#2242: Optimus Prime

CLASSIC ANIMATION OPTIMUS PRIME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

What up my diddly dudes, it’s Chey’s and Jess’s ultimate toy review part 2 with optimus prime. This ones for you Jasonn , i dont know who you are, but here go my dude. congrats! So here we are back it again with the transformers, that series the two of us know so much about. This week is Optisium prime, leader of the…. oh god… not decepticons…. just ask ethan autobot vibes, cool. The truthamal about this figures is that is cool, ish. I don’t know this history of optismus prime

Bur I do, i think. So optimusy comes from planet Cybertoner. He’s the leader of the the autobot vibers and i think he dies a few time. he also has a brother, that might not be his brother, but by nming conventions it makes sense. his brother is ultra magnus, totally the brother of optimus primus. is transformia actually a thing? who da figly knows.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This figgu comes from this line that did the transformers as cartoons (Ethan: that would be the 35th anniversay line). He has the same body as the live colored Optimpusy  but he’s colored like the original cartoon, which is why we get to review him becaus he jus a repaint of a figga that Ethan already reviewed some times ago. Octopus Slime is bigger than my hand by a quaterish of an inch…so maybe six some inches. He’s got 420 points of articulation. HA blaze. idk hoq mNY HE ACTUALLY HAS. He’s fourth in line to the throne of Cybertoner, and his bitty brother who is also possible multiple people passed thru a family thru generations is after him in line to the throne. He’s got these flappy dos that you find when trying to transform him that Tim says protects the royal nuts and bolts. What else about this figure?

While CChey’s trying to race tim in trying to turn the autobot viber into a semitruck without a load, I talk about the truck. SURPRISE HE TURNS INTO A SEMI TRUCK WITHOUT A PAYLOAD. the bed is the blue bit and the cab where a trucker would normally drive, sleep and play is reeeeeed. If yous drunk then it probably gonna be hard to turn him inta a semi uck. if ya sober yee still may have trouba getting this figure to turn into a duck truck. Chey says IT’S NOT USER FRIENDLY. WARNING Must use magick and sacrifice an atual caaarl to get it to transform properly. Hey, show runners that have no more ideas, you should do a show based purely on drunk peple trying to turn transformeders into cars and visversa.

The colors are meant to mimic the tv show which is the 80s which the colors are flat as hell. boom i said  it. the kia optima from this line is you and the one from the transformers line is the guy she told not worry about. before i get into the color i just want say that this stuff, i cant say bad words, is not user friendly, its a rubiks cube that makes zero sense, so read the instructions friends, because that what every kid wants to do on christmas morning, follow rules. alright, so the cell shading gets nicer the more i look at it, but its too light to notice on first glance, bear with me im actually trying to write a review worth reading even drunk. the red WHACK the bleu WHACK the white WHACK, it doesnt got much demension compared to transformers line toy. Though like i said last time the silver “battle damage” as ethan calls it looks like a last minute disicion and i am not a fan. however, the more i look at the cartoon toy, the more i enjoy, so maybe get over the first glance and youll feel the same. Optima Prius is a cool cat.

Theres a lot of points of articulation, I lost count and gave up… so if youre interested, im sure ehtan did a better job because it took me 15 minutes and maybe more to figure out how it actually worked so yeah.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you like kia optima, buy ittttt that what matter treat yourself and maybe you can figure out HOW IT WORKS because if im honest, tim had to finish it for me

I, Jessho, have no real connection to Octopussy Primussy. i didn;t really watch the cartoons. i think i watched a movie once at the drive thru threther in my bummby duck no where town . i rememember we couldn;t use the radio for movie audio becuase the car was too old or something and we had to try and follow aong to the outside audio which was really bad. i dunno what happned. i thin there wasa  pyramid and a reallt old transformer with weird gonad chins. I almost transformed this duck hinter into a truck all by myself, without instructiosn, but ethan had to help me in the end. I got to review this firgure cuz it’s a repaint of one that ethan already review, which is where you cn find more accurate infor BTDubes. But ultimately i get to review these guys because Jason gave Ethan a job at All Time, which exposed him to all dem transformers that he started buying when he started working at your cool store! It’s been a great spark in Ethan’s week and imma so happy that he’s found you and this store. So in summation, it’s you’re fault we now have so many transformers and I get to write drunk reviews on them and that Ethan ets to end hs week on a high note.

PS ETHAN YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO FIX YOUR PHOTOS or imma be real sad like baby yoda without his MAndo Dad.


#2241: Legion of Super Heroes

BRAINIAC 5, COSMIC BOY, LIGHTNING LAD, & SATURN GIRL

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

There is a surprising lack of toy coverage for the Legion of Super Heroes.  Like, there are toys.  There are a fair number of them.  But it’s just a little surprising that there aren’t more.  Between DC Direct and Mattel, we did manage to get a decent team line-up in the 6-inch scale, and Mattel also added a few select members of the team to their very expansive Justice League Unlimited line, based on their two appearances in the DCAU.  Those are the figures I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl were released as one of the Matty Collector-exclusive “four packs” of Justice League Unlimited figures.  Why the quotes?  Well, as I touched on when reviewed the Justice Guild, the sets were actually just four single-carded figures packed together.  So, despite the number of figures being completely arbitrary, almost every one of these packs felt like the warranted one or two more figures.  The Legion didn’t fair quite as badly in this respect, though, so I won’t totally rag on Mattel here.

BRAINIAC 5

“After key members of the Legion of Super Heroes were defeated by the Fatal Five, Brainiac 5 used a time sphere and his level 12 intellect to recruit heroes from the past to save his future and in doing so changed Supergirl fate forever.”

“Changed Supergirl fate forever” indeed.  You gotta love when those typos make it to press.  Typos aside, Brainiac 5’s bio is referencing “Far From Home,” the Legion-focused episode of JLU‘s final season.  Brainiac 5 serves as the main Legionnaire for the episode, making his inclusion the most natural of all the members. The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Like all of the male members of the set, he’s built on the skinniest of the standard male bodies, which was the one reworked from the original Flash body.  It’s a pretty close match to Brainy’s depiction on the show, made even more so by the pretty spot-on head sculpt that adorns it.  They managed to get his show design down pretty much spot-on.  His paintwork is pretty decent; some of the lines on the costume are a little fuzzy, but they did a good job of cleanly applying the Brainiac symbol on his forehead.  Brainy included no accessories, unless of course you count his 12th level intellect.  Which I suppose would bump him up a bit.

COSMIC BOY

“A native of the planet Braal, Rokk Krinn uses his natural magnetic powers and leadership skills to aid the Legion of Super Heroes in battle in the 31st Century.”

The remainder of this set is filled in with the Legion’s founding trio.  Their bios are actually about them, which is a bit of shift, isn’t it?  Though not featured in “Far From Home” in anything beyond a cameo, Cosmic Boy did get a fair bit of focus in “New Kids in Town,” the Superman: The Animated Series episode that introduced the team to the DCAU.  His design was pretty much the same between both appearances, so it works for either one.  He uses the same body as Brainy with a unique head.  His head is a little larger than the others in this set, owing to him being closer to that S:TAS design, where the characters had slightly more exaggerated proportions.  It means he sticks out a little bit when with the other three figures in the set.  His paintwork is also pretty decent, but there’s still the slightly fuzzy lines of the costume.  Cosmic Boy also included no accessories.  Not even his much lower level intellect.

LIGHTNING LAD

“In the 31st Century, Garth Ranzz is one of the founding members of the legendary Legion of Super Heroes, a vast intergalactic team of teenage heroes dedicated to advancing justice throughout the universe.”

Poor Garth got the short end of the stick for the team’s DCAU appearances, being nothing more than a cameo in either one of them.  Still, he’s a founding member, so that at least got him a figure (even if it was at the cost of getting a Chameleon Boy to round out the “New Kids in Town” team).  Since he wasn’t ever a focus character, Garth didn’t get a new animated design; he’s just a straight adaptation of Dave Cockrum’s design for him from the ’70s.  It’s honestly Garth’s best look, so no complaints there.  He gets his own head sculpt, and it’s honestly my favorite in the set.  It’s just a very sharp sculpt.  Unfortunately, Garth’s paint is the weakest of the bunch; the edges of the white are by far the sloppiest work seen here, and they opted for gold paint over yellow on the lightning bolts, which just isn’t as striking as it is on the page.  Again, there were no accessories for Lightning Lad…I mean, I guess unless you count him having his arm.  He doesn’t always have it, you know.

SATURN GIRL

“A native of Saturn’s moon Titan, Imra Ardeen hoped to use her telepathic powers as a member of the Science Police.  Instead, she became a founding member of the 31st Century’s greatest team of champions, the Legion of Super Heroes!”

I think I may have missed it; what was the name of the team again?  I don’t know if that was repeated enough times.  Like Cosmic Boy, founding member Saturn Girl was prominently featured in “New Kids in Town” and then demoted to cameo for “Far From Home.”  She’s the most unique of the figures in the set; being a girl means that she’s on the girl body.  Of course, she’s only unique within the confines of this set, because being a girl means that she’s also on the only female body Mattel had.  It’s not one of their better base body, with those weirdly spaced legs being the primary issue.  She got a new head, which again is not a particularly strong piece.  The hair and head a two separate parts, and like a lot of the figures Mattel tied this on for this line, the two pieces just don’t quite line up correctly.  It makes her head look a little bit weirdly shaped.  Her paint work is okay, but nothing amazing.  Her eyebrows definitely seem to be set a little bit high, though.  Saturn Girl is a notable exception to this assortment’s lack of real accessories.  She gets a stand, which is good, because she can’t really stand without it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike most of the Matty Collector-exclusive JLU stuff, this set didn’t hit after I’d given up on the line.  I did miss its original drop date on the site, but they went back up during that year’s Cyber Monday sale, and I picked up this, the Doom Patrol, and the Shazam set all at the same time.  Though none of them are going to redefine action figures or anything, I’ve always quite liked this set, and it’s probably one of Mattel’s best Matty-exclusive offerings.

 

#2240: Wolverine – Street Clothes

WOLVERINE — STREET CLOTHES

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Outside of the X-Men, Wolverine often escapes form the pressure of being a super hero by slipping into his secret identity, Logan. Unfortunately, trouble always seems to find Wolverine even when he’s out of costume! Still, uniform or not, with his six adamantium claws and one bad attitude, Wolverine has a way of taking care of just about any problem which comes his way!”

Two years into Toy Biz’s X-Men line, getting a new Wolverine was practically a clockwork affair.  Marvel made Toy Biz’s job fairly easy at first, since he had a whole assortment of reasonable costume changes to take advantage of.  By Series 6, they were definitely running thin on valid variants, though (hence that assortment’s Wolverine technically not being a Wolverine).  Fortunately, they did still manage to squeeze out a few more sensible variants before descending into completely made-up nonsense.  Today’s figure is one of those “sensible variants,” depicting Logan in civilian attire, as he was frequently seen in the comics.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Street Clothes Wolverine was released in Series 7 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, and was proudly marked as the “7th Edition” of Wolverine.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  He misses out on the usual elbow articulation due to his action feature, which I’ll touch on in just a moment.  Wolverine’s sculpt was all-new to him and would remain unique, never being used for any other figures.  And that’s really the best thing to be said about it, that it was never used again, because boy is it not one of Toy Biz’s stronger offerings.  By this point in the line, Toy Biz was actually starting to get the hang of that whole sculpting thing, so the fact that this Wolverine ends up so rudimentary and backwards is a little bit of a surprise.  This guy was in the same assortment as Ch’od!  That sculpt was awesome and fairly naturally posed.  This one?  Well, natural certainly doesn’t describe how he looks.  Let’s start with the head.  Of all the unmasked Wolverines that Toy Biz produced, this one’s got to be one of the least intimidating takes they presented.  He just ends up looking a little lost and bemused.  He’s also got those dopey looking super straight arms.  The illustration on the back of the box shows the arms having a slight bend to them, but there’s nothing of the sort on the final product, which makes the whole upper torso feel rather stiff.  The arms are of course like this thanks to the claw-popping feature.  We had last seen in on Wolverine I, where it honestly worked a fair bit better.  This just really didn’t hold to it.  Even the detailing on this figure seems rather soft compared to others in the same set, with most of the figure being very smooth and without texture.  Comparing the jacket on this figure to the one on the Rogue from the same assortment is like night and day.  Hers looks sleek and sharp and cool; his just looks puffy.  His paint work is alright, I guess.  Nothing amazing, but they did manage to keep his usual colors in the mix, and he doesn’t look any more awful than the sculpt already has him looking.  Street Clothes Wolverine included no accessories.  What, not even a goofy, out of place gun?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I didn’t have this figure, but my cousin did.  It wasn’t one of my favorites.  Or one of his favorites.  Or one of anyone’s favorites, I’d wager.  Mine was fished out of a bin of loose figures a few years ago, alongside some other X-Men figures.  He’s not great.  That’s about the most I can muster.  Like, he’s not actively bad, so I can’t really say I hate him, but boy is he just uninspiring.

#2239: Soundblaster

SOUNDBLASTER

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Who doesn’t love a good re-deco? Well, Super Awesome Wife probably doesn’t love this one quite so much because I told her she couldn’t review it.  I know, I’m mean like that. Much as I am ever tempted to just let her take over the reviews of Transformers as a whole for this site (or at the very least, all of the many re-decos), I’ve lain claim to today’s particular figure because it’s a variant of my boy Soundwave, and I just couldn’t not review a Soundwave.  It feels wrong.  So, what’s the deal with this one?  Well, the original Soundwave was released in 1985, alongside the other first round Transformers.  In 1987, Hasbro’s Japanese equivalent Takara, whose Transformers line had generally followed the same structure as the American, introduced the “Headmasters” line, which would tie-in with the Japan-exclusive “Headmasters” cartoon.  Soundwave wound up with an upgrade, now dubbed Soundblaster.  Though his initial figure wasn’t released in America, Soundblaster has become a go-to variant for Soundwave figures ever since, and Hasbro opted to add him to their celebration of the 35th anniversary of Transformers.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundblaster is one of the four figures in the “35th Anniversary Commemorative Edition” line-up of Siege.  The assortment is a Walmart-exclusive, and started showing up around the end of October.  All four figures included are re-decos, with Soundblaster being, unsurprisingly, a re-deco of the Voyager Class Siege Soundwave from earlier this year.  That figure’s fairly G1 faithful roots make it a solid choice for re-use here, and pretty much everyone was expecting to see it at some point.  It’s worth noting that he’s not actually a straight repaint; to be a proper representation of Soundblaster, he does get the appropriate re-tooled cassette door, which now can hold two cassettes instead of just one at a time.  Additionally, some of the tolerances on this release’s joints seem a little better, and the shoulder cannon seems to sit better this time around.  Other than that, he’s the same figure, and minor issues with the mold aside, I’m okay with that.  The new color scheme actually really does pop on this mold.  The black is slick looking, and boy do I love those new red eyes.  The new deco on the tape deck is also really eye-catching.  Soundblaster’s alt-mode is the same as the previous figure.  Honestly, it’s the one part of the Soundwave figure I wasn’t that big on.  As nice as he is in robot mode, this just feels a little…tacked on?  I don’t know.  I’ve had six months to get used to it, and I still don’t really care for it.  It’s not the end of the world, and you can still form the pseudo-boombox fan-mode.  Plus, I just don’t see myself ever displaying him any way but as a robot.  Soundblaster is packed with the same assortment of weapons as the first release, but done up to match his new deco.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Going into the 35th Anniversary line-up, Soundblaster was really the only one I was interested in.  At this point, you know I didn’t stick to that, but hey, I tried.  He was the second of them I found, and I was honestly pretty darn thrilled about it.  He’s not all that different from the Soundwave figure, but I wasn’t expecting that to be the case.  Plus, I did really love the first figure, so I’m still a real fan of the second one too.  He’s a good pick for this line-up.

#2238: Bluestreak

BLUESTREAK

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Whad up my diddly-does and my homefries. Tonight, today, this afternoon this whateva is another special treat brought to you by the drunken mind of Ethan’s wondaful wifu! On this occasiona we’re gonna talk about Bluestreak, who will no longer be refered to by that name because HE’S NOT BLUE.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bluesteak is made by the brothers of Has. He’s from wave #, along with Well-done and Raw. He has 42 points of articulation or something–it’s hard to count when drunk, also Ethan is too busy working on models to help so that’s okay. Do you know what’s a good show so far? Mandalorian on Disney+. I never knew I wanted a show about a bounty hunter babysitter. Anyways, Medium-rare isn’t from Star Wars because he’s a transformer, but he’s technically in the same universe as Doctor WHo and Marvel because of Death’s Head. According to the wiki he talks a lot, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never seen hhimk  in a transformer show. I deviate a lot, don’t I? On with the figure!

Bluesteak is about 5-51/2 inches tall, but we tell him he’s 6 inches so that he doesn’t feel inferior ito the other transformers. *Whispers* he’s very sensitive about his size! He’s a repaint of somebody, at least I think because theat’s the only reason why I can review some of these metal bois. Actually, yes, he’s a repaint of Prowl *gggrrrrrrr*. 

Speaking of paint. Let’s talk about his paint! Do you know what this boi ain’t? He ain’t blue that’s fo shore. He’s like a red-based grey with red and black accents. BUT NO BLUE! So the main colors though are red and this weird grey, and they look rather nice together. Then it’s accented with black, and there’s hints of silver on his faces and the rims of the wheels. He also has some clear plasstoc bits, specifically on his shins and on his back behind his head between his door wings. The clear plastic is kinda cool, like leeting you see the inner workings of the transformer-car guy. You ever want to see the inside of a steak? Well now you can with this figure! Thw detaling of the fihure is pretty cool too; I like the detailing on the inside of the doors and legs the best. I also really like waht ever joint piece the hips are because of the ratcheting, there’s something satisfying about it.

Medium-rare can turn into a car, but not just any car, a cool sports car for sleek see through flim-flam. It’s actually pretty easy to turn him into his car state, even when intoxicated. The trick, for me is turning him back intp his non-car self.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have no personal attachment to this figure. I got to review him because he was the first transformer I was able to trasnform into their alteernate self by myself. ETHAN DIDN’T HELP ME AND HE WAS PROUD. Also I made a stink about him not being blue and how it was false advertising, and I wanted to wirte a review dedicated to making fun of him BECAUSE HE’S NOT BLUE. But yea, that’s aout it. Thanks for coming to my TED talk and I hipe we can drinkg and review again to your entertainent.

PS: Because I promised Max…Silversteak would’ve been a better name because this mofo is SILVER AND NOT BLUE. But I like Medium-Rare better because it has nothing to do with the figure, like his original name. There now I’m done.

#2237: Offworld Jawa

OFFWORLD JAWA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Jawas that arrive on new planets continue their old habits in their new surroundings, but their obsessive need for technology still drives them.”

Introduced in the very first film, the Jawas have sort of hung around in the background of the Star Wars universe ever since.  Classically, they’ve been confined to Tatooine, at least for their appearances in the first two trilogies, but The Mandalorian is mixing things up, having them show up at least one other place that we know of.  The creatures’ notable appearance in the show has also been a good excuse to put out another release of them in the main Black Series line, and I’ll be taking a look at that release today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Offworld Jawa is figure 96 in the Black Series line-up, being the second Mandalorian-based figure in the eight figure Triple Force Friday product launch.  It’s our third Black Series release of a Jawa, following the 40th Anniversary and #61 releases.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  Those numbers should be somewhat familiar, since they are the same ones as the #61 Jawa.  That’s because this figure uses the same sculpt as that one, but loses the plastic skirt piece from that figure, and gains a cloth goods robe.  Though I am not always a fan of the cloth goods in Black Series, and I was okay with the plastic robe of the prior Jawa, I will admit that this robe ended up working far better than I’d expected.  It honestly ends up looking a little better than the plastic version, and has the added benefit of finally letting the figure take full advantage of all that leg articulation that the old figure had hidden beneath the plastic skirt.  The only slight downside is that they didn’t re-sculpt the arms to remove the sculpted robes, so the articulation there is still as restricted as the original release.  Though the head isn’t actually changed, the way the hood is connected is slightly different between my two Jawas, and I find that this one has a more natural look about it than the prior, which I’m totally okay with.  The Jawa’s paint is actually more involved than you might think.  There’s some nice weathering on the feet, and the bandolier now gets a wash to bring out more of its details, which definitely does it some favors.  This figure includes the same two ion blasters from the prior release, with one still being permanently attached to the harness.  Again, this feels a little light, but at this point, I think this just how the Jawas are gonna go in the Black Series.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was expecting very little out of this figure.  I already had the prior release, and I’m generally not that big on cloth.  Mostly, I bought him because I was buying everything else.  In person, he certainly looked better, but it wasn’t until I opened him up that I realized how much I enjoyed him.  I liked the prior figure a lot when it was new, but this one is an improvement in pretty much every way.  I’m glad I picked up this figure, especially after watching Episode 2 of The Mandalorian.

I got the Jawa 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.

#2236: IG-11

IG-11

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunter’s Guild protocol to the letter.”

Ranking the distinctive bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back has become something of a running gag on this site, so I don’t believe it’s at all a secret that my favorite of said bounty hunters is the robotic IG-88, a character that doesn’t do much on the screen, but like all of the bounty hunters has a rich background in the expanded universe.  Also like all of the bounty hunters, he doesn’t really have much going on post-Empire.  When The Mandalorian was in production, they originally planned to include IG-88 as one of the series’ characters, but at a very late stage it was decided that it would be better to let IG-88 keep his EU backstory, leading to the creation of the very similar, but still ever so slightly different IG-11, who we meet in the show’s very first episode.  He’s voiced by none other than Thor: Ragnarok director (and voice of Korg), Taika Waititi, and is just generally pretty awesome.  And, it being Star Wars, he’s also gotten a figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-11 is a Best Buy-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering.  Yes, apparently Best Buy is also getting in on the exclusives game, and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.  I guess it’s not a total shock to see them try to expand outside of selling dying forms of media, but I’m not entirely sure that backing action figures is quite going to be the salvation that they’re looking for.  Time will tell, I suppose.  IG-11 was officially street-dated for November 1st, and has been cropping up in fairly decent numbers since then.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  Most of this figure’s sculpt is exactly the same as the main line’s IG-88 figure from 2015 (or, if you want to get really technical, the very slightly improved version of that mold from this year’s Archive release), which more or less makes sense, since the two character’s designs are very, very similar, and they are meant to represent the same model of droid.  That being said, there were a few issues with IG-88 that I know a lot of fans were hoping to see corrected on any potential IG-11 release.  The head is the most glaring inaccuracy, being the wrong shape for both droids; I myself don’t mind it too much, but inaccurate is still inaccurate.  He should also really be a little larger as a whole to be properly scaled.  At his current size, he’s still taller than the standard figure, but he doesn’t tower quite the way he should.  The cut joints on the hips are also still quite restricting, even more noticeable for a more mobile on-screen character like IG-11.  The last issue *wasn’t* an issue with IG-88, but is for 11; his hands should be the new design from the show, but are instead the same as 88’s were.  IG-11 does get one new piece: his two bandoliers, which are a single, non-removable add-on.  It’s a suitably distinctive look to separate him a little bit from IG-88, and I can certainly dig it.  11 is also a little bit different on the paint front, with a slightly grimier, generally darker color scheme, as well as some nifty accenting that wasn’t present on the original or Archive releases.  The weathering takes advantage of the same technique Hasbro’s been using on faces, and it looks pretty solid here.  IG-11 is packed with two styles of blaster.  The longer rifle is the same one included with IG-88, while the shorter one, though very similar, is actually a new, smaller mold.  Both attach to the forearms in the same fashion as they did with 88, and there’s a spot on the bandolier that can hold either one of the guns.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite it not being perfect, I’ve always been a big fan of the Black Series IG-88, and IG-88 in general.  I was beyond thrilled when he was rumored for the show, and still thrilled when they revealed him to be IG-11, not 88.  I figured the 11 would end up being mostly just a re-deco, and I wasn’t wrong.  Would I have preferred to get an all-new mold?  Probably.  Would I have wanted that original mold to wind up as a store exclusive like this figure is?  No, I would not.  As it stands, I love this figure just as much, if not a little more than the 88 figure, even if he’s not entirely accurate.  I wouldn’t mind getting a more accurate one further down the line (alongside an updated 88), but this one will certainly hold me over.

#2235: The Mandalorian

THE MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

His body is shielded by beskar armor, his face is hidden behind a T-visored mask, and his past is wrapped in mystery.”

The Disney+ streaming service officially launched on the 12th of last month, and brought with it The Mandalorian, our first live-action TV series set in the Star Wars universe.  The prospect of a live-action Star Wars show has been rumored for years now, with one supposed to go into production around the same time as Clone Wars, but nothing ever came of it.  Running sort of right alongside all these plans, there has also long been discussion of actually centering some piece of mainstream Star Wars media on fan-favorite bounty hunter Boba Fett (you know, to finally actually do something of consequence with the character after 30 years).  Rumors of a Boba Fett series were floating for a bit, but ultimately those plans found themselves reworked into producer Jon Favreau’s new series, centered not on Boba Fett, but instead on an as-of-yet-unnamed fellow Mandalorian bounty hunter.  As of this writing, I’ve seen two episodes, and I’m quite enjoying what I’ve seen so far.  The show was one of the three projects focused on during the Triple Force Friday launch back in October, with a Black Series version of its title character being front and center.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mandalorian is figure 94 in the Black Series line-up, and was one of 8 Black Series figures made available on Triple Force Friday, two of which were based on the show.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Compared to our previous Mandalorian Boba Fett, whose figure ended up a little restricted in a few spots, this one can actually pull off a decent amount of range with his articulation, certainly some of the best range I’ve gotten out of a Black Series release.  The sculpt is an all-new affair (though it’s also shared with the “Carbonized” variant of the figure), based upon the Mandalorian’s Episode 1 appearance from the show, mostly clearly denoted by the *MINOR SPOILERS* right shoulder pauldron sill being the scavenged Shoretrooper piece, rather than is proper Beskar piece he has crafted mid-way through the episode.  I’m honestly okay with it, since the Mandalorian is bound to get a lot of toy coverage, and as someone who really loves the Shoretroopers, I totally geeked out seeing that piece there when I got the figure.  The rest of the character’s piecemeal armor is rather nicely recreated, with some solid detailing all-around.  His helmet’s not quite a pitch-perfect recreation of the piece from the show; some of the angles are a little bit softer, and the general detailing is also a little softer too.  It’s possible that Hasbro was working from design sketches, or on a slightly shorter production schedule than usual.  Given that the helmet appears to be the one element of the design that will remain constant, I wouldn’t be shocked if we got a slightly improved version for the next figure.  Whatever the case, it’s hardly a bad sculpt, and honestly I didn’t really notice until I was directly comparing the figure with photos from the show for the purposes of this review.  In contrast to Boba, this Mandalorian’s asymmetrical cape is a sculpted element, rather than a cloth one.  Personally, I tend to prefer plastic, and I feel this ends up looking better then the cape on Boba did.  It’s also a soft enough rubber that it doesn’t really limit posing too much, and it’s pretty easily removed if you really don’t like it.  I’ve heard that Island Journey Rey’s poncho makes for decent replacement piece.  There’s also an add-on piece for his belt/webgear, which isn’t really meant to be removed, but adds a nice element of depth to the figure.  The paint work on this guy is pretty solid work.  It’s not super weathered or 100% show accurate or anything, but it’s got a decent amount of extra detailing going on, keeping it from being totally devoid of detail like some of the mid-line figures ended up being.  The colors are also accurate to the show, which is more than can be said about the Carbonized version.  The Mandalorian includes two styles of blaster: a rifle and a pistol.  Both are fairly nice pieces, held well in the figure’s hands, and appear to match the show’s designs pretty closely.  The rifle is definitely my preferred of the two, in part due to it’s cool throwback to Boba’s first appearance in the Holiday Special.  Both weapons have storage on the figure, though the rifle’s pegging into the figure’s back can be a little bit tricky, and not super reliable.  The peg is just too long, and it results in a very loosely hanging weapon.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mandolorian was definitely the figure in this assortment I was most interested in.  Of course, that’s true of pretty much every one buying these figures, so this guy is consistently the first to go from any case of figures.  I was able to get mine without too much trouble, but he’s probably going to be a little rough to get until the solid cases of him start hitting in a few months.  He’s a strong figure, no doubt, and I found him to be a notable improvement on the Boba and Jango figures from this line.  He’s a lot of fun, and I heartily recommend him if you can get him.

My Mandalorian came from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve sold through on initial quantities of him at the moment, but they do still have some of the others from the assortment in stock.  If you’re looking for Star Wars, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2234: Bullseye

BULLSEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A former soldier with perfect aim, Bullseye never misses his mark. From the early days of his career as a costumed criminal, the ruthless assassin has set his sights most often on a single target – Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. Any object – be it pencil, playing card or paper clip – becomes a deadly weapon in the skilled hands of the man who could be the world’s greatest assassin!”

Daredevil has a wonky history with villains.  His most prominent foe, the Kingpin, wasn’t even his villain to start with.  On the flipside, a lot of foes originally introduced in his book would end up getting grabbed by other heroes in the Marvel universe.  He just doesn’t get true claim to anything!  Well, he actually does get full claim to today’s entry, Bullseye, who first appeared in Daredevil’s book in ’76, and has remained attached to the character ever since.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bullseye was released in the 9th Series of Marvel Legends from Toy Biz, a series notable for being the first ever Build-A-Figure centered series of Legends.  Bullseye was one of the two figures in the line-up to get a variant release as well.  The standard release was sporting a pouty closed mouth look, while his variant had a mad grin.  It was…an odd choice, especially given the more drastically different variant from the same series.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 48 points of articulation.  That’s a very high count of articulation, and includes individually articulated fingers.  Toy Biz was definitely articulation mad at this point.  Bullseye was the first figure to use his mold, but he would be far from the last; Toy Biz quickly retooled it into a base body, and it was still in use by Hasbro as late as 2015’s Allfather Series Iron Fist. A decade of use isn’t a bad run.  While it wound up looking rather dated by the end of its run, it was one of Toy Biz’s stronger sculpts…at least the base body, anyway.  The Bullseye-specific parts were a little more of a mixed bag.  The boots and gloves are pretty solid sculpts, but the head on both versions of the figure ended up being too large to properly scale with the rest of the body.  The prototype shots looked fine, so it was clearly some sort of error that cropped up during production.  It’s a shame, because he ends up looking a little goofier than intended because of it.  The two versions of Bullseye had divergent paint schemes, which both had their pluses and minuses.  The standard is a more strict white and black scheme, with just a little bit of accenting to make some parts pop.  However, they slightly messed up the gloves, Leaving the top stripe black instead of white, despite how it’s sculpted.  The variant fixed this issue, but swap out the white and black for a light grey and a gunmetal grey, which, while not a *terrible* look, isn’t nearly as striking as the standard scheme.  Unfortunately, due to the size of the included BaF parts for this line-up, the individual figures went without any figure-specific extras.  He included the left leg of Galactus, as well as a reprinted copy of Daredevil #132, Bullseye’s first appearance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Both versions of Bullseye were a little tricky to get at first.  I got the standard first, courtesy of finding an untouched case of figures at the local KB Toys.  I was all content to just have that version, but in a bit of luck a few months later happened to find a whole pile of both Series 9 variants hidden at my nearby Walmart.  I like both figures for different reasons, but

#2233: Luke Skywalker & Darth Vader

LUKE SKYWALKER in TRASH COMPACTOR & DARTH VADER w/ REMOVABLE DOME

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Board the Death Star…for a fight to the finish!  Recreate classic Star Wars movie battles in two games! In the first, for younger players, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca sneak through the Death Star capturing Imperials. Can you score the most captures?  Now advance to the next game — and take sides. Darth Vader, Boba Fett and stormtroopers move in the open, capturing Rebel Code Cards to win. But the Rebels move in secret. To win, they must use strategy to reach the Millennium Falcon, then dice-roll their way off the Death Star!  Add other action figures you already own…and fill the game board with life-like Star Wars characters!”

In the ’90s, Star Wars was back on the rise again, and they were just slapping the brand on everything they could.  The action figures maintained their foothold as the primary selling point for just about everything, resulting in the distribution methods being a little bit all over the place.  There were a bunch of mail-away offers, there were figures packed in with playsets, and carrying cases and collector’s coins.  And, in 1998, there were two figures offered exclusively with a board game of all things.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Luke Skywalker in Trash Compactor and Darth Vader with Removable Dome were the two Power of the Force II figures available exclusively with the “Escape the Death Star” board game (not to be confused with the “Escape *FROM* the Death Star” game from the ’70s, which was just re-issued with an exclusive figure packed in…it’s not confusing at *all*), which hit shelves in 1998.  The game included the two figures, plus a bag of accessories containing three lightsabers and three styles of blaster.  There were also cardboard standees of all the non-Luke and Vader characters mentioned, which could be replaced in game play by the separately sold PotF releases of the characters.

LUKE SKYWALKER in TRASH COMPACTOR

Luke was easily the most populous character in this line by this point, so another variant wasn’t really too much of a shock.  This one, like a lot of the late-run Luke variants was also exceedingly similar to a prior figure, namely the Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper Disguise from 1996.  But this one’s different, you see.  He’s Luke after he falls into the trash compactor and gets pulled under the the water by the Dianoga.  This necessitates the new head sculpt featured, which also better matches the changed Luke likeness introduced in 1997, though with the slicked back hair, he’s not as immediately recognizable as Luke.  Aside from the new head and a few small deco additions on the torso, he’s pretty much the same as the previous figure, meaning he’s still not a little short for a Stormtrooper.  Drat.

DARTH VADER w/ REMOVABLE DOME

As the most recognizable character in the franchise, there’s an undeniable desire to release lots of Darth Vader action figures.  The trouble, of course, being that the character only has minor changes to his look over the course of the franchise, so not exactly a lot of room for variation between releases.  Nevertheless, Kenner sure did their best to jam as many possible variants of him into the line as possible.  Unlike Luke, this one doesn’t actually get any new parts, being the head from the “Complete Galaxy” Vader on the body of the main line’s removable helmet Vader from the same year as this figure.  Despite his lack of new parts, he actually ends up being a slightly more worth while figure than Luke.  I mean, not essential or anything, but the reveal of the back of his head is a distinctive moment from Empire, and with the dome in place, he actually makes for a really solid basic Vader figure.  It helps that the removable helmet body is probably the best Vader body from Power of the Force, so getting it again really wasn’t a bad deal.  It also helps that, unlike Luke, Vader got to keep his removable helmet, so there’s less of a feeling of this loss of value.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t own this as a kid (though one of my cousins did), but I remember this game when it was released.  And I also remember it from all the years after it was released that it sat around not selling, because it was definitely not one of the line’s hotter items.  The real trouble is that finding the set’s market is a little tricky.  The game was just a hastily thrown together to augment the figures really, so it wasn’t going to be appealing to board game collectors, but the figures were also rather hastily thrown together to go with the game, and neither one of them is anywhere near essential to a collector.  Topping that off was that the whole thing cost more than four times the cost of a single figure, making this a very hard sell to the action figures they were trying to cash in on.  It’s not hard to figure out why these two are still rather cheaply acquired.