#2385: Death Star Trooper

DEATH STAR TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Death Star Troopers were the elite of the Imperial Navy who were stationed aboard the first and second Death Star. They were responsible for piloting the super-structure to its destinations and firing the super laser on the orders of those in command of the station. They wore black uniforms and flared, reflective helmets.”

Remember when I reviewed the Power of the Force Death Star Trooper?  If yes, then good, because that means you know the guy I’m reviewing here.  If not, then you should maybe click on that link.  Back?  Great, now you know the guy I’m reviewing here.  He’s not really super pivotal to the movie or anything, but he’s got a nifty little history in terms of toys.  Okay, let’s have a look at his Black Series release, because what else is there to do these days?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Death Star Trooper was initially released under his vintage “Death Squad Commander” monicker on a vintage-style card for the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope.  He was then subsequently re-issued two years later as figure 60 in the main Black Series line-up.  He hit shelves alongside the the first wave of Solo product, as well as the similarly re-issued Jawa and the similarly-themed Tarkin.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  By virtue of being a re-issue from earlier in the line, the Trooper’s articulation isn’t quite as impressive as Han and Lando from the same assortment, but it’s still pretty usable in terms of the sorts of poses this guy might need to pull off.  The sculpt is a pretty solid recreation of the look we see on screen.  Like the Rebel Trooper than would follow later in the line, the helmet is a removable piece.  It doesn’t stay in place quite as well, due I’d say to its more flared design.  The head under the helmet isn’t quite as directly based on one actor the way the Rebel was, and looks to be an amalgam of the handful of actors we see in the role on screen.  He’s definitely got some of Joe Johnston’s features, so it’s possible they intended this as a more direct reference, but they’re all kind of generic-looking.  It’s a suitable head for the purposes of this figure to be sure, since you can get away with having a few of them on the shelf without it looking too much like a bunch of clones.  The paint work is a distinguishing feature of this release, since between the original and the re-issue, the line had introduced the face printing as a standard feature.  That means his head is particularly life-like, and a noticeable step-up from the original release.  The Death Star Trooper includes a blaster pistol, which he can hold or store in his holster at his side.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The 40th figures hit at a period when I was without the funds for quite as much collecting, so I didn’t track that one down, despite being at least a little bit interested.  By the time the regular release hit, I was more focused on others in the set, so I again ended up passing.  I ended up getting him back in late 2018 during one of Cosmic Comix’s sales.  He’s sat unopened on my shelf since then, but, hey, he’s been opened now!  Honestly, he’s a pretty okay figure.  Certainly not as goofy as the PotF figure.

#2384: Jaina Solo

JAINA SOLO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Daughter of Leia Organa and Han Solo, Jaina Solo is a Jedi student of Luke Skywalker. Like her father, she is also a crack pilot and skilled mechanic. Like her mother, she is a born leader.”

In the quite lengthy gap between the conclusion of the Star Wars saga with Return of the Jedi and the continuation of said concluded saga with The Force Awakens, in addition to some prequels or something, we got a whole host of tales from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  There were a few different contenders for follow-ups to Jedi, but in quite a good number of them, Han and Leia had at the very least a daughter named Jaina (the number of siblings Jaina had, their status as good or bad, and their status as alive or dead was up in the air, however).  Jaina was a pretty popular character, but ended up removed wholesale when Disney reset things in order to clear the stage for TFA.  However, in an effort to not completely overlook her, Hasbro did include her as the EU’s first introduction into The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jaina Solo is figure 56 in the Black Series line-up, hitting in an assortment that included a single-carded Supreme Leader Snoke, Rose, and the slightly revised Jedi Training Rey.  Jaina is officially classified as a “Legends” figure, denoting her status as removed from the cannon.  She was also the winner of the 2016 Fan’s Choice poll, which was what actually got the EU recognition into the line, really.  The figure stands just over 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  Jaina was actually the first real taste of Hasbro’s new mid-torso articulation they were working on, as it’s the same style of joint that would eventually show up on the Lightning Collection figures last year.  It’s got a lot more range, which is pretty much an across the board thing for Jaina’s articulation, really.  The figure sports an all-new sculpt, and quite an impressive one at that.  Jaina is seen here in her pilot’s attire, which was a change from her prior 3 3/4 inch figure, which went with her Jedi robes.  Personally, I much prefer this look, and it helped keep her a little more visually distinctive from Rey, so that’s definitely a plus.  Unlike prior pilots, Jaina’s web gear and vest are totally removable, allowing for a more tactical on the go jumpsuited look.  I would love to see this sort of thing implemented on a Luke or Poe figure in the future, because it honestly works quite well here.  Jaina’s likeness in an interesting one, because she doesn’t have an established actress or anything, but she’s supposed to look like her parents.  They’re kind of merged some features from both Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford into one, and it actually looks pretty convincing (although, for some reason, I can’t help but see Amanda Bynes in there).  Jaina’s paintwork is a lot of dark colors (she was a stealth pilot after all), but it’s a cool look.  The paintwork is quite crisp, and there are some nice subtleties to the shades of black mixed throughout.  She had the misfortune of being from literally the last assortment not to feature the printed faces, but hers is at least pretty clean.  In addition to the previously mentioned removable web gear, Jaina also includes her lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and a removable pilot’s helmet to complete her ensemble.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I never once saw Jaina in stores, due to her being the most demanded figure in her assortment by far.  By the time Hasbro did some revision cases to get more of her out there, and her value had plummeted on the aftermarket, I had kind of gotten distracted, and I just never got around to grabbing her.  Fortunately for me, one got traded in as part of the same collection that included yesterday’s Ahsoka.  Like that one, this is a surprisingly good figure, but that’s an even higher bar to clear for this one, since I already was expecting something really good.  She’s a really solid addition to the line.

#2383: Ahsoka Tano

AHSOKA TANO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Anakin Skywalker’s apprentice Ahsoka Tano left the Jedi Order before it was destroyed during Order 66. She would reemerge years later as Fulcrum, a leader in the fledgling rebellion against the Empire.”

Continuing down this road of looking back on older Black Series figures, let’s jump around a bit.  Recently, we’ve gotten an *almost* complete selection of the main characters from Rebelsthereby showcasing the line’s ability to adapt animated characters into a more realistic style.  One of the two earliest examples of this translation was today’s figure, Ahsoka Tano, one of the most prolific animation-only characters in the cannon (who will, incidentally, finally be getting a live-action counterpart in the second season of The Mandalorian), and certainly a solid choice for trying such a prospect out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahsoka was figure 20 in the Black Series line-up, hitting in the gap between The Force Awakens and Rogue One, in an assortment with the previously reviewed Kanan and Farmboy Luke.  The whole assortment was relatively difficult to get at first, but while the other two eventually showed up in greater numbers, Ahsoka was always the most in-demand of the three.  There are a number of designs to choose from for Ahsoka, but this figure opted to adapt her adult appearance from Rebels, which given the pairing with Kanan, made quite a bit of sense.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Given what period of the line she hails from, Ahsoka’s articulation is actually pretty alright.  Not only does she have more points than the average release from this period, but they generally have a better than average range.  The ball-jointed torso in particular adds a lot of posing variety.  In terms of translation from animation to the “real world” style of The Black Series, Ahsoka was definitely more successful than her assortment-mate Kanan.  I don’t know if it’s just that she’s got a more easily translated design, but it a much smoother transition, and she looks more like a real person, albeit an alien one.  Honestly, the alien thing probably helped more than anything.  Like Kanan, she does a nice job of giving the various parts of her outfit distinct textures, which sells the realism bit even a little more.  Ahsoka’s skirt is a mixed media piece, with the actual skirt being a simple cloth piece, and the more fanciful details being a rubber overlay.  More recently, that cloth part has been removed from figures, and Ahsoka kinda makes me miss it, because it works well here.  Ahsoka’s paintwork may predate the move to the new style faces, but you’d be a little hard-pressed to notice.  It’s again largely due to that whole alien thing, but also she’s just got a really sharp paint scheme, definitely the best of this particular era of figures.  It looks really solid.  Ahsoka is packed with two distinct lightsabers, like she wielded in the show.  They are the unique pale blue they should be, and can be hung from her waist piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get Ahsoka when she was new for a few reasons.  Firstly, I was still desperately trying to cling to my “no prequels” rule.  Secondly, I only saw her one time at retail.  Thirdly, I was moving at the time, and one extra figure was hard to justify.  And lastly, I hadn’t yet seen any of Rebels, so my only real knowledge of Ahsoka was from Clone Wars, and I honestly wasn’t that big a fan of the character.  After getting more into Rebels and rewatching Clone Wars, I came to appreciate her a bit more, so I was finally willing to add Ahsoka to my collection…just in time for her to jump way up on the after market.  Fortunately, one got traded into All Time right before the shut down, and they pretty much just gave it to me.  She’s a surprisingly good figure, and I’m glad I was able to finally get one.

#2382: Lando Calrissian

LANDO CALRISSIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Once a smooth-talking smuggler, Lando Calrissian changed from a get-rich-quick schemer to a selfless leader in the fight against the Empire.”

Okay, well, I’m not quite into the backlogs of my collection yet, but I’m running on fumes in regards to new stuff.  This week, I’ll be looking at a few things that are new to me, along with some things that I just hadn’t gotten around to reviewing, all under one common theme: Star Wars: The Black Series.  So, let’s kick things off by taking a look at one of the main heroes of the Original Trilogy, as well as one of the returning faces for last year’s Rise of Skywalker, Lando Calrissian!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando Calissian is figure 39 in the Black Series line-up.  He hit shelves alongside the Royal Guard, Qui-Gonn, and a Tusken Raider.  Kind of an eclectic selection, but there it is.  Though it’s the third figure I’m looking at, this was Lando’s first figure in the line, and is based on his attire from Empire.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Lando is pretty standard for the era of the line in which he was released, being wedged between Rogue One and Last Jedi.  The line hadn’t quite made it to the improvements we would see in the latter half of the Last Jedi product, so compared to the other two Landos, he’s a noticeable step down in terms of both articulation and level of detail in the sculpt.  The lessened details are most noticeable on the head.  While this guy doesn’t look *unlike* Billy Dee Williams (in fact, he’s got a more than passing resemblance, to be fair), he certainly doesn’t have the spot-on likeness we saw on the Skiff Disguise Lando.  The rest of the body is a decent enough sculpt, if somewhat stiff in what you can do with the articulation.  The cape is a rather bulky rubber piece, which kind of restricts what can be done with the arms.  If you’re going to want any sort of gun-wielding pose, the cape’s gonna have to go.  The cape is also rather on the soft side when it comes to the details, which is really in contrast to the rest of the figure.  You can see they put effort into putting texturing into the sculpt, but it’s almost like something went off in the production process.  Lando’s paintwork pre-dates the move to the face printing, so he’s not nearly as lifelike or subtle on the detailing as figures that would follow.  He’s better than some of the figures that preceded him, though, and at least what paint is there is pretty crisp and cleanly applied.  Lando is packed with a blaster and a communicator, which pretty much covers the important extras he needs in this look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The whole assortment that Lando was part of was a little tricky to find.  I did see Lando in person once, but I was low on funds, and ultimately had to pass.  When I got Skiff Guard Lando, I figured I was good, but I happened upon this guy at a Five Below a couple of months back.  For $5, I definitely wasn’t passing this guy up.  He’s a step down from more recent figures, but he’s certainly not a bad offering, and he doesn’t stick out quite as badly as some of the earlier figures did.  Now I’ve got my whole core Empire cast finally!

#2381: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL MINIMATES

The initial Marvel Minimates stuff was all really compartmentalized.  Two of the three assortments were tight-nit themes, and the other assortment stuck to at least themes within each pairing.  There was, however, one figure shown off with initial product who didn’t have a natural pairing or theme: Norin Radd, the Silver Surfer.  See, his lack of connection to anyone else was supposed to cement him as the key exclusive piece in the planned single-packed assortments.  The plan was he’d be packed in a case of singles, with the rest being made up of repacked figures from the two packs, in sort of a flip of the TRU five packs.  The singles did show up eventually, but only as an exclusive to a Canadian chain, and they didn’t include poor Surfer.  Fortunately, as with most of the early ‘mates, there ended up being several ways to get him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Surfer was initially released in the Marvel Minimates line on his own as a Tower Records-exclusive, then surfaced in one of the TRU four-packs, then the TRU ten-pack, then in series 7 of the main line alongside Spider-Man 2099, and then finally in an Action Figure Xpress-exclusive two-pack with Thanos.  Apart from the AFX version getting C3-style feet, the figures were all the same, making him a relatively easy to acquire ‘mate, at least for a good while.  Surfer was, and continues to be with more recent offerings, a vanilla ‘mate, relying only on the basic ‘mate body to make him work.  As such he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The heavy lifting here was done via the paint, and while you could go *really* basic on a character like this, DST actually put some care into his detailing, attempting to capture the comics’ style of making him look extra shiny.  There’s more of a minimalist bend to this one, going more for a “suggest but don’t explicitly outline” approach to most of his features.  Contrasted against the far more line-work heavy designs of the later Surfers, I can’t help but just really dig this one for the simplicity of it all, even if the paint on mine has taken quite a beating over the years.  Surfer’s one accessory is his board, which for this version is just a board, with no pegs or anything on it.  It’s a little limiting in regards to what you can do with it, but it also means it’s not marred by the connection points that were all over the later versions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted Surfer as soon as I could get one, but being much younger and not having the action figure-acquiring means I have now, I ended up having to wait until his proper main line release in Series 7.  Over the years, I lost most of my Spider-Man 2099, but I’ve still got Surfer.  He’s still pretty dope.

#2380: Luke Skywalker with Blast Shield Helmet

LUKE SKYWALKER w/ BLAST SHIELD HELMET

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Aboard the Milllennium Falcon, Luke Skywalker is instructed by Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the art of lightsaber battle and the ways of the Force.”

At the end of 1997, Kenner reworked their standard Luke Skywalker head for their Power of the Force line, in an attempt to bring him more in line with, you know, a real person, and not some sort of He-Man knock off.  The following year, they got to work making this new version of Luke the new standard, which included going back and updating their take on “Farmboy” Luke.  Apparently they really liked this updated Farmboy Luke.  In fact, they seemed to like him so much that they just kept releasing minor tweaks to the mold, just all over the place.  Lets, uh, look at another one of those, I guess?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker with Blast Shield Helmet was released in 1998 as part of the Power of the Force line.  This figure is designed to replicate Luke’s appearance while on the Millenium Falcon before they get brought in by the Death Star.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, this figure is more or less identical to the Luke included with the Purchase of the Droids set.  The only real difference between them is the belt piece.  While the Droids set version has a pair of binoculars on his belt, this one removes them.  Yay?  It’s different?  Technically it’s less?  Honestly, though, it’s not a bad sculpt, and a definite improvement on the original ANH Luke from the line, and this was the first single-carded release, so it was a valiant idea.  The figure’s paint does change things up a bit as well.  He’s decidedly got a cooler-toned color scheme.  I’m not sure if that was an intentional thing, but it fits with him being on the Falcon as opposed to on Tatooine.  Luke is packed with his father’s lightsaber and the blast shield helmet he uses while training.  It’s too bad they couldn’t also throw in the training drone, but I suppose this isn’t a bad little assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid (Gunner Station Luke was my on-hand version of this mold), and I can’t really say I had much of an undying need to get one, but as I’m trying to make my way to a complete run of Power of the Force figures, I have to pick up these guys at some point, right?  This one came in with a bunch of others at All Time last summer, and I used some trade credit to pick him up.  He’s not a bad figure, but it’s not easy to get particularly excited.  Just wait til I get to all of the other versions of this mold…

#2379: Offroad Bumblebee

OFFROAD BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Bumblebee goes toe-to-toe with Blitzwing in a canyon-shaking battle.”

Okay, let’s wrap up this week of Transformers reviews with two things Ethan’s actually got a handle on: Bumblebee and Jeeps.  Over the course of Bumblebee, the title character picks up a few different alt-modes.  While the one that sticks for most of the film’s run time is Bee’s classic VW Beetle mode, his first mode upon arriving on Earth is a Jeep that he scans while evading Agent Burns and Sector 7.  I’m a bit of a Jeep geek, so I was certainly hoping to see this variant pop up in at least one of the toylines.  Given that Bee’s the main character, it’s not a huge shock that one eventually surfaced, and as part of the Studio Series to boot!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Offroad Bumblebee (who I’ve been affectionately referring to as Bumblejeep) is figure 57 in the Studio Series line-up.  Like Dropkick and Shatter, Bee is a Deluxe Class release, and hit shelves alongside the aforementioned Shatter, as well as Roadbuster from Dark of the Moon.  Bumblebee has been one of the most frequent characters in the Studio Series, with this particular version being his seventh unique variation in the line.  As I noted in the intro, he’s based on the scene where Bee arrives on Earth and tries to escape Sector 7, and ultimately ends up battling Blitzwing.  In his robot mode, Bee stands just shy of 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like Shatter, the overall articulation count’s a bit lower here, but in Bee’s case, the joints all have a pretty impressive range, so he’s got a lot of posing capability.  That said, the hips are a bit loose on mine, so that’s something to keep and eye on.  In my figure’s case, it doesn’t have an impact on his ability to stay standing, though, so I’m not horribly bothered by it.  At a casual glance, you might expect this figure to use a healthy helping of parts from the VW Bee, but Bumblejeep is an all-new, far more film accurate sculpt.  His scaling is a little better relative to at leas the other Bee film figures, and he loses a lot of the extraneous pieces (notably the door wings) which were present on the prior figure.  In general, he’s just a very accurate recreation of Bee’s model from the movie, and is a far more solidly constructed figure in his robot mode.  He includes a blaster attachment for his arm (which works pretty much the same way as Shatter’s, rather than being a whole swapped out thing like the previous Bee), which is cool.  He does *not* include an arm blade or his battle-mask.  The blade’s okay, because he can actually use the one from the VW release, but the mask is a bit of a shame, since that’s not a piece that’s cross-compatible, and he actually made prominent use of the mask during the scenes with this mode.  Bee’s alt-mode for this release is a fully-licensed Jeep (as you can tell by the properly shaped grill and headlights).  It’s a far less fiddly transformation than the VW one, and the final product stays together a bit better.  It was still a little tricky to get everything to tab together just right, but the actual transformation process itself really wasn’t bad.  The only downside to the final product is how obvious those arms are under the vehicle, but the had to go somewhere, I suppose.  They’re on balljoints, so you could remove them if they really bother you.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I said in the intro, this is a design I’ve wanted in toy form since I saw the movie, because I just really like Jeeps.  I was really excited when this guy was shown off, and he was at the top of my list for upcoming Studio Series figures.  I was admittedly a little bummed when All Time only got in Shatter for the time being, but I managed to stumble across this guy while on a supply run to Target, which made me quite happy.  He’s easily my favorite Studio Series release to date, and I may actually be trying to track down a second, because I really want both modes on display.

#2378: Shatter

SHATTER

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

Shatter uses the powerful satellites of Sector 7 to hunt down Bumblebee.”

Alright, I’ve wrapped up what I’ve got of Earthrise for review.  So, for the last two entries in this Transformers-theme week, I’ll be jumping over to the live-action movie side of things.  As is usually the case when I jump into things related to the live-action Transformers films, I will be focusing on 2018’s soft reboot of the franchise, Bumblebee.  Last month, I took a look at one of the film’s two primary antagonists, Dropkick.  Today, I’ll be looking at his superior officer, Shatter!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shatter is a Deluxe Class-scaled Studio Series release, numbered 59 in the line.  As I discussed in my review of Dropkick, the two villains in Bumblebee are both triple-changers, something that’s not very easily replicated in the Studio Series style, given how much they pride themselves in the accuracy of the alt-modes.  For both Dropkick and Shatter, Hasbro opted to just do two versions of both.  Shatter’s muscle car mode was up first, and was, similar to Dropkick’s first release, based on an earlier version of the robot mode, and therefore not super accurate.  This one replicates her look after she acquires her jet mode, and aims to be a better pairing with the superior second Dropkick.  In her robot mode, Shatter stands just shy of 5 inches tall and has 15 practical points of articulation.  Shatter is definitely on the restricted side when it comes to posability, but that’s overall been the case for the Studio offerings.  That said, what articulation she does have works well, and she wasn’t as restricted as I’d expected at first glance.  It’s worth noting that, unlike most Transformers, Shatter doesn’t come out of the box fully transformed into robot mode.  There’s a few additional steps required to get her there, which can be slightly tricky if you don’t know quite what you’re doing (like me).  Once that’s done, she’s a quite respectable recreation of Shatter’s movie appearance.  Of note is the ability to see her actual face, something that the previous Studio Shatter lacked.  She also works in the remnant car details of the robot mode, which she kept after taking on the third mode, unlike the helicopter Dropkick.  She also includes blaster attachments for both of her arms, which work in a fairly rudimentary fashion (she just holds them like guns), but look good nonetheless.  Shatter’s alt-mode is a Harrier Jet, which this figure more or less turns into.  There are a few details changed on the final design, as I don’t believe this mode is officially licensed like most of the Studio Series releases are.  There are extra fins in a few spots, which is really the only difference.  It’s still a nice alt-mode, and doesn’t end up with any ugly under carriages or anything like some plane transformers end up stuck with.  The transformation isn’t too bad for a Studio figure, and certainly not as fiddly as Shatter’s last release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wanted to have a Shatter and Dropkick in my collection after seeing the movie, but I was ultimately not impressed with either of their initial figures.  Once this figure was shown off, I was definitely far more interested, especially after managing to get ahold of car Dropkick.  She ended up coming into All Time in a shipment on her own, along with the previously reviewed Earthrise stuff, and found her way into my “wait out this lengthy time at home” purchase.

As I noted above,  I got Shatter from my friends at All Time Toys, and she’s still available here If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

A Quick Plug!

Hi all!  I’m taking a brief little intermission from all the action figure-oriented news for a quick plug for a new site, run by my ever supportive, ever awesome Super Awesome Wife, Jessica Headlee.  The site’s called Siren’s Call to the Sea, and will be a series of daily posts from Jess, all centered on her oceanic-related interests and expertise.  Obviously, it’s a divergent topic from the things I cover here, but what I’ve read so far is still a pretty exciting read!  I think it’s definitely work giving it a look, if you want to mix up your reading habits and possibly learn a little bit more about the stuff that makes up 70% of the planet!

So, that’s pretty much it…

#2377: Hoist

HOIST

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Hey, remember when I reviewed Grapple and I was all like “I don’t really have much to say for the intro”?  Well, apart from this witty and self-referential bit I’ve got going right now, the very same is true for Hoist.  <checking wiki> Apparently the two of them are buddies?  Well, cool, that means that they fit together in a nice little pair of characters I know pretty much nothing about.  So, let’s again watch me try to review a character I don’t know!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hoist is the third of the three first Deluxe Class assortment figures I’ve picked up from Earthrise, and he seems to be designed to pair off with the Voyager Grapple who hit right around the same time.  It’s actually nice of Hasbro to actually finish off a pair like that so quickly; usually there’s a wait involved between such figures.  In robot mode, Hoist stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 24 usable points of articulation.  I complained in yesterday’s review about how Wheeljack’s robot mode felt a little less refined than some of the others from Siege and Earthrise, and I feel that’s even more of an issue with Hoist.  He doesn’t feel like he’s on the same engineering level of, say, Cliffjumper, or even the likes of Grapple.  There’s far more hollow sections left exposed (the entire back side of the legs for one, and the torso for another), and he keeps the side panels of the vehicle mode just stuck behind the arms rather rigidly.  Additionally, he just doesn’t feel as sturdy as other figures of the same style, so he feels literally half-formed.  I’m also not a huge fan of the colorscheme, but that’s not really specifically this toy’s issue, as much as it is just part of the character.  So, the robot mode doesn’t impress me so much, how’s the other mode?  Honestly, not bad.  He turns into a pickup truck with a towing hook.  Getting him transformed isn’t the easiest thing, but the final product is actually quite nice, and one of the most convincing alt-modes in this set.  Hoist is packed with an arm cannon, which he can use in robot mode, or stow on his side when in truck mode.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hoist at the same time as the other two Earthrise deluxes, mostly because I knew I wasn’t likely to have a chance to get much new stuff, and I was buying everyone else.  I’m not really a huge fan of him, at least in his robot mode.  He just feels really removed from the rest of the line in terms of quality, and doesn’t really fit in.  On the other hand, I actually really like that alt-mode, and as a first, I might end up displaying this guy in his vehicle mode full-time.

Hoist was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.