#2502: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS PRIME: BEAST HUNTERS (HASBRO)

At the end of yesterday’s Soundwave review, I mentioned one more Prime figure coming along with him.  If you know really anything at all about my Transformers collecting habits, then it’s not even remotely surprising that the other figure was an Ultra Magnus.  He’s kind of my guy here.  Magnus was absent from the first two seasons of Transformers: Prime, but made his way to the show for its third and final season, which also meant he got in on the toys, one of which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released as part of the third Voyager Class wave of the re-branded Prime: Beast Hunters line.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 19 workable points of articulation.  Magnus’s sculpt is, of course, based on his cartoon appearance, which was notable, because he wasn’t the first Magnus figure in the Prime line-up, but he was the first to actually be based on his show look.  Said show look isn’t quite as far removed from the classic Magnus design as Soundwave was.  It’s really just streamlined and generally brought more closely in-line with how the show handled Optimus’s design, since the two are usually built out of at least *some* of the same parts.  That fully tracks with the actual construction of this figure, which borrows pretty heavily from the Powerizer Optimus Prime from earlier in the line.  Magnus gets a new head, chest plate, and shoulders, which bring him more in line with Magnus’s show design, and help to really sell them as, you know, different characters and all.  The new shoulders are in line with the usual Magnus tradition of big ol’ pillars on his shoulders, but are also functional, as they can shoot missiles out of the top…if you have them…which I don’t.  Also missing from my figure is his Forge of Solus, the big battle hammer this version of Magnus carried.  Not missing, however, is his wing-pack, because apparently Magnus needs some wings.  Hey, I can dig it.  What I can also dig, as show-inaccurate as it may be, is Magnus’s color scheme, which has that cool bright blue that the old toy did.  Most stuff these days goes with the more cartoon accurate darker blue, but I enjoy the brighter shade still showing up occasionally.  Magnus’s alt-mode is pretty much the same truck mode that Optimus got, them being mostly the same mold and all, but with a few surface details here and there changed.  It’s a transformation that’s a little tricky to get the hang of the first few times through, but I was able to get there, and it’s not so bad now that I have a few attempts under my belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, obviously, I got this guy from Max, just like with Soundwave.  He knows I’m a Magnus guy, and he always keeps an eye out for the ones I don’t have, and he was nice enough to snag this one for me, also for my birthday.  Interestingly, the figure didn’t have any of his accessories when he got traded in, but Max has just so happened to have the wing-pack sitting on the shelf above his desk for over a year now, and was actually pretty excited that a matching Magnus finally came through.  And hey, it makes mine that much more complete!

#2501: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS PRIME: ROBOTS IN DISGUISE (HASBRO)

It’s been a bit of a spell since I’ve looked at any Transformers, which is something that didn’t used to be a weird thing, but now has become one.  What a weird world I live in now.  Well, the lack of Transformers should be changing post-haste, as I have some new stuff waiting for review.  However, before getting into the new stuff, how about some old stuff?  Though I didn’t watch it new, Transformers: Prime is one of my earlier instances of sitting down and actually watching a Transformers show through, and I definitely dig some of the updated designs that came out of it.  Obviously, my favorites to come out of it are my favorites to come out of any incarnation of the franchise, so I am just all about this incarnation of Soundwave, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave was released in the first series of the Prime: Robots In Disguise “Revealers” line, which was the deluxe-class component of the tie-in line.  In robot mode, he stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of workable articulation.  As with most figures in this line, he was based on his cartoon appearance, which was a quite streamlined, almost bat-like design.  It’s pretty far removed from the classic G1 design, but it still really fits with the spirit of the character, and I feel makes for a much cooler update than what we ended up getting in the movies.  His sculpt was all new to this figure, and does a pretty respectable job of capturing Soundwave’s animated appearance from the show.  It’s pretty slick and poses pretty well considering how it’s designed.  He’s a touch restricted at the shoulders, but for the most part it’s impressive the level of posing you can get out of him.  This Soundwave, as with just about every Soundwave post-80s, had to come up with a new alt-mode that wasn’t just a cassette player, what with those being out of vogue these days and all.  Instead, Prime Soundwave’s alt-mode is a spy drone, reminiscent of the Predator B drone.  Honestly, it’s a pretty solid choice of alt-mode, given Soundwave’s typical characterization as a spy and all that.  His transformation process is a little more involved and finnicky than some of the more recent Transformers I’ve picked up, but it’s still pretty easy to figure out, and the end result is a pretty convincing spy drone.  Soundwave was packed with his companion Laserbeak, who can either be plugged into one of the 5mm ports throughout Soundwave’s body, or folded into his chest for easy storage.  The chest storage is definitely a nice throwback to the cassette set up of the vintage figures, and I really dig it.  In 2013, under the revised Beast Hunters branding for Prime, Soundwave’s mold got a slight re-working, a new color scheme, and a new capture claw weapon and Ravage in place of Laserbeak.  It’s a fun change-up from the initial figure, with a slightly brighter and bold color, and the new accessories are certainly a lot of fun.  Not quite show-accurate, but still kind of nifty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I wasn’t watching Prime when it was first airing, I wasn’t picking the figures up either.  However, the Beast Hunters release of this mold was eye-catching enough for me to make my first “modern” Transformers purchase to pick it up.  I always dug that one, but when I sat down and actually watched some of the show, I found myself kind of wanting that more standard Soundwave.  I never did get around to snagging him…on my own, anyway.  It’s kind of been raining Transformers collections at All Time recently, though, and one of them had a lot of Prime stuff in it.  Max made it a point of setting aside this guy and one other figure (who I’ll be looking at tomorrow) for me, as a really awesome birthday present.  Now I have Soundwave and both of his smaller buddies!

#2500: Hawkeye

HAWKEYE

AVENGERS (HOT TOYS)

Wow, can you believe I’ve written 2500 of these reviews?  I mean, you probably can.  The numbers are right there, at the top of the reviews and all.  I’ve given total accountability here.  So, you know, you shouldn’t be surprised.  I mean, I am, but it’s my site; I’m allowed.  Well, 2500 feels like a monumental enough review for me to dig out another of my higher-end figures, so why not chip away a little more at my rather impressive Hot Toys Avengers collection.  I’ve looked at a good chunk of the first film’s line-up, but today I’m taking another step towards completion with Hawkeye!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkeye was released as part of Hot Toys’ core Movie Masterpiece Series, numbered at 172.  He’s the third of the Avengers-branded figures, following Nick Fury and the quick re-hash Iron Man Mk VI.  Given that he’s really the most basic of the core team, it’s not a huge shock.  He wound up as one of the first to actually make it to release as well, getting to collectors in the fall of 2012.  The figure stands 11 3/4 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

Hot Toys usually puts their star work into the actor’s portraits on the head sculpts, and they’ve turned in some really impressive likenesses.  Hawkeye’s not a bad effort, but he’s not one of their best either.  There’s definitely a lot of Jeremy Renner in there, but it’s not quite as spot on as their work tends to be.  I think it’s the eyes that really throw things off, because putting the sunglasses on helps the likeness a bit.  I think they might be a touch too close together.  Later Hawkeyes from HT would get the Renner likeness down just a bit better, but this one wasn’t a terrible attempt by any means.  The paint work is still up to the usual HT standards, meaning he’s really damn lifelike.

As is the usual set-up, Hawkeye’s costume is a mixed-media affair.  The actual suit is a tailored piece, made from a number of layered pieces.  It works out pretty well, but ultimately isn’t quite as slick as some of the other suits they’ve done.  There’s a lot more in the way of faux zippers and straps, and it just looks slightly more cosplay than usual for HT.  For me, the biggest hang up, though, is the front of the tunic.  The two sides of it are meant to hook onto the brim of his pants, in order to hold things a bit tighter, but can be removed to allow for slightly better posability.  The trouble is that the hooks just don’t really hold very well, so it just tends to pop loose a lot.  The boots are solid sculpted pieces, which is fairly normal for the line, but not the most posable choice.  Still, they do look pretty nice.  Hawkeye’s got his quiver, which is a plastic piece, and even has the rotating arrangement of arrow heads at the base like in the film.  Connecting the quiver to the rest of the costume proved a bit of a challenge for HT, so they ended up including two options.  The first is a small plastic clip, which connects to the back of the quiver and slots into the center of his back, leaving a more seamless join.  This is technically more film accurate, but ultimately isn’t as secure, and tends to droop over time.  The second option’s a cloth strap.  It’s pretty basic, but it works, even if it’s not quite as film accurate.

Hawkeye’s underlying body is one of the muscle bodies.  Given the exposed arms, this makes sense from an aesthetic standpoint, but is sadly a little limiting from a posing stand point, given the lessened range on the elbows and shoulders.  It makes getting decent archery poses out of this figure a little tricky.  You can definitely still manage some good ones, but there’s a lot more careful posing involved.  Otherwise, it’s a well proportioned body for the character, so I can at least get behind that.

Hawkeye’s accessory complement is definitely an impressive one, especially given his lower price-point at the time of his release.  He gets:

  • 6 hands
  • 2 bows
  • 16 arrows
  • 11 specialized arrow heads
  • Sunglasses
  • Display stand

The hands come in relaxed and gripping on the right side, and relaxed, pointing, and two different arrow-drawing hands for the left.  The only downside to the hands is that the standard arrow-draw hand has the fingers all molded as one solid piece, requiring some slight modifying if you want him properly holding the arrow.  The two bows are effectively the same, with one difference: one has a string and the other doesn’t.  This allows for the unstrung one to make use of the joints on the mold, allowing it to be collapsed like in the movie.  The arrows are all without heads, allowing the specialized ones to be swapped out in the movie.  The one real downside to them, though, is that you have to manually feed them into the quiver, which is a real pain, and hard to get just right.  The sunglasses are, of course, an artifact of promotional images, since he doesn’t actually wear them in the film, but it’s still cool to get them, and they look pretty snazzy.  The stand is another basic oval stand, but it’s at least consistent with the rest of the Avengers figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It was Hawkeye that swayed me into actually getting on board with the HT Avengers line-up, but it wasn’t when he was solicited.  No, it was instead when he sold out on Sideshow’s site, and I realized that if I really wanted these figures, I would need to jump on them early.  Fortunately, I was able to jump on the waitlist for this guy and get him without too much trouble.  Ultimately, he’s not as impressive as other HT figures.  I do still like him a lot, though, and he does go well with the rest of the set, so he’s certainly got that going for him.

#2499: Saturn Girl

SATURN GIRL

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

Early last week, it was announced that DC Comics was letting go of a major portion of their work force, as well as shutting down their in-house collectibles company, DC Direct.  Ever since DC separated from Diamond Distributors earlier this year, the writing has kind of been on the wall regarding DCD’s fate, but it was still kind of sad to see them officially announce the shut down.  Though rather turbulent in the last decade or so, DCD certainly had some impressive work behind it, and its a presence in the market place that I’ll miss.  I guess in honor of their memory, I might as well jump back to early in their career, back when they were focusing just on giving figures to a bunch of DC character who had never gotten toys before.  In 2001, they gave the Legion of Super Heroes, long a fan-favorite team, their very first action figures, starting with the team’s three founding members.  Today, I’m taking a look at Saturn Girl!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Saturn Girl was released in the inaugural series of DCD’s Legion of Super Heroes line in 2001, alongside fellow founders Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy.  All three were based on their classic Silver Age designs, which seems appropriate for their very first figures.  Saturn Girl stands 6 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  Articulation on DCD figures was never really standardized, and the Legion figures exemplified that.  Though Irma gets reasonable articulation for her arms, there are no joints below her waist.  This wouldn’t be such a terrible thing, if not for the fact that the figure’s legs aren’t *quite* molded in the right position to let her stand flatly, meaning she pretty much can’t stand on her own (the turnaround shots below were nothing short of a miracle, I assure you).  On the plus side, her sculpt is at least a rather nice one.  It’s nothing amazing, but it’s definitely got a nice clean feel about it, and it manages to make her look rather attractive, without having to give her any truly crazy proportions or anything.  The hands do seem maybe a touch on the large side, but otherwise she’s a pretty nice rendition of Saturn Girl’s ’60s design.   The paint work on this figure is fairly basic overall, but the application is all nice and clean, and I quite like the slight bit of accenting on the face to help give her a little color.  I also just really like how clean the painted flesh tone looks on these earlier figures.  Saturn Girl included a stand (which, though helpful, still doesn’t keep her standing as well as you’d hope), a Legion flight belt for her to wear, and a life-size Legion flight ring for the collector to wear.  Please note: flight right does not allow wearer to fly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Dad was getting all of the DCD Legion figures as they were released back in the day, so I experienced most of them through him.  I did get in on the line’s last assortment, however, and I’ve been slowly filling in the rest of the line since.  I’m pretty close, and some of the last ones I still need are the original three.  My dad found Saturn Girl a couple of weeks back, and grabbed her for me for my birthday.  She’s a product of her time, and perhaps not the most impressive by modern standards.  However, she’s still pretty solid, and showcases the work that DCD did to get us figures of the greater DCU.

#2498: Captain America – Final Battle Edition

CAPTAIN AMERICA — FINAL BATTLE EDITION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Bandai Japan’s S.H. Figuarts is a toyline that I’ve looked at a handful of times previously on the site, but the very vast majority of the items I’ve looked at from the line have been, rather predictably, I suppose, based on Japanese properties (well, excepting of course Freddie and K-2, but they were sort of stand outs).  They’ve been dabbling in plenty of American properties over the years, but up until now, I’ve been totally content to stick with the domestic options on those.  As of late, they’ve been really getting into the MCU side of things, with Infinity War and Endgame both getting a noticeable focus.  Today, I’m taking a look at their latest take on Captain America, specifically in his Endgame attire.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Final Battle Edition Captain America started showing most places in the last month or so, right alongside the similarly Final Battle-themed Iron Man from the movie.  This marks our second Endgame Cap in the Figuarts line; the first one hit closer to the film’s theatrical release, and featured a much more paired down accessory selection, largely to avoid spoilers and the like.  Even as a basic release, it sold out pretty quickly, so Bandai was fairly quick to get another version out there.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s on the taller side of the Figuarts spectrum (due to Chris Evans being generally a pretty tall guy), but he’s still going to be a little small to scale with Legends.  Obviously, that’s kind of expected.  This release of Endgame Cap appears to be using the same core sculpt as the prior release.  The articulation is a little bit on the obvious side, falling back in line with what I’m used to from Figurarts.  There’s a pretty amazing range of motion, though some of the joints on mine, particularly his left elbow, are a little looser than I’d like.  I do wish the tolerance were just a touch better there.  As with any Figuarts sculpt, it’s definitely got a little bit of a stylization to it, to bring him in line with the rest of the figures.  It works pretty well for Cap, though, and gives him even more heroic proportions than usual. It also looks astoundingly svelte when compared to the Hasbro version, which was itself a bit beefy, I suppose.  It’s not a bad match for Evans’ build in the film, though, albeit in a slightly caricaturized way.  It does manage to get the costume details down a bit more accurately, I think, than the Legends release.  There are three separate heads included with this figure: masked with calm expression, masked with battle expression, and fully unmasked (which also gets its own separate neck post, since there’s a little bit of the helmet visible on the standard neck).  Of the three, I the neutral masked is probably the weakest.  The likeness just isn’t quite there, and he looks a little void of personality.  I really like the other two heads, though.  The intense expression is great for battle poses, and the unmasked head has a pretty fantastic Evans likeness on it.  The paint work on this figure marks a difference from the original release, which gave us a slightly more pristine Cap.  This one takes the “Final Battle” title and runs with it a bit, so he’s got a bit of grime and dirt.  It’s not enough to make him look “damaged”, but it gives him a little extra flavor.  All three heads have printed faces, which look a little wonky from up close, but great at a distance.  The gold color used on the hair of the unmasked head looks a little weird, but after having him in hand for a bit, I don’t actually hate it.  The major selling point of this guy is his accessory complement.  In addition to the three heads mentioned above, Cap also includes five pairs of hands (fists, relaxed, hammer gripping, flat, and with the shield strap in hand), his shield in both regular and broken forms, with interchangeable straps to go along, and Mjolnir with interchangeable energy effects.  The hands offer up some fun posing variety, and the flat palmed ones even have a tab to allow the corresponding strap with hanger on it to be attached, letting Cap actually hold his shield by its edge.  The shield’s straps also allow for use on either arm, one-handed hold, or mounting on his back, again really giving posing options.  Both shields are great pieces, and it’s awesome to finally have the destroyed one in toy form.  Mjolnir practically steals the show here, though, as the swap out panels with the energy effects are pretty amazingly dynamic for posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t typically jump into the Figuarts realm for stuff that has other 6-inch lines, but I’ve been kicking myself for passing up the chance to grab the AoU Cap at a good price, and I was a little bummed when I missed the first release on Endgame Cap.  Fortunately, the updated version came along, and he’s even better, so it works out well.  When All Time got these figures in stock, I came very close to grabbing this guy right away, but ultimately held off.  However, Super Awesome Wife was nice enough to work with Jason to get me one for my birthday, and I really couldn’t be happier.  He’s a really fun figure, and goes great with the rest of my ever-growing Captain America collection.

If you’d like a Cap of your own (or the Iron Man that goes with him, perhaps), he’s still in-stock at AllTimeToys.com. And, if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2497: Warstar

WARSTAR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, aliens B’nee and C’cll unite their superhuman abilities symbiotically as the unstoppable Warstar! Possessing superhuman strength and the ability to discharge electrical blasts, Warstar stands ready to strike at any and all enemies of the Shi’ar Empire – even if it means crossing the width of the galaxy itself!”

First appearing early in the Phoenix Saga, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard’s original membership were all homages to artist Dave Cockrum’s previous work on Legion of Super Heroes.  When the team reappeared during “The Dark Phoenix Saga” a few years later, Cockrum’s replacement John Byrne was tasked with a few more members to pad out the roster a bit during their fight with the X-Men.  Instead of creating more Legion homage characters, these new characters, including today’s focus Warstar, were wholly original, while still loosely fitting the theme.  No doubt for reasoning related to the potential issues that surround homage characters and toys, Warstar being a non-homage character made him a slightly cleaner choice when it came to toy coverage.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Warstar was another inclusion in the “Phoenix Saga” Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men toy line.  He is by far the most obscure character in that particular mix, but he did at least get a little bit of focus during the cartoon version of the Saga, which made him at least somewhat memorable to the buyer base, I suppose.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  He lacks a neck joint, but in his defense, there’s a sensible reason for that.  As touched on in the bio up top, Warstar is actually two symbiotically-linked beings.  The main body is C’cll, the larger of the pair.  It does a respectable job of replicating his larger mechanical frame.  He’s perhaps a touch more boxy than C’cll tends to be depicted, especially when Byrne was drawing him, but by and large, it’s a pretty close match.  Borrowing a page from the previously released Tusk figure, C’cll has a little hatch and a small lever on his back.  Sliding back the hatch and pushing up the lever reveals a tiny B’nee figurine, who’s been hiding back there the whole time.  Both of them are just a touch underscaled for the line, and B’nee doesn’t get any sort of articulation, but it’s a fun feature nevertheless.  Warstar’s paintwork is pretty solidly handled.  It’s largerly all one color (for C’cll, anyway; B’nee *is* one color), but it’s a pretty slick metallic green.  Mine’s taken quite a beating over the years, but that doesn’t seem like the worst thing in the world for a character with “war” in his name.  The only extra included here is the small B’nee figure; no other weaponry or weird accessories thrown in this time.  Also, he’s one of two figures in the “Phoenix Saga” assortment not to get any additional accessories when moved over to the larger card, presumably because of how sizable he was in the first place.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Warstar was a rather early addition to my collection, purchased for me by my Nana, specifically at my request.  Interestingly, I had no clue who the character was (I hadn’t yet seen his appearance on the cartoon), and actually thought he was a Titanium Man figure, who I wanted to have to face off against my Iron Man figure I’d just gotten.  It wasn’t until later that I realized my mix-up (and got a proper Titanium Man), though I can’t really say I was ever upset to own a Warstar.  He’s a pretty fun figure of a pretty fun character, and is probably one of my favorites from the line.  I’d love to see him get an update as a BaF or Deluxe Legends offering.

#2496: EV-9D9

EV-9D9

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“EV-9D9 is ideally suited to its job as cyborg taskmaster in Jabba the Hutt’s palace. It was one of many droids in service to the crimelord.”

Hey, remember how I was reviewing Star Wars stuff all week?  Well, get settled in with that, because we’re just gonna keep that rolling one day further.  Of course, it’s no fancy Black Series offering today.  Nope, we’re instead going back to my old mainstay, Power of the Force.  I mean, hey, at least it’s somebody who hasn’t gotten any Black Series love, just to keep things different and interesting.  And it’s someone with a speaking role, even!  Let’s look at EV-9D9, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

EV-9D9 was added to the Power of the Force line-up in 1997.  He was one of a handful of Jabba’s Palace denizens added to the line-up that year, so he was quite at home (although he wouldn’t get an 8D8 to boss around until the next year).  This marked his second time getting a figure, following the vintage release, as well as his final time in figure form.  Poor EV, getting no modern day figure love.  That feels downright criminal.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The design doesn’t quite as easily lend itself to a waist swivel, so he doesn’t get that.  Sadly, he also lacks the moving mouth of the original release, which is definitely a sad omission.  On the plus side, the figure’s nice and stable when it comes to standing, so he won’t be faceplanting nearly as often as some of the figures from this line.  He also avoids the pre-posing of earlier entries, making him a nice basic figure.  The sculpt is quite nice, doing a respectable job of capturing the design of the prop from the film, while also being sharp and clean on the details. It’s just a really nifty little sculpt.  The paint work is also pretty decent for this era of figure.  All of the important details are there, and there’s even some pretty nice accenting on the bronze sections of his body.  EV-9D9’s only got one accessory, but it’s a pretty good one: it’s the podium he stands behind when administering R2 and 3PO’s jobs. Pretty central to the character, and rather sizable to boot,  so it’s a winner in my book.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

EV is another of the large batch of figures I picked up in late 2018 when I really started trying to fill in my collection for the line.  It’s definitely a figure I didn’t think much of when I grabbed it, but he’s a pretty solid figure, especially given the lack of further coverage of the character.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2495: Battle Droid – Geonosis

BATTLE DROID — GEONOSIS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Rather than use flesh-and-blood warriors, the Separatists prefer mindlessly loyal soldiers that are easily controlled. Battle droids are dim-witted and no match for clone troopers or Jedi, but they weren’t designed to be smart – they were designed to overwhelm Republic civilians through sheer numbers, something they do very effectively.”

Since the Stormtroopers were off limits due to timelines and continuity and all that jazz, the Prequel Trilogy had to come up with its own form of armies of troops for the bad guys to throw our heroes’ way.  Taking advantage of being able to do designs and concepts not as easily allowed by the technology of filmmaking in the early ’80s, Lucas and company introduced the Trade Federation’s Battle Droid army, who became the backbone of the separatist forces for the next three films (and Clone Wars, of course), all while some how becoming more comically slapstick in their mannerisms with each subsequent appearance.  At this point, it really wouldn’t be that far-fetched for them to come out with a rendition of “who’s on first?”  Whatever the case, they were absent from The Black Series for a good bit, but finally joined the line early last year.  Of course, the assortment they were a part of was kind of unbalanced in its distribution, so Hasbro opted to give us another chance at the mold, this time with a tweaked color scheme.  Yay for me!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Battle Droid (Geonosis) is figure 108 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s the third Battle Droid we’ve gotten, following the tan Episode 1 version and the Gaming Greats heavy gunner.  All three of them are the same mold, which is sensible, since the core droid design didn’t change throughout the three prequel films.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Battle Droid figures historically have a lot of trouble matching the movement of the droids in the films.  Given that the joints are right there in the design, it’s a shame that they almost never articulate them.  However, this figure addresses that, and actually manages to articulate most of the built-in joints, making this by far the most Battle Droid put out by Hasbro.  The hip joints are slightly limited, and a few of the smaller joints were stuck on mine right out of the box, but he’s overall really posable, and a lot more steady on his feet than prior Battle Droids I’ve messed with.  Most impressively, he can actually properly fold up like the droids do in the movie, which is pretty cool.  The sculpt is also a pretty spot-on recreation of the designs seen in the movie, with all of the detail work being nice and crisp, sharp, and clean.  He’s quite a sleek-looking figure.  The colors are where this figure differentiates himself from the prior releases.  This one uses the Geonosis coloring, so he’s all red to match the rather amber terrain of the planet.  I’ve always been kind of partial to this coloring, so I’m happy to see it represented here.  The paint work gives him some wear and tear, so that he looks like a proper “battle” Droid.  He’s armed with the standard E-5 blaster, and also includes both a backpack, and the streamlined antenna pack, to allow for some distinction of ranks within the set-up.  It would have been cool to also get a C-3PO head to swap out, but perhaps they’ll just make the heads swappable when they make the inevitable AotC 3PO.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was tempted by the tan release of this figure last year, but never saw him in person, and didn’t feel majorly inclined to track him down after the fact.  Once I knew this one was coming, I officially switched over to just wanting him, because I like this color set better.  Now that I’ve finally gotten to mess with this mold, I can definitely see why people like it so much.  I’m sure Hasbro’s already planning to do a few more rank variants with it, and I can see myself picking some of those up to be sure.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2493: Anakin Skywalker – Padawan

ANAKIN SKYWALKER — PADAWAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A hero of the Clone Wars, Anakin was caring and compassionate, but also had a fear of loss that would prove to be his downfall”

Okay, so we were looking at some figures from Empire, the second installment in the Original Trilogy, which everyone loves.  Now, let’s jump forward (or is it backward?) to Attack of the Clones, the second installment of the Prequel Trilogy that most people don’t love.  I’m with most people on this one.  Delving back into my archive of old reviews tells me that the only other Anakin Skywalker figure I’ve reviewed here was back in May of 2014, and was another version of him from Attack of the Clones.  So, let’s do more of that, I guess?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Anakin Skywalker (Padawan) is figure 110 in the Black Series line-up.  He’s from the latest assortment of the main line, which is an entirely AotC-based line-up.  It’s also the last line-up before the line ditches the overall numbering scheme and goes to more themed subsets starting in the fall.  Gotta say, ending the longest running incarnation of this line with an all Attack of the Clones assortment is a pretty baller move.  Go for it, Hasbro.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  A lot of this figure’s parts are shared with the Revenge of the Sith version of the character, released way back in Series 4 of the original Black Series incarnation.  Remember in my Luke review on Tuesday, when I mentioned how nice it was to get an all-new sculpt for the Snowspeeder gear, even though they might have been able to try for some re-use?  Well, that feels somewhat relevant here.  Anakin’s look in the two films isn’t terribly different, so on one hand, some re-use is sensible.  However, it has the side effect of putting this guy on a base body that’s from 2014, which, from both a sculpting and an articulation stand point, puts him rather behind the times.  The torso in particular is rather boxy, and the movement on the elbows, waist, and knees is quite limited, especially when compared to more recent offerings.  He does at least get a new head, right forearm, and belt, which help to change him up a bit from the prior release.  The head is probably the strongest piece, and manages to give us a solid rendition of Hayden Christiansen.  It’s certainly an amazing improvement over any of the prior versions of him we’ve gotten, especially when it comes to his AotC appearance.  They definitely got that broody facial expression down.  The only slight issue with mine is that he’s got a bit of flashing on the right side of his jaw.  The new forearm is really just meant to mirror the left side, since this is a pre-robo arm Anakin.  It’s a real shame they didn’t take the opportunity to make it more easily removed at the elbow, to simulate some battle damage.  Of course, they also left Bespin Luke without an easily removed hand, so maybe they’re just really banking for potential variants down the line.  In terms of paint, this figure tries, but has one major issue, which is that his neck and face just don’t match.  Sadly, this is the potential problem you face when you’re painting one and molding the other in the appropriate color.  More recent figures have been using the double ball joint set up so that the neck is separate from the torso, allowing it to also be molded in the appropriate color, but no such luck here with this older mold.  At least the face printing looks pretty good.  In terms of extras, Anakin’s pretty light.  He gets his lightsaber…and that’s it.  It’s not even a really great mold, since the hilt feels somewhat oversized.  I’d really liked to have seen an alternate arm with his robot hand, or a robe, or even his green loaner saber from the end of the movie, so that we could properly set up the duel with Dooku (I had to steal one from Grievous to set up the shot at the end of the review).  Given that the figure whose mold he’s using most of included an extra head in addition to the lightsaber, this feels like a real missed opportunity.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I feel the need at this point to say that not only has my “no prequels” rule with this line been broken, it’s been poisoned, shot, stabbed, clubbed and finally drowned.  Very Rasputinian, if I do say so myself.  I’m really just all in at this point, honestly.  It helps a little that I already had Dooku, and also that I’m becoming increasingly in touch with the nostalgic twinge I have for Attack of the Clones, especially when it comes to toys.  This guy’s got his flaws, and in some ways feels a touch phoned in, but as a whole, he’s still a very enjoyable figure, and I’m hoping I can manage to snag Obi-Wan to go with him soon.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2492: R2-D2 – Dagobah

R2-D2 — DAGOBAH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Can you believe that in the 133 Black Series reviews I’ve written, I haven’t yet looked at R2-D2?  That’s crazy, right?  Well, okay, not really, since I got my Series 1 figure a couple of months before starting the site, and obviously didn’t pick up the subsequent re-release for the 40th line.  They finally opted to actually do a slight variant to the character, so I can totally justify buying another figure, and I have the drive to actually review the mold.  Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

R2-D2 (Dagobah) is another figure from Series 2 of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of The Black Series line.  He’s the last “new” figure in the assortment, but as I touched on above, new is sort of relative here, since he’s just a repaint of the first R2.  He’s 4 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  The movement is a little different on this figure.  He’s got fairly typical joints at the top of the legs and at the “ankles”, as well as an opening door on each side of his front, each with an articulated arm inside.  The head turns as well, but it’s connected to an action feature that drops his third leg down.  It’s surprisingly gimmicky for this line, and makes posing the head a little tricky, since getting it set just right can be a little counter intuitive.  I think leaving the feature out may have ultimately been better, but I suppose it’s not the worst concept.  Otherwise, the sculpt is a pretty impressive representation of R2.  It’s a solid rendition, and pretty sharply detailed.  The main selling point on this release, of course, is the paint, which this time around replicates R2 after he falls into the swamp after landing on Dagobah.  He’s pretty sufficiently grimy and gross.  My only gripe with it is that the third leg doesn’t get fully painted, so it’s slightly jarring when extended.  That said, I don’t believe R2 has the third leg out while on Dagobah, so I guess it’s technically accurate this way.  I think the grime helps to showcase the strengths of the sculpt a little better than the original release’s paint, so I definitely dig it.  The original R2 had quite an accessory assortment, covering attachments from six movies.  This one’s not quite as impressive, getting only the periscope attachment from the first release.  It’s not a huge surprise, given it’s the one we see him use in the movie, and this is supposed to be a specifically Empire-based and all.  You can still remove all of the panels and swap them with the accessories from the prior release as well, but he does end up feeling a touch light given that he still holds the same price tag as the original release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve picked up more versions of the core OT cast in The Black Series, I’ve arrived at the point of having multiple displays with them from each film.  However, I still only had the one R2, and at the going rate for the standard, I certainly wasn’t picking up a second.  Fortunately, this guy came along and solved that problem for me.  He’s a little light on the accessories front, but I like the new paint job for sure.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.