effect piece.

DANA BARRET

The central plot of the first film (and the second film, for that matter) is driven by Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barret, who made her toy debut here.  She’s seen here decked out in her garb from after she’s possessed by Zuul, which is really the most distinctive of her looks from the film.  She uses add-ons for her hair and skirt.  Both were new to this figure, and, apart from a single re-use on the hair for the second Dana, they’re remained unique to her.  They do a good job of replicating her film design, and are nicely sculpted.  The paintwork is fairly decently handled.  The Weaver likeness is actually better than the Aliens line gave us, and the metallic coloring on the dress is sharp looking.  That said, there’s a slight misprint on the chest, so the coloring doesn’t quite match up with the printed lines.  It was a  problem going back to the prototype and is present on the whole production of Danas.

LOUIS TULLY

Dana’s neighbor Louis Tully was a part originally written for John Candy, who envisioned him as husky Russian man.  For the final film, the part actually went to fellow SCTV alum Rick Moranis, whose nerdy, eccentric doormat was one of the film’s most distinctive characters.  The Minimate is an early instance of a figure pulling double duty, and getting us two distinct looks.  He’s packaged as a Terror Dog, and makes use of seven sculpted add-on pieces, for his head, torso, pelvis, and each of his feet.  It’s actually a pretty faithful recreation of the design from the movie.  Take off the head, torso and pelvis, and swap out the front legs for the included arms, and you can turn him into a rather disheveled Luis Tully.  And, if you have a spare head, torso, and legs laying around, you can even display both of them at the same time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set new from Cosmic Comix back when it was released.  I’ve been a fan of Ghostbusters for a long time, and I’d even been contemplating picking up Kubrick’s announced line before DST showed off theirs.  Subsequent releases of Peter and Egon have supplanted these two, but Louis and Dana can’t be beat, and this a pretty fun set all around.

#1864: Forge

FORGE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Forge is the X-Men’s brilliant high-tech weapons inventor. Not only can he custom design a deadly arsenal in almost no time… he’s ready to jump straight into action and use it! In fact Forge is such a fierce fighter that when he straps on his weapons and activates his amazing bionic leg, he becomes a one-man army!”

The ‘90s X-Men line was the most expansive selection of the characters ever put to plastic, offering up main, supporting, and minor characters from all throughout the franchise’s history.  It definitely took a heavy lean towards the ‘90s, of course, and paramount to the line’s early days was getting collectors a complete line-up of the X-Men of the X-Men #1 era.  Included amongst that line-up was relatively new addition (at the time) Forge!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Forge was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, and was sporting his strike-team uniformed look, which is, by far, Forge’s most prominent design.  Also, his current design at the time, so it made a lot of sense.  Apart from some repaints of this same figure, this would be the only Forge figure we’d get from Toy Biz, so, hey, they better have made it count.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Sculpt-wise, Forge is fairly typical of the early line figures.  He’s definitely got a more refined sculpt than a lot of his Series 1 counterparts, but compared to later-run figures from Toy Biz, he’s definitely on the scrawny side.  Though, for a character like Forge, the scrawnier nature isn’t too terrible, especially if your a fan of the tech-geek take on the character seen in the likes of X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men.  Some of the details, especially the pouches and his boots, are far more simplistic than they’d be on more current offerings, but on the plus side, the details on the head sculpt are actually pretty sharp.  Forge’s gun is molded into his hand. Ostensibly, it’s to aid with the figure’s quick-draw action feature, though I can’t say I understand why it had to actually be molded in place for that.  It ends up rather restricting what you can do with the figure.  The paintwork on Forge is about par for the course on this line.  Application’s clean and fairly basic, and the colors are bright.  I quite like the clear molded plastic for his artificial arm and leg; it’s a nice touch.  Like a number of the early Toy Biz figures, there were two minor paint variants on Forge, concerning the color of his holster.  The initial figures were brown, but it was changed mid-production to yellow, which is the one seen here.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Forge a few years back, during my first resurgence of 5-inch X-Men collecting, just after my freshmen year of college.  I ended up finding him loose from Yesterday’s fun.  Forge has never been a particular favorite of mine, and the figure doesn’t really do much to change that, being more or less middle of the road, but he’s certainly passable.

#1863: Broken Tusk

BROKEN TUSK

PREDATORS (NECA)

“Mankind’s two ultimate nightmares come together in mortal combat, and whoever wins—we lose.  On the remote planet Ryushi, a small ranching community becomes an unwilling participant in a deadly ritual: extraterrestrial predators have seeded Ryushi with alien eggs in order to create the ultimate hunt.  But what the Predators don’t know is that an alien queen egg is amongst those they’ve sent as potential hunting stock, and when the Predators arrive, the hunters become the hunted amidst a monumental swarm of aliens, and they may need to turn to the very same humans they regard as little more than potential trophies to give them any hope of survival.”

Just over 1000 reviews ago, I had a brief discussion of the Alien vs. Predator movie.  From the moment Predator 2 revealed a Xenomorph skull amongst the collection on the Predator ship, the “Alien vs. Predator” concept has been out there, permeating just about every form of media.  While the movie was awful (although, it was sweet, sweet bliss when compared to its sequel), there have been a number of far more successful takes on the concept, including Dark Horse’s comics version, which actually served as a heavy inspiration for the movie, but is better in just about every facet.  NECA, always anxious for new venues for Predators to release, has slowly been adding various comics-based Predators to their ongoing line.  The latest is Broken Tusk, aka Dachande, the comic’s equivalent to the movie’s “Scar,” as a moderately heroic Predator that assists the humans in defeating the Xeno menace.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Broken Tusk is one of the three figures in Series 18 of the Predators line from NECA.  All three are based on the AvP comic, though somewhat adapted to the more realistic style of the rest of the line, which is sensible.  The figure is just shy of 9 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the larger and more posable style of body introduced with Series 14’s AvP movie Predators.  It gives them quite an imposing stature, and his articulation makes for a very playable figure.  The underlying sculpt is the same basic one seen on the others, with the armored parts being the major change-up.  Broken Tusk has a rather unique armor design.  In the story, he’s injured during the battle with the Xenos, so the humans have to help patch him up.  The end result is a blending of the classic Predator aesthetic (including a Jungle Hunter-inspired faceplate), with more utilitarian human tech worked in on the torso, and then a bit of found materials (including a very cool Xeno head).  As we’ve become accustomed to with this line, the gauntlets have extending blades on one side, and a fold-out panel on the other, which is always a fun feature.  As amazing as the sculpt is, what really sold me on this figure was the paint scheme.  In the comics, he’s colored in a more traditional Predator sort of sense, with lots of browns and greys, making him as a whole look quite similar to the standard Jungle Hunter.  Of course, that describes a lot of the NECA Predators so far, so this guy would have been just one fo the pack.  As cool as the sculpt may be, with those same colors, he might end up unfortunately forgettable.  So, instead, NECA’s played up the human-ally aspect of the character, and given him a color scheme modeled after the Colonial Marines from Aliens.  It’s pretty darn cool, and I love have they’ve even made the patterns on his skin look like the camo pattern from the Marine uniforms.  It’s definitely very clever.  Broken Tusk’s accessories further the melding of the styles, with his more Predator specific two-part staff, and a more human-inspired rifle as well.  Both weapons are very nicely sculpted and well fit to his hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a more moderate Predator fan, but I’m a huge Aliens fan, so anytime NECA melds those two lines, I’m on board.  As soon as this guy was shown off (TWO Toy Fairs ago), I knew I wanted one.  It’s been a long wait for him, long enough that I’d thought maybe he just wasn’t coming.  But then, Series 18 just sort of dropped in my lap, and boom, here he was.  Fun’s a word I used a few times in this review, and it’s an apt description for him.  I just really like him, in both concept and execution, and he’s a fantastic accent piece for my rather expansive collection of Colonial Marines.

I picked up Broken Tusk from my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1862: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

MARVEL SELECT (DST)

Did I mention that I liked Daredevil Season 3?  <checks back to my last Daredevil-related review> Yes, yes, I did.  Well, it bears repeating: I really liked Daredevil Season 3.  After being somewhat let-down by all of the post Luke Cage Season 1 offerings from Netflix, I was very happy to see a return to what I’d loved so much about Daredevil‘s first (and the majority of its second) season.  It’s not a huge change for Daredevil to come along and surprise us all with its quality, though, since Season 1 did the same thing back in 2015.  It was such a surprise, that none of Marvel’s usual licensees had actually gotten the licenses for any proper merchandise.  In the case of both Hasbro and DST, their first DD product wouldn’t come until a fair bit after the show’s second season had hit.  I looked at Hasbro’s version of old-horn-head back when he was new and was of mixed opinions, so I decided to finally get around to giving his main competition, the Marvel Select release, a try.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil was released as a standalone offering as part of Marvel Select‘s 2017 line-up of figures, hitting in the fall of last year.  Matt’s sporting his proper Daredevil gear from Season 2 of the show, which is, admittedly, the more distinctive look.  That said, I’m personally still holding out that someone (other than Minimates, that is) will give us Matt’s all-black number.  This figure was originally solicited with his damaged Season 1-style helmet from after his run-in with Punisher, but by the time he hit shelves, he was actually sporting his proper Season 2 mask, thereby making him distinct from his Legends counterpart.  That was actually a pretty smart move on DST’s part.  The figure is on the shorter side of the Select scale, standing 6 1/2 inches tall, and he sports 30 points of articulation.  The height’s sort of a curious thing, because it means he’s not really in-scale with anything else from his own line, but he *is* kind of in-scale with Legends.  It’s not a perfect match, but he’s less than a quarter-inch off from the proper Legends release, so it’s very fudgable.  The sculpt is unique to this figure, and it’s reasonable.  It feels a little bit like the antithesis of the Hasbro figure.  The build is certainly less wonky, and the overall appearance is more balanced and appealing, but he loses the really nice texture and small detail work of that figure, and while the articulation is certainly usable, it’s not very well worked into the sculpt.  The prototype shots and even early test shots with the new head sported a pretty solid likeness of Charlie Cox, but something was lost in the production process, leaving the figure to look a good deal more generic.  He still looks reasonable from the right angle, but head-on’s a real killer.  His paintwork is mostly rather straightforward.  The blacks and reds aren’t the most eye-catching, but they’re a fairly decent match for his show appearance.  The face suffers the same trouble that most figures with that sort of stubbly, “I haven’t shaved in a day or two” look suffer, where the quality varies widely from figure to figure, and it always looks kind of sloppy. My figure looks reasonable enough, but after what Hasbro’s been doing with such things on their recent face-printed figures, he’s a little out there.  Matt is packed with his billy club, which can separate into two (surprisingly differently-sized) pieces, as well as a spare set of gripping hands to hold them.  There’s also a display stand modeled after a warehouse or something, and an articulated stand to assist in more dynamic poses.  The articulated stand is great in theory, but less so in practice, as the joints are too weak to hold Matt up, meaning he’s still got to be more or less balanced to begin with.  Still, it’s better than nothing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

DST’s Daredevil hit at a bad time for me to pick him up, so I didn’t, and I just never had the chance to double back around and get him.  I finally grabbed him a couple of weeks ago during Cosmic Comix’s “Biggest Sale of the Year!”, because I’m still coming down from that Season 3 high, I guess.  I was hoping for a figure to replace the Legends release, but I’ll be honest, I knew getting into this that that likely wouldn’t be the case.  This figure addresses some of the Legends figure’s flaws, but trades them in for some of his own, resulting in another figure that’s shy of being perfect.  Oh well, maybe Mezco’s got the answer…