#3325: Kang



“A villain with a twisted mind, Kang believes that by time traveling he will eventually conquer the world and change history in his name. As one of the Avengers’ most dangerous villains, Kang has often used his vast knowledge of time and dimensional travel to escape their heroic grasp.”

Remember back when, like, nobody knew who Kang the Conqueror was?  Pepperidge Farm remembers.  And also, I remember.  Avengers Forever, which is one of the best Kang stories out there, has been getting a lot of attention recently, and is notably my first real interaction with the character in the comics.  My first interaction with the character in general, however, was a little show by the name of Avengers: United They Stand, which gave Kang a self-titled focus episode.  It also gave Kang his second ever action figure, which is what I’m taking a look at today!


Kang was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Avengers: United They Stand tie-in line.  As I’ve brought up before, both series of the line were released simultaneously in 1999, in order to properly launch (most of) the team, alongside a few foes, right as the show launched.  Ultron was the villain for the first series, while Kang was in that spot for the second.  Kang’s an interesting choice for the second villain in the context of the show, seeing as he’s only got one episode of the run, but given his prominence as a classic Avengers foe, and he was certainly set up for additional appearances, so it’s not the strangest option.  This marked Kang’s only figure during Toy Biz’s 5-inch days.  The figure stands roughly 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Kang’s articulation scheme is astoundingly limiting.  Like, how did they manage to make it this inefective?  The rest of the line was honestly pretty good at mobility, but Kang’s only really practical motion is the neck joint.  His shoulders neither one gets a full spin, there are no elbows, and the hips are some sort of weird, almost flat attempt at a v-hip.  He does get knees and ankles, but without the hips, they don’t really do much.  I guess he’s at least able to be fairly stable on his feet?  Sure, let’s go with that.  Kang’s sculpt was a completely new one.  For the most part, the UTS figures were quite faithful to their animated counterparts, but Kang’s a noted exception to that.  Instead of the mouthless mask from the show, he’s got a bald and blue head.  His build is also much smaller than he was depicted on the show.  The rest of the costume details do at least track pretty close to the show’s look, and he’s pretty crisply detailed.  Ultimately, he falls victim to the same thing as Hawkeye, where he was based on an earlier model sheet for the character.  Unlike Hawkeye, his change wasn’t easily fixed with paint.  The paint work on this guy is a little brighter than the show look, but he does get a cool metallic purple…albeit one that doesn’t match perfectly from piece to piece.  Kang was packed with two swords, which he could store on his back, as well as an orb containing a miniature Wasp, similar to how he traps her in the episode.  The orb plugs into the left hand, which completes the circuit running through the arm, allowing it to light up when the button on his chest is pressed.


Kang is officially the final United They Stand figure I got.  I was down to my last three figures (Ant-Man, Wasp, and this guy), and my Grandmother had asked me for a list of the three I needed.  Ant-Man was the first she got me, followed by Wasp.  Kang was the last one I needed, so she took me to Target after picking me up from school, and I officially rounded out my set.  He’s an interesting figure, because all of the independent factors seem to point to a figure that’s not so great.  That said, I actually still really like this figure, for whatever it is he may be.

#3324: Boromir



“Boromir, a valiant warrior and eldest son of Denethor, the Steward of Gondor, joins the Fellowship to protect Frodo. However, his false beliefs about the power of the One Ring ignites a growing fascination and a desire to possess it.”

I don’t talk much about Lord of the Rings here on the site.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy the franchise, though I’ll admit I really only stick to the first three movies, it’s just that’s a rather daunting thing, and I tend to stick to the fringes of it all.  As with anything, I’ve got my favorite characters in the mix, of course.  Of all the heroes, my absolute favorite is certainly Faramir, who’s something of an unsung hero in the whole thing, but I’m also quite a fan of Faramir’s ill-fated older brother, Boromir, thanks in no small part to Sean Bean’s incredibly memorable performance in the role.  Back when the movies where being released, Toy Biz had the license for the figures, and put out a quite expansive line of figures, which rather unsurprisingly included a couple of versions of Boromir.  I’m taking a look at the first of those today!


Boromir was initially released alongside Lurtz in a two-pack from Toy Biz’s Fellowship of the Ring tie-in line in 2001, and was later released solo in the wider Trilogy line following the wrap up of the Return of the King tie-ins.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation.  The Fellowship figures weren’t as posable as the later figures would be, so Boromir’s definitely a little restricted on the posability front.  He’s a little bit pre-posed, with his arms sort of jutting out, and his legs being kind of splayed.  Also, due to how the movement works, neither of his elbows is actually pointing forward, which is kind of awkward.  He does at least have a decent enough action pose about him.  Boromir’s sculpt was unique to this figure, and is fairly on par with the rest of the Fellowship figures.  He’s got a respectable enough likeness of Sean Bean on the face, and the detailing on the outfit’s pretty nice, especially the mail shirt under all of his other garb.  The figure’s proportions are definitely a bit on the chunky side, which isn’t too crazy, but it’s definitely a bit more of a stylistic choice.  It’s a more balanced set-up than other figures in the line, though, so it’s at least not dealing so much with the monkey arms that showed up a lot in the earlier figures.  Boromir’s paint work is generally more on the basic side, with mostly straight forward color work.  Some of the paint’s a little on the thick side, but the application’s pretty clean and consistent.  The grey trim on the tabard is the one exception, as it’s a little bit all over the place.  Other than that, he’s okay, and there’s even some pretty decent accenting on the hair and the chain mail.  Boromir is packed with his horn of Gondor, his sword, his shield, and his cloak.  The horn fits well in his left hand, and can hand from his belt.  The sword seems a little small and is rather bent, but it can at least be sheathed.  The shield’s actually quite a nice piece, with impressive texturing, and a strap for wearing over his shoulder.  The cloak’s a little tricky, as it doesn’t really stay firmly in place, and it also can’t be used when the shield is slung.


Since I picked up Faramir back in 2016, I’ve been casually on the lookout for a Boromir.  Back towards the end of 2021, a bunch of Lord of the Rings figures came through All Time.  They were largely incomplete and kind of a mess, but there just so happened to be a complete Boromir in the mix, and he was honestly pretty cheap at that moment, so, boom, your boy had a Boromir.  He’s a bit dated, but still a lot of fun.  And now I’ve got the two brothers!

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.

#3323: Mara Jade



Mara Jade was once Emperor Palpatine’s Hand, his most-trusted assassin. Five years later and now a successful smuggler, the last thing Mara expected was to stumble upon her former arch-enemy: Luke Skywalker.”

The post-Jedi Star Wars Expanded Universe had within it a good number of characters who rose to prominence, despite not being a direct part of any of the on-screen adventures of the franchise.  One of the more prolific examples was Mara Jade.  Introduced in Heir to Empire, Mara served as a foil to Luke, as the two eventually went from enemies to lovers.  Given her quite interwoven story with Luke, Mara was one of the first major “casualties” of Disney moving away from the Expanded Universe.  Unlike Thrawn, her compatriot from Heir, Mara has not, as of yet, made the jump to Disney’s official canon.  Her presence in the franchise as a whole has been a bit down played in more recent years, but she’s gotten her second figure since the Disney take-over, which, if you’re counting, brings her total number of figures up to a whopping four.  But hey, Black Series coverage.  That’s pretty cool.


Mara Jade is part of the third round of the comics-inspired sub-line of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  While prior assortments have had four figures, this one’s down to three.  Hey, at least Mara finally made the cut.  She’s officially branded “Legends,” denoting her outside of canon status.  Mara is based on her appearance in Dark Force Rising, allowing her to be a direct follow-up to Luke from Heir, by virtue of being the next entry in that trilogy.  It translates to her still wearing the all-black get-up that she’s best known for, so it works fine by me.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  Mara’s posability is a little more restricted than some more recent figures from the line, but not terribly so.  A lot of it has to do with her construction, which re-uses a good chunk of  parts from Jaina Solo (who is, entertaining, the first figure to use the “Legends” classifier).  She shares the torso and legs with that release and gets a new head and arms to differentiate things.  It all works a bit better than I’d expected; many of Mara’s prior figures have looked a bit tossed together, but this sculpt flows rather nicely.  The head sculpt doesn’t exactly have a spot-on likeness of Shannon McRandle (the model who “portrayed” Mara on book covers and trading cards in the ’90s), but it maintains enough of the traits to feel appropriately like the character.  It’s certainly closer than any prior attempt.  The only slight nit is that the hair’s maybe a tad flatter than it should be, but it’s minor.  To further differentiate Mara from Jaina, Mara gets extra add-ons for her shoulder harness, bandana, and goggles.  They can also be removed, if you want a more streamlined look.  Mara’s color work is generally on the basic side, largely relying on molded colors, especially for the bulk of her outfit.  She gets the now standard face printing, which is suitably clean and life like.  Mara is packed with her distinct purple lightsaber, as well as a small blaster pistol.  It’s a bit on the light side, but it’s standard at this point for this branch of the line.  At least both of her accessories are actually for her, which is more than could be said for Luke.


Honestly, a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have picked up Mara at all.  I’ve not really had any direct interactions with the character.  I do have her Expanded Universe figure from ’98, but that one’s more fueled by nostalgia than anything.  That said, Rebels got me more interested in Thrawn as a character, so I wound up buying his Black Series figure.  I then got the Heir Luke figure, since I was buying others from the first comics assortment.  At that point, I was two figures deep on this set, and Mara was kind of the main missing piece.  She’s the strongest of the three, so she was certainly worth the wait.

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.

#3322 Pinky & The Brain



They’re Pinky and The Brain

Yes, Pinky and The Brain

One is a genius

The other’s insane!”

First debuting as a recurring skit in Animaniacs, the wacky gene-spliced lab mice Pinky and The Brain proved to be quite a breakout pairing, and, in 1995, the duo gained their own spin-off series, with a rather impressive 65 episode run, brought to an end largely by the network’s insistence at adding a third cast member, Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toons, which kinda broke the show’s format.  Whatever the case, Pinky and The Brain is, like its parent show, quite a classic.  There was some merchandise available at the time of the show’s run, but nothing of note on the action figure front.  Last year, Super 7 picked up the larger Animaniacs license, and has launched a line under their Ultimates umbrella.  The first assortment gives us all three of the Warner siblings, as well as the titular duo from Pinky and The Brain.  I’ll be looking at the later pairing today.


Pinky and The Brain are part of the first series of Super 7’s Animaniacs Ultimates line, which started arriving in February of this year.  The two are sold individually, rather than as a pair, but I’m reviewing them as one, because, you know, how could you not?

First up is Pinky, voiced in both shows by Rob Paulsen (who also voiced Yakko Warner in Animaniacs).  You might believe he’s the “insane” one, but if you actually follow the formatting of the lyrics and pay attention to Brain’s characterization on the show, might just be the genius.  Really makes you think, right?  Or, he’s just really dumb.  Could be that too.  What ever the case, he’s the taller of the two figures, standing about 6 1/2 inches tall and sporting 27 points of articulation.  Clearly, given the sizing, these two are in a different scale than the Warner siblings, since proper scaling would make it hard to justify that Ultimates pricing.  Articulation is an area where Super 7 can struggle a little bit, but Pinky’s a bit on the better end of things.  He’s not crazy posable, but most of the joints at least have a passable range of motion.  The elbows are a bit restricted, but not as terribly as some of the Ultimates have been.  His sculpt does a solid job of recreating the design from the show, which isn’t an easy feat.  There are three different heads included, and they all three nail the look of the character pretty much spot-on, and are also good at covering the basics on what you might need for Pinky’s expressions on the show.  Of the three, I think my go-to is going to be the laughing one, but I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the one with the goofy eyes.  The body sculpt is a bit more basic and rudimentary, but it gets the basic shaping down right, and it manages to work in the articulation in a way that doesn’t look totally awful and obvious.  As far as color work goes, things are pretty basic, following the set-up of the design from the show.  The actual paint is really confined to the heads, which get a decent enough application.  As is usual with Super 7, there’s a little bit of slop and unevenness, but nothing too crazy or glaring.  In addition to the extra heads mentioned earlier, Pinky is packed with five pairs of hands (three styles of open gesture, a pair of flat grip, and a combo of round grip and pencil-holding), a photo of Pinky’s “girlfriend” Pharfignewton, a notepad, a grapple hook, some sort of scientific device with a light on the top, a beaker with a bunsen burner beneath it, and a pair of connected beakers.  He has trouble holding any of the beakers in any of his hands, but the other accessories work well with him, and provide a nice selection of posing options.

Now we’re onto The Brain, voiced on both shows by Maurice LaMarche, who described his voice for the character as somewhere between Orson Wells and Vincent Price.  The Brain is certainly the more obviously intelligent of the two, but he’s also definitely unhinged, so those descriptors in the theme song are still up for debate.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  The Brain is overall much shorter than Pinky, and his head makes up so much of his stature.  He’s appropriately smaller in scale, making him pretty decently scaled to Pinky, even if he’s not really scaled to anything else.  In terms of movement, he’s less mobile than Pinky, on a few fronts.  Most notably, the smaller size of his body means he lacks the knee joints (Brain honestly wasn’t seen moving at the knees that much on the show, again due to the shortness of his legs), and the different proportions, especially that larger head, mean that what articulation he has doesn’t quite have the same range.  Also, on my figure, one of the ankles joints is a bit loose, which makes balancing him a bit tricky.  That said, it was my only issue with any looseness on either of the figures, which is pretty good for Super 7.  Brain’s sculpt is pretty much on par with Pinky’s in terms of quality and ability to capture the show design in three dimensions.  He only gets two heads, rather than three, but they’re both pretty spot-on.  I’ll probably be sticking with the calmer one for display, but I really like the angry one.  The only thing I’m not crazy about on the heads is the rather noticeable seam where the face joins with the rest of the head.  The body sculpt is very similar to Pinky’s, but with the changed up proportions.  The tail on my Brain figure is rather loose in its socket, causing it to pop out a lot, so be mindful of that.  Brain’s paint work again matches closely to that of Pinky; it’s a bit sloppier on the faces, though.  In addition to the previously mentioned second head, Brain is packed with nine different hands (a pair of fists, a pair of relaxed, a pair of loose grip, a pair of tight grip, and a gesturing right hand), a paper clip, a pointer, a set of blueprints for a plan to take over the world, three different beakers, a globe on a keychain, and his large magnet device.  The magnet is the star piece here, with the ability to rotate, as well as a moving lever.  It’s also just really big, so it gives him this extra feeling of value.


I watched Animaniacs in passing when I was a kid, but I was a pretty religious viewer of Pinky & The Brain, which I frequently watched with my mom in particular (though she really never could get into those Elmyra episodes).  So, I’ve got a pretty deep-seated nostalgia for the pair.  While I was able to steer myself clear of getting the whole set from Super 7, there was no way I could turn down these two.  I know Super 7’s been coming under some fire as of late about the quality of their figures, but they’ve really turned things around with some of these more recent releases, and Pinky and The Brain are figures that very much play to their strengths with the Ultimates stuff.  They’re not perfect, but they’re a lot of fun, and certainly the best merch we’ve gotten based on the characters.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review. If you’d like to see a video of these two in action, I helped out with one for All Time’s YouTube channel, so please check that out.  And, as always, if you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#3321: Clone Trooper – 41st Elite Corps



“The clone troopers in the 41st Elite Corps are led by Clone Commander Gree and Jedi General Yoda. The troopers are equipped with specialized gear for combat on jungle worlds such as Rodia, one of the planets to which this unit is assigned during the Clone Wars.”

People love Clone Troopers, and one of the things people particularly love about Clone Troopers are all the fancy colors you can get them in.  For their first appearance in Attack of the Clones, their colors corresponded to a rank structure, which was maintained in the 2D Clone Wars series.  By the time of Revenge of the Sith, the colors were modified into being unit markings, so when it came time to do to the 3D Clone Wars, they decided to retroactively make the the Phase I colors line up to units.  And that’s the way that Commander Gree inherited the 41st Elite Corps, whose design was previously that of the Clone Sergeant.  Which means that the figure I’m looking at today isn’t a Sergeant, but rather a member of the 41st Elite Corps.  How about that?


The 41st Elite Corps Clone Trooper was initially released as figure 26 in the first run of the Clone Wars tie-in line, as part of the fifth and final assortment of the original run, and numerically the second-to-last of the figures in that set (Kit Fisto was the last figure in that first numbering, something he’d repeat when he also wrapped up the Phase III Black Series run).  The 41st was the re-released early into the next run, as figure 04, in an assortment entirely populated with repacks moving to the new packaging style.  He was the line’s third generic clone in the main run, following the all-white and the 212th.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  From a structural standpoint, this figure is identical to the 212th, complete with the newer style of helmet.  It solidified the plan to keep the adjusted helmet going forward, after the Space Gear Trooper threw some things into question.  Beyond that, it’s all really down to paint.  This guy swaps out the orange markings of the 212th for a somewhat subdued green.  He’s still got a much cleaner armor set-up, as became the norm for the Clones in the line.  Unlike the 212th, this guy’s shading also remained consistent with the Commander Gree figure later down the line, so they matched.  Yay!  The figure is packed with a small blaster rifle, as well as debuting the D-6 rotary blaster in this line, complete with a launching missile.  You know, for all those missiles that the rotary blaster launched.


Though I definitely wanted one of these back in the day, the 41st was never one of those figures I was able to track down.  Thankfully, I got a second chance when All Time got a huge Clone Wars collection in a few years back, so my collection didn’t have to go 41st-less forever.  He’s a basic figure, but he does what I need him to, and I’m always game for more green!

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.

#3320: Jean Grey



“Trapped in an alternate universe, Jean Grey wages a battle against Omega, one of Apocalypse’s minions. One of the most powerful mutant telepaths on the planet, Jean Grey has teamed up with Wolverine to put an end to Apocalypse’s diabolical plans once and for all. With her transforming Catapult Tank Blaster, Jean has a secret weapon that can send any opponent down for the count!”

By 1997, Toy Biz’s X-Men line had firmly moved away from purely comics-based figures, and was fully venturing into the “wacky variants” territory.  Assortments moved to a generally themed nature, with that theme usually being some sort of gimmick.  Both X-Men and Spider-Man took on an underlying line rebranding in ’98, with the X-Men one being
“Secret Weapon Force.”  Though the main purpose of these assortments was have an excuse for wacky variants, Toy Biz did at least throw peopled a bit of a bone, and tried to make some of those variants line-up with something actually from the comics.  In the case of today’s figure, Jean Grey, it allowed them to give her “Age of Apocalypse” look some coverage, after it had been left out of the proper tie-in assortment for the storyline.


Jean Grey was released in the “Battle Blaster” series of Toy Biz’s re-branded X-Men: Secret Weapon Force line.  The four figures in the assortment were all loosely AoA-themed, with the pretense of this being our Jean trapped in an alternate universe.  Jean was the most straight forward of the bunch, at least in terms of design.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  Jean marked the second use of the Monster Armor Mystique body, which would become one of Toy Biz’s favorites in the later 5-inch run.  She uses the main body, sans the skirt, with a new head sculpt (though the prototype on the back of the box was just a straight repaint).  The new head is a decent match to her AoA look in the comics, so that’s pretty decent.  The body’s not terrible, though I’m not a huge fan of the enormous right hand, or its general lack of posing.  Also, this release kept the etched-in lines from Mystique’s gloves and boots, which don’t line up with Jean’s costume details.  Jean’s paint work was generally okay.  It follows her look from the comics fairly closely.  Some of the details are a little fuzzy, especially on the costume.  I do like the tattoo on the face, though.  She’s also got a “Secret Weapon Force” insignia on her leg, which isn’t true to the original design, but is still a little cool, honestly.  Jean was packed with her “Secret Weapon Force” secret weapon, which was a Catapult Tank Blaster.  Given the sheer size of this thing, I’m not clear on just how she manages to keep it “secret,” but she *is* a telepath, I suppose.


Despite being a main character for the franchise, by this point in the X-Men line, Jean Grey figures were still rather rare.  If you saw one, you got it.  That’s just how it was.  I wanted a non-Phoenix Jean, and this was my only real option at the time, so you know I went out there and got one…with my Grandmother’s money, most likely.  I know I got the Cyclops from this set first because, well, Cyclops, but Jean was a fairly close second.  Gotta have those two together, right?  She’s not a bad figure, I guess.  I mean, not great, but also not bad.  It was a nice way for Toy Biz to get this variant of Jean out there and continue the AoA line-up just a little bit more.

#3319: Gold Ranger



You know who’s pretty cool?  The Zeo Gold Ranger.  Like, just pretty top-notch, really.  At the very least, top three when it comes to Power Rangers, at least as far as I’m concerned.  It’s really him and Space Silver.  I have a draw to toy coverage for both of them, and Zeo Gold winds up being ever so slightly more prevalent, so, you know, there’s a little bit more of him, I suppose.  So, anyway, here’s one of those Zeo Gold Rangers.  Let’s check him out!


The Gold Ranger (who is listed as such, with no specific “Zeo” denotation or anything) was released in 2008 alongside an MMPR White Ranger as part of the second round of Power Rangers: Super Legends figures from Bandai.  The Super Legends figures were released intermixed with the Jungle Fury product as a special release for the 15 anniversary of the franchise.  They were officially designated as chases, so they weren’t super plentiful or easily found back in the day.  Because that’s definitely the best way to celebrate the franchise: by releasing its most popular characters as hard to find chases.  Oh, Bandai, you sure know how to Bandai.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  By current standards, the articulation scheme’s not premium or anything, but it was pretty good for the time, and matched up with the best of the line at the line.  Honestly, the only glaringly missing things are a waist joint and maybe some lateral motion for the arms.  It’s definitely workable, though.  The Gold Ranger’s sculpt was an all-new one at the time.  Like the articulation, the sculpt is a bit dated by current standards, but it was honestly a notable step forward compared to prior Zeo figures.  The biggest drawback is definitely how the articulation’s worked in, but it’s not terrible, just a little obvious.  The proportions are a little bit stilted, but generally decently balanced, again, relative to prior offerings.  The detailing on the outfit’s pretty strong, and the armor’s actually a separate piece for a change.  The paint work on the Gold Ranger is fairly basic, but it does what it needs to.  The finish on the gold is consistent and the application’s all pretty clean.  He’s packed with the removable armor, as well as his Staff of Gold, which is, ironically, totally silver for this release.  It’s not a bad piece, aside from perhaps being a little bit stubby, and, of course, the aforementioned silver coloring.  Why it wasn’t just molded in gold is something of a mystery, but there it is.


I’ve always been a big fan of Zeo Gold, and even though I was well and truly out of Power Rangers when this line hit in ’08, this guy almost pulled me back in.  I say “almost,” of course, because the fact that I was never able to find one at retail meant that, you know, I never got one.  Well, not for a good long while, anyway.  This one wound up coming to me courtesy of a big Rangers collection that came into All Time back in the summer of 2020.  I’d just gotten the Lightning Collection version, and I was feeling rather nostalgic, so this guy struck something of a chord.  He’s an interesting half-step between modern and vintage.  I like him, but he’s definitely got a more limited audience these days.

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.

#3318: Mekaneck & Ground Ripper



The best and easiest way for me to manage not going stupidly overboard on any given toy brand is really dig myself in on just a couple of characters I really like.  That way, instead of feeling like I need to go all-in on any iteration of a brand, I can just focus on when they got to those couple of characters.  Perhaps the most successful go at this I’ve got in my arsenal is Masters of the Universe.  When it comes to any given Masters line, I really only need to concern myself with three characters: Orko, Roboto, and Mekaneck.  Mattel’s been pretty darn lax on Mekaneck recently, and we had three different running Masters lines without any coverage for him, but that’s finally changing up at least a little bit.  I already got Orko and Roboto from Mattel’s Origins line, but now I’ve got a Mekaneck.  Oh yeah.  Time for another Mekaneck!


Mekaneck and the Ground Ripper are a deluxe offering from Mattel’s Masters of the Universe: Origins line, bundling a standard figure with a smaller scale vehicle, following in the footsteps of the Prince Adam and Skysled pack from the line’s first year.  This set initially went up for order exclusively through one of Walmart’s collector events, but it very quickly showed up through other vendors, so it looks like it was just some sort of exclusive pre-order window deal.  Whatever the case, this is a standard release item, and that’s certainly a plus.

Mekaneck’s original figure was a 1984 release, and he’s the last figure from that year to make it to Origins, which also somewhat duplicates his late-game addition to Classics as well.  He’s, unsurprisingly, an update on his vintage counterpart.  The figure is about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  As was the case with his vintage counterpart, Mekaneck’s body is based on the standard barbarian base body, which I looked at when it was used for Clamp Champ.  It’s a nice recreation of the vintage base body proportions and design sensibilities, but with better articulation worked in.  I can definitely dig it.  Mekaneck gets a new head sculpt, patterned on his original sculpt, though definitely a bit more refined.  The helmet and what we can see of the face are two separate parts, which keeps the division between them nice and sharp. Since it’s actually just the head, Mekaneck also gets neck articulation, something that his vintage counterpart lacked.  The figure also makes use of the chest piece previously used for Stinkor, which makes sense, since the shared the part in the vintage and Classics lines.  Of course, in the vintage line, Stinkor was re-using the piece from Mekaneck, rather than the reverse that’s occurred in every line since.  For some reason, everybody’s way more into the smelly skunk guy than the guy with the extra long neck.  I don’t get it either.  Mekaneck’s color work is quite nice; it’s very bright and very colorful, and it really makes him pop.  He’s quite eye catching.  It’s largely molded colors, but they work.  In particular, I really like the mirrored lenses on the goggles; they’re so very shiny.  Since this Mekaneck is without his vintage counterpart’s built-in neck-extending feature, this version takes a page out of the Classics book, and gives him an extended neck to swap in.  It maintains the posability of the ball-jointed neck, which makes this the Mekaneck with the most posable mecha-neck of all his figures.  I wouldn’t have minded getting multiple lengths of neck like the Classics version, I suppose, but this one does at least duplicate the length of the vintage version.  Mekaneck is also packed with his usual yellow club-thing, which is as yellow and club-thing-y as ever.

The Ground Ripper, or Road Ripper as it was originally named, was also a 1984 debut.  It’s original release was a single, though it was also available in a gift set during the vintage run, albeit with a Battle Armor He-Man, rather than Mekaneck.  The vehicle is about 9 1/2 inches long, and features rolling wheels in the front and back, as well as a working seatbelt.  Yay for proper vehicular safety!   The Ground/Road Ripper does *not* have its vintage version’s rip cord for its “ripping” feature, instead just being a rather basic vehicle.  It’s okay, but not super thrilling, really.  The sculpt more or less just follows the vintage version.  The details are certainly a little crisper here, so there’s that.  It also gets an alternate “head” for the front; the standard is rather bird-like, while the replacement is more like a dragon.  They’re both pretty decent, and I like the extra customizability.  There’s not paint to speak of on the vehicle, but there’s an assortment of stickers, which do alright on the whole detailing front, as well as getting that vintage feel down pretty nicely.


Have I mentioned previously how much I like Mekaneck?  I’m just not sure if I’ve adequately conveyed that point.  As with any Masters line, the first thing I wanted out of Origins was a Mekaneck.  Unfortunately, I had a bit of a wait there, now didn’t I?  Well, that’s okay, because it just meant that I got to appreciate other figures before Mekaneck inevitably came along a blew them away.  Because, quite frankly, that’s what he did.  Sure, the other Origins I’ve gotten are cool and all, but Mekaneck is just absolutely fantastic.  Even worth the extra price for the stupid tricycle he comes with, which will be promptly handed over to Matty.  But Mekaneck?  Superb.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set for review.  If you’d like to see a video of this guy in action, I actually helped out with one for their YouTube channel, so check that out.  And, as always, if you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#3317: The Regeneration Set



“In this adventure, the Thirteenth Doctor meets her old enemy the Master in an epic showdown that includes Daleks and the Cybermen.  Her final battle before she regenerates once more…”

I haven’t written anything about Doctor Who since back in 2019.  That’s quite a while ago.  Admittedly, part of that was because I sort of fell out of watching the show part way through the Capaldi years, so I wasn’t picking up new stuff from the show.  It’s also not *super* easy to keep up with the toyline on this side of the pond, so there’s that working against me.  But, you know what, it’s a year for change…or going back to things maybe?  Perhaps the change is going back?  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, this year marks the franchise’s 60th anniversary.  There’s a bunch going on there, with Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whitaker departing, Disney acquiring distribution rights, and also the return of not only showrunner Russell T. Davis (who was behind the successful 2005 relaunch of the show), but also former Doctor David Tennant, who, in a shock turn, is not playing the Doctor’s tenth incarnation, but the fourteenth.  That is whack.  It’s all terribly exciting, and it’s got me invested again.  So, onto the new toys!


“The Regeneration Set” is part of Character Options’ ongoing Doctor Who toyline.  It’s a special exclusive two-pack, only available through Character’s web store.  It was put up for preorder shortly after “The Power of the Doctor” aired last year, and started shipping out in mid-January.


“The Thirteenth Doctor is a charismatic and confident explorer, dedicated to seeing all the wonders of time and space whilst championing fairness and kindness wherever she can.  After crash landing to Earth this Doctor wasted no time in jumping into action to save the universe.  Surrounded by the friends she treats more like family, she is brave and selfless – a hero who will run towards danger without hesitation.”

As part of the circumstances that lead to her regeneration, the Thirteenth Doctor’s final outfit winds up consisting of little pieces of prior incarnations.  It’s an appropriately wacky and zany look, as well as a rather distinctive look for her send-off, all while still holding onto at least a little bit of her own style, which is a definite plus.  The figure stands just shy of 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 16 points of articulation.  The typical articulation scheme on Character’s Who line has been rather in flux in exactly how it works, and that continues to be the case with Thirteen.  She gets a ball-jointed neck joint, which is an improvement on her predecessors’ usual swivel cuts, but loses the universal joint at the shoulders that the “Time” and “Night of the Doctor” figures got, and lacks the thigh swivel seen on all the post Tennant doctors.  I’ve not yet reviewed any figures of Thirteen, so I haven’t seen any of those sculpts.  This one (which is the work of sculptor Edmund Barnett-Ward) is at the very least largely new, if not entirely so.  It’s a pretty respectable offering, all things considered.  The likeness has a very strong resemblance of Jodie Whitaker, and is honestly one of the best Doctor likeness I think we’ve seen from Character.  The body has proportions that match pretty well to Whitaker’s build, and the outfit’s detailing is generally strong.  The texturing on the scarf and vest in particular is quite impressive.  Other areas are a little flatter, as is fairly typical for the line.  The celery stalk in particular is a little soft and blobby, but that’s really the only drawback.  This design is certainly a rather colorful one, which makes for a rather colorful paint scheme.  There’s a whole lot going on here.  There are a few spots where there’s a little slop or bleedover, especially at the neckline of the shirt.  That said, given how many smaller details and applications there are here, it’s extraordinarily well handled.  I’m also quite pleased by how the detailing on the head turned out; the hair gets some rather nice accenting, and the face has a more lifelike quality than other releases from the line.  It’s still a far cry from the face printing seen on Hasbro offerings, of course, but it works well within the established style of the line.  Thirteen is packed with her version of the Sonic Screwdriver; it’s a distinct shape compared to the others, which is pretty cool.  She holds it rather tightly in her right hand, so you won’t have to worry about losing it.


“The Fourteenth Doctor, just like the Tenth Doctor, is an intriguing mixture of apparent opposites.  An extraordinary mix of kindness and sensitivity, but also someone who gives no second chances and who can be alien, detached and even vengeful, but never cruel.  Time will tell how this doctor will respond to the universe around him…it always does.”

Curiously, when Thirteen regenerates into Fourteen, in contrast to prior takes on regeneration, Fourteen *doesn’t* wind up in the same clothing as his predecessor.  I suppose there’s some bit of timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly explanation for how that happened, but we won’t know for sure until the show returns in November.  Instead of Thirteen’s mix of prior styles, Fourteen is wearing something that’s not entirely out of place for Ten’s usual style, though with a bit of a change-up to keep it fresh.  The figure stands just over 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  His articulation is again a change-up from Thirteen; the neck is back to a swivel instead of a ball, but he regains the universal joints on the shoulders.  The sculpt is largely new (and again the work of Edmund Barnett-Ward), though it does appear that the legs are the same sculpt as the standard Tenth legs from some years back.  Judging this sculpt is a little tricker than Thirteen’s.  We’ve gotten a lot more Tennants, so there’s more to compare to, I suppose, but also it feels like the paint gets a bit more in the way on this one.  The actual sculpt of the head looks to have a pretty respectable likeness of Tennant, looking appropriately about a decade older than the last sculpt.  The body sculpt isn’t too bad; the arms are perhaps a touch too long, but the rest works out pretty well.  The detailing on the outfit is pretty spiffy; the jacket gets a nice bit of texturing, and the underlying suit is appropriately disheveled.  As I hinted in the sculpt discussion, the paint here is a little limiting.  It’s not *awful*, but the work on the face is especially thick and without much accenting, so it loses a lot of the sculpt’s subtleties.  The work on the outfit is a little stronger, especially on the patterning of the suit and tie.  He doesn’t get any paint for the laces on the shoes, and the shoes are generally sloppy, but it’s otherwise decently handled.  Fourteen isn’t packed with any accessories for this release.  His hand is still very clearly sculpted to hold his screwdriver, but he’ll have to borrow one from another Doctor.


Doctor Who‘s 50th anniversary was the year that I met Jess, and, in fact, Peter Capaldi was even announced as the Twelfth Doctor the very weekend that we met.  She got into the show shortly after we met, and got me into it not too long after that.  She was very strict about not letting me buy any Who figures for myself, so that she always had something easy to go-to for gifts at Christmas and my birthday, and she stuck with it for quite a few years.  The combination of us both falling away from the show during the Capaldi run and the 5-inch line slowing down for a few years there led to her getting me a lot less of them.  But, my collection has always remained prominently displayed, even after it stopped growing.  Tennant was by far Jess’s favorite Doctor, and his return got me to go back to the show, if nothing else than because Jess wasn’t here to do it.  And, with that in mind, the opportunity to add more to my collection, and even catch-up my line-up of Doctors up to the current incarnation was hard to turn down.  So, breaking tradition, I bought myself a set of Doctor Who figures, and now I’m steadily catching myself up on what I’ve missed from the show.  These figures are fun, and I’m happy to have them.  I’m happy to be collecting the line again, and I’m excited by the future of both the show and its toys.

#3316: Magnaguard



“The bodyguard droids for General Grievous are trained by the cyborg general himself. He has had their memories and combat libraries wiped clean so that the droids can learn battle techniques rather than rely on stored programs. This has resulted in more sophisticated — and lethal – droids.”

When the battle droids were first introduced in The Phantom Menace, we just had the two main versions, standard and Destroyer.  Attack added Super into the mix, and Revenge of the Sith further added the Magnaguards, the robotic bodyguards for General Grievous.  Though only a small part of Sith, they were repurposed for Clone Wars as well, giving them a little bit more to do during its run.  It also gave them a shot at more action figures, and I’m never one to complain about that.  So, let’s look at one of those action figures!


The Magnaguard is figure #22 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, as part of the fourth assortment within the first year of figures.  This was the first of the two Magnaguards in the line.  This one was more on the basic side, stripping away the cloak and headdress that they had in the movies.  Those pieces were added for the next release.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  As an early run non-Clone, his articulation is a little imbalanced.  The movement on the upper half, especially the arms, is really solid, and quite cleverly implemented.  Below the waist, however, he lacks anything beyond basic hip movement, which is frustrating, but it’s also just where the line was at this point.  At the very least, he was actually able to stand, unlike the basic Battle Droid mold.  His sculpt was all-new, and it’s honestly a pretty strong one.  It takes the Magnaguard animation model, and translates it quite nicely into plastic form.  The front and back of the torso have removable plates, allowing for more of a glance into the figure’s inner workings, which is definitely a lot of fun.  The paint work on the Magnaguard is quite impressive.  His base color is a gun metal grey, with a lot of brushing and washes, giving him lots of highlights and shadows, and really bringing out the details of the sculpt really nicely.  The Magnaguard was packed with his staff, which has electricity effects attached, as well as a large missile launcher, which mine doesn’t have.


I was always intrigued by the Magnaguards in the movie, but none of the toys really lived up to their coolness in my eye.  This one was the first one that I really felt came close to that, so it was one I made a point of tracking down at retail.  He was slightly beaten to the punch of “best droid in the line” by the IG-86 assassin, but he was still a nice step forward for the droids, and a very nice figure in his own right.