#2491: Rebel Soldier – Hoth

REBEL SOLDIER — HOTH

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“After the battle of Yavin, the rebels fled from the Imperial Starfleet, seeking a new main base of operations. They settled on the frozen Outer Rim world of Hoth.”

For The Black Series, Hasbro’s managed to give us a quite a good number of troop building options for the Imperials, the Republic Army, the First Order, and even the Battle Droids as of late, but somewhat smaller in quantity at this point in time are the Rebel forces.  Admittedly, part of that’s to do with how it’s a fair bit harder to make an easy army builder of the not-so-faceless forces that back up our heroes.  We got a Fleet Trooper from A New Hope back in 2018, but he was based on a specific guy from the movie’s opening moments, so army building was a touch more difficult.  For our first proper follow-up to that figure, based on the main look of the rebels from Empire, Hasbro’s really throwing their all behind some true troop building.  Let’s dive right on into this review, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Soldier (Hoth) is one of the five figures in the second assortment of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  Unlike the first assortment, most of this round is new figures, or at least notably changed figures.  The Rebel is one of two all-new offerings, though he will also be showing up in the standard line as well this fall.  That’s a very smart idea on Hasbro’s part, because this guy is definitely one that warrants multiple purchases.  This guy is meant to replicate the frontline soldiers we see in the trenches on Hoth during the Empire’s invasion.  He’s doesn’t look to specifically patterned on any one soldier in the film, and is like many Rebel Soldiers a sort of an averaged appearance.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  I’m happy to see that the butterfly joints introduced with the Sith Trooper are becoming a standard offering for the line, because they really add to the posing potential on these figures.  It means that he can certainly get more realistic poses with his rifle, at the very least.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, a slight surprise, given they never did anything more with the Hoth Luke from early in the line.  I can’t say I blame them for going all-new, because that old sculpt is more than a little dated.  This is definitely one of the best of The Black Series sculpts, and I really love all the layers to this sculpt.  I can also really appreciate that they gave us a clean-shaven Rebel Trooper, since most of the Hoth troopers were without facial hair, and for some reason we still always end up primarily getting them bearded. The paint work on this guy is pretty basic  for the line.  It does what it needs to, there’s no noticeable slop or major issues with bleed over, and the face gets the face printing to keep him more lifelike.  Now, onto perhaps the best part of the figure: accessories, and by extension, customizability!  This guy gets both a Blastech A-295 rifle and a DH-17 blaster, as well as a pair of goggles and a bandanna for more layout possibilities.  What’s that?  You want more customizability?  Well, pull off his enviromental pack from his back, pop of the panel at the bottom and, boom, extra faceplate, sporting that beard that these toys all seem to love.  With all of the extra parts, you’ve got a lot of distinct combinations, making army building with this release very easy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been waiting for some good Rebel Soldier army builders since The Black Series started, and while the Fleet Trooper was cool, it’s never been my favorite Rebel look.  As soon as this guy was shown off, I knew I was down for him, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting his release since we saw him at Toy Fair.  Honestly, in hand, he’s even better than I’d expected.  The options for customization on this guy are really fantastic, and I hope that Hasbro can keep this same energy going for when the Endor version gets its time up to bat.  I definitely look forward to some army building.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2490: Space Wolverine

SPACE WOLVERINE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The X-Man known as Wolverine will travel anywhere for a good fight with the forces of evil – even to the far reaches of outer space! Wolverine’s space armor protects him from the hostile conditions of deep space, while still allowing him to bring his adamantium claws to bear on alien evildoers! Even in this harsh environment, Wolverine is still the best there is at what he does!”

The eighth assortment of Toy Biz’s X-Men line was the first to properly theme itself, being based on the Pheonix Saga, which had just been adapted for the cartoon.  While a number of the character choices were pretty self-explanatory, they were still faced with a need for a Wolverine variant.  So, they kind of made one?  I mean, it’s not too far of a reach.  It’s a space suit variant, and in both comics and cartoon, the team does go into space.  Never in anything that looks like this, but still…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Space Wolverine was, as noted in the into, released in the eighth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He marked the line’s first dabble into made up Wolverine variants, something that anyone who followed the Day of Wolverines will know was far from at its end here.  At least this one was tame, I suppose.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (continuing the upward size trend on Wolverines) and has 8 points of articulation.  Due to a returning of the Series 1 style retractable claws, he lacks any sort of elbow movement, but at least the posing isn’t quite as stiff as it was on the Street Clothes Wolverine.  As far as sculpting goes, this Wolverine gets a head that’s really similar to Wolverine II’s, albeit with some slightly sharper details.  The body is kind of on the wide side, at least in contrast to previous Wolverines.  It does match the overall bulking up trend that Logan went through as the line and the decade progressed, however.  The space suit for some reason doesn’t actually cover Wolverine’s whole body, leaving part of his costume exposed.  I guess his costume really doesn’t breathe?  That can’t be all that comfortable, can it?  Like going everywhere in a tyvek suit.  Yuck.  I guess it helps with branding, though, so there’s that.  In terms of paint, Wolverine again stays on-brand, with what we see of his costume being the usual colors, and the space suit continuing those general colors, but in a more metallic sense, so it’s more golds instead of yellows.  It honestly works pretty well.  There was also a variant of this figure released a bit later alongside a CD-Rom including the original Phoenix Saga issues, which swapped out the gold for a metallic blue.  I also have this figure…somewhere.  Unfortunately, all I could find at the time of this review was his helmet.  Maybe I’ll find him and I can run an addendum, I guess.  For the original release, as with all of the Phoenix Saga figures, there were two releases, once with the short card and once with the wider card the following year.  The initial version included just his removable helmet, second version(which is the one I had) added a gun and two of Shatterstar’s swords to the mix.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was still new to the collecting game when these guys came out, so I got most of the assortment new, Wolverine included.  He was a gift to me from my parents, shortly after we moved into the house they live in now, and I recall that he was accompanied by an X-Men carrying case to keep all of my figures in (which was a far more realistic goal back when I received the case and it could actually hold all of my X-Men figures).  He’s a little more gimmicky than earlier Wolverines, but he is at least a somewhat sensible variant.

#2489: Prince Xizor VS Darth Vader

PRINCE XIZOR VS DARTH VADER

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

In the time between Han Solo’s capture by the Empire and his delivery to Jabba the Hutt, a secret struggle for power took place within the shadows of the Empire. A clash between power hungry crimelord Prince Xizor and the dreaded Darth Vader meant certain death for Luke Skywalker. As the Rebel Alliance’s only hope, a band of heroes led by Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, and Dash Rendar set out to rescue Solo while protecting the young Jedi from a horde of bounty hunters and assassins.”

Oh, I bet you thought I was done with Shadows of the Empire, didn’t you?  Well…I wasn’t…so, you know…here we are?  Yeah, I know, I’m not thrilled about it either, but think of it this way: after today, the Shadows figures can’t hurt you anymore.  See?  Doesn’t a little but of optimism go a long way?  Okay, let’s get through this together guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Xizor and Vader are the second of the two Shadows of the Empire comic packs, the other being the Boba Fett and IG-88 set.  That one is, admittedly, a little more of an exciting prospect than this one, what with our only PotF2-style IG and all, but this one has value, too….there’s, um…a comic?  And the figures, too, I guess.  While the Xizor was technically distinct from his single-card release, this Vader would also end up single-carded in a Power of the Force assortment later down the line.

PRINCE XIZOR

“Xizor is the head of Black Sun, an intergalactic criminal empire that supports literally millions of outlaw organizations and activities. Since entering the service of the Emperor, the Dark Prince is widely considered one of the powerful individuals in the galaxy. He controls his operations with cold, deadly accuracy assuring that those who dare challenge Xizor meet with swift death, often by his own hand. His hunger for power has put him at direct odds with Lord Vader, But Xizor is afraid of no one; his hunger for power has driven him to dispatch an onslaught of assassins with orders to eliminate Luke Skywalker. Xizor plots to spoil Darth Vader’s promise to deliver Skywalker to the Emperor alive — a maneuver that would undermine Vader’s reliability and secure Xizor as the Emperor’s most favored ally.”

Prince Xizor was Shadows‘ primary antagonist, and that netted him not one, but two figures in Kenner’s tie-in line.  I’ve already looked at his single-carded release here on the site, but the two-pack was *slightly* different.  He’s only *mostly* the same.  That’s not quite as bad as *all* the same, right?  Well, actually, that’s probably up for debate, because if they were all the same, I’d only need to own and review one of them, rather than two.  Damn you Kenner and your making me right about Prince Xizor twice as many times as I needed to!  Like the single card, this figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Also like that release, his movement’s incredibly limited by the braids on his head and the thick plastic robe, and even further hindered by the tweaked posing of the arms, which prevents them from being quite as useful.  As far as parts, this guy and the other Xizor use the same head, torso, and pelvis, and he’s got ever so slightly tweaked arms and legs, which now are more pre-posed than the prior ones.  The robe also remains the same as the other release, despite this figure’s more dynamic pose.  In my review of the single Xizor, I remarked that I didn’t feel his color scheme was very Star Wars-y, and I stand by that here.  Application of the paint is at least still pretty good, so I guess he’s got that going for him.  This Xizor trades out the last release’s weird fan blade things for a battle staff, which works a bit better with the pose, I suppose.

DARTH VADER

“Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, has instilled terror throughout the galaxy since the beginning of the Empire. His devotion to the Emperor and mastery of the dark side gives him more power than any single individual in the galaxy except for the Emperor himself. Draped completely in black and wielding the ability to take a life with a mere gesture, Darth Vader stands as the incarnation of evil. His dislike of Prince Xizor is intense and his distrust well-founded. Though Vader would gladly eliminate Xizor, Emperor Palpatine has need of Black Sun’s shipping operations to speed construction of the new Death Star. Xizor had best watch his back however, as Vader’s control of the dark side of the Force makes him a most formidable foe”

Though a notable player in Shadows, Vader faced the problem of not actually having his appearance change at all from his normal look for the purposes of the story.  That’s a little hard to sell as a separate figure, so Kenner had to figure that out.  Enter the pre-posing.  Effectively, this guy takes the initial PotF2 Vader and sort of bends and contorts him a bit.  Now he’s different!  Yay!  Honestly, it’s not terrible in terms of design, and he balances on those mid-walk legs better than you might expect.  His cape gets a little more flair to it as well, which works out pretty well.  He gets the same saber as his standard counterpart, as you’d expect.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have trouble fully articulating how little I care about this particular release.  I literally only own it because a) I’m collecting the whole line, and b) it was bundled with the IG-88 and Boba set, which I actually wanted.  Neither of these figures exactly has much new to offer, and furthermore, I just don’t care about Xizor in the slightest.  So, here’s this set.  Cool.  I’m done now.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with these guys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2488: Scarlett

SCARLETT

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

To wrap up up my look at the first assortment of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe relaunch, I’m making my way to the First Lady of the franchise, Shanna O’Hara, aka Scarlett.  Debuting as one of the Original 13 back in the day, Scarlett has a sort of hot-and-cold run when it comes to action figures.  She’ll go long stretches between updates, and finds herself frequently left out of line-ups where she should be included (Sigma 6 being the biggest offender on that front).  Fortunately, she’s right here at the start for Classified.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlett is figure 05 in the Classified Series line-up.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 35 points of articulation.  As far as mobility goes, she’s definitely the most limited of the first series figures, thanks to actually just having less articulation.  For the most part, she’s still pretty serviceable on that front, but the elbows are a lot more limited than I’d like, especially given that she’s got a weapon she’s meant to hold two-handed.  Some deeper bends are really needed.  Of all the designs in this first set, Scarlett’s is the one that’s the most far-removed from her original figure.  Now, in her defense, even the original animation and comics designs were a little bit removed from how the figure looked, so she’s already starting from there.  That said, there’s still a lot more modernization and tweaking going on this one.  It kind of makes sense, with her being the least regulation of the original bunch anyway.  She was running around in a leotard and was just shy of a super hero costume, so she’s always been a little bit of an outlier.  She’s also the one most prone to rather sizable re-works as the line progresses, so this is really just the next one of those.  For me, this design really works, because it possesses all of the broad strokes elements that really read as Scarlett, while still fitting in a little bit better with a modern aesthetic.  This design has a nice fusion of practicality and fantasy, and it keeps it pretty fun.  The sculpt does a solid job of bringing her into three dimensions, with a nice set of balanced proportions, and a ton of small detail work that helps her really pop.  In terms of paint, Scarlett is definitely a brighter splash of color than the rest of the assortment.  That’s not a bad thing, and it’s in keeping with usual depictions of her.  The use of the gold that’s been on most of the Joes looks a lot better here, especially when merged with the yellow that’s already there.  I’m also quire a fan of the variation on her hair, which gives it a nice sense of transparency and light.  I did notice a few spots of slop on the base paint for my figure, especially on the wrist guards.  I’m hoping Hasbro can tighten up the paint a little more on this line going forward.  Scarlett is packed with an updated version of her crossbow, plus three knives.  The crossbow is in two parts and has a tendency to pop apart a lot, but is otherwise pretty cool.  The knives can all be stowed on the figure, which gives them a nice extra interactive feel which I really enjoy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a very big fan of Scarlett, so as soon as I saw Snake Eyes, I was waiting to see the corresponding Scarlett.  I know she’s not everyone’s jam, but I really dig this new design a lot, and I like having her to go with my updated Snake Eyes.  I wouldn’t mind seeing a more classic version at some point as well, though, since I’m hardly going to turn down the chance to get another Scarlett figure.

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

#2487: Duke

DUKE

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Alright, we took a slight detour over to the Cobra side of things yesterday, but today we’re returning back to the Joes with perhaps the most Joe-y Joe there is, Conrad “Duke” Hauser.  Since joining the teams ranks in 1983, Duke has pretty much been the face of the franchise, taking a major role in the the last several revisions of the franchise as well.  He’s also nowhere near as cool as anyone else on the team, but I guess we’ll try not to hold that against him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Duke is figure 04 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line.  Initially, he was supposed to be heavier packed alongside Snake Eyes, but when the cases dropped to 6 figures instead of 8, he went down to one per case.  It’s okay, though; it’s just Duke.  It’s not that big a deal.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  In terms of posablilty, he falls between Snake Eyes and Roadblock, being not quite as agile as Snake Eyes, but still getting a little more range than Roadblock.  Much like yesterday’s Destro, Duke’s a more faithful recreation of his old figure than the others in the set.  There are still a handful of changes, of course, to help bring him more in line with the slight sci-fi flair of the rest of the updated line, and to just sort of modernize him a bit.  I know some people weren’t big on the shin armor, but it feels rather Aliens-like to me, and I’m definitely down for that.  The head sculpt has gotten a little bit of flak from collectors who think he either has too modern of a haircut or looks a little too young for Duke.  I myself quite like the sculpt.  It’s got a little bit of a John Cena vibe to it, which actually works surprisingly well.  I also like that they’ve kept the scar that Duke frequently sports (in reference to the original Joes, of course), though it’s been moved up to his eyebrow instead of his cheek.  The overall end result definitely amounts to a very Duke-esque figure, and I can definitely get behind that.  Duke’s paint work is rough; definitely the roughest of this bunch.  My figure’s got quite a bit of slop on his uniform, especially at the top of the shirt and on the gloves.  Like I said, it’s rough.  At least mine has a decent looking face, which I can’t say for every other Duke that All Time got in.  I don’t know if there are line-wide issues with him or what, but he definitely ended up way worse on this front than the rest of the group.  Duke’s accessory selection is almost a match for his V1 figure’s set-up.  He gets a rifle, a pistol, a back pack, and a small pair of binoculars.  The rifle and pistol are again more sci-fi-esque designs, though I really dig how they’ve matched the silhouette of the rifle to the vintage counterpart’s sub machine gun.  I also really like how the binoculars clip onto his belt.  About the only thing this guy’s missing for the full vintage set-up is a helmet, and that’s honestly never been a very intrinsically Duke piece.  I definitely can’t knock what he’s got here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Classically, I’m not the biggest Duke fan, but of the Toy Fair reveals, he was probably the one who impressed me the most, because I think he’s a very nice merging of classic with modern.  The final figure has to contend with some production errors, which makes him a little touchy in some spots, but I’m overall quite happy with the end result.  I suppose he’ll be a suitable leader to my Joes for now.  You know, until Hawk arrives and I kick this guy to the curb.

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

#2486: Destro

DESTRO

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

At the mid-way point of this new set of Joe reviews, we’re breaking from the Joes themselves and taking a look at their opposition.  Of course, it’s not a hard line Cobra member, but instead Destro, a mercenary arms dealer who has the potential to fall on either side of the conflict.  He’s gonna fall on Cobra’s side, because that’s how he always do, but there’s that option there, right?  That keeps things fun and funky fresh, right? Sure, let’s go with that.  Onto the figure review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Destro is figure 03 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is so far the line’s lone villain, though he will be joined by a number of others in the coming months.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  With all of the shifting designs with this new line, Destro stands out, actually being a pretty darn straight update of his original ’83 design.  All of the core design elements are maintained, with the metal head, the chained pendant, the open collar, and the general layout of his costume’s major details.  The updates to this particular design amount to adding some extra piping to the bodysuit and a few differently textured patches to the shoulders.  It all amounts to rather minor changes to the overall aesthetic of that classic design.  The sculpt is definitely a strong offering, with sharp and bold line-work, and some really well rendered features on the mask in particular.  The texturing on the outfit is also really well implemented, keeping things intriguing, while still saying overall pretty basic.  Destro’s paintwork is all pretty solid, and is probably the best to come out of this particular assortment.  It’s crisp and clean, and there’s just enough small pops of color to keep him from looking too drab on the shelf.  The silver paint for the helmet works quite well, and I like the minor shifts from grey to black.  In terms of accessories, Destro includes two guns, one larger, one smaller, and a briefcase with a Cobra computer and some stacks of money on the interior.  The larger gun and the case replicate the original Destro’s accessories quite nicely, and the additional gold pistol is a rather fun piece, that can easily be stowed in the holster on his side.  The only slight downside to the accessories is that the larger gun ended up a little too large to fit into the case, which would have been a nice storage option.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Destro was the last of the first series figures we got a preview on, and I honestly never formed all that much of an opinion on him.  He’s here.  He’s nice.  He’s a good recreation of the classic design, and that’s definitely cool.  It just doesn’t give me quite as much to say about him, honestly.  But, hey, he is a good figure, so there’s that.

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

#2485: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

For my second day looking into Hasbro’s relauched G.I. Joe, I’m already retreading.  I know, that’s crazy.  Here me out, though: it’s Snake Eyes.  Having one Snake Eyes is like having one potato chip: I just prefer not to have any at all because potato chips are weird and so are the people that like them.  No, wait, that’s not right.  I mean, the potato chip thing is right.  You potato chip people made your bed, now lie in it, and all of its inevitable potato chip crumbs.  But the Snake Eyes thing is definitely not right, because I will buy just about any Snake Eyes figure you put in front of me.  So, here’s this Snake Eyes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes is figure 02 in G.I. Joe: Classified Series, and is notable for being the one figure in the first assortment to be double-packed.  That’s a smart move, because people sure do love Snake Eyes.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Do you remember my review of the deluxe Snake Eyes?  Do you recall how much I loved that figure’s sculpt?  Good, because this guy has the exact same sculpt.  I’m not surprised, because it’s not like Hasbro was quiet about Snake Eyes also being in the main line, and it would be silly to only use such a great sculpt for a one-off exclusive.  What sets this guy apart is the color scheme.  The deluxe release went for a palette that was overall more complex and varied than we tend to see on Snake Eyes, with lots of browns, greys, and silvers.  I remarked in my review of that figure that Hasbro could have just left a lot more of the figure straight black.  Well, turns out they had that in mind, because this release strips things down a fair bit more, to mostly just black this time around.  Lest anyone think they just cheaped out, there’s still plenty of variation in the finish of the various black sections.  Personally, I enjoyed the slightly updated design colors from the prior release, but the all black does really feel more like Snake Eyes to me, so I like having both options available.  The other slight change-up for this guy is the accessory selection.  Obviously, he doesn’t get the whole rack of weapons of the deluxe, and he also drops the extra set of hands.  In addition, the Uzi and Beretta have been dropped in favor of more sci-fi-esque weaponry, more in line with the how the rest of the line is armed.  They’re both pretty nifty designs in their own right, and I’m sure a slightly easier sale to retailers in this day and age.  He does keep the backpack, silencer, and knife, although there seems to have been a slight mold error with the knife and its corresponding sheath this time, as it doesn’t want to go all the way in.  I may need to see about modding that, because it’s a little bit annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was absolutely thrilled with the exclusive Snake Eyes, and honestly didn’t know what to expect of the standard retail release.  I honestly wasn’t even sure he’d be any different, at least as a core figure.  The paint change-up was not expected, but I really do enjoy it, and I’m just as happy with this guy as I was the initial release.  It will be hard to decide which one will be my main one for display.

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

#2484: Roadblock

ROADBLOCK

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

“G.I. Joe is a highly skilled, on-demand, special operations force of men and women from around the globe. These extraordinarily talented heroes are selected for their elite abilities and tasked with defending the world from Cobra, a ruthless criminal organization bent on total domination. With unwavering courage and steely determination, the brave members of G.I. Joe are prepared to seek out Cobra in any environment on the planet. From hostile jungles to ice-clad arctic peaks…wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there.”

Back in April, I took my first look at the Classified Series, Hasbro’s new attempt at relaunching G.I. Joe as a line of 6-inch figures in the same vein as The Black Series and Marvel Legends, with their fancy deluxe Snake Eyes figure that they offered up as a Pulse Exclusive.  That guy was pretty darn awesome and definitely got me excited for the rest of the line.  Well, just four short months later I’ve finally gotten my hands on the first series proper, and I’ll be kicking things off with the most rhyme-tastic member of the Joes, Marvin F. Hinton, aka Roadblock!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roadblock is figure 01 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, the first of the five figures that make up Series 1 of the line.  Roadblock at first glance seems sort of odd as number 1, but Hasbro’s really been pushing him as a main character as of late, so this tracks with that.  At 6 3/4 inches tall he’s the tallest of the initial set of figures, and he has 37 points of articulation.  From a movement, he’s got all the same sorts of joints as what we saw on Snake Eyes, but his mobility is slightly more restricted, both by Roadblock’s slightly larger frame, and also by the presence of a somewhat thick vest piece overlay on the torso.  He’s still quite capable of attaining plenty of the necessary Roadblock-appropriate poses, and then some.  For my figure, his legs are a touch loose at the hips, but otherwise, the articulation is solid.  When these figures were unveiled, Roadblock’s design was under quite a bit of scrutiny, with people generally feeling it didn’t look enough like the character.  He’s certainly not a pitch-perfect recreation of the V1 figure, that’s for sure.  He is, however, a pretty close update of Roadblock’s 1986 V2 design (minus a t-shirt, and plus a couple of armored bits on the legs), which, among other things, is the design that was used in G.I. Joe: The Movie.  So, it’s not like that look doesn’t have its own level of prominence.  Now, is it quite as quintessential and appearance?  Perhaps not, but it’s still a valid Roadblock look.  Personally, I might have liked to see them throw a tank top under the vest and make the vest a little more easily removed, but I’m sure a more classically-inspired Roadblock is very definitely in the cards moving forward.  Taken on his own merits, this Roadblock’s sculpt is still rather impressive, and makes for a cool looking figure.  The detail work on his uniform is nice and sharp, and it’s cool to continue to see Roadblock portrayed as noticeably larger than the other members of the team.  His paintwork is generally pretty solid stuff.  There’s certainly a lot going on.  I know people weren’t big on the golden armor plates.  I’m not super crazy about them myself, but I also don’t find myself all that upset with them either.  They’re just there.  I do really dig the tattoo on his left shoulder; that’s a fun little piece of character added to the figure.  Okay, so, let’s talk about the other area that people weren’t so big on: the accessories.  Or, more specifically, the primary accessory.  Roadblock is the team’s heavy gunner, and he was originally packed with an M-2 Browning.  This figure replaces that with a more sci-fi-y rail gun-style weapon.  The thing is, it’s actually far more sensible for him to be carrying something like this in the somewhat sci-fi driven world than it would be for him to be carrying an actual WW2-era M-2 Browning, which is almost a century old at this point.  So, I can really understand Hasbro’s desire to update.  It’s a cool weapon with a cool design, and I really dig its removable clip/battery pack.  And, if you don’t dig the rail gun, I find that Deathlok’s mini gun makes for a pretty awesome replacement.  In addition to the rail gun, Roadblock also includes a small knife, which can be sheathed on his vest.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Going into this line, Roadblock was probably the figure I was looking forward to the least.  You see, for all the defending of the changes to the figure I did up there, I will admit that they amounted to a figure that did feel a little bit less Roadblock-y to me.  Ultimately, he was at the bottom of my list.  However, All Time ended up getting in their Roadblocks a week before the other figures, so I wound up with him on his own, and that allowed me to enjoy the figure in a vacuum.  He’s still probably my fifth-favorite figure in the set, but he doesn’t trail quite as far behind the others as I’d feared he might initially.  He’s actually a pretty fun figure.

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

#2483: Corsair

CORSAIR

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Snatched from the Earth by a passing Shi’ar spacecraft, Christopher Summers was pressed into service as a slave of that galactic empire. But Summers burst the bonds of his captivity, and now in the company of his fellow Starjammers, he roams the cosmos as the free booting space pirate known as Corsair!”

“The Phoenix Saga” opened up a lot of new avenues for the X-Men.  I guess going into space will do that for you.  In addition to contending with the whole Shi’ar Empire, they also came upon a band of space pirates, the Starjammers.  Originally pitched by artist Dave Cockrum as a standalone set of characters, they were reworked into the crew of a displaced Christopher Summers, the man eventually revealed to be the father of X-Men Cyclops and Havok (and Vulcan, too, but I don’t wanna talk about it).  As the bio above notes, Christopher took on the name “Corsair” and even managed to get himself an action figure, which I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Corsair was released in the 8th Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men series, officially dubbed the “Phoenix Saga” Series, and designed to tie-in with the storyline’s adaptation on the cartoon.  Corsair played a large role in that adaptation, so his presence in the tie-in made quite a bit of sense.  Interestingly, Corsair was actually the third Starjammer to grace the line, following Ch’od and Raza’s inclusion in Series 7.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  He’s a pretty standard offering for the line in terms of mobility and construction, being hampered by no odd lack of joints or the addition of any weird action features.  He’s just a nice, basic sculpt.  The details are all pretty cleanly handled, and he’s got a nicely balanced set of proportions.  He’s perhaps a touch exaggerated, but certainly no where near as badly as later figures in the line.  He does go for Corsair’s slightly updated shoulder pad-bearing design, introduced in the early ’90s (because everyone had to have shoulder pads in the ’90s, of course).  It’s the one used on the cartoon, and it really wasn’t much of a change from the original design, so it ended up working out okay.  If there was one change I’d like to see on this figure, I wouldn’t have minded if his hair had a little bit more of a dynamic flair to it; it was usually pretty fabulous, and it seems a little tame here.  It’s not the end of the world, though; I’ll learn to live, I’m sure.  Corsair’s paint work is overall pretty cleanly handled. It’s basic, but it’s also bright and eye-catching, as Corsair should be.  Corsair was originally packed with a sword, gun, and grapple.  My figure’s only got the sword left, but that’s honestly the best part, so I’m okay with it.  Interestingly, Corsair is one of only two figures in the Phoenix Saga Series not to gain extra accessories when the assortment was moved over to the larger-style cards.  I guess they felt like he had enough already.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Corsair as gift from my Nana back when he was new.  I don’t remember exactly the occasion, but I know it wasn’t a birthday, because my cousin Rusty also got one at the same time.  Maybe it was an end of school thing?  Or possibly an Easter thing?  I don’t know.  I do know that Rusty had no clue who Corsair was and definitely didn’t appreciate getting him as much as I did.  He’s a pretty solid figure, so I definitely am glad he was one I held onto.

#2482: Lando Calrissian in General’s Gear

LANDO CALRISSIAN in GENERAL’S GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Proving his impressive flying capabilities and natural leadership qualities during the battle of Taanab, Lando is appointed General in charge of the attack on the second Death Star.”

In addition to a whole stock of disguised looks for their infiltration of Jabba’s Palace at the film’s beginning, the heroes of Return of the Jedi all also get new, fancy, high ranking uniforms as the film progresses.  No longer content to just steal Han’s clothes, Lando picks up some new toggs to go along with his promotion to general within the Rebellion ranks.  It’s pretty standard Rebel officer fare, but with the addition of a cape, because if you’re gonna be as suave as Lando, you gotta have a cape!  It also serves as the perfect excuse to give Lando just a touch more toy coverage, thereby giving me more things to review.  Alright!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando in General’s Gear was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force II line 1998, and was the third, and final, Lando to grace the line.  It’s honestly not terribly surprising; they really just added his looks in the order that they appeared in the films.  I suppose they could have throne us a curve ball and given us Lando in Smuggler’s Gear (i.e. Han’s clothes), but the world just wasn’t quite ready for that yet.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, which actually surprised me a bit, because I could have sworn the head remained the same between all three Landos.  It’s very similar to the one used on the other two, but not quite identical; his features are a touch more refined.  The rest of the sculpt is notable because, despite the fact that by 1998 the line had pretty well abandoned the hard pre-posing of earlier years, this guy’s stance really isn’t neutral.  I mean, sure, it’s not quite as disco-ready as the first Lando, but he’s definitely got quite the wide stance going there.  Among other things, it makes it quite hard to get him into the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, which is sad, given that’s really the primary purpose of this particular look.  Pre-posing aside, this is actually quite a nice sculpt.  The detail work is all pretty sharp, and the texturing on that removable cape in particular is really sweet.  The paintwork is pretty standard for this line, so application’s more on the basic side, but generally pretty clean.  Some of the details are a bit sharper than previous Landos, especially on the face, showing the line’s upward trend of improvement.  Lando was packed with a blaster pistol and a freeze frame slide showing him in the Rebel briefing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Lando figure growing up was the Skiff Guard Disguise version, but I recall my cousin Rusty having this version of Lando among his collection.  In fact, through various interminglings of our collections, I believe I even managed to wind up with the cape floating around my collection for a good while.  The figure, however, I waited on.  He came from a large trade in at All Time, and was one of the few I didn’t already have, so boom, there he was.  He’s probably the best PotF Lando, truth be told, though maybe not quite as fun as disco Lando.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.