#3015: Shadowcat

SHADOWCAT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After being captured by Sabretooth, Katherine Pryde becomes the youngest member of the X-Men and trains to become the team’s ghost assassin.”

While generally one of the team’s more peaceful and friendly members in the mainstream universe, Kitty Pryde of the “Age of Apocalypse” universe is a far harder-edged character, as today’s figure’s bio hints at above.  She was one of a number of characters to become more edgy and extreme in this altered universe, but perhaps the sharpest turn, at least of the character’s that still remained “good”-aligned.  She’s previously been one of the characters untouched by toy treatment, but that changed with the most recent assortment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shadowcat is figure 4 in the Colossus Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s obviously the first AoA-version of the character, but also the fourth Legends release for Kitty, the third under the Hasbro banner.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  At first glance, she appears to be an all-new sculpt, but her legs and feet are actually a rather clever re-use of Lady Deathstrike’s legs.  Apart from those pieces, she’s all-new, though.  Generally, it’s a pretty good sculpt.  The proportions on the body are well-balanced, and the details are sharp and clean.  The head has been a point of contention since the figure was shown off.  Much like last year’s Invisible Woman, the face has some definitely odd qualities to it, especially given how the expression works out.  Ultimately, much like Sue, this is a sculpt that looks a lot better in person than it did in the prototype shots.  It’s still a little wonky, but from proper angles, it’s actually not a bad sculpt at all.  The color work on Kitty is pretty strong.  The paint application is cleanly handled, and I really like how the metallic blue of her costume turned out.  Shadowcat is packed with two sets of hands, one set of fists and one of open gesture, as well as two pairs of gauntlets, one set with the claws extended, and the other without.  She also gets the torso and pelvis of the Colossus Build-A-Figure, which is by far the largest piece, offsetting that she’s the smallest of the individual figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kitty is a character that certainly ranks highly for my selection of favorite X-Men, and while the AoA interpretation isn’t really much like the character I like, I can still appreciate the distinctly divergent take on the character for the purposes of the story.  I also do kind of dig the changed up design, so I was certainly happy to see her crop up here.  The face is a little weird, but the figure is otherwise quite well-rendered, and it’s always cool to get a design we haven’t seen in toy form before.

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.

#3014: Sabretooth

SABRETOOTH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After betraying Apocalypse and making his escape, Sabretooth joins with the mutant rebels the X-Men to fight for good in a harsh dystopian future.”

While the mainstream counterpart to Magneto had flirted with being on the side of good before the “Age of Apocalypse” crossover, before his heroic turn in AoA, Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, had been a pretty irredeemable villain, with no real signs of any other intentions.  So, it was a pretty major change, and one of the crossover’s best story angles, as the psuedo-paternal relationship between Sabretooth and Blink gave their portion of the story a real emotional core, removed from the purely “x-treme-ness” of the other storylines.  We got Blink before any of the other AoA stuff, as well as Sabretooth’s non-verbal partner Wild Child in the first AoA assortment, but without a proper Sabretooth to go along with them.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s coming in with the save on that one!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sabretooth is figure 3 in the Colossus Series of Marvel Legends.  It’s this design’s fourth time in figure form, and its second time getting the Legends treatment, though the last one was during Toy Biz’s run, and wrought with a lot of odd design choices.  This one sticks more cleanly to the actual design from the original crossover, which is a plus.  The figure stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  While the last couple Sabretooths have been on the Hyperion body, this one moves him up to the Colossus body.  It makes a degree of sense, since he was depicted as a fair bit larger during the crossover, and it also makes it so he pairs off a bit better with Wild Child, it’s also somewhat amusing in light of Cyclops keeping his previous build, even in light of the crossover bulking him up.  Maybe Sabretooth is bigger because of when he was working with Apocalypse?  Sure, let’s go with that.  Honestly, anything that stops us from getting another Hyperion re-use is alright by me.  He gets a pretty solid assortment of new parts, including new arms, lower legs, and two different heads, as well as add-ons for the collar and belt.  The two heads give is the two different sides of Creed; one is angry and pupil-less, while the other is a much friendlier expression.  After getting a lot of prior Sabretooth figures without the option for a calmer expression, it’s really nice to get both versions here.  The other new parts jibe well with the prior core body parts, and feature a lot of cool little details.  Interestingly, despite the arms being seemingly new, they still have visible pins at the elbows.  I have to wonder if his is a sculpt that might have sat for a bit.  Sabretooth’s paint work is pretty decently handled.  The detailing on the facial and arm hair works a lot better than such details tend to, and everything else is actually pretty clean.  There’s a slight mis-match from the hips to the rest of the legs, but other than that, things work out pretty well.  Sabretooth is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, and the other in gripping, as well as the head for Colossus.  Also, while it’s not packed with him, it’s worth noting that, surprising no one, the chain included with Wild Child is properly fitted to Sabretooth’s forearm, which is pretty cool.  In hindsidght, I wonder if that might be why he’s still got the pins at the elbows, since the mold would need to have been worked out earlier than the others in this assortment in that case.  Food for thought.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The prior Legends AoA Sabretooth always disappointed me, so the prospect of a new one was certainly an exciting one.  While he wasn’t in the first line-up, the inclusion of Wild Child made it pretty clear that we’d be seeing him sooner than later, which is why it made a lot of sense that he was also the first of these figures we actually saw.  I gotta say, he turned out really nicely, even better than I was expecting.  He pairs of really nicely with Wild Child, but he’s also just a really strong figure in his own 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.

#3013: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Cyclops helps prisoners escape from Apocalypse’s prison camps in an attempt to be a force for good in a harsh dystopian future.”

To quote Jimmy Woo: “It’s an oversimplification of events, but yes.”  While the Cyclops of the “Age of Apocalypse” universe ultimately joins the side of good and aids in helping the victims of Apocalypse, that’s not where he spends most of the story.  While AoA saw a lot of previously villainous characters on the side of good, it also saw Cyclops, a character previously very straight-laced and noble, pretty firmly in the villains camp, at least at the start.  Sure, his in-grained noble streak kept him from being truly villainous, but he’s also very far from a force for good.  But, here I am critiquing the bios again, when I could be reviewing a new Cyclops figure.  What am I even doing with my life?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is figure 2 in the Colossus Series of Marvel Legends.  Though far from the first Legends Cyclops, it’s still the first Legends release for AoA, and the third figure for the AoA design overall.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Cyclops is built on the Bucky Cap base body, which has been the consistent choice of base for Cyclops since the Puck Series version.  The AoA version has at times been depicted as a little larger in build, but that can be chalked up to artistic license, and thus far all of the other AoA variants have maintained consistency with their main counterparts in terms of body choices.  I mean, that’s gonna sort of fall apart as we make it further into the assortment, but we’ll stand by it here.  Ultimately, I really don’t mind it.  He gets a new head, arms, and an overlay piece for his belt/shoulder strap.  The head’s not quite as extreme and 90s-tastic as some of the illustrations made him out to be, but the important elements of the design are all present, and his features are also internally consistent with the other Cyclops figures from the line.  His new arms bulk him up a little bit more compared to the standard Bucky Cap pieces, as well as transitioning him to the pinless construction on the elbows.  Some of his articulation is lost on said elbows, which can really only make it about 90 degrees.  It’s understandable given the nature of the design.  Cyclops’ paint is generally very basic.  Much of the color work is just molded plastic, and it’s honestly a pretty basic layout of colors for the costume anyway.  Kudos to Hasbro, though, they did actually do some weathering and wear on the gold armored parts, which looks pretty solid.  Cyclops includes no accessories of his own, which is kind of a shame.  A blast effect, or an alternate head, maybe with the hair swept back to better show off the missing eye and scarring, would have been pretty cool.  All he winds up getting is the left leg for Colossus, which definitely feels light compared to pretty much everyone else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I do really like Cyclops, and I even kind of like some of the stuff they did with him within the AoA story, the actual AoA design for the character isn’t necessarily one of my favorites for him.  It’s kind of overkill on the worst of the ’90s tropes for character design, really.  That being said, if you’re gonna have an AoA set-up, it feels wrong to not have him.  He’s another figure I felt was really missing from the first go-round, and I’m glad he showed up here.  He’s light on extras, and perhaps a little skinny, but overall I do rather like him, and hey, it’s another Cyclops, 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.

#3012: Rogue

ROGUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Rogue moves her way up the ranks of Magneto’s X-Men, eventually leading a team of mutants to prevent the culling of humankind.”

In the early ’90s, Rogue really started to take off as one of the X-Men’s most popular members, placing her at the center of a few more of the team’s stories, including one in particular, which saw her and Magneto as unlikely allies stranded in the Savage Land.  There were some slight hints of a romantic angle, initially unexplored in the main universe, which would serve as the basis for the full-fledged marriage between the two within the alternate universe of “Age of Apocalypse.”  Given Magneto’s central position in the cross-over, this allowed Rogue to maintain her central place as well, making her rather pivotal to the overall course of the story.  So, it’s only fitting that she too would be part of the Legends tie-in for the story.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue is officially figure 1 in the Colossus Series of Marvel Legends, the second AoA-themed assortment.  It’s the third time this version’s gotten a toy…or possibly the fourth.  Toy Biz did two versions of the costume, but they were both kind of iffy on wether they were officially AoA versions, or just kind of similar designs.  The Minimate was explicit about it, though, so there’s at least that.  Her design was more changed than others, though Rogue had a history of frequently changing designs prior to this.  This one keeps a lot basic schemes from her Jim Lee design, at least in terms of color and general layout, mixed with a few more Magneto elements, much like the rest of the main X-team from the cross-over.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She uses the Phoenix base body as a starting point, with a new head, upper arms, legs, and add-ons for the collar, wrist cuffs, and the pouches on her leg.  All-in-all, it makes for a pretty good rendition of her design from the comics, certainly the best we’ve seen in toy form up to this point.  The head’s probably the best part of it; I think the hair turned out pretty well, and there’s a dynamic flow to it.  The shaping on the back of is a little weird, but it at least allows for rather unimpeded movement on the neck.   The arms, on the other hand, are rather restricted at the shoulders and elbows, due to the billowy nature of the sleeves.  There’s not a lot that can really be done about that, of course, without compromising the aesthetics.  The new legs give her the goody bulky snow boots, which turned out well, as well as removing the exposed pins on the knees.  Rogue’s color work is bright, bold, and rather eye-catching.  The application is generally pretty clean and consistent, but there are some fuzzy edges on some of the change overs, as well as a notable bit of slop on the left boot.  Otherwise, she looks pretty good.  Rogue includes two sets of hands in fists and open gesture, as well as the left arm and an alternate hand for the Colossus Build-A-Figure.  It does feel a little light, and it would have been nice to see either her cape or the robe thing she was seen wearing over the main suit, but at least she gets the extra hands, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While Rogue’s AoA look isn’t at the top of my list or anything, it’s still got some cool elements to it, and I certainly like the Magneto and Rogue angle.  So, I definitely wanted to see her turn up in the Legends line-up, especially if we were getting a Magneto as well.  She’s a pretty basic and straight forward figure, but one that turned out well.  This design has had trouble making the transition to toy form in the past, but this figure did it well, and she honestly surprised me with how well I like her in-hand.

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

#3011: Magneto

MAGNETO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Magneto casts off his anti-human sentiments and carries on Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence, thereby founding the X-Men.”

2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the X-Men crossover “Age of Apocalypse” and 2021 marked the 25th anniversary of the tie-in toys for that crossover.  What’s the significance of 2022?  It’s the 25th anniversary of the toys being a year old, I guess.  That’s gotta count for something, right?  Well, I’m gonna make it count for something, because in my case, it counts for reviewing another round of AoA-themed Legends.  That’s pretty cool, all things considered.  Throughout the history of the X-Men, Magneto has flirted with the idea of not being such a bad guy, even aiding, or in some cases outright joining the team.  It rarely lasts, but AoA posited that, were Magneto to see his friend Xavier murdered at a young age, that might just be the thing to make him an objectively good character.  So, in the AoA universe, Magneto is an unquestionable force of good, founder and leader of the X-Men, and the most prominent force in the fight against the objectively evil Apocalypse.  As such, he’s a pretty perfect choice for headlining the second assortment of AoA Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto is part of the Colossus Series of Marvel Legends.  He is the only figure in the set not to include a piece of the Build-A-Figure, and is likewise this assortment’s double pack, which is honestly pretty sensible.  This is the fourth time the AoA version of Magneto’s gotten a figure, following the original Toy Biz 5-inch figure, the Minimate, and the 3 3/4-inch Hasbro version.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As with the last few Magnetos, he’s based on the Spider-UK body, which is a good fit for the character, so I’m pretty happy to see it continue to be in use for the character.  In terms of design, Magneto’s AoA look wasn’t a drastic change from his mainstream look, so there’s a lot of room for parts re-use.  That being said, the only part (aside from the base body), that’s shared with the standard Magneto is the belt.  He also shares his forearms and boots with the modern Magneto, which are generally pretty good matches for the updated designs from the AoA books.  He gets a few new parts as well, namely an all-new cape/shoulder pad piece, as well as two new heads.  The cape does seem a little tame for how the AoA Magneto’s cape was usually depicted, but it’s still a pretty nice piece, which at least keeps the figure well-balanced.  The new heads give him helmeted and un-helmeted looks.  The un-helmeted is certainly the stronger of the two.  The facial features are a bit more defined, and the hair turned out quite well.  The helmeted head’s not terrible, but the helmet seems a touch on the small side, and I do feel like there’s a missed opportunity in not doing the blacked-out face under the helmet, as he was frequently depicted in the books.  Magneto’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  It’s straight forward, and really rather minimal, but it does what it needs to for the most part.  There’s a little bit of misalignment on one of the eyebrows one un-helmeted head, but it generally looks pretty good.  The only odd part is the decision to leave off the purple trunks. Later illustrations of the character dropped them, but the actual cross-over itself always showed him having them.  Magneto is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, the other in open gesture, as well as two electricity effects.  Not a ton of stuff, but it covers the basics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

AoA Magneto is really one of my favorite parts of the whole AoA thing, something I brought up when I reviewed the Toy Biz figure, itself my favorite of the Toy Biz AoA figures.  I’ve definitely been hoping for an update in Legends form for quite some time.  I was bummed when he wasn’t included with the first assortment, but his absence felt like it really confirmed a second assortment, since how can you not do this guy?  I was happy to be right.  Ultimately, there are some elements of the figure that could stand to be a little stronger, but he’s generally still a pretty solid take on the character, and I’m glad we got the update.

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.

#3010: Blue Ranger

BLUE RANGER

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (THREEZERO)

Oh man, I haven’t reviewed any Power Rangers since last year!  …get it?  Because we’re only two weeks into the–okay, yeah, it’s not that funny, I guess.  Also, it’s a joke I’ve already pulled once.  So, you know, there it is, I guess.  Look, I’m not proud of it either, okay?  Let’s just get to the actual review, I guess.  As far as Rangers reviews go, the original incarnation, Mighty Morphin, has become a bit rarer around here, what with me having already gotten the whole core team in my preferred scale some time ago.  I do have a soft spot for the Blue Ranger, of course, so that does leave me more avenues to review the occasional release here and there.  While we’re here and there, ThreeZero has recently picked up the license for the purposes of some 1/6 scale figures, which includes my boy Blue, so I’m taking a look at their take on him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Blue Ranger was released at the same time as the other five Rangers in ThreeZero’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line, hitting late last fall.  He and the others were available both as single releases and in one boxed set for the whole team.  Obviously, mine’s the single release, but the actual figures are the same between the two styles of box.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

In true 1/6 form, the most prominent piece of sculpting here is the head, or in this case more specifically the helmet.   Blue’s triceratops-inspired helmet is nicely recreated here.  It’s not quite a perfect match for the on-screen helmet, but it gets all of the elements, and it’s pretty close.  It’s quite sleek in its implementation, and the sculpting is all properly clean and sharp in its detailing.  The paint work is likewise clean and sharp.  The extra panel lining on the edges isn’t strictly show accurate, but at this scale it helps to make the sculpted elements pop a bit more, which is a plus.  The overall finish of the helmet is glossy, in proper fashion for how it looked in the show…most of the time, anyway.  There’s no alternate unmasked head included with these releases, which is on one hand a slight letdown compared to other 1/6 stuff, but on the other hand totally understandable given how much lower the price point is on these figures compared to others on the market.

In contrast to my last two ThreeZero reviews, where the figures were fully sculpted, and a mix of plastic and diecast parts, the Rangers are more classic 1/6 scale figures, making use of cloth costumes with plastic accents and underlying body.  It’s appropriate, what with all the spandex involved with the actual costumes and all.  The main suit is a spandex-like material, which scales well to the body and is generally well-tailored to match.  Obviously, some of the stitching is a little larger than it should be, but not by much.  The metallic finish on the material matches the original Sentai costume, and is just overall very sleek looking, which I’m all about.  The white elements are applied via a rubberized paint, which is clean, sharp at the edges, and offers consistent coverage.  The belt piece is a mix of cloth and plastic, with the main belt being a pleather like material, and the buckle being plastic.  The back of the belt is a little bit rudimentary in its design, but otherwise the piece works well.  The cuffs for the boots and gloves are sculpted plastic parts.  They’re nicely fitted to the body, and help to further keep the costume in place, as well as maximizing the posability on the wrists and ankles.

The body under the suit is clearly designed for function over form, as you would hope for this style of figure.  It shapes well under the suit, but is largely built for being well articulated.  There’s a rubbery sort of a padding on the mid section for more proper shaping, which does its job nicely.  The articulation is a little stiffer than I’m used to at this scale, but that makes it more practical for holding poses.  It just takes some getting used to hearing the joints make a rather noticeable squeak every time you pose them.  All things considered, this body certainly competes well with the top end of 1/6 scale bodies, which is a definite plus.

The Blue Ranger is pretty decently accessorized.  He includes 4 pairs of hands, his Power Lance, and the Blade Blaster.  The hands are great for all manner of poses, giving you a lot of options.  The Lance and Blaster are notable for actually being fully transformable.  The Lance can be used in the separate dagger forms, as well as combined, and full extended.  Likewise, the Blade Blaster is capable of all three of its forms, in one piece, rather than three separate versions like we tend to see.  The weapons getting their full compliment of set-ups was actually a pleasant surprise for me, as I’d fully expected them to just be in their collapsed forms, since that was how the Figuarts release handled things for all the non-Reds.  Ultimately, the combined form on the Lance is a little wobbly, but it’s still cool that the functionality is actually there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

ThreeZero has been a rather pleasant discovery for me in the last year.  I really liked both of the prior offerings I’d grabbed, and when I saw this guy go up for order, I was definitely down to at least give him a try.  I was expecting him to be a passable figure at least, but at the price point, I wasn’t expecting him to be nearly as impressive as he wound up being.  For less than half of the price of your average Hot Toy, you get a figure that’s maybe not *quite* the same quality and is a little lighter on the accessories, but it’s not as much of a gap as you might think.  This is another win for ThreeZero as far as I’m concerned, and they certainly have my attention for future releases.

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

#3009: Snake Eyes & Timber

SNAKE EYES & TIMBER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

I haven’t actually gotten to talk about G.I. Joe, specifically it’s most recent re-launch, Classified Series, since all the way back in October, which on one hand doesn’t seem that long ago, but also really does.  It’s not really like I’m missing much that’s worth reviewing, of course; there hasn’t really been much new.  When last discussing things, I brought up the line’s Original 13, the debut line-up for the Real American Hero incarnation of the franchise.  While some of them remained more or less confined to those early years, a few of them took off.  Most notable was the first year’s resident cost-saver, Snake Eyes, who would become the franchise’s most distinctive character.  Today, we turn our sights his earliest incarnation, or at least a re-imagining of it, alongside his trusty sidekick, Timber!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Snake Eyes and Timber are a deluxe-sized release, thus far unseen in the main retail line, for Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Classified Series, where they are item 30, placing them right after Breaker and the RAM Cycle in the numbering sequence.  Though pairing off Snake Eyes with Timber is nothing new for the brand, it’s not usually this version of Snake Eyes that gets paired with Timber, since Timber was first included with Version 2.  However, with the initial Snake Eyes being V2-inspired already, it made sense not to double back on variants.

SNAKE EYES

We’ve had no shortage of Snake Eyes variants in this line up to this point, with this in particular being the fourth version.  There have been two versions based on V2, and one based on the film, but this one goes back to the original commando-based V1 design.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Snake Eyes is built on a mix of parts, largely stemming from the Beach Head-version of the Duke mold.  It’s a good starting point for an update on Snake’s classic turtle-necked design, and just a good starting point in general, as it remains one of my favorite figures in the line.  He borrows the holster from the first Snake Eyes, in a nice bit of cross-use, and then gets a new head and shins, along with new overlay pieces for his webgear and the sheath for his knife.  As stated above, the aim of this sculpt is to capture the V1 design, or at least to offer something of an update to it.  It does a good job of that, and in fact stays a lot closer than the more sci-fi-inspired figures from the rest of the line.  It’s a fitting choice, since this is supposed to be an earlier in his career Snake Eyes, presumably from before the Joes get quite as tech savvy.  I particularly like the new head, especially how you can see the separate parts of the assembly.  The webgear likewise has a lot of depth of detail to it.  In general, it captures all of the broad strokes of the original figure, but at a larger scale and with more going on.  Still, it’s not over designed, or anything like that; it’s the right level of detailing.  Snake Eye’s paint work is much simplified compared to the prior figures.  This is on purpose, no doubt to call back to the V1 figure’s complete lack of paint.  This one is a little more detailed than that one, but does have a slight variance to the exact finish of the blacks, just to give him a little bit of variety.  He also gets one small bit of white detailing on his grenade, which is a nice touch.  Snake Eyes is packed with his classic Uzi, as well as an ump45 with, to quote Tim, “a whacked out front end,” an assault rifle that appears to be a combination of a number of things with a lot of customizations, a Beretta m93r (with removable silencer, just like the first release),  and a large knife.  The rifles are fun, since they both feature removable magazines, which I always enjoy.  Snake Eyes includes no sword, of course, as is proper for a true commando Snake Eyes.

TIMBER

First included with the V2 Snake Eyes back in ’85, Timber had appeared in other media prior, notably in the cartoon as the wolf that guides an irradiated Snake Eyes back to safety in the second mini-series.  Over the years, he’s been featured in the main line a good number of times, but it’s rare that he’s ever anything more than an unarticulated accessory.  For his debut in Classified, Hasbro’s given him the proper figure treatment.  He’s about 3 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches long, and he has 29 points of articulation.  While his articulation doesn’t have as full a range as I might like, there’s still quite a bit of range to it, and he can get into a decent selection of poses.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of capturing a rather basic wolf look, with an impressive level of detail work.  He includes two different heads, one calm, and the other snarling, again adding to the display options for the figure.  The paint work on Timber is generally pretty solid.  There’s a pretty nice two-toned thing going on with the fur, which has a rather subtle change-over.  I also really like the gold irises on the eyes, as well as the slight shading to the scars on the face.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I generally do angle towards the V2-style for my default Snake Eyes, I’ll admit I have quite a soft-spot for the commando look for the character, especially as sort of a “starter” look for the character.  I was hoping we’d see at least some sort of a nod to it in the modern line, but wasn’t expecting a full-on update.  I’m very happy with how this one turned out.  He’s just a very nice figure.  Timber’s also kind of an essential piece, and I’m happy to see Hasbro give him the proper deluxe style treatment here.  In general, this is really one of the coolest sets to come out of Classified, and I look forward to seeing what else Hasbro might do with this price-point.

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

#3008: The Family That Busts Together

PHOEBE & EGON SPENGLER

GHOSTBUSTERS: PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“Phoebe’s love of science and affinity for bustin’ ghosts runs in the family. She’s got Spengler blood, after all.”

Finding a good follow-up to the first Ghostbusters has been a difficult task since, well, the first Ghostbusters, honestly.  Even the combination of the whole original cast, the original director, and the original writers on Ghostbusters II wasn’t enough to capture that particular lightning back in the bottle, so in a modern world where reassembling the whole team is no longer possible, it’s an even more daunting task.  2016’s attempted reboot was divisive to put it mildly.  So, Afterlife seemed like it was taking on a rather Herculean feat, but it actually managed to achieve the seemingly impossible, and finally craft an actually pretty decent follow-up to the first movie.  Its success largely lies in how it interweaves old and new, as the old story is still there, but there’s also an actually rather likable cast of new characters to accompany them.  Central to the film is Egon Spengler’s granddaughter Phoebe, whose curiosity about her grandfather’s old habits launches her into the film’s events, as she is guided by her grandfather’s spirit, metaphorically, and then (SPOILERS), not so metaphorically.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“The Family That Busts Together” set is a Target-exclusive Ghostbusters: Plasma Series release, which was announced the week after Afterlife hit theaters, and started hitting shelves just after Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  Currently, the set is the only way to get Plasma Series versions of either of the two included characters.  It does seem a little odd, since Phoebe is unquestionably the film’s main character, and it’s an exclusive set, but with the rather notable spoilers surrounding the other half of the set, I can get the move for a retailer exclusive, since that allows for a closer to film release, while also keeping the reveal close to the vest for as close as possible.  The set did at least prove fairly easy to find at first, though in the aftermath of holiday shopping, time will tell as to exactly how easily acquired it is.

PHOEBE

Afterlife‘s new cast each sort of follow the archetype of one of the earlier ‘Busters, with McKenna Grace’s Phoebe taking her grandfather’s spot as the slightly quieter, more scientifically-minded member of the crew, though perhaps one that’s a little more outwardly driven than Egon ever was in the films proper.  As with all of the figures thus far from the film, Phoebe is based on her fully geared up look from later in the film, which is certainly sensible, as far as toy choices go.  Just basic day-to-day attire might not be quite as fun.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 25 points of articulation.  While there are similarities in the sculpts of all the new Ghostbusters, none of them are actually sharing parts, so Phoebe is an all-new mold.  It’s a pretty solid one.  The articulation is perhaps a touch more limited than I’d like, but it does somewhat come with the territory of her being much smaller.  The likeness on the head sculpt is pretty spot on, and I really like the little touches to show that she’s had to quite hastily tailor her grandfather’s jumpsuit to her smaller stature.  The paint work on the figure is on par with the earlier releases in the line, which is to say its pretty clean and basic, with the best work by far being shown off on the head, which has the face printing.  Phoebe gets a rather impressive selection of accessories, including Egon’s modified proton pack, with removable back plate and neutron wand, as well as an effects piece, a PKE meter, which can be clipped to her belt, a jar of ooze from the second movie, and one of the chess pieces from the game she and Egon’s poltergeist are playing throughout the film.  The very moment-specific extras are definitely a lot of fun, and I was glad to see them turn up.  Lastly, and not so much for her specifically, the set also includes the head to the Terror Dog version of Zuul, designed for use with the Build-A-Figure body released last year.  Since that one was specifically Vinz Clortho, and it was re-used again for the set with Tully, it was very nice of Hasbro to find a way to give collectors both dogs.

EGON

Afterlife begins with the death of Egon, shot in such a way as to avoid showing him directly, given Harold Ramis’s passing seven years before the film.  Throughout the film, he continues to have a role in the film as a spirit with no visible form, again to keep him included, while still acknowledging the loss of Ramis.  The big reveal during the film’s climactic battle, after the remaining three original ‘busters have shown up to assist the new team, and after Phoebe in particular steps up to face down Gozer, is Egon as an actual visible ghost.  It’s a moment that allows both Egon and Ramis to stand alongside their respective teams one last time, and it’s one of the film’s most emotional moments to be sure.  This set in particular is designed to replicate that sequence, and Egon’s appearance in particular.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s largely the same as all of the other older ‘busters from Afterlife, meaning he’s using the Ray body from the first series.  It gives him a slightly huskier build, which matches to Ramis’s look later in life, as well as how Egon is portrayed in the film.  The only thing that *doesn’t* match up with the film is the presence of gloves, which Egon pointedly didn’t have on as a spectre.  However, there aren’t yet any non-gloved hands and forearms for the standard ‘Busters body, so it would have required new tooling, and given how the coloration works, it’s a forgivable change, since it’s not very visible anyway.  The one new piece here is a new head sculpt.  It’s not as spot-on a likeness as the prior Egon, but it’s also based on a cgi recreation of a likeness, and it given the turnaround time on this one, it’s likely it wasn’t even a fully-formed render at the time yet.  All things considered, it’s perhaps a little on the large side, but otherwise not a bad sculpt at all.  The paint work on this figure is a definite change-up from the others, since it needs to give him that spectral look.  This is achieved by molding him in translucent blue plastic, and then painting on some trace details, notably on the face and the upper torso, making him look like an apparition that fades away as it gets to the edges of his body.  It’s a well-rendered effect, especially when seen in person.  Egon’s more of an accessory himself, so he doesn’t get anything of his own, but a few of Phoebe’s accessories also work for Egon as well, so there’s some crossover there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve mentioned before, Egon’s my favorite member of the Ghostbusters, and Harold Ramis is also one of my favorite creators, so the lack of both of them in this sequel was something I was worried about going into the new movie.  I really loved how they worked his legacy into the story, and I’ll admit to being rather touched by how they built to his ultimate reappearance late in the film.  Likewise, I really identified a lot with Phoebe and her quest to connect more with her late grandfather.  She was certainly my favorite addition to the cast, so I found myself wanting this set quite a bit after seeing the movie.  Thankfully, Max was there with the assist on this one, and snagged me one back in December.  Phoebe is definitely the real star here, but the accessory selection and inclusion of Egon really make it a home run of a set.

#3007: Bo-Katan Kryze with Gauntlet Starfighter

BO-KATAN KRYZE with GAUNTLET STARFIGHTER

STAR WARS: MISSION FLEET (HASBRO)

Remember Mission Fleet?  You know, that all-ages-aimed Star Wars toy line that I’ve been following and actually really enjoy thoroughly every time I get around to reviewing one?  The one that I have, despite this, only reviewed twice on this site?  Yeah, that’s the one.  I keep bringing up the need to go back and get some of the backlog of them reviewed, but I keep, you know, not doing it.  Instead, I keep holding off for a new addition, which is what I’m doing now.  Again.  For the third time.  It happens.  Thus far, the two items I’ve reviewed have both been Mandalorian-themed, and this third review follows that same trend.  So, let’s have a look at Bo-Katan Kryze (who, much like sand, is coarse and gets everywhere) and her Gauntlet Starfighter!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Bo-Katan and the Gauntlet Starfighter make up the “Starfighter Siege” set of Star Wars: Mission Fleet, a Stellar Class release (the next size up from the two Expedition Class sets I’ve already looked at) from the tail end of 2021, which hit alongside Moff Gideon’s TIE Fighter and Obi-Wan’s Jedi Starfighter.  Though officially billed Mandalorian on the packaging, this set can work just as well as a Clone Wars release too, giving it a little more range, which is pretty cool, even if it is Bo-Katan.

The core Bo-Katan figure is in her full-armored attire.  The extra detailing on the helmet signifies her as at the very least a post-late Clone Wars version of the character.  The figure stands 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 9 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme here is the same as on the Mando, which is to say that it works generally pretty well given the scale.  Her sculpt is certainly more stylized than larger offerings, with slightly tweaked proportions on the head, hands, and feet.  It’s more cartoony, but not too overly so.  There’s still plenty of small detail work, and it tracks well with her design in both animation and in live action.  Bo-Katan’s paint work actually has quite a bit going on.  All of the important armor details are there, and she’s even got all the proper detailing on the helmet, which does look pretty cool.  Bo-Katan is packed with her jetpack (which is distinct from Mando’s), twin blasters, and her energy shield.

The vehicle portion of this set is far more prominent, given the higher price-point of the set.  Rather than just a speeder bike like the other two sets, there’s a full-fledged Gauntlet Starfighter include here.  It’s the ship she’s most frequently seen using, and it’s a fairly distinctive design, so it’s a strong choice.  The ship measures just shy of 9 inches tall and it’s 8 1/2 inches wide.  It’s just a one-person seater, but it’s still got a decent size to it, and it’s even got the full worked-in movement for the wings, as seen on-screen.  It’s a cool feature of a cool design, so it’s great that they worked it in there properly.  Given the ship’s larger scale, the added ports for compatibility with the rest of the line aren’t quite as obtrusive here as on the smaller vehicles, which is also pretty cool.  The color work on this one is also a bit more involved than the speeder bikes, making it a more vibrant and eye-catching design.  As with other vehicles, this one gets a large missile launcher and missile.  It can be mounted to any of the ports on the ship, and also includes its own articulated tripod piece for stand-alone use.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cheyenne requested fairly early into Mission Fleet‘s run that I not buy all of them for myself, so I’ve been pretty deliberately holding on most of the line, just to give her a good stock of choices for gift ideas.  So, this was the one she opted to go for this year, which is honestly a pretty good call.  This is one of the cooler ship designs, and one that’s kind of rare in toy form.  It’s a lot of fun, and while Bo-Katan might be a coarse character, she does at least still have a cool design, making for a generally fun toy set-up.

#3006: Kalibak

KALIBAK

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Kalibak, The Cruel Crusher! This massive warrior is incredibly powerful and nearly indestructible. A savage fighter, Kalibak wields the deadly Beta-Club, which can fire nerve beams powerful enough to fell an entire army.  Despite his size and strength, Kalibak is not too intelligent. He can be bested by an opponent like Superman, who combines his strength with a sense of strategy.”

When I last discussed Kenner’s Super Powers line from the ’80s, I was getting pretty deep into the Fourth World component of the line, which hit during its second and third years.  Thus far, I’ve looked at three of Darkseid’s lieutenants, as well as one of his sons.  Today, I look at the figure that combines those two epithets, Kalibak, half brother to Orion, and the brutish son of Darkseid.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kalibak was released in 1985, as part of Kenner’s second year of Super Powers figures.  As with the rest of the Fourth World figures in the line, this would be his debut action figure, and it would remain his only figure until Mattel got back around to him in 2009 as part of their DC Universe Classics line.  Heck of a gap there, huh?  There was definitely a preferred son of Darkseid in the toy world is all I’m saying.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall (he’s got a bit of a hunch, which would place him at closer to Darkseid’s height were he standing straight up) and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  Kalibak lacks the knee joints sported by most of the line, presumably to give him a slightly more stable stance with the hunch and everything.  He still has a bit of trouble remaining standing even so, due to his hip joints being a little loose from how the action feature works.  Most of the Fourth World characters got rather changed-up designs for the line, still courtesy of Jack Kirby, of course.  Kalibak’s design was new, but he actually had a rather evolving design throughout Kirby’s actual run on New Gods, so this was really just the next step in that evolution.  It’s honestly one of the best of the updated designs, and the one that really has the most lasting influence on the character’s main look going forward.  The sculpt does a pretty nice job of capturing Kalibak’s larger build, and while he’s a little bit goofy looking, that’s on-brand for Kalibak, so it works out better here than it does for, say, Steppenwolf.  Kalibak’s paint work is pretty straight forward.  A lot of the Fourth World designs were heavy on green in the comics, and Kalibak was included in that.  For the Super Powers designs, they leaned a little more into browns and warmer colors, since there was kind of a shortage of those colors in the DC roster.  Kalibak is largely brown and yellow, with a bit of blue.  It’s not a bad look, and the application is generally pretty clean.  Kalibak is packed with his Beta-Club, which is convenient for use with his “Power Action Beta-Club Swing.”  When is legs are squeezed together, the left arm swings in and out, which is actually a pretty cool feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kalibak is the newest addition to my Super Powers collection, in the continuing tradition of my Dad getting me a Super Powers figure at Christmas.  He’s slowly but surely helping me make my way through the figures that remain between me and a complete run of the line.  Kalibak is one of those figures I wasn’t in a rush to get or anything, but I actually like him a lot more than I’d expected now that I actually own him.  And with that, I’m down to just 6 more figures!