#2041: Beast

BEAST

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

One of the original X-Men, Hank McCoy is a Genius whose mutant ability gives him a furry, blue, beast-like appearance.”

Okay, I need to address something real quick:  Hank McCoy’s furry, blue appearance is *not* from his mutant ability.  It’s from an experimental serum he drank that was supposed to enhance his powers.  It unlocked a potential for a beast-like appearance from his genes, but his mutant ability doesn’t make him blue and furry inherently.  This has been today’s lesson of “why the bio’s wrong,” I’ve been your lecturer, Ethan Wilson.  Okay, so now I should probably review the actual figure, and not the blurb on the back of his box.  This is “The Figure in Question” not “The Bio in Question.”  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast is officially figure 1 in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends (since Gambit didn’t have a BaF piece, and therefore doesn’t technically have a number).  Beast is getting his fifth Legends release, though this one’s the first since the original Toy Biz figure to be sporting his typical blue and furry ape-man appearance, with the interim figures being, in order, a movie figure, a cat-faced figure, and a human figure.  This one draws more direct inspiration from Jim Lee’s Beast, which means he fits with the rest of this assortment (and the general ’90s theme that Hasbro’s been pushing for the X-Men).  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  Beast’s height has been the cause of some frustration amongst the fanbase, since even at his biggest in the ’90s, he was still officially listed as under 6-feet.  That being said, very few artists ever really stuck to that, making this figure’s height a rather similar dilemma to last year’s Thing figure.  Ultimately, I don’t see myself ever having him standing upright next to the rest of the team, so it’s kind of a non-issue, but your mileage may vary.  I should note that he’s more or less the same height as the original TB figure, for what it’s worth.  Despite his larger size, Beast is actually one of the best articulated of the modern Legends, which I count as a definite plus for an acrobatic character.  The sculpt is an all-new one, and it’s actually pretty darn good.  It’s bulky, but not too bulky (which has been a problem with prior Beast figures), and the fur detailing is pretty realistically rendered.  The head is very much Lee-inspired, and with a rather intense expression.  It’s not a bad sculpt, though I’m generally partial to calmer interpretations of the character.  Still, I like it well enough.  Beast’s color work is actually pretty decent.  The base blue is nice and bright, and a good match for the comics appearance.  He’s actually got some solid accent work going on, which adds a nice bit of variety to his furry appearance.  Beast is packed with two pairs of hands, which help with his various acrobatic poses.  In particular, there’s a flat hand for his left hand, which, with some very careful balancing, lets him hold himself aloft with one arm.  Beast also includes the head of the BaF Caliban.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I’m not much of a fan of most other interpretations of Beast, I’ve been making use of that old Beast figure for a good long while.  I’ve been hoping for an update, though, if I’m totally honest, I was really hoping for more of a Perez-style Beast.  Of course, with all of the ’90s X-Men stuff we’ve been getting recently, this guy makes a bit more sense, and certainly fits in a little better.  While I’m not super sold on the facial expression, I’m overall quite happy with this figure as a whole.  I’m also really hoping that the fact that he got an all-new sculpt means we’ll be seeing a variety of other Beasts in the near future.

Beast came to me from my friends at All Time Toys.  He’s already sold out, but he should be coming back into stock soon. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2040: Gambit

GAMBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Remy LaBeau is an ex-thief from New Orleans with the mutant ability to convert energy and cause objects to explode.”

Alright guys, I hope you’re ready, because we’re about to embark on another week of Marvel Legends reviews.  It’s time for us to once again set our sites on Marvel’s band of merry mutants, the X-Men, whose yearly assortment now looks to have morphed its way into two.  Hasbro also seem to be easing themselves away from trying to keep things more current, as the latest round of figures is purely ’90s X-Men fare.  At the top of the ’90s X-Men heap is Gambit, who may not have been added to the team in the ’90s, but certainly hit the pinnacle of his fame during that time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit is the first figure in the Caliban Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s this assortment’s non-BaF-piece-sporting double-pack, which, given the fairly devoted fanbase for the character, probably isn’t the worst idea in the world.  This is only Gambit’s second time as a Legend (the first having been way back during the early days of the Toy Biz line), and the first one he’s gotten since Hasbro took over the license way back when.  It’s kind of crazy that its taken this long to finally get another stab at him, but to be fair, the original is one of the few Toy Biz figures to still hold up pretty well.  This guy follows that one’s lead, giving us Gambit in his full-on ’90s look, which, frankly, is the quintessential Gambit look.  Bothering with others seems kind of pointless.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gambit is mostly a new sculpt.  Just the arms and jacket are re-used (the jacket from Nick Fury, and the arms from Punisher, just like with Multiple Man).  The rest of the sculpt is brand-spanking-new, which, I’ll admit, did surprise me a little bit at first.  I was very definitely expecting to see some Bucky Cap show up on this guy, and there’s absolutely none of that featured.  The resultant body is certainly very similar in build, but every piece of it’s full of Gambit-specific detail.  The boots, the belt, the bib, heck, even the pink rectangles on his legs are all sculpted right onto the figure, which makes him a very unique looking figure.  Hasbro certainly could have phoned in the pink rectangles at the very least, but they didn’t, even though that details unlikely to be seen by most people.  Perhaps my only slight bit of contention with the figure is the head sculpt.  Well, not even the whole head, really; the main head, especially the face, is quite nice.  I just don’t like the hair.  It’s too lopsided for my taste.  I’m used to a Gambit with lots of hair bouncing out of his cowl from all angles.  This one’s decidedly to the one side.  I don’t hate it, but it’s off enough to bug me.  Gambit’s paintwork is up to the usual standards of the line, meaning it’s clean, bold, and matches well with his comics appearances.  His stubble is a marked improvement for what we’ve seen from Hasbro, being appropriately subtle and not a horrible mess.  That’s a huge step for them.  Gambit may not have a BaF piece, but he does still get his own assortment of extras, including his staff, a single charged card, and an alternate left hand with three cards in mid-throw attached.  It’s all of the basics you could want from a Gambit, so no complaints there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original Legends Gambit was always one of my very favorite of the Toy Biz figures, and Gambit’s a design I’m fond of, so there was a lot riding on his inevitable re-release.  When it was shown off, I was a bit apprehensive, mostly because of the hair.  In person, there’s just so much I love about this guy, to the point that the hair is really so minor that it doesn’t really affect my opinion of the figure at all.  He’s a very satisfactory upgrade to the original release, and a fantastic start to this line-up.

I got Gambit from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2039: Speeder Bike (w/ Scout Trooper)

SPEEDER BIKE (w/ SCOUT TROOPER)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Just over a month ago, and then also two weeks before that, I took a look at the first and second releases of the Imperial Speeder Bike from Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  At this point, it can’t be too much of a surprise that I’m following those up with the final piece of the trio.  I’ve looked and both Luke and Leia with their stolen rides, but why not look at the proper rider of the ride, the Biker Scout?

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

As I noted in the Luke review, the speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia back in March.  I liked it then, I liked it the second time, and I still like it now.  It’s hard to go wrong on this one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This was our first Biker Scout since the vintage line, and, unlike that one, this one was designed specifically with riding the bike in mind.  To facilitate this, the figure’s articulation scheme is changed up a bit.  Rather than the standard 6 points, he’s got 7, which includes movement at the knees, as well as a a hinge-style neck, allowing for him to look up and down.  It’s the same articulation spread used for the Swoop Trooper, but I think it actually works a little bit better for this guy, since the configuration of the bike means he’s more likely to need to look upwards.  Despite the extra articulation, he still ends up being rather pre-posed, even moreso than the other two Speeder Bike figures.  He’s got a defined squat, and really deeply bent arms.  It’s the arms that I think are the worst bit of it, because they don’t quite work as well with the bike as you might hope.  It’s a shame they couldn’t also spring for elbow joints to match the knees.  Despite its awkward stance, the costume details on this guy are at least accurate, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  His paintwork is limited to black detailing on a (very yellowed) white plastic, and it’s rather on the sloppy side.  Like, even for this line, it’s really quite sloppy.  While Luke and Leia both got accessories in addition to the bike, the Biker Scout was not so lucky.  No comically enlarged comically small Biker Scout blaster I’m afraid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the one I got as a kid, and Leia was the most recent addition.  Where does this guy fit into it all?  Well, not that far ahead of Leia, actually.  I picked him up in the Farpoint 2018 Dealer’s Room, from one of the vendors I frequent.  I’d long wanted one, and this one was a case of right price at the right time.  Ultimately, he’s really the weakest of the three variants, though.  The main figure’s just not as strong as a proper figure as the other two, nor is he a particularly endearing Biker Scout variant.  It’s kind of a shame this was his only Power of the Force release, but there’s always the Power of the Jedi single-card.

#2038: The Faun

THE FAUN

GUILLERMO DEL TORO SIGNATURE SERIES (NECA)

One of Guillermo del Toro’s most visually stunning films, Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark yet beautiful fantasy set five years after the Spanish Civil War.The insidious brutality of the real world continues to cast a long shadow, infiltrating even the fantasy world of eleven-year-old Ofelia, who begins a terrifying, reality-spanning journey after meeting a mysterious faun in a crumbling labyrinth.Her mystic quest crosses seamlessly from one world to the other, weaving a parable about the power and pain of innocence.”

After making a modest impact on American audiences in 2004 with his live-action adaptation of Hellboy, Guillermo del Toro found his first real critical acclaim in the States with 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth (El laberinto del fauno, in its original Spanish release), which firmly established del Toro’s signature dark fairy tale aesthetic to mainstream audiences, and helped to make him more or less a household name.  At the time of its release, these sorts of films weren’t getting a ton of toy coverage.  Like, just right at the time of its release.  They were all over the place before, and after, but it was in this sort of window of things taking a step back.  Whatever the case, it meant no toys.  Fortunately, NECA’s coming to the rescue with a whole line devoted to del Toro’s filmography, a sizable portion of which is devoted to Pan’s Labyrinth.  Today, I’m looking at Ofelia’s guide to the mystical side of her journey, the Faun!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Faun is figure 4 in the Guillermo del Toro Signature Series, and the third figure in the line to be based on Pan’s Labyrinth.  Also, the second Doug Jones character (the other being the Pale Man, also from Pan’s Labyrinth), for those playing at home.  He won’t be the last.  The figure stands 8 inches tall (8 1/2 with the legs fully extended, but then he can’t stand) and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Faun’s an all-new sculpt, patterned on his design as seen in the film.  It’s one of the most distinctive designs from the movie, and NECA’s done a pretty respectable job of capturing it in plastic form.  If you’re familiar with the structure of other NECA creature figures, then this one’s pretty much following their established formula.  He’s got a articulated body, with some rubber overlays in place to help keep the design from being too segmented and broken-up.  The detailing is up to the usual NECA standards.  His details are sharply defined, and he incorporates all of the Faun’s earth-y textures quite nicely.  The head is, admittedly, probably the weakest piece of the figure.  It’s the least defined and seems to be the most caricatured part of the figure.  The face of the Faun in the movie is obviously very stylized, but this rendition seems to stand-out from the body a little more so.  That said, it’s hardly a bad offering, and all of the important details are there to sell the design.  The paintwork is again pretty standard for a NECA release of this style.  There’s a lot of washes and accenting to bring out all of the small sculpted details, and to help bring him in line with how the character is lit on screen.  Again, the head is sort of the weak point, specifically the eyes, which just feel way too cartoony when compared to the movie.  They’re really the one part of the figure that sort of ruins the illusion for me, and they really don’t seem to fit with the rest of the figure.  The Faun is packed with a few character specific extras.  He’s got his satchel and a bone to carry in it, as well as the container he gives to Ofelia when she enters the Pale Man’s abode.  There aren’t any fairies to store in it (you’ll have to pick up Ofelia for those), but he does get the dagger that she retrieves for him, which he can hold or store in the container.  I wouldn’t have minded an extra head with a different expression, but it’s not a bad selection of extras at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, confession:  I bought this figure without having seen the movie.  In fact, I sat down and watched this movie for the first time immediately prior to sitting down to write this review.  The things I do to write an informed review for you guys… Okay, actually, I have to say, I don’t know why it took me so long to finally watch the movie, and I’m really glad I did.  Whatever the case, it was the Faun’s cool del Toro design that got me on-board with this figure, and it does make for a really cool toy, even with its few small flaws.  I think I may have to grab an Ofelia to go with him.

The Faun was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2037: Captain James T Kirk

CAPTAIN JAMES T KIRK

STAR TREK (MCFARLANE)

The Star Trek toy license has been through a whole lot of hands over the years, and seems to get passed along with this sort of regularity.  Aside from Mego (who held the license in the 70s) and Playmates (who held it in the 90s), nobody has been able to hold it for long.  This has become especially apprent in recent years.  In just the last decade, it’s been held by Playmates, Hasbro,  Mattel, and now McFarlane Toys.  And, McFarlane is doing what every company does when they get the license: making a Kirk. Well, let’s see how this one turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Kirk is one of two launch figures for McFarlane’s new Star Trek line (the other is the similarly popular toy-choice Picard).  He’s based on his classic series appearance, and will be joined in the second series by a matching Spock.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  His construction and the implementation of his articulation is pretty much the same as McFarlane’s other recent figures in this scale, which is to say actually not terrible.  They do seem to be learning how to actually work the articulation into the sculpts without it looking awful in some spots, which I count as a plus.  That said, the range of motion on the joints could still use some work, because even with all of that articulation, he’s not getting into much more than a fairly basic standing pose.  Granted, for Kirk that’s not the end of the world, but it does impact how he interacts with at least one of his accessories.  Kirk’s sculpt is definitely the strongest part of the figure, with the head sculpt really just being the best single thing about it.  Shatner’s likeness is a rather difficult to capture one, but I think this is the best classic series Shatner we’ve gotten in plastic form.  It’s not perfect from every angle, mind you, but it’s good from most, and that’s nothing to slouch at.  The body sculpt is pretty solid as well, with a decent match for Shatner’s proportions, and a nice variation of textures.  In particular, we actually get a texturing on the tunic, like the real thing, rather than the totally smooth look we usually get on classic Trek figures.  His hands are specifically sculpted to hold his included accessories, but they’re realistic looking hands.  Kirk’s paintwork is decent overall, with one slight caveat on my figure.  The base application is clean and bold, and looks fairly realistic.  I particularly like the really glossy boots.  Those are always fun.  The face is handled using the printing set-up that’s all the rage these days, and would be really nice if not for one of his eyes being slightly askew.  It’s very slight, and not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s just off enough for me to notice.  Kirk s packed with his phaser, larger rifle, an extra right hand for the rifle, a communicator, and a display stand.  The display stand makes me laugh, because it’s actually held in the package by scotch tape.  Not plastic tape, like you see on most figures (and every other accessory in this package): regular, foggy scotch tape, like off someone’s desk.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m apprehensive pretty much any time a new Trek line is announced, because they’re all pretty much doomed to failure at this point.  Admittedly, I’m not sure this one’s going to break that mold, because Todd doesn’t have the best track record for depth in his lines.  However, I saw this figure in person while out hunting for some other figures, and I kinda liked him.  He’s actually not a bad figure.  I don’t know that he breaks the mold or anything, but he’s the nicest Kirk I’ve owned, and he looks pretty sweet with my AA Gorn figure.

#2036: Spider-Man & Kraven

SPIDER-MAN & KRAVEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Unwittingly bonded with an alien symbiote, Spider-Man has the enhanced strength and abilities he needs to take on his deadly enemy, Kraven the Hunter.”

The last time I reviewed a Kraven figure, I remarked that long-running lines require a somewhat cyclical nature.  Well, uhh, I’m now reviewing a re-release of Kraven from that very line…so, hey, here we are.  Guess we’ve already come back around to him, haven’t we?  I, of course, already had the previous Kraven, but one more certainly couldn’t hurt too much.  Nor could one more of the Spider-Man he’s packed with!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Kraven are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, clearly patterned after the much-loved “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline.  The set started hitting shelves just a few weeks ago, and will hopefully be showing up in plentiful quantities throughout the summer.  Both figures are tweaks of prior figures that have packed up a sizable aftermarket price.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man’s black costume (or at least a cloth copy of it) was central to “Last Hunt,” and is enough of a fan favorite that a re-release of his Sandman Series figure definitely makes sense.  The basic figure is essentially identical.  Same base body and head, and for the most part, the same paint scheme.  The symbol is ever so slightly different, with the head being a little wider.  It’s minor enough that you’d only notice the change with both releases side by side.  The main change-up is the accessories.  They were kind of the let-down of the original release, but this one amends that.  He loses the open gesture hands of the original, but exchanges them for the missing web-pose hands that were sorely missing the last time.  He also gains an alternate unmasked head, which is a re-paint of the unmasked head from the Spidey/MJ pack, now featuring some battle-damage.  Of course, since I still don’t have that, I’m just building a continuing collection of non-standard Parker heads.

KRAVEN

Kraven’s been absent from Legends longer than Spidey’s black costume.  His Rhino Series release was four years ago now, and just predates a lot of collectors getting into the re-launched line, meaning he still goes for a bit of a premium.  His re-release is definitely the main driving force of this set.  Where Spider-Man was a fairly straight re-issue, Kraven is actually quite different from his prior release.  Where that one was his most recent appearance, this one is a classic Kraven.  He gets a new head, right hand, and belt, and swaps out the boots of the last release for more streamlined parts.  The head is by far the best piece; the crazed expression is a perfect recreation of Mike Zeck’s Kraven from “Last Hunt,” and it’s a marked improvement over the more generic sculpt of the last release.  Another marked improvement?  The paint.  It’s sharper, bolder, and just generally better detailed than the last release.  Hasbro’s definitely gotten a lot better at this part of the figures.  Kraven includes the same spear as the prior release, and also adds in a hunting rifle, which is a pretty classic Kraven sort of piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I have both of the original releases, when this set was originally announced I didn’t know if I’d be picking it up.  The images of the new Kraven head definitely did a lot to sell me on him, but the Spider-Man didn’t look to have much new to offer.  I was out looking for the Endgame Hawkeye and Widow (who I still haven’t found), and came across this set, and upon seeing the unmasked head and webshooter hands was definitely sold.  Both figures included are improvements over their original releases, and I don’t regret grabbing this one at all.

#2035: Imperial Jumptrooper

IMPERIAL JUMPTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An elite squadron within the Imperial ranks, jump troopers (also known as rocket troopers) were outfitted with jetpacks and utilized in tight spaces.  They were trained to act in unison, often swarming and overwhelming their targets.”

Since the standard Imperial Stormtroopers first graced the screen back in 1977, we’ve been getting a steady stream of variants on the concept, be they Sandtroopers, Snowtroopers, Scout Troopers, etc.  There have been a few recurring concepts among the non-movie variants.  A popular one is the Jumptrooper, which has found its way into comics, video games, and, most recently, Star Wars: Rebels.  And now, it’s gotten a new figure, courtesy of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jumptrooper is a GameStop-exclusive offering from the Black Series line, released in the last couple of months.  The Jumptrooper is based on his Rebels appearance, specifically the commanding officer of the squad, as denoted by the colored shoulderpad.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Jumptrooper re-uses a lot of parts from the standard Stormtrooper figure, which is pretty sensible, given that the designs are pretty similar.  It’s also a pretty solid sculpt in its own right, and certainly a nice starting point.  He has a new helmet, backpack, and shoulder pads, which match well with the pre-existing parts, and also match up well with his design from the show (albeit modified for a more real-world appearance).  Most importantly, though, they set him nicely apart from the standard trooper.  I really dig the changes they’ve made, because he’s just a super sleek looking figure.  The colorwork on the Jumptrooper is subtle, but pretty impressive.  The glossier finish of the armor looks nicer than the matte finish of the original, as do the additional accenting details that the original lacked on the belt and boots.  Throw in a little extra splash of color, and you’ve got a figure that pops nicely on the shelf.  The Jumptrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster and a brand-new style of display stand.  The stand’s not quite as conventional as I’d hoped for, but it can make for some decent running poses once you get it properly seated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as the Jumptrooper was unveiled, I knew I wanted one.  Something about the design just immediately jumped out at me (heh), so when I found out he was a GameStop exclusive, it was Super Awesome Fiancee to the rescue!  She was kind enough to pre-order this guy through her work for me, thereby making his acquisition fairly painless.  I’m very happy with the final figure.  He’s definitely one of my favorite troopers.

#2034: Micromasters Wave 2

SOUNDWAVE SPY PATROL & RESCUE PATROL

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

What, you didn’t think the Transformers reviews were over, did you?  No, of course not.  I’ve got one more set of them that needs reviewing.  I’ve looked at Voyager Class, Deluxe Class, and Battlemasters.  Barring Leader Class (which I’ve reviewed in the past, just not this week), there’s one more release type left to look at: Micromasters!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Micromasters are sold in two-packs, and the packs I’m looking at today make up the second Micromasters assortment.  There’s the Soundwave Spy Patrol pack, which features Ravage and Laserbeak, and the Rescue Patrol, which features Red Heat and Stakeout.

SOUNDWAVE SPY PATROL

By far the most pivotal pairing in this assortment is the Spy Patrol, designed to augment the Voyager Class Soundwave released, since he lacked his usual little buddies.  The chosen ones are Ravage and Laserbeak, who I’d say are probably his most recognizable companions.  However, this style of release does lend itself to the possibility of seeing some of his other guys released down the line.  The two of them are roughly the same size as the Battle Masters, and compare fairly similarly to the likes of Pteraxadon in particular.  Of the two, I think Laserbeak’s standard mode is the superior offering, being generally more posable and more convincingly a bird.  His feet are also properly sized to match the grooves on Soundwave’s forearm, making it a little easier to keep him standing.  Ravage is slightly less convincing, because a panther’s just not quite as naturally linked to the alt-mode, and he’s also not as easily posed.  Both of them transform into the same alt-mode, which is a small rectangle that’s definitely not a cassette.  Why would it be that?  The small rectangle is well-sized to Soundwave’s chest cavity, which makes for easy storage.

RESCUE PATROL

For the Autobot portion of this assortment, we have the Rescue Patrol, originally a four man team, now cut down to two.  They aren’t designed to specifically work with anyone in the main assortments, so they more follow in the footsteps of the first assortment of Micromasters.  These two also stand pretty much the same height as the Battle Masters, and are more straight forward robots.  They’re more posable, with knee movement on both, as well as a waist joint on Red Heat, and a neck joint on Stakeout.  Of the two, Stakeout is the more solid figure, with better posability and a more natural sculpt.  Red Heat is a little more compromised by his alt-mode, so he’s got this weird head covering thing.  He’s also just a lot blockier and stiffer.  For their alt-modes, both of them turn into rescue vehicles: a cop car for Stakeout, and a fire engine for Red Heat.  Stakeout again makes out the best, given his more natural looking car state.  There’s another mode for the two of them, where they combine into a gun mode to be held by one of the bigger guys.  It’s not the most convincing thing, but it’s a nifty gimmick.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, I wanted the Spy Patrol to complete my Soundwave figure, so I was down for that set from the start.  When they came in, the Rescue Patrol was there as well, and I kind of felt a little sorry for them, and liked them enough in person to want to give them a try.  While both sets have their definite strong figure and weak figure, the whole package deal works nicely.  I’m definitely glad I grabbed both of them.

Both of these sets came from my friends at All Time Toys.  Right now the Spy Patrol is sold out, but the Rescue Patrol are still in stock here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2033: Battle Masters Wave 2

AIMLESS & PTERRAXADON

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Remember back on Thursday when I was talking about gimmicks in the Transformers line?  Well, let’s explore that some more, shall we?  Cross-compatibility being the big thing for Siege, there’s a lot of work being put into accenting the main figures.  I already looked at one of the Weaponizers, but today I’m moving onto another form of alternate armaments for the big guys, Battle Masters!  In order to keep prices down during the Titans Return line, the Targetmaster characters lost their, uh, Target Masters.  When it came time for Siege, Hasbro was looking for a good way to sell the effects pieces they were showing off on con displays.  Put those together with the scrapped Target Masters and boom: Battle Masters!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Aimless and Pteraxadon make up Battle Masters Wave 2 in the Siege line, alongside a repack of the first assortment’s Lionizer.

AIMLESS

Originally the Target Master packed with Misfire, Aimless is a Decepticon Battle Master.  He starts as a fairly straightforward robot, standing 2 inches tall and having 4 practical points of articulation.  Aimless’s sculpt uses Wave 1’s Blowpipe as a starting point, though the only pieces actually shared between the two are the torso and pelvis.  The arms and legs are new, more technically detailed pieces, though you would be forgiven for not noticing at first glance, since they give the same basic silhouette.  He also flops the colorscheme, being blue with grey limbs, instead of grey with blue limbs.  Aimless transforms into a gun, which is a fairly simple process, since there really aren’t that many moving parts.  There’s a 5mm peg at the front of his torso which acts as a handle, and makes him compatible with all of the basic Transformers, Decepticon and Autobot alike.  Aimless has two included effects pieces, which look like energy trails of some sort.  They can be plugged onto the two barrels of his gun, or plugged onto the corresponding pegs on other Siege figures.

PTERAXADON

Pteraxadon is actually an all new character in the mythos, which I suppose is reasonable.  They can’t all be re-releases, right?  He’s apparently an Autobot, but with all of the Battle Masters, I really have to question exactly how the affiliations work.  I might be overthinking it, though.  Unlike Aimless, Pteraxadon doesn’t have a humanoid robot mode, and is instead a robotic pterodactyl.  I know, who could have foreseen that? This one’s a unique sculpt, but the more inhuman design doesn’t lend itself quite as well to this more simplistic style.  This puts extra weight on the alt-mode, which, as you may have gathered from the name, is an ax.  It’s actually a pretty decent piece, though the coloring doesn’t really match up with anyone right now.  Also included is an impact effect piece, which plugs into either side of the blade.  It’s not quite as all-purpose as the rest of the effects, but I still kinda dig it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had no major intentions of grabbing either of these guys, but when they came in with the rest of the Wave 2 stuff, I felt compelled to get them as well.  They’re goofy and gimmicky, but in a good way, and I find them to be a lot of fun, especially in conjunction with the main figures.  They were even cool enough to compel me to go back and grab some of Wave 1, and I’m definitely on-board for Wave 3!

Both of these came from All Time Toys.  Right now they’re both sold out, but the others are still in stock.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2032: Starscream

STARSCREAM

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Ever the usurper, Starscream is quite a culturally relevant entry in the Transformers franchise.  Not only is he himself well-known, even to more moderate fans, but the role he fulfills has become a fixture of virtually every incarnation, even when he himself isn’t included.  And, after just getting a classically inspired release during last year’s Power of the Primes, Starscream’s back again for Siege.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starscream is the other half of the second wave of Voyager Class War For Cybertron: Siege figures.  He joins Soundwave in making this particular assortment a completely Decepticon one, which seems reasonable enough, given the Deluxe assortment was all Autobots.  In his robot mode, Starscream stands  6 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 workable points of articulation.  This figure sports perhaps the best posability I’ve seen yet on one of these guys, allowing for a lot of real expressiveness with him.  Honestly, that’s probably the greatest thing you can offer in a Starscream figure, given just how over-the-top the character is usually portrayed as being.  Moving past that, Starscream is sporting a new sculpt, which is already slated for re-use as Thundercracker in Voyager Wave 3, as well as a Skywarp figure somewhere along the way.  If you’re going to re-use a sculpt, you’d hope it would at least be a good one, and fortunately, that’s very definitely the case.  This new Starscream has a sharp, angular, and very modern-looking take on his classic design.  Like Soundwave, he maintains all of the most important elements of his classic appearance, but injects some more modern day levels of detailing into it.  Also like Soundwave, he keeps some left-over elements of his old alt-mode, specifically the old cockpit on his torso, which doesn’t actually have anywhere to go on his new figure.  To be fair, though, he’d hardly look like a proper Starscream without it.  Unlike a lot of Transformers, Starscream and his fellow Seekers actually have established Cybertronian alt-modes in the old cartoon, which means that this figure doesn’t have to do quite as much as some of the others in the line to come up with one.  He turns into a Tetrajet, as he did in the Cybertron sections of the cartoon, though this particular design appears to be heavily influenced by the Colonial Vipers from Battlestar Galactica.  It’s a cool ship design, so I definitely can’t complain.  Heck, I’m not even going to to complain about the fact that his legs are just hanging off the bottom when he’s transformed, because, quite frankly, that’s not uncommon for Starscream figures, and it’s not overly visible when the ship is just sitting there.  What I *can* complain about, though, is the process by which you arrive at the alt-mode.  Quite frankly, it’s the most frustrating transformation process I’ve dealt with since I started collecting.  Essentially, the actual Tetrajet appearance is just a shell that drops over the figure proper, who has to be folded up just right in order to fit in that shell.  The trouble is, that getting him folded up to fit within the shell is really not easy, and my figure seemed to be fighting me every step of the way, and I’m still not actually sure I got him transformed completely correctly.  Additionally, while going through the transformation process, there’s a running flaw in the figure’s design that reveals itself.  The front of his torso is designed to swing upward during transformation, but it is only held in place by tension pegs.  This means that the first time you go to transform him, the plate’s going to pop out of place, and it’s pretty much never going to stay properly seated again after that point.  There really should have been metal pins holding that piece in place.  Starscream includes two “HPI Null-Ray Laser Launchers,” which are the arm mounted guns he’s sporting.  While they’re officially supposed to plug into the upper arms, the 5mm pegs allow you to also plug them into the forearms, which I think looks a lot better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew I wanted Soundwave from the get-go, but wasn’t immediately sold on Starscream.  It’s not that I don’t like the character (quite the contrary), but I just wasn’t sure how far into this line I wanted to go.  By the time he actually started showing up, any pretense of skipping this line had been dropped, and there was no way I was missing a Starscream.  In hand, the figure perplexes me.  The robot mode is absolutely fantastic, and one of the best in the line.  The posablility and general appearance of the character just really work.  However, the transformation is frustrating, and the end result was ultimately unsatisfying.  And then, even if you just leave him in robot mode, there’s that chest plate issue, which will continue to plague him in both forms.  There have been rumors of a running change to add a pin, but so far there’s no evidence that they’re anything but rumors.  Of course, none of that’s going to help those of us that already have him.

Starscream was picked up from my friends at All Time Toys, and can be purchased here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.