#2306: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Johnny Storm can transform his body into incredibly hot plasma, control fire, and fly.”

Since there have been figures of the Fantastic Four, there have been some concerns about how best to adapt some of their power sets.  The most common source of difficulty for toy makers is with the team’s resident hot-head Johnny, whose flame-on abilities mean that he has two distinct appearances: flamed on and flamed off.  Unlike other members of the family, his on/off can’t quite as easily be replicated with a selection of extra parts; he kind of warrants two separate figures.  It’s rare that a line gets a chance to do both, so most just stick will fully flamed-on (though we do get the occasional mid-way design).  His last Legends figure was fully powered-on, but Hasbro decided to be kind this time and give us a full powered-down Johnny, something we’ve never actually gotten in Legends form.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch is figure four in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends.  Like the other members of the core team, he’s sporting his newest costume, something that the flamed-off nature of the figure allows to be fully displayed.  It does mean he’s not going to match the Walgreens set, of course, but that does kind of go without saying doesn’t it?  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  In contrast to the rest of this assortment, Johnny is *not* primarily a parts re-use of his prior figure.  While that figure was build on the Bucky Cap body (something I was never terribly happy with), this guy instead moves over to the 2099 body.  While my preferred choice is still the body they’re using for Reed (since he and Johnny have been typically depicted as about the same build), I do think that this one is a slightly better choice for Johnny, and I can understand Hasbro wanting the two characters two be on different bodies.  Johnny gets a new head and feet to complete his slightly more unique look.  The head I wasn’t so sure about when it was shown off, but I actually like it a lot more than I’d expected to in person.  It still looks a little off from some angles, but posed correctly, it looks pretty solid.  The new feet are similar to Reed’s, but the style works a bit better for this particular base body, making them look a lot less goofy.  The paint work on Johnny is fairly similar to that of Reed, which is sensible, what with the uniformed bit and all.  It’s well-applied and the color work is pretty bold and striking.  Johnny is packed with a spare set of hands, re-used from the previous Human Torch, which along with the effects pieces from the Infinity War Scarlet Witch, makes for a nice smaller demonstration of Johnny’s flame abilities.  He also includes both left arms for Super Skrull.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Human Torch was my least favorite piece of the last FF set, partially because of his fully flamed-on nature, and partially because of his choice of body.  This figure addressing both of those issues was certainly a point in his favor.  That said, the prototype didn’t really wow me, so I wasn’t sure.  In hand, I like him a lot more than I’d expected to, and I think he turned out quite nicely.

Johnny was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2305: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Reed Richards is a brilliant scientist with the ability to stretch his body into any shape.”

The insufferable genius archetype isn’t typically one that ends up on the super-team proper, especially when it comes to ’60s super teams.  Characters like Professor X, Niles Caulder, and Will Magnus typically serving to dispatch their teams from the side-lines.  Reed Richards, on the other hand, was a full-fledged member of his team, in contrast to the norms.  However, when said team got side-lined for a bit, he sort of found himself pushed into those sidelines for a bit.  At least he’s finally getting to return to the action!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is figure 2 in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends.  Like Ben (and the rest of the team, for that matter), Reed is seen here in his current get-up from the comics.  Though not quite as evident on Ben, the main hook of these new costume designs is the reversed palette of the usual costume.  It’s a fairly striking look, recalling the Byrne-era costumes, which are a personal favorite of mine.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Just like with Ben, most of this figure’s parts are shared with the Walgreens release.  The core body from that figure is nice and balanced, and it’s honestly a little surprising that this is only our second time seeing it used.  It’s still a really good fit for Reed’s usual build from the comics.  In addition to the old parts, he also gets a new head and feet.  While I really liked the new parts on the Thing, I’m a little less immediately impressed by these.  I don’t hate the bearded look for Reed, and I definitely like that he’s got the same face beneath it as the clean shaven Walgreens figure, but something about the hair just doesn’t look right to me.  It’s accurate to the art, but it just feels like something was lost in translation.  I’m also not really big on the feet; they go for a more sculpted, almost sneaker-like appearance, which is again something that looks okay on the page, but seems off in three dimensions.  The paintwork on this figure is pretty much on par with his previous figure, albeit with the expected changes in the color scheme to match his all-new look.  This Reed doesn’t get the fully stretched arms of the prior figure (though the arms still pop out at the shoulders to facilitate swapping out, if you’re so inclined), but he does get a set of alternate stretched out hands, which are…well, they’re certainly something.  I don’t know, I guess I’d probably like them more if they had all of the glove detailing of the standard hands.  They’re something different, at least.  He also includes one of Super Skrull’s legs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mr. Fantastic is one of the more different releases of the main four from this set, and I was expecting to get a little bit more out of him because of that.  I really liked the Walgreens version, so I hoped he’d be up to the same quality.  Ultimately, I don’t like this figure quite as much as I’d expected to, and I think he’s my least favorite of the new four.  Still, he’s not a bad figure, just not quite as good as the previous one.

I got Reed courtesy my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2304: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Bombarded by cosmic rays, Ben Grimm develops thick, orange skin and superhuman strength.”

In 2017 and 2018, the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends component gave us our first Fantastic Four Legends in a long time.  It was a slow build, one member at a time way of building the team, but it was nevertheless quite a rewarding experience for the FF fans who were able to play the waiting game.  However, the downside of the whole thing was that by the time they released the final member of the team, it was kinda hard to track down the preceding three, and I know that put some people off of the whole venture.  Still, it was a very well received set of figures, and proved that there was still a market for some FF figure love, so one of our first assortments right out of the gate for 2020 is a proper Legends assortment devoted to the FF.  I’m kicking things off with the last of the four to be added to the Walgreens set, the ever-lovin’, blue-eyed Thing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing is figure 5 in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends, which is our first FF-themed series of Legends since Hasbro’s own Ronan Series back in 2008.  To say they’ve improved their process since then is something of an understatement.  All of the FF members in this assortment are based on their current costume designs from Slott and Pichelli’s recent relaunch of the book.  For Ben, it’s not as drastic a change; mostly he’s just got that more prominent belt.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s re-using parts from the last Thing, which was a brand-new sculpt at the time.  They *are* the same guy, and it makes sense that Hasbro wants to get another use out of the mold.  I’m certain this won’t be the last time we’ll see it either.  It was a great sculpt the first time around, and it remains a great sculpt now.  He gets an all-new head sculpt, and I actually think I might prefer this one to the two from last time.  It’s got that extra prominent brow that they were both missing.  It also maintains that slightly calmer look for Ben, which is my preferred look for him.  Whatever the case, it’s a very strong sculpt.  He also gets a brand new belt piece.  Though it’s a separate piece, it’s not designed to be removable and won’t be coming off without damaging it.  That said, it would be easy enough to take off permanently, if you really don’t like it.  The paintwork on this figure marks another notable change in the figure, as Hasbro’s way of accenting Ben’s rocky features is a little different.  On the previous figure, they more or less outlined the rocky elements, darkening the recesses, while here they instead highlight the higher points with a lighter shade.  It’s not a bad look (though I wouldn’t mind if the coverage were a *bit* more extensive), but the downside to this change in styling is that you can’t swap the heads between the two releases, meaning you can’t put this head on a more classic Ben.  Alas.  The prior Thing release had his own selection of accessories, with a spare head and an extra set of hands.  This figure gets nothing for himself, but does include the two heads meant for the Super Skrull Build-A-Figure, so it’s not the worst trade-off.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up all of the Walgreens releases, so I didn’t *need* the main four from this assortment.  That said, I’m a big FF fan, and if nothing else, I want to support the prospect of more FF-centric assortments.  If that means getting a few variants of the main team, so be it.  It helps that I really liked Ben the first time around, and that the changes made here are subtle enough that he still works as a standard Ben, while still being prominent to give me something “new.”  It’s also nice that Hasbro’s giving the fans that couldn’t get the Walgreens set another chance at the core team.

I picked up The Thing from my friends at All Time Toys. If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2303: Krieg

KRIEG

BORDERLANDS 2 (MCFARLANE)

“Though it is uncertain what caused Krieg’s transformation into a psychotic killer, the game provides evidence hinting at an antithetical personality in the past. This is established by a fractured remnant of his psyche, manifesting itself as an ‘inner voice’ in his mind. The voice also seeks to control Krieg’s lust for murder by limiting his victims to those deserving punishment.”

It’s been forever since I talked about Borderlands, mostly due to McFarlane’s toy coverage slowing to a crawl.  They got the first four figures out in relatively short order, then solicited the next two, and then…silence for a year and a half.  I’d honestly figured the third assortment had been cancelled, or Todd had forgotten he’d shown them off and moved onto new things, but the release of Borderlands 3 and its associated figures proved enough to at least get these two figures out to the market.  The third assortment finally gives us two more Vault Hunters.  We got Lilith, one of the first game’s four, and…Krieg?  Yeah, instead of another of the core Hunters from 2, we get Krieg.  Yay? Let’s just get the review over with…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Krieg is technically part of the third assortment of Borderlands figures from McFarlane.  The whole assortments thing seems to have fallen by the wayside, because while Krieg was solicited alongside Lillith as part of the ongoing line, he ended up dropping by himself a couple of months before the figures from 3, while Lillith showed up in the same case pack-outs as the 3 figures.  Krieg, for whatever reason, is in entirely different style of packaging than the rest of the line, being sealed up in a clamshell-style blister similar to those used for McFarlane’s Call of Duty stuff.  It makes him feel like a very odd one-off.  Everything about this figure’s release is just…weird.  But enough about the weird release, what of the actual figure?  He stands 7 1/2 inches (the tallest of the Borderlands figures so far) and he has 26 points of articulation.  On the plus side, Krieg keeps the improved hip articulation we saw on Zero, meaning he has an okay range on the hips.  On the down side, the rest of his articulation is rather impeded by the sculpt.The arms in particular are quite restricted, but the neck doesn’t have much range either.  For a player character, that’s a real bummer.  At the very least, the sculpt is a respectable recreation of the game design, on par with the other figures so far from the line.  He’s suitably chunky, and he’s certainly got an imposing build to him.  He’s also got enough of a pre-existing stance to look pretty natural on the shelf even with his limited posing capabilities.  His paintwork matches up with the other figures so far.  It’s pretty decent overall, and does its best to capture the distinctive art style.  It’s not super clean or polished, but it gets the job done.  No complaints.   Krieg is packed with a saw-thingy, which is his melee attack item in the game.  He doesn’t include any sort of gun or anything, though, which is a little annoying, what with such things being an essential piece of the game.  I guess him being larger meant there was less space for accessories?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Krieg when the Borderlands 3 stuff hit, mostly because Jess was picking up the others, and I felt a bit like I should support the line.  Of the Hunters from 2, Krieg is at the bottom of my list, so his inclusion didn’t exactly thrill me from the start.  I was hoping that the decision to go with a more minor Vault Hunter might mean that McFarlane was committed to getting the whole set out, but at this point, it seems unlikely that we’re getting any more of them, making him feel like a bit of a wasted slot (especially with the visually similar Psycho being released in the 3 assortment).  For the figure proper, I think the most damning thing I can say, though, is that I don’t really have much to say about him.  He’s very meh.

#2302: Wedge Antilles

WEDGE ANTILLES

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A talented young Rebel pilot from Corellia, Wedge Antilles survived the attack on the first Death Star to become a respected veteran of Rogue Squadron.”

Though he may be on the short list of characters to appear in all three of the original Star Wars films, poor Wedge Antilles has always had to play the waiting game when it comes to action figures.  He was completely absent from the vintage line, and while he’s subsequently gotten a decent selection, it took well over a hundred figures to finally get him in added to The Black Series.  Better late than never, right?  And, as luck would have it, his inclusion in the line just so happens to nicely coincide with the character’s long-awaited return to the franchise in The Rise of Skywalker.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wedge Antilles is figure 102 in the Black Series line-up, the last figure of this assortment numerically.  He’s also the second of the two OT-based figures in the set.  And, believe it or not, he’s only our second OT X-Wing pilot in the line, which seems almost baffling.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In contrast to the rest of the line-up from this assortment, Wedge is predominantly built out of re-used parts, namely the body of the X-Wing Pilot Luke figure from way back in the very first assortment.  The two wore the same uniform in the movie, and the actors are within an inch of each other in height and pretty similar in build, so it’s hard to blame them for going for the re-use.  That said, I think some collectors were hoping they might take this opportunity to finally give us someone in the padded pilot gear from Empire, thereby keeping Wedge as a totally unique figure.  Of course, then he wouldn’t match the Luke we have, or the inevitable Biggs figure, and wouldn’t have the added benefit of giving Hasbro an easy way of filling out the line-up with some easy re-use.  Plus, it’s not like Wedge figures have a history of getting new parts, so it’s really not much of a shock.  On the plus side, the X-Wing Luke body is honestly one of the best of the earliest entries in the line, and while some of the articulation isn’t quite as well worked in as more recent figures, it still holds up.  Wedge definitely doesn’t look out of place with the rest of his assortment at all.  He does get a new head, of course, which sports a pretty decent likeness of Dennis Lawson.  The hair’s a little weird, because it doesn’t match any of the un-helmeted shots of Wedge we get in the movies.  It’s not totally off base, though, and honestly I imagine a lot of people will be keeping the helmet on him anyway.  With the helmet on, the likeness is pretty much dead on.  The paintwork on Wedge is essentially the same as on the X-Wing Luke figures, but it’s worth noting that there are a few small, easy to miss changes between the two figures, which really don’t amount to much.  Beyond that, he’s got the expected changes to the head, which is again using the face print tech.  Wedge is packed with his helmet, which is a re-decoed version of the one included with Luke, as well as a DH-17 blaster rifle, which is something we don’t see Wedge carrying in the film, but is standard issue for the Rebels, so it makes sense.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wedge is a prominent figure for me because Wedge is honestly my favorite Star Wars character.  He was at the top of my wishlist for this line from the very start of it, ever since I got that first X-Wing Pilot Luke back in 2013.  It’s been a long wait for him, and he’s a pretty straight forward figure, but he was never the less worth the long wait.  He’s not overly flashy or anything, and perhaps doesn’t have the flair of the others in this assortment, but he’s still my personal favorite.  Now, how about that Empire variant.  And maybe a Rise version as well.  And a TIE pilot version.  Heck, let’s just reinstate the Evolutions packs, and get them all at once.  It’s the only way to be sure.

I picked up this Wedge from my friends All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2301: Cara Dune

CARA DUNE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A veteran of the Galactic Civil War who fought under the banner of the Rebellion, Cara Dune is a seasoned warrior.”

The first round of Black Series figures for this past Force Friday gave us two Mandalorian-themed figures, and the two Best Buy exclusive offerings have added two more, but there was one fairly prominent character who had as of yet not seen any coverage. Well, one fairly prominent character whose presence in a toy line wouldn’t have spoiled the show’s big reveal at the end of the first episode, anyway.  Introduced in Chapter 4, Cara Dune is fairly quickly established as a well-crafted foil to the Mando, and though she wouldn’t end up quite as prominent in the show’s first season as early promotional material might have suggested, she still has quite a role.  And now let’s look at the action figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cara Dune is figure 101 in the Black Series line-up.  She’s the only Mandalorian-based figure in this particular five figure assortment.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  In terms of motion, Cara is on par with the rest of her assortment, being a nice half-way point of mobility and sanctity of sculpt.  There are definitely spots on this figure that I assumed would be restricted (namely the shoulders and the neck), which ended up a lot less restricted than I’d expected, and that’s a definite plus.  As it stands, she can comfortably wield her rifle with both arms, and even manage some pretty decent action poses.  She also doesn’t have too much trouble remaining standing, at least with my figure.  The sculpt here is definitely a nice one, and possibly the nicest of this current assortment.  The face is undeniably Gina Carano, and is easily one of the best likenesses we’ve gotten from a Black Series figure, right up there with Tarkin and Dryden in terms of accuracy.  I definitely dig it.  The body sculpt’s proportions are a good match for Carano’s build, and her outfit is quite nicely recreated at the smaller scale.  The multi-tiered construction of the armor adds a nice bit of depth to the figure, and makes the whole thing look nicely put together.  Cara’s paint work is definitely the most impressive affair from this assortment.  On its surface, it’s a little monochromatic, as is true to the show.  However, there’s actually quite a bit going on.  The face is again using the printed styling, which looks incredibly lifelike here.  It also includes her very small little Rebel tattoo on her cheek bone, which is quite an impressive touch.  Her shocktrooper stripes on her arm are also impressive, as are the wear and tear marks on her armor, which give it a suitably lived-in feel.  Much like Jannah, Cara is a quite well-accessorized figure, including her large blaster rifle, a pistol, and a knife.  The rifle includes a removable sling, and the pistol and knife both have spots on Cara’s person, allowing for everything to be stowed somewhere on the figure, which is always cool to see.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cara’s figure had good timing, first arriving at retail right on top of her appearance on the show, which made her a pretty easy purchase for me.  Though, continuing the overall trend of this assortment, I wasn’t expecting to like her quite as much as I do.  There’s a lot of cool stuff going on with this figure, and it results in one of the most solid standard Black Series releases I’ve messed with in a while.  Now, here’s to getting a Mando that actually matches this figure.

Cara was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2300: Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony

LUKE SKWALKER — YAVIN CEREMONY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

On Yavin 4, the Rebels hold a ceremony to award the heroes who bravely fought to destroy the Death Star.  Luke Skywalker receives his medal for bravery from Princess Leia.”

Do you ever have that moment where you have something really monumental and important in front of you, and you think to yourself really hard about how this is the absolute worst time to screw up, and you focus so hard on that only to inadvertently screw up terribly on something that you’ve managed to do correctly hundreds of times previously, to the point where it should be second nature to you?  Because we know Hasbro had that moment.  And today we’re looking at that moment.  Behold, Luke Skywalkwer—crap, I mean Skwalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony is figure 100 in the Black Series line-up.  Of course, thanks to re-numberings and exclusives, there are far more than 100 figures in the line, but getting to the number is a momentous occasion nevertheless.  And before we get any further, yes, you read all those instances of Luke’s surname above correctly; on the packaging for the momentous number 100 figure, Hasbro somehow managed to misspell poor Luke’s last name, the name of a whole saga, three times in two different ways.  As someone who’s worked in publication design, my heart goes out to the poor designer who let that slip through.  They’re probably never going to live it down.  The truth is, if this had been any other numbered release, I don’t know that it would have caught quite as much flack, but unfortunately it’s the big 100, the one that people who very well may have never bought another Black Series will hold onto, and the one that people are far more likely to keep in package.  Heck, I’m a loose collector, and even I’m hanging onto the box for this one.  Admittedly, in my case it’s purely for the typos, but the point still stands.  This one’s probably going to be well-remembered.  Well, enough about the box, let’s talk about the actual Luke Skwalker figure inside!  As the properly written section of his name denotes, he’s wearing his slightly more uniform-esque get-up from the ceremony on Yavin IV that ends the first film.  Though only seen in one scene in the main films, the look served as Luke’s primary attire for his portion of the Holiday Special (I know) and recently saw a resurgence when it was used prominently in Marvel’s Star Wars comics.  This figure was actually released a little earlier last year as a con-exclusive with several additional accessories and a Marvel-inspired box.  As has become the trend with such exclusives and their inevitable re-releases, the core figures in the two packages are essentially identical.  The figure stands just under 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Apart from being shared with the exclusive release, this Luke has a unique sculpt.  It’s our first truly new OT Luke since figure 21, and the line’s come a long way since then.  The result is definitely the most technically impressive Luke we’ve gotten in The Black Series.  The articulation is definitely one area of notable improvement for the most part, although the hip joints on this guy have a weird set up which places a definite learning curve on using them.  I’m not much of a fan.  Like the Jabba’s Palace figure, this Luke uses the new style of head construction with separate pieces for the hair and face, which makes for slightly more depth in the sculpt.  On my figure the hair and head don’t line up 100% perfectly, but it’s close enough to work.  It’s honestly Hasbro’s best Hamill, displacing the Jabba’s Palace figure’s very brief moment with that title.  The body construction is in a lot of ways very similar to Bespin Han, which is fine by me, because that was a good lay out for a figure, and the designs of the two costumes are also pretty similar.  His paintwork is fairly standard for the line at this point.  The base color is all pretty clean, and he’s got the printed face which looks plenty realistic.  The con-exclusive release had a lot of extras, where as this one is comparatively pretty light.  Both figures include the blaster, and this figure also includes the medal, making him specific to the ceremony.  That’s all he gets, which leaves the rather glaring omission of a lightsaber.  He doesn’t have it during the scene in the movie, so I guess there’s that reasoning, but that didn’t stop them from including both a saber and a helmet with the pilot Luke.  It’s also not a new piece, so it feels like it should have been an easy inclusion.  I’ve got a few of my own, so I can loan him one, but it’s a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, Cermony Luke wound up as my default Luke for a good while, and as such I’ve always had something of a soft spot for this particular look.  I like that the comics brought the design back, and I was very happy to see this figure unveiled.  He’s a proper choice for the big 100 number, and even with the goofiness surrounding the packaging and its many errors, this is a really nifty figure, and probably the best Black Series Luke.

I picked up this guy from my friends All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2299: First Order Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Specialized Stormtroopers of the First Order, Jet Troopers soar into battle equipped with agile rocket packs”

Alright, let’s keep this Black Series ball rolling.  Heck, let’s trek down that Rise of Skywalker path again while we’re at it.  Rise added the usual bank of new troopers, as each film tends to do.  While the Sith Troopers got a lot of the marketing focus, the coolest new additions for me were the Jet Trooper.  A Jet-equipped Stormtrooper isn’t a new concept by any means, but it’s a cool one nevertheless, and I was quite a fan of the new design they were sporting.  Lucky for me, that design is one of the earlier Rise of Skywalker designs to get covered by The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is figure 99 in the Black Series line-up, the second of the two Rise figures in this second post-Triple Force Friday assortment.  He was also one of the figures to receive a “Carbonized” variant on the Force Friday launch, which is the same mold, but with a different finish.  Also, a little fun fact: aside from Rey, the Jet Trooper is the only design to be available across the three styles Hasbro is producing.  Not even Kylo gets that honor.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  The Jet Trooper is probably the most impressed I’ve been with a Trooper’s articulation at this scale, with a respectable range of elbow motion right out of the gate, hips that aren’t terribly restricted, and an amazingly improved range of motion on the neck joints, especially when compared to the Sith Trooper from the last assortment.  He’s not quite as stable on his feet as his GoA counterpart, but he’s better than the Vintage Collection version, and I only had one fall during photos.  Like both of his smaller-scale counterparts, the details on his armor are nice and crisp, and his design means that the sculpt is largely unimpeded by the articulation.  Unlike both smaller Jet Troopers, he’s got a little bit of extra posability on the jet pack itself, which adds movement to the two thrusters.  It’s a nice little touch to be sure.  And, though real-world inspired, this figure maintains a lot of that same sleekness that I enjoyed so much in the GoA figure.  Perhaps the only moderately baffling element to this figure’s sculpt for me is the presence of a holster spot on his right thigh, despite the fact that his included gun doesn’t include a matching tab.  I can only guess this was in order to facilitate a straight re-use of the mold for the upcoming Sith Jet Trooper, who will presumably be including the same armaments as the standard Sith Trooper.  The paint work on this figure more or less matches the GoA figure.  It’s basic, but that’s what you expect from one of these troopers.  He does get a few more black spots, but curiously loses the outlining of his faceplate from the prior figure, despite that outline being present on other versions of the design.  There’s still a sculpted element to it, so it’s not totally gone, but it’s much easier to miss.  The Jet Trooper is on the lighter side for accessories, including only his unique blaster rifle.  The regular troopers don’t have anything else in the movie, but it’s still a little light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I liked the Jet Trooper design as soon as I saw it, but I was admittedly unsure I’d need him in every style, and wasn’t sure what role, if any, he’d play in the final film.  After seeing the movie, and finding the Jet Trooper to actually be the best utilized of the new troopers, I was very happy to have picked him up across the board.  In a similar fashion to Jannah, I opened him up after the movie, already with heightened expectations, only to discover that he was even better than I’d been anticipating.  I’d go so far as to say that the Jet Trooper is the best designed and implemented trooper of the sequel trilogy Black Series offerings, if not possibly the best Black Series trooper as a whole.

The Jet Trooper was picked up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2298: Jannah

JANNAH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“From an oceanic moon, Jannah leads a band of warriors, ready to charge against the forces of the First Order.”

Okay, I’ve got just a ton of stuff piling up for review here at the FiQ offices (aka the spare room in my house where I take all my photos), and I’m trying to make it through the backlog as best I can.  For right now, “as best I can” is gonna translate into a lot of theme weeks.  I just made my way through an entire series of Marvel Legends, and now I’m switching over to a week with Hasbro’s other big collectors line, Star Wars: The Black Series.  While prior movies under the Disney banner have more or less gotten several entire assortments of figures devoted to them, Rise of Skywalker is having to share, meaning that it’s a slightly slower role-out for them on the movie’s new characters and looks.  The second assortment did get us our first new character, former First Order operative Jannah, who I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jannah is figure 98 in the Black Series line-up, the first numerically in the second post-Triple Force Friday assortment, as well as the first of two Rise of Skywalker-based figures in the line-up.  The figure stands right at 6 inches and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s an all-new sculpt. In terms of the articulation work-in, there are some pluses and minuses.  There’s some really good range on the elbows, which does cause them to look a little off when in extreme poses, but I really don’t mind that. The hips are a bit more restricted, it would seem in an effort to preserve the sculpt.  Again, I don’t mind, but it can be a little limiting.  I had a very hard time getting much posability out of the ankles on my figure, which I’m not sure is an intended design thing; it felt like they were stuck.  Whatever the case, it made keeping my figure standing rather tricky, which got frustrating during the photo session for this review.  The sculpt is based on the only design she gets in the movie.  It’s a fairly decent design, sort of pairing off well against Rey’s initial scavenger look, but with a slightly more almost post-apocalyptic feel, denoting her move to a more backwater life after leaving the First Order.  Plus, it’s got goggles, and goggles are always cool.  The face sports a passable likeness of Naomi Ackie; it’s perhaps not the best the line has produced, but it’s far from the worst, especially when it comes to the sequel characters.  Some of that’s coming from the hair, which is more of a solid chunk than it is in the film.  In their defense, there’s not a lot that can be done about that; the translation to plastic is always going to make such things look a little bit off.  The body is a solid sculpt as well, with a lot of really nice detailing on her various elements of clothing, especially in the wrinkles on the pants.  She’s got a cape piece, which is removable in theory (you’ll need to take the head off to get it off of her), and despite being a little bit floaty when posing, it’s a pretty nice piece. Jannah’s paint work is pretty decent overall.  It tends to be more on the brown side of things (true to her movie design), but there’s enough of a mix of colors to keep her visually interesting.  She’s again got the printed face, which works pretty well for this figure.  There are some spots of slight misalignment on the base paint, especially on the shoes, but it ultimately doesn’t prove too distracting on the final product.  Jannah makes out quite well on the accessories front, especially for a Black Series figure.  She’s got her bow, a single arrow, a bundle of arrows, a quiver, and a small blaster pistol.  I definitely dig the bow, and after how many Hawkeye figures with no arrows, the selection is certainly refreshing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I actually got Jannah (and the rest of her assortment) just prior to the movie’s release.  I didn’t think much of her at the time (and in fact didn’t open her until after seeing the movie), but after seeing the movie, I don’t mind having her so much.  After opening the figure up and playing around with it a bit, I like it even more than I’d expected to, with the accessories in particular being the real highlight of the figure.  All that said, the figure does seem a little lonely at the moment.

Jannah was purchased from my friends All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2297: Hawkgirl

HAWKGIRL

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

During ancient Egypt’s 15th Dynasty, Princess Chay-Ara and her beloved Prince Khufu discovered a downed Thanagarian spacecraft. After their murder, the couple’s exposure to the ship’s anti-gravity Nth Metal has destined them to be reincarnated through the ages and fight alongside the Justice Society of America.”

At the start of this year, the DC comics license officially moved from Mattel (who held it for 17 years) to Spin Master and McFarlane.  Their first products started hitting halfway through last month, but right now I’m taking another look at Mattel’s tenure with the license, specifically when they were at their high point, mid-way through their DC Universe Classics run, when they were still filling out that core cast of characters.  Today, I’m taking a look at Hawkgirl!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hawkgirl was released in the eighth series of DC Universe Classics.  At this point, each assortment was getting one core DC character, and thanks to Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, that was a category Hawkgirl fell into in 2009.  She’s undoubtedly the most marketable character of Series 8 as a whole, due in part to the generally low-profile character selection contained therein.  As a whole this assortment was really our first taste of that deep cut philosophy that would define the line going forward.  Hawkgirl would wind up re-packed alongside fellow Series 8 release Gentleman Ghost in the “Fates Intertwined” two-pack in 2010, after she (and all of Series 8) wound up being very tricky to find at retail (a common tale with this line, unfortunately).  Despite the bio’s detailing of the Golden Age Princess Chay-Ara incarnation of the character, the figure is actually based on the Silver Age Thanagarian police officer Shayera Hol incarnation, who was the one that appeared on the cartoons and is generally better known.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  As the line was built on parts re-use, it’s no surprise that Hawkgirl had a fair amount of re-use going on.  The shoulders, upper arms, hands, lower torso, pelvis, and upper legs are shared with Series 4’s Wonder Woman, while the wings were previously used for Shayera’s husband Hawkman in Series 6.  In both cases its pretty sensible re-use (and the wings are just very nice pieces in general), and her new parts fit well with the old.  Due to the nature of her head sculpt and how it works with the articulation, she’s stuck looking a bit downward, but if you have her on a flying stand of some sort, it’s not so bad.  It is a shame they couldn’t get some more range out of that neck joint, though.  Overall, though, this is probably one of the most balanced sculpts the line produced.  The paint’s pretty straight forward too, with clean, bright, bold application.  There’s a bit of slop on the mask, but otherwise it’s a pretty clean look.  In her single-packed release, Hawkgirl included her mace, a short sword, a spear, and a display stand.  For the two-pack release, that was cut back to just the mace and the spear.  Mine’s just got the mace these days.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 8 was probably the worst distributed assortment in the whole DC Universe Classics line, and I don’t recall seeing any of the figures at retail, Hawkgirl included.  I ended up getting this one, which is the two-pack release loose towards the end of the line, just so I could finally fill out my JLA line-up.  She’s a pretty nice, fairly reserved figure, and one of the best Hawkgirl figures out there.