#2111: Lord Zedd

LORD ZEDD

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“I am Lord Zedd, Emperor of all I see. You have failed to complete the mission assigned to you. I will now resume command. Prepare the planet for my return!”

For the second season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Saban decided that they wanted another big bad to pair off with the first season’s Rita Repulsa.  There was just one slight problem: no such character existed in the original Japanese material they were importing.  So, it was up to them to introduce their own.  Enter Lord Zedd, a villain so frightening that parental complaints led to him eventually getting toned down.  Given his US-based nature, Zedd’s been less lucky than the Rangers when it comes to action figures.  Fortunately for him, he was right at the forefront of Hasbro’s recently launched Lightning Collection.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lord Zedd is the second of the four figures that make up the first series of The Lightning Collection, designed to pair off with the White Ranger also featured in the assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Unsurprisingly, he follows the same basic construction-style as the White Ranger, which is a slight departure from the articulation schemes on Black Series and Legends, but is actually a very solid layout, and I’d wager it’s something Hasbro’s probably going to try to phase into their other lines as well.  Zedd is another all-new sculpt, as one would expect; there aren’t exactly a lot of characters that Zedd could share parts with.  It’s a pretty solid match for what we see in the shows, albeit adjusted ever so slightly to remove some of the “guy in a rubber suit” elements that the real Zedd possessed.  The star element is definitely the head, which capture’s Zedd’s distinctive visage quite nicely, and isn’t horribly under-scaled like the Bandai offerings tended to be.  The body is…a little less impressive.  They’ve followed the same lead they went with on the White Ranger, so he’s a base body with armored elements on top.  Not a terrible idea, and honestly much nicer looking than the solid-construction Bandai figures, but the add-on elements are a very soft plastic.  While this worked well for the White Ranger’s chest armor, on Zedd’s more piece-meal affair, it leads to some parts that are a little floppy.  On my figure, the leg guards pop out of place a lot, as do the wrist bands whenever you go to change the hands. Posing him is definitely not quite as much fun as it was with Tommy.  That said, he sure does look the part.  Aiding in him looking the part is the paint work.  The silver armored elements are a stark, clean silver, while the “flesh” elements get a wash to bring out all of the recesses of the body, doing a pretty solid job of capturing Zedd’s intimidating presence from the show.  Zedd is packed with two sets of hands (two open gesture, one gripping, one fist), his signature staff, a lightning effect piece, and a growth bomb.  Not a bad load out at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since acquiring my Figuarts Rangers, Zedd’s been at the top of my list.  He was pretty much off the table with Figarts, but with Hasbro taking over, I had renewed hope, and it paid off, because here he is.  Of course, I’m not the only one desperately waiting for a Zedd, and he’s the shortpack of the first assortment, so he’s by far the most difficult figure in the set to get ahold of.  I wasn’t able to get one from All Time’s first shipment, but lucked into one being traded into the store loose just a couple of weeks later.  He’s not as strong a figure as the White Ranger, and that’s only further punctuated by him having a lot more riding on him.  With that said, he’s unquestionably the best Zedd figure ever made (not that it takes much) and he is still a solid offering.

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#2110: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

So, since the last time I discussed The Phantom Menace on this here site (just shy of 1800 reviews ago), public perceptions of the film have slightly shifted.  To be fair, last time around, the film’s 3D re-release had reinvigorated the fanbase’s hatred.  Now, it’s cool to like it, since the hate has shifted either to the new films, or to the portion of the fanbase who hates the new films.  Whatever the case, I’ve always liked Phantom Menace the most of the prequels, and that’s not changed.  As a kid, my favorite part of the movie was Ewan McGreggor as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi.  The Black Series has placed the majority of its focus on the original trilogy and the new trilogy, so the prequels have been sort of pushed to the side, and Obi-Wan’s “debut” appearance had a little bit of a wait.  Fortunately, it’s finally here, and now I’m gonna review it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan is figure 85 in the Black Series line-up.  He arrived in stores in a mostly non-movie assortment, making him the a bit of an odd-man out.  It’s our fourth version of Obi-Wan in the line, and he’s the final of the three main Phantom Menace Jedi to be added to the line.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Obi-Wan’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s another strong piece.  It’s another step forward in working the articulation into the sculpt without things looking too weird.  The arms are a touch long and seem to bend a little too far down, but beyond that the joints are well-implemented and he has an impressive range of mobility.  The head is sporting a solid likeness of Ewan McGreggor, certainly an improvement over the head from the Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan.  The torso is constructed via layering, which has done a nice job of creating depth on the figure, as well as preserving the articulation.  His robes are nicely textured, and do a suitable job of looking lifelike.  Obi-Wan’s paintwork is pretty solid.  He’s the first of the Phantom Menace figures to released post-face-printing, and it does him a lot of favors.  He’s definitely a really lively looking guy, and it does the sculpt all sorts of favors.  The more basic paintwork isn’t quite as strong, with some noticeable slop on the edges of the boots in particular.  That said, it’s not as bad as some of the others we’ve seen in this line.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory is his lightsaber, which, following the trend of others in the line, has a removable blade and can be hung from his belt.  It’s a shame they couldn’t throw anything else in with him; even a cloth robe would have been nice.  As it stands, he does feel a tad light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Black Series first launched, I had one firm rule: no prequel figures.  Even before I broke it to get in on some Clone Trooper goodness, this guy was the one exception to that self-imposed rule.  I was definitely playing a mean waiting game with both Maul and Qui-Gon out already, so I was very excited when this guy was finally shown off.  He was at the top of my list for this assortment, and I gotta say, he’s a really satisfying figure.

I picked up Obi-Wan from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

 

#2109: Grey Ghost

GREY GHOST

BATMAN: ANIMATED (DC COLLECTIBLES)

When it was in full swing, DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated line was one that gave me a lot of mixed emotions.  I liked the concept behind it, because I like the show, and I like well-articulated action figures, but the implementation was always hit or miss.  And if the quality of the figures wasn’t questionable, how they were getting released kept getting weirder.  When my most wanted figure ended up stuck in a $150+ boxed set, I was less than thrilled, and so were a lot of other people, and the line sort of died off for a bit, its last few offerings being a bit up in the air.  Cancellation seemed like a certainty, but DCC surprised us and actually got those last several figures out.  Included amongst them was the Grey Ghost, a show original creation designed to showcase former Batman actor Adam West.  He was one of the few characters not to be given a figure during Kenner’s run, and while Mattel made one, he was never super plentiful, making DCC’s a pretty big deal.  Does he live up to it?  The short answer is yes, but allow me to elaborate.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grey Ghost is figure 42 in the Batman: Animated line, and is part of what is looking like it may be the final assortment of single-carded figures.  He’s based on the character’s appearance in his showcase episode “Beware the Grey Ghost.”  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Right off the bat, this figure is notable for deviating from the line’s (admittedly a little inconsistent) articulation scheme.  The neck is changed from a restricted ball joint to a universal joint, the hips are now a ball and disk construction with an overlay piece for the pelvis, he has double knee joints, and his ankles follow the current Legends rocker set-up.  The biggest upside to this is an abundance of lateral movement on the legs, which removes the tendency towards pigeon-toes for these figures and also makes him a lot easier to keep standing. There are still some areas where movement could be improved (he still has nothing mid-torso), but this is a great step forward.  This line was sold on show accuracy, and Grey Ghost’s sculpt follows suit.  It’s a pretty clean recreation, and the articulation is suitably worked in without breaking things up too badly.  In terms of paint work, Grey Ghost is fairly consistent with earlier offerings.  This definitely makes the paint the weakest aspect of the figure, but it’s not terrible.  There are a few spots that could stand to be just a touch cleaner.  Grey Ghost is packed with his pistol (plus an extra hand for holding it), one of the Mad Bomber’s toy cars, an extra hand holding a pen, and a copy of the Grey Ghost VHS he’s seen signing at the end of the episode.  While it’s a little sad that the stands were cut, I do like the return to episode specific extras a lot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I genuinely thought this figure wasn’t getting released, so I was surprised to find him at a comic book store while on vacation a few weeks ago.  I wasn’t expecting much, but wasn’t going to pass on owning some version of the character as a toy.  He pleasantly surprised me to say the least, and in typical DCC fashion, they’ve managed to fix everything just before abandoning things.

#2108: Senate Hearing Tony Stark & Mark I Iron Man

SENATE HEARING TONY STARK & MARK I IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Though the first Iron Man got a pretty solid coverage of Minimates, by the time of Iron Man 2, the brand had moved to new heights and reached new audiences, and was just much larger in general.  The IM2 assortments had to pull double-duty, covering not only Iron Man 2, but also playing some slight catch-up on the first film for new fans.  Today’s set follows that, giving us new versions of the suited Tony Stark and his original Mark I armor.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in the first TRU-tie-in assortment of Marvel Minimates for Iron Man 2, alongside the more outwardly new Black Widow and Mark II pairing.

SENATE HEARING TONY STARK

Tony’s irreverent performance at the Senate hearing was heavily featured in the trailers leading up to IM2’s release.  As such, the appearance of his attire from that scene in this line wasn’t a huge shock.  Tony uses add-ons for his hair, jacket, and tie.  All three of these were re-used.  The hair is from the first film’s Tony, which is a good fit.  The jacket is from the “World of the Psychic” Peter Venkman; this was its first re-use, but it’s gone on to become a very common-place item.  Lastly, there’s the tie, re-purposed from the Spirit boxed set.  Again, the first re-use of many.  The willingness to use these new pieces, especially the sculpted tie, adds some quality to the figure that might have otherwise been missing.  The paintwork on Tony is pretty decent.  The big, goony grin on his face is certainly unique, and adds an extra bit of character to this particular figure.  There’s some impressive work on the pelvis piece, as well, delivering details that weren’t commonplace at the time.  They’re certainly appreciated here.  Perhaps the only other thing I’d have liked to see would be proper detailing under the tie on the torso, but that’s a minor flaw.  Tony included no accessories.  I can’t say I can think of what could have been included, though, so I can’t really hold it against him.

MARK I IRON MAN

The Mark I armor was one of the first Iron Man assortment’s real gems (really, only rivaled by Iron Monger), and he was also extraordinarily heavy on essentially one-off parts, so a re-release was warranted.  Like the first Mark I, he uses sculped add-ons for his helmet, chest plate, upper arm and leg armor, gauntlets, and boots.  The pieces are some of the finest sculpting from the line, especially from the period in which they appeared.  They were great the first time around, and this figure is the same.  The paint on the armor this time is somewhat changed.  It’s less silver and more of a gunmetal grey, with more wear and tear.  It loses some of the other colors, which is a shame, but it overall feels a lot more accurate, and differentiates the figure more than you might think.  What differentiates the figure most, however, isn’t what’s on the surface, but rather what’s under it.  The original Mark I gave us a pretty awesome captive Tony.  Through use of a spare hair piece, hands, and jacket, this one loosely replicates Tony’s entrance at the beginning of IM2, giving us Tony in a tux.  Sure, he was wearing it under the Mark IV in the movie, but this is still really cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these new, and I was definitely more interested in the other exclusive two pack at the time, but there’s no denying that this one is a lot better than anyone expected.  Senate Hearing Tony’s not an essential figure by any means.  He certainly could have been drab and boring, had DST just phoned him in.  Fortunately, they didn’t, resulting in a pretty nifty little ‘mate.  This Mark I could have been a simple retread of the original release, but he gets a lot of added value from the alternate look.

#2107: Kyle Katarn

KYLE KATARN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“It is a period of civil war. The Rebel Alliance struggles to free the galaxy from the clutches of the evil Galactic Empire. Discovering that Imperial forces have begun developing a new type of stormtrooper, the Rebels call on mercenary Kyle Katarn. His mission: seek out and destroy the secret Imperial project called Dark Trooper. A rogue mercenary loyal to no one, Kyle Katarn has accepted a near-impossible mission to destroy the Empire’s ability to develop an army of unstoppable stormtroopers known as Dark Troopers.”

Remember two years ago when I looked at two figures from the Expanded Universe sub-line of Power of the Force?  Well, would you look at that? I’ve finally made my way back to the rest of them.  For their first real go at Expanded Universe offerings, Kenner aimed to diversify, focusing on several different EU tales.  Included among those was the 1996 video game Dark Forces, which covers the (original version of the) acquisition of the Death Star plans, before delving a bit into its own lore.  The player plays as Kyle Katarn, a Rebellion-hired mercenary, who would make his action figure debut in the EU line.  I’ll be looking at said figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kyle Katarn is the first of the two Dark Forces-themed figures released in the Expanded Universe sub-line.  He hit shelves in 1998 and, like all of the EU figures, was a little bit scarce.  Though his bio is definitely referencing Dark Forces, and all reference material points to him being based on that game, Kyle’s design is actually a fair bit closer to the game’s sequel, Jedi Knight.  There are definitely some merged elements, and you can be a little bit forgiving with the ’90s graphics, the biggest giveaway is Kyle’s beard, since he didn’t have that in the first game.  They’ve even edited the illustration of him from the first game in order to make him closer to the figure.  Why did they decide to go with the second game’s look?  Well, there are a few possible reasons, but my main guess is that giving him the beard made him more immediately distinguishable from Han, as well as the other EU Han-stand-in Dash Rendar.  You wouldn’t want to confuse the fans, would you?  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He sports a unique sculpt, which, while pre-posed, is still fairly manageable.  By this point, the proportions issues of the PotF2 were essentially gone.  Kyle’s still definitely a product of his time, but that’s more because Kyle, the character, is a product of his time.  The face on this figure does seem a little friendlier than I’d expect from a supposed mercenary, but it’s still quite a nice offering.  I also like some of the liberties they’ve taken with some of the costume elements; in particular, I really dig his chest armor.  Kyle’s colors are a little bit brighter than the usual Star Wars fair, which works pretty well for him.  The application is pretty clean, and there’s even a little bit of weathering on the boots.  Kyle was packed with two different styles of blaster, allowing him to swap between them as he would in the game.  And, since I got him still in-package, he also has a 3D-fold-out display base, which places him in front of an Imperial Shuttle.  I really love these things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the day, the only EU figures I had were Luke and the Emporer, due to how hard the line-up was to find at retail.  When I started filling in holes in my PotF collection, these guys were all very near the top of my list, but they don’t show up super often, and I was insistent that they still be packaged.  I ended up getting fairly lucky with these, as a complete set was traded into All Time Toys a few months back, and they let me take (most) of them, for a pretty good deal at that.  Having not played the Dark Forces games personally, my interaction with Kyle is peripheral at best, but I still have fond memories of staring at his prototype all those years ago in a Star War fan magazine.  The figure’s pretty typical for the line, which is to say he’s pretty fun.

*Kyle is also notable for another reason: he’s the 5000th unique figure to be added to my collection!  That’s way too many, right?  Or is it not enough?

#2106: Autobot Springer

AUTOBOT SPRINGER

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Hey, who’s up for watching me further dive into the depths of all this crazy Transformers stuff?  Yeah, I figured as much.  So, as I’ve been trekking through all of the various Transfromers concepts, there’s one I haven’t looked at.  While I’ve looked at figures with multiple alt-modes, but I’ve not yet looked at a proper triple-changer.  The best known triple-changers are Decepticons, but the Autobots weren’t without their own, including today’s focus and Transformers: The Movie star, Springer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Springer is the new portion of the third Voyager Class assortment of Siege figures, alongside a re-issue of the Starscream figure from Series 2.  He’s only our second Voyager Class Autobot, and going by the upcoming announcements, it appears he might be the last one for the rest of the Siege branding.  In his robot mode, Springer stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 workable points of articulation.  Springer’s sculpt goes back to his vintage design that, to be fair, he never really strayed too far from in the first place.  Like a number of other figures in the line, he’s more clearly modeled on his animated counterpart, specifically his appearance in Transformers: The Movie.  Springer is on the blockier side of things, but like the Voyager Optimus, there’s a very clean sort of construction to him.  He’s definitely lighter on the “greebles” than some of the other figures in the line-up, which I suppose makes sense given his slightly newer nature in the canon.  He cuts a nice silhouette, and definitely holds his figure form well.  His articulation is a little more restricted than some of the others in the line, but it’s hardly bad.  The most of the restriction’s in the upper arms, which can be slightly tricky to work with those big honking shoulders.  Additionally, though the mobility on the ankles is decent, the stability isn’t the greatest, meaning Springer has a tendency to fall over if you don’t get him posed just right.  It’s not as bad as I was expecting given some of the reports I’d heard, but it’s enough to be a little bit annoying.  The first of Springer’s two alt-modes is a sci-fi car, following in the footsteps of his original figure.  It’s a decent enough design, and believe me, I’m always happy to see an alt mode that doesn’t translate to “brick with stuff stuck on it”, but the transformation process was rather difficult.  Even in the shots here I only felt like I was getting it “close enough,” not actually properly clicking things into place.  His second alt-mode is a helicopter, and again I found getting him through the transformation quite difficult.  I don’t know if I was doing something wrong on these, but this was probably the most frustrating transformation experience I’ve run into since jumping on-board with the line.  Springer is packed with 2 “W-10 Airslice Chopper Blades” (swords),  a “JF-10 Warp Blaster” (gun #1), and a  “C-10 EM Void Blast Capacitor” (gun #2), which can be used in robot mode or serve as accents to the two vehicle modes.  While the swords are certainly fun, I actually found myself liking the two blasters the most.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Max’s fault again.  He’s been getting off the hook a lot recently, but I’m pulling him back in.  See, when Springer was first shown off, I was still very new to the whole Transformers thing, and therefore had nothing to go on for the character, and had no reason to pay any mind to the figure.  Max, however, just *had* to show me the photos and point out how cool this figure looked, and even showed me Transformers: The Movie to boot.  This guy very quickly made his way onto my list of most anticipated releases, so I was pretty pumped when he finally came in.  Truth be told, I wasn’t quite as wowed by this figure as I’d expected to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I love his robot mode; it’s a solid figure.  It’s the other two modes and the very frustrating process of getting to them that holds him back.  Fortunately, I’m more a robot guy than I am a vehicle guy, so it only holds him back so much.

Springer came from my friends 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.

#2105: Refraktor

REFRAKTOR

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

It wasn’t entirely uncommon for characters to debut in toy-based-media tie-ins before actually getting their toys.  A good number of major G.I. Joe characters showed up in the comics and the cartoons first, as did Shockwave from the Transformers.  However, it usually means that the toy isn’t far behind.  Not so much the case with the Decepticon three-man camera team, Reflector.  Despite early appearances in the cartoon, the set didn’t get a US release until 1986, and only as a mail-in offer at that.  Further confusing matters was that the three unique bots featured on the toy didn’t so much match-up with the three identical bots from the show.  Now, Hasbro’s further muddying the water, and selling a single-packed Reflector (now dubbed “Refraktor”), and leaving it up to fans to decide how many they want…or at least they were until they confirmed that three-pack at SDCC.  See, it keeps getting confusing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Refraktor is the last new figure in the Series 3 Deluxe Class line-up for Siege.  There’s a fourth figure in the assortment, but it’s just a re-pack of the Series 1 Hound figure.  Refraktor is just a single figure, based on the singular animated design, which was in turn based on Viewfinder, the central component to Reflector.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 functioning points of articulation.  The sculpt is kind of rudimentary and basic, which, to be fair, is pretty accurate to the animation model.  It’s well suited to the army-building purposes the show suggests, and the more rudimentary nature of the sculpt allows for more of a focus on the articulation and how it’s implemented.  Refraktor’s one of the most posable figures in the line, especially when it comes to the arms and shoulders.  It definitely makes for a very playable figure.  The solo Refraktor’s alt-mode is an “artillery hovercraft”…and that’s really all I can say about it.  It’s not particularly inventive or all that exciting.  It’s just kind of a brick with a blaster on the end.  It’s clearly not supposed to be the main alt-mode.  What is the main alt-mode?  Well, if you’ve got three Refraktors on hand, you can follow the original toy’s lead and combine the three into a full-scale camera mode, with a tripod and everything.  It’s quite convincing, and even without actual instructions, it’s a pretty easy conversion.  More so than any of the other hidden alt-modes we’ve seen in Siege, this one feels like the one the figure was actually designed for, with the second being something that could be achieved in order to give the solo figure something to do without the other two.  Each Refraktor is packed with a blaster and a shield, which combine with the same pieces from the other two to form the tripod and lens of the camera, respectively.  Additionally, the circle on the front of the torso can be removed to denote whether the Refraktor shown is Viewfinder or one of the other two.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Refraktor was certainly not initially on my list of Siege figures I was intending to get.  He’s just outside the realm of Transformers I knew off-hand, and the whole “you have to buy three of them” thing seemed like a bit much to me.  But I was already grabbing Brunt and Red Alert (as well as quite a few other Hasbro items that hit at the same time) and I had the opportunity to get three right off the bat, so I decided to go for it.  As a single figure, he’s kind of pointless.  With three in play, he makes a lot more sense and is a far more satisfying offering.  It’s not really surprising that Hasbro’s already got a three-pack release on the books.

I picked up my three Refraktors 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.

#2104: Red Alert

RED ALERT

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Pretty much since the very beginning, Transformers and re-decos have gone hand-in-hand.  Sometimes just for variants of the same character, but surprisingly frequently for all-new characters.  Such was the case with Red Alert, the Autobots’ paranoid chief of security who began his life as a Sideswipe re-deco.  His latest figure follows his original’s lead, surprising pretty much no one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Alert is the second figure in the third Deluxe Class series of Siege figures.  He actually was first shown off not on his own, but as the model figure in Brunt’s renders, showing off Brunt’s weaponizer capabilities.  Prior to that, he was in a few pieces of promotional art, so most people figured he’d be coming sooner than later.  In robot mode, Red Alert stands 5 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  As I touched on in the intro, Red Alert is a Sideswipe re-deco. Sideswipe is probably my favorite figure from the first round of Deluxe figures, and one of the sleekest sculpts in the line, so it’s a very strong starting point.  Despite the initial renders showing him being a straight repaint, he does get a new head.  It’s only moderately different from Sideswipe; the horns on the helmet are shorter. Still, change is change, right?  Red Alert keeps the same basic alt-mode as Sideswipe, with the only change being the addition of the lightbar from Prowl, denoting Red Alert’s status as a rescue services vehicle.  The change between the two modes is still very intuitive, and remains one of my favorite transformations I’ve encountered.  Red Alert is packed with the previously mentioned lightbar, as well as a blaster rifle.  The two can be combined into the “RT-10 Particle Beam Circuit Welder”, which I guess is supposed to look like an axe or something?  I don’t know.  I like it more with just the basic blaster set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I liked Sideswipe a whole lot, but I wasn’t really intending to pick up Red Alert, given his status as a pretty straightforward repaint.  That said, I was already grabbing the other two in the set, and I *did* like Sideswipe a whole lot, so I caved a little bit on this one.  He’s a good figure.  Maybe not an overly new figure, but a good one.  Now, of course, I’m debating whether I really need to pick up the G2 Sideswipe and just go nuts with the re-decos.

I picked this guy up from my friends at All Time Toys, where he is still currently 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.

#2103: Brunt

BRUNT

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

The gimmick of Hasbro’s latest iteration of the Transformers brand is cross-compatibility, and this is manifested no more succinctly than in the Weaponizers, figures whose primary purpose is to augment other figures.  So far, we’ve had two Autobot Weaponizers, and I guess the Decepticons were getting a little jealous.  The latest is finally one of theirs, Brunt, who I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Brunt is part of the third series of Deluxe Class figures from Siege.  As will all of the Weaponizers so far, Brunt began his life as an accessory to a larger Transformer, specifically Trypticon, whose 2018 update Brunt was absent from.  Interestingly, the original Brunt didn’t actually have a robot mode, switching between tank and towers.  This figure introduces a robot mode, based on the Centurion droid from the Stormbringer miniseries.  In said robot mode, Brunt stands 5 1/4 inches tall and has 22 points of articulation.  The sculpt is small, but quite stocky, and he’s certainly on the blockier side of things.  Fitting enough, what with him being a literal tank and all. After being slightly disappointed by Cog’s notable hollowness in a few spots, I was happy to see that Brunt is a much more solidly constructed figure.  It means he’s a little on the shorter side, but I prefer things this way, truth be told. Brunt continues the somewhat inhuman trend among the Weaponizers, but for a Decepticon it feels a little bit less out of place.  Like his original “figure,” Brunt’s vehicle-mode is a tank, and like the other Weaponizers, it’s achieved not so much through actual transforming, but rather disassembling and reassembling in a different configuration.  It’s a little more intuitive with Brunt, largely due to there being less little tiny pieces to move around, and possibly due to my own familiarity with the style of Transformer increasing.  There’s one notable issue in transforming him, though; the way his arms work, it’s very easy to accidentally pop them off at the wrong peg when swapping him back and forth, and once you’ve done it once, it’s very easy to do it again, and a little difficult to get the arm back together again.  Brunt also has the ability to turn into additional weaponry and armor for his fellow Decepticons.  There are two shown configurations, and I myself quite like the one with the big claw arms.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting on board the whole Weaponizer train with Six Gun, I was definitely intrigued by Brunt, especially his robot mode’s design.  Of all the Series 3 Deluxes, he was definitely the one I was most excited for, and after getting them in-hand, he remains my favorite of the bunch.  There’s quite a bit to like about this guy, and I look forward to seeing other possible options for Weaponizers.

I picked up Brunt 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.

 

#2102: Hulk

HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

After a poignant absence in Infinity War and Endgame‘s opening act, Hulk makes kind of an understated reappearance after Endgame’s five-year time jump, having progressed from simple-minded brute to a hybrid of Banner’s brains and Hulk’s brawn at some point in the gap.  It gave the character a decidedly different arc for the film, and though fans had guessed at the change happening, it was still a pretty well-kept secret as a whole.  The Professor Hulk merch proper took a little while to make its way out, but he’s showing up in full force now, most notably as the central Build-A-Figure of the latest assortment of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is the Build-A-Figure for the second assortment of Endgame-themed Marvel Legends.  There are a number of looks to choose from for Professor Hulk, but Hasbro’s opted to go with the one that stays closest to comfort for Hulk: shirtless with tattered pants.  He looks this way when he goes back to the battle of New York, so it’s accurate to the film, but it doesn’t feel quite as true to this particular iteration of the character.  Personally, I’d have liked to see his cardigan-sporting look from early in the film, but his jumpsuit from the end of the movie would have been cool too.  This one is fine, but seems like an off choice given what Hasbro *didn’t* do with the figure.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  After doing an awkward sort of rework to the Avengers sculpt for Age of Ultron, and then doing an all-new sculpt for Ragnarok, this Hulk gets another all-new sculpt.  It’s the most balanced and realistic Hulk sculpt we’ve gotten to date.  The proportions are solid, the limbs hang naturally, and the articulation is well worked-in and has a solid range given the general sizing of him.  There are two different heads included for this guy.  The main one is a more neutral expression, which works well enough, since it lacks that usual Hulk intensity.  The likeness on the face is actually a pretty decent match for the CGI Ruffalo, but the hair does seem to be a slight bit off; it lacks a lot of Ruffalo’s distinctive waviness.  Hulk’s second head has a smirk.  What’s interesting is that, even though a grin of some sort should feel more proper for this version of the character, but for whatever reason, he seems to be back to the Avengers facial model, while still sporting the Endgame hair.  It’s an odd combo, and honestly it would have been better if they’d just gone full-on first movie styling for the second head, since that would do a bit to justify the costume choice for the figure.  Hulk’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled.  The chest hair detailing is pretty well done, as is the printed face detailing.  I’m also glad to see they included the greying at the temples like he’s got going on in the film.  Hulk’s only extra is that second head I mentioned, but it’s more than most BaFs get, so there’s no complaints from me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always been a fan of the Professor Hulk concept, and I was very happy to see it turn up in the film.  I figured we’d be seeing him pop up in this spot, so the only thing that really surprised me about the announcement was the costume choice.  I wish they’d gone with a different look, and I’m holding out for some sort of follow-up release, but purely as a figure, this guy is pretty nice.

Unlike some recent assortments where the line-ups were more centralized in quality, there’s a wider spread on these guys.  Loki and Rock Python are definitely some of the weaker Legends releases as of late, but on the flip side, War Machine, Rescue, and Union Jack are some of my favorite recent releases and are just solid figures all around.  Through in some solid middle-ground figures with Beta Ray Bill and Shuri, and there’s certainly enough good in the assortment to outweigh the bad.