#2255: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT (MATTEL)

As we come to the close of 2019, we also come to the close of Mattel’s 17 year run with the DC Comics toys license.  Their run with the license had its share of ups and downs as they stumbled their way through the boys toys market.  They definitely hit their biggest success with DC Universe Classics, a line of super-articulated 6-inch figures, but just as they launched that line, their competitors at Hasbro opted to shrink their Marvel lines down to 3 3/4 inches.  Mattel followed with DC Infinite Heroes, a line that was…not very good.  After launching in 2008, they were already pretty much dead at retail by 2009.  It did hang in there til the end of ’09, and in typical Mattel fashion, they started to get the hang of things just before giving up.  One of the line’s better offerings wasn’t from the line proper, but was instead a pack-in with 2009’s direct to video Green Lantern: First Flight movie.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was available exclusively at Best Buy, packed in with the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of First Flight.  Though he doesn’t bear any official Infinite Heroes markings, he was constructed from mostly IH parts, albeit ones that hadn’t shown up at retail yet when he hit.  The figure is a little shy of 3 3/4 inches tall (noticably smaller than Hasbro’s Marvel Universe offerings) and has 22 points of articulation.  The body used here is Mattel’s second attempt at a standard male body, which was a huge improvement on the first.  The only piece shared between the two was the torso, arguably the only part of the body worth keeping.  The articulation is almost double, meaning that you could actually, you know, pose the figure.  It’s still a little backwards compared to the likes of MU, with only cut joints at the neck and hips, but at least he could move his wrists and ankles and get some side to side motion on the arms and legs.  The proportions are also a lot better; they’re still not a perfect set-up, but at least he doesn’t have those frightening monster hands.  The new joints weren’t the most resilient, though, and the cut joints at the wrists in particular were prone to tearing, which happened with the left arm on mine.  That said, IH had breakage problems from early on, so this wasn’t exactly a step back.  GL’s one new part was the head, which was patterned on his animated appearance.  It’s not a bad sculpt, and actually works pretty decently for a comics Hal as well (which is why Mattel ended up re-using it for comics Hal later down the line).  The paint work on Hal is okay, nothing amazing.  It lacks some of the smaller details of the costume from the movie, and there are some odd choices like not lining the edge of his armband up with the arm joint, but it’s not awful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Infinite Heroes launched, I picked up a few of the figures to give it a try, but ultimately wasn’t that impressed and backed out of the line.  However, when First Flight was released, it was right on top of my birthday that year, and my brother was absolutely committed to getting me the deluxe version, figure and all, and had my parents drive him around to a couple of Best Buys in order to make sure he could get me one.  This figure is honestly pretty good, and if Mattel had put out figures like this at the launch, then maybe Infinite Heroes wouldn’t have been such a flop.

#2254: Beast

BEAST

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Blue-furred and boisterous, the Beast’s monstrous exterior conceals the fact that he possesses the mind of an articulate, well-read genius! Ever ready to answer the call should either man or mutant be in peril, the Beast employs both his dexterous digits and his scientific skills as a member of the X-Men.”

The ’90s X-Men line-up was a pretty sizeable, even just going by the cartoon’s more paired down version of the cast, which for a burgeoning toy line can be a slightly daunting prospect.  It took several assortments to make their way through the main cast.  Founding member Beast was a later addition, though certainly not the latest.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast was released in Series 6 of the Toy Biz X-Men line.  Aside from the cartoon-creation Morph, he was the only X-Man proper in the line-up.  The same figure would subsequently be re-issued as part of the “Classics” line-up which put out all of the main cartoon cast in one assortment, and then again as part of the Marvel Universe line.  The three figures are essentially identical, and it’s worth noting that my figure comes from the “Classics” release.  This figure’s sculpt would also serve as the inspiration for both the 10-inch and Steel Mutants figures.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation…in theory.  In reality, it’s more like 7, because his action feature makes the joints at the knees and ankles effectively useless.  Said action feature is dubbed “Mutant Flipping Power” and means that there are springs in his knee and ankle joints, which are supposed to allow him to flip.  In my experience, it was never a very reliable feature and just made it rather hard to keep the figure standing.  Tied into the feature was this weird switch thing on the figure’s back, for which I’ve never figured out the purpose.  His sculpt definitely follows that early ’90s look for the character, at his most bulked up and monstrous.  Nevertheless, he’s still got that sophisticated Henry McCoy expression on his face, as if he’s contemplating the moral quandaries of his current heroic endeavor.  The rest of the sculpt is surprisingly smooth for such a hairy guy, especially when compared to other, similarly textured characters from this and surrounding series.  I can only guess they were going for more of a stylistic thing on Hank.  The figure’s pretty light on the paint front, with most of him being just molded in a light blue.  There’s a bit of paint for his shorts and belt, as well as his eyes and teeth.  For whatever reason, his eyes are solid yellow; he’s gone back and forth between having pupils and pure white eyes, but the yellow’s more of a Nightcrawler thing usually. Beast was packed with a suction cup-sporting bar to hang from, which was cool enough, though the suction cup long ago fell off of mine.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t actually recall much about getting this figure.  I think he was one of those “my Dad got one and then I also wanted one” figures.  I certainly would have wanted him for the purposes of filling out my X-Men line-up.  He’s an okay figure.  The action feature gets in the way here more than on most Toy Biz figures, which can be annoying, but his sculpt’s fairly decent, and he definitely fit with that toon aesthetic.

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The backbone of the First Order and Imperial forces, and really the Star Wars universe as a whole, the Stormtroopers are a prominent fixture of the toys from the galaxy far, far away.  That being said, given their general unchanging appearance within each trilogy, keeping them fresh can be a little difficult.  We got our first standard First Order Stormtrooper in The Black Series back with the Force Awakens product launch, with a few exclusive derivations since then.  The Trooper is returning to the main line for the trilogy’s conclusion Rise of Skywalker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper is figure 97 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the Force Friday launch figures numerically.  Given the grouping of the other three Rise tie-in figures, plus his general level of repeat, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he was a late addition to the line-up to fill out the case.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The majority of this figure’s sculpt is re-used.  He shares all but the had and arms with the initial First Order Trooper from 2015.  The parts that are kept are actually the best parts of that release, being not only accurate to the source material, but also quite nicely articulated, especially at the mid-torso and the ankles.  The head was first introduced on the two Last Jedi troopers, representing the slightly more angular trooper helmet that was used in the second film.  It’s different from the original helmet, but I can’t really say that one of them is better than the other.  The arms are the new parts for this figure, and they’re notable for fixing the one major flaw of the original release: the poor range of motion on the elbows.  For the first time, a FO Trooper can get more than 90 degrees of motion, meaning he’s also the first Trooper that can properly hold a blaster rifle.  That’s gonna be fun to talk about in a moment.  The paint work on this figure follows the trend of all of the FO troopers I’ve grabbed, in that he’s okay, but not without a few noticeable flaws.  My figure has some slop on the helmet, but just in general the change overs from black to white are kind of fuzzy.  This release of the FO Trooper is packed with the riot trooper gear, meaning he’s got the shield, the improved TLJ version of the baton, and a small blaster pistol.  What’s not listed there?  That’s right, a blaster rifle.  Yep, the first FO Trooper that can properly hold a rifle doesn’t have one.  Irony of ironies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the standard and riot troopers during the TFA run, so I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the subsequent figures.  I didn’t think much of this figure, but I’d already decided to pick up the whole assortment when he was announced, so he was along for the ride.  After Kylo, he’s a pleasant surprise.  Sure, it’s frustrating and almost baffling that there’s no rifle included, but the core figure is a solid improvement on the prior releases, making this the best version of the design out there.

#2252: Sith Trooper

SITH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Sith troopers were a stormtrooper variant that served the First Order during its war against the Resistance. Named after the Sith, an ancient order of Force-users devoted to the dark side of the Force, these troopers were the next evolution of Imperial/First Order stormtroopers. They wore red-colored stormtrooper armor and wielded a type of black and red blaster rifle.”

Hey, new Star Wars movie!  You know what that means: new trooper variants created to sell new toys!  Ain’t no stopping the merchandising juggernaut…unless, you know, you stop it…the way that the market has come increasingly close to stopping the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut in the last few years.  But that’s kind of sad and bleak, so maybe I shouldn’t talk about that.  Where was I?  Toys!  Always toys!  So, for the new Star Wars, there’s a cool new trooper called the Sith Trooper, Kylo Ren’s new elite force.  I’m looking at one of those guys today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sith Trooper is figure 92 in the Black Series line-up, the third figure from the Force Friday product launch.  The Sith Trooper was previously released as this year’s SDCC-exclusive preview figure, which included some additional weapons to differentiate it from the basic release.  The core figures are the same between the two releases, however.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Perhaps the most impressive bits of articulation on this figure are the butterfly shoulders, which I believe are a first for Black Series.  Given the design of the various trooper armor, it’s actually a little surprising that we’ve never seen this type of joint implemented, since it’s so nicely hidden.  However, while there’s great movement in the shoulders, the neck joint is surprisingly limited for one of these figures; they’ve been doing the double ball joints a lot recently, and the range has been pretty solid, but for this guy, it’s little more than a cut joint.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I was rather disappointed by that.  Plusses and minuses of the articulation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  Overall, it’s pretty strong.  I definitely dig the Stormtrooper/Clonetrooper/Praetorian Guard hybrid that’s going on with these guys, and I look forward to seeing the design in action in the movie.  The sculpt is quite sharply rendered, and I really dig all of the texturing, both on the armor and on the underlying jumpsuit.  The sculpt also does a really nice job of making those two elements feel like separate pieces as well, which is an improvement on a lot of the earlier troopers.  The Sith Trooper’s paint is decent enough, though not overly involved.  Most of the red is molded, and most of the black is painted.  The application is overall pretty clean, but there’s a little bit of fuzziness on the helmet.  Beyond that, it’s pretty clean and striking.  This Sith Trooper is quite packed with the impressive armory of the SDCC release, but he does still get two styles of blaster, matching the ones included with the smaller Sith Jet Trooper.  They’re decent weapons, but are also the source o my biggest complaint about the figure.  He’s got a holster much like the First Order Troopers, meaning there’s a spot for a gun the plug into his right thigh.  Unfortunately, the hole is too large and the pegs on both guns too small, meaning that the blasters just fall right out at the slightest touch.  The fact that there are two blasters and he can only hold one really exacerbates this issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Sith Trooper was one of the earliest designs we saw from Rise, and I knew I wanted the figure pretty much right away.  I didn’t even try with the SDCC release, because those have always been a barren source of amusement in the past, and the Troopers always get the standard release.  This figure was the one I opened right after Kylo, and that may have slightly colored my opinion, as I found myself a bit underwhelmed with him at first.  Playing around with him for the review, I did find myself enjoying him a bit more.  That said, there are still a few issues that keep this figure from being “great.”

I picked up 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.

#2251: Rey & D-0

REY & D-0

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rey continues to study the Jedi ways, but she grows concerned about what the future — and the Force — may hold in store for her.”

For the Rise of Skywalker product launch, there’s only one character available in all of Hasbro’s primary styles.  It’s Rey, who, as the main character, I suppose has the most business being included across the board.  Since she’s also wearing the same attire for all three of her figures, it also gives me a nice chance to more closely compare the three styles of figures currently available.  I’ve already taken a look at the Vintage Collection Rey and the Galaxy of Adventures Rey, so now I’ll be taking a look at the Black Series Rey, as well as her pack-mate D-0.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rey and D-0 are number 91 in the Black Series line-up, numerically the second of the eight Force Friday figures.  Fun Fact, Rey is the only character to be part of the initial Black Series line-up for all five of the Disney-era product launches (Kylo narrowly missed it thanks to being absent from the Solo product launch).  Again, as the main character, I guess it adds up.  This figure gives us Rey in her newest attire from Rise, which is a pretty solid look for the character.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  This Rey figure is an all-new sculpt, which I guess isn’t a huge shock, since her Black Series figures have as of yet all been completely unique from each other.  Poor Kylo must be very jealous.  It’s a solid sculpt.  The articulation is certainly more practical than what we got from the VC figure, and is also much more smoothly worked into the final product.  It’s still not quite as easily posed or anywhere near as stable on its feet as the GoA release, but they are very differently styled items.  She’s pretty solid for a Black Series release in both posability and stability.  The sculpt is also a nicely balanced affair, with rather realistic proportions and some solid texture work.  The head sports one of Hasbro’s best attempts at a Daisy Ridley likeness, rivaled only by the Island Journey Rey in my eyes.  She’s got a touch more expression in her face than any of the other Reys, with just a little smile going on.  I like that a fair bit more than the usual bland appearance.  The paintwork on this Rey is fortunately a lot better than my VC Rey was, by virtue of her face actually being applied correctly.  That said, I’ve seen far worse samples than this out in the wild, so I still worry about the figures as a whole.  On mine, the paint is very lifelike and aids in selling the likeness.  Were it not as well applied, that would be a rather different story.  Rey is pretty well accessorized.  The most prominent inclusion is, of course D-0, who though he may be listed on the package is really just an accessory.  He’s not wildly different from his GoA incarnation, but some parts are a little smaller and more refined, with a little more detailing in a few spots.  There’s a small stand included for him this time to aid in keeping him standing.  It doesn’t *really* do a whole lot, since it just shapes under his wheel, without any sort of peg or anything, but it keeps him more reliably standing that his is without it.  In addition to D-0, this Rey gets the same selection as her smaller VC counterpart: lightsaber, staff, blaster, and back pack.  They’re all pretty nicely rendered, and the staff is by far the best version of the item we’ve gotten included with any of these Rey figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I opened my Rey figure before Kylo, which was probably the right call for my sanity, but perhaps didn’t do so well by Kylo.  She’s a much better figure, and I’d probably rank her as my second favorite in this assortment, behind the Mando.  She’s certainly an improvement over the VC release.  Though she’s not as dwarfed by her GoA figure in my eyes as Kylo, I will admit that while I was taking the photos for this review, the number of times she faceplanted in the middle of a shot did not go unnoticed.  Still, if you’re into the Black Series thing, then this is a solid figure, and probably the best Rey in the line (though I still really like that Island Journey figure).

I picked up Rey 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.

#2250: Supreme Leader Kylo Ren

SUPREME LEADER KYLO REN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

As Supreme Leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren wields more power than ever before.  Nevertheless, Ren continues to search for the secrets of the Force from the depths of the Dark Side.”

So, uhh, hey, did you hear there’s a new Star Wars coming out?  It’s probably not a big deal or anything, just the end of the latest trilogy, and allegedly the main saga.  Also, there’s some toys, so I guess I might review a few of those.  Central to this new trilogy is Kylo Ren, tortured villain and wannabe Vader.  Though he flirted with a redemption in the last film, he ultimately rejected it, netting himself a promotion to Supreme Leader of the First Order in the process.  And, as a central character, that’s also netted him a brand new Black Series, complete with fancy “Supreme Leader” moniker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supreme Leader Kylo Ren is figure 90 (exactly twice the number that the TLJ version was) in the Black Series line up.  Numerically, he’s the first of the eight figures that were released for Triple Force Friday, and he’s one of the four Rise of Skywalker branded figures at launch.  Kylo is no stranger to the Black Series, with this being his seventh figure in the line.  He’s also doesn’t possess the most varied appearance.  All seven of those figures have more or less followed the same basic look.  The primary change-up tends to be whether he has his helmet or not.  Though he destroyed it at the beginning of Last Jedi, it appears the Kylo has restored it for Rise, and so he’s sporting it once more on this figure.  Said figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  I’ve reviewed the majority of this figure before, since he is from the neck down the same figure as the Kylo from Last Jedi.  I liked the sculpt the first time around, but this time…I don’t know, it just doesn’t resonate quite as well with me this time.  It’s got to be due to the new parts, I suppose.  Kylo gets a new head and cape, and I can’t say I’m much of a fan of either.  The new head gives us Kylo’s repaired helmet, which is an interesting visual, and one that I liked a fair bit on the Galaxy of Adventures Kylo figure.  Here, it’s certainly more detailed, but it also seems far too large for the body, or at the very least the neck.  It also just doesn’t look natural in any position, and sits low enough to make actually posing quite a tricky task.  The new cape piece is decent in concept, but lousy in application.  The actual cape bit’s alright for the most part, but does seem to have more trouble staying in place than the one from the TLJ release.  The real trouble comes from the hood, or rather hoods.  Since the cape is plastic, the figure has two hood pieces, up and down.  Down is certainly the better implemented of the two, since there’s less room for error, but it has some difficulty staying clipped in place on my figure.  The up hood is just a mess.  It doesn’t attach securely at all, and worst of all he’s got hover-hood, with a noticeable clearance between his head and the hood no matter how you situate him.  I ends up making the pulled up hood effectively useless, since there’s no way I’m going to display it with that.  It’s a shame, because that’s pretty much the only element that really distinguishes him from prior figures.  Kylo’s paintwork is okay, nothing spectacular.  It hits all the right notes and gets the job done.  In terms of extras, Kylo has his lightsaber in both ignited and unignited forms, just like virtually every other Black Series Kylo.  What he *doesn’t* include is an unmasked head, which at this point feels downright criminal, especially given how much of this figure is re-use.  They could have just thrown in a well-painted TLJ head at the very least, since that one hasn’t yet received the face-print tech.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I opted to just pick up a full case of the Force Friday Black Series figures for the sake of having them all.  The Mandalorian and the Jawa made me feel pretty good about things, but Kylo really tested my resolve.  I feel I may have done myself a disservice by picking up the Galaxy of Adventures version first, because that one was a pleasant surprise, while this one was a letdown the whole way through.  How much of a let down?  Well, I opened the figure, immediately placed him back in his box, opened him again for the photos, and they put him back away again.  I pretty much never do that, but with him I just felt no need to mess with him outside of the needs of this review.  I am not a fan of this figure.  If you want a good Kylo, buy the GoA version.  It’s half the price, better looking, and a far more playable figure.

#2249: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Oooooh, I bet you *really* thought I was done with the Galaxy of Adventures stuff, didn’t you.  Well, I mean, I was for a while…like almost a month…so I guess I kinda was.  I did get this guy before finishing the prior round of GoA reviews, and I did very much consider throwing him at the tail end of them, but ultimately thought that it might be a little much.  Would have made this intro funnier, though.  But that’s okay, I don’t like to be funny anyway.  As I noted in those reviews, the overwhelming focus of the first series of the line was on the newest trilogy, but the Original Trilogy isn’t getting overlooked entirely, and is in fact getting more focus in the next assortment.  It’s also getting more focus via the line’s very first exclusive offering, Luke Skywalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Galaxy of Adventures figure.  He’s shipping in solid cases and started showing up about a month after the first round of product hit.  He’s not marked in any way as an exclusive, so it’s possible he may not remain so, but for the time being, that’s where he is.  There are a few versions of Luke to choose from, but for this release Hasbro’s opted for the Jedi Knight appearance, which pairs well with the Vader from Series 1.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall (he’s shorter than everyone but Rey) and he has 25 points of articulation.  Luke is an all-new sculpt, and matches stylistically with the rest of the line.  Like the others, his articulation is quite well implemented, allowing for a surprising amount of range, and the figure is also very sturdy on his feet.  In terms of level of stylization, Luke’s not quite as cartoony as Rey was, being more in-line with Finn’s sculpt.  There’s some definite changes made, but there slightly more restrained.  Similar to the others, there’s not really a Hamill likeness, but he still has a proper character likeness.  I will say, the eyes seem a touch wide for my taste, which is the only real complaint I have.  I was initially going to complain about his torso being a little bulky, but that was before I took him out and realized that the vest is actually a removable piece.  This allows for both major looks he sports from the movie, since there’s a fully detailed torso beneath.  I’m okay with the slightly bulky torso if it means having the extra option, and it certainly works a bit better here than on a more realistically styled figure.  The paintwork on Luke is overall pretty decent.  It’s certainly sharp and clean in its application.  Again, the larger eyes seem a little off to me, and I feel like he’s got a bit too much color in his face, but I can’t fault Hasbro for their attempts to keep him from looking under-painted.  Luke is packed with his second lightsaber, which is a fairly decent piece, but unlike all of the other sabers I’ve gotten from this line, the silver of the hilt from this one chips off really easily.  I don’t know why it’s different, but it’s my only true complaint about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting and loving the whole Series 1 run of figures, I was definitely down for this guy, but wasn’t having a ton of luck finding him at first.  Fortunately, Max was able to point me in the right direction, and I boy were there a lot of this guy to choose from.  There are some slightly minor issues that I feel hold Luke back ever so slightly, but admittedly, Luke’s the one character in the line-up I really had any expectations about going in.  He’s still a really solid release in his own right.  I look forward to filling out more of the OT cast.

#2248: Red Robin

RED ROBIN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Tim Drake already had impressive detective and computer hacking skills when Bruce Wayne offered him the opportunity to train and become his protege, Robin. But when Batman disappeared, Drake went incognito and became Red Robin to find him. During his search, he masterfully formed an alliance with Ra’s Al Ghul that eventually dismantled Ra’s League of Assassins and paved the way for Bruce Wayne’s return. Drake continued to use his brilliant deductive and martial arts skills as Red Robin, working with The Outsiders and Teen Titans.”

Hey, remember a few weeks ago, when I was talking about the history of the name Red Robin?  Let’s touch on that again.  Though the name was originated by Dick Grayson in the alternate future of Kingdom Come, only one of the four Red Robin figures is Dick.  The other three are Tim Drake, who has pretty much laid claim to the name.  It wasn’t quite as cleanly Tim’s at first, though, especially when he got his first Red Robin figure, which I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Robin was released in “All Stars” series of DC Universe Classics.  Originally, “All Stars” was supposed to be the refitted incarnation of DCUC post-New 52, with this just being the first series.  Unfortunately, demand was pretty low on this particular assortment, and practically non-existent on the proposed follow-up, which retroactively makes this assortment essentially just Series 21 of DCUC, rather than the first series of the new line.  As a continuation of DCUC, Red Robin’s place in the line-up makes a little more sense, given how the line-ups for DCUC assortments tended to go.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Red Robin was built on the DCUC line’s medium male body which was an odd choice to say the least, given that this is meant to be Tim, and that his last DCUC figure, which is only supposed to be him about a year prior in-universe, is a heck of a lot smaller.  Admittedly, that figure is widely agreed to be really under-sized, but this one definitely goes too far the other direction, making the 19-20 year old Drake look like he’s a good decade older.  It’s worth noting that this is the same base body that Mattel used for both Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, making you wonder if this figure was originally designed to be one of the two of them, rather than Tim.  He does look a fair bit like the Jason Todd version, but that incarnation was rather short-lived, so perhaps Mattel opted to slap a new name on it for more longevity?  I don’t know.  It’s genuinely just possible that Mattel was just being Mattel and simply put him on the wrong body; that’s pretty in character for them.  Scaling issues aside, it’s worth noting that Red Robin got a decent selection of new parts, including a new head, cape, straps, belt, forearms, and shins.  These parts mesh well with the pre-existing parts, and the end result is a pretty clean looking figure, which does a solid job of capturing the costume design from the comics.  His paintwork is all pretty clean.  By this point, most of the nicer accent work from earlier in the line was gone, but there’s still nice touches like the shiny finish on the boots and gloves, as well as the slight accenting on his tunic.  It’s also pretty clean, which is really the most important thing.  The plan for “All Stars” was to cut down on production costs by removing the Collect-N-Connect pieces, so this figure does that, his only extra being a staff (which my figure is lacking).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though demand for the overall assortment was pretty low, Red Robin was really the only figure contained therein that anyone really wanted, which made him a little bit harder to acquire.  Not helping matters was that regular retailers had pretty much given up carrying the line by this point, so if all you wanted was Red Robin without his three case-mates, you were kind of out of luck.  Because of this, I didn’t get him new.  Instead, I got him last year when All Time got in a DCUC collection.  Choice of base body aside, he’s a pretty fun figure, and I’m glad I finally got one.

#2247: AT-ST Driver

AT-ST DRIVER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

The AT-ST, commonly referred to as the “chicken walker” was first introduced into Star Wars in Empire Strikes Back, but really became prominent in Return of the Jedi.  The vehicle would end up being one of the earliest vehicles available in the Power of the Force II line, hitting shelves in 1995.  However, while the vehicle was available right away, it would take a little bit of time for it to finally get its distinctive driver, whose figure I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The AT-ST Driver was added to the Power of the Force line in 1997, unfortunately right after the vehicle he was meant to pilot left shelves, making him a little bit of a tough sell.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  I’ve looked at a fair bit of this figure’s sculpt before, since the torso, pelvis, and legs were all re-used for the 1998 Scanning Crew figure.  He had a unique helmeted head, as well as arms with gloves.  The sculpt is fine, but not really anything to write home about.  I will say that the AT-ST Driver-specific parts made it slightly more exciting than the Scanning Crew, as well as making him a little easier to justify army building with that helmet in place.  As a whole, though, he’s still a little soft an puffy by modern standards.  As with the Scanning Crew, the paint on this guy’s somewhat on the bland side, but that’s due to the film design being a whole lot of grey.  Hey, they can’t all be winners, right?  Otherwise, the goofy aliens wouldn’t stick out and be fun.  The AT-ST Driver was packed with two different styles of blaster rifle, which I suppose is nice of them to include, even if he’s destined to never hold them, what with driving the AT-ST and all.  Still, it’s nice to get something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy from All Time.  I know, shocker.  He was in a collection that got traded in, he was still carded, but his card and bubble were in really ratty shape, so I took the opportunity to grab a “new” one without paying a new price.  He’s okay, but hardly the most exciting, much like the Scanning Crew figure was.  These guys are meant to accent the more exciting figures in the set, but not be the primary focus themselves.  In that respect, I guess they do succeed.

#2246: G.I. Joe

G.I. JOE

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

“G.I. Joe (a.k.a. Joseph B. Colton) graduated in 1960 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, receiving the academy’s highest possible honors.  An expert marksman, he is proficient with all modern weaponry from M60 machine guns to attack helicopters and L.A.W.s (Light Armored Weapons).  Recruited by Special Forces, Colton was destined for military glory, quickly distinguishing himself as an outstanding Green Beret.  In 1963, after participating in “ultra” top secret combat operations and extensive tours of duty in trouble spots around the world, 1st Lt. Joseph B. Colton became the most decorated — and most feared — battlefield soldier the world had ever known.  Recognizing Colton’s innate combat skills and his warrier heart pumping courage through his veins, then President John F. Kennedy, secretly selected him to create and command an ULTIMATE freedom fighting force.  Higher ranking soldiers had been passed over for this elite, presidential appointment.  Colton was issued the name “G.I. Joe” and began building his team with the toughest men the armed services could muster.  From there, G.I. Joe would change the course of military history and re-define the word hero!”

When reworking G.I. Joe into the anti-terrorist fighting force that would so define them throughout the ’80s, Hasbro decided to re-work the assumed name of one man from the ’60s toyline, and make the name for the whole team.  However, when it came time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the original 12-inch line, Hasbro decided to transfer some of the old style figures into the new smaller scale.  Additionally, they decided to pay tribute to those original figures by actually making “G.I. Joe” one guy again, and having that one guy be the one who started the whole thing, just like that one figure started everything in the real world.  It was a pretty cool concept and one that has found its way into comics and movies as well.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

G.I. Joe was offered as a mail-away offer as part of G.I. Joe‘s 1994 line-up.  He tied in with the wider 30th Anniversary assortment offered up that same year.  The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  His bio classifies Joe as a Green Beret, so this smaller figure is wisely patterned on the Green Beret Action Soldier from the original line.  As far as construction, he shared a lot of his parts with the other 30th Anniversary figures (whose molds would later be re-purposed by Fun 4 All for the line of key chains offered in the late ’90s).  His torso and arms are from the Action Marine, and his left and lower right leg are shared with the Action Soldier.  The head, pelvis, and upper right leg were all new.  They slot in well with the already sculpted parts, and the end result is a figure that does a respectable job of replicating the larger figures in the smaller scale.  This is my first exposure to the original Hasbro versions of most of these pieces, which are certainly of a higher quality than the Fun 4 All variants.  The details are a lot crisper, and there are some that just go missing entirely on the later releases.  The new head is a solid rendition of the old Joe likeness, but made to fit a little better with the rest of the smaller line.  Joe’s paintwork is fairly basic, but does the job well, and it looks pretty clean.  The little bit of camo visible beneath his jacket is in particular pretty cool.  Joe was packed with a heavy machine gun, re-purposed from the V2 Gung Ho in 1992. It’s really large, but not in a comical sense, and he can hold it reasonably well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I was alive in ’94, I wasn’t quite collecting yet, so I didn’t send away for this one myself.  So, I had to resort to buying one second hand.  He wasn’t in All Time’s rather large collection from over the summer, but I ended up finding him at Yesterday’s Fun while on vacation over the summer.  I wasn’t specifically looking for him like the other two I ended up getting, but I have to say I do quite like him.  He’s a cool little piece of history to be sure.