#2172: Thor

THOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Back in the early days of Marvel Legends, Thor figures weren’t the most common things to crop up.  He did manage to get two figures over the course of the Toy Biz days, but the early run of Hasbro only added one more, due to him being dead for a while at the time.  Since the return of Legends, his figures have been more of the modern persuasion; our last classic Thor was 12 years ago.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s paying tribute to a lot of classic designs, courtesy of their celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, and Thor got in on some of that classic love.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor is one of the two widely released single-packed “80 Years of Marvel” Legends figures, shipped in solid cases of himself.  As noted above, this Thor is the classic version of the character, and is designed to match up with the Walmart-Exclusive Cap from earlier this year, being loosely patterned on Alex Ross’s illustrations of the main trio of Avengers.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Thor is sporting an all-new sculpt, and it’s a sculpt that, more than anything Hasbro has done in this line, feels like it’s specifically designed to replace the Toy Biz Giant Man Series Thor, which was the pinnacle of Toy Biz Thors.  It makes sense, I suppose, since for most collectors, that’s the figure this one’s going to be directly competing with anyway, given just how long it’s been since our last classic Thor.  Whatever the case, this sculpt is very, very nice.  It’s clean, and bold, and captures the appropriate aesthetic of the classic comics design, while still managing to work in some smaller details on the costume to help sell it as an actual cloth costume, and not just something that’s painted on.  In particular, I really like the seam running down the center of his tunic, as well as the wrinkles in his tights on his legs.  Those add some nice realism to the figure.  Unlike every comic Thor since the ROML release, this one doesn’t feel oversized when compared to his compatriots.  He’s still got some bulk on him, but he’s not inhuman in scale.  Thor’s got a sculpted cape, which Hasbro’s gone with a dynamic flow for.  It continues the pleasant trend of Hasbro turning in some really solid capes; it’s got enough pose to it to be fun with action poses, but not enough to look too weird when he’s just standing at attention.  It’s also not too overly heavy, so he can stand alright on his own.  Thor’s paintwork is very similar in styling to the Cap figure, as you might well expect.  Application is clean and crisp, and all of the important details are covered, but it’s worth noting that the colors are ever so slightly subdued when compared to other “classic” figures.  It’s certainly not a bad look, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hasbro had a more classically hued re-release in mind somewhere down the line.  Thor is packed with Mjolnir, which like its user is an all-new, far less ridiculously sized sculpt.  The length of the handle surprised me at first, because I’ve become accustomed to the longer handles we’ve been getting, but this actually works pretty well, and I love how “Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.” looks on the face of it. In addition to the hammer, Thor also has two different left hands, one in a fist and one in open gesture.  It’s definitely a lighter selection than I’d expected based on the other two he pairs with and his higher price point, but I suppose it’s the sizing that’s supposed to make up for that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As beautiful as he was, I never found the old Walmart Thor, nor was I much of a fan of the version that preceded it.  My Legends Thor was the armored one from the Blob Series, until he was replaced by the Marvel Now variant a few years ago.  I liked that figure a lot, but he wasn’t a classic Thor, and my Avengers have been skewing more and more classic all the time.  This figure finally makes classic Thor readily available again, and I have to say, he’s a very nicely rendered version.  Definitely the nicest Legends Thor out there, possibly just the best Thor figure you can get.  I do wish he wasn’t so light on accessories, but that’s the only thing I can hold against him.

I picked up Thor from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#2171: Luminara Unduli

LUMINARA UNDULI

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Jedi Master Luminara Unduli encounters dangerous enemies while bringing a notorious Separatist leader to stannd trial. Battle droids attack the Jedi cruiser transporting Nute Gunray, and the assassin Asajj Ventress secretly boards the ship. Luminara faces battles and betrayals as she fights to retain custody of her important prisoner.”

The clones weren’t the only ones to benefit from the increased time for characterization offered by the Clone Wars cartoon.  After being little more than set dressing for the prequel trilogy proper, many of the Jedi introduced over the course of the films finally got their chance to shine via the cartoon.  Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her padawan Barriss Offee fell into that category, and both wound up with pretty decent arcs over the course of the show, as well as better toys to boot.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luminara was released in the 2009 assortment of Clone Wars figures.  She was part of the fifth wave of figures and was numbered CW30.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Fortunately, by this time in the line, the Jedi were getting fully articulated; while Luminara’s not quite as mobile as the clones, she can still get a decent number of poses out of her.  It’s further aided by the cloth robes on the bottom, another newly-implemented idea when this figure hit, which allows her legs to pretty much have full mobility.  Her sculpt is a pretty respectable recreation of her design on the show.  It’s maybe not quite as impressive as some others in the line, but it’s decent, if maybe a little frail feeling.  To be fair, though, her design is very skinny on the show and there’s only so much you can do with that.  Luminara’s paint is certainly accurate, which means it’s lots of brown and green.  Not incredibly eye catching, or even all that unique for Star Wars, but it’s again true to the character and the application is pretty solidly handed.  Luminara includes her lightsaber both ignited and turned off, depending on your desired set-up.  It feels a little light, but honestly it’s probably better than getting a missile launcher or something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t remember specifically when I got this figure, but I know it was when she was relatively new.  While Luminara wasn’t necessarily a favorite of mine, I liked Barriss a lot, and with her figure coming out later, Luminara held me over for a little while I suppose.  It’s a pretty decent figure, which I guess isn’t a huge shock, since Clone Wars figures were all pretty great once the line hit its stride.

#2170: Tigra

TIGRA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“Greer Nelson was subjected to treatments meant to enhance her physical prowess and make her the greatest female athlete in the world – but something else happened. She was transformed into a fur-covered cat woman, and gifted with all the graces of a feline – heightened speed and agility, enhanced senses, and dangerously sharp claws. As Tigra, she can be as playful as a kitten, but when trouble arises she becomes a savage warrior. The symbol on her belt joins Tigra with Earth’s mightiest heroes, and she heeds the call, ‘Avengers Assemble!'”

Back before the Avengers had a whole bank of movies to make them a household name, Marvel had tried their hand at expanding their outreach via animation.  Hoping to capture some of the success of X-Men: The Animated SeriesSpider-Man: The Animated Series, and the Marvel Action Hour, they launched Avengers: United They Stand.  It was…not a success.  It lasted just one 13-episode season and never had much of a following to speak of.  Me?  Well, I loved it, and the toyline it spawned, which provided figures for the team’s more obscure members, like today’s focus Tigra!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tigra was part of the second series of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line, though as I always note with these guys, the numbering was really just clerical; both series shipped to stores at the same time.  This figure would mark Tigra’s second figure ever, and her first that wasn’t just a straight repaint of someone else.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and has 13 points of articulation.  The UTS figures were by and large notable for their inclusion of a decent amount of articulation for the scale, and Tigra is the first figure I’ve looked at to truly showcase this.  It’s not perfect, as she misses out on things like elbows and is still saddled with those dreaded v-hips that Toy Biz was so fond of for female figures,but the inclusion of wrists, and more than just cut shoulders was downright revolutionary at the time.  Tigra sculpt is sort of an interesting concept; they were clearly going for something dynamic, as is dictated by the sway to the hair and the slight twist to her waist and legs.  It doesn’t quite work out for a dynamic pose and also means she’s stuck in a wonky pose when just standing.  It’s not terrible, though, and honestly isn’t any worse than some of the really stiff poses from earlier in Toy Biz’s run.  The detailing on the sculpt follows the styling of the cartoon, but does inject some more realism into it, with some solid texturing on the hair and fur.  It’s definitely solid for the time.  Also pretty solid for the time is the paintwork, which gives Tigra her distinctive stripes and is generally pretty cleanly applied. She’s got an Avengers insignia on her shorts…and also on the backs of her hands?  Guess she really wanted to be on brand.  Tigra was packed with a base with a training robot attached.  The robot had magnets in its hands which matched with the ones in Tigra’s hands, allowing for her to “spar” with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures first started hitting shelves, they were a little scarce.  Tigra had the honor of being the first of them added to my collection, alongside Falcon.  It’s always given me a special appreciation for the character, given I had her longer than any of the others, and I’d been so desperately searching at that point.  She’s perhaps not the greatest figure the line had to offer, but she’s still pretty decent, and certainly not bad when compared to the other figures in Tigra’s limited run of toys.

#2169: Magna Defender

MAGNA DEFENDER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Upon its release, Power Rangers in Space was meant to serve as the franchise’s swan song.  The days of Mighty Morphin’ were behind them, and the likes of Turbo were quickly bleeding any remaining fanbase they may have had, so they decided to do one last series to wrap up the five years worth of running stories and give things a nice ending.  Unfortunately, it was a little too nice, and the end result was one of the most successful seasons of the show…with pretty much no set way for continuation.  Interestingly, while the first five years of Power Rangers had been one continuing narrative, the same was not true of the original Japanese material, where each season was a completely different show, unrelated to the prior season.  For In Space‘s followup Lost Galaxy, Saban decided to start following that model.  Seijuu Sentai Gingaman, the show which Lost Galaxy was adapting, was a nature-based series, while Saban was hoping to stick closer to the sci-fi success of In Space, leading to a bit of retooling.  Whatever the case, Lost Galaxy was a decent success in its own right.  It also had one of the franchise’s coolest sixth rangers, the Magna Defender!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magna Defender is part of the second series of Hasbro’s Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection, alongside Beast Morphers Red and Gold, and Mighty Morphin’ Pink.  He’s the first Lost Galaxy figure in the line, but was very quickly followed by Galaxy Red, who is in a two-pack that’s hitting shelves now.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Magna Defender’s articulation and construction is pretty much the same as the rest of the figures we’ve gotten so far from this line, which I’d call a definite plus, seeing as the articulation design has a little bit more of a natural flow to it than The Black Series and Legends.  That said, while the other figures I’ve gotten from this line have made use of an underlying body with various overlay pieces, Magna Defender is a solid construction figure; all of his armor and such is sculpted right onto the body.  Ultimately, this works better for this particular design, so I really don’t mind that particular change-up.  Magna Defender’s sculpt is nicely rendered, and captures his distinctive knight-inspired armor from the show quite well.  I like the very slight texturing on the armored parts, as well as the clean, defined line-work.  It’s a shame that the cape isn’t actually removable, but I do rather like it myself.  Magna Defender’s paintwork is probably the most complex I’ve seen yet from this line, and it does it pretty well.  There’s not anything crazy going on, but they did get all of the different sections painted correctly, with little-to-no slop and no noticeably missing apps.  Magna Defender is packed with his Magna blaster in both sword/sheath mode and blaster mode, plus two different sets for working with both modes, and an effect piece for the blaster mode.  It’s a shame that with all of the extra heads we’ve been getting we didn’t also get an unmasked Mike head, but given that there were two Magna Defenders on the show and one of them was never seen unmasked, I guess I can let it slide.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Hasbro said that their Lightning Collection line would be focusing on sixth rangers, Magna was on the short list of characters I was hoping to see.  I was ecstatic to see him announced at SDCC, and thrilled that he arrived as quickly as he did.  He’s got a killer design and it translated into a killer figure.  This guy more than any other figure in the line has really sold me on these things, and I look forward to getting more kick-ass sixth rangers as we go along.

I got this guy from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2168: Red Stripe Cylon

RED STRIPE CYLON

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (DST)

After siding with the Cylon Rebels and joining the Colonial Fleet, these newly-liberated and independent Cylon Centurions were a crucial weapon against Cavil’s retro-era forces.  Their distinct markings earned them the nickname ‘Red Stripes.'”

Battlestar Galactica…now that’s a name I haven’t heard in quite some time…or written about, at least.  While I was pretty into the rebooted BSG when it was airing (or at the very least for the back half of its airing), I’ve written a grand total of six BSG-related reviews for this site, the last of which was almost two years ago.  My first two BSG reviews, way back in my first month running this here site, dealt with Diamond Select Toys’ line of 7-inch figures based on the property.  While two of the three figures I reviewed were Cylons, there were no proper Cyclon Centurions to be had.  I intend to fix that today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Red Stripe Cylon was released as a Toys R Us-exclusive figure in 2009.  As his bio touches on, this particular Centurion hails from the series finale “Daybreak,” where the “heroic” Cyclon rebels bring with them what remain of the liberated modern-style Centurions.  In order to avoid any potential confusion from Colonial forces in the heat of battle, these guys get marked with their distinct red stripes.  Which really begs the question of just where did the Colonial fleet found so much red paint?  And who took the time to paint the stripes on these guys?  Did they use their new-found independence to paint themselves, thereby showing a capacity to learn and be creative, and by extension making the whole fleet flying into the sun at the end of the show even more depressing and oh gosh I gotta get off this train of thought.  Maybe they found a special happy farm on the other side of the sun.  Yeah, that’s it.  Or perhaps someone in the fleet was just a really big fan of Jamaican beer.  Hooray beer.  But what of the figure of which this is ostensibly a review?  He stands just shy of 8 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  His sculpt was shared with the several other variants of this particular design, and it’s a pretty good one.  Honestly, the Cylon Centurion sculpt is really the crown jewel of this entire line.  Without a questionably-implemented likeness to hold it back, the Centurion is free to just be pretty darn accurate recreation of the design from the show.  The details are crisp and clean, and even the articulation’s not bad, and that was something DST was still struggling with at this point.  There’s still something of a learning curve to getting decent poses out of him, and he’s not the sturdiest figure I’ve ever owned, but I can definitely dig the sculpt DST turned in here.  In terms of paint, the Centurion is a slightly cleaner model than we tended to see on the show, but virtue of the Red Stripes having spent a lot of their time on the base ships prior to “Daybreak” pulling them into battle.  It further highlights the cleanness of the sculpt, and really looks sleek.  The stripe is just a solid stripe of red, but I appreciate that it actually looks like someone quickly painted it on, as it did in the show.  The Centurion is packed with two different sets of hands: one set open, one set in fists.  There aren’t as frightening to swap back and forth as I was expecting, which I count as a definite plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a slow burn on getting into the modern BSG and an even slower burn on warming up to the modern version of the Cylons.  In my defense, they actively improved how the design was implemented as the show progressed, meaning that they were at the top of their game when it came time for “Daybreak.”  Additionally, I’m a sucker for the “formerly evil robot minion works with the good guys” idea, so the Red Stripe Cylons have long been one of my favorite parts of the finale.  That said, I never had much luck with the TRU-exclusive figures from this line, so I never saw this guy new.  Fortunately for me, I work at a toy store, and that nets you all sorts of things that you don’t see otherwise.  All Time got in a collection a few months ago that included every variant of the Cylon from the line, Red Stripe included, thus allowing me to finally add this guy to my collection!

As touched on above, I got this guy from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2167: Mikey as Batman

MIKEY AS BATMAN

BATMAN VS. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Apparently, it’s about time for somebody *else* to get into the business of making Ninja Turtles toys, because Playmates, NECA, and Mondo having the license just wasn’t quite enough.  DC Collectibles, who, you know, usually make, um, DC collectibles, have gotten in on this thing, but in their defense, they’ve got a good reason.  That reason is Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, an animated film based on a comic that goes for the rather straight forward premise in the title.  To be fair, it’s a marketer’s dream, so toys seem natural.  DCC is planning on offering up a selection of five two-packs as Gamestop exclusives over the next few months, but to kick things off they offered up a true crossover figure: Michelangelo dressed as the caped crusader!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mikey as Batman was a summer con exclusive item, with follow-up distribution through Gamestop, who will be carrying the rest of the Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line.  He’s inspired by the animated designs of the movie, which are yet another new stylization of the turtles.  Oh, and he’s also wearing a Batman cowl and cape, of course.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His sculpt is an all-new one, though no doubt he’ll be sharing most of his parts with the standard Mikey that’s coming packed with Alfred later down the line.  It’s a pretty solid piece of work.  It’s very clean and animation friendly, and I definitely dig the huge smile on his face. What I like most of all about it his how well the articulation works.  It’s not perfect, but given that it’s DCC we’re dealing with, it’s actually suprisingly good.  The range is solid, the movement is relatively smooth, the joints do okay holding the poses, and there aren’t any obviously missing joints.  The plastic’s a little harder than I might like, but that comes with the DCC territory.  The cape is a cloth piece, and while I’m iffy on cloth capes, I actually really, really like this one.  It’s about on par with the cape on the Mezco DKR Batman in terms of quality, and that’s a very big compliment.  Mikey’s paintwork is fairly reasonable; I like how they’ve simulated the linework of the animation style in a way that looks good from pretty much any angle.  That’s quite hard to do properly.  Mikey is a fairly decently accessorized figure.  While he has nothing to go in the empty holsters on his belt (I’m confident the standard release will be keeping his nunchucks there), he does include three sets of hands (in griping, flat palm, and thumbs up), a slice of pizza, and a NYC manhole cover painted up like a whole pizza.  It’s kind of an eclectic collection of parts, but a pretty fun set of extras nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault.  I know, what are the odds?  It’s not even a Transformers thing.  So how’d it work out that way?  Well, he found this figure and asked if I wanted it, and here we are.  I know, I fought so valiantly against getting it.  Honestly, I was curious about the quality of the line, and wasn’t sure I wanted to drop a whole $50 to find out.  This figure ended up being a very pleasant surprise for me, and in fact convinced me I probably wanted to pick up at least the main four Turtles and their counterparts.  Not a bad figure at all.

#2166: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“He has protected Earth against it, now, Cyclops wields the Power of The Phoenix Force!”

There was a time, believe it or not, when Marvel Legends wasn’t the toy power house it is now.  In fact, the Infinite Series re-branding of the line came about because retailers had no interest in carrying Marvel Legends in its then-current state.  In 2013, Hasbro dipped their feet into the waters of comic assortments that tied in with the movies out in theatres.  While the Iron Man 3 tie-in was able to get its six figures out, the assortment meant to tie-in with The Wolverine wouldn’t prove quite so lucky.  Despite the figures starting to go into production, mass retail interest was too small to support the line.  Ultimately, the line-up was reduced from six to four and distributed via Diamond Distributors, making it one of the rarest Legends assortments ever (really rivaled only by the Toys R Us-exclusive X-Men assortment from the following year).  Today, I’m looking at the Cyclops from that line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops was released in the fall of 2013, in the aforementioned Wolverine assortment of Marvel Legends, which would end up being the final set of figures released in the Return of Marvel Legends-style packaging.  The bio may have clued you in to the fact that Cyclops was originally one half of a pair of swap figures, the other half being the cancelled Phoenix Force Cyclops figure.  This Cyclops represented his most current design at the time of its release, based on the Chris Bachallo reworking of his Astonishing X-Men design.  It stuck around for a fair chunk of time, making it a solid choice for toy treatment.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cyclops is built on the Bucky Cap body.  Though not all that groundbreaking now, what with five other Cyclops on this exact body, this figure is notable for being the very first figure to place Cyclops on this base body.  He gets a new head and left hand; the head would see re-use on the ANAD Cyclops from the following year, and the hand’s been re-used on all but one Cyclops since.  They’re both pretty nice pieces, and I can dig the head’s slightly older look for Scott than other releases. He also avoids the dreaded Hasbro face, which is always a plus with these early run figures.  Cyclops’ paintwork is a bit of a mess; Hasbro hadn’t yet made their strides to correct that.  It’s not *awful*, but there’s some noticeably slop around the edges of his visor.  Additionally, some of the yellow application is a bit inconsistent, which makes for a slightly sub-par appearance.  Like I said, it’s not awful, but it’s not as good as some more recent figures.  Cyclops had no accessories for himself, but was originally packed with the arms for the Build-A-Figure Puck.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still not fully invested in Legends when this line-up dropped, and I was certainly not into it enough to bother tracking down hard to find figures.  By the time I was back into Legends full time, he was rather pricey on the aftermarket.  He’s been on the back burner for me, especially with so many different options for Cyclops at the moment.  That said, when one got traded into All Time Toys loose a couple of months back, I seized my opportunity and picked him up for a reasonable price.  Compared to the figures that would come later, he’s perhaps not as technically impressive, but I definitely dig him for what he is, and I’m always happy to add another Cyclops to my collection.

Like I mentioned above, Cyclops came from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2165: Hulk vs. Wolverine

HULK VS. WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

First debuting on the final page of The Incredible Hulk 180, and then making his proper first appearance in the following issue, Wolverine was designed from the very beginning with the intent of spinning him out of the Hulk’s series, though the decision to join him up with the X-Men would come a bit later.  Though Wolverine and the Hulk have largely become separate entities entirely, they still do have the occasional run-in as a throw-back, and their first battle has definitely become one of Marvel’s most memorable moments.  Fitting then that Hasbro would commemorate the meeting in their “80 years of Marvel” sub-line of Marvel Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk and Wolverine are one of the two comic-based “80 Years” two-packs, each of which pairs off one smaller figure with one Build-A-Figure sized figure.  The two figures here are more or less patterned on their appearnces in Hulk #181, albeit filtered through the line’s already established style.  Interestingly, while this is hardly our first time getting a first appearance Wolverine, this *is* the first time he’s been packed with a Hulk.  Kinda crazy.

HULK

“Powered by gamma radiation, the incredible, rage-filled Hulk smashes his way through any challenge and clobbers any enemy.”

While we’ve had a decent number of Legends Hulks in recent years, but they’ve mostly been movie-based.  Overlooking 2015’s Indestructible Hulk (which was a repainted movie figure), our last proper comics Hulk was the Ed McGuinness Hulk from the fan’s choice packs in 2010.  It’s about time for some updating.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  This Hulk uses a newly-implemented body, which has already technically seen use on two exclusive Hulks, but was designed for this figure.  Given the various larger bodies we’ve gotten for some recent Build-a-Figures, I was expecting to see some sort of reuse, but I’m not unhappy to get the new body, especially since it gives Hulk butterfly shoulders, something you don’t usually see on larger figures, and definitely a huge plus when it comes to posing.  The general design of this figure’s sculpt is very reminiscent of Hulk’s ’70s design aesthetic, rather than more recent roided out takes on the character.  The figure includes a torn up shirt as an add-on; while he didn’t sport this while fighting Wolverine, it was a common place item for him to be wearing.  It’s held in place only by gravity and perhaps the back of his head, depending on how you have him posed, meaning that it’s also very easily removed if it’s not your speed.  The paint on Hulk is fairly nuanced in its application, with the skin in particular showing some really solid work on the accenting.  There’s a slightly lighter green hue which shows itself throughout all of the exposed skin.  Hulk is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, one in open gesture.

WOLVERINE

“A super-powered agent of the Canadian government, the Wolverine is a skilled fighter with razor sharp claws and a fierce temper.”

In his first appearance, Wolverine was sporting a wildly different mask than the one he would have for the rest of his career.  He was meant to keep it, but Gil Kane accidentally changed it for the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, and interior artist Dave Cockrum decided he liked it enough to keep as the character’s permanent look, thereby making this particular design more of a novelty then anything.  It’s gotten one Legends release before, courtesy of Toy Biz’s Face Off sub-line, but it was due for an update.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation. This Wolverine is built on the same upgraded body as he last few, with a new head and shoulderpads to more properly capture the earlier design.  They’re sufficiently different enough from the normal pieces to make him stand out as his own variant, which is always a good thing.  For his color scheme, Wolverine very closely matches the brighter colors of his initial appearance, again giving him a nice standout appearance from other Wolverine figures, especially the tiger-stripe Wolverine.  The figure is packed with hands with and without his claws, which weren’t 100% retractable at the time of his first appearance, but are still a nice extra to have.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With all the announcements for the 80 Years sub-line floating about, this one got a little buried for me.  I knew it was coming, but I never really had the chance to focus in on it.  Its arrival was also jammed in alongside several other Legends releases, but I was happy enough to get it.  The Hulk is the definite star here, and will serve as the definitive version of the character for most collectors, myself included.  They really brought their A-game for him.  Wolverine’s more of a place holder to justify the larger set, but I can’t complain about getting him, nor can I say he’s not a good figure.  He’s formula, but it’s a good formula.

I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2164: Jabba’s Skiff Guards

KLAATU, BARADA, & NIKTO

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Jabba the Hutt always enjoyed the thrill of using the lives of others as tokens in his games of peril and doom. Years ago he presided over the dangerous Tatooine Podraces where dozens of pilots put their lives on the line as crowds screamed and cheered. He now hoped to surpass that drama by escorting his prisoners Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca to their end in the Great Pit of Carkoon. But the captives quickly overcame the skiff guards Klaatu, Nikto and Barada, and brought Jabba himself to a fitting end.”

The denizens of Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi give Mos Eisley Cantina a good run for its money in terms of their unique and strange alien designs..  Fitting, I suppose, since the two locations are on the same planet and all.  The characters in Jabba’s company are divided into three separate groups.  There are the ones in the palace proper, the ones on his sail barge, and the ones on the skiffs over the Sarlac Pit.  Today’s figures, Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto (a sci-fi callback referencing the words spoken to Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still) fall into that third category.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Released in 1999, these three were part of the third year of Cinema Scenes for the Power of the Force II line.  They were designed to coincide with the release of the Skiff proper that same year, which just seems downright sensible, doesn’t it?

KLAATU

This is Klaatu, who is apparently a male Kadas’sa’Nikto, at least according to his Wookiepedia entry, which is pretty much my only source for info on this guy.  He’s green, reptilian, and looks like he’s wearing his pajamas.  That’s pretty much all I got.  Oh, right, the figure!  Yeah, so he’s 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  All pretty standard there.  His sculpt was unique to him and would remain so.  Klaatu’s stance is the least pre-posed of this bunch, and honestly his actual sculpt is also the least detailed, which leads one to wonder if he may have originally been slated for some sort of a single release earlier on, before being moved here.  Klaatu’s paintwork is decent enough, if not incredibly eye-catching.  It’s got some weathering going on, so that’s pretty cool.  Klaatu is armed with a pike, which he has a little bit of difficulty properly holding with his pose.

BARADA

This is Barada, who is a Klatooinian, something that may have caused some confusion around his buddy Klaatu.  Barada actually has a whole backstory, not that any of it’s remotely touched on in the movie.  His sculpt would actually be re-used again years later for a single release in slightly different colors.  While still not incredibly pre-posed, he’s still a little more so than Klaatu.  His sculpt is also far more detailed, especially in regards to texturing, which is how he was able to be re-used much later on without much issue.  Barada’s vintage figure actually used the wrong color scheme for the character, meaning this figure was the first time he would receive his proper colors.  The paintwork is fairly strong, especially when it comes to his skin tone.  Barada was packed with a blaster pistol.

NIKTO

This is Nikto…wait, no, it’s actually not!  Despite what the box may claim, the character’s actual name is Vizam, and he’s a member of the Kajain’sa’Nikto, a separate race of Nikto from Klaatu up above.  Additionally, Vizam isn’t even present on the skiff in the movie; he’s part of Jabba’s sail barge crew (he’s seen manning one of the blaster cannons).  But, there was no sail barge set, so here he is.  Of the three sculpts in this set, Nikto/Vizam is actually my personal favorite.  The posing on him is well executed, and I particularly appreciate how he’s sculpted to properly hold his weapon.  I also dig all the work on the various layers of his outfit; it gives this figure a little more depth than his pack-mates.  His paint work is again pretty decent.  They were definitely starting to try out accenting here, which works well for this particular set of characters.  Nikto/Vizam is packed with another pike, but this one is actually unique from the one given to Klaatu.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Jabba’s palace group has never been super high on my list of interests, so I didn’t have these growing up (though I did have one of the reissues of Barada). I ended up getting these guys from All Time during one of my Potf2 splurges back in December.  Ultimately, they’re one of the intersting cases of figures that don’t do a whole lot on their, but as part of a greater set, they’re pretty nice.

#2163: Batcave (w/ Batman)

BATCAVE (w/ BATMAN)

BATMAN ’66 (MATTEL)

So, it’s apparently Batman Day, a fact I know because pretty much everyone keeps saying “hey did you know it’s Batman Day?”  I didn’t realize fictional characters were getting days now, but if anyone’s gonna get one, I guess it makes sense for it to be Batman.  He’s does have like one of everything; it’s only sensible he’d eventually have a day as well.  In the spirit of the day, I figured I’d take a look at one of the very many Batman items I have in my collection, courtesy of Mattel’s ill-fated run with the Batman ’66 license.  Let’s have a look at Batman and Mattel’s go at the Batcave!

THE SET ITSELF

The “To The Batcave” set was one of the last two items to come out of Mattel’s Batman ’66 line, released (initially, at least) as a Toys R Us-exclusive item, alongside the Triumphant Trio three-pack, in the late summer of 2015.  While billed as a playset, what it more works out to is a figure with a larger than average selection of accessories, because that’s just how Mattel do, I suppose.  The figure included here is a standard Batman, who would receive five separate releases by the time the line was done.  He stands right at 6 inches tall (quite under-scaling him when compared to pretty much any other 1:12 lines, since they tend to punch up a bit on size) and he has 23 points of articulation. Despite how many times it would end up re-issued, the Batman sculpt was probably the weakest of the line’s selection of very weak sculpts.  Firstly, let’s discuss the articulation.  DC Universe Classics was never on par with Legends, but it at least offered a workable selection of joints; not so with this line.  In addition to the general lack of joints, the joints included aren’t particularly useful.  The ab-crunch, the knees, and the elbows in particular have extremely reduced range, making even rather basic poses very difficult.  The quality of the sculpt proper’s not great either. While Adam West may not have been a body builder or anything during his time under the cowl, the extraordinarily skinny build on this figure goes way too far, building a figure that really doesn’t look like a real person at all.  Coupled with the already small scale on the figures, it makes Batman downright silly looking when compared to his contemporaries from lines running at the same time.  Additionally, despite being based on a real person, and not a comic book creation, this figure’s level of detailing marked a major step down when compared to prior Mattel output, as the majority of the costume is devoid of any sculpted textures.  About the best that can be said of the sculpt is that the masked head doesn’t have a terrible likeness.  So, that’s the old figure that they threw into the box to take up space.  What about all the new stuff they added that was supposed to actually sell this thing?  Well, the box proudly proclaims that the set includes 15 accessories…which is true, albeit not quite as impressive as the box might lead you to believe.  To go on the figure proper, we get an unmasked Bruce Wayne head.  Kind of an interesting choice, since I don’t believe we actually ever saw Bruce unmasked in the costume on the show.  However, it’s got a decent likeness of West, and it actually looks a little better on the body than the standard head.  The largest piece is definitely the Batcomputer, which is a decent set piece, even if it is pretty simplistic.  At least it’s got its proper label, showcasing 60s Batman’s love of labels.  The piece is hollow, and the back pops off to reveal the “Secret Equipment Storage,” which is where you can stow all of the other parts when you aren’t using them.  The back that pops off is designed to look like the inside of stately Wayne manor, allowing for two different display options, and two different sets of accessories to go along with them.  On the cave side, we get three batarangs (all identical), four cans of Batman Spray Repellent (again all identical), the Batzooka, Bat megaphone, and Bat communicator.  The duplication of the batarangs and repellent is kind of odd, since obviously he can’t use them all at once, nor is there really anywhere to display the extras, making it really seem like Mattel included as many as they did to bump that accessory count up.  Additionally, there’s the ongoing issue with Batman generally just being unable to really hold any of the included extras. The Batzooka in particular is notable, as its size and weight mean that the figure will fall over if its held in any fashion other than at his side.  On the Wayne Manor side, we get the Shakespeare bust with the hidden button for cave access and the red Bat-phone.  The bust is definitely my favorite extra included here, because the sculpt’s really clean, and the hinge works quite nicely.  To complete the two different set-ups, there’s a card with a Batcave illustration on one side and Wayne manor on the other, as well as a stand to hold the card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By the time this set hit, my enthusiasm for the line was completely dead.  I picked up everything from the initial run, but only ended up picking up the three-pack when I was disappointed at not getting anything Star Wars-y during the first Force Friday event.  This set, as interesting a concept as it may be, just didn’t excite me enough to drop $35 on it.  However, a friend of mine had gotten one a while ago, and decided they no longer wanted it, and thus it made its way into my collection.  As with so much Mattel did, it fills me with mixed emotions.  There are some cool things in here, and in general it’s a fun concept, but the core Batman’s kind of rotten, and this being the fifth time we got him really hinders the set.  I think if it had been in that first wave of product, rather than pushed all the way to the end of the line, it might have been a bigger hit, but quite frankly there’s a lot of things that could have been done differently to make this line worth while.