#2309: Doctor Doom

DOCTOR DOOM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Victor Von Doom uses his incredible intelligence and mystical abilities to oppose the Fantastic Four.”

On this Valentine’s Day, I’m examining the truest love of all: the love of hating one’s enemies and watching them unquestionably defeated by circumstances that you and you alone control.  A love that Victor Von Doom, greatest villain in all of comics, has been striving for since his introduction in 1962.  But that curse-ed Richards just keeps preventing him from attaining it.  How dare he?  Alas, Doom will just have to settle for the love of having the best action figure in the latest assortment of FF-themed Marvel Legends.  It’s the small victories that keep you going.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Doctor Doom is figure 1 in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends, a great example of Hasbro knowing to lead with their best foot forward.  Alongside the Thing, Doom is one of the double-packs for this assortment, again an example of Hasbro knowing what’s up here.  While Victor Von Doom returned to Legends last year as a Walgreens exclusive, it was under his Infamous Iron Man moniker, and as cool as that figure was, he wasn’t classic Doctor Doom.  We haven’t gotten one of those since 2012, and even that one was a re-used mold from ’08.  The need for a proper update, especially in light of the FF getting classic-inspired updates in the Walgreens line-up.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.   Doom gets an all-new sculpt from head to toe, and it’s one of Hasbro’s most impressive sculpts, pretty much in their entire time on the license.  It takes the classic Doom design and effectively just translates it to how it would look if manufactured in real life.  The armor has rivets, seams, and leather straps and clasps, and under the main plates, you can clearly make out a chain mail under suit.  Even under the skirt of the tunic, the armor remains fully detailed, even though there’s absolutely no reason for it to be.  The tunic is appropriately detailed in its own way, with a distinct fabric texturing sculpted in to differentiate it from the armored segments.  At first glance, I felt the skirt of the tunic was too long, but after messing with the figure a bit, I’m actually quite happy with the length, and also pleasantly surprised by how posable the hips remain even with it in place.  On the back of the torso, there are jet thrusters, as have become customary for Doom figures.  He’s also got a very nicely detailed belt, with a fully working holster.  There are two different heads included with the figure.  He comes wearing the more modern design of his mask (seen in the shot with Wilson), but also includes a more Jack Kirby-inspired head.  Both are beautiful pieces in their own right, but the Kirby head is my favorite by far.  Doom’s paintwork is pretty solid.  While a lot of the colors are just molded, there are never the less plenty of spots where paint *could* have been missed but wasn’t, especially with those straps on the sides of the armor plates, which again continue up under the tunic.  Truly impressive.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Doom also includes his signature Luger, plus two sets of hands (fists, and a trigger finger/open gesture combo).  He also includes the leg of Super Skrull.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Doctor Doom is my favorite comics villain ever, and frequently a favorite of mine when it comes to action figures.  Since completing the Walgreens FF, I’ve been patiently waiting for this guy.  As soon as he was shown off, I knew he’d be my favorite in the set, and in hand he absolutely lives up to my expectations, and makes for the perfect counterpart to my FF.  This figure is clearly a labor of love for Hasbro and I’m very glad to have him.

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

#2308: Hulk

HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Jennifer Walters struggles to control her anger, and keep the powerful Hulk at bay.”

After pretty much only being Bruce Banner’s alter-ego for five decades, in the last couple of years, the name “Hulk” has been shared by a handful of other people.  The first being Thunderbolt Ross (who admittedly did put “Red” in front of it to distinguish himself a bit), then Amadeus Cho (who stuck with “Totally Awesome” as his lead-in), and then eventually Hulk’s original spin-off, Jennifer Walters, previously a Hulk of the “She” variety.  I mean, I think she’s still of the “she” variety, but it got dropped from her name.  Also, she’s angry now, so there’s that.  And now, there’s a figure of this new incarnation!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hulk is figure 6 in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends.  Though not super linked to the FF in her most current incarnation, Jen is nevertheless a good fit for an FF-themed assortment, given her history with the team during John Byrne’s tenure, and how that helped shift her into the spot-light.  Of course, I’d still like a proper Byrne FF She-Hulk one of these days, but that’s an issue for another time.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Unlike the last ML She-Hulk, this figure is an all-new sculpt, and a rather impressive one at that.  Since her transition to just being Hulk also had her picking up some of her cousin’s temper issues, this new sculpt depicts an angrier, more savage Jen.  The face is an intense, teeth-baring snarl, which you don’t often see on female figures, and the hair is wildly blowing, with a stray stand even blowing across her face.  It’s quite a dynamic head, and I really love that about it.  The body goes to the proper Hulk roots of tattered clothing remains.  Like the last two comic He-Hulks we got, this one has a separate rubber tattered shirt piece, although this one isn’t designed to be removed.  She’s also sporting a pair of jeans with enough holes in them to make a clothing designer jealous, and with a ton of really nice texture work to make them feel like a real piece of clothing.  All of its on a body that has a great build to match most depictions of Jen in her Gamma-induced form.  I’m sure some of these parts have already been ear-marked to crop up again.  Jen’s transition to an adjective-less Hulk was accompanied by a change in color from her usual green to a grey more in like with her cousin’s earlier appearances.  This figure replicates that, but does keep enough green in there to make her still look more like a half-way point between Bruce’s two forms.  The paintwork on this figure does some solid work, especially on the hair, which has that nice green highlight to it.  I also really dig the bright green scars.  Hulk is packed with two sets of hands in fists and open gesture, as well as the right arms to Super Skrull.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The A-Force She-Hulk was a better figure than I expected, but was still a rather dated piece even when she was new, which definitely left me wanting a more properly updated version of Jen.  While I’ll admit this one might not have my first choice of design, and I’m certainly still holding out for a Byrne version, I can’t deny that this is a very nice figure, and would it not for the figure I’m about to review tomorrow, she’d probably be my favorite in the set.

Hulk came from my sponsors 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.

#2307: Invisible Woman

INVISIBLE WOMAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Sue Storm has the ability to bend light, making herself and others invisible.”

Let’s officially bookend these modern FF Legends reviews with the Invisible Woman, the character that started this renewed lease on Legends life for the team back in 2016 when Hasbro first unveiled her at one of the con presentations.  Hasbro launching with Sue was something of a promise to long-time collectors that they were really going to finish the team, by kicking things off with the most frequently neglected member of the core group.  With this latest set, Hasbro seems to be sticking with that promise, releasing the whole team in one go this time, and not making the same mistakes that Toy Biz made over and over again.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Invisible Woman is figure 3 in the Super Skrull Series of Marvel Legends.  Like the rest of her team from this assortment, Sue is sporting her latest costume from the comics, thereby completing this set of the team.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  This Sue shares most of her parts with the last Sue, which seems respectable enough.  The Phoenix body is a good fit for Sue’s usual build, and a solid base body in general, so there are no complaints there.  She also uses the same face as the last figure, but gets a new hair piece, as well as new feet to match the more stylized soles of the rest of the team.  I was a pretty big fan of the prior Sue figure’s head sculpt, and I wasn’t so sure about this one at first, but in person I find myself really liking the new hairstyle, and even preferring its more dynamic nature to the previous sculpt.  It also looks really nice swapped onto that old body, for those interested.  The feet are okay; not as goofy looking as Reed’s, but I’m not the biggest fan of the wedges.  I liked the prior figure’s flat feet.  They don’t look bad, though.  The paintwork on Sue matches well with the rest of the team, but something about it looks better on this particular body than the others.  I don’t know if the design of this body just lends itself better to the costume layout or what, but I just like the costume even more here.  Not having that belt broken by a waist joint probably helps.  The prior figure didn’t get anything in the way of effects pieces to demonstrate her powers, but this one gets an all-new force shield piece, which clips over her right hand.  I quite like it, and it’s also compatible with the Walgreens figure, for those curious.  In addition to the shield,this figure includes the torso of the Super Skrull Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure didn’t do much for me when she was announced.  I really like the Walgreens figure, and didn’t see much room for improvement, and honestly felt the changes made the figure look worse.  In-hand, it’s a totally different story.  That new head sculpt is really great, the effects piece is one of Hasbro’s coolest, and even the costume works better here than on the others, making Sue my favorite of the FF members from this particular set.  I think a lot of people might pass her up for being so similar to her prior figure when compared to her teammates, but she’s surprisingly good.

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

 

#2306: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2305: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2304: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2303: Krieg

KRIEG

BORDERLANDS 2 (MCFARLANE)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#2302: Wedge Antilles

WEDGE ANTILLES

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2301: Cara Dune

CARA DUNE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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

#2300: Luke Skywalkwer – Yavin Ceremony

LUKE SKWALKER — YAVIN CEREMONY

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

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