Taking a day

Hi there faithful readers.  Unfortunately, circumstances have led to me being unfit to get a review posted today.  I’m going to regroup and hopefully be back on track tomorrow.  That’s pretty much it, I guess…

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#2096: Rescue

RESCUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Since she dawned the Mark 42 armor in Iron Man 3, there’s been a real underlying desire to finally see Pepper Potts suit up as Rescue, her armored identity introduced in the comics in 2009.  Fortunately, the MCU paid things off in Endgame‘s final bout, giving us Pepper in all her armored glory.  Toy companies have jumped right on the design, and a couple of figure offerings are already on the slate.  One of the first to hit shelves is the Legends offering, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rescue is officially figure 1 in the Hulk Series of Marvel Legends, and is the second movie-based figure includes here.  She’s also our second movie Pepper (following the IM3 variant from last year), and our second Legends Rescue (following the Marvel subscription incentive figure).  The figure is just under 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  Rescue is a brand new sculpt, and seems to be a reasonable recreation of the suit as it looked in the movie, which is certainly an improvement on the usual pre-production influences we tend to see on the MCU armors.  There are some spots where the design could be a bit more streamlined relative to the film, but by and large, it’s a solid sculpt.  There are some slight limitations to the articulation on the arms, especially the wrists, but for the most part the figure’s ‌movement is also quite well implemented and doesn’t require breaking up the sculpt too much.  There are two different back pieces included, one with the “wings” deployed and the other more compact, allowing for a variety of looks.  While the deployed version is my preferred, and certainly the more dynamic of the two, having the option is nice.  The colors on Rescue represented a notable change up from the comics, where she’s rocking red and silver.  Here she has a indigo and light gold combo, which I really dug in the movie, and I think looks really slick on the toy.  The addition of the incidental details, like the labels adds a nice finish as well.  Beyond the interchangeable backpacks, Rescue’s only extra is the torso to the Hulk BaF.  It’s too bad we couldn’t get a Paltrow head, or maybe some extra hands, because she feels a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rescue is definitely a design I walked out of the theatre wanting as a toy.  I definitely wasn’t alone, and it’s great that Hasbro was able to turn it around so quickly.  There are a few small issues with this figure, mostly having to do with the accessories, but overall I’m quite happy with the final product.

#2095: War Machine

WAR MACHINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

When the fate of humankind is at stake, there is no mission too great for U.S. Military officer James “Rhodey” Rhodes, a.k.a. War Machine.”

Just like Iron Man, War Machine gets some slight modifications to his suit every time we see him in the films.  Barring the change from Iron Man 2 to Iron Man 3, where there was some streamlining in play, each subsequent suit seems to bulk him up a little bit from the last one, in contrast to the way Tony’s suits tended to go.  Rhodey got left out of things for Infinity War‘s Legends component, but with two new looks for EndGame, he found his way into the second line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

War Machine is part of the “Hulk Series” of Marvel Legends, which is our second Avengers-based assortment of the year.  He’s one of the three EngGame-branded figures in the line-up (not counting the Hulk BaF).  He’s the odd-man out, as the one figure in the set with no included BaF piece.  It’s okay, though, because this War Machine is based on the final suit of armor we see Rhodey sporting, which shows up during the big final battle.  It’s big and bulky, so no extra makes sense.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This War Machine is an all-new sculpt, and a pretty good one at that.  It’s very clean and polished, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Rhodey’s Mark 005 armor.  Despite its bulky size, it’s actually quite mobile, at least at most points.  There’s a bit of restriction on the elbows, but beyond that, there’s quit a bit that can be done with him, even moreso than his comparatively much sleeker Age of Ultron counterpart.  The only slight complaint I have is that they still haven’t really figured out what to do with the shoulder gun, which is on a ball joint that’s essentially just a cut joint.  It can’t really go anywhere else, and removing it leaves a rather obtrusive-looking brick on his shoulder.  In Hasbro’s defense, we never see the canon anywhere but on his shoulder in the film, and given the overall move to nano-tech on all of the armors by EndGame, I’m willing to bet there’s no easy way to recreate how the movie handled it.  Plus, who’s really going to display him without it.  War Machine’s paint is the one real inaccurate part of the figure.  In the movie, the Mark 005 armor is actually done up in an Iron Patriot color scheme, rather than War Machine’s usual colors, but this figure instead goes with the classic black and silver.  It’s possible that the Patriot colors were a last minute change to the film, but an alternate theory can be provided by the number printed on the chestplate, which erroneously reads “006”.  The 006 armor is the sleeker, more traditional armor that Rhodey wears for most of the film, and its colors more closely match this in scheme, so it’s possible they just had the wrong color keys.  Admittedly, though it may be inaccurate, I like this color set a bit more, so I don’t mind so much.  Additionally, the actual paint, removed from source material, is quite nicely handled, and I dig the little details placed throughout.  Though he doesn’t include a Build-A-Figure piece, War Machine does include the previously mentioned shoulder canon, as well as two wrist mountable guns.  It’s too bad he didn’t also get an unmasked head, but it’s not like he he feels too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the Civil War War Machine, which I kind of regretted after the fact, so I’ve been waiting for another update.  I was hoping to see him show up in this line-up, and Hasbro delivered.  Yeah, he’s technically not screen accurate, but he’s still a whole lot of fun, and my favorite version of the character to date, plus a strong contender for my figure in this line-up.

Like 99% of my Legends these days, War Machine was purchased from my sponsors over at All Time Toys.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2094: Biggs Darklighter

BIGGS DARKLIGHTER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Tatooine native and childhood buddy of Luke Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter holds off quickly advancing TIE fighters in the Death Star trench.”

There’s actually a decent chunk of material that was left on the cutting room floor when Star Wars made it to theaters.  Perhaps the most pivotal blow is to the role of Biggs Darklighter.  Luke’s best friend has a handful of scenes focusing on his journey from Imperial to Rebel pilot, but the final cut of the film just leaves him as one of Luke’s two wingmen (the other being Wedge Antilles) as he begins his trench run on the Death Star.  His demise at the hands of Vader isn’t even dwelled on all that much, so the audience could be forgiven for not realizing he and Luke had any connection at all.  Because he’s ultimately pretty minor, he was left out of the toy side of things until some of his scenes were reinserted for the Special Edition release in the ’90s.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Biggs was released in the 1998 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s depicted in his X-Wing pilot garb, which was, at the time, the only thing we’d seen him in, so I guess it was sensible.  Biggs is actually the first proper X-Wing pilot we got in PotF2, as both Luke and Wedge had been done in their insulated suits from Hoth.  Biggs is comparatively a lot less bulky, and a little more in line with later offerings, though he still gets the permanently affixed helmet, which ends up looking a little bit under-scaled compared to some of the later offerings.  What we can see of the face doesn’t really look much like Biggs’ actor Garrickk Hagon, but I guess it doesn’t look unlike him either.  He’s got the mustache, which is really the most distinctive element.  The paint work on Biggs is pretty decent, and sticks to the script for the pilots.  The best work is definitely on the helmet, which has his unique patterning, which is pretty nifty.  Biggs is packed with two differently styled blasters, you know, from all those times he used blasters.  There’s a big one and a small one.  Also, as a ’98 figure, he also includes a Freeze Frame slide, showing Biggs from the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite collecting the line in ’98, I don’t actually have many memories of seeing that many of the new figures at retail at the time.  This included Biggs, though I’ve subsequently seen him *a lot* over the years.  This one came to me fairly recently, though its resided in the same house as me for some time.  About a decade ago, my brother went through a Star Wars phase, and this is one the handful of figures he still had on-hand, which he gave to me a few months back to aid me in my mission to get a full run.  I can’t really say there’s much special about Biggs.  He’s just sort of there, but I guess he’s not awful.

#2093: Destro

DESTRO

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Destro is the faceless power behind MARS (Military Armaments Research System), largest manufacturer of state-of-the-art weaponry. To Destro, war is man’s most natural state: the fittest survive and the greatest technological advances are made. He maintains a luxurious lifestyle around the world. Destro provides high-tech arms to any side able to meet his price and will incite war where it does not exist. He dons his silver battle mask (a family tradition) and enters battle himself, either with COBRA Command (Destro is their major weapons supplier) or against them if it’s better for business.

Destro respects the G.I. Joe team for their combat skills and expertise, but abhors them for wasting such skills to maintain peace. He’s totally dedicated to seeing them undermined, subverted, or destroyed! Destro respects the G.I. Joe team for their combat skills and expertise, but abhors them for wasting such skills to maintain peace. He’s totally dedicated to seeing them undermined, subverted, or destroyed!”

The villainous component of the A Real American Hero line in its debut year was somewhat small compared to what it would later become.  Apart from Cobra Commander’s later inclusion the first year, there weren’t really many villains to go on.  And yet, before the two sides of the conflict were even fully formed, we already had a potential middle ground (though he’d eventually prove a pretty strict villain for just about every version of the franchise going forward) in Destro, steel-faced arms dealer.

 THE FIGURE ITSELF

Destro was part of the 1983 assortment of GI Joe: A Real American Hero, where he’s actually one of only two single-carded villains, the other being Major Bludd.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Though they had added the bicep swivels by this point, the necks hadn’t yet been upgraded to the ball-joints, meaning he’s just got the side to side motion.  I guess it’s not the end of the world for a guy in a big metal mask, though.  There are lots of distinctive Joe looks, but it’s honestly kind of hard to top the classic Destro look.  It’s hokey as all get-out, but its undeniably unique,  and would go on to play a major part in influencing the less “standard issue” parts of the Joe mythos.  For what its worth, Gung Ho’s presence in the same year’s line-up means that Destro doesn’t quite have the most absurd design, but it’s definitely up there, with the popped collar, low-cut shirt, and chrome mask.  Said mask is certainly the star piece of the figure; unlike later versions, it actually looks like a mask, and has much sharper angles than a normal face.  It’s also a little larger, so there could conceivably be a head underneath of it, which was most definitely dropped as they progressed.  At the time of his release, Destro was the beefiest figure in the line, which would serve as an inspiration for the character’s imposing stature going forward, though it’s certainly more underplayed here than you might expect.  Destro’s paintwork was pretty basic, with the chromed helmet again being the star attraction.  Everything else is straightforward, though it’s worth noting things like his pendant were especially prone to wear as time went on.  Destro was packed with a small pistol and a backpack, which folds out to showcase an array of weaponry, as you would expect to see for an arms dealer.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Destro is actually the earliest thing I recall about the small-scale Joes.  I remember seeing him (though it was definitely a later figure) at Ageless Heroes when they were closing down.  At the time, I mistook him for Deadman (who was still without figures in those days), and his look kind of stuck in my head from thereout.  Despite that, I’ve not had many Destros in my collection, for one reason or another.  I’ve been wanting to get the original for some time, and fortunately the large Joe collection that came in at All Time gave me just such an opportunity.  Destro’s original figure is one of the gems of the earliest days of the line, and a real showcase of where things would end up going.

As noted above, Destro came from All Time Toys, who got in a rather sizable vintage Joe collection, the remnants of which can be checked 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.

#2092: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

After his parents were murdered, young Dick Grayson was adopted by Bruce Wayne, becoming his ward… and, as the first Robin The Boy Wonder, his partner in the war against crime. Years later, Robin struck out on his own as Nightwing and now lives in the corruption-ridden city of Bludhaven where by day he serves as a member of that city’s police department.”

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics was born out of DC Superheroes, a line that was itself born out of their earlier Batman line.  DC Superheroes introduced some Superman characters into the mix, but was otherwise still very Batman-focused.  When it came time for DC Universe Classics, there was no corner of the DCU unavailable, so Mattel got a lot deeper with their coverage.  However, they still didn’t stray too far from the Batman side of things, meaning it wasn’t a huge surprise to see two of his sidekicks crop up early in the line’s run.  I’ve already looked at the Robin, so how about the former Robin, aka Nightwing?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was part of Series 3 of DC Universe Classics, alongside the previously reviewed Tim Drake Robin, Green Lantern, Sinestro, and Deathstroke.  He was the third figure Mattel had done of Nightwing at this scale, and like Robin before him, this figure marked the first time that the Four Horsemen worked on the character.  Nightwing is seen here in his traditional blue/black costume, which had been his consistent look for over a decade when this figure hit shelves, meaning it was a pretty safe choice.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Nightwing used the mid-sized male body, which was first introduced for this very assortment, and would be used simultaneously for both him and Hal Jordan.  It’s a little on the bulky side for how Dick is usually portrayed, especially in the shoulders, but within the context of the line, it worked alright.  Nightwing had a unique head, forearms, and shins.  The head depicts an early-to-mid ’00s Nightwing, as denoted by the hairstyle.  While I might like it to be a little more expressive, it’s otherwise a pretty strong take on the character, and there’s plenty of detail work, especially in the texturing of the hair.  The forearms and shins depict the most inconsistent element of this Nightwing costume: the cuffs for the gloves and boots.  They were frequently all different shapes, sizes, and positions, and by the time of Hush, Jim Lee had removed them completely.  That streamlined look is honestly my preferred interpretation, but to Mattel’s credit, there’s been very little action figure coverage with these pieces included, so it does help the figure stand out from DCD’s offerings.  The paintwork on Nightwing is mostly pretty basic, straight color work.  The blue is appropriately bright, and the application is clean.  There’s some ever so slight accenting on the hair, which helps bring out the sculpted textures, and that’s pretty nice.  Nightwing was packed with his usual Eskrima sticks (which he can store on his back, another unique feature of this figure), as well as the head/torso of the Grundy CnC.  Why he got the largest piece over the comparatively much smaller Robin figure is anyone’s guess, but mine didn’t have it anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, it’s a DCUC review, so you know the drill: this assortment was hard to find at retail, and I never saw a Nightwing in person.  I managed to track down GL and Sinestro, my two main wants, in-package and new, and got the reissue of Robin a little later, but Nightwing never turned up.  I already had the Hush figure, so I wasn’t too worried about it, but when this guy was among a large DCUC collection that got traded into All Time Toys last year, I jumped at the opportunity to get him.  I’ve got a lot of Nightwing figures, and I can’t say this one really stands out from the pack, but he’s certainly not a bad figure.

#2091: Family Matters

MAGNETO, QUICKSILVER, & SCARLET WITCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The parentage of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch has been quite a storytelling merry-go-round.  Originally just a pair of mutant siblings born to unnamed parents, they were eventually revealed to be the children of a Gypsy couple.  That couple then revealed they were actually the twins’ adoptive parents, and their real parents were the Golden Age heroes the Whizzer and Miss America.  That story stuck for a little bit, before the best known twist occurred, and X-Men foe Magneto was revealed to be their father.  That’s the story that stuck…well apart from a few years back when Marvel toyed with removing their connection to Magneto in the midst of their troubles with getting the X-characters’ media rights back from Fox.  It would seem they’ve decided to role back that decision, at least as far as other media is concerned.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Magneto, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch make up the “Family Matters” boxed set, an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, coinciding with the “80 Years of Marvel” celebration.  The set was put up for order a few months ago, and just started shipping out two weeks ago.

MAGNETO

The biggest name in the set, and certainly the one with the most action figure coverage, Magneto actually has gotten two Legends releases since the line relaunched in the new packaging style.  The first was using old parts, and the second, while a solid figure, put Mags in a more recent, less classically-inspired costume.  This one goes for about as classic as you can get for Magneto, placing him with his early ’80s/’90s red and purple design.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  Like the last figure, this Magneto is built on the Spider-UK body, which is honestly a fantastic choice for the character.  Beyond the base body, there actually aren’t any parts shared between the two figures.  This one gets a new set of forearms and boots, plus add-ons for his cape and belt, and is topped off with two brand-new head sculpts.  The forearms and boots fit right in with the pre-existing Spider-UK tooling, and give him all of the proper details he should have.  The cape is definitely one of Hasbro’s best, as it pretty much pitch-perfectly captures the way his cape is often drawn in the comics.  I really love how it sits over the shoulders.  The belt’s a pretty darn basic piece, but it works well enough for what it’s supposed to be doing.  The two heads are fairly similar, with the helmets in particular being the same sculpt.  I can appreciate that from a consistency stand-point.  Beneath the helmets is where the difference lies.  There’s a calmer, friendlier head, and an angrier, more power-crazed head.  Both are really nice, and work for the diverging takes on the character.  The helmet sits a little higher than I’d prefer on the calm head, but it’s not awful, and I don’t know which one will end up as my default.  Magneto’s paintwork is a definite step-up from the last figure.  It’s bright and eye-catching, and the application’s all very clean.  I really dig the glossy finish on the helmet, and the mix of metallic and flat finish on the purple sections.  Also, I dig that they used the same red and purple on this guy that they did for Onslaught, allowing for another head-swap option.  Magneto is packed with two pairs of hands (fists and open gesture), as well as a pair of energy effect pieces molded in a flecked purple plastic.

QUICKSILVER

Pietro Maximoff is the member of family who’s been absent from Legends for the longest period of time.  His first, and only, release was way back when Hasbro first took over in 2007, with no updates since then.  As the least prominent of the three, it’s not a huge shock, though it was a little surprising that he didn’t get any coverage around Age of Ultron.  Whatever the case, he’s here now, based on his classic blue and white attire.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Quicksilver is built on the ANAD 2099 body, which isn’t necessarily ideal.  I mean, it’s okay in theory, but not quite in practice.  I like this body’s posability, and general build, but the narrower shoulders compared to other bodies make scaling on the head a much more delicate art, and they just missed it with this guy.  His head’s just a tad too large for the body, which results in Quicksilver looking rather cartoony and goofy, at least in most poses.  Placed on something like the Bucky Cap body, it actually looks okay, so I wonder if they originally intended to build him that way.  I do like the head on its own; it captures that arrogance that only Pietro Maximoff can pull off, and the hair’s been translated in a pretty realistic, not super crazy fashion.  Quicksilver’s paint ends up as the weakest in the set, though that’s largely just my figure.  The base work is fine, and I particularly dig the slightly pearlescent finish on the boots and gloves.  However, my figure’s got some pretty serious slop on the lightning detailing on his front.  It’s pretty distracting, and hopefully this isn’t a widespread issue.  Pietro is packed with two pairs of hands in fists and flat-handed poses.

SCARLET WITCH

Wanda’s gotten some pretty good toy coverage recently, no doubt because of her breakaway success in the movies.  We haven’t gotten a comics-based release of her since the Allfather Series in 2015, and I actually liked that figure a lot.  Apart from some minor issues, I really wouldn’t have expected another release.  The theme of the set kind of begs for her inclusion, though, and a more modern variant wouln’t really fit with the other two.  Hasbro took advantage of this opportunity to give us a proper ’80s Scarlet Witch, rather than the slightly amalgamated design we got last time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  The majority of the body, as well as the cape of this figure are the same parts used on the Maidens of Might release (though I erroneously referred to them as Moonstone and Emma Frost parts the first time I reviewed them), which is fine, since they were pretty good the first time around.  She swaps out the heeled feet for flat soled ones, fixing my main complaint about that figure, and also swaps out the forearms for Kitty Pryde‘s flared gloves.  It’s all topped off with a brand-new head, which is not only an immense improvement on the old Toy Biz monstrosity, it’s also one of the most attractive female heads that Hasbro’s produced for this line.  The details on the head are crisp and numerous, and I really like how they’ve worked in all of the layers between the hair, headpiece, and face.  Wanda’s paintwork is pretty solid.  At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it compared to the prior figure, since the two shades of the costume look rather close, and I didn’t know how the metallics would work out.  In person, I actually think it looks really nice, and I prefer it to the straight red and pink from before.  Additionally, there’s a lot of very nice small detail work on the face, especially on the eyes, just further accenting the already very strong sculpt.  Wanda is packed with the two energy effect pieces introduced with the Infinity War Scarlet Witch, which have the advantage of not being super over-used yet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for a classic Magneto pretty much since the line relaunched, and as much as I liked last year’s figure, I knew I wanted this one as soon as he was shown off.  The other two were really just along for the ride when I jumped on the preorder as soon as it went up.  I sort of forgot about them, if I’m honest, and after dropping a lot of money on two new series of figures two weekends ago, the last thing I thought I needed was more Legends. Then I got notification that these shipped, and boom, three more.  Magneto’s awesome, no doubt.  Definitely the definitive take on the figure, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets singled out for his own release later down the line.  Quicksilver is the real weak link of the set for me.  The body choice doesn’t work, and the paint issues just make things worse.  He’s not awful, but he could be better.  The real surprise for me is the one figure in the set I didn’t think I needed at all: Scarlet Witch.  Not only is she just an unquestionably superior figure to the last comics release, she’s also just my favorite part of the set, no doubt.

#2090: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: COMBINER WARS (HASBRO)

The legend of Ultra Magnus is exceeded only by the legend of Optimus Prime. When Ultra Magnus was lost, the forces of justice would not let a warrior of his caliber fall. Minimus Ambus, using the power of his rare loadbearer spark, enables Ultra Magnus to fight on.”

As I am doing my very best to become a respectable Transformers fan, I’m working on doing what a respectable fan must do: picking out favorites.  There was no denying that Soundwave was my undisputed favorite Decepticon, because, I mean, look at him.  I mean, that dude’s just pretty cool, right?  But what of the Autobots?  There were a few potential choices, but I just can’t help but really dig Ultra Magnus.  He appeals to my ingrained dislike of main characters by checking off a lot of the boxes that Optimus does, while at the same time *not* being the actual main character.  He also has a tendency to get some pretty darn cool toys, even if they often start off as Optimus reworks.  Additionally, his Siege figure was really the one that sold me on the line as a whole, so I’m definitely developing a somewhat sentimental beat for the guy.  And what does Ethan do with characters he likes?  That’s right, he buys all of the toys.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was the Wave 3 Leader Class release from Tranformers: Combiner Wars.  Combiner Wars, the first part of the “Prime Wars” trilogy, was unsurprisingly built around a combining gimmick.  That said, the Leader Class figures actually weren’t designed around said gimmick, so Magnus is really a stand-alone release.  Though clearly G1-inspired, Magnus takes more direct inspiration from his design from IDW’s retelling of the G1-verse.  In his robot mode, Magnus stands about 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He’s got more points of articulation than his Siege counterpart, but I ultimately found him to be slightly stiffer than that figure, largely due to his lack of movement at the waist and wrists.  Additionally, while the articulated fingers are cool, they don’t work out quite as well as you’d hope; getting them to grip his included weapons is rather difficult, and definitely not going to be a long-term thing, unless you find some way to affix them.  At the very least, some pegs on the insides of the hands to hold things in place would have been a nice fix.  While Magnus’s original figure (and his Siege update) had his main look as the result of armor clipped overtop of an all white Optimus-style bot, this figure instead just streamlines it into a single bot-mode…mostly.  I’ll get to that in a second.  The bot mode is a little sleeker than the Siege figure, mostly because it’s not the result of a lot of clip on parts.  Though not as boxy, he’s still quite boxy, though, as you would expect for the character.  He’s directly based on Nick Roche’s design for the character, which is itself drawing more directly from Magnus’s animated appearance.  For instance, his “eyes” are lenses, something not present on the Siege figure.  It’s a different look, and I definitely can dig it.  This figure ends up being about an inch taller than the Siege figure, but in order to facilitate this, he has to cheat some plastic use, resulting in some hollow spots.  The most notable ones are in the legs.  The backs are exposed, but otherwise not a huge issue.  The lower legs fold up to hide the hollowness, but have a tendency to pop apart, which can be a little frustrating.  I definitely prefer Siege‘s solid construction.  That being said, there’s one area where this figure’s hollow nature plays to his favor.  In the IDW series, they referenced Magnus’s inner-robot mode by revealing that the real Magnus had died some time back, and his name was subsequently carried on by a number of other bots, wearing Magnus armor.  The longest-serving replacement was Minimus Ambus, and this figure rounds out the IDW-reference by including a small Minimus Ambus figure, who stands 2 1/2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He can be placed in the empty chest cavity of the figure for the full effect, which is actually pretty cool.

Magnus’s alt-mode is a truck and trailer, a fairly classic choice for the character.  The transformation between the two modes is actually not too complicated, and I didn’t even have to consult any instructions to get him to the end result, so I’d say that’s a pretty good design implementation.  The final product isn’t a bad looking vehicle, though if you want to get into the relative scaling of everything, it’s worth noting that the trailer portion of the vehicle would stand roughly seven stories tall were it a real life vehicle.  I’m not sure how inconspicuous that would be, but then again, he’s a bright red, white, and blue truck with missile pods and two guns mounted on the back.  He may not be the best infiltrator just in general.  Minimus (who can’t remain in the main bot during the transformation) has an alt-mode as well, which is an even simpler transformation than the main bot.  He turns into a small car, which has a definite sci-fi bend to it, and is actually pretty cool.  In addition to the smaller Minimus figure, Magnus includes two blasters and two missile pods, which can also be combined into a pretty sweet looking hammer for Magnus to hold.  Additionally, thanks to the way his armor is implemented on his wrists, he can also hold the hammer a little more securely than he can the guns individually, making it by far the superior weapon choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m less and less able to blame Max for my Transformers purchases.  I tried with this one, but he’s put in an official bid to reject it, so I guess he gets a pass.  In all of my research when I was reviewing the Siege Magnus, I came across this guy and thought he was pretty cool, and that I might like to track him down eventually.  Well, instead, he tracked me down.  Two large Transformers collections were traded into All Time Toys, and this Magnus was contained in one of them, so home with me he came.  As purely an action figure, the Siege version’s definitely superior, but there’s a lot I dig about this guy, and there’s enough to differentiate the two versions that I don’t feel so bad having them both in my collection.  Of course, now I want even more Ultra Magnuses, so that’s probably going to become my new thing.

As noted above, Magnus was purchased from my sponsors 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.

#2089: White Ranger

WHITE RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Since it’s arrival on US shores in the mid-90s, Power Rangers merch has been produced by Bandai, who are generally the go-to for Japanese media that gets imported.  They’ve been doing that thing for like two decades, but admittedly started to falter as Power Rangers‘ reach grew outside of its original, younger demographic.  Bandai, or their American component at least, has never been one for the more collector’s oriented side of the toy world.  You know who’s actually pretty good at that, though?  Hasbro.  And Hasbro really wanted to make Power Rangers toys, apparently, and decided that the easiest way to facilitate that was to buy Power Rangers.  Not the license, the brand.  They officially took over at the beginning of the year, with their first products being for the latest incarnation of the show.  The big exciting thing, though, is their go at a collector’s line, dubbed The Lightning Collection.  I’ll be looking at my first figure from the line, the White Ranger, or, if you’re my drunk best friend, the White Ragnar.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The White Ranger is the first of four figures in Series 1 of The Lightning Collection.  He’s clearly designed as the natural pairing to the Lord Zedd figure also featured in this same assortment.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The Lightning Collection is designed as a counterpart to Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series and Marvel Legends lines, so it’s scaled pretty similarly, kind of bridging the gap between the two of them.  But more importantly than that, let’s discuss the scaling relative to other Power Rangers lines.  The Figuarts and Legacy offerings were on opposite sides of the rather nebulous 6-inch scale, and kind of both off on their own.  This line definitely scales a lot closer to Figuarts.  They’re a little taller, but it’s close enough scaling that it’ll work more or less.  At the very least, this version of Tommy will fit in alright with the Figuarts releases of the main five Mighty Morphin’ guys.  Like the scaling, the styling of this figure’s sculpt falls somewhat between the two prior collectors lines.  While he’s definitely got a little more bulk to him than the Figuarts stuff, he’s nowhere near as crazy buff as the Legacy stuff was.  It’s actually a rather nice happy medium, and I think my favorite styling so far.  The sculpt on this figure is all-new, of course, and a pretty strong recreation of his design from the show, in a pretty realistic fashion.  The details aren’t quite as crisp as the Figuarts stuff, but that’s largely due to the slightly more rubbery plastic, which ultimately makes the figure feel a lot sturdier than those guys did.  I do miss the ability to remove the holster on the belt, like you could on the Figuarts, but beyond that, I like it a lot.  The White Ranger’s paintwork is decent overall, but I did encounter a number of issues from figure to figure when I was looking through them.  I picked the best of the bunch, and he still has a few issues, so there’s definitely some flaws to be had.  Overall, though, the issues I encountered were all pretty minor; I was just being picky.  The White Ranger was packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, the other in a karate chop/gripping combo, as well as his Saba Sword, an effect piece for the sword, and an un-helmeted Tommy head.  That’s quite an impressive accessory compliment, and I hope Hasbro can keep this up for future offerings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the Figuarts White Ranger when he was released, so there was this White Ranger-shaped whole in my Power Rangers line-up.  I sort of filled in that spot with the 20th Anniversary Movie White Ranger, but it wasn’t quite the same.  When this guy was on the list for the first line-up, I was actually pretty excited and I’ve been waiting for this line to hit.  After being kind of let-down by the Legacy Collection, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from these, but I gotta say, I’m really happy with the end result.  He’s a little sturdier than a Figurarts, which makes him a lot more playable, but at the same time, he scales pretty well with them, meaning there’s less of a need to rebuy everything again.

I grabbed the White Ranger from All Time Toys, where he’s still available here.  If your looking for other Legends or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2088: Molten Man

MOLTEN MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Compared to some of the others in this line-up, Molten Man is actually a pretty old foe.  He first appeared just two years into the original book’s run, and sort of followed the flow of fairly straight gimmick characters.  That said, he’s never majorly taken off as a character and has a tendency to sort of go away for long periods of time.  He’s also not generally been very prominent in much of the off-shoot media, though his name at least was used for the fire elemental in the build-up to Far From Home.  Said elemental also serves as the central Build-A-Figure for the latest round of Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Molten Man is, unsurprisingly, the Build-A-Figure for the “Molten Man Series” of Marvel Legends.  As noted in the intro, he’s not the classic Molten Man, but rather the movie’s re-imagining of him.  Where Mysterio stuck pretty close, Molten Man is more monstrous than usual, so slotting him in as his comics-equivalent seems unlikely to work, unless you’re game for a very different take on the character.  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Molten Man’s sculpt is a brand-new offering, and a pretty in-depth affair.  By far my favorite piece is the head, which has this really awesome melted look to it, while still keeping his face rather expressive.  The rest of the body continues the fluid, melting appearance pretty well, though it maybe doesn’t work quite as well over larger surfaces.  I do like the melting girders sticking out of his arms, though.  Unlike a lot of Legends, Molten Man is definitely sculpted with a particular pose in mind; he’s meant to be slumped over and leaning on his left side, in sort of an ape like posture.  It works pretty well, and still leaves some room for variance, even if all of the poses still kind of center on one main posture.  The paintwork on Molten Man has its ups and downs.  The torso is the best, being molded in clear plastic, with the gold  being applied over top.  This makes him look like he’s being lit from within in the right set-up, but is unfortunately not carried through to the rest of the parts, where the gold is the base coat, with orange detailing painted over.  It doesn’t look horrible, but it’s not quite as impressive, especially when lit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Molten Man is another character I don’t have a ton of attachment to, movie or comic-wise, so I wasn’t beating down the door to complete him.  That said, I did think he looked okay in the shots I’d seen.  In hand, I quite like this figure.  He’s a nicely crafted piece, and just a solid big monster baddie. I see this guy being pretty versatile in a display.  He’s definitely one of my favorite Build-A-Figures of the year so far.

Molten Man serves as a nice central point to another surprising assortment from Hasbro.  While I won’t deny there were a few figures that left me slightly cold (namely Stealth Spidey and the Doppleganger), there were far more figures that were a pleasant surprise.  There’s a strong basic Spider-Man, a fantastic new figure for a slightly lesser villain, two great movie villains, and serviceable updates of two more classic characters. Definitely a strong assortment.