#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.

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#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.

#2071: Death’s Head II

DEATH’S HEAD II

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

A cyborg hero with a repertoire of super abilities, Death’s Head II has incredible physical strength, and an even stronger personality.”

Remember when I talked about Death’s Head, the character that proves that TransformersDoctor Who, and the entirety of the Marvel Universe are all in the same canon?  Well, did you know there was another?  Yeah.  After the cult success of the first Death’s Head, there were plans to make the character a central part of a push to gain a wider audience for Marvel’s UK line.  There were, however, some editorial disagreements, which resulted in the original character being dropped, and being replaced by a new iteration, dubbed “Death’s Head II.”  He never caught on the same way the original did, but he did get a Marvel Legends figure first.  So, I guess he’s got that going for him?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Death’s Head II–sorry, *Marvel’s* Death’s Head II, because those double possessives are still at work–was part of the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends, which was the second Guardians of the Galaxy assortment of 2017.  You may have noted that I already reviewed a completed Mantis figure back when the series was new, and there was nary a Death’s Head in sight.  That’s because he was the one figure not necessary to finish Mantis (though he wasn’t the double-pack; that was Rocket), so I (and a lot of other people) didn’t pick him up with the rest of the set. The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Death’s Head II was the first figure to make use of the Colossus body after Piotr introduced it, and still the only other figure to make use of the bulk of it, surprisingly.  That’ll change later this year with the Classic Colossus, but still, I’d expected to see it crop up more.  Justifying the (then) new tooling seems like the primary reason for this guy’s existence, though it’s worth noting that he ends up with quite a number of new pieces.  The head, lower arms, shins, and feet are all new to this particular, as is the add-on for his belt.  The new parts mesh well with the old, and they seem to make for a decent recreation of his comics design, for better or for worse.  The head in particular has some really sharp detail work, which I think really gives the figure a striking look.  One of the abilities of Death’s Head II was morphing his limbs into weapons, because that’s just how things were in the ’90s.  Yes, even I could morph my limbs into weapons in the ’90s, and it’s a feat I truly miss….Sorry, got distracted.  DH2’s right arm is demonstrating this ability of his, and I guess it’s kind of cool in an entirely overboard sort of way.  DH2’s paintwork is actually quite eye-catching, and while the transitions between metallic and non-metallic blue on the main body aren’t always very smooth, I do think the figure has a rather clean, very bold appearance.  Though he had no BaF piece, DH2 wasn’t without accessories.  No, he has an extra left hand…which is…pointing?  Gripping?  Point-gripping?  I got nothing.  It’s a weird extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no attachment to the second Death’s Head.  The first is cool, but the second has pretty much none of the things I like about the first, and since he had no Mantis piece, this figure was a very easy skip for me, at least at full price.  However, this assortment wound up at Five Below late last year, and at a quarter of his original value, the figure became a little more appealing.  He’s still not great, and I feel like they could have made the original with about the same amount of effort, but then I guess I wouldn’t have gotten him for cheap.  He’s honestly not a bad figure, but I just don’t care about the character or the design he’s replicating, which is probably part of why he’s been sitting on my desk waiting to be reviewed for almost a year.

#2070: Optimus Prime – Galaxy Upgrade

OPTIMUS PRIME — GALAXY UPGRADE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

A major selling point of War For Cybertron: Siege is its throwbacks to the franchise’s older incarnations.  The vast majority of the line is very definitely very G1-inspired (sensible, since that’s the incarnation most people know and for which they have the greatest nostalgia), but there are some throwbacks to more modern incarnations.  Perhaps one of the most modern is the latest incarnation of Autobot Leader Optimus Prime.  The first Optimus went back to the original design, where as the latest, dubbed “Galaxy Upgrade,” is pattered after Optimus from 2005’s Transformers: Cybertron (Galaxy Force in Japan).  That’s the figure I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Galaxy Upgrade Optimus Prime is one half of the second wave of Leader Class figures from Siege, with the other half being a re-issue of last wave’s Shockwave.  Its our second (and as far as we know last) Optimus for Siege, serving as something of a mid-season-upgrade (or “Magical Girl Power-up” according to Super Awesome Fiancee, and then she said “Auto-Girls, roll out!” accompanied by an assortment of whooshing sounds).  In his initial robot mode, he stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  As pretty much everyone had expected as soon as Ultra Magnus showed up with an all-new mold, this Optimus is built on the same base body.  For the purposes of his fully armored up mode, there aren’t quite as many shared parts, with the only truly lifted parts being the “boots”, and even then they’re slightly modified, in order to streamline them a bit more from what Magnus was sporting.  As a whole, streamlined is a good description for the armored up appearance.  It’s fitting, seeing as it’s clearly meant for flight, what with the wings and all.  The wings have been scaled down a bit from their prior appearance, likely in an effort to keep him within the new Leader Class scaling, but they’re still sizable enough to make the proper impression.  The large cannons are permanently affixed to the wing pack, and I was initially expecting them to be a little bit restricting, but they actually have a decent range and fold up rather nicely on his back when they’re not in use.

In terms of alt modes, Optimus follows the trend set by Ultra Magnus, with three distinct ones.  The first is the core bot mode, and this is the one where the Magnus re-use becomes the most evident, as they’re virtually the same.  The only sculptural (but not functional) difference is the tooling on the front of his torso, as well as a swapped out front to is pelvis piece.  Neither are overly different; the pelvis in particular is easily missed, but the new torso is slightly more pointed and, following the trend of the outer armor, more streamlined when compared to Magnus.  It’s a subtle change, but one that really sells the differences between the characters.  A less subtle change is the color scheme, which swaps out the monochromatic look of Magnus for something more in line with Optimus’ usual primary colors.  This, coupled with the change in sculpt, makes the figure undeniably Optimus Prime, rather than Prime-inspired like it was before.

The next mode is the basic truck mode.  Unsurprisingly, it’s pretty similar to Magnus, but with the expected changes to the front of the cab.  There’s some slight partsforming that goes on for this mode, with the forearm pieces from the armored up mode becoming the front grill of the truck, which I actually think works out a little better than the permanently attached piece from Magnus.  This base mode is the starting point for his final mode, which adds back in his armor from his super mode, to make a more involved truck.  There’s even more partsforming going on here, moreso than we saw on Magnus, and by and large I found this transformation a little more complicated, though it certainly picked up as I moved through the process.  Like Magnus, Prime is packed with two “W-30 Magnetic Inducer Launchers” (the pistols), and also gets a “JF-15 Gravity Force Laser” (the rifle).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After becoming thoroughly hooked on the line and starting to survey the upcoming releases, there was one figure I felt I could pass with utmost certainty: this guy.  I already had the Voyager Optimus, I already had the Leader Ultra Magnus, so why would I need this?  To add to that, I’m really not *that* much of an Optimus fan, so I’d rationalized that this guy was definitely non-essential.  And then I saw him in-person, and well, I kind of caved.  Yeah.  I’m weak.  I’ve got no excuse.  Ultimately, Voyager Optimus is still going to be my go-to Optimus, and Magnus is still my favorite Leader, but I can’t deny that this guy is a lot of fun.

I grabbed my Galaxy Upgrade Optimus from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2069: Rebel Trooper

REBEL TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Drawn from many homeworlds and species, Rebel troopers were the Alliance’s front-line soldiers in the war against the Empire. They defended the Alliance’s leaders on countless worlds and during many operations, changing uniforms and tactics to meet each challenge.”

We’ve gotten all manner of Imperial Troops and variants thereof in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series, but surprisingly few of the Rebellion’s equivalents.  In fact, the figure I’m looking at today is the first and so far only Rebel Trooper to grace this particular line.  Fittingly, he’s one of the very first Rebel Troopers we ever see, as one of the poor souls who stand-off against Vader and his Imperial Stormtroopers in A New Hope‘s opening minutes.  Though overlooked by the vintage line, these Rebel Fleet Troopers have been a fixture of the line since the ’90s, and continue to be so here.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Trooper is figure 69 in The Black Series, and shipped to stores alongside Bespin Han and Tobias Beckett.  The thing about Rebel Troopers is that they aren’t quite as straight-forward army builders as Stormtroopers or Clone Troopers, since their faces are pretty much always visible.  The options laid before toy makers are either to create some sort of amalgamated set of features for a more generic figure, or settle on one particular face in the crowd.  This figure goes for the latter option, and is directly patterned on Lt. Pello Scrambas, as played by extra Eddie Eddon in the film.  Scrambas is the Fleet Trooper who we actually get a nice, static shot of head-on in the film, and is subsequently the one who’s usually picked to be the go-to Rebel Fleet Trooper when the merch comes around, and, of course, the Star Wars fanbase being what he is, he’s got a name and a whole backstory that most people will never know.  Whatever the case, basing the figure on him is definitely a good choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  It’s an all-new sculpt, as is the usual trend for Black Series releases.  Unlike the last Rebel Fleet Trooper I looked at, this one doesn’t look like he’s been hitting the steroids hardcore, and actually matches the rather average looking guys from the movie.  The detailing on his uniform is quite accurate, and his vest is a removable piece, as it tends to be.  What doesn’t tend to be a removable piece is the helmet, but it is here.  I takes a little work to get it seated just right on his head, but once in place it stays there, and it’s nicely scaled to the head.  The head is sporting a solid likeness of Eddon as we see him in the movie, with a fully formed, and very 70s-looking hair style.  This is definitely another very strong likeness, and probably one of their best in the line (though they’ve been getting pretty solid in general lately). The Trooper’s paintwork is fairly solid.  There’s not a whole lot going on, but it’s a clean translation of how he looks in the film.  The face, of course, uses the printed technique, which makes him suitably lifelike.  The Rebel Fleet Trooper is packed with his standard blaster (which can be stowed in his holster) as well as a non-A New Hope accessory, the data file containing the Death Star plans as seen in Rogue One.   Sure, this specific Rebel didn’t have it, but it’s a fun extra nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The assortment this guy came from wasn’t super plentiful around me, and this guy, as an army builder, was even less plentiful.  I wasn’t thrilled about that, and never did end up finding him at regular retail.  Fortunately, one got traded into All Time Toys a few weeks ago, and I was able to add him to my collection.  I’m glad I did, because he’s a very nice addition to the line.  Here’s to hoping for the Hoth and Endor Troopers done with the same level of quality.

#2068: Daredevil – Vigilante Edition

DAREDEVIL — VIGILANTE EDITION

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Of the assortment of Netflix-original Marvel series, there’s always been a clear winner for me: Daredevil.  While I’ll admit there was a slight stumble in the back half of the show’s second season, season three was a very strong finish, resulting in a very solid all-around show, and one that was far more even than everything else from the Marvel-Netflix partnership.  Merchandise was a little sparse for all of the shows, but Daredevil made out the best, with at least one figure from all of the main holders of the Marvel license.  This included Mezco, who actually put together two different variants of the main character.  I’ll be looking at his Season 1 garb today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil — Vigilante Edition was available as a Mezco Store-exclusive, as part of their over-arching One:12 Collective line, and starting heading to collectors in tandem with his main release counterpart at the beginning of the month.  As I touched on in the intro, this figure is based on Matt’s prototype costume from the first season of the show, and is in a roundabout way fairly similar to his Season 3 attire as well (though not a pitch-perfect match).  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

As with most One:12 figures, Daredevil is packed with two different heads.  The one he comes wearing is pretty standard, masked and with a fairly neutral expression.  It does a respectable job of capturing Charlie Cox’s likeness for what we can see of the face, and the mask is sculpted with texture to match the real thing (especially important on a figure such as this, where it’s mixed media).  The joint is at the base of the neck, which means its essentially hidden.  It’s a decent choice from an aesthetic standpoint, though I did find it to be slightly limiting on the posing front.  Not terribly so, of course, and there’s still a lot of natural-looking poses you can get him into without issues.  The paintwork on the head is a decent piece of work.  The mask is just a straight black, but there’s some quite subtle, quite lifelike work on the lower half of the face.  The second head is quite similar to the first, still being masked, but this time Matt’s just a little bit worse for wear.  His expression is a little more pained, with his mouth open and his teeth exposed, as if he’s grimacing to hold back some of that paint.  To match the more beaten expression, the paint also adds in a little bit of blood.  While I was a little bummed there was no fully unmasked head featured (or possibly even the mask with the white lining from Season 3), Matt get’s the snot beaten out of him frequently enough in Season 1 that this is a sensible choice of extra.  I just wish there were some way to showcase the battle damage on the rest of the figure.

Speaking about the rest of the figure, let’s talk about that now, shall we?  Daredevil is built on a body that’s smaller than any of the other figure’s I’ve looked at, which makes sense, since Charlie Cox isn’t a huge guy.  It’s definitely a good fit, it’s well-articulated, and it looks suitably realistic under the costume.  Said costume is made up of his shirt and pants (actually a jumpsuit type thing masquerading as two separate garments), a plastic belt, holster for his eskrima sticks, and a pair of sculpted boots.  It’s a good match for his hastily thrown together appearance from Season 1, and I do appreciate that they remembered details like the red piping on his shoulders and the slight bit of extra padding on his lower arms.  The only thing that bugged me a bit was the printed white line on each side of the pants, clearly meant to represent a zippered pocket.  Obviously, a zipper’s virtually impossible to get right at this scale, but I honestly think I’d have preferred they’d just left the detail off entirely.  As it is, it kind of takes me out of the figure a little bit.

Daredevil includes a decent selection of extras, but definitely one that’s scaled back a bit from other offerings.  He has three pairs of hands (relaxed, gripping, and fists), his eskrima sticks, and a display stand with the Daredevil logo on it. It covers the basics, but not much else.  The hands are certainly useful, but I would have liked some more display options, such as the wrapped hands from later in the season, or some parts to turn him into a Season 3 DD.

It’s not often that I touch on the packaging for my figures, but I like DD’s enough to give it a mention.  It’s a little smaller than the average One:12 box, and in place of the usual product images on the back, there’s a rather nice illustration, based on Season 3 of the show.  It makes for a very nice backdrop for the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love Daredevil, especially the first season, and the prototype costume is definitely a favorite look of mine.  I was a little bummed that both DST and Hasbro passed over it, and I was less than thrilled by their final figures, so I was definitely looking for something else to be my TV Daredevil.  When this figure was show off, I really wanted one, but I missed out on him on the Mezco store.  I jumped on the waitlist, but honestly wasn’t expecting much.  I was quite happy when it coverted, and even happier when he shipped.  I like a lot about this figure, and he’s definitely my favorite version of the show’s take on the character.  I do feel he was a little pricey for what you get, and were he any other character, I’d probably have passed.  Still, he’s a very nice figure, and a very nice addition to my collection.

#2067: Janine Melnitz & Samhain

JANINE MELNITZ & SAMHAIN

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)

There was a real drought of Ghostbusters product in the ’90s and ’00s, no doubt tied to there being a real drought of Ghostbusters anything in the ’90s and ’00s.  When 2009 reunited the original cast for a video game sequel, the franchise was given a shot in the arm, and toymakers, most notably Mattel, went full force.  It was Ghostbusters galore for a couple of years, as we got the crew in just about every style you could think of.  Mattel was on something of a Mego-revival kick at the time, so the Real Ghostbusters cartoon got in on that treatment.  Today, I’m looking at the only non-main team offering from the line, Janine Melnitz and Samhain!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Janine and Samhain were the last offering in the Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes line, hitting shelves a few months after the main four ‘busters.  The pack was an exclusive to Toys R Us, though like the rest of the line, there was no specific denotation of this.  There was an elaborate cardboard back-drop behind the figures in the box as well, which served as a “playset” version of the firehouse, though it was really just a very tall backdrop.

JANINE MELNITZ

A more strictly supporting character in the movies, the Real Ghostbusters cartoon gave Janine the opportunity to get in on the action a bit more frequently.  Subsequently, this figure follows that set-up, presenting her in gear to match the rest of the ‘busters.  The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and she has 18 points of articulation.  She used Mattel’s equivalent to the Mego female body, which is overall a pretty decent match for the original, barring one major issue: those hands.  Just as they patterned parts of the male body on Big Jim, the female body, specifically the hands, takes influence from Barbie.  The end result is that she has hands that aren’t designed for holding anything, which is in pretty stark contrast to all the stuff she’s clearly designed to hold.  Janine got a new headsculpt, which is pretty much on par with the others in the line.  It’s a solid match for her cartoon design, and they’ve even managed to not make those glasses look atrocious.  Janine has a cloth jumpsuit, similar to the others, but obviously more tailored for this specific body, as well as a pair of rubber boots (taken from Wonder Woman, meaning she’s hiding peaked boots under the suit), and the same proton pack used for the others.  Janine also got all of the equipment that was divi-ed up amongst the others, the PKE meter, Ghost Sniffer, and Ghost Trap.  Most importantly, she gets one new accessory, the Ghostbusters “mascot” Slimer.  He’s a little on the small side, but it was nice that he didn’t get totally overlooked for this line.

SAMHAIN

The Ghost of Halloween is one of the few recurring ghost foes for the ‘busters, with a handful of appearances in Real Ghostbusters and a pair of focus episodes in that show’s sequel Extreme Ghostbusters.  Also, unlike the other prominent ghost, the Staypuft Marshmallow Man, he could be built using mostly standard parts.  And so he is.  He’s just the basic male body, with a pumpkin head and a robe thrown over it.  That’s really kind of it.  I mean, I guess the pumpkin head is kind of distinct, and the robe has a nice flow about it, but…he’s just not a lot to talk about.  And, without any accessories of his own, there’s not even any fun side extras to discuss…so that’s really about it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was actually pretty darn supportive of this line when they were new, and, having picked up the main four as I found them, I was quite happy to find this one at retail and complete the set.  Janine’s pretty solid, and Slimer’s a neat little addition to the collection.  Samhain doesn’t really do much for me, but I suppose it’s not the worst thing in the world to give the ‘busters something to, you know, bust.