#2635: Ultraman Suit Ver. 7 – Animation



It’s been over a year since I last reviewed anything Ultraman, so I suppose I’m right on schedule to get something else in here so that I can go another year and change before getting something else.  Gosh, remember when these things were more prevalent?  I sure do.  And Pepperridge Farm does as well, because remembering’s the one thing they’ve got left.  Okay, that’s not true.  They’ve got Goldfish and Milanos.  They can ride those into oblivion.  Where was I?  Japan, I think.  There was something going on with Ultraman.  New toy.  Yes, very good.  Let’s look at the new toy.


Ultraman Suit Version 7 is a fairly recent addition to Bandai’s SH Figuarts line-up, hitting roughly at the beginning of the year.  He’s specifically patterned on the appearance of Dan Moroboshi’s Version 7 suit from Netflix’s animated Ultraman, which of course also means he’s patterned on the Version 7.2 Suit from the manga of the same name.  The manga version got a release back in 2016 under the SH Figuarts X Ultra Act banner, and this one is essentially the same mold, with a few tweaks, and, of course, the dropping of the Ultra Act banner entirely.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  Compared to the Ace Suit, Ver. 7 is in some ways a stiffer figure, and in other ways not.  I found the legs a little trickier to work with, but the arms, especially at the shoulders, did showcase a slightly greater range of motion.  Obviously, a lot of the restriction is coming from the design of the suit, and not from how the figure is made, to Bandai’s credit.  He can get into a number of impressive poses, and can most notably get into the unsheathing the sword pose that is so commonly associated with this design.  The figure’s sculpt is certainly a more complex one than the Ace suit was, again due to the source material, which has the Version 7 suit being a far more intricate and detail-heavy suit.  It contrasts well with Ace’s boxier design, as something that’s far sleeker and pointier.  Certainly appropriate given the sword wielding aspect. It also carries the most memorable elements of the classic Ultra Seven suit forward, but keeps in line with the more mechanized takes of the rest of the series’ Ultra suits.  Paint work marks one slight change for this figure, contrasting with the original 7.2 release.  This one makes the red sections a bit brighter and gives them a flatter finish than the original release.  It’s a look that works very well for the sculpt and the design, and further hammers home those classic Ultraman vibes.  The application’s all pretty clean.  There’s a little bit of variation between the reds, but nothing too major, and the segmented nature of the armor helps break it up and keep it from being too obvious.  The Version 7 suit includes his Specium Sword and its corresponding sheath, a separate attachment piece for the sheath, a throwing dagger (modeled after the original Ultra Seven’s head fin), a slash effect with a stand, and 8 swappable hands (in fists, gripping, and open flat combos, as well as two variations on gripping for the left hand).  It’s not a bad accessory set at all, although it’s too bad there isn’t an unmasked head for Dan like there was for Seiji in the Ace set.  Still, I can certainly live with this set-up.


My new Ultraman purchases have really slowed to a crawl, which is too bad, honestly.  I’m not the only one who feels that way, it seems.  Prior to the holiday season, Super Awesome Wife asked if I had a list of the Ultraman stuff I owned, which I did, and she took that and decided to get me this guy to keep things going.  I have the Figurise model kit, so I didn’t jump on this one when he was released, but in hand I do really appreciate the differences between the two.  There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here, and now I feel like I need a proper Shinjiro to round out my cast.

#2634: Iron Giant



Robots sure were a somewhat common theme amongst the gifts I received this year for Christmas, and when it comes to robots, a fairly early one in my personal lexicon is The Iron Giant, Brad Bird’s lovely ’50s period-piece animated film from 1999.  I saw it in the theatre, I had the poster up on my wall, and I’ve had a small little collection of the admittedly small selection of merchandise to come out of the film.  There’s been a bit of of an uptick in stuff from the movie in recent years, including some offerings on both the lower and higher end.  I’ve covered a couple of the lower-tier items on the site previously, but now I’m jumping into the higher end, with an offering from my rather recent discovery, 1000Toys!


The Iron Giant was released by 1000Toys as part of the Riobot imprint, where he’s figure #019.  This is the standard version of the Giant, but there’s also a Battle Mode Giant from the film’s climax.  But the standard’s really where it’s at, and that’s where I’m at too.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The Giant continues the trend of the 1000Toys figures I’ve had of being very nicely articulated.  This one’s not so much about the quantity as much as it is the quality of those joints.  The most impressive piece of design work is the neck and jaw, which are technically one joint, but a very smartly designed one.  It’s a ball joint, which the jaw piece clips onto first, thereby allowing the mouth the much more fluid range of motion the Giant’s jaw demonstrates in the film.  It’s key to getting some of his more notable expressions, and I particularly enjoy the ability to give him that lopsided look that he uses when he is confused.  It’s a subtle thing, but it really works well.  One area I was initially disappointed by was the elbow movement, which I at first found to be very surprisingly limited.  Like, not even getting past 45 degrees levels of disappointing.  What, did Mattel design this figure?  Not to worry, though.  It turned out I’d just not fully loosened up all of the joints, specifically the sliding component on the forearms, which allows them to move further down and get the elbows a much deeper bend.  It’s another clever design, and one that again adds a lot of potential to the figure’s range of motion.  Additionally, the tolerancing on all of the joints is nice and smooth, while still being tight enough to hold the poses.  In order to give the Giant that proper sort of heft, a good portion of the figure is made from die cast parts.  Some of the smaller parts, such as the head and lower arms, are plastic, so as to prevent any issues with wear or breakage.  The sculpt itself is quite a nice piece of work.  It takes the animation model and does a very solid job of replicating it in proper figure form.  It’s clean, sharp, and properly geometric, and the proportions are all pretty much spot on.  The layers to the sculpt are well rendered, and it’s just a nice and slick looking figure.  The Giant’s color scheme isn’t exactly the most complicated thing, being pretty much just variants on grey.  The figure sticks to that, of course, but does a pretty bang up job of making it not totally bland or too basic.  There’s quite a bit of variance in the types of grey, and the application is all really sharp and clean.  The Giant has a pretty impressive selection of parts.  Obviously, they split all of the specific Battle Mode stuff into a separate figure, but this guy still gets four different heads with slight variations on how his eyes are configured (fully open, fully closed, angry, and concerned), two different jaw pieces (with and without his lower teeth), a set of upper teeth to clip onto the heads, three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and flat), and the “S” sign he uses when playing “Superman” with Hogarth.  There’s again a lot of subtlety to some of these parts, especially the heads, but there’s also a lot of variation possible, making for some very fun posing.


The Iron Giant is a movie I fondly remember seeing in the theatre with my parents, and one of those instances of me wanting to immediately run out from theatre and buy a toy of the Giant, which I in fact did.  Over the years, I lost the hands to that one (because they didn’t ever really stay in securely), and I’ve been really looking for a real proper upgraded Giant figure for a little while now.  I’ve been really liking everything I’ve gotten from 1000Toys, and I’d been eyeing this guy for a little bit.  My parents were nice enough to get him for me for Christmas this year.  He’s really an awesome offering, and just so much fun.  I’m definitely glad to have this guy in my collection.

#2633: Ultra Magnus Merchandise



As we come into the second day of the Post-Christmas reviews, I’m heading into some slightly uncharted territory.  Firstly, I’m looking at something Transformers related which, while not completely a first for Christmas gifts for me, is still sort of new and fresh, seeing as I’ve only recently really gotten into it.  And secondly, and in fact most differently, I’m not actually looking at action figures at all, but rather some action figure adjacent product.  It’s not explicitly a first for me, I guess.  I mean, I did review a stapler that one time, and that’s not even action figure adjacent.  That’s just oddball is what that is.  What am I getting at here?  Well, more or less that I’m not really reviewing action figures for the day.  Hopefully this will be just as good…or at least up to whatever the quality of my usual output is, anyway.  Whatever the outcome, I guess we should look at this Ultra Magnus Merch I got, huh?


The two toys in question are the Ultra Magnus Pulsating Light AM Radio and the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, both of which were produced in 1986 by Nastra under their Power Tronic brand.  They were both released to coincide with Transformers: The Movie arriving in theaters that same year, and to capitalize on Ultra Magnus’s role therein.  I can dig it.  Let’s first discuss the “Pulsating Light AM Radio,” a somewhat perplexing item.  I mean, if you’re going to make a Transformers-themed radio, wouldn’t it make sense to at least pick one of the characters who actually turns into sound equipment?  Or am I talking the crazy talk.  Given that I’m arguing against there being another Ultra Magnus thing, I may very well be talking the crazy talk.  The actual item’s not that crazy, I suppose.  It measures 7 1/2 inches tall, and is pretty much just a scaled up replica of the G1 Ultra Magnus’s armored head.  It’s not quite as human-esque as later Magnuses, of course, but I think that works somewhat to this item’s favor, because it looks a little bit more artistic, and less like someone’s just decapitated Ultra Magnus.  It’s molded in the same shade of blue as the figure, and uses silver paint for the appropriate details, which honestly looks pretty good.  The radio runs on four AA batteries, which are loaded into the Magnus’s “antenna” on the sides of his head.  There are dials on the back of the head for turning on and adjusting the volume, as well as tuning the station.  I was quite happy to find that the radio function on mine still works, however the pulsating light function sadly is no more.  Oh well.

The second item featured here is the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, which is clearly Ultra Magnus, but is not actually named as such on the item’s packaging.  The item allows the owner to “talk like a robot” by mouthing words into the plastic straw that pops out of the figure’s back, and is essentially a simplified version of an electrolarynx device.  They were somewhat common amongst licensed products in the ’80s, so Transformers getting in on the game is perhaps not the biggest shock.  The item stands 4 1/2 inches tall and actually does have articulation, with joints at both shoulders, and some slight movement on the neck.  Much like the radio, this item is clearly patterned on the G1 toy’s mold, just scaled way down this time.  It’s rather crude and rudimentary, and has a distinct lack of Magnus’s shoulder towers, but is overall an okay piece.  Rather than apply any paint to this one, he’s instead just molded in three different colors of plastic, meaning he’s more an approximation of Magnus’s color scheme than an accurate depiction.  The Voice Synthesizer runs on a 9-Volt battery, which goes in the base of the feet.  I haven’t tested mine because I just don’t really want to put my mouth on it, so, you know, there it is, I guess.


Ultra Magnus is really becoming my main man when it comes to Transformers stuff, and I’ve picked up quite a healthy helping of Magnus-related stuff in the last year.  The stuff in the column of “what I don’t have” is becoming a bit more on the obscure side, and included these two, neither of which I expected to add to my collection quite this quickly.  I did add them to my collection quite this quickly, however, thanks to Jason from All Time Toys, who gave them both to me this year for Christmas.  They’re not standard action figure fare, but they are still a ton of fun, goofy fun, but fun to be sure!

#2632: IG-11



“One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunters Guild protocols to the letter.  This distinctive collection features premium deco applications inspired by the end credit images from The Mandalorian, plus a collectible Imperial Credit accessory”

Usually, around the holidays, I’m out of town for the week surrounding Christmas, meaning that, pretty much since I began the site, I’ve been jumping into my Post-Christmas reviews as the new year begins.  2020 was having none of that, so I was still at home this year, allowing me to just turn these reviews right around.  Don’t you guys feel so lucky?  For the first few years I was running the site, I kicked off these sets of reviews with an Alien Queen, but in recent years, that’s shifted to Star Wars, something that will stick this year, as I kick things off with a variant of IG-11!


IG-11 is part of the “Credit Collection” sub-set of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  These guys hit right around the launch of The Mandalorian‘s second season, and were effectively this year’s equivalent to the Carbonized figures from last year.  Theset was split up as exclusives amongst a few different retailers, with IG-11 being available through GameStop.  Structurally, this figure is the same as last year’s standard IG-11.  That means he too stands about 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  It also means that he too is based on the IG-88 figure, and is therefore a little bit inaccurate for IG-11.  That said, it’s not like anyone was really expecting a new mold for this release.  He’s designed to be a quick repaint, and that’s exactly what he is.  At least the IG-88 mold is still a pretty fun toy mold.  The differences on this guy come down to two things, the first being the paint.  He, and the rest of the figures in this set, are based on the illustrations seen in the show’s closing credits, which showcase some of the early art for the show.  IG-11 is illustrated in these images with a much warmer, and more colorful palette than is seen in the show, and that’s replicated well here.  I really dig how they’ve captured the sort of graininess of the illustrations, as well as the really divergently bright colors used.  These two definitely won’t get mistaken for each other.  The second change to the figure are the accessories.  He gets the same two blasters as the prior release, but also gains one of the credit pieces that the bio talks about.  It’s a pretty basic piece, and obviously not meant to go with the actual figure, but it’s a cool little extra nevertheless.


I’ve got all of the standard color versions of the figures chosen for “The Credit Collection”, so I wasn’t in a rush to pick any of them up, especially given their exclusive status.  I did kind of want the IG-11, because I just really like the IGs.  I wasn’t going to buy it from Gamestop for myself, though.  It’s okay, because I didn’t!  Max and I were discussing the figures when they were shown off, and I said I’d hold off, so he went ahead and ordered an extra IG for me for Christmas.  I’m glad to have this guy.  He’s not my primary version or anything, but he’s a fun alternate deco, and goes well with my other IG-related stuff.

#2631: Grand Admiral Thrawn



“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. A tactical and military genius, Grand Admiral Thrawn rallied the remnants of the Imperial fleet and set in motion a plan to destroy the New Republic. Using Force-inhibiting ysalamiri, he became vitally close to achieving his evil plans.”

Last week, I was discussing EU characters who really ran away from their expanded universe origins and became lasting pieces of the franchise in their own right.  While last week’s focus, Mara Jade, was prominent, she never made the jump to official canon proper.  Today’s subject, Grand Admiral Thrawn, actually did.  First introduced by author Timothy Zahn in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, Thrawn has also been confirmed to exist in the post-Disney-acquisition world of the franchise, having served as the primary antagonist for the second half of their Rebels series.  And, perhaps his future in the franchise is unexplored, if The Mandalorian‘s quick reference is anything to go by.  Well, in the mean time, let’s look at a little bit of toy coverage!


Grand Admiral Thrawn was released in the Expanded Universe sub-line of Power of the Force in 1998.  Like many of the characters included, this was his first figure, though thanks to actually becoming proper canon, he’s had a few more of them in recent years.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Thrawn is an all-new sculpt, but not exactly an unfamiliar or unique one.  He takes a lot of cues from how Kenner handled other Imperial Officer figures, which makes a bit of sense, from a consistency stand point.  Like Mara Jade, he’s clearly not a direct lift from the comics illustrations of Thrawn, in order to help him look a bit more in line with the rest of Power of the Force.  His head seems a touch large in my eyes, but otherwise it’s not a bad looking sculpt, and is consistent with how Thrawn generally looked.  It’s basic, but appropriately so.  The paint work is also pretty basic and straight forward, but again consistent with the character’s depiction.  It’s definitely a more unique color scheme, so he stands out nicely in a group of Imperials.  Thrawn is packed with a ysalamiri, the weird thing he’s got on his shoulders there, as well as a small blaster pistol, and the fold out diorama.  This time, it’s the bridge of ship, presumably the Katana.  It’s pretty sweet.


All of these were rare when released, and Thrawn’s quite a fan favorite, so he was also always pretty rare.  Fortunately, that whole set came through All Time last year, so I was finally able to snag one then.  He’s not the most technically impressive figure or anything, but he’s still pretty nifty, and I’m glad I have one.

#2630: Iceman II



“One of the youngest X-Men, Bobby Drake always resigned himself to the role of the jokester, using his ice powers to cool off the attitudes of his more serious team-mates. But for the short time the White Queen inhabited his body, Iceman’s powers were pushed to the max, affecting his appearance and the performance of his mutant ability. Now back in control of his own body, Iceman has begun to redefine himself, testing his limits to discover how powerful he really is.”

Though a founding member of the team, Iceman was not really one of the X-Men’s most prominent members in the ‘90s, at least when it came time to make the cartoon and pick its main cast of characters.  He got one guest appearance, but that was all, and subsequently, he didn’t get a *ton* of coverage in the toy line at the time, either.  Granted, he still got a little bit of coverage, by virtue of that whole helping to found the team, thing, so he wasn’t left completely high and dry.


Iceman II was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  In the comics, Bobby’s body had been taken over by Emma Frost for a brief period of time, and she’d unlocked Bobby’s ability to actually make himself out of ice, resulting in a slightly different appearance for the character, which this figure was based on.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure before, as all but the head was re-used for the Mutant Armor version of the character.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all, and the head included here is a rare look at a proper Bobby Drake face, albeit a slightly icy one.  The whole sculpt was used again for a two-pack release with Pyro in 2000, but with a slightly different coloring (which is the one seen next to Wilson in the photos).  The standard release of this one was molded in clear blue plastic, with a little bit of white airbrushed on to help give him that frosted appearance.  It didn’t work so well on the Mutant armor release, but I think it looks a bit better here.  For the two pack, he was a more opaque blue, which also isn’t a bad look.  Iceman II (and the two pack release) was packed with two ice hand attachments, done up to match the figure’s finish.  They’re a pretty cool extra.


While I didn’t have the original Iceman II in my collection as a kid (though I did have the two-pack version, who I mostly got because I wanted the Pyro he was packed with), I do remember looking at him during the mega 5-inch figure purchase period that was local comic shop Ageless Heroes going out of business back in 2000.  I almost picked this figure up at the time, as I was working on putting together a set of Champions figures.  However, I already had *an* Iceman, even if it wasn’t this one, so I refrained in favor of someone I didn’t already own (fairly certain it was Black Widow).  This one here came into my collection via a bunch of figures that just came into All Time a few weeks ago.  He was complete and I didn’t already have him, so why not?

#2629: C-3PO & R2-D2



“Hasbro and Lucasfilm Ltd. are delighted to present, for the first time, this Star Wars Holiday Edition commemorative. Inspired by the artwork of renowned artist Ralph McQuarrie, this specially designed set captures the imaginative vision of McQuarrie’s art in collectible 3-3/4″ action figure scale. Our gift to you, this piece is a distinctive addition to any Star Wars collection. May the Force be with you, and happy holidays.”

It’s Christmas once again, which means it’s time for me to churn out another festive review!  After years of purely Christmas-themed items, two years ago I took my first look at a rather popular toy concept: the festive variant.  You’d be surprised how much mileage  you can get out of shoving a Santa hat on a popular character.  From 2002 to 2005, Hasbro made it a point of doing this very thing with the Star Wars characters once every Christmas season.  Their very first offerings were a natural pairing, C-3PO and R2-D2.  I’ll be looking at them today.


This pair was released in late 2002 as a Walmart-exclusive offering.  Officially, they’re part of the then running Star Wars Saga line which was launched for Attack of the Clones, but the packaging doesn’t bear any sort of notation of that.  This was very much its own standalone release, originally intended to be a Star Wars Fan Club offering, but ultimately re-purposed.

The first of the two figures here is 3PO, clad in a Santa Claus get-up, or at least the hat and jacket of one.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 joints, but it’s really hard to classify any of them but the neck as actual articulation.  The arms and legs both end up pretty restricted by the design of the jacket.  He’s a bit pre-posed, in the same way that any 3PO is pre-posed, though, with his arms held slightly aloft and bent.  The fake beard is permanently attached to his right hand, as though he’s about to put it on, I suppose, though how he’s going to get his arm up to his face is anyone’s guess.  The detailing on this figure is rather on the softer side, especially for the era of figures he was a part of.  It’s not like it’s bad, though, and it has a sort of artistic merit to it.  Plus, as a standalone piece, it’s not quite as imperative it matches the rest of the line.  Speaking of matching, let’s discuss the paint, and it’s whole not matching thing.  So, at this point in the line, 3PO figures were always vac metalized.  This figure follows that…for the head and legs.  Unfortunately, vac metalized plastic doesn’t hold large quantities of paint very well, so painting the jacket over it wouldn’t have gone very well.  Their solution was to paint the hands and what we can see of the chest a flat gold…and it’s pretty obvious.  I can’t really fault them, because their hands were tied.  Maybe if they’d done a cloth jacket instead?  It’s not the end of the world, though.

Pairing off with 3PO’s Santa impersonation, we also get R2 doing his best Rudolph.  The figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation.  He’s built not from an R2-D2 figure, but from 2000’s R2-B1…for reasons, I guess.  The mold’s lack of the usual third leg was something of a shame, but not the end of the world.  The figure gets a new head-dome, which has been decorated with a rather hastily applied pair of antlers.  I dig that these are deliberately designed to look kinda tacky; it’s a nice touch, acknowledging the kitschy nature of the set.  R2’s paint is less compromised that 3PO’s.  Mostly, it just keeps to the standard R2 paint scheme of the time.

In addition to the figures, the set also included a little stand and backdrop which replicate the holiday card they’re based on, as well as a copy of the holiday card itself.


I never much got into these seasonal figures as a kid, and my parents didn’t shop much at Walmart, so I never really saw this pair.  It wasn’t only years later that I knew of their existence, and felt the need to pursue them (I’ve got holiday reviews to write, after all).  I ended up getting this set when one was traded into All Time earlier in the year.  I then had them sitting there unopened for about eight months, until I finally cracked them open for the purposes of this review.*  Are these figures great?  Nope, but they sure are a bunch of kitschy fun.

*Full disclosure: I wrote this review a year ago before replacing it at the last minute with Crackshot for last year’s Christmas review.  Hope you enjoyed it this time around.

#2628: Soundwave



Oh man, was my last Soundwave review on the site really Bayverse?  Yikes, I can’t let that stick.  I mean, at least he wasn’t some stupid sports car or something, but still.  Okay, let’s got extra, primo classic with this one then, I guess.

This summer, Netflix dropped a new Transformers cartoon, based on Hasbro’s currently running War For Cybertron trilogy of toy lines.  Hasbro corresponded with a set of Walmart-exclusive re-decos of some of their figures, making them a bit more show accurate.  With the show’s second part, Earthrise, upon us, Hasbro’s doing something a little different, and actually using this exclusive line to do some slightly reworked sculpts.  In the case of today’s Soundwave, that means he actually gets an earth mode this time.  Gee, I wonder what it might be?


Soundwave is part of the second assortment of Walmart’s War For Cybertron Trilogy line.  He’s one of two Voyager class offerings this round, with the other being Optimus Prime.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 niches tall and he has 25 workable points of articulation.  As I touched on in the intro, some of the second assortment figures got some new tooling, and Soundwave is included there.  He’s got quite a few parts in common with his Siege counterpart, including the head, forearms, hands, feet, and parts of his pelvis.  I was a little bummed that the forearms were kept the same, since they were one of my only complaints about the original, but I guess they had to draw the line somewhere.  Additionally, much of the inner workings of this figure, notably the articulation, are shared between the two.  Siege Soundwave is a very nice figure in his own right, and very strong recreation of his G1 bot mode, so keeping a lot of the parts is fine by me.  The new pieces are largely just about changing up some surface level details.  Some of the more greebly bits are removed from the arms and legs, and he’s generally just made cleaner and sleeker, bringing him a little closer to his original design.  The biggest changes occur on the torso, which is a little wider hand has a slightly different construction at a few spots, as well as removing a number of the moving parts from the Siege mold.  The reasoning behind this change comes more into play in the next section.

Boom, here we are in the next section, where we discuss the figure’s alt-mode.  Since the ‘80s, Soundwave figures have had to deal with the question of what to do for an alt-mode for a guy who turns into out of date tech.  The Siege figure gave him a weird sort of dropship mode, which I didn’t hate, but I also didn’t love.  This release just decides to not even try and come up with a more up-to-date mode, so he once again turns into a cassette player.  The new torso has been designed to help facilitate this change more fully, and ultimately his transformation scheme isn’t too far removed from the vintage figure.  There are a few more moving parts, and the end product’s a touch more fiddly, but it’s overall a set-up that works.  In addition to the new alt-mode, Soundwave also gets a new, much cleaner and bolder paint scheme than the Siege release.  No silver paint this time, or at least no silver paint where his basic design doesn’t call for it.  He’s got all the silver paint he’s *supposed* to have.  Soundwave is packed with the shoulder and hand cannons that were included with the Siege release, as well as is gun that folds into a staff.  Additionally, he comes with Laserbeak and Ravage packed right in this time, instead of them being separate releases.  Both figures get new decos to make them look a bit more like actual tapes (with Ravage’s being the one that really sells it), and Laserbeak also gets a new more Earth-y bird head, which I really like.


Like so many Transformers before him, this figure is Max’s fault.  Well, okay, it’s mostly Hasbro’s fault, since they, you know, made it.  But Max showed me the original leaked photos, and let me know it was a Walmart exclusive, and ultimately hooked me up with this one I’m reviewing here.  I love the Siege figure, but I didn’t love his alt-mode.  This figure fixes that, and also just makes for a slightly cleaner robot mode.  I like that a lot.  I don’t know that I’d say he’s definitively better than the Siege release, but I do really like the adjustments made here.  He’s definitely a good Soundwave.

#2627: Mighty Morphin Z Putty



Late last year, Hasbro put out a couple of two-packs for their Lightning Collection line, one of which paired fan-favorite Green Ranger Tommy Oliver off against one of the fan favorite minions, the Putties.  It was a pretty popular set, but packing an army builder in a two-pack with a non-army builder doesn’t make for very easy army building.  Hasbro addressed this twice, first with a Hasbro Pulse-exclusive pair of Putties, and now with a variant Putty actually getting a main line release.


The Mighty Morphin Z Putty is part of Series 7 of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection line, an overwhelmingly MMPR heavy assortment, which also includes a variant of the Putty’s original pack-mate the Green Ranger.  As the name denotes, this guy isn’t just a standard Putty, he’s a Z Putty, one of the upgraded Putties from the second season of the show, after Lord Zedd takes leadership of the bad guy brigade.  Essentially, they’re just slightly more armored versions of the same minions from earlier in the show.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, this putty has quite a bit in common with the first figure, but he does get a new set of knees and boots, as well an add-on piece for his chest armor, all of which does a really solid job of capturing the upgraded appearance from the show.  In particular, I really dig the new boot sculpts, because they’re the sort of thing that could’ve gotten overlooked, but I’m very glad didn’t.  Like the prior Putty, this guy is fairly monochromatic, as a Putty should be, but it’s worth noting that he’s differently monochromatic than the last guy, which does make him feel slightly unique.  Kudos to Hasbro on actually putting in the effort there.  In particular, I like seeing the face painted a darker grey than the hood, since they frequently appeared that way on the show, and it ends up really helping to bring out the sculpt.  The best work is again on the hands, which get some accenting to help really sell their rocky nature.  This Putty is actually quite impressively accessorized, getting two different sets of hands (one gripping, the other in fist/open combo), a flame effect piece for the fist, and an effect to clip over the torso simulating him getting hit by one of the rangers.  It’s a solid selection, and honestly more than I was expecting.


I’ve been wanting more Putties since getting the first version, and I was definitely hoping for some sort of a single release.  That being said, I’m starting to move past my need to just own a bunch of identical army builder figures, so when this guy got shown off, it really worked for me.  I like the changes he makes, and I really like the new accessories he gets.  I definitely consider this guy a win.

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

#2626: Imperial Stormtrooper



“Stormtroopers are elite shock troops fanatically loyal to the Empire and impossible to sway from the Imperial cause.”

Given their prominence in the original trilogy, it’s no surprise that we got figure coverage of the Imperial Stormtroopers fairly early into Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  However, there’s really no denying that the quality of the figures has improved leaps and bounds over the last few years.  Many of the central characters have gotten some more recent figures in alternate looks to help update them a bit, but a character such as the Stormtrooper, who has the same basic look in all three of the original movies, doesn’t exactly make a variant release very easy t justify.  Fortunately, their reappearance in The Mandalorian gave Hasbro a pretty good excuse to give them the re-do treatment, which I’ll be taking a look at today.


The Imperial Stormtrooper is, much like yesterday’s Mando, part of the first wave of the relaunched Black Series.  He too is from The Mandalorian sub-set of figures, where he’s figure #02.  He’s officially based on the trooper design from the show (and Rogue One, since they use the same armor), but he works as a pretty basic OT-era Stormtrooper just in general.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The original Stormtrooper was the most posable figure in the line at the time of his release, but that was at the sacrifice of appearance, as a good number of those joints really jumped out off of the figure.  This one takes a page out of the recent Clone Trooper page and does a total overhaul on the movement scheme.  The joints are granted a much larger range of motion, while also being a bit more cleverly hidden, though use of actual armor plates that are separate pieces, rather than just sculpting them right onto the body.  This results in there being much more depth to the sculpt, which helps the give it a more realistic quality.  The helmet gets a re-work, so that now, instead of being a solid piece, it’s an actual helmet sitting on a head.  The head’s the same as the Clone Trooper, but at least this way we know there’s some consistency in sizing and design, and we won’t be faced with the same issues the original body had when the repurposed it for Luke and Han.  The helmet also seems to be just a touch more screen accurate than the original.  In general, the armor on this guy is a little closer to the movies and a little bit sharper in terms of detailing.  It’s just an overall slicker appearance.  The Stormtrooper’s paint work is pretty decent.  Fairly minimal, since the separate construction of the body and the armor allows for them to each be molded in the proper colors, but the accents look nice and sharp.  The Stormtrooper is packed with a single blaster rifle.  It’s a new piece, and certainly a nice one, though it’s kind of a shame that we’re down to just one accessory on these guys.


I quite liked the original Black Series Stormtrooper when he was released, but after a few years of the line improving, I was definitely eager to see what Hasbro could do with an improved one.  I was on board for this guy as soon as he was shown off.  As with the rest of this first wave, he’s been pretty scarce, even more so given he’s an army builder, but I was able to at least get my hands on one, and I do really quite like him.  I look forward to seeing what other trooper variants they build on this body.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure 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.