#2081: Mysterio

MYSTERIO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The master illusionist Mysterio battles his foe Spider-Man using his wits and the technology embedded in his suit.”

Whoa guys, spoilers.  Are you telling me that this Mysterio guy is actually a bad guy?  That’s a crazy, shocking, and completely unpredictable twist.  Which is exactly why every news site announced Jake Gyllenhaal’s casting in the film as “Jake Gyllenhaal cast as villain in next Spider-Man movie.”  To throw us off the scent.  I mean, I guess it’s always possible they *could* do a Skrulls-esque switch-up and stick to that heroic thing and throw us all off, but somehow I doubt it.  Does this guy look heroic to you?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mysterio is officially figure 1 in the “Molten Man Series” of Marvel Legends, since Spidey was technically un-numbered.  This marks his second Legends figure in just over a year, since he just got a comics release in last year’s Lizard Series.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Mysterio is sporting an all-new sculpt, based upon his movie design.  Said design is actually a pretty nice translation of the comics design; not a spot-on recreation, but definitely a design that hits all of the major notes. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, the figure appears to be a pretty close recreation of the film’s design.  I’m sure there are some details that have been tweaked here and there, but it works well enough for me.  The detailing is nice and crisp, especially on the texturing of his underlying jumpsuit.  The articulation is a little limited at the shoulders, but he’s otherwise pretty posable.  While the comics Mysterio had an underlying head, and a helmet/cape combo, this figure separates the cape and the helmet, and makes the helmet a solid head piece.  I don’t mind this so much, because as cool as the underlying head is in theory, it never really works out in practice.  At least this figure can look good in his standard layout, without any needed compromise.  It also allows for the cool starfield sort of affect they’ve molded into the plastic, which is a fun new take on Mysterio’s usual smoke-filled dome.  The rest of the color work is pretty straight forward.  The painted applications are pretty clean, and the metallics work well on this figure.  I also really appreciate that they painted all of the green details on his cape, because that’s the sort of thing that’s usually first on the chopping block.  Mysterio is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, and one in open gesture.  He is also packed with left leg of the BaF Molten Man.  It’s a shame we couldn’t get an unmasked head, but I think the Cosmic Spider-Man unmasked head makes for a nice stand-in.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really feel like I *just* got the comics Mysterior….probably because I kinda did, since I got him a good six months after the rest of the line-up.  Because of that, I can’t say I was in as dire need of Mysterio as I have been some other figures, but I was certainly intrigued to see how this guy faired when compared to the comics version.  I think the comics version is better in terms of really capturing the look, but this figure’s definitely the far more playable option, especially with the solid construction on the helmet.  Which one you prefer is really going to be dependent on what you want to get out of the figure.

This Mysterio, like the last one, was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

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#2080: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Going into Avengers: Endgame, the only MCU film we knew would be following was Spider-Man: Far From Home, the follow-up to 2017’s Homecoming.  We didn’t even know for sure whether it was pre or post-Infinity War (though we all had a pretty solid hunch), but the first trailer post-Endgame made it very clear, as well as follow-up comments that have confirmed that Far From Home will be serving as Phase 3’s proper send-off.  The movie’s set to hit theaters next week, and to get us all in the Spider-Man spirit, Hasbro is particularly on-the-ball with their Legends tie-ins.  I’ll be kicking my reviews of those off today with the Friendly Neighborhood hero himself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is part of the “Molten Man Series” of Marvel Legends, which is the second Spidey-themed assortment of the year.  This guy is the extra sans-BaF-piece figure for the assortment, which has been the running trend for the movie line-ups (and Spider-Man line-ups, for that matter).  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  As we’ve seen from all the promo material, Peter’s got yet another new suit this time around.  It’s got a fair bit in common with his Homecoming look, but switches the blue out for black (ala his earliest comics appearances) and streamlines a few more elements.  It also looks to have picked up a few elements from the first Superior costume, as well as his appearance from the PS4 game.  Despite all the little changes, it still reads as undeniably Spider-Man.  As with the Iron Spider figure from Infinity War, while this figure has a lot in common with the main Homecoming release aesthetically, he’s actually an all-new sculpt.  I’ll admit, I was actually quite surprised to discover this, and it wasn’t until I compared the two releases in hand that I realized there were no parts at all shared between them.  This figure takes a design that’s closer to the Homecoming figure and applies it to an articulation scheme and base body layout that’s much closer to Iron Spider, and it really works out well.  As much as I liked the Homecoming figure, he was definitely working with some slight iffy pieces he’d inherited from his Civil War predecessor.  The fact that this one starts from scratch removes all those issues outright, rather than trying to work around them, and the end result is a very playable figure.  The attention to detail on the smaller elements of his costume is also quite impressive, with elements such as the mechanics surrounding his eyes standing out, especially given their absence from prior figures.  On the flipside, the paint’s a bit of a step down.  It’s not terrible; all of the basic elements are there, and they’re reasonably well applied.  There’s some slop on the edges, but nothing terrible.  For me, the biggest loss is the outlining for the weblines.  This detail was also missing on the Infinity War release, but seemed less glaring there.  Here, especially when compared to the Homecoming figure, it really seems to stand out.  Spidey is packed with two sets of hands, one set thwipping and the other gripping.  The choice of gripping instead of fists is interesting, since he doesn’t have anything to hold or anything, but hey, at least he got extra hands, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this figure, since I initially thought it would be a pretty heavy re-use of the Homecoming parts.  When I brought this set home, I didn’t really think much of this guy, but was pleasantly surprised by him when I opened the box.  I think this is probably my favorite of the three MCU Spidey designs, and the figure, while not perfect, is the best basic MCU Spidey you can get.

I got my Spidey from All Time Toys, and he can still be purchased here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2079: Motorized Battle Tank – MOBAT (w/ Steeler)

MOTORIZED BATTLE TANK — MOBAT (W/ STEELER)

GI JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Steeler comes from a blue collar middle-class background. He put himself through college on an ROTC scholarship and work as a heavy equipment operator. Familiar and proficient with all NATO and Warsaw Pact AFV’s. Graduated Armor School, top of class. Special Training: Cadre-XAFV Project; Artillery School; AFV Desert Exercise; Covert Ops School. Qualified Expert: M-16; M-1911A1; MAX-10; Uzi.”

The first year of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero didn’t just serve up its original 13 Joes and their two enemies, it also took a page out of the Star Wars and Micronauts playbook and went hogwild on giving them some vehicles with which to play around.  There were eight vehicles and playsets that first year, but perhaps the most impressive was the Motorized Battle Tank, or MOBAT for short.  Though lacking in some of the fancities of later vehicles, the MOBAT gave the Joes some serious offensive power, and definitively gave us the sort of vehicle to which the old 12-inch line could never really do proper justice.  And, of course, it had one of the cooler launch-Joes driving it, which is always a good point in its favor.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The MOBAT is definitely the main focus here (well…for most people; at my heart, I’m still a figure guy), and is a pretty straightforward “tank.”  It’s specifically patterned after the MBT-70, which was a scrapped US/German tank design from the 60s.  It’s fitting that it would get repurposed here, and really fits that experimental angle that the Joes were getting into, while tying them more to the real world than they would be later.  It’s also a fittingly “all-American” design that just looks like the average US tank to most people who don’t spend their time researching these sorts of things for toy review sites.  What an uninformed life that must be…with so much free time!  Though it would be dwarfed fairly quickly as the line progressed, the MOBAT was the largest vehicle in the line at the time of its release, measuring about 10 inches at its longest length, and sitting about 5 inches tall.  Its mold was brand new at the time, but has subsequently been re-used for both re-releases of the MOBAT, as well as both versions of the Crimson Attack Tank, Cobra’s equivalent.  While not a high-quality scale model, the sculpt on the MOBAT is still pretty solid for the time, and certainly looks a bit less dated than the figures it was meant to accompany (which is why it was still able to be used 25 years later, when the figure molds had been long since retired).  The details are all clearly defined, and there are lots of great little bits, with all the panelling and grates and rivets.  It’s mostly a hard plastic construction, but uses a more rubbery material for the treads, as vehicles tend to do.  There’s only space for a single figure (probably this vehicle’s main drawback), in the turret at the top, and the rest is a solid construction.  And I do mean solid; this thing’s got some definite heft on it, with a potential for even more.  The name’s inclusion of “Motorized” isn’t just a fancy naming scheme, it actually refers to the tank’s special feature, which was a full working motor that could run off of two D Batteries.  Sadly, my MOBAT doesn’t move, a common problem with most vintage MOBATs these days.  I’ll have to tinker with it to see what’s up.  Still, I bet that was pretty cool when it worked.  Paint’s not really a thing on the MOBAT, which instead has a whole ton of decals.  They haven’t held up super well over the years, but they do offer up some nice extra details to give it more of a finish.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The MOBAT’s driver was Pennsylvania-native Ralph “Steeler” Pulaski.  Steeler, like a number of the original Joes, sort of fell by the wayside as the line continued, and was never a major focus in the first place.  He did get a pair focus episodes thanks to the cartoon’s alternate-reality-based “Worlds Without End,” which gave a respectable send-off to Steeler, as well as fellow O13-members Grunt and Clutch.  This (and the 1983 swivel-arm re-issue) would be Steeler’s only figure for the entirety of the vintage run.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation.  Like all of the original ’82 figures, he was available straight-armed or swivel-armed, and mine is the former.  Additionally, there are two different styles of thumb thickness, and mine is the thin-thumbed version, which is something I’ll be touching on a bit later.  Steeler was largely made from shared parts, with the most egregious being his head, which he shares with both the previously reviewed Flash and Hawk, as well as the as of yet un-reviewed Short-Fuse.  It’s generic enough to work, and in Steeler’s case there’s a unique helmet, which further helps in masking it.  Unlike Hawk and Flash, Steeler does actually get one new part on his person: his torso.  He’s got a zippered jacket (instead of the usual sweater) and a shoulder holster that goes across the chest.  It’s a nice, unique look among his companions.  Steeler follows the trend of rather basic, rather drab paint for the original Joes.  He’s a slightly different shade of green than the others and gets a darker hair color than Hawk and Flash.  He also gets gloves, because he’s very special, I guess.  Steeler included a standard helmet, but had a non-standard, and in fact quite distinctive visor.  He also included an uzi, making him the only vehicle driver from the first year to actually be armed, and with a fairly standard weapon at that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so first of all, I need to throw in a very, very important shout-out to my Super Awesome Fiancee, without whom this review would not have been possible and I might very well still be a quivering mass on the floor of my toy room.  Remember how I mentioned that Steeler was a thin-thumbed figure?  Do you see how he still has both of his thumbs?  Yeah, that’s actually a pretty big deal, and I was pretty excited to have found him that way.  Then I was a big dumbo who decided to stick Steeler’s uzi in his hand, and when I went to take it out, off came the thumb, which went flying into the oblivion that is the floor beneath my photo stage…before I had even gotten a single shot of him.  I was feeling pretty dumb, but Jess was having none of that, and marched upstairs to help he search for the missing piece, which she managed to find in a few short minutes, thereby allowing me to repair this guy, get the photos taken and regain a good deal of my sanity.  Truly she lives up to the “Super Awesome” monicker.

With that out of the way, where the heck did this guy come from?  Well, recent reader’s will likely guess correctly that it came from All Time Toys, who got in a really huge GI Joe collection last month.  I got the pleasure of sorting through all of them to get all the figures, vehicles, and parts matched up, and this was one the somewhat expensive haul of figures I picked up.  I’ve only recently gotten the opportunity to collect the straight-armed Joes, which is a set that’s always fascinated me.  Steeler called out to me due largely to his slightly more distinct look among the basic grunts.  He’s pretty cool for what he is, and the MOBAT is certainly a nice centerpiece to my Joe display.

As I noted, All Time Toys are absolutely swimming in vintage Joes at the moment, so check out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2078: Gladiator Hulk

GLADIATOR HULK

MARVEL SELECT (DST)

After exiting stage right at the end of Age of Ultron, and thereby skipping the pseudo-Avengers outing in Civil War, Hulk’s return to the big screen came not in his own film (because the two lukewarm performances from before showed that audiences just aren’t there for a solo outing), but in the third film of fellow Avenger and fellow Civil War abstainer Thor, which served to (at least loosely) adapt Planet Hulk, specifically Hulk’s turn as a space gladiator.  It’s a distinctive visual to say the least, and one that pretty much every toy company jumped on, including Diamond Select Toys.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gladiator Hulk was released a few months after Thor: Ragnarok hit theaters in November of 2017.  Though slightly delayed, he wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the Infinity War figures.  The figure stands over 8 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Hulk was a brand-new sculpt, and a pretty darn solid one at that.  DST had already done some solid work on the Avengers and Age of Ultron Hulks, but this one really takes things the the next level, but in terms of detailing and in terms of how the sculpt and the articulation work together.  Mobility on this figure pretty much the same as you’d get from the equivalent Legends release, and it’s all very well-worked-in on top of it.  The design is quite close to Hulk’s renders from the movie, with only one notable inaccuracy, and that’s even limited to the alternate head.  The detailing on the figure is definitely top-notch.  It’s sharp, and there’s plenty of texturing all throughout, even on the heads, which is an area where DST can sometimes have a little trouble.  His main head is sporting his gladiator helmet from the movie, which is quite well-defined, and by virtue of being a permanent fixture escapes some of the issues that Hasbro’s BaF ran into.  The alternate head removes the helmet, revealing a head of hair that’s…not quite right for the movie.  He’s got a pretty distinctive cut there, but in DST’s defense, pretty much none of the promotional material had his helmet off, and they really aren’t *that* far off.  Perhaps my biggest complaint about the figure, still has to do with those heads, namely how difficult it is to swap between them.  The intense detailing is really awesome, but it, coupled with a tight neck joint, meant I tore up my hands a fair bit trying to get them off and on.  He also comes wearing the un-helmeted head, meaning you encounter this issue right out of the box, which can be a little off-putting.  The paintwork is some of the best I’ve seen on a Select figure, with a clean base application and a ton of accent work on pretty much every piece of the sculpt.  While he may not have the fancy face printing of a Hasbro release, he’s still quite lifelike in that regard, and just generally looks like an occupant of the lived-in world of Ragnarok, as he should.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Hulk is also packed with two sets of hands in both fists and gripping poses, as well as his hammer and axe from the movie, which, like the figure, are superbly detailed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Legends figures for Ragnarok were released, I wasn’t in the financial position to collect every Legends BaF as they hit, and Gladiator Hulk was one I ended up skipping.  Several months later, when I was looking to fill in some holes in my collection, this figure was released, and I felt like he was the much easier alternative to trying to find all those BaF pieces.  He’s probably the happiest I’ve been with a Select purchase, though I do have to admit he’s one of those figures I kept forgetting I had (which is why it took me over a year to finally get around to reviewing this freaking thing).  He integrates amazingly well with my Legends, and is just one of the better Hulk figures out there.

#2077: Doctor Fate

DOCTOR FATE

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Doctor Fate arises when the Lord of Order known as Nabu bestows his sorcerous knowledge, as well as a magical helmet, amulet and mantle, to a human host in order to battle the forces of chaos. Once a human dons the garb of Doctor Fate, Nabu’s personality assumes control of the human host. Doctor Fate, in his many incarnations, has long served in the Justice Society of America as one of its most powerful members.”

Amongst it’s focus on some of the more oddball teams from the DC Universe, DC Universe Classics also did pretty well by the Justice Society of America, DC’s first super-team.  In the 20 Series at retail (and a few fill-ins from the subscription service), we got the whole founding line-up (well, minus Earth-2 versions of Superman and Wonder Woman), as well as a few figures from the team’s modern-day incarnation.  In some cases, they would pull double duty, giving us classic and modern incarnations hand-in-hand, as was the case with today’s figure, Doctor Fate.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Doctor Fate was part of Series 8 of DC Universe Classics, the ill-fated Giganta Series.  There were two versions of the figure in play; the main one was the classic Doctor Fate, but there was also a variant based on the third Doctor Fate, Hector Hall.  That’s the one I’m looking at today.  He was actually the rarer of the two, as this was one of the 70/30 variant splits.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Both versions of Fate were built on the mid-sized male body, the line’s most common choice when it came to base body.  He had a new head, forearms, hands, and calves (all shared with the standard release) as well as an add-on piece for his cape/collar combo.  Oddly, this collar piece gives him the illusion of the opposite problem that plagued most of the line: his shoulders kind of get a little lost.  The new parts are all very solid.  The helmet is a good recreation (even if I miss being able to see his eyes the way you could on the DCD figures), and the hands are nice and expressive.  I also dig the ornate detailing on the collar, something that’s very important for this incarnation of the character.  Perhaps the weirdest aspect of this figure is the paint.  There has long been some back and forth over whether Fate should be yellow or gold.  The Super Powers figure was all yellow (as was the standard release from this line, being a Super Powers homage and all), the first DCD figure had gold for the helmet and amulet and yellow for everything else, and the second DCD figure was all gold.  This figure doesn’t seem to want to commit to anything, so we get a weird mix.  I can get behind gold for the helmet and collar (though I wish it had a yellower finish to it), but the boots and trunks don’t seem to work.  On the flip side, the boots and trunks would be fine if at the very least the gloves were also gold.  It’s the arbitrary mix that really gets me.  Why would they do that?  You know, aside from the obvious “because they’re Mattel.”  Fate was originally packed with a magical effect piece, as well as part of the Giganta CnC, but my figure is without either of those.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: this assortment was really badly distributed, so I never found them at retail.  Fate was one of two notable missing members from my DCUC JSA (though the New Frontier figure did okay as a stand-in), until a rather nice DCUC collection was traded in at All Time.  While I would have preferred classic Fate, Modern’s close enough that I was content.  The gold/yellow thing is definitely a glaring issue on an otherwise fairly nice figure, but I’m overall pretty happy just to finally have a DCUC Fate.

#2076: Cog

COG

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Siege‘s (admittedly lax) gimmick of cross compatible pieces from one figure to the next is best manifested in the line’s “Weaponizer” figures, who are figures designed to be broken down and used to augment the other figures in the line.  I took a look at the second Weaponizer, Six-Gun, back at the beginning of May, and I’ll be following up with the third, Brunt, soon enough, but in-between the two I’m playing a catch-up and looking at the first of the Weaponizers, Cog!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cog was another piece of the first deluxe assortment of Siege, and is the second to last figure contained therein.  The original Cog was included as an accessory with the large-scale Fortress Maximus figure, but he was absent from Fort Max’s update in 2016.  This one is designed to make up for that.  In his robot mode, Cog stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation.  Cog’s original bot-mode was certainly more refined than Six-Gun’s, meaning that there’s a little bit less reworking necessary to make him into a standalone figure.  So, he’s a more straightforward recreation of the vintage figure.  Like Six-Gun, Cog is more robotic and inhuman than you tend to see for an Autobot, which is certainly a different set-up.  I was a little bit disappointed to find out how much of Cog’s construction was hollowed out, especially when compared to the other Deluxes I’ve looked at from this assortment.  It’s mostly confined to the back of the figure, so it’s not terrible, but I guess after Six-Gun, I just wasn’t expecting it to be that expansive.  The original Cog’s transformation split him into two different vehicles, Grommet and Gasket, and this update follows suit, although it also gives the two separate vehicles one combined form as an option.  As with Six-Gun the transformation is a fair bit different from your average Transformer conversion.  It’s more a reconfiguration, which counts on the figure being disassembled and put back together in a brand new form.  Additionally, in that disassembling, you have the option to use Cog to weaponize his fellow Autobots.  While I didn’t fall in love with any of Cog’s configurations the same way I did Six-Gun’s giant fighting fist, there are still a lot of fun layouts to mess with, and his color scheme pairs well with both Optimus and Ultra Magnus.  Generally, though, I find Cog works best in figure mode.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Hound, Cog is a figure that I passed on a number of times, and didn’t really know I wanted until he was gone.  But, just like Hound, Cog was traded into All Time loose, as part of the same collection, in fact.  Mostly, I picked him up because I had Six-Gun and was already planning to pick up Brunt, so I sort of wanted the full set.  He’s okay, but I don’t like him as much as I thought I would.  He’s still cool, but he’s the weakest Siege figure I’ve picked up to date.

#2075: Autobot Hound

AUTOBOT HOUND

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

It’s possible that most of my readers know this, but in addition to being super into action figures, I’m also quite into Jeeps.  I mean, as much as I can be into any car, really.  It all kind of stems back to my parents getting a Jeep Cheroke back in 1995, a car which was passed onto me when I graduated high school, and which I still drive several times a week.  I have a definite attachment to that car, and I’ve subsequently found myself drawn to all manner of toy Jeeps.  So, it kind of goes without saying that a Transformer that turns into a Jeep is kind of up my alley.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Hound was released in the first deluxe assortment of War For Cybertron: Siege, alongside the previously reviewed Sideswipe.  He follows that figure’s lead of being rather G1-inspired in design, though it’s worth noting that Hound usually tends to be.  In robot mode, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 20 workable points of articulation.  In contrast to the sleek and smooth Sideswipe, Hound is comparatively blocky and bricky, as one would expect from a robot that turns into a Jeep.  He’s still a very cleanly sculpted figure, even if he’s not sleek, and his design is well-rendered here.  Despite being a lower-price-point figure, there’s not actually much hollowness in Hound’s construction, which is certainly something that I appreciate.  He’s also pretty decently articulated, and has less of the limitations on his movements that Sideswipe had (and even Sideswipe wasn’t really that bad).  Hound’s got minimal back kibble, likely due to the blocky nature of the design making it easier to hide.  Whatever the case, it works out in his favor.  Hound’s alt-mode, is…well, it’s not strictly a Jeep, but it’s certainly Jeep-inspired.  His original alt-mode was a straight Jeep J59.  As canonically a pre-Earth version of the character, the Jeep takes on a number of more Cybertronian traits.  It’s close enough to the standard Jeep stylings to be identifiable as such, but is removed enough that it makes sense as an alien design.  It’s also, like the figure, really solid.  Like, packed in there. Great for home defense.  The transformation between the two is actually not too bad, and my novice-level understanding was enough to get me through it even without the instructions.  Hound is packed with a “W-5 Holo-Beam Refraction Blaster,” “RT-10 IR Electro-Scope Launcher,” and ammo clip all of which combine to form the “HD Vector-Beam Mega-Blaster.”  It’s a nice assortment of parts, and I definitely like the fully assembled gun, and I really appreciate how well it integrates into the alt-mode.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hound is the figure I just kept passing on.  I’m not really sure why.  I looked at him countless times while at All Time Toys, and just never pulled the trigger.  When I finally decided I wanted one, the last one sold, so I figured he just wasn’t meant for me.  As luck would have it, a loose one was traded into the store, and I was able to grab him for even less than the original retail, which worked out pretty well for me.  I like this guy a lot, and he’s a nice cross-section of two things I like.

#2074: Hostile Takeover

PLAYBOY TONY STARK, RAZA, BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MAN MARK III, & IRON MONGER

MARVEL MINIMATES

There was a bit of hoopla going down when it was announced that DST had not acquired the license for Spider-Man: Far From Home and Marvel Minimates would subsequently be skipping the film.  It caused some drama amongst the fanbase, largely because for the first time, after a whopping 22 films and 11 years, an MCU film would not be getting any Minimates.  That’s kind of a big deal, since Minimates got in on the ground floor, with by far the most expansive product offering for 2008’s Iron Man.  It played a definite part in getting them back out to a more mainstream audience, and even had a role in getting them back into Toys R Us.  There was a main assortment of four two-packs, plus a TRU-exclusive two-pack, and then finally a boxed set to fill in the only real remaining holes in the line-up.  I’m looking at the boxed set today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The “Hostile Takeover” set was officially the final item in DST’s coverage for Iron Man, available exclusively through Action Figure Xpress, DST’s go-to retailer for exclusives at the time.  The set featured a pair of slight redecos (Battle-Damaged Mark III and Iron Monger), plus one new look (playboy Tony), and one all-new character (Raza).

PLAYBOY TONY STARK

After the lead-in which established the cause of his abduction and injury, the movie flashed back, and reintroduced us to Tony Stark, who we meet in a Vegas casino, wearing the number we see here.  It’s a pretty distinctive look, so the main line’s decision to go with a more standard suit-ed look for civilian Tony was seen as a slight missed opportunity (but only slight).  Its presence here is probably one of the few civilian Tony looks that was actively campaigned for.  The figure is built on the usual body, so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Tony made use of re-used parts, with the hair from Admiral Kirk and the jacket/shirt from 1984 Biff Tannen.  The hair’s not quite a perfect match for Downey’s hair in the movie, but it gets the job done and is easily swapped out if you don’t like it quite so much.  The jacket piece, though, is a pretty brilliant re-use, and I imagine that this piece’s very existence probably paid a large role in getting this figure made.  The paintwork is more involved than you might think.  Rather than just being straight black, his pants are a dark brown, and even have some detailing on the bottoms, which is a cool touch.  He didn’t originally have the detail lines on his torso, though; I added those after the fact. He included no accessories, but I’m not sure what he would have been given.

RAZA

Raza was the set’s one unique character.  As the leader of the “Ten Rings,” there was a lot of speculation at the time of the that he was going to be the movie franchise’s Madarin.  Ah, simpler times.  Prior to this set’s release, he was the only notable character from the film who hadn’t been released, so there was a lot of excitement about him being included.  Raza got the only new parts in this set, with a brand-new jacket/skirt combo.  It’s kind of bulky, and a little restricting, but otherwise a solid recreation of his garb from the film.  His paintwork is actually rather involved.  The stubble on the face is very nicely rendered, as is the camo on his jacket.  That goes beyond the level of detail we tend to see.  Raza was packed with an assault rifle, which was actually unique to this set, which is a little bit surprising, but cool nonetheless.

BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MAN MARK III

Tony’s main armor, the Mark III, takes quite a beating over the course of Iron Man, so it’s probably one of the most sensible battle-damaged variants ever.  It also gave DST another chance to re-use the new armor tooling, which I’m sure was their primary rationale.  The figure makes use of all re-used parts, as you might expect.  That includes the helmet, chest piece, gauntlets, and armored-up legs of the standard Mark III (and Mark II and Stealth Armor too).  They were an amazing addition to the line at the time, and they’ve actually held up alright.  They merged the armored suit with the ‘mate style better than later offerings would, at least from my view.  The removable faceplate is also still really cool.  The paint work for this figure took the standard Mark III paint and messed it up, adding cracks, scuffs, and even a few bullet holes.  It’s a very convincing assortment of damage, and actually stands out very well from the standard detailing.  Like all of the armored figures from this movie, this guy has a complete alternate look, allowing the armor to be stripped down.  There’s an extra set of legs and hands, as well as an alternate hair piece, which showcase a seriously pissed off Tony Stark.  This figure also adds in the repuslor gauntlets, break fins, and blast base from the Stealth Armor, this time done up in the standard Iron Man colors.

BATTLE-DAMAGED IRON MONGER

Last up is the figure that’s possibly the least essential in this set.  While Obidiah Stane’s Iron Monger suit takes a little bit of damage over the course of the film’s final battle, it’s nowhere near the level of what happens to the Mark III, nor is it particularly notable when compared to the standard figure.  He’s using all the same parts as that release, which certainly plays to his favor, since the original Iron Monger was the star of the original Iron Man line-up.  It’s a good sculpt, and a wonderful miniaturization of the film design.  The thing is, this is the second time we got it, so it did feel a bit redundant, especially so close to the original release.  Pretty much, they added some slightly darker patches, and that was it. Under the armor, things are slightly different.  There’s still a fully detailed Obidiah Stane, but this one’s a little angrier, and has a few rips on his jumpsuit.  But, the most important addition?  The standard flesh-toned hands, which were missing from the original release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Iron Man Minimates were some of my favorites, so I was determined to put together a full set.  This one ended up being a Christmas present from my parents.  I can’t say I had much investment in this set beyond just getting everyone.  Raza was unique, and the Tony was certainly an improvement over the first one, but for me the real star was actually the Battle-Damaged Mark III, who does a very good job of justifying his own existence.

#2073: Robot Wolverine

ROBOT WOLVERINE (ALBERT)

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Created by the villainous Reavers to be an exact duplicate of the X-Man Wolverine, Albert gained real feelings in an electrical accident. Now constantly rebuilding himself out of whatever materials he can find, Albert scours the world for his heroic doppelganger – but whether to befriend him or to harm him, even he is not sure!”

Desperate for a steady stream of Wolverine variants to keep their line running, but not quite ready to just start outright making them up (that would come later), Toy Biz delved into the X-Men villains roster, and pulled out te robotic Wolverine duplicate Albert.  Never a majorly prominent character in the mythos, Albert would ultimately serve as an inspiration for Logan‘s antagonist X-24, whatever your take on that may be.  His only figure still remains that original Toy Biz figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robot Wolverine was released in Series 6 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line and was the sixth Wolverine variant to grace the line (a fact that the packaging proudly proclaimed).  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall (continuing the trend of Toy Biz’s Wolverine figures steadily climbing in height as the line progressed) and he has 7 points of articulation.  He lacks elbow articulation often seen on these figures because…reasons?  The figure’s sculpt was an all-new offering, based on the character’s rebuilt appearance following his time locked up in police impound, which is fair, since otherwise he’d just be a slightly off-looking brown-costumed Wolverine.  It’s admittedly an interesting design, with something of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max vibe to it.  It’s certainly a different sort of look for the line.  There are some pretty neat little touches mixed throughout, and I particularly like the handcuffs stitched onto his torso.  It’s a goofy little touch which is totally accurate to the source material, and shows off Toy Biz usual commitment to the material nicely.  The rest of the sculpt matches the usual Toy Biz style of the time, which I suppose is pretty okay from a consistency standpoint.  The figure’s sculpt is accented by a solid paintjob.  While it’s perhaps not the most exciting or eye-catching colorscheme, it’s accurate to how he looked in the comics, and there’s no shortage of detail work, with most of the sculpted details getting proper paint as well.  He’s the sort of figure that could have possibly benefited from a wash, but that really wasn’t Toy Biz’s speed at the time.  Albert was packed with a spare set of arms, with a more robotic appearance and claws attached.  They swap out for the standard via the figure’s action feature.  Squeeze his legs and his arms spring out of their sockets, and then you can install the new ones.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Albert *just* predates me getting into the line, and was late enough that he wasn’t one of the ones resurfacing right as I got into things, so I didn’t have him growing up.  In fact, he’s quite a recent addition to my collection.  I had to see Endgame at a slightly out of the way theater, and while killing a little time before the movie, my dad found a comic book store, Beyond Comics, to check out.  They had a rather nice selection of ’90s Marvel stuff.  What caught my eye wasn’t actually this figure, but was instead the Invasion Series Havok, who I will literally buy every time I see him.  However, I felt a little silly having my only purchase be a figure I already own five of, so I scoured the racks for another figure I didn’t have.  Albert was the winner of that particular lottery.  He’s actually not a bad figure, and is unique among Wolverine variants for being not a Wolverine variant at all.

#2072: Kicking Woody

KICKING WOODY

TOY STORY (THINKWAY TOYS)

The latest installment in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise hits theaters today, and it’s a pretty big deal.  The end of an era.  Why, it’s almost as big a deal as the last time that they did this, back when it was Toy Story 3!  But, they’re way more serious about it this time, I guess.  We’ll see how it goes.  To get myself into that Toy Story mood, I’m doing the absolute most appropriate thing possible, and reviewing a toy, from the original movie no less!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kicking Woody was one of two Woody variants produced by Thinkway Toys for their 1995 Toy Story line.  They were denoted by their action features.  This one kicks.  I know, shocker.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation, though the articulation on his legs is slightly hampered by his action feature.  Unlike Buzz, whose design has built-in articulation (which his figure ignored a good bit of), Woody’s got, what, one point of articulation in the canon?  At the neck?  And that’s replicated here.  Beyond that, he’s changing up the material from cloth to plastic, meaning the articulation’s just sort of made up.  It’s really not bad, though, especially for the time this figure was released.  Woody’s sculpt is actually a pretty respectable offering.  The proportions match well with his film model, and the likeness is certainly there on the head.  The body is definitely on the smooth side, with no real texturing like he really should have, but we’re once again falling into the realm of “product of his time.”  All of the important details are definitely there, and there’s no denying who he’s supposed to be.  Woody’s sculpt is topped off with his signature cowboy hat, which is a nicely sculpted piece which sits quite nicely and snugly on his head.  Woody’s paintwork is pretty standard; it’s a decent match for the source material, and it’s bright and colorful.  The application is overall pretty good, with minimal bleed over and not as many fuzzy lines as were on my Buzz figure.  Woody was originally packed with a snake (presumably about to go into or just exiting his boot), which my figure no longer has.  He does still have his kicking action feature, though; press the button on his back and his leg swings upward.  Very exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Woody from the films, this figure’s been with me for quite some time.  Toy Story was the first movie I saw in the theater, which probably explains a lot about me when you really get down to it.  Woody was definitely my favorite character, so my parents made pretty quick work of finding me this figure.  He was the only one I picked up from the original line, and he’s been in my collection since his 1995 release.  I gotta say, he’s a really solid figure, and remains my favorite version of the character, despite being almost a quarter century old.  He’s one I’m really glad I hung onto.