#2625: The Mandalorian – Beskar

THE MANDALORIAN — BESKAR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Mandalorian is battle-worn and tight-lipped, a formidable bounty hunter in an increasingly dangerous galaxy!”

The Mandalorian just wrapped its second season last Friday, so I guess what better time to actually start reviewing Mando product again then right now.  It couldn’t be more time relevant, could it?  Last year, we got our first figure of the show’s main character, based upon his appearance in the show’s debut episode.  Though we didn’t know when he was released, that look wound up being rather short-lived, replaced just three episodes in by a shiny, new, all Beskar set of armor, which has subsequently remained his primary appearance.  Thanks to the same secrecy that kept The Child a total surprise, the Beskar armored Mando was likewise not shown to licensors until he appeared in the show, leaving something of a delay in getting him made in figure form.  Fortunately, he’s finally making his way to collectors, right as the second season comes to a close.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beskar Mando is part of the first assortment of the latest re-launch of Star Wars: The Black Series.  Rather than one overarching numbering scheme, they’re now breaking them down into smaller sub-sets.  Mando is, unsurprisingly, part of the Mandalorian sub-set, where he’s figure #01.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Structurally, this guy’s very similar to the prior Mando, which makes sense, them being the same guy and all.  His articulation works exactly the same, which is fine by me given how mobile that figure ended up being.  He shares a handful of parts with that previous release, specifically the helmet, hands, lower legs, and cape.  These parts actually remain constant in the show, so it’s sensible to re-use.  It does come with its own slight drawbacks, notably with the helmet and cape. The helmet is just slightly off from the show’s design in terms of shaping.  It’s minor, but there was a part of me hoping they might fix it for this release.  It’s not the end of the world, though, and I guess they’re at least consistent this way.  The cape isn’t a problem on its own, but is sort of a problem when you factor in the included jetpack.  In the show, he pushes the cape up and out of the way when wearing the jetpack, but with the cape here being plastic, you have to choose between one or the other when displaying him.  This isn’t screen accurate, so it’s a touch frustrating.  Either a cloth cape, or a newly sculpted cape piece would have fixed this.  As is, he’ll require a little bit of modification.  Mando gets a new torso, arms, and upper legs featuring his newer armor pieces.  They’re certainly a cleaner design, though they match up with the prior figure in terms of actual styling of details.  In order to match up with the inclusion of the jetpack, thereby making this a post-Chaper 8 Mando, his right pauldron includes Mando’s Mudhorn signet, which is certainly a very nice touch.  The Mando’s paint work is all pretty clean.  It matches with the depiction of the armor from the show, and is just generally pretty slick.  Mando is packed with the aforementioned jetpack, plus the same rifle and pistol that were included with the last version of the character.  Not a bad set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been patiently awaiting this armor set-up since it debuted on the show, and was curious exactly when it would show in the line.  Once it was announced, it was once again a patient wait until I could actually get my hands on one, because he’s been far and away the most demanded figure out of the newest Black Series line-up.  The end result isn’t perfect.  The helmet doesn’t bug me so much, but I was a bit let down by the cape.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing yet another version of this guy in the near future, of course, what with him being the main character and all.  This one’s still really good, though.

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.

#2624: Mara Jade

MARA JADE

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“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. Before the death of Palpatine, Mara Jade was the Emperor’s right hand assassin. Five years later and now a successful smuggler, the last thing Mara expected was to stumble upon her former arch-enemy – Luke Skywalker.”

The Star Wars Expanded Universe had a whole host of new characters to add to the mythos, coming from all sorts of different mediums, and doing all sorts of, some times, contradictory things.  A few of those EU characters because rather pervasive, but few were quite as recurrent as Mara Jade, a character who appeared about just every medium other than the movies.  Destined to become Luke Skywalker’s eventual wife, Mara was revealed to be just on the outskirts of plenty of prior events, just waiting to peer into the shot, I suppose.  She’s become rather downplayed since Disney took over, of course, but she was pretty big with the fanbase, and did get a few action figures, the first of which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mara Jade was released alongside the rest of the initial Expanded Universe line-up of Power of the Force figures in 1998.  As such a popular character, she was a rarer figure from an already scarce assortment, at least at the time.  She was one of the three figures in the line-up to be based on the Heir to Empire story, fittingly Mara’s first appearance.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  Mara’s sculpt was unique to her, and based at least somewhat on her appearance in the Heir to Empire comics adaptation, though it’s mostly in regards to her attire, since her features don’t match the rather stylized depiction of the character from the comics.  Neither was she really based on Shannon McRandle, the model who portrayed Mara on the covers of the novels she appeared in.  Instead, she’s just sort of an averaged appearance, I suppose.  It works fine for the character, and it’s not like she’s any further from her usual appearances than any of the characters who actually appeared in the movies were.  Mara’s paint work is rather eye catching, especially the bright red hair, and the application is all pretty clean.  They did actually differentiate between the black of her body suit and her boots, so that looks pretty nice.  Mara is packed with Luke’s lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and another 3D backdrop like the rest of the series.  This one shows off a downed ship, and is definitely one of the cooler backdrops.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t know anything about Mara when these figures were new, and I certainly didn’t really see her in person to push me to find out.  As I’ve become more versed with Star Wars over the years, I’ve of course come to know a bit more about her, and I’ve been subsequently more invested in these figures.  I picked her up at the same time as most of the rest of the set, when they all came in through All Time.  Mara’s a pretty cool little figure.  Perhaps not the flashiest of this line up, but a fun and unique figure nevertheless.

#2623: Spiral

SPIRAL

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Any place the other dimensional sorceress known as Spiral chooses to dance her spells of mayhem, is not a good place to be. A humanoid creation of the slave driving television personality Mojo, Spiral’s six arms lend themselves as adeptly to combat skills and swordplay as they do to the casting of spells. Of fleeting allegiance and no apparent agenda, Spiral teleports herself across dimensions searching for ways to satisfy her disorderly whim.”

The denizen’s of X-Foe Mojo’s Mojoverse first appeared in the comics as part of 1985’s Longshot miniseries.  Appearing in issue #1 along side the title character was Mojo’s right-hand woman, Spiral, a character whose backstory is just as convoluted and dependent on time travel shenanigans as any other Mojoverse resident.  She and the rest of the Mojoverse characters made their way into the main stream universe shortly after, and have all been bouncing around the background of the Marvel Universe since.  Spiral’s got a pretty unique look, which has graced her with a small handful of figures over the years, including today’s figure, her very first offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spiral was released as part of the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1995, a decade after her debut in the comics.  She joined the previously released Longshot, but was rather curiously separated from her boss, who wound up in the X-Force line instead.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation.  Though she’s got all those extra arms, it doesn’t do anything to bump up her articulation count, since only the upper-most arms get elbow movement, and they have just a single cut joint running across all three shoulders.  It’s odd that she didn’t get at least the elbows, since 6-Arm Spider-Man got those, but I guess they weren’t willing to throw Spider-Man level money at Spiral.  Her sculpt was an all-new offering, and never got any re-use, no doubt due to its more unique nature.  It’s not too bad.  It’s perhaps a little stiff, and the unmoving splayed arms are some what limiting when it comes to posing, but she’s at least a good recreation of Spiral’s comics design.  The only weird part is how far her arms jut out to the sides.  It’s a side effect of the lack of joints in those arms, since they’d be liable to bash into her legs and sides otherwise.  It’s not the worst, I guess, and fits with the general aesthetic of these figures when you get down to it.  Spiral’s paint work was generally pretty on point for the character.  It’s not one of the more colorful designs of the era, but it also doesn’t make your eyes bleed either, so that’s generally a plus.  The application is decent overall, with minimal slop or bleed over.  Spiral’s accessories were pretty straight to the point.  She had two of the same sword.  Only two, despite the four open hands.  I know.  Seems a little light.  She also had an arm-spinning action feature, which was engaged when her legs were squeezed.  It’s not actually that bad for a swordswoman, so I’m alright with it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Spiral was a bit of a pegwarmer back in the day, at least according to my dad.  Apparently, we saw her a lot, but I wasn’t interested at the time.  She was kind of minor on the show, I suppose, which probably contributed.  Ultimately, I only just recently got her, because she’s not quite as prevalent as she once was.  She came out of a rather large lot of 5 inch Marvel that came in at All Time, most of which ended up coming home with me.  She’s not a bad figure, but she does seem a little bit limited by some of Toy Biz’s design choices.  Still, I’m glad to have her, and I’ll never say no to another Invasion Series figure.

IF YOU’RE READING THIS ON TOYNEWZ, THAT MEANS IT WAS STOLEN FROM THEFIGUREINQUESTION.COM.  THAT’S NOT VERY NICE, IS IT?

#2622: Cyborg Spider-Man

CYBORG SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Cyborg Spider-Man has enhanced cybernetic capabilities in addition to all the powers of Earth-616 Spider-Man: web slinging, wall crawling, and heightened spider senses. Villains are no match for this Spidey’s advanced cyborg technology!”

The bio above seems to imply that this guy is some sort of an alternate universe Peter Parker, when in reality, he’s actually just good old regular 616 Peter, with a few temporary cybernetic components added onto him, as seen in 1992’s Spider-Man #21.  There was a Cyborg Spider-Man included in “Spider-Verse” as well, but he had a slightly different look.  This one’s definitely been a go-to for alternate looks over the years, with coverage in both the old ’90s toy line and Marvel Minimates, as well as being featured as an alternate skin in Spider-Man on the PS4.  And now, it’s got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyborg Spider-Man is another Target-exclusive Retro Collection offering from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He hit shelves at the same time as Gambit and Rogue, and was joined by another Spider-Man variant that I haven’t yet picked up.  This guy marks the third toy of this particular design, after the two I listed in the intro above.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Spider-Man is built on the 2099 body, but there’s actually more new parts than you might expect.  Obviously, the arm is all-new, as is the head, and the add-ons for the bandage on the leg and his utility belt.  The most surprising of the new parts is the new upper torso.  I’m not really sure *why* it’s new, since it seems like the standard 2099 piece would work just fine, but it’s a little different, seemingly for the sake of being different.  Whatever the case, it’s a good selection of parts.  The arm is definitely the star piece, with a lot of nice, crisp detail work going on there.  The shoulder pad is a separate, glued in place piece, and time will tell if it’s as prone to breaking off as the old ’90s one was.  Spider-Man’s paint work is all pretty straight forward stuff.  He’s got the basic Spidey paint scheme, which goes pretty well for him.  Application is clean, and the cybernetic parts look pretty nice as well.  This guy is packed with two right hands (in fist and thwipping…open gesture’s just gone, I guess), as well as a web strand.  The strand is the same one that’s been floating around for a few years, and it’s not really the best fit for this particular release.  Still, I won’t complain about getting more parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I recall the old Toy Biz version of this design rather fondly, so when this new version was found in the wild, it was a rather pleasant surprise.  That said, with Gambit and Rogue also hitting at the same time, and this figure being another Target exclusive, I was okay with waiting for a bit.  Then I was fortunate enough to snag the other two on Target’s website, and they were running a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale, which meant I literally got this guy at no extra charge.  At that price, it’s certainly hard not to like this guy.  He’s not the star attraction or anything, but he’s a fun little variant.

#2621: Rogue

ROGUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Rogue can absorb superpowers, personality traits, strength, and even memories from others with a single touch, making her capabilities in any matchup nearly limitless. These talents have naturally led her to be a leader among the X-Men.”

I guess this year’s not a bad year to be Rogue, is it?  I mean, I guess it’s rather fitting that 2020 might be okay for a person who can’t come in contact with others on a regular day to day, right?  Rogue’s history with Marvel Legends isn’t the best, really.  Despite her rather popular status among the X-Men, her only figure during the Toy Biz run was exclusive to a rather large boxed set (and not a very good figure at that), and then Hasbro didn’t tackle her for the first few years they had the license.  Their first attempt would have been part of the Puck Series in 2013, but it was one of two figures dropped when the assortment moved from mass retail to specialty.  Her ’90s costume got a release in the Juggernaut Series in 2016, but it was also the hardest to find figure in the set by far.  When a Rogue/Pyro two-pack was announced early this year, there were hopes it would be another go at the ’90s Rogue, but it wasn’t.  Fortunately, another go wasn’t too far behind, it seemed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue is in the same boat as yesterday’s Gambit figure, a Target-exclusive offering in the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  She and Gambit were shown off and released together, shipping in the same store display, which went up just after Black Friday.  Much like how Gambit serves as just a slight tweaking on the Caliban Series Gambit from last year, this Rogue serves as a slight rework on the Juggernaut Series Rogue mentioned in the intro.  She stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Rogue is, for the most part, the same sculpturally as the 2016 version.  While the Moonstone body is starting to show its age these days, Rogue is definitely a character for whom the body works well.  The add-on pieces also sit a little tighter on this release, as well, making her feel like an overall sturdier figure.  The one sculptural change up on this figure is her head, which is an all-new piece.  The head on the old figure wasn’t bad at all, and in fact I really quite liked it, but it was a little removed from the art style of the ’90s, and made it feel more like a 2010s take on the ’90s design.  This one goes closer to the source, and it’s another solid piece, and one that feels perhaps a bit more at home with the more recent ’90s X-Men offerings.  And it certainly gets her big ’90s hair down, doesn’t it?  The paint work marks another notable change for this release.  She follows in the footsteps of Gambit, Cyclops, and Wolverine, with a color scheme that more closely matches up with her animated counter part, making the yellow much less orange, and darkening the green a bit, and making it flat instead of metallic.  It definitely works well.  The only part I don’t really care that much for is the color in the cheeks.  It’s not as bad as some as Hasbro’s attempts, but it could stand to be a touch more subtle.  Rogue is packed with an extra set of hands.  Like her prior release, there’s the ungloved right hand, and this one also adds in an all-new left hand which is holding the right glove.  I already liked the extra hand the last time, and the left hand holding the glove just makes it even better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I liked the Juggernaut Series Rogue, mine had that pesky incorrect upper arm on the right side, and then even wound up with a broken foot within a year of me getting her.  Finding a replacement wasn’t a cheap prospect, so the plan to re-issue her wasn’t a problem for me.  Her being a Target exclusive was a bit more of a problem.  But, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Gambit review, I wound up having no issues getting her ordered through Target’s website, so here she is.  She’s again an improvement on the prior figure, although I personally have trouble choosing which of them is my favorite.  First world problems, am I right?

#2620: Gambit

GAMBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Gambit has the ability to mentally charge objects with explosive kinetic energy! Remy LeBeau relies on his superior card-throwing abilities and lightning-fast reflexes to turn the tide of battle in favor of the X-Men.”

Today is Super Awesome Wife’s birthday, and so, in her honor, I’m going to use today’s review to focus in on one of her favorite characters (at least in recent years) from the X-Men franchise, one Remy LeBaua, aka Gambit!  Gambit spent a few years away from Legends (due in part to a diminishing prominence in the comics in more recent years), but got a pretty solid release last year as part of the main line.  With Legends generally on the rise, that figure came and went relatively quickly, so Hasbro’s doubled back, tweaked him, and given him another release, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, as part of the Retro Collection sub-line.  To that end, he takes last year’s Gambit, and pushes him a bit further into that Animated Series territory, crafting the character’s third time as a Legends release proper.  Like the prior figure, he stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gambit is predominantly the same sculpt as the previous figure, which is quite alright by me, because that was a rather strong sculpt, and it had a lot of new parts that have yet to see any other use.  The only sculptural change actually addresses my only complaint about the sculpt the last time I looked at it: his hair.  The last release had the hair all blowing a single direction, and just generally looked far too lop-sided for my taste.  This one replaces that piece with one that’s got a part and a little more of that traditional Gambit hair bounce we’ve all come to know and love.  For me, it just ends up working out a lot better for the character.  I’m glad they took this opportunity to fix that.  The next big change up on this figure is the paint work.  The prior scheme was definitely more comics-based, while this one goes for a much brighter and more saturated look that’s more in line with Gambit’s animated appearance.  I honestly had no issue with the previous paint scheme, but I’ll admit that this one feels like an improvement to my eyes.  The only thing about it I’m not entirely sold on is the swapping out a very dark blue for the black sections.  It’s not bad at all, but I’m just more used to the straight black.  This looks cool too, though.  The last Gambit had a good selection of extras, and this release keeps them all, as well as adding one more.  He’s got the staff, the two playing card effects, and the open hand of the last release, plus a new gripping hand for his left side, so he can two hand the staff.  I also really appreciate how they actually painted the card details on this time; I didn’t miss it the last time, but it adds an extra touch this time around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I loved the Toy Biz Gambit, and I loved the last Hasbro Gambit, so I wasn’t really feeling like I needed to be in the market for another Gambit.  I’ve got two very good ones to choose from.  So, when Hasbro announced this one (as well as the fact that it was yet another Target exclusive), I was game to skip…until I saw that damned hair, and realized they fixed my one and only complaint about the last figure.  I was expecting him to be really hard to get, but I actually found acquiring him to be quite a breeze.  I caught a message that he’d shown up in stock on Target’s web site, and I was able to get on and get him ordered with no fuss.  Yay!  He’s an awesome figure, and hands down the best Gambit out there.  I don’t really know what could be done to improve him, honestly.

#2619: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Weapon X infused Wolverine with adamantium to make him a powerful mutant with superhuman healing ability.”

Hugh Jackman’s turn as Wolverine was one of the constants of Fox’s X-Men movies, appearing in all but one of the films (Dark Phoenix, for those curious), and just generally being as much of a pop culture icon as the character’s comics incarnation.  He’s been no stranger to action figures, since he’s, you know, Wolverine and all.  The fall out between Fox and Disney meant we went a good gap of time between releases, of course, but he’s back in full force, with three different variants in Hasbro’s Legends assortment devoted to the movies.  I’m looking at the one standard release in the bunch today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the last of the three standard release single-packed figures in the X-Men Movie sub-line of Marvel Legends, following Domino and Mystique.  It’s an interesting selection of characters to say the least.  This Wolverine is based on his jacketed appearance, which is certainly a distinct look for the character.  That said, they’ve opted to specifically base him on Origins: Wolverine, which seems like a slightly odd choice.  I mean, the look doesn’t shift much between the films, but it feels weird to specifically base him on a far less regarded film.  Could be worse, I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this guy is pretty impressive.  The butterfly joints on the shoulders add some nice extra posability to him, and the ball joint on the neck is great for adding a bit more expression to the figure when posing.  Wolverine’s sculpt is another all-new offering (although the legs are shared with the Amazon-exclusive Wolverine variant).  The body sculpt does a good job of capturing Jackman’s build from the movies, as well as translating all of the textures and layers of his clothing.  This guy includes two different head sculpts, giving us differing expressions.  The one he comes wearing is an intense, screaming head, which is kind of a weak offering.  The expression’s certainly got an intensity to it, but it ends up looking goofy, and the Jackman likeness really isn’t there.  The second head is a more neutral expression, and this one is definitely the stronger of the two.  The Jackman likeness isn’t spot on, but it’s still close enough for recognizability.  The paint work on this guy is a bit of a mixed bag.  The head works out well enough, and the weathering on the pants isn’t *terrible*, but it’s not great either.  The wear on the jacket isn’t really that great.  It just kind of looks like a bird pooped on him to be honest.  Not exactly the most imposing look.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he also includes hands with both claws and without.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m still recovering a bit from some serious Wolverine exhaustion from last year, so this guy being the first of the movie figures shown off didn’t exactly thrill me.  I mean, he looked cool and all, but he’s Wolverine.  I have a lot of Wolverine.  He benefits from the fact that I got the rest of the set first, so as to cushion the whole “it’s another Wolverine” bit.  He’s a pretty solid figure on his own, and I look forward to having more figures to go with him.

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

#2618: Magneto & Professor X

MAGNETO & PROFESSOR X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Magneto and Professor X clash in a struggle that will impact the future of all mankind.”

This year, the X-Men movie franchise turned 20.  It may have been easy to miss, what with the world falling apart and time being an illusion for most of the year.  Also, the movie franchise having died a kind of whimpering death in the last two years.  That may have somewhat contributed.  With Fox purchased by Disney, and all of the rights for the movies back under the main Marvel branding again, we’re finally getting to see proper merchandising (outside of Minimates) for the first time since…gosh…Origins?  Yikes, that’s a sad one to leave off on.  Hasbro’s got a whole sub-set of figures devoted to the films, picking and choosing a bit from the whole of the franchise.  They’ve tried to stick with some of the broadest characters at the start, opting for characters who stuck it out the whole time, and really, whose broader than Magneto and Professor X, whose turbulent relationship has formed the back bone of most of the films?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Magneto and Professor X are one of the pair of two-packs in the X-Men Movie sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Unlike the rest of the stuff we’ve gotten, where there’s been a single movie focus, these two are meant to cover multiple films, and indeed multiple actors.  It gets…well, it gets a little wonky, but it’s best to bring it up in the figure’s respective sections.

MAGNETO

As Ian McKellen, Magneto was decently served by prior X-Men movie toys, getting coverage from both the first film and X2, but as Michael Fassbender, he’s only gotten Minimates up until now.  This figure is actually pretty targeted in terms of design, at least at his core, being based on Magneto’s fully geared up appearance from the ’70s portion of Days of Future Past.  It’s not just a good look, it’s arguably Magneto’s best look in the movies, and one of my favorite designs spawned from the whole of the X-films.  It’s also very toy friendly, so that’s always a good starting point.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  The articulation on this guy is a little bit stiff compared to other recent Legends figures, notably in the shoulder and elbow area.  It’s not terrible, but I did have a little difficulty getting him into some poses.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and makes use of the new “pinless” style joints for the elbows and knees, which certainly do make it look more cohesive.  Generally, I quite like how this sculpt turned out.  The costume is well-crafted, and replicates the various layers and textures of the costume from the movie, and translates them pretty well into plastic form.  The actual build on the body under said costume isn’t quite as spot-on.  The body’s generally just a bit bulkier than Fassbender in Days, which makes the arms look a little bit stubbier than they should.  The head also sits a touch higher on the neck than it should, as well, which requires some more careful posing to not look goofy.  All that’s pretty minor, though.  My biggest issue with the figure lies with the primary, helmeted Fassbender head.  The helmet’s great, and the Fassbender likeness on the head beneath it’s not bad either, but for some reason, they opted to give him a weird teeth baring expression, which doesn’t really feel right for Fassbender’s take on the character.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite what I want.  In terms of paint, the figure’s actually pretty solid.  There’s not a ton going on, but what’s there is a good replication of the film design.  Magneto includes two sets of hands in open in closed poses, as well as an alternate un-helmeted head.  The second head is a nice piece, with a strong Fassbender likeness, and a much calmer expression.  I kind of wish the helmeted head matched, and I’m tempted to try and find extras of the two heads to kitbash my own.  This set’s big claim to fame when Hasbro showed it off at Toy Fair this year was its ability to double as multiple versions of the two characters, across their multiple actors.  To facilitate this, there are also two Ian McKellen heads included, one helmeted and one not.  And, would you look at that?  They both have the same expression, unlike the Fassbender heads.  Why couldn’t they just keep that consistency across the board?  In general, the McKellen heads are a bit of a cheat, of course, since he never wore anything remotely like Fassbender’s costume in the movies.  That said, what he did wear is rather easy to approximate on your own, so just getting the heads is still a nice touch.

PROFESSOR X

Much like the McKellen/Fassbender split on figures above, Patrick Stewart’s Xavier got some toy coverage early on in the X-Men movie run, but James McAvoy’s take wasn’t quite so lucky.  Unlike Magneto, this figure’s a far less targeted offering when it comes to the design.  In fact, it’s…well, it’s a bit of a mess.  I’ll get into the “why” in a moment.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall standing (obviously less sitting, of course) and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Coulson-style suit body, with a new jacket piece that’s got the vest underneath.  There are also two heads included, one of McAvoy and one of Stewart.  Both likenesses are pretty strong, so I’ve definitely got to give Hasbro credit on that.  McAvoy’s is bald, indicating that this figure is supposed to be post Apocalypse version of him.  The blue suit set up of the figure supports that, and is also sensible given that it’s the same style of suit that Stewart’s version of the character typically wore.  It’s a little weird from the perspective of it meaning that he doesn’t at all match the Magneto he’s packed with, but if we’re going for iconic looks, I guess this makes more sense.  The new jacket/vest piece is pretty nice, and is actually sculpted to allow a more proper seated position as well, which is a nice touch.  In terms of paint work, he’s again pretty basic, but also pretty good.  Both heads look pretty life like, and I can certainly get behind them.  Okay, now let’s tackle the rough stuff: the accessories.  So, remember how I mentioned the whole thing about this being a post-Apocalypse McAvoy?  Or even a movies 1-3 Stewart?  You know what completely wrecks that set-up?  The chair.  Stewart has the same chair in the first three movies, and the same chair is used by McAvoy in First Class and Days of Future Past, and then again at the tail end of Apocalypse when he’s got the fully classic Xavier look again.  That’s not the chair included here.  Instead, we get a more generic wheel chair, which is in fact shared with the Old Man version of Charles from the Logan two-pack.  Logan is the only time that Stewart’s Xavier used such a chair, and he’s obviously not in the full suit and tie.  McAvoy’s Xavier uses such a chair in the climax of Days, but he’s wearing a tweed jacket and sweater, and is also still sporting the hair and beard.  So, this chair matches nothing about the figure.  I also found it interesting that, while the Magneto gets four different heads, Xavier only gets the two.  If we got a McAvoy head with the hair and beard, we could at least sort of approximate Xavier from the climax of Days (which would also help him match Magneto), thereby making the chair less inaccurate.  Generally, the lack of McAvoy heads covering his evolving hair styles from the films kind of takes the wind out of the sails of this whole “cross movie” thing this set was sold on.  At least the chair is a nice chair, I guess, even if it’s inaccurate.  He also gets a selection of extra hands, which do make for some good posing options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is by far the piece I was most looking forward to out of all of the X-Men movie stuff.  Days‘ take on Magneto is, as noted above, a favorite of mine, and I’ve been wanting a proper figure of it for a while.  This one’s not without his flaws, and I’m definitely not big on that helmeted facial expression, but the overall figure is still pretty cool, and certainly better than not having him at all.  The McKellen heads aren’t really meant for this body, but they do look really cool, and make for an easier time building your own.  Xavier’s shakier than Magneto for sure.  The core body’s fine, and both heads are pretty nice, but that chair’s just wrong, and the fact that he doesn’t line-up with the Magneto at all in terms of looks makes the whole two-pack aspect of this pair seem slightly forced.  Still, it’s not a bad pair, and there’s certainly a lot more good than bad in this set.  Overall, it’s still my favorite piece out of the bunch, so I can’t really complain.

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

#2617: Imperial Sentinel

IMPERIAL SENTINEL

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Six years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the galaxy is thrust into turmoil. A reborn evil threatens to enslave the galaxy, and the Republic’s closest friend – Luke Skywalker – may become their greatest enemy. At the doors of the evil Emperor’s palace, giant Imperial Sentinels, twice the size and power of other Imperial guards, await their prisoner – the Jedi Master, Luke Skywalker.”

Are you ready to get a bit circular?  I sure hope so, because boy-howdy are we about to.  During the pre-production process for Return of the Jedi, artist Nilo Rodis-Jamero crafted an initial design for the Emperor’s Royal Guards, which was a fair bit more involved than the final product in the film.  This design was then co-opted by Kenner when they put together a presentation for Lucasfilm in 1985, which proposed a continuation of the original trilogy’s story, and thereby of the toyline Kenner was then running.  In it, our heroes would have faced off against new villain Atha Prime, who would have made use of this old Guard design.  Lucasfilm ultimately turned down the proposal, and the design was again shelved, until it resurfaced in the Dark Empire comics as the new clone Emperor’s new guards, the Imperial Sentinels, who would subsequently make their way into Kenner’s own Expanded Universe toy line.  Let’s take a look at that figure today, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Sentinel was released alongside the other EU figures in the initial seven figure drop in 1998’s Power of the Force line-up.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall (one of the tallest figures from this era by a fair margin) and he has 4 points of articulation.  He was certainly one of the line’s more restricted figures in terms of posability, with no leg movement due to the nature of his design.  Of course, he really just follows in the footsteps of the standard Royal Guard in that regard.  At least this guy can turn his head.  The sculpt itself is a little bit on the goofy side, but then again, so is the actual design.  It’s nicely rendered in toy form, though, and one can certainly see why Kenner would have chosen it for a potential new lead villain in their continuation.  It’s definitely got a nice toyetic feel about it.  The outer robe piece is a separate part, which can be removed, for a bit more variety if you are inclined to army build.  The head’s also been designed with light-piping, allowing for the eyes to be illuminated.  It was rare for such a feature to be included in this line, but that doesn’t make it any less cool here.  In terms of paint work, the Sentinel sticks to the Royal Guard color scheme of lots of differing reds.  There’s also some gold mixed in, for a little extra flair.  My figure has a big streak of dark red on his left sleeve, but other than that, the application’s all pretty clean.  The Sentinel is packed with a battle axe (admittedly, not an incredibly Star Wars-y weapon, but a rather imposing one nevertheless), as well as including another 3D backdrop, much like the others in the set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on in prior EU reviews, Luke and the Clone Emperor were the only figures I had growing up, so all of the other ones were on my list when I got back into it as an adult.  When the full set of them got traded into All Time, the Imperial Sentinel was the only one I didn’t snag, as it was the one from the set Max had already called dibs on.  Fortunately, I was able to get one through Cosmic Comix not too long after getting the rest of the set, so they weren’t incomplete for too long.  The Sentinel is a character with a lot of history behind him, so he’s certainly one I’m glad to have in my collection.

#2616: Captive Sabretooth

CAPTIVE SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Captured and restrained, Sabretooth, one of the X-Men’s most bitter enemies, has reached out to Professor Xavier for help. Sabretooth has never held back the more bestial side of his personality, and now that same side threatens to overwhelm him. A hostile air hangs throughout the mansion as the X-Men share their home with this ‘guest’, knowing that until his savage urge is suppressed, Sabretooth remains a ferocious animal, chained in a cage.”

As Wolverine’s most recurring nemesis (who, amusingly enough, started with no connection to Wolverine in the slightest), Sabretooth has generally had decent luck when it comes to the world of toys.  In the ’90s, when Wolverine was filling up every peg, Sabretooth was making the rounds with him.  Toy Biz had already covered his two actual costumed looks, but lucky them, there was another look floating around in the comics at the time, just ripe for the toy making.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captive Sabretooth was released in 1995 as part of the “Invasion” series, the eleventh series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He’s based on Sabretooth’s appearance from roughly around the same time in the comics, while he was in captivity at the X-Mansion, as described in the figure’s bio.  It’s a more “civilian” appearance, though certainly plays up the more bestial side as well.  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  I’ve looked at the majority of this figure’s sculpt before, when it was rather oddly re-used for a Wolverine figure in 1997 as part of the Battle Blasters line-up.  I was not very kind to it that time, because it’s really wrong for a Wolverine, since it’s, you know, not one.  Even for it’s intended purpose as a Sabretooth, it’s still really not great.  I mean, I guess it’s slightly less awful in this context, but only slightly.  It still remains a rather hideous and really stiff in terms of movement.  It’s also got a rather lame action feature, which is partially responsible for the stiffness and the ugliness.  The figure’s color scheme is at least more character appropriate this time, and not trying to again force the sculpt into something it’s not.  It’s still not great, being rather drab and a bit uninspired if I’m honest, but at least the application’s pretty clean.  Captive Sabretooth was originally packaged with a set of restraints, which mine is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though the Invasion Series was the one on shelves when I started collecting, this was not anywhere near my first Sabretooth.  In fact, it was one of my last, only being added to my collection a couple of years ago, when I found it in a bag of other figures at the 2nd Avenue near my house.  Given how inexpensive he was, it was kind of hard to pass him up.  I can’t say I really like this figure all that much, but he’s also not the worst thing Toy Biz did at the time.