#2319: Spider-Man – Velocity Suit

SPIDER-MAN — VELOCITY SUIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Peter Parker enhances his spider suit with speed-boosting technology to become velocity suit Spider-Man.”

Oh yeah, how about some more Marvel Legends?  I know that’s what everybody is really craving.  Well, I kicked off a whole week of reviews with a Spidey variant.  What better way to follow that up than with another Spidey variant?  You can’t have too many Spideys, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Velocity Suit Spider-Man is the second of the two Spidey variants present in the Demogoblin Series of Marvel Legends, which is the first Spidey-themed Legends assortment of 2020.  Like yesterday’s Mark III Spider-Armor, this figure has been branded as part of the “Gamerverse” sub-line.  Unlike yesterday’s figure, he’s a more natural fit for that branding, since the Velocity Suit was one of the suits created specifically for Spider-Man for the PS4, and aside from game-specific tie-ins, it’s remained exclusive to that source.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  As with the Spider-Armor, the Velocity Suit is another all-new sculpt.  It’s definitely not something Hasbro *had* to do with this guy; I could see them getting away with a base body and some add-ons, but it wouldn’t be quite right, I suppose.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt, but I don’t find it to be quite as technically impressive as the Spider-Armor was.  A lot of the details are a bit more rudimentary here, and he feels more blocky and less sleek than he should for a suit called “velocity.” Also, despite the general nature of the design being less restricting, I found the range of motion on this figure to be a little bit of a let-down when compared to the Armor.  It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t quite feel like it lives up to the current Legends standards.  Despite the reduced range, the joints are actually fairly obvious on the sculpt, with the torso joint in particular sticking out like a sore thumb.  It’s not ideal.  In terms of paintwork, he’s generally okay, aside from one notable thing: the blue.  In the game, his suit’s more of a red/grey combo, but it’s a more standard blue on the figure.  It’s not terribly different, but it’s enough that the design does look a little…off.  It also removes some of the impact of the bright blue on the symbol, which would have stood out a bit better against a more subdued color.  The actual application’s alright, though, and I do like the sort of glossy finish.  The Velocity Suit is packed with another web effect piece, this time one that wraps around the shoulders, as well as the left leg for Demogoblin.  As with the other Spidey, I would have at least liked to see a spare set of hands included here to help the package feel a little less empty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of all the game original suits from Spider-Man, this one was probably my least favorite, so the fact that it got a figure wasn’t exactly thrilling to me.  It doesn’t help matters that the other Spidey variant turned out really well, and this one didn’t seem to quite translate to the toy form as nicely.  This isn’t a bad figure, and I certainly can’t fault Hasbro for wanting one of the two “Gamerverse” figures to be something actually original to the game, but he just doesn’t work so much for me.  The web effect is nice, though, and at least I can just stick him at the back of my Spider-Verse shelf.

I picked up the Velocity Suit from my sponsors at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2318: Spider-Armor MkIII

SPIDER-ARMOR MKIII

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Oh man, we went a whole week without any Legends reviews.  That was a rough week, wasn’t it?  Everybody pull through okay?  No one lost during the long drought?  It’s okay, we’ve made it to the promised land which is…more Legends.  Whew.  And hey, it’s a Spider-Man.  That’s a rare sight!  …Listen guys, there are a lot of Marvel Legends, and I’m buying pretty much everything, and I have to review them sometime, so, you know, just go with it, huh?  Let’s just smile through another week of Legends reviews, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spider-Armor Mk III is one of two Spidey variants in the latest Spidey-centric round of Marvel Legends.  It depicts Peter in his improved anti-Sinister-6 armor from “The Ends of the Earth.”  The suit then re-appeared as an alternate costume in Spider-Man for the PS4, which is how it earned its spot here, officially under the “Gamerverse” sub-line.  It’s a fairly unique design, with a fairly prominent role in a big Spider-event, which matches up with a few other figures we’ve gotten, so I really can’t complain about it showing up here.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The armor gets an all-new sculpt, as it really has to.  It’s actually a pretty impressive offering, managing to capture the design from the comics, as well as keeping it slightly more real-world as it appeared in the game model.  There’s a lot of really nice layering to the armored parts, as well as some really great texturing in the under suit elements.  It also manages to bulk him up sufficiently from the standard Pizza Spidey body, making it look like he’s actually wearing armor.  Posability on this figure is a little more limited than your average Legends Spidey, but it kind of comes with the more heavily armored territory, and he’s still got a solid range on most joints.  Honestly, I was expecting him to be a lot more restricted than he ended up being. The paintwork on this guy is pretty decent; he’s a little more reserved in color than most Spidey variants, but still keeps enough of that distinctive scheme to make him easily identical.  The armor was also pretty consistently depicted as a little washed out, so it’s accurate to the source material.  The application is all pretty sharp, with no noticeable slop or bleed over.  The Spider-Armor is packed with a web effects piece that can slip over another figure’s face, as well as the right leg of Demogoblin.  It’s annoying that we aren’t getting alternate hands standard with Spider-Man variants; at the very least, I’d like a set thwipping and a set in fists.  As it stands, he does feel a little light.  That said, I do really like the web effect piece, and I appreciate that Hasbro is willing to try some new things here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I can’t say that this design was at the top of my list of most wanted Spidey variants (honestly, I’d prefer a Mk I armor myself), but do like this design well enough, and I can’t deny that it translated well into toy form.  The all-new sculpt is definitely fun, and I dig the new web effects thing they’re trying out.  If this figure had one or two more extras, he’d be fantastic.  As is, he’s still a very passable figure, and I feel worth a Spider-fan’s time.

I picked up the Spider Armor from my sponsors at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2317: Lost Galaxy Red Ranger & In Space Psycho Red Ranger

LOST GALAXY RED RANGER & IN SPACE PSYCHO RED RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Following Power Rangers move from one overall narrative from Mighty Morphin’ into In Space, to the more one and done, self-contained approach starting with Lost Galaxy, the show still had the Super Sentai counterparts’ yearly team-ups with their predecessors for the prior year.  That meant that, in the midst of establishing a new universe for Lost Galaxy, they also were bringing back the last of the wider universe they’d wrapped up the prior year.  Alongside the returning heroic Space Rangers, we also saw the return of In Space‘s resident evil Rangers, the Psycho Rangers, who found new adversaries in the Galaxy Rangers.  Hasbro is paying homage to that in their latest two-pack, pairing Psycho Red off against Lost Galaxy‘s own Red Ranger.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Red Galaxy Ranger and Psycho Ranger are the second two-pack in the Lightning Collection line-up, hitting shelves about a month or two after the Green and Putty set I looked at yesterday.  They also starting hitting right around the same time as GameStop’s exclusive Psycho Blur figure, giving the Psychos a bit of jump start.

RED GALAXY RANGER

We got Lost Galaxy‘s sixth ranger in the second assortment of the main line, so getting the Red Ranger in rather quick succession isn’t much of a surprise.  It also introduces the Galaxy Ranger-specific tooling, clearly opening the door for the rest of the team.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s using the core Ranger parts, with his only truly unique parts being his helmet and belt, something we should all get comfortable with as Hasbro fills in more of the more basic-looking Ranger teams.  Both new pieces make for a decent match for the design from the show, and match pretty well with the already sculpted base body parts.  There’s not much to write about beyond that; he’s a pretty straight-forward, no frills design.  The paint work is respectable, but again follows that same basic model of the sculpt, being pretty straight-forward.  There’s a little but of fuzz on the edges of the changes from white to red, but other than that, things look pretty solid.  The Red Ranger includes an alternate unmasked Leo head (with a pretty solid likeness), two pairs of hands (in gripping and a fist/flat combo), the Quasar Saber in full-sized and compact modes, and a flame effect for the full-scale Saber.

RED PSYCHO RANGER

Evil Power Rangers aren’t an uncommon element for the franchise, but the Psycho Rangers are probably the most prolific, with ten television appearances under their belt, making them the natural choice for first Evil Rangers to get toy coverage.  Bandai was supposed to do a full set in their Legacy line, but ended up not completing them, so Hasbro’s giving it a shot.   Their starting with Psycho Red, who’s a fairly sensible starting point.    The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Psycho Red is an all-new sculpt, though I would imagine that a number of these parts are shared with Blue.  I can’t say for sure, because I’m not paying GameStop’s mark-up on that one, so it’s totally conjecture.  How dare I?  It’s a pretty nice sculpt, all things considered, and there’s a lot more going on with this sculpt than with Galaxy Red.  The poseability isn’t quite as free range as I’d like, especially on those shoulders, but for the most part it turned out very well.  Psycho Red’s paintwork is pretty solid.  Again, there’s a little more going on than with Galaxy Red, making him the slightly more visually interesting appearance.  Application is pretty clean for the most part.  There are some slightly sloppy points, but it’s nice looking overall.  Psycho Red is packed with his Psycho sword, and two sets of hands (one pair gripping, one pair fist/lightning effect).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Lost Galaxy is right as I started to fall out of Power Rangers.  I had a few of the original toys, and I love me some Magna Defender, but I don’t have any major connection to Leo.  He’s fine, but ultimately nothing much to write home about.  Psycho Red, being from In Space, my personal favorite incarnation, is right up my alley.  He’s got a few small issues, but is otherwise really cool, and the definite star of this set.  I look forward to getting the rest of this team, as well as some proper Space Rangers to fight them.

I picked these two up from my friends All Time Toys, and they’re still available here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2316: Fighting Spirit Green Ranger & Putty Patrol

FIGHTING SPIRIT GREEN RANGER & PUTTY

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

At the beginning of 2019, Hasbro took over the Power Rangers brand, and got right to work producing their own line of 6-inch scale figures on par with their Marvel Legends and Star Wars: The Black Series lines.  They’ve been working to bolster their numbers within the line through any means necessary.  We’ve gotten three standard assortments, augmented by two three store-exclusive figures, an SDCC two-pack, and two wide-release double packs.  I’m looking at the first of those wide-release packs, Fighting Spirit Green Ranger and the Putty Patrol, today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Green Ranger and the Putty were the first Lightning Collection two-pack to hit shelves, initially showing up (in a small capacity, at least) in the late summer of last year.  They started hitting more in full force just before the end of last year.  Both figures are, of course, based on the Mighty Morphin’ incarnation of the show.

FIGHTING SPIRIT GREEN RANGER

Tommy Oliver’s other MMPR Ranger incarnation served as the backbone of the first standard assortment of the line, so I guess it’s appropriate that this one would anchor the two-packs.  This figure is officially dubbed the “Fighting Spirit Green Ranger” on the package, as he’s based on the Power Rangers: Dino Thunder episode “Fighting Spirit,” which see’s Tommy facing down three of his prior Ranger identities.  While the White and Red designs would go unchanged, the Green Ranger costume had some minor tweaks (which the fanbase was *so* forgiving of, of course…), and this guy reflects those. The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure previously, when it was used for the Dragonshield Black Ranger, though this figure was *technically* released first.  Whatever the case, the two share all but their heads and belts with each other.  It’s sensible enough, given the similarities of the base costume designs, as well as the fact that the Dragonshield is cannonically the same piece between them anyway.  The new helmet is a solid recreation of Tommy’s green helmet, matching well stylistically with the other MMPR Rangers we’ve gotten so far from this line.  Sculpturally, the only thing that sets this guy apart from a proper MMPR Green is the belt, which has his dagger sheathed on the right hip, rather than the left.  Big change-up, I know.  The paintwork is where most of the changes between the two designs crop up, with the most prominent change being detailing the helmet’s crest in silver rather than leaving it green like on the original piece.  As much as it may be sacrilege, I don’t hate the extra detailing there; it adds a nice little pop to the helmet.  Beyond that, he’s got a couple smaller changes.  The belt buckle is silver, like the other five rangers, rather than his unique gold, and the sheath for the knife is white instead of black, again matching the holsters of the core five.  If you want to get really picky, the green’s a slightly more saturated shade as well, which can be seen in the comparison between the Figuarts and this guy at the end of the review.  The Green Ranger is just as well accessorized as any of the solo-packed figures, with an unmasked head (borrowed from the White Ranger), four hands, his dagger, his sword, and an effects piece for the sword.

PUTTY

As I discussed in my reviews of Zedd and Goldar, the Rangers villains don’t tend to get quite as much toy love from the Japanese side, and by extension seem to miss out on the best of the toys.  This was also true of the franchise’s original army builder, the Putty Patrol, who were a conspicuous absence from the Figuarts stuff.  Bandai’s American side did at least give them a little more coverage, but they always felt a little more phoned in than the Rangers themselves.  Fortunately, Hasbro seems committed to not phoning in the villains for their ownership of the line, and the Putty is finally joining Zedd and Goldar.  As with most toys of them, this Putty is sporting the more basic Season 1 appearance, from before Lord Zedd retooled them into his own force.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The construction on this figure is actually largely shared with that of the core Ranger body.  For the most part, that’s pretty reasonable; they were all similarly build guys in spandex, so it’s not like there’s a *whole* lot different you can do.  That said, he does end up sharing his boots with the Rangers, which isn’t strictly speaking accurate, as they should sit lower and be less ridged for a proper set of Putty boots.  It’s quite minor, though.  He does get a new head, lower arms, and belt, though, which sure do help to sell the Putty-ness of the figure.  The head and hands both spot quite a nice selection of texture details which give him that real world feel.  The paint on the Putty is fairly monochromatic; they were just shades of grey on the show, and they remain shades of grey here.  It’s more or less accurate, although I suppose there are some spots where they could stand to have dialed up the differences in shades a little bit.  It’s really not bad, though, and the monochromatic nature does help those red eyes to really pop.  The putty is packed with hands in both standard hand configurations, as well as a blade/club combo, which gives you some options if you opt to army built.  He also includes an effects piece, which he borrows from the White Ranger.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I already had the Figuarts Green Ranger, so my Green Ranger in this scale was covered, meaning I didn’t *need* this set.  Of course, I like the Putty, and I’ve wanted a few of those for a while, which did leave me mighty conflicted on this set.  With the Green Ranger *technically* being a different version of the suit, it did make things a little easier, so once I was able to take a look at one in person, it wasn’t exactly a hard sell.  Ultimately, I think I still prefer my Figuarts Green overall, but this one’s still a lot of fun, and the Putty is definitely a cool figure that I hope Hasbro makes more of, because boy do I want to army build.

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

#2315: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Remember how I ended yesterday’s review by saying I wanted to see more from Spin Master with their DC stuff?  Well, it happened sooner than I expected.  Like, you know, right away.  Don’t you look at me like that.  We all knew what this was, okay?  Look, just sit back and enjoy this Nightwing review, alright?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing is part of the first standard assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  Rather wisely, Spin Master has opted to separate out the Bat-characters from the main DC line, which means that the main line-up won’t get too overshadowed by the Bat-family.  This Nightwing figure is based on the character’s DC Rebirth design, which is my favorite of his more recent redesigns.  I dig the New Adventures vibes.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation, for real this time!  No broken joints on this guy!  Nightwing’s sculpt is an all-new piece, but given its generally generic nature, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get re-used for some similarly built characters.  He’s actually smaller in build than the Superman figure, which is nice to see, given that the far more expensive DC Essentials version didn’t even get that.  You know there’s a problem when your $30 collector’s figure gets outclassed by an $8 toy….I’m getting distracted, aren’t I?  Yeah, it’s a decent sculpt.  It’s not perfect; the neck is a smidge too short, and the hair’s not my ideal choice for Nightwing.  The hands and feet are also a little chunky, but given that the same is true of Superman, that feels more like a stylistic thing.  Also, it’s nowhere near the level that it was on Mattel’s old Infinite Heroes line, so I can give it something of a pass.  Nightwing’s paintwork is all fairly basic, but the bright blue looks really nice, and the application is all pretty sharp. There are one or two spots of missing paint on mine, but nothing too bad or figure ruining.  As with the Heroes Unite line, the Caped Crusader line is also doing the blind-boxed accessories.  There are currently two different accessory sets available for Nightwing.  Mine has the “Harbor Defender” selection, which is a pair of batons (with built-in gauntlets), a scuba mask and tank, and a batarang.  I found the accessories a little more interactive for Nightwing than with Superman, and really like the batons in particular.  He’s also got a collector’s card like Superman’s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Again, Max’s fault.  I mean, in a slightly different fashion than yesterday’s review.  And, admittedly I get a lot of the blame on this one, since I did actually buy it myself, but Max let me know that the Walmart near All Time had this guy, and said “if you’re gonna grab one, mind getting one for me too?”  At that point, I felt a little obligated, because what was I gonna do, make Max stop on his way home?  That just wouldn’t be very nice, now would it?  So, I got my Nightwing, because obviously I wasn’t just gonna buy one for Max.  As with Superman, I’m very happy with this figure, and am further intrigued by the rest of the line.  Also, this has perhaps set a precedent of me trying out new DC lines by buying Superman and Nightwing.  Possible spoilers for future reviews?  You’ll have to keep reading to find out…

#2314: Superman

SUPERMAN

DC HEROES UNITE (SPIN MASTER)

It’s a time of change.  After 17 years with the DC license, Mattel lost it at the end of 2019.  In their stead, two companies are taking over as the primary holders: Spin Master and McFarlane Toys.  The first product from both companies started hitting in the middle of last month, giving collectors a chance to try out both styles.  Spin Master is handling the more kid-focused, all-ages side of the license, and I managed to pick up some of their stuff first.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of their versions of the Man of Steel, Superman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman is part of Spin Master’s DC Heroes Unite line, and is one of two versions of Superman available at launch.  This one is marked “rare” on the included booklet, so I would assume that means he’s a one-per-case figure.  That said, Spin Master’s set-up for the line tends to suggest that none of the figures will be that hard to find in the long run.  This Superman is based on the Superman’s appearance from the 2016 Lois & Clark series, which saw the Lois and Clark of Earth-Prime return to the Nu-Earth, and gave Clark this new darker costume.  It’s clearly meant to call back to the “rebirth” costume that he wore in the ’90s after coming back to life, but it’s still effectively a modern appearance.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation…or at least he should.  My figure’s right knee was fused out of the box, and ended up snapping when there was an attempt to bend it.  Probably just a one-off issue, but certainly something to keep in mind.  The sculpt of this figure is shared with the standard Superman, which actually isn’t the worst thing, given the similarities between the costumes.  The only downside is that the upper portion of the cape that’s not there is still…there.  With it being all-black, it’s not terribly distracting, but it’s too bad he couldn’t at least get a unique torso.  Aside from that, the sculpt is actually pretty nice, especially given the quality of the last Spin Master figures I picked up in this scale.  He’d certainly benefit from a waist joint and maybe some wrists, but he’s a far better offering at this scale than anything we ever got from Mattel, both in terms of sculpt and and articulation.  It’s a fairly basic layout of details, but it works very well for the style that they’re after.  Superman’s paintwork is pretty decent across the board.  The details are all pretty sharp, and the bleed over is minimal.  The painted beard works better than I’d expected, and I like how sharp the eyes are.  The primary gimmick of Spin Master’s 3 3/4 lines right now is tied in with the accessories, which are blind-boxed, and have a few different possibilities for each figure.  For my Superman, I got the armor in blue, the Kryptonite in green, and the eye beams in red, indicating this is the “Metropolis Mayhem” accessory selection.  Not a bad little assortment, and honestly not the worst gimmick for the line.  There’s also a little collector’s card, which can be removed from the front of the package, if you’re into that sort of thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault.  I saw the Spin Master stuff and was honestly interested in checking them out in person, but Max beat me to the punch, and picked up this very figure for himself.  Then it went and broke on him, and he was going to throw it in the trash.  I can’t bear to see a figure thrown in the trash, and I honestly wasn’t quite as perturbed by the broken knee, so I salvaged him (with Max’s permission, of course), and fixed him up.  And, boom, new line tried.  Breaking knee issue aside, I’m very happy with this figure, and I think that all of Spin Master’s launch product looks really great.  I look forward to seeing more from them.

#2313: Xenomorph vs Super Power Loader

XENOMORPH VS SUPER POWER LOADER

ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)

I had my first look at Lanard’s new Aliens line yesterday with the line’s star piece, the Alien Queen.  But, what good is an Alien Queen without a Power Loader to do battle with, and at least one minion to be all Queen-ly with?  Practically no good at all!  Fortunately, the line offers up both of those things in one convenient package!  That’s some fairly smart planning right there.  It got me to buy them, anyway.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Xenomorph Vs Super Power Loader set is part of the next step down from the Alien Queen on the price scale for the Alien Collection line, the “Xenomorph Attacks” sets.  There’s this set, and an APC (which, somewhat amusingly, is the only set at launch to not have a Xeno packed in, despite being in the “Xenomorph Attacks” sub-set).

XENOMORPH

There’s one of these in just about every set Lanard’s put out so far.  Currently, we’ve got two styles of Xeno drone: one based on the Aliens Warrior, and one based on the Alien 3 Runner.  This one is the Warrior.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Stylistically, much of this sculpt matches up with the Alien Queen, which is no surprise.  It’s fairly faithful to the film design, while still dialing things back a bit to make it a little more kid-friendly.  The various Xeno elements are all present, and things are pretty sharply defined.  The articulation is pretty well implemented, though the lack of elbow joints is a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the joints on mine are already starting to get rather loose from regular usage, so I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up to long-term play.  That said, it’s a fairly impressive sculpt, with some cool little touches.  Though he lacks the inner-mouth action feature of the queen (forgivable, given the size), he’s still got the details of the inner mouth sculpted on the interior of his jaw, which is a nice touch.  Like the Queen’s vibrant purple, the smaller Xenos are all privy to some Technicolorization, with this one being a rather eye-catching metallic green.  It looks pretty nice, and it’s something different, so I really don’t mind the change-up.

SUPER POWER LOADER

Though the most unique piece of this set within the context of this line, the Super Power Loader is the most clear-cut re-use (similar to what we’re used to seeing from Lanard), and does feel like more of an after thought to make sure there’s a Power Loader to face off against the Queen.  This release takes a pre-existing mech-suit from Lanard’s Corps! inventory and re-purposes it for something more familiar.  It’s not terribly far removed from the Power Loader of the movies, but it’s not terribly similar either.  It’s big and yellow and one of the hands is a claw.  That’s about where the similarities end.  That doesn’t stop it from being a respectably cool piece, although one that feels more designed for conventional weaponry than the glorified forklift from the film, which I suppose is really just an extension of the slightly more weaponized Loader from Kenner’s line.  It does make the name of the machine feel increasingly like an artifact, though.  The construction is fairly hollow, since it’s really just a shell for a figure, but it doesn’t feel too light weigh or like it’s going to break or anything.  I do like the color scheme a lot, and the caution stripes and bright yellow do a lot to sell this as the genuine article.  Power Loaders don’t always include a pilot, but this one does.  He’s not much to right home about, being one of Lanard’s cheapest figures.  He’s got the basic 5 points of articulation, and is very hollow.  Not particularly impressive, but okay for being essentially a glorified cardboard cut-out that’s only there to fill out the Loader in the box.  He’s armed with a pickaxe of some sort, which doesn’t feel like the best choice of weapon when your opponents bleed acid.  Whatever the case, I fairly quickly replaced him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll admit, I kind of got swept up in the awesomeness of the Alien Queen, and found myself buying this in the same purchase.  I like having Loaders to face off against my Queens and this one was sitting right there, and was admittedly quite affordable.  The Alien’s the better of the two items here, definitely.  Clearly Lanard’s put their resources into making the Aliens cool, and is filling in everything else as cheaply as possible.  Given that the Loader was not part of the first batch of items we saw, it wouldn’t surprise me that this was a somewhat later addition, which would explain the more blatant re-use for the Loader.  It’s not a piece, mind you, but it’s not nearly as impressive as the Queen.  That said, they still look pretty impressive sparring off against each other.

 

#2312: Alien Queen

ALIEN QUEEN

ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)

An Alien Queen review?  Is it the post-Christmas reviews again already?  No, I’m throwing you for a loop dear readers, and doing something that’s not totally predictable.  Okay, that’s probably not true, because I’m reviewing an Aliens action figure, and that’s pretty darn on-brand for me.  Alas, there goes my plans for spontaneity.  So, in Aliens news, the license got picked up by a new and kind of surprising company: Lanard Toys.  Lanard previously made their name with their G.I. Joe knock-off The Corps!, but first got into the licensing game with Kong: Skull Island, and then followed up with Rampage and Jumanji.  So, while licensing isn’t a *new* thing for them, an R-rated movie from the ’80s does seem a little off for a company that sells exclusively in the toy aisle of Walmarts.  Whatever the case, I’m not going to complain if it means more toys from my favorite movie.  Plus, it’s been forever since I’ve reviewed an Alien Queen.  My skills are getting rusty.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Alien Queen is the central piece of Lanard’s new Alien Collection, which started hitting shelves right at the beginning of the year.  While much of the line is made up of Lanard re-purposing old tooling under a new branding (much like they’ve done with prior licensed lines), the Queen is a brand-new offering, designed solely for this line, and she doesn’t exactly have a lot of re-use potential after the Alien line is done.  The figure is roughly 12 inches tall (with her slight hunch) and has 20 points of articulation.  The articulation and its implementation is all fairly basic, but what’s there works and it works well.  In particular, the ball-joints on the ankles work surprisingly well to help keep the figure balanced in a variety of poses.  At first glance, I didn’t think much of them, but while taking the photos, they really stood out to me, especially in contrast to figures like the NECA Queen, who requires a stand to stay balanced (in their defense, so did the real thing; it’s one of the impossibilities of the design).  Some effort has been made by the figure’s sculpt to cartoonize or kidify the Queen’s design a little bit in order to make a slightly sturdier toy.  Most of this is in the legs, which now are more beefed up to support the rest of the figure.  By and large, though, the figure remains surprising faithful to the source material.  While it’s not got the screen accuracy of the NECA figure, it certainly lands closer than the Funko ReAction, or even the vintage Kenner attempts.  They’ve boiled down all of the important elements and crafted something that immediately captures that spirit of the original design, while not being too horribly terrifying for kids par-oozing the toy aisle.  In a lot of ways, I feel she would pair well with the Kenner Scorpion Alien in this respect.  Another change to the design in the effort of keeping things a little more kid-oriented: the colors.  While classically black with some blue highlights, the queen is now a rather vibrant purple…with some blue highlights.  There’s not actually much paint, just the whites of the teeth and the few traces of blue, but it looks pretty striking, and the purple honestly shows off the sculpt a little better than a straight black might have.  Though the Queen includes no accessories, she does get an action feature.  Pulling her head back will shoot her inner mouth outwards, a surprisingly effective feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found out that Lanard picked up the Aliens license, I’ll admit I was somewhat perplexed.  However, the Queen was one of the first items to be shown, and I rather liked what I saw.  Thanks to Max, I got a heads up that this figure had hit, and was able to find one just after the new year.  I gotta say, I really love this figure, more than I’d anticipated, especially given the very low price tag.  For the same price as a Marvel Legend, you get a figure more than twice the size, and very, very playable.  I love my NECA Queen as much as the next Aliens fan, but if there’s one thing it was not, that’s playable.  Having a Queen I can feel free to pick up and mess with is really solid, and a great alternative for those not looking to drop over $100 on a Queen.  This is an absolutely fantastic piece for kids and collectors alike, and I hope Lanard can continue with such pieces.

#2311: IG-88

IG-88

STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (KENNER)

Everybody’s got their own personal favorite bounty hunter from the Star Wars verse.  Well, okay, maybe not everybody.  That seems a little presumptuous.  Some people don’t like Star Wars.  I know, I know, that’s a hard pill to swallow, guys, but lets be real.  Now, for the Star Wars fans out there, we can at least all take solace in knowing that we all agree that the best bounty hunter, bar none is IG-88.  We all agree on that, right?  Right?  Come on guys, Star Wars fans are always a really agreeable bunch, right?  Anyone?  Anyone?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-88 was released in the first assortment of Kenner’s The Empire Strikes Back line, debuting alongside the movie in 1980.  There were two notable variations of IG-88, most easily identified by the finish of the plastic.  Early IGs were a more metallic silver, while later in the run he was shifted over to a duller grey.  The one up top is the silver, but there’s a comparison shot of the two at the end of the review. No matter the variation you have, the figure stands about 4 inches tall (he was a tall boy) and he has 5 points of articulation.  The two versions of the figure actually had slightly different molds, although they were more or less the same sculpt, just with some minor manufacturing tweaks.  The initial sculpt is actually really strong, quite possibly the best sculpt to come out of the vintage line.  While he fits right in with the rest of the figures stylistically, he’s incredibly sharply detailed, and sports pretty much all of the elements he should for a proper screen accurate IG.  The sculpt was so good, that Kenner actually ended up re-using it with just one tweak when it came time for the PotF IG-88, but that’s a discussion for a later review.  For the later run IGs, the sculpt is slightly downgraded.  It’s still one of the best of the vintage line, mind you, and all of the important elements remain, but some of the smaller details are lost and the overall crispness of the sculpt is also gone.  There’s also one piece completely mission on the right leg, and protrusions from the head are generally cut shorter.  If you don’t compare the two, you wouldn’t really know what you were missing.  For the paint work, IG-88 was kind of light, with molded plastic making up most of it.  The bandolier is painted black on both figures, and the lights on the head are red on the silver figure and orange on the grey.  The application on the silver is a little more precise, lending to more of that sharpness like we saw with the sculpt.  Both versions of IG-88 were packed with two blaster rifles, one short, one long, molded in a dark blue, which is probably the thing that most gives away this figure as vintage.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had a soft spot for IG-88.  Since he wasn’t in the original movie (and therefore one of the figures I inherited from my Dad’s childhood collection), he wound up being one of the earlier vintage figures I tracked down for myself, picked up from an antique school sometime during my high school years. That was the grey version, and was just on his own without the accessories.  I picked up a complete silver when it was traded into All Time a couple of months ago.  Silver is the superior release, but grey has his own charm.  I appreciate them both for what they are: two more pieces for my awesome IG-88 collection!

#2310: Super Skrull

SUPER SKRULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Super Skrull may have been ever so slightly undercut as a FF foe by yesterday’s review of the greatest comic book villain of all time Doctor Doom, but let’s not let him get too down here.  I mean, he’s a pretty solid antithesis of the team, being a guy who can match them all ability for ability. After DC’s Amazo proved the concept of combining all the heroes’ powers into one could work, the FF followed suit with Kl’rt, a Skrull warrior imbued with…the combined powers of the FF.  Look, it’s all pretty straight-forward.  Despite being specifically tailored to the FF, Super Skrull was sort of batted around the general Marvel universe following a few defeats from his initial foes, and has even had a few turns as a reluctant ally to our heroes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Super Skrull is the titular build-a-figure for the newest FF-themed series of Marvel Legends.  Kl’rt has actually never had a proper Legends release before, but he did get a 6-inch figure out of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four Classics, which they dropped right before losing the license.  Hasbro subsequently re-issued that figure in a two-pack, but intended as a more generic Skrull army builder, rather than a true figure of the original Super Skrull.  Whatever the case, this figure is certainly a welcome addition to the current line-up.  He stands 7 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Super Skrull, rather interestingly for a Build-A-Figure, is built on the Hyperion body, which is typically a single-carded piece.  He gets his own head (two of them, in fact), upper torso, and arms to help differentiate him.  The two heads give us two different moods for Kl’rt; one somber, and one mad and cackling.  I like the cackling myself, but both are solid pieces, and internally consistent to boot.  The new upper torso not only gives Kl’rt his proper Skrull shoulder pads, but also replaces the usual upper torso, thereby eliminating the weird torso shelf that is the standard Hyperion body’s one major flaw.  The new arms replicate Super Skrull’s typical “using all the powers at once” appearance, although with a slightly different than usual application. Rather than going for the symmetrical stretched out, flaming Thing arms and transparent legs, this figure gives us one flaming Thing arm (courtesy of a clip-on effects piece), and one stretched out invisible arm.  They’re pretty awesome pieces with just one downside.  Though a spare set of standard arms is included, the design of the left powered-up arm doesn’t allow it to be removed from the torso after initial assembly, which is why my Kl’rt keeps the Thing arm no matter what.  I don’t think I would ever display him without the powered-up parts, but it’s annoying not to have the option.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this figure by buying all of the figures needed to complete him.  Hands up, who’s surprised?  Honestly, though, I wasn’t sure about another set of the FF, but upon seeing this guy as the Build-A-Figure, I was pretty well sold on the assortment.  I never got the old Toy Biz figure, but always wanted one, so another chance at the character is much appreciated.  I’m annoyed by the inability to change the arms back and forth as you should be able to, but even without the standard arms, this figure’s pretty darn cool.

This assortment is a pretty balanced one.  While I can easily say that Doom is my favorite (and Reed’s my least favorite), the grouping on the assortment as a whole is pretty tight.  There are definite positives to the whole assortment, and they make for a really solid set of figures.