#2760: Mechagodzilla

MECHAGODZILLA

GODZILLA VS KONG (PLAYMATES)

“A robotic apex predator with unstoppable powers of laser destruction, Mechagodzilla was created in secret to destroy Godzilla and end the reign of monsters.”

On March 31st, we finally got the conclusion to what Legendary’s Monsterverse has been building up to for a few years, Godzilla vs Kong, which was a movie that was, unsurprisingly, about Godzilla and Kong having a little bit of a spat.  It’s a big, fun action movie, which very much delivers on the promise of the title, and I really quite enjoyed it.  After being rather on the quiet side in terms of merchandising, this movie was a Monsterverse film that actually got a pretty well-formed tie-in line of toys, giving us a couple of variants of the two title characters, as well as some of the more antagonistic threats that they face within the movie.  The film’s biggest antagonist is definitely Godzilla’s robotic doppelgänger, Mechagodzilla!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mechagodzilla is part of Playmates’ basic Godzilla vs Kong line, which is, as of right now, a Walmart-exclusive line of figures, which started hitting shelves a couple of weeks before the film’s release.  He was one of two items that leaked the character’s appearance prior to the film’s release, although we all had a sneaking suspicion even before that.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s actually one of the best articulated figures in the line, with most of the basics covered, as well as a few extra joints.  I was a little bummed by the lack of elbow joints, but otherwise he’s pretty posable, especially given the price point.  The figure’s sculpt is so far unique to him, although it’s possible it might be picked for a repaint later down the line, like the basic Godzilla and Kong sculpts got.  Whatever the case, it’s a pretty decent one.  It’s not quite to the level of Bandai Japan or NECA, with the general detailing being a little on the softer side than the more collector-oriented stuff, but there’s still a lot of detailing going on there.  Like the rest of the line, he boasts “Battle Damage Reveal!” which in his case means that the panel on the center of his torso comes off, revealing some more mechanical details beneath.  It doesn’t really track directly with anything from the film, but it’s still kind of a cool gimmick.  Additionally, while it doesn’t do much for the figure on his own, the interior of the mouth has a spot that’s compatible with the atomic breath effects piece designed for the standard Godzilla.  We still don’t have said piece in red, of course, but it’s still nice from a cross-compatibility stand-point.  Mechagodzilla is rather basic on the paint work stand point, mostly being molded in the proper colors.  There’s a few small spots of red, but that’s really it.  It’s not particularly involved, and does look somewhat devoid of detail in some spots, but, again, for the price point, it does make some sense.  While Mechagodzilla doesn’t include any sort of effects pieces of his own, he does include a miniature version of the HEAV, or Hollow Earth Anti-Gravity Vehicle. Mechagodzilla doesn’t actually ever directly interact with the HEAV, but it’s a nice way of at least getting the piece out there.  It’s also just a pretty nifty little piece all on its own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I’m hit and miss with Godzilla himself in regards to the toy world, I do like me some giant robots, and as such, Mechagodzilla is very definitely a thing that makes me go “wow, I want that.”  That’s ultimately what I said when, after Max picked up one of these for himself.  Thankfully, he was more than happy to keep an eye out for a second one for me, and boom, here we are.  Mechagodzilla is a really fun figure, and very hard to beat for the $10 asking price.  Playmates did a great job with this line, and I’m very seriously tempted to pick up a few of the others.

#2759: K-2SO

K-2SO

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Back when Rogue One was first released, the more articulated Star Wars stuff was largely on hiatus.  They were just doing the Walmart-exclusive Black Series figures, and Rogue One only got a small four figure assortment.  We only got two of the film’s three leads in that way, which left poor K-2SO out of all the extra articulated goodness.  Fortunately, with the relaunch of the Vintage Collection, Hasbro is going back to some earlier projects and filling in some holes.  K-2 was fortunate enough to be part of that set-up, and is finally getting his due…in this very particular sub-set of figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

K-2SO is figure VC170 in Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Vintage Collection.  He was released in mid-2020, as part of an assortment that also contained Clone Commander Wolffe, Stormtrooper Luke, and the GNK Droid.  A rather diverse line-up to say the least.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  K-2’s articulation is pretty nicely implemented, and pretty much on par with his larger figure.  It’s one of the better articulation set ups for the line.  The sculpt is an all-new offering, and is to date Hasbro’s most screen accurate rendition of K-2.  The proportions are good, the articulation is worked in well, and the head in particular is a real match for the on-screen design.  This is definitely one of the best VC sculpts of the current batch.  The paint work on K-2 is pretty solid work.  It’s easy to let him be rather basic, but Hasbro’s at least gone the extra mile and added in some wear and tear throughout his outer plating.  It’s all rather nicely laid out, and gives him that proper unique appearance.  It might be interesting to see a more generic security droid re-deco, at some point, should Hasbro be interested in such a thing.  In contrast to his larger figure, this K-2 is not without accessories; he actually gets the small blaster pistol he’s given by Cassian during the climax.  It’s a small extra, but a nice character-specific piece, and one that was overlooked on earlier figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve largely given up collecting the VC stuff, just because it exists in a weird middle ground between the 5POA and the Black Series figures, and I usually find myself kind of let down.  That being said, I’ve always really liked the more articulated Jyn and Cassian, and wanted a K-2 to match, so this guy was the only recent VC figure I actually made an effort to pick up.  He’s a nifty figure, and probably the best version of the character on the market.  He’s certainly my favorite VC figure.

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

#2758: Evangelion Proto Type 00/00

EVANGELION PROTO TYPE 00/00

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

Despite being a pretty big fan of the whole big mechas versus big monsters sub-genre, I somehow managed to avoid any major exposure to anything Evangelion until the last two years.  I know, shame on me.  Last winter I marathoned my way through Neon Genesis Evangelion and it’s follow-up movies, and then after a few months, my brain started working again, and now we’re kind of here?  I did enjoy the show, despite it’s brain breaking properties, and I certainly was down for some toys.  Fortunately for me, there’s a lot of options on that front!  I’m decidedly going with something generally more on the recent side, and I’m kicking off my collection with Eva Unit-00, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Evangelion Proto Type 00/00, or Unit-00 for short, was released as part of Bandai’s Robot Spirits toyline.  She’s figure 270 in the line, and marks the second of the Evas for the line.  This particular version of Unit-00 is based on her appearance in the Rebuild of Evangelion movies.  While Units 01 and 02 remain rather similar to their original designs, Rebuild does mix things up a little bit more for Unit-00, who in the original begins as an orange mecha, and then switches to blue for her more armored appearance.  In Rebuild, she instead keeps a more consistent orange and grey color scheme between both appearances.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 54 points of articulation.  This sucker’s pretty darn mobile, with a very impressive range of motion.  My prior exposure to Robot Spirits was through the Pacific Rim figures, and they  were solid for what they were, but the posability definitely wasn’t like this.  The figure’s designed for a lot of deep poses, as the Evas are prone to get into within the series, and that definitely works out very nicely.  I was also quite impressed by the engineering of the articulation, and how it works within the sculpt.  By far the coolest part is on the neck, which has a segmented construction that actually simulates stretching and compressing.  It’s really cool.  In general, the sculpt, which is quite an impressive piece of work, does a really good job of working in the articulation in an aesthetically pleasing way, while still maintaining a nice bit of accuracy to the source material.  Speaking of accuracy to the source, Unit 00 has two different looks in Rebuild, and this figure is actually designed to replicate both of them.  Right out of the box, she’s in her later, more armored up appearance, complete with the shoulder pylon things.  The shoulders are even on separate joints, so that you can keep them properly oriented, and out of the way of the arms when posing, which is pretty cool.  The shoulders, chest plate, and part of the thighs swap out for secondary parts, allowing for a conversion to the more streamlined appearance from earlier on, which looks pretty good too.  I’m more a fan of the out of the box set-up, but extra display options are always fine by me.  Unit 00’s color work is bold and clean, which is what you want to see on such figures.  A lot of it’s done through molded plastic, but the actual paint application that’s there is cleanly applied as well.  I certainly had no issues with it on my figure.  Unit 00 is quite nicely accessorized.  There are, of course, the previously mentioned alternate armor pieces, but on top of that she gets six sets of hands (fists, gripping, flat, relaxed, and two different styles of open gesture), an umbilical power cord, knife, smaller rifle, larger gun (complete with a spinning drum), handcuffs, an alternate open port for the plug, and some sort of crucifix antenna thing that I assume is somehow plot relevant to Rebuild.  It’s a really impressive selection of extras, and pretty much covers anything I could possibly think of wanting for the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I hadn’t seen anything Evangelion-related until the last two years, I also hadn’t gotten any of the toys, since I (typically) steer clear of toys for things I haven’t really experienced.  After watching the show, I definitely found Unit 00 to be my personal favorite of the main Evas, and I was definitely down for some version of it in toy form.  I’ve been looking at my options, and then this one wound up being the first of the Robot Spirits Evas to come into All Time, which certainly made my choice quite simple.  It’s a really fun figure, and probably the most fun I’ve had with a Robot Spirits release.  There’s so much cool stuff going on, and so many different options for display, but at the core of it, there’s a figure that’s just really, really fun to play around with.

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

#2757: Black Cat & Ben Reilly

BLACK CAT & BEN REILLY

MARVEL MINIMATES

The third year of Marvel Minimates had a very focused beginning, bringing in the FF for the first time, but after getting them out of the way, the rest of the year wound up being a pretty major mixed bag.  The 9th, 10th, and 11th assortments were all sort of mixed bags in terms of characters, and the 10th and 11th in particular would introduce something new to the brand: total parts re-use assortments.  In order to stretch things as far as they could go, DST would do as many characters as possible with no new pieces.  Included amongst these heavily re-used figures were today’s offerings, Spidey characters Black Cat & Ben Reilly!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Cat and Ben Reilly were released in Series 10 of Marvel Minimates, which hit in the summer of 2005.  Black Cat would remain exclusive to this pairing, but Ben found his way into a re-pack, alongside fellow Series 10 figure Sandman, for Target later that same year.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat made her Minimates debut here, sporting a fairly classic design for the character.  She was built on the basic body, post C3 feet, so she stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She doesn’t get the new head with peg hole, due to the re-used hair piece, which comes from the Series 6 Phoenix.  While not a terrible piece on its own, it was about to get a bunch of uses all right on top of each other, which earned it the nickname “The Rachel”, in reference to when lots of women got the same haircut as Jennifer Aniston, during Friends‘ hey-day.  And now you know that completely useless bit of trivia.  Aren’t you glad?  Apart from the hair, Felicia was a totally vanilla ‘mate, which honestly isn’t all that out of place for the character.  The rest of her design is handled through paint.  It’s actually pretty decently handled.  The face is really my favorite of the Black Cats that DST did, and they even did a respectable job of recreating a more feminine shape for her body, by use of shading.  It’s actually pretty cool.

BEN REILLY

Spider-Man had plenty of Minimates by this point, but this marked the first one for his clone, Ben Reilly.  Interestingly, it’s not in his Scarlet Spider gear, but instead his take on the Spider-Man costume.  Exactly why is anyone’s guess, especially since it’s usual thing of “being a more credible standard Spidey variant” is kinda lost given he didn’t get Spider-Man in his name at all.  I’m probably over thinking things.  DST didn’t overthink this guy, that’s for sure.  He’s got two add-ons, for his web-shooters on his wrists.  They’re re-used from Power Man, and, while they should technically be segmented, they do work pretty well in a pinch.  Beyond that, he’s another heavy on the paint sort of figure.  It’s pretty good paint, and I do like how they actually painted the red entirely, rather than the mix of paint and plastic like the standard Spidey.  Honestly, this is probably my favorite Spidey paint scheme.  He’s got no accessories, not even the generic webline piece, which is kind of a shame in one way, but a bit of a relief in another, because one man can really own so many of that one piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is a set I actually snagged new.  This whole period of time marked me starting to fall out of things a touch (though, to be fair, it’s not like even DST felt all that invested at the time), but I liked this pair enough to buy them.  I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ben Reilly Spider-Man costume, and it remains perhaps my favorite Spider-Man minimate.  Black Cat’s not too shabby either.  Overall, a pretty solid set, even if they were just re-use.

#2756: Firestorm

FIRESTORM

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Firestorm has the ability to alter the atomic structure of all things. He uses this power to fly, cause nuclear blasts, and transform objects into other things.  Firestorm is not invulnerable. He loses all his powers when he switches to his civilian identities. Firestorm is actually TWO people – teenager Robbie Raymond, and Professor Martin Stein. Firestorm was created when their two bodies were atomically fused during an explosion in a nuclear power plant.”

Super Powers‘ fixation on both Super Friends and the Satellite Era of the Justice League line-up made it a good time to be Firestorm, a member of both teams in at least some capacity.  A relatively new character, being introduced only six years prior to the line’s launch, he nevertheless found himself a home in the line, netting him his first, and for a very long time only, action figure, which I’m going to be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firestorm was included in the 1985 line-up for Kenner’s Super Powers line, during it’s second year at retail.  He was one of the four Justice Leaguers added in the second year, and was definitely the most eclectic choice of that bunch (though, in a year that included Desaad, Mantis, & Steppenwolf, he was certainly far from the most obscure character included).  The figure stands almost 5 inches tall (thanks to that really tall bit of fire hair) and he has 7 points of articulation.  His movement scheme is pretty much the same one that the entire line sported; it’s not bad for the era, and is certainly a step up from where Kenner tended to be.  Firestorm had a totally unique sculpt (which would have seen some re-use had the planned Power Plus subline launched in 1987 as planned), patterned on Jose Garcia-Lopez’s style guide illustration for the character.  He’s based on his original Raymond/Stein fusion design, which was at this point still the only one he had, so I guess it made sense.  It’s a distinctive look, and one that certainly translates nicely into figure form.  The only slightly awkward part, I guess, is the hair, but honestly even that doesn’t look so bad here.  There’s also a really nice flow on the puffy sleeves, which could look way sillier than they ultimately do.  Firestorm’s paint work continued the line’s trend of being bright, clean, and colorful.  He actually had a little more going on than some of the other figures, and in particular they’ve made the hair look pretty good again, even if the design necessitates it being totally opaque.  Firestorm included no accessories, but he did get the requisite super power action feature.  His is a “Power Action Atomic Punch”; squeeze his legs and he moves his arms back and forth.  Wooooooo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Firestorm is another very early addition to my Super Powers collection.  I got him for my eighth birthday, as a gift from my parents.  I remember being rather excited, especially since it was literally the only Firestorm available at the time, and would stay that way for a few years.  I was still catching the occasional Super Friends reruns, and that included a few of his later series appearances, so I definitely liked the character.  This would actually remain the only Firestorm in my collection until the DCUC version was released.  He’s a pretty solid figure.  I mean, so’s the rest of the line, for the most part, but I do like this one quite a lot.