#2129: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

REAL GHOSTBUSTERS RETRO ACTION HEROES (MATTEL)

You all knew this was coming eventually.  I’ve been building to this review since #0123, when I reviewed Ray Stanz, the first of the Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes, and slowly working my way through the four man crew.  There was a bit of a curve ball back in June when I reviewed a Retro Action Heroes release that wasn’t one of the main four, but I’m finally circling back around, coming to the end, and taking a look at Dr. Peter Venkman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is the final of the four ‘busters included in the mass release assortment of Real Ghostbusters Retro Action Heroes, released by Mattel in 2011.  Venkman was the most fortunate of the ‘busters when it came to this line, with not one, but three whole figures, thanks to a SDCC release, plus a variant of said release.  This is just the standard version though, which is sporting his unique jumpsuit from the cartoon.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  Like the other three, Venkman was built on Mattel’s in-house take on the Mego-style body, which has its plusses and its minuses.  The most important thing is that it matches the rest of the crew.  Venkman gets a new head sculpt and, if I’m totally honest, it’s really the weakest of the heads from this line-up.  It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly more off-model based on the animation than the rest of them were.  It’s also a fair bit softer than the others.  Due to the SDCC-exclusive with which he shared his head being released prior to the main line, it’s likely this one was produced first, which might explain why it isn’t quite as spot-on.  Venkman has a cloth jumpsuit, which is the same one seen on prior three, just in the appropriate colors.  There’s also a pair of rubber boots, and his proton pack and neutrino wand.  The proton pack is, as always, definitely the highlight of these figures. Venkman’s color scheme isn’t quite as bright and exciting as the other three, but it’s still fairly eye-catching, and the paint work does its part to sell it, which I can certainly appreciate.  Perhaps the largest drawback to this figure is the accessory complement.  While the rest of the figures all got one extra gadget in addition to the proton pack, Venkman is lacking.  It feels like something of a missed opportunity if you ask me.  While we did get Slimer later down the line, including him here would have been a solid choice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though he’s the last of them I’ve reviewed, Venkman was actually the first of these figures I picked up.  I found him by himself at my local TRU, and he was cool enough to sell me on the rest of the line-up.  While he’s the weakest of the four main figures, he’s actually a great starter figure, since he was pretty easy to find and had the most basic extras, so it was all upward from here.

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#2128: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS VINGTAGE (HASBRO)

“Wolverine is the X-Men’s greatest fighter! A master of all forms of hand-to-hand combat, Wolverine also has a fearsome secret weapon – razor sharp retractable adamantium claws that can slice through anything.”

What’s an X-Men assortment without a Wolverine variant?  Statistically, not made.  They’re quite the hard sell.  For that reason, Wolverine gets toy love for just about every costume change, no matter how minor, no matter how restrained.  Case in point, today’s offering.  It’s Wolverine in his “Madripor” costume, an all-black number he picked up right around the time of his ongoing solo series starting up in 1988.  He wore it for a few of his world travelling adventures, before ditching it after less than a year.  Not exactly stuck in the minds of fans, but it’s only had one toy before, and it goes with Silver Samurai, so how about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the final figure in the X-Men-themed third series of the Marvel Legends Vintage line, where he fills the required Wolverine slot.  Though the Madripor costume was featured back during the Toy Biz days, it was much later in the line, and under a bunch of goofy armor, meaning he’s not quite a direct counterpart for any of those earlier figures.  Nevertheless, he gets the retro styled card, which honestly suits him better than the standard packaging might.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the re-engineered brown costume body, since that’s our new standard for Wolverine.  It’s a solid choice given the simple spandex nature of the costume.  He gets a new head and shins (which give us clean shins without the usual Wolverine boots for a change), plus the wrist bands from Union Jack (which are a very tight fit here) and the belt from Brown Wolverine. The new head goes for a screaming expression, which works well enough, and is honestly a nice change up from the slightly more reserved Wolverines we’ve gotten recently.  The rest of the parts a pretty standard issue, which works well enough.  The rest of the figure is sold by the paint, or at least what there is of it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the body suit is actually a slightly off-black, with the “boots” being a more straight black.  It’s subtle, but I like it.  What I’m not as crazy about is the face, or more specifically the eyes.  In Hasbro’s defense, the weird fishnet look is accurate to the comics…it’s just really goofy, and the lack of extra head means you’re stuck with it.  Wolverine is packed with a spare set of gripping hands and a katana.  But it’s not just any katana, it’s actually the Black Blade, which figured into the Madrior story and was wielded by Wolverine in this costume.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no attachment to this Wolverine at all, nor do I find it to be a particularly exciting variant.  However, I was grabbing the rest of the set and felt bad about just skipping one figure, meaning he was along for the ride.  I can’t really say that he swayed my opinion on the design or anything, but it’s not like he’s a bad figure, and he’s certainly a nice accent piece for the Silver Samurai.

I picked up this Wolverine from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2127: Silver Samurai

SILVER SAMURAI

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The Silver Samurai has but one goal in life: to become the leader of the Japanese underworld! Trained in the martial arts and wielding a massive katana through which he can channel mutant energy, this honorless samurai has often come close to achieving his desire – if not for the interference of Wolverine and the X-Men!”

When you get down to it, it’s kind of amusing how many Wolverine foes began their careers not only not fighting Wolverine, but not even fighting the X-Men at all.  Much like he acquired his arch enemy Sabretooth from Iron Fist, today’s focus, Silver Samurai, first appeared in the pages of Daredevil.  After bouncing around the Marvel Universe for a bit, he would eventually be folded into the X-Men franchise, and found himself on multiple occasions paired off against Wolverine, and would even serve as the primary antagonist in 2013’s The Wolverine…albeit in a slightly convoluted sense.  Whatever the case, he’s just gotten a Legends release, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Samurai is the second the last figure in the third series of Marvel Legends Vintage figures.  This is Silver Samurai’s first time as a Legend, making him the only all-new character in this assortment.  He is, of course, the classic Kenuchi Harada version of the character, the same one to be released in the old Toy Biz line.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Samurai is an all-new sculpt, which is quite the impressive feat for a line that was previously completely recycled parts.  What’s more, I don’t really foresee much parts reuse from this particular assortment of parts. Not exactly a lot of samurai in the Marvel universe.  What really impressed me was the lack of add-on bits; everything is actually fixed in place or just part of the main sculpt, meaning he’s not as floppy as some earlier built up Legends. Silver Samurai isn’t without a few QC issues, mostly to do with flashing, especially on his helmet.  On my figure I actually had to do a little bit of clean up around the eyes, as his left eye was almost completely covered.  It’s an easy enough clean-up, but still a little frustrating that I had to do it at all.  Paint work on this guy is minimal.  There’s really just the rising sun and the eyes.  His logo is a little messy, but not awful.  The rest of it’s molded plastic, which can be a slightly iffy prospect with silver, but it works out better than I’d expected here.  Samurai is packed with two swords, which can be sheathed on his belt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Admittedly, I don’t have a big connection to Silver Samurai as a character, since he’s only in a single episode of the ’90s cartoon and doesn’t really figure into the periods of the X-Men comics I followed.  That said, he’s certainly got a distinctive appearance and I can appreciate his importance in the line-up. I didn’t know what to expect from him, but he’s actually a pretty solid figure.

I picked up Silver Samurai from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2126: Storm

STORM

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Storm has the amazing mutant power to control weather! With a quick mental command, Storm can create anything from a simple summer shower to a raging hurricane. By raising her arms she can command the winds to carry her anywhere.”

Last year, when I looked at the last Marvel Legends Storm, I noted that she had been surprisingly scarce in the line for a character of her stature.  Her one figure during the Toy Biz days was decent enough for the time, but since then she’s only had two more figures, both of them sporting her mohawk-ed look.  Things are picking up for her, though, since she’s gotten yet another figure, just a year after the last one!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Storm is another figure from the third series of Marvel Legends Vintage figures.  The whole assortment is heavy on the 90s X-Men, and as such Storm is sporting her classic ’90s togs, which have never actually gotten proper Legends treatment.  Interestingly, this costume choice means that she’s not 100% a recreation of a Toy Biz release, since while the original Storm figure was later re-decoed into white, the carded release being simulated here was only available in black or silver.  It’s still closer than Dazzler, though, so I guess she gets a pass.  Also, after all this waiting, I think people might have gotten slightly annoyed if the ’90s Storm Hasbro produced wasn’t the proper white costume.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Storm’s loose starting point is the mid-sized female body introduced appropriately enough with the TRU exclusive Storm from 2014, from which this figure borrows her legs and feet.  She also uses the same open gesture hands we saw on the Dazzler figure.  On top of that, she gets a new head, torso, pelvis, and arms.  The pieces are nice and clean, and I really appreciate the moving away from the straight skin-tight spandex look of the other figures in the line.  The head goes for the calm serenity take on the character, which fits the ’90s version especially well, and is a nice contrast to the grin on the mohawk-ed version.  The hair has a slight dynamism to it which is great for weather-controlling poses, but still works with more basic standing poses.  If I have one complaint about the figure, it’s the cape.  It’s just a thin piece of cloth, and it comes out of the package with some noticeable creases, which aren’t really going to come out, nor does it really hang very realistically.  The paintwork on the figure is pretty solid, with clean work on the uniform, and even a nice wash on her hair to keep it from being too flat.  Storm is packed with a pair of lightning effects, the same ones included with the last release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The mohawk-ed Storm was a nice place holder, but she was never really going to be my standard Storm, so this figure’s announcement was certainly nice news for me.  She’s one of the more difficult figures to acquire in the set, due largely to the whole “completing the 90s X-Men” thing, but she’s honestly pretty darn worth it.  Sure, the cape’s not great, but everything else about the figure is really nice.  Now, about that ’70s Storm…

I picked up Storm from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2125: Iceman

ICEMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice slides, ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs.”

Of the original X-Men, Iceman is probably the one with the most raw potential, power-wise.  As a way of keeping him in check, he’s also the one saddled with the most regressive personality, a permanent goof-off who never quite advanced forward the way the other four members did.  Rather tellingly, when the time-displaced versions of the original five were introduced, the two Icemen were virtually identical, and most of his storyline revolved around confronting some long-theorized ideas about his sexuality, rather than the “what did I become?” plot that faced the other four.  Bobby is just very consistent, I suppose.  So consistent that he’s really only got a handful of looks, which can be tricky when it comes to action figures.  While it means that figures can often play double or triple duty in era-specific displays, it also means that he can go a while between updated figures.  Fortunately, he didn’t have to wait too long this time.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman is part of the X-themed third assortment of Hasbro’s Vintage sub-set of the Marvel Legends brand.  He follows Cyclops’ trend of being a direct homage to a vintage Toy Biz figure, specifically the first Iceman figure, released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s line.  This pretty much means he covers Iceman’s look post-snowman and pre-ice armor, which is a period of about 25 years.  Not a bad stretch of coverage.  It’s also a look that has been done before in the scale, with both his original Toy Biz Legends release and the ANAD boxed set release covering the same ground.  Both of those figures, it should be noted, had some definite issues, meaning another go at the design is far from a bad thing.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Iceman is built on the 2099 body, in contrast to his last figure being built on the skinnier Pizza Spidey body.  It’s honestly a better fit for the character, especially the version they’re going for.  He gets a new head, as well as an add-on piece for the belt.  Unlike a lot of the heads we’ve gotten for the 2099 body, I actually think this one is pretty well scaled to the body, and doesn’t sit too high on the neck.  I quite like the slight grin on his face, as well as the blocky construction of his features.  The belt isn’t designed to be removable, which is a slight point against him, since the belt’s presence in his ice form was very much dependent on the artist.  I think making it more easily removed would have added more to the figure, but it’s not the end of the world as is.  Iceman’s pant is minimal, with the only details being the whites of his eyes, and the x-logo on the belt.  There’s still some interesting colorwork going on with the molded plastic, which is a slightly translucent affair.  It’s more opaque than the last figure, and lacks the blue tint, which honestly makes it look more like actual ice.  It’s worth noting that there’s a fair bit of variance between copies of this Iceman’s coloring, with some being darker and some lighter, likely dependent on when in the run they were produced.  Additionally, nearly ever figure has a seam running down the face, but the exact placement and how contrasting it is with the plastic around it is variable.  Iceman is packed with an ice sled stand, simulating the one his original Toy Biz figure included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was more or less content with the Juggernaut Series Iceman.  He’s not a perfect figure, but I liked him for what he was, and he’s been filling that spot in my X-Men set-up since I got him.  This one’s announcement didn’t exactly blow my mind, especially given the figures he was shown alongside.  Even when I picked up my set, I wasn’t really sure about the figure.  After taking him out and playing with him a bit, I’m pleasantly surprised by this figure.  He’s not going to be my favorite in the set or anything, but he’s certainly our best Legends Iceman, and he’ll go well with the rest of the ’90s line-up.

I picked up Iceman from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2124: Dazzler

DAZZLER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Dazzler uses sonic vibrations and impressive speed to take down her enemies.  Though she can channel sonic energy in many forms, her preferred method of sonic battle is through the power of music.”

Before they were shoving the likes of Deadpool and Squirrel-Girl into everything under the sun, Marvel’s first real go at pushing a character was Dazzler.  She was supposed to be a whole cross-platform phenomenon, with a solo comic being joined by music, videos, and even real performances by “Dazzler.”  For a number of reasons, the project never took off, and Marvel was left with a character they’d put a lot of work into and nowhere to put her.  So, Chris Claremont and John Byrne introduced her in the pages of X-Men, during the “Dark Phoenix Saga.”  By the time she was actually added to the team line-up, disco was officially the thing that things were said to be “deader than,” so Dazzler was reworked with an ’80s jazzercize bend.  It was this version of the character that was used in both the failed cartoon pilot “Pryde of the X-Men”, as well as the ’90s arcade game, meaning this version was burned pretty firmly into the heads of a whole decade of X-Fans.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dazzler is part of the X-Men-themed third series of the Marvel Legends Vintage line.  Unlike yesterday’s Cyclops, this Dazzler has no direct equivalent from the Toy Biz days, as their only Dazzler figure was based on her prior costume, and wasn’t even part of the X-Men line to boot.  In fact, the only prior toy of this particular costume design was the Minimate.  It is, of course, her second time as a Legends figure in general, though, since her disco attire was released as part of the Warlock Series in 2017.  The figure is just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation. There’s a fair bit of re-use going on here. Her base body is Phoenix’s (which was also the basis of the first Dazzler), and she also gets the upper arms, jacket, belt, and cuffs from Rogue (since it was actually Dazzler that originated the bomber jacket over spandex look).  If you want to get technical, the gloves weren’t usually worn with the jacket, but its not entirely without precedent for them to be there, and I really don’t mind it myself. The figure is topped off with a new head sculpt, which does a respectable job of capturing Dazzler’s general look from this era.  The paintwork on the figure isn’t bad, especially when compared to the Cyclops.  The blue is perhaps a little flat (either metallics or a brighter shade would have been cool), but the application is nicely handled and all of the proper details are there.  Dazzler is packed with two of the Scarlet Witch hex pieces, this time in a translucent pink with sparkly flecks in them.  While it’s not quite as fun as the multi-colored piece from the last Dazzler, they’re still pretty decent additions.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first introduction to Dazzler was via “Pryde of the X-Men”, which I had a VHS copy of in the ’90s.  The fact that her only figure at the time was based on her disco look always bummed me out a little bit (though I’ve since gained an appreciation for that design as well).  When Disco Dazzler was again picked for the Legends release, I was fine with it, and I really did enjoy the figure, but something always felt a little bit off.  This figure just feels right to me.  I look forward to getting a proper Longshot update to go alongside her (as well as a classic Storm to round out my “Pryde” cast).

I picked up Dazzler from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2123: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“Cyclops has mutant-energy optic blasts so powerful that they can smash through solid steel.  He can make the beams so small that they can pass through a key hole without touching the sides, or so wide they can cover space the size of a football field.”

Okay, so I want to start this review off by giving mad props to Hasbro for going back to the original Toy Biz packaging for that bio up there.  Only true Toy Biz package text can fully capture the insanity that was Toy Biz package text.  I love the idea that there’s this need to quality Cyclops powers with such specific circumstances, as if someone heard he could smash solid steel and said “that’s all well and good, but how is he at getting through key holes without touching the sides?  What of all of the football field-sized spaced that we need covered?”  It just goes to show, no matter how much you do for them, people always want more.  It’s okay Scott, I can sympathize.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is the first figure in the third assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line-up.  While the last two have covered the full Marvel Universe, this round is exclusively X-themed, and *most* of the figures contained are direct call-backs to Toy Biz’s old 5-inch X-Men line.  Additionally, building off of what we saw last time, all of the figures in this round are new offerings, rather than slight tweaks of prior figures.  Cyclops is patterned on his very first figure, which was sporting his second X-Factor uniform.  He spent a decent amount of time in it, and its presence on his original release has certainly given it a lot of prominence in toy collectors’ minds.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As with every Cyclops in since the Puck Series figure, this one is built on the Bucky Cap body, which I still like for the character, even if it is getting a little older.  Perhaps the most shocking thing about this figure is how many new parts he’s got.  The prior two Vintage line ups had a sum total of two new pieces between them (Wolverine’s mask and Vision’s cape, for those keeping track), instead being largely a venue for figures that could be built from re-used parts.  That aspect has been discarded for this assortment, and Cyclops gets two new head sculpts, a pair of new forearms, new shins, and even new feet if you can believe it.  I had fully expected to see a lot more parts re-use on this guy.  While the angry head was obviously new (and very fun for dynamic posing, I might add), the calm head I had thought might just be the same one seen on the Two-Pack Cyclops, but this one adds two energy effects to either side of the of his visor, which is kind of a fun callback to the old figure’s light-up feature.  There’s a part of me that sort of wishes the effect were removable, but I’ve honestly got enough other Legends Cyclopses that I can dig this one being different.  The slightly raised cuffs to the gloves I had honestly expected to be overlooked, or just replaced by flared gloves (that’s what the TB Legends version did), but what shocked me the most were the new boots.  I was very much expecting to see the same buccaneer boots we’ve seen countless times before.  These, however, are without all of the crazy texturing of the prior boots, meaning they better fit the usual depictions for this costume.  What’s more, the feet, the last hold out of those boots, the textured feet that have been on damn near every Bucky Cap figure, have been replaced by new smooth pieces.  I anticipate these will be low key turning up on some of the upcoming figures on the body.  The point is, there’s a lot that didn’t *need* to be done on this figure that still was, and that’s mighty cool.  Perhaps the only downside to this figure is the paint work.  It’s not awful, but it’s not as good as some of Hasbro’s more recent offerings.  There’s some noticeable slop on the change overs from blue to white, plus a few spots that are just outright missing paint.  My figure also has a weird brown spot at the top of his right boot, of which I really don’t know the origin.  Cyclops’s accessories are his extra head, plus an attachable optic beam for it, which I definitely dig.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The original blue and white Cyclops was my first Cyclops figure, so I’ve definitely got a sentimental streak for this particular design.  When Hasbro showed him off, and announced he would be in vintage style packaging to boot, I was instantly sold.  The paint work is a bit iffy, but I really like all of the new parts distributed throughout, and the effects pieces are a lot fun.  I look forward to seeing these parts crop up on future Cyclopses.

I picked up Cyclops from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2122: Robin

ROBIN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Tim Drake is the third youngster to serve as Robin, partner to Batman. Through rigorous and constant training, Robin keeps his physical edge, which, along with his knowledge of computers, makes him a formidable foe of Gotham City’s villainous population. Tim balances his activities as Robin with his school and friends… but he is always ready to answer the call to action.”

Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line was rife with distribution issues, pretty much for its entirety, but especially at its start.  This meant that key characters had figures that were virtually impossible to find, which was a major barrier for entry.  To offset this, Mattel tried to at the very least offer up repaints of prior molds.  Series 3’s Robin figure had a direct rerelease in their World’s Greatest Super Heroes sub-line, but even still was hard to find, and to top it off, he wasn’t in the costume most collectors hoped for.  Mattel attempted to kill two birds with one stone with today’s figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was one half of a Walmart-exclusive “Dynamic Duo” two-pack, released in 2010 under the DC Universe Classics banner.  No points for guess who the other half was.  This Robin makes use of the exact same tooling as the Series 3 version of the character.  That figure was not without its flaws, but one of the most stand-out issues was one of scaling.  He was pretty darn tiny when compared to the rest of the line, especially when you remember he was supposed to be the older Tim Drake of “One Year Later.”  It was a major blow to a figure who might have been pretty nice otherwise.  This figure changes up the entire paint scheme, going for something that more closely resembles Tim’s original costume.  While the sculpted details don’t all exactly match up with his older design (the scallops on the gloves and cape, and the pouches on the belt being the main errors), it still works surprisingly well, and in fact the head sculpt with its short and spiky hair actually makes more sense for this color scheme.  Additionally, the traditional Robin colors are just more appealing to my eye, and on top of that, the fact that it’s supposed to be a younger version of Tim means that the scale issues are a lot less pressing on this release.  The only drawback to this figure was that he lacks the original’s combat staff, since the set only included a single batarang for the duo to share.  Ah, classic Matty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, you know those crappy distribution issues that prevented me from easily acquiring the original Robin release?  Well, they reared their ugly head again when it came time for the repaints that were supposed to address the issue…which didn’t really fix things, did it?  Whatever the case, I didn’t get the set new, but I was able to get ahold of Robin on his own thanks to one being traded into All Time Toys last December.  I’m glad I finally got my hands on this one, as he really manages to salvage the sculpt of the original, without being held back by scaling or overly-time-specific costumes.

#2121: Rebel Alliance Pilot

REBEL ALLIANCE PILOT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

In my review of the Power of the Force II A-Wing Pilot back in June, I discussed how the Rebel Pilots gained unique uniforms in Return of the Jedi after they’d all shared the same basic look for A New Hope‘s trench run.  But, they *did* all share a uniform originally, which means that toy makers will find themselves with a need to fill a few spots with generic guys in that same uniform.  That’s where today’s figure comes into play!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Alliance Pilot was available exclusively with the Target-exclusive Y-Wing Bomber, released in 2000 as an exclusive part of the Power of the Force II line.  Exclusively.  Lot of excluding going on there.  He was officially billed as “Unique Rebel Alliance Pilot,” which is rather amusing, because…well, he’s not.  He’s just definitively a generic place holder figure for all of the various unnamed pilots seen in the movie, meaning he’s exactly the sort of figure you would have every right to own multiples of, and who would therefore not be unique in the collection.  What’s more, even his molds aren’t really unique.  From the neck down, he’s identical to the 1998 Biggs Darklighter figure, which is fair, since he was our first proper New Hope-styled pilot.  The head is a new piece, at least in theory, though I myself remain unconvinced that it’s not just Biggs’ head without the mustache painted.  I’d have to actually see the Biggs head sans paint to confirm this, of course, which is a bit much for me.  Whatever the case, the two heads are certainly very similar, and this figure possess the same undersized helmet issue that Biggs had, which is consistent at the very least.  May the Rebel Pilots are just pin-headed?  For the most part, his paintwork matches Biggs, at least as far as the body is concerned, barring one color change-up on his chest monitor.  The head is different, with the skintone being molded rather than painted, and his helmet having a more generic selection of details.  Everything about the paint says “designed to fade into the crowd.”  The Pilot included no accessories, really being an accessory himself and all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There’s not a lot noteworthy about this figure, and that kind of extends to how I got him.  I picked him up alongside the carrying-case version of Wedge, back in December when I was on a PotF2 binge.  He’s fine.  That’s the best I can say about him.  I’m sure if I had the vehicle he was originally packed with, he’d look nice piloting it.  As it stands, he’s just one of those figures I have because I’m looking to get a full run.

#2120: Combat Jet Skystriker – XP-14F (w/ Ace)

COMBAT JET SKYSTRIKER — XP-14F (w/ ACE)

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Ace would rather fly than do anything else. During high school he worked after school and weekends to pay for flying lessons. Spent one year flying pipelines in Alaska and two years stunt flying for movies. Enlisted USAF at 22. Duty most previous to G.I. Joe assignment: senior instructor USAF Fighter Weapons Squadron “The Aggressors” (pilot combat training school). Qualified Expert: F-5E, F-15, F-16, XP-14/F. 

Ace has one major character flaw: cutthroat poker. A predilection for gambling would ordinarily disqualify an applicant for the G.I. Joe team but in Armbruster’s case you can hardly call it gambling since he NEVER LOSES. That’s why we call him Ace!”

Having set a standard of larger scale vehicles with the MOBAT in the first year of their rebooted GI Joe line, Hasbro decided to up the ante even further.  The 1983 vehicles focused fairly heavily on aerial combat for both sides.  However, it was once again the Joes who pulled ahead on the coolness front, with their star 1983 offering being the Combat Jet Skystriker and its pilot Ace, which would proudly launch the Joe tradition of things getting bigger and better every year.  Like the MOBAT, the Skystriker offered up the kind of vehicle that the 12-inch line could have never dreamed of doing proper justice, further cementing the new line’s niche.  And, also like the MOBAT, the Skystriker had one of that year’s coolest Joes as its pilot, which certainly helped its case.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Certainly the star affair here, the Skystriker is kind of the fighter jet equivalent to the MOBAT’s tank, in that it reads as a pretty decent summation of a basic military vehicle.  Like the MOBAT, the Skystriker had some realworld inspiration, specifically the F-14 Tomcat.  Of course, the F-14 actually went into production, meaning the salvaged experimental design angle that was so cool about the MOBAT ended up dropped here.  Of course, the F-14 still being fairly new at the time of this vehicle’s release does still make it feel pretty cutting edge.  At the time of its release, the Skystriker was the largest vehicle in the line, and it would remain so until the USS Flagg came on the scene in ’85.  And, if you want to get really technical, that was more a playset than a vehicle, so it’s all very suspect if you ask me.  The Skystriker was robbed, I tell ya!  …Where was I?  Right, toy review.  Always toy review.  The Skystriker’s a big boy, measuring almost 2 feet in length.  It was a brand new mold, and would see itself repurposed for the Night Boomer in 1989, as well as being slightly retooled to be an all-new Sky Striker in the 30th Anniversary line.  Much like the MOBAT, the Skystriker’s sculpt is noticeably less dated than the figures it accompanied.  It emulates the real world vehicle well, and includes a lot of nice technical details that keep it from becoming too generic or sci-fi-y.  There are lots of little crevices and small details littered throughout.  While the MOBAT was really just a solid chunk of plastic with one small opening to house a single figure, the Skystriker is designed with a bit more interaction with the figures in mind.  The interior of the cockpit actually has a bit of the appropriate detailing, as well as seating for two separate figures, a feature which the comics and cartoons, and even the 2011 re-release dropped.  It’s not a ton of extra seating, but compared to the tank, it was a pretty big deal.  The Skystriker wasn’t quite as feature heavy as some of the other vehicles in the line, but it did have removable seats for an “ejecting” feature.  More prominently, the wings can be moved forward or back (much like a real F-14), and the landing gear on the underside was tied into this feature.  Moving the wings forward brings the landing gear out, while switching them back will fold it back up.  There’s no paint on the Skystriker, but there are a rather extensive selection of decals, which mainly serve to remind you that decals really aren’t designed to last, and be a major pain to anyone who wants to restore a vintage Skystriker.  The Skystriker was packed with six missiles, which could be mounted on the underside of the vehicle.  It also included…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

…Ace!  First coming onto the scene with the Skystriker in ’83, Ace would go on to become one of the most prominent pilots in the Joe line-up, with a whopping 12 figures to his name…well, to a variation of his name, since he couldn’t keep just “Ace” post 25th Anniversary.  Ace’s original design kind of dives back into that “experimental” bit that the vehicle didn’t quite keep up with, since he’s got more in common with an astronaut than your typical fighter pilot.  It’s certainly a distinct appearance, though, and the figure’s sculpt does a respectable job of making him look cool.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  As an ’83 figure, his neck is still just a swivel, but with the big collar, it’s not really much of a loss.  Though Ace’s sculpt was all new, his head actually shares a number of common elements with the Hawk/Steeler/Flash/Shortfuse head from the ’82 line-up, though the level of detailing had certainly taken a jump.  The color schemes of the ’83 line-up moved away from the drab greens of the initial figures, and Ace follows suit, with a white and red number, which matches him well with the Skystriker.  Ace had no armaments of his own (he’s already got the combat jet, so what more does he need), but he does have a removable helmet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember me mentioning the really large G.I. Joe collection that All Time Toys got in?  Wanna guess where this thing came from?  Yeah, I was responsible for piecing most of the collection together, which meant I got to spend a whole lot of time with most of it.  This was kind of a star piece, since, in addition to having everything but the parachute, it also included its box, blue prints, and even some spare decals.  It was a nice enough piece that I decided I kind of wanted to keep it, and my parents were kind enough to assist on that and give it to me as a birthday present this year.  Since receiving it, I’ve been spending my nights working to restore it to the best of my ability, which included stripping it of all of its decals, cleaning it,  replacing the decals I could with the spares, and then re-affixing the rest of them.  It’s been a lot of work, but I knew that one going in.  And it may be more work yet, as I’m not entirely sure I’m going to be keeping the vintage decals long-term.  Whatever the case, this is a fantastic center piece to my Joe collection, and has definitely been a big investment for me.