#2878: Zodac



In 2013, Mattel got in on the game that Hasbro had been in on for almost a decade, which in hindsight is pretty darn Mattel I suppose.  What game was that?  The theoretically more kid-oriented super stylized small 2-inch versions of popular characters game, launched by Galactic Heroes, and then expanding to Super Hero SquadRobot Heroes, and Combat Heroes.  Mattel’s own version for Masters of the Universe was, ever so creatively, Masters of the Universe Minis.  It was completely locked into Matty Collector, so it sort of missed its market, and wound up dying a rather quiet death.  However, with renewed interest in the brand in the last year, Mattel’s giving it another try, this time under the branding of Eternia Minis.  My usual go-to characters Mechanek and Roboto haven’t been done thus far, but there’s at least a Zodac, so I’ve got a little bit of an entry point.


Zodac is a 2021 release for Eternia Minis.  He and his assortment mates first started showing up in the spring…in theory.  It’s Mattel, of course, so take that with a huge grain of salt.  The figure stands 2 inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation.  It’s not a ton of mobility, but the balljoint for the neck certainly does a lot.  It’s honestly a bit better than most of the Hasbro items of the same style, so kudos to Mattel there.  Like his larger scale figures, Zodac’s arms are shared with the standard Skeletor from the line.  Everything else is unique (though it’s shared with his 2014 two-pack release) and it’s a pretty fun little sculpt.  Zodac’s goofy helmet really works in this set-up, and I love that they even included details of his hairy chest poking out from under his armor.  The 2014 Zodac was done up in his toy colors, but this one instead gives him his cartoon colors, which feature the gloved appearance, which I do really like.  It’s a small change, but an effective one.  Otherwise, the paint’s pretty solid; some of the edges are a little fuzzy, but it’s nothing too terrible given the scale.  Zodac is packed with his sci-fi-esque gun, which is a lot less “L-shaped mace”-y than the Origins one, so that’s cool.


When Mattel first launched MotU Minis, I was very interested, but the price point and having to contend with Matty Collector were just too much for me to ever get involved.  I was glad to see them re-surface last year at a more reasonable price, but they still weren’t super easy to get, so I still wasn’t really jumping on the line.  Max wound up coming across a small display of them just a few days before my birthday and the Zodac really called out to him for me, so he snagged him.  He’s just a little piece, but he’s quite fun, and I really enjoy him.  I’d like to see maybe a Roboto or a Mechanek, if you don’t mind, Mattel.  That’d be swell.

#2877: Captain America – Avengers Assemble Edition



Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line began as something that was mostly focused on Japanese properties, and while they aren’t totally out of the picture by any stretch of the imagination, they certainly have added a lot more western properties to the line-up.  In particular, figures based on the MCU have become quite common place.  They’ve done quite an Endgame line-up, and now their circling back with a selection of figures based on the first Avengers, under the heading “Avengers Assemble.”  I am, somewhat predictably, looking at the Captain America from the set, because that’s what I do these days.


Captain America is one of the four Avengers Assemble Edition figures added to the S.H. Figuarts line-up this year.  Cap started showing up domestically in early July, which is a convenient time for Cap figures.  He’s based on Cap, specifically in the first Avengers movie, though it does allow you to use him as both an Endgame flashback Cap and a Homecoming educational videos Cap, if you so choose.  That said, there was a release specifically patterned on the Endgame appearances of the costume last year.  This one sort of tailors him more to his actual Avengers appearances.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s similar to the Endgame Cap scale-wise, which also means he’s on the taller side for Figuarts, meaning he’s also not too terribly far off from Legends scaling.  Still a touch small, but you could fudge it if really pressed.  He follows the usual Figuarts articulation scheme, so that gives him an impressive range of motion.  That being said, he shows some of the improvements we’ve been seeing more recently on Figuarts with how the articulation is implemented, so he’s a slightly more solid figure, with a little more heft to him.  I definitely like that.  Cap’s sculpt is largely shared with the Endgame version of this costume from last year, which is sensible, since they’d want to get some mileage out of this mold if possible.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It’s very clean and sleek, and definitely makes a slightly iffy design work nicely in three dimensions.  There’s the usual level of stylization to him, so that he fits in with the rest of the line.  I was happy with how well they got his build down, since the Hasbro version of this costume was a little bit scrawny.  This version certainly more lives up to the “America’s Ass” monicker.  The only thing I’m not really big on is the belt, which has a little trouble sitting properly.  It tends to hover a little higher than it should.  Cap’s standard head sculpt has the helmet and a more neutral expression, which is a strong set-up.  The helmet’s details match well with the films (again, something Hasbro tended to struggle with) and the Evans likeness is pretty strong.  The paint work on Cap is quite nice.  It’s got the basic color scheme down nicely, and reminds me how much I like the brighter colors of this costume.  They also added some accenting on the outfit, so as to give him a little more wear, since he’s supposed to work for the final battle from the movie.  When it comes to the accessories, Cap is pretty nicely covered.  He gets three alternate heads: masked and angry, and two unmasked.  The unmasked are the same sculpt, but one is clean, and the other is dirty.  He also has the two necks to match masked vs unmasked heads, as well as two different collars one with the hood and one without.  Also included are two shields, again clean and dirty.  They get fully folded down straps, plus one for the upper arm, two alternate hands for each side holding the lower strap, and one strap with the additional hook for doing the one handed hold on the shields.  There are a total of 14 hands included, which covers the fists he comes wearing, the pair with the straps, the pair with the tab for use with the strap with the hook, two open gesture, two gripping, two relaxed, one pointing with the index finger, and one pointing with index and middle finger.


As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have the dislike for this design that some people do.  That said, it’s toy coverage wasn’t great.  The Legends versions were definitely not at the line’s height, and I was disappointed by the Endgame re-release in particular, since I’d been hoping for an all-new sculpt.  Alas, that wasn’t the case, so I was still in the market for a good small-scale version of the costume.  When this one came in at All Time, it was a pretty easy sell for me.  He’s a really strong figure, and easily the best version of this costume on the market.  He definitely feels worth the value.

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.

#2876: Jedi Spirits



“Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Yoda — three individuals with lives intricately intertwined. Before Obi-Wan Kenobi was forced into a life of hiding, before Anakin Skywalker gave in to the dark side and became Darth Vader, even before Yoda was known as the last Jedi Master, a young Anakin was presented to the Jedi Council for permission to train the boy in the ways of the Force. Many years later, the Galactic Republic crumbled and the evil Empire rose in its place. Only after the defeat of the Empire, at the hands of Anakin’s son Luke Skywalker, would the three great Jedi be reunited after death as spiritual guides for Luke and the New Republic.”

First hinted at during A New Hope’s climactic battle, when Luke hears the voice of the recently killed Obi-Wan during his run on the Death Star, the force ghost concept fully appears during Empire, when Obi-Wan fully manifests in spirit form.  He shows up again during Return of the Jedi, and is ultimately joined by both Yoda and Anakin in the film’s final moments.  They don’t really do much other than stand there, but it’s a distinctive visual, and one that stuck with fans.  So, toys, of course.  The first one we got was an Anakin, during the original Power of the Force run, though it was handled slightly differently than now.  A more conventional take on the concept in toy form hit the ’90s line as a mail-away figure, the Spirit of Obi-Wan.  Not content to let Obi-Wan have all the fun, Kenner put him out again, this time alongside the other two, as one of their Cinema Scenes, which I’ll be taking a look at today.


The Jedi Spirits set was part of the 1998 Cinema Scenes line-up for Power of the Force II.  They were one of two Jedi sets released that year, as the line began to be more focused on the final film.  They included a stand, based on the edge of one of the Ewok structures from Endor, where they are seen in the film.  Interestingly, they were all three screwed into the base in addition to the usual foot pegs.  Not entirely sure why that was the case; maybe there was some concern about potentially damaging them by twisty tying them in like the others?


He’s been subsequently replaced by Hayden Christian in more recent editions of the film, but the original version of Jedi gave us a look at an Anakin from a potential version of events where he never fell to the dark side to become Darth Vader.  It’s honestly sort of sensible, since it also means he would, you know, look vaguely like the guy whose face Luke actually saw earlier that day, so he might be able to know it was his father, and all.  But that’s probably all very silly, I suppose.  The elder Anakin got a sort of force ghost-y figure in the vintage line, designed to sort of be the best of both worlds.  Power of the Force II split it into two figures, with this being the more overt ghost one.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches all and he has three points of articulation…technically.  The neck definitely moves…a little.  The arms also move, but as you can see from the photo, they tend to just fall out of the socket more often than not.  Not sure why, but that’s how it is.  He was an all new sculpt, based on Sebastian Shaw’s brief appearance as Anakin from the movie.  It’s distinctly different from Obi-Wan, so that’s certainly a nice touch.  There’s some nice texture work going on as well.  While the mail-away Obi-Wan was just translucent blue with no paint, they mixed things up a little bit for this set, adding some dry brushed white, to give him a little more depth.


Yoda was totally without any force ghost figures at this point, so him finally getting one was certainly an accomplishment.  While there were a few Yoda molds to chose from, this one was a new one entirely.  He stands about 2 1/4 inches tall.  You can sort of get some motion at the neck and shoulders, but nothing much, and it feels like it doesn’t want to really move.  Beyond that, it’s a nice enough sculpt.  It’s good for just standing there, which is all he really needs to do.  It’s more accurate than other molds from the same line, and the stance in particular is a little closer to the actual puppet, since he doesn’t have to contend with needing to move.  Also, the arms stay on him, so that’s a plus over Anakin.  Good for him.  His paint works pretty much the same way, although it’s not quite as intense in its application.


Obi-Wan is, of course, the figure in this set that was the least new, especially at the time of his release, with the prior version having hit just the previous year at the time.  That being said, Kenner did at least make him a little different, even if it was just for the sake of being different.  The figure is 3 3/4 inches tall.  He’s sort of got the same articulation as Yoda, where it’s *technically* there, but very limited and not really ideal for any proper use.  His sculpt is largely the same as the mail-away version, but he changes out the right arm for one with a different pose.  So there’s that, I guess.  It’s not a bad sculpt, so I can get behind it, especially without the one arm just kind of sticking out like on the prior version.  His paint matches the other two in the set, which looks a fair bit better than the unpainted version.


I had none of the Cinema Scenes sets as a kid, so obviously that’s not where this one came from.  It is, however, one of the earlier ones I picked up once I actually started doing such things.  I snagged this one when it was traded into All Time, almost exactly two years ago, at this point.  I know, I’ve got quite a PotF2 backlog, don’t I?  It’s not a terribly playable set, but at the same time, it really seems to get the feel of Cinema Scenes down the best, because it’s a distinct visual, and these figures are always gonna be a tough sell by themselves.

#2875: Synch



One of the primary appeals of ToyFare‘s exclusive mail away offers, for the 5-inch Marvel stuff, at least, was the ability to fill in some teams and line-ups that were just missing one stray character here or there, or at least give them at least a touch more depth to their numbers.  There were a lot of short-lived lines from Toy Biz in the ’90s, so they had plenty of loose ends to worry about.  Case in point: Generation X.  The X-spin-off team had their own line, which ran two series, and left the central team without a number of its core members.  While it was still rather lacking at the end of the day, they did get at least one extra core member via the mail-away set-up, and gave current main X-Men team member Everett Thomas, aka Synch, his very first (and to date, only) figure in the process.


Synch was offered up in ToyFare Magazine #9, first becoming available for order in May of 1998, and shipping out later that year.  After nine Marvel exclusives, they had a Witchblade figure for issue #8, and then came back to Marvel with this guy.  He was then the last Marvel exclusive for six months, when Havok picked up the baton.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  The Generation X figures were at a weird spot for Toy Biz, articulation wise, as they decided to eliminate the elbow and knee joints on all of the figures for some reason.  Synch did at least get extra shoulder movement, by virtue of making use of Banshee’s body from the main line.  Toy Biz apparently felt Banshee always needed the extra movement, and Synch got that on a technicality.  Or, perhaps he just copied it from Banshee using his powers.  That’s a pretty solid explanation, right?  In addition to using all of Banshee’s parts below the neck, Synch also got the head from the Space Riders version of Professor X.  It’s not quite the face I envision Synch having, but it was a bald head that actually had ears, which made it a better fit than the Silver Surfer head, I suppose.  It’s honestly not the worst choice.  The rest of the work is handled with the paint.  It does an okay job for the most part, but for some reason the belt buckle is way larger than the actual sculpted piece, which makes it look really strange.  That said, they did actually try on this one, and he even got some extra accenting on the yellow parts of his costume.  It’s a bit heavy handed in some spots, but the effort’s at least nice.


I actually kinda liked Generation X back in the day, and I really liked my figures of Jubilee, Chamber, and Skin from the toyline.  I didn’t have a Synch growing up, though, mostly because he just wasn’t a figure I ever saw turn up anywhere.  I know he’s not generally regarded as being a very good one, but I’ve never much looked into that.  Whatever the case, my first real chance to get one came quite recently, when he got traded into All Time, which made him an easy pick-up for me.  He’s not a bad figure.  Maybe not great, but he gets the job done.  It’s a shame that they didn’t ever get M or Husk out, leaving the team incomplete, even with this guy included.  Of course, with him just being added to the main X-team, maybe this won’t be the only Synch figure for too much longer.  Fingers crossed.

#2874: Batman Beyond



“Terry McGinnis was just an ordinary teenager, until his father was mysteriously killed.  Suspecting foul play, Terry meets an older, bitter Bruce Wayne and learns a secret hidden for decades.  When Bruce refuses to help, Terry steals and dons a high-tech, tricked-out Batsuit in a quest to avenge his father’s death as Batman”

Though he had trouble getting any accurate figures during the run of his show, Batman Beyond has done a little bit better in the years that have followed.  Since the character was worked into the DC comics universe proper, he’s been treated to a few more figures, typically a bit more realistic in design.  Most recently, he’s found his way into McFarlane’s run with the brand, you know, because he’s a Batman.  It’s really easy to get Batman variants out there when it’s, like 75% of your output.


Batman Beyond is his own solo release in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  A slightly tweaked version showed up first as a Target-exclusive, and the main release, which I’m looking at here, started showing up everywhere else in the last month or two.  The figure stands about 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 38 points of articulation, as well as moving wings.  The articulation scheme here is essentially the same as all the other Multiverse figures from McFarlane.  It’s not a terrible set-up.  Some of the joints are a little tighter than I’d like, and some of the joints are a little more obvious than I’d like.  I especially am not a real fan of how the arms and legs look when the elbows and knees are bent.  Overall, they’re not the worst, though.  BB’s sculpt is a new one, largely shared with the Target-version, of course.  It’s a more realistically proportioned version of the character, which might seem the obvious outcome at first, but then you have to remember the “animated” style monstrosities that were in the first assortment of the line, and that will make you eternally grateful that they went realistic here.  Of course, it’s still a McFarlane translation of the design, so that means there’s a bunch of additional details that do sort of muck up the sleek design that the original has.  It’s not quite as bad as some of their other offerings, and they do at least generally follow the flow of the design, so it’s not terrible.  The only thing I’m not crazy about on the main body is the gauntlets, which go for more Arkham game-style Batman gauntlets, and just don’t work quite as well.  The other thing I’m not so big on?  The wings.  It’s not that the wings are there, mind you; Mattel and DCD both left them off entirely on their first goes, and that was a letdown.  What frustrates me is that they’re not removable, because in a case of classic McFarlane overengineering, there’s a very specific joint for them built into the back of the figure.  A simple peg joint would have allowed them to be removed, and they would have functioned essentially the same way.  As it stands, they can’t be removed, just folded down, which means he’s not accurate to how the character looked for the vast majority of his time.  His paint work is decent enough.  There’s not a ton to it, but that’s accurate.  I appreciate that they didn’t over do the paint, though.  That’s always a plus.  BB is packed with a flight stand, two sets of hands (open gesture and gripping), flight effects, and a batarang.  The batarang is, notably, *not* a Beyond Batarang, which is annoying, since the Target release got the proper one.


I’ve effectively been on the hunt for the definitive Batman Beyond since the show came out.  Every time a new one is released, I hope that one might be the one that does it, and every time, I feel a bit let down, because there’s just always something that throws them off.  Sadly, this one continues the trend.  Where those wings removeable, he’d be really close, but with them permanently attached, it definitely holds him back a bit in my book.  I mean, I do still like him, but I wish I liked him more.

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.

#2873: Soundwave



While the main Transformers line has largely shifted back to the G1 line’s “classes are dictated by the character’s scale within the overall set-up”, there have long been other lines that give us the characters in actually different scales.  The smaller, more affordable set-up is a particularly recurrent one, gathering a few differing names over the years, including Basic Class, Spy Changers, Legion Class, and Legends Class.  For the latest version, they’re now the “Core Class,” which has taken over the main line price point previously held by the Micro Masters in the last two main lines.  There are a few new characters, but the main focus is the heavy hitter G1 characters.  And, if I’m reviewing one, you know that means there’s gotta be a Soundwave.


Soundwave is part of the third Core Class assortment for Transformers War For Cybertron: Kingdom, alongside the brand new Dracodon.  In his robot mode, Soundwave stands about 3 inches tall and he has 15 practical points of articulation.  Soundwave is an all-new sculpt, patterned on his G1 cartoon design.  He’s rather similar thematically to the two Voyager Class releases from this trilogy, but is of course about half their size.  To facilitate this, his articulation is a little more rudimentary, but that doesn’t stop it from working pretty well from a practicality stand point.  The new sculpt is a very clean and sharply detailed recreation of the classic Soundwave.  It doesn’t have as much going on as the larger versions, but that doesn’t stop it from getting the feel of the character.  Moreover, it gives it a nice, basic feel, which I very much dig.  The paint work is like wise very clean and to the point, which I’m totally down for.  Soundwave is armed with both his handheld and shoulder cannons, as well as Laserbeak, who, much like the R.E.D. version, is permanently in cassette mode.  Speaking of cassettes, while it took three tries at the larger scale, this guy gets his cassette player alt-mode right out of the gate.  It’s a pretty simple transformation, as expected, but the end result is generally pretty decent.  The feet don’t quite fold down enough for the proper clean angles, but otherwise it looks nice, and it’s less fiddly than the larger version.  I do miss the spring loaded door, though.


When Core Class was unveiled, it looked cool enough, but I stuck to my guns and swore to only get my two go-tos, should they be added to the line.  Sure enough, Soundwave got added pretty quickly, and I was onboard from day 1 for this guy.  The Earthrise version was really nice, but something about the simplicity and pure fun of this release really appeals to me, and he’s probably my favorite modern Soundwave release.

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.

#2872: Baroness – Origins



Oh, you didn’t think I was done with Snake Eyes, did you?  I mean, if you did, that’s okay.  I can understand the desire.  I wanted to be done with Snake Eyes.  I wanted to be done with Snake Eyes so bad that when the credits started to roll, I legitimately Googled to see if there was a stinger, and upon discovering there wasn’t one past the one that was like 5 seconds in, I promptly got up and left, which is something I never do with movies.  That’s how much I wanted to remove myself.  But I’m still writing the reviews of the figures, so I guess I’m a glutton for punishment.  In my review of the titular character, I did mention a short list of things I did not hate about the movie.  Well, I’m happy to report that today’s focus, Baroness, was one of those things.  Ursula Corbero’s take on the character had the right amount of both camp and menace, and she had really good chemistry with Samara Weaving’s Scarlett.  It’s a shame that the movie didn’t make more use of her.  At least she got the toy, though.


Baroness is figure 19 in the Classified Series line-up, which shows a jump from the other two.  She’s the only other figure in the first assortment for the movie, though.  It’s weird to get the number jump *within* an assortment.  I’d guess that Akiko is probably the missing 18, but they decided to move Baroness, because, I don’t know, maybe they saw the movie and realized people might be upset if neither of the two good characters were actually in the launch assortment?  I mean, that’s just my best guess.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 33 points of articulation.  Her articulation set-up exists in an odd sort of middle ground, as she’s only got the single joints on the elbows, but her knees are using the pinless construction.  Like the Shang-Chi figures from Legends, it feels like she got tweaked once they knew there’d be a delay.  I’m not really complaining, because her articulation does work pretty well.  Her sculpt is an all-new one, and unlike the other two in this assortment, it’s based on something she actually wears in the movie, for the majority of her screen time, no less.  It’s a slight tweak on the usual Baroness get-up, but the important parts are certainly there, and the general feel of the character is captured pretty well.  The sculpt captures the design nicely, as well as sporting a decent likeness of Corbero.  I quite like the texture work that is present in the uniform, an after the standard Baroness’s glasses were permanently attached, the removable ones on this figure are pretty cool.  Baroness’s paint work is pretty basic for the most part.  The face is the most complex part, and the printing gives it a nice lifelike quality.  Everything else is pretty cleanly handled.  Baroness is packed with an MP5k (a rare actual gun for the line), complete with removable suppressor and magazine, as well as two rather large knives.  Not a bad assortment at all.


Before even seeing the movie, Baroness was my favorite figure from this assortment.  She just really seems to click for me in a way that the other two really don’t.  The design works, the implementation works, and even the accessories are pretty solid.  The fact that I actually liked her in the movie just helps the figure overall.  I guess good things can come out of bad things, too, right?

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.

#2871: Storm Shadow – Origins



Okay, I ripped off the band-aid yesterday, and discussed the steaming pile of weirdly out of place giant snakes that was Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. There was a short list of things I liked about the movie.  Storm Shadow was not on that list.  Admittedly, I was a little biased going in, because I felt that Storm Shadow was easily one of the best parts of the previous live action Joe movies, so there’s a higher bar there, but this version really just left me rather cold.  He’s just rather hollow and two dimensional, and generally not a terribly compelling take on a character that really shouldn’t be that hard to make compelling.  Seriously, how do you mess up Storm Shadow?  How!?!  Okay, I’m getting side tracked here.  Look, I’ve just got to get this figure review out of the way, right?


Storm Shadow is figure 17 in the Classified Series line-up.  As I addressed yesterday, the lower numbers showcase how these figures were supposed to come out last year, much like the movie itself.  Storm Shadow’s numbering places him right after Snake Eyes numerically.  He’s also in the first of the two movie assortments.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is pretty much the same as Snake Eyes, meaning he too is missing the cuts on the shins.  Additionally, his hips are a little restricted by the construction of the skirt piece, and generally the articulation is a little more obvious and rudimentary in its implementation.  Given how sleek the rest of the line’s been with the articulation and how it works into the sculpts, this guy definitely feels like a step back, which is a shame.  That said, he’s another all-new sculpt, based upon Storm Shadow’s fully geared up appearance from the film’s final act.  Unlike Snake Eyes, that means its a look that’s in more than 15 seconds of the film, although I don’t believe he ever actually wears the mask in the movie.  I can’t recall for certain, though, and I’m certainly not watching it again to double check.  Generally, it’s not a terrible design.  I don’t like it as much as the earlier movie Storm Shadow look, but it’s workable.  As noted above, the sculpt isn’t quite as strong as others in the line, and in general the design doesn’t really translate well to toy form.  Which, you know, seems like something they should have confirmed before, I don’t know, putting it in a movie that’s entirely toy line driven, don’t you think?  Nah, that’s crazy.  Storm Shadow’s paint work is generally okay.  The suit’s largely an off-white, which is true to the movie, but not as striking as the earlier designs.  Less prone to yellowing, though, I suppose.  The other painted details are generally pretty well handled, though what we can see of his skin on the masked head seems really pink.  Storm Shadow is packed with two swords, a back pack to house them, and an unmasked head.  The head has a solid likeness of Andrew Koji, so I guess that’s okay.  He’s got one less accessory than Snake Eyes, though, which does feel light.


As with Snake Eyes, I got this guy before the movie came out.  We still don’t have a basic Storm Shadow, so I was hoping this guy might work as something of a stand-in.  Ultimately, I wasn’t wowed by the character in the movie, and I don’t think the design works well as a toy, making this guy by far the weakest of this bunch for me.  Much like the movie, I hoped this figure might surprise me, but I was ultimately left kinda cold on him.

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.

#2870: Snake Eyes – Origins



Originally slated for a 2020 release, Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe origins finally hit theaters on July 23rd of this year.  There have been three live action G.I. Joe movies, and the prior two aren’t exactly known for the high praise that follows them (though I do genuinely like Rise of Cobra, and feel that it gets a lot of undeserved hate), so the bar for this one was set pretty low.  Going into it, my only hope was that it wouldn’t be the worst live action G.I. Joe movie.  That’s a reasonable expectation, right?  Well, as it turns out, no, that wasn’t, because Snake Eyes is undoubtedly the worst of the three, and it’s not even that close, if I’m honest.  I can’t say it’s the worst movie-going experience I’ve had, but that’s only because I saw the last Hellboy in the theater, and Snake Eyes was, at least, not quite as bad as that.  But it’s still not great, my guys.  I do have a short list of things that I actually liked about the movie, however, and one of those things was the final Snake Eyes design.  It’s really cool.  Strong design.  Would have been great to see it actually, you know, get used at all, but, well, we didn’t.  Got some toys of it, though.  That’s better than nothing, right?


Snake Eyes if figure 16 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up.  Since the movie was slated for a release last year, Hasbro had presumably already gotten at least some of the work involved with them done, so they’re numbering is quite early in the count, thus explaining the gap that occurred last year in the line-up.  Snake Eyes is the first of the movie figures numerically, and is one of the three figures shipping in the first of the two movie assortments.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation. His articulation scheme is pretty much the same as the standard Classified Snake Eyes, just without the swivels on the shins (which isn’t really that much of a loss anyway.  Getting him posed wasn’t quite as easy on this figure, as the joints were a little tighter and restricted at first, but generally it works out pretty well.  Snake Eyes has a totally unique sculpt, based upon the design that he wears for 15 seconds at the end of the movie.  Sure, it’s not in the movie for long, but it does at least look like something Snake Eyes would wear.  While I still think I prefer the standard Classified figure’s take on a modern Snake Eyes, this design isn’t a bad one, and the sculpt does a good job of translating it into figure form.  There are a variety of differing textures, which to keep him rather visually interesting.  His paint work is predominantly black, as you would expect, but as with the prior figure, there are differing finishes to the various parts of the outfit, again to keep things more interesting.  He’s also got a few spots of red detailing, including the Arashikage symbol on his arm.  Snake Eyes is packed with an alternate unmasked head, a sword and sheath, and two knives.  An unmasked head on a Snake Eyes is real weird, but it’s to be expected, and it does at least have a passable likeness to Henry Golding, and it’s something different for the character.  The sword and sheath are nice enough pieces that match well with what we see on the screen.  The knives are decent, though I dislike the fact that there’s no storage option for them.  It’s also weird to get a Snake Eyes with no guns, especially when he has molded trigger fingers and everything.


I snagged Snake Eyes and the rest of the first set in the lead up to the movie’s release.  I liked the look of them well enough, and I was really hoping the movie might not be terrible.  I then saw the movie for my birthday, and it was, in fact, terrible, which was a bit of a letdown.  But I already had the figures, so I figured I might as well review them.  This figure’s not a bad Snake Eyes toy, especially removed from the film that spawned it.  Given that the first one is still a little hard to come by, this is a decent back-up.

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.

#2869: Final Jedi Duel



“Under the evil gaze of Emperor Palpatine, the lightsabers of two Jedi Knights – a father and son – clash furiously in a final duel between the light side and dark side of the Force. Slowly, the young Skywalker is lured closer to the rage of the dark side, and Palpatine sits confident of the Rebellion’s defeat and the acquisition of a new emissary to fulfill his evil legacy! But the young Jedi’s resistance appears to be growing…”

Though its later years saw Cinema Scenes switch more to getting out never before released characters and obscurities out in a quick shot, Kenner launched it with a focus on actually recreating distinctive scenes directly from the film.  It doesn’t get much more distinctive than Luke and Vader’s duel on the second Death Star during the climax of Return of the Jedi, so it’s not a terrible surprise that this scene was one of the ones more specifically recreated.  In fact, they technically recreated it twice, if you count the Power F/X figures.  But this was the only time they did it in Cinema Scenes.


The Final Jedi Duel was added to the Cinema Scenes sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force in 1997.  It was the only Jedi-based set from the first year, though many would certainly follow.  The set included a stand, like all of the Cinema Scenes, but this time it was a far more integral piece, since the Emperor’s chair is permanently affixed to the stand.


Jedi Luke was no stranger to this line, although at this point, he’d only had one version, and it was iffy on screen accuracy, since it amalgamated a few looks.  This one was unique in Power of the Force in that it was actually a Death Star II version of Luke, specifically sans the vest.  In fact, it was the first ever non-Endor Luke to not sport the vest, so that’s pretty cool.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  While the core line was moving from pre-posing at this point, they had really translated it into the Cinema Scenes figures, which remained quite pre-posed in their first year.  Luke is one of the most impacted by this, with a deep lunging saber dueling pose.  It looks impressive when the whole set-up’s there, but on his own, it can be a bit limiting.  Notably, it makes him really hard to keep standing, which I’m not big on.  That said, the actual sculpt isn’t a terrible one.  Notably, it introduced a new head, more specifically tailored to Jedi than the one on the prior Jedi Luke.  It’s honestly not a bad likeness, especially for the time.  The paint work on this figure is pretty basic, but in keeping with the line.  He does get shiny boots, so that’s fun.  He’s packed with his lightsaber, which he has a little trouble holding.


Vader was also no stranger to the line.  This marked the third version of him for the line, each one being slightly more pre-posed than the last.  It was another amalgamated design, keeping with the other two.  The figure stands just over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  This Vader sculpt actually got re-used a few tomes, mainly for the wonky colored repaints that Hasbro liked trotting out for anniversaries and special occasions.  Like Luke, he’s rather pre-posed, though this one’s a little more stable, and he can actually stand on his own.  Generally, he looks a lot like the prior two, but the one notable improvement here was the inclusion of his skirt beneath his cape.  That marked a first for a Vader figure, so it’s kind of a big deal.  His cape has been re-worked here so that it’s not actually removable.  It’s connection is kind of weird, but otherwise I guess it’s not bad.  The paint on Vader pretty much matches the other versions from the line.  It’s not like he really had any major change ups in the films, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Vader is packed with his lightsaber, which he holds a lot better than Luke.


Ah, Palpatine.  Always the most thrilling action figure subject.  He’s so exciting, right?  What’s this one’s gimmick?  He sits.  That’s it.  That’s the whole thing.  Literally, he takes the overall vibe of all of the other Power of the Force Palpatines, folds him in the middle, and makes him sit in his sit-and-spin chair.  Technically he’s got articulation, and technically you can take him out of the chair, but really, what’s the point?  It’s not like you’re going to do anything else with him.  He’s made for sitting.  I suppose that’s more to the point for the character than other figures, so kudos to Kenner for that.  He’s also got the chair, which does look pretty cool.  Too bad you can’t take it off the base, but it’s still nice.


The Final Jedi Duel is a rather recent addition to my collection.  It got traded into All Time a couple of months ago, sealed.  They’d come through loose a few times, but without the base, at which point Palpatine is actually pointless, so why bother?  So, when it was a sealed one, that was a pretty easy sale for me.  It’s not a terrible set.  It doesn’t have the broader appeal of other Cinema Scenes, since none of them really work outside of the setting.  On the other hand, it makes it one of the truest sets to the actual concept, so I guess there’s that.