#2350: Storm & Logan

STORM & LOGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Back in January, I delved into the time capsule of the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates, and their choice to use the Ultimate universe’s versions of Marvel’s merry mutants over their mainstream counterparts.  Some of the characters weren’t too heavily changed, while some of them were.  Today’s set pairs both sides of that coin, with Storm (a character whose backstory and characterization were both fairly divergent from 616) and Wolverine (a character so unchanged from his mainstream counterpart that no one really noticed that the one included in this particular set *isn’t* actually the Ultimate incarnation).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were paired up for the specialty Series 3 assortment of Marvel Minimates, and they would both also be included in the TRU 5-pack and 4-pack that corresponded to the assortment.  They were split up and matched with their opposite numbers in the Wolverine/Sabretooth set for the Canadian release, and then Logan found his way into one more stray two-pack for Walmart and Target.

STORM

Storm’s Ultimate incarnation may have been different in terms of character, but in terms of design, she really wasn’t that far removed.  I could see regular Storm wearing this at some point in the ’90s.  The figure is built on the pre-c3 ‘mate body, with long feet and all.  She had four add-on pieces for her hair, necklace, and boots.  The necklace is shared with her assortment-mate Jean Grey, and the hairpiece was re-used twice more (for Emma Frost and She-Hulk).  The boots remained unique to this release, though, and use the older style slipping over the standard feet style of design.  Like the others in these early assortments, the general style on these parts is rather basic, though she’s certainly one of the most built-up ‘mates of the earliest releases.  It’s a little odd for Storm to be one of the largest characters, but that’s really just how the trappings of the early line work out.  Storm’s paintwork is actually pretty good for the early figures.  It’s still more on the basic line, but there’s a fair bit going on, with the coolest bit by far being the wraps on her arms.  That said, she does miss out on actually getting the sculpted earrings painted; at least they got her ears, though.

LOGAN

The standard Ultimate version of Wolverine was packed with Sabretooth (and Cyclops), but you can’t have just one lone Wolverine, can you?  Of course not.  As I touched on in the intro, he’s actually the one figure in this assortment who wasn’t from the Ultimate universe, instead being just a regular civilian version of the original Logan, as denoted by the hair’s distinctive shaping and his lack of goatee.  He too uses the standard old body, but with a set of the old-style claw hands as well as an add-on for the hair.  This is probably my favorite Wolverine hair piece the line produced, which makes it rather a shame that this was the only time it was used (though it was shown on prototype shots for the DOFP Wolverine, before being replaced with the New X-Men Wolverine piece). The rest of the figure is handled via paint, and it ends up working out alright.  The face is a rather unique expression for Logan, but one that works in the context of the earlier ‘mates, and the detailing on the jacket is actually pretty impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Wolverine and Sabretooth review, the only Series 3 set I picked up when these were new was Cyclops and Jean.  I got this one along with a handful of other older sets from Luke’s Toy Store back during one of their sales.  I’ve always wanted this pair, so I was glad to finally get them.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from them, but they’re both pretty solid ‘mates, even by more modern standards.

#2349: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC ESSENTIALS (DC COLLECTIBLES)

So I totally neglected to review anything green for St Patrick’s Day….for like seven years running.  Look, it’s not one of the one’s I really mention.  In fact, I’m only bringing any of this up because I happen to actually be writing today’s review *on* St Patrick’s Day, and, well, it’s Green Lantern, who’s…well, green.  Also, writing this particular intro spares you all from having to read another “I’m a glutton for punishment because I keep buying toys from lines that have wronged me before” intro.  Aren’t you happy to have missed that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is figure 19 in the DC Essentials line-up, heading off his assortment, which hit right after the New Year.  Like Nightwing, he was one of the earlier figures to be shown off, but it took a while for him to be slotted into the line-up.  For this assortment, he was paired off with a Sinestro figure, which makes sense.  GL is seen here sporting the same basic look he’s kept since after Green Lantern: Rebirth, though this one does take something of a more modern bend.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He gets a new head, hands, and shins, and the rest is…well, the rest is the basic Essentials body, for better or for worse.  Okay, it’s kinda for worse, if I’m honest…but I’ll get to that.  The new parts aren’t bad on their own.  In particular, the head is quite a nice piece, and I like it more than DC Collectibles’ last attempt at Hal.  I like that this one’s got some personality to it.  The problem I have with it is how poorly it fits the body it’s sitting on.  It’s a little too small, and it definitely sits too high on the neck.  It shouldn’t be this hard, guys; you’ve had 18 previous figures to get this scaling of the parts down.  At least the hands are a nice combo, though as with all of these figures, I wish he had a few more to choose from.  The shins just give his boots actual raised edges, which, hey, at least they didn’t screw up something this simple.  GL’s paintwork is…fine.  Like, it does what it’s supposed to, but it also raises some pre-existing issues with the sculpt.  The way the split works on the forearms for the gloves just really exaggerates how bad those overly-long arms look.  Seriously, how have they not fixed those?  How do you leave something that glaring uncorrected on every figure in the line?  You be DCC, I guess.  Hal includes no accessories because, I mean, there’s no easy accessories you can give to Green Lantern, right?  What could you possibly include with a Green Lantern figure?  Do any items that might be “essential” for a Green LANTERN figure come to mind?  No?  Well, not for DCC, anyway.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll admit, this was moment of weakness on my part.  I’ve gotten prior Essentials figures, and I know what’s up there.  But I was at my comic store, and there was this new Green Lantern figure that I didn’t have, and….well, I kinda caved.  I then got home, opened him up and kinda regretted it a bit.  It’s really those damned arms.  I’ve hated them since the start, and they just feel like they’re even worse here.  It’s not helping that the last Essentials figure I picked up actually fixed the issue, making its return even more frustrating because they CLEARLY KNOW IT’S A PROBLEM!  Ultimately, the figure’s not the worst thing ever.  Honestly there’s a lot of him that’s genuinely good, but it’s all hidden behind the albatross that’s hung around the line’s neck since the very beginning.

#2348: King Shark

KING SHARK

BATMAN: THE CAPED CRUSADER (SPIN MASTER)

Okay, so I’ve been informed recently that I need to be higher energy.  So, I, uhh, guess I should try to be higher energy?  I mean, yeah, let’s be high energy!  I love high energy!  High energy is great!  I’m excited to be a part of this plan to be higher energy!  Something that is admittedly pretty high energy is the DC Universe subscription-exclusive Harley Quinn animated series, which launched last fall.  It starts out focussed pretty heavily on Harley and Joker, but in pretty quick fashion Harley picks up her own crew of pretty far-reaching DCU characters.  One of my favorite inclusions is the show’s version of King Shark, who subverts a lot of the usual King Shark concepts and is just generally a good time.  And right as I was getting into the show, Spin Master opted to include a King Shark in their opening line-up of DC figures, so I of course bought one.  Let’s review this boy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Shark is part of the first deluxe assortment of Spin Master’s Batman: The Caped Crusader line.  King Shark’s not classically a Batman villain, but I guess with the heavy featuring on a Bat-related show, there was some wiggle room, and I’m not going to argue with something that gets me an easily attainable King Shark figure.  The figure stands roughly 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit restricted on the articulation.  The lack of neck joint is understandable, but no knees or ankles is a little annoying, especially when it comes to keeping him standing.  It’s not the end of the world, but compared to the others I’ve looked at from the line, it’s just a slight letdown.  King Shark’s got a unique sculpt, though almost all of it was immediately re-used for the Target-exclusive hammerhead version.  This one goes instead for Shark’s pre-New 52 Great White-style head, which has always been my preferred.  It’s a rather stylized take on the character, and definitely errs more on the cartoony side of things, but I really dig the detailing on his gills and the small scarring on the torso.  Those are the sorts of details that could have been overlooked, so their inclusion here really shows Spin Master is going the extra mile.  The paintwork on King Shark is more basic than the sculpt, but it gets all of the important details down, and again fits the style of the rest of the line.  Spin Master’s deluxe figures have so far followed a common theme, that theme being big armored wing pack things.  King Shark gets one of those, because why not, I guess?  It’s pretty neat, if perhaps rather gimmicky.  But then, Spin Master seems to know where their target audience is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Super Awesome Wife’s background in marine biology has her talking about sharks a fair bit of the time, mostly touching on the unfairness of their usual portrayals in media.  So, when King Shark’s Harley Quinn appearances subverted this, she was quite thrilled.  Honestly, that did even more to endear me to a character I was already pretty into.  After getting Superman and Nightwing, I had made a passing mention to Max that I *might* be interested in King Shark, and he was kind enough to keep an eye out for one, setting me up with this guy shortly thereafter.  He’s goofy and gimmicky, but I continue to enjoy this line of figures wholeheartedly!

#2347: In Space Psycho Blue Ranger

IN SPACE PSYCHO BLUE RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Hasbro’s collector’s toy lines seem to be really getting into the exclusives game across the board.  Though it’s relatively new, having only been running for a little under a year, The Lightning Collection has had its own handful, including not one, but two different exclusives for Gamestop (with a third on the way later this year).  Goldar was their first, and he got a lot of promotion, but by contrast, their second exclusive, Psycho Blue, pretty much just showed up one day.  And here he is now!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Psycho Blue is, as noted above, a Gamestop exclusive piece of Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection.  He started hitting in small quantities back in November of last year, but appears to have really hit in full force just after the new year.  He’s either the first or the second of the Psycho Rangers from Hasbro, depending on how distribution in your area worked out.  Red was shown off first, and he’s the one I got first, so I’m counting Blue as number two. The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  It’s not really surprising, but Blue is a total re-use of Red’s sculpt.  The costumes in the show were the same, so it’s a fairly sensible re-use, and one that Bandai did too when they released them.  It was a strong sculpt the first time I looked at it, and it’s still a strong sculpt here.  I do wish the range of motion was better on those shoulders, but that’s still my only complaint.  I’ll be content to buy this at least twice more for Black and Silver.  The figure is differentiated by his paint, which, unsurprisingly, swaps out the the red accents of the last one for blue.  I find myself preferring the blue overall, and its application seems a little cleaner on my figure.  Psycho Blue gets the same two sets of hands as Red, plus his Psycho Axe (the one new piece included here), and the White Ranger‘s effect piece, but in yellow this time.  I appreciate that they actually did give him one additional piece compared to Red, even if it’s just a re-used one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t find Blue in his initial shipments last year.  My first find was after the new year, and at the time Gamestop was trying to get $29.99 for him, which I was definitely not paying.  Fortunately, I came across him at another location a few weeks later, and he was now marked at a far more reasonable $18.99, at which point I quite happily picked him up.  There’s not much new here, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a great toy.  Honestly, I like him even more than Red, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the team.

#2346: Zombie Viper

ZOMBIE VIPER

G.I. JOE: 30TH ANNIVERSARY (HASBRO)

“ZOMBIE-VIPERS are COBRA infantry troopers who have been given a mysterious chemical substance, Compound Z, that has turned them into drones. Wiped of all thought, they follow orders mindlessly and cannot be reasoned with or sidetracked. They have retained skill at combat; in fact, their desire to fight has been increased, making them more dangerous than before. In other words, they are deadly zombie warriors.”

After a rather noticeable hiatus from retail shelves, G.I. Joe is making its return later this year, with an all-new line of 6-inch figures.  I myself am quite excited for this new line, so in the mean time, I’m going to look at some of the older items already in my collection.  Today, I’m turning my sights on the 30th Anniversary of the 3 3/4 inch line, which in addition to updating some of the older figures to the modern day, also served as the distribution point for a handful of left over ideas from Hasbro’s rather inventive Pursuit of Cobra line.  PoC attempted to introduce some new ideas into the franchise, including a few new styles of Cobra trooper.  And since everyone was going crazy about zombies in the early 2010s, we even got one of those!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Zombie-Viper was part of the fourth assortment of the G.I. Joe: 30th Anniversary line, which would prove to be the final assortment of the 30th line.  Unfortunately, due to Paramount not wanting competing product during a movie year, the 30th line was shoved into 2011, which wasn’t its actual anniversary year, and the fourth assortment in particular was practically non-existent at retail.  Fortunately, the Zombie-Viper got a more or less unchanged release for the 50th Anniversary line in 2016, making him much easier to find.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The Zombie-Viper’s non-zombie parts are re-used from the Pursuit of Cobra Shock Trooper.  The same figure served as a parts source for both the standard PoC Cobra Trooper and the Viper,  so there’s a nice connective tissue to it, which sells the backstory that these are infected Cobra forces.  The new parts do quite a nice job of selling the whole zombie thing.  The level of detailing is really impressive at this scale and at on a mass retail item, and is honestly enough to give other zombie lines of the time a run for their money.  The forearms are designed like those of the BATs, allowing for them to pop out at the joint and be swapped out for other attachments, in this case a set of tendrils, adding to that more sci-if side of things.  They are also compatible with the BAT attachments, allowing for some mix and match.  The Zombie-Viper’s paint work is mostly on the drab side, which is sensible for a zombie, but with a little bit of bright blue thrown in there, again to play up that sci-fi side of things. There’s some nice accent work wit ph a wash, which helps highlight the intricacies of the sculpt.  The Zombie-Viper is packed with the previously mentioned tendrils, as well as a containment helmet and tube, and a display stand with the figure’s name and the Cobra insignia on it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was quite looking forward to this figure when it was first shown off, but unfortunately Wave 4 never showed up at retail around me, and by the time I realized it hadn’t, the full sets had long since sold out online.  I wound up tracking down my one must have figure (Lifeline) on his own, but never did get the Zombie-Viper.  Fortunately, via the 50th Anniversary reissue and Max not wanting to keep both of them from the two-pack, I was finally able to get one.  I’m glad, because he’s a really cool figure.

#2345: Goliath

GOLIATH (w/ ANT-MAN & WASP)

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Hank Pym started small. After shrinking his way to worldwide renown as the super-heroic Ant-Man, founding member of the mighty Avengers, he ascended to even greater glory in the guise of Giant-Man. Now, as Goliath, he continues to prove that size matters: His greatest asset is his big brain and knack for invention! Due to years of exposure to the size-altering properties of Pym Particles, Goliath can increase in stature at will and to a maximum height of 100 feet of shrink to the size of an ant. He grows by drawing additional mass froman extra-dimensional source, to which it returns when he reverts to normal. Goliath can shrink an entire laboratory or an array of firearms to the size of a microchip when not in use. The various compartments of his uniform straps contain a wide variety of miniaturized equipment.”

Toy Biz’s run on Marvel Legends was full of a lot of rather frustrating choices on their part, all in the name of trying to foster some sort of after market value for their figures.  It was…well, it wasn’t the best time to be a collector, but it was a really good time for scalpers.  Yay?  One of their ideas was chase figures, figures that were not advertised on the back of the package and were shipped in very low numbers, and were just short of including a note on the front that said “scalp me.”  The concept only ended up lasting for two assortments, Series 4 and Series 5.  I’ve looked at Red Skull, the chase for Series 5, but now I’m looking at the figure that officially launched it, Goliath!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted in the intro, Goliath was the chase figure for Series 4 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends, and was subsequently the one figure in the assortment not listed on the back of the packaging.  He’s officially supposed to be based on Hank’s first Goliath costume, but, well, there’s some caveats to that, which I’ll touch on in a bit. The figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  That’s a pretty low count for a Legends release, and there’s a good reason for that: he’s not a Legends sculpt.  Instead, he was a wholesale repaint of the Giant-Man figure from their classic Avengers boxed set from the ’90s.  Now, you may recall from my (astoundingly short) review of that figure, that I was pretty fond of the sculpt.  It’s honestly one of he nicest sculpts to come out of their 5-inch days.  That being said, it didn’t really fit all that well stylistically with the Legends Toy Biz was putting out at this time.  I mean, he’ll look okay with the Iron Man and Cap, but beyond that he’s gonna be out of place.  Additionally, the sculpted details of the costume are pretty specific to Giant-Man’s costume, but those don’t line-up with the Goliath costume they opted to go for.  He shouldn’t have the antenna or the circle, and he should have goggles, and a completely different belt.  We wound up getting a couple of more accurate renditions of this costume once Hasbro took over, but for this one, Toy Biz was clearly wanting a cheap extra figure to produce and went with the “close enough” philosophy.  The paint work kind of rolls with the differences of the sculpt, and pretty much makes no attempt to hide them, because, honestly, it’s not like there’s much that can be done.  It’s a pretty nifty color scheme, and I certainly dig the metallic blue used on the body suit.  In order to distract a bit from the re-used mold and the lack of a base sculpt, Goliath was packed with repaints of the Ant-Man and Wasp figures from the same boxed set as Giant-Man.  They work a little better with the Legends aesthetic, though they’re not super-poseable or anything.  The new coat of paint does look nice, though.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite the somewhat lazy creation, I always wanted this guy when he was new.  Perhaps because I was giving into the very forces that Toy Biz was counting on, or perhaps because I just always liked this Goliath costume.  Whatever the case, I didn’t get one, because the after market for him was stupid expensive for a good long while.  Then the people paying the stupid money for him actually took a closer looked at him, realized how lazy a creation he was, and two much better versions of the costume were released, and now this guy can be had for a much more reasonable sum.  He ended up traded into All Time about a year and a half ago, allowing me to finally add him to my collection.  He’s not anything to write home about, but I can love him for what he is.

#2344: Autobot Grapple

AUTOBOT GRAPPLE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: EARTHRISE (HASBRO)

Okay, so I’m at the end of this Transformers week and…well, I’m gonna level with you guys, I’m kinda starting to stretch the limits of what I know off-hand about Transformers.  Take, for instance, today’s guy.  I know he’s an Autobot named Grapple, but, well, that kinda comes from the name, now doesn’t that?  Beyond that?  Not a ton.  He’s not on the list of names I could rattle off if someone asked me to name some transformers on the spot…or at least he wasn’t prior to this figure, and it’s really a 50/50 chance that I’ll accidentally refer to him as Hoist, who is an entirely different guy that’s also available in the initial product launch for Earthrise.  So, with all that said, let’s just see where this review takes us, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grapple is one half of the first Voyager Class assortment for Transformers War For Cybertron: Earthrise, with the other half being an Earth-mode version of Starscream.  Earthrise continues Siege’s trend of very G1-inspired figures, and even takes it a bit further, given that the setting is once again on Earth, meaning most of the characters will be taking more direct replicas of their original alt-modes.  In his robot mode, Grapple stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 20 practical points of articulation.  Grapple is sporting an all-new sculpt, though given the usual lineage of Grapple figures, it won’t be too much of a surprise to see this sculpt turn up again for Inferno.  It’s a very cartoon-inspired sculpt, and represents a much cleaner design than some of the Siege figures were sporting.  There’s a lot more in the way of clean lines and sharp edges.  It makes for a nice figure to look at.  He’s on the boxier side, which is sensible, given his construction-centered alt-mode.  Said alt-mode is an orange crane truck.  The transformation is mostly pretty easy and straight forward, but there is a slight molding error on all copies of the figure (so far, at least), where the two pegs at the base of the crane are just a touch too large for the corresponding peg holes on the feet.  They’ll resist going in during the transformation, and if you force them you’ll risk breaking the figure.  Fortunately, shaving them down just a touch with a knife was all that was needed to get mine into proper working order.  As far as out of the box mods go, that one’s not too bad.  Grapple is packed with a blaster, a claw, and a nozzle piece.  The blaster is your standard sci-fi fare, but is cool nonetheless.  The claw and nozzle are actually compatible with the ports on the insides of Grapple’s wrists, allowing for them to be swapped out for his hands if you so desire…which I did, so hey, look at that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I knew nothing about Grapple before this figure.  I still don’t know a ton about him.  But, I liked his design, and unlike Starscream he didn’t feel like a retread, so I was definitely down for picking one up.  Despite not knowing much about him, I quite like this figure, and am happy to have him as my first proper introduction to Earthrise.

Grapple was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and is still available here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2343: Dropkick

DROPKICK

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

While Siege has so far been my primary focus of my Transformers collecting, the thing that actually broke me into this whole Transformers scene was 2018’s Bumblebee, a really enjoyable soft reboot of the movie incarnation of the franchise.  I kicked off my collecting with the film’s version of its main character, and over the summer I picked up the movie’s updated version of Optimus Prime, and now, another seven months later, I picked up a third figure.  This time, it’s one of the film’s two primary antagonists, Dropkick!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dropkick is a Deluxe Class-sized Studio Series offering, and is figure 46 in the line-up.  In the film, Dropkick and his fellow antagonist Shatter are triple-changers.  That’s all well and good for the film, which uses multiple models for the characters, or even the more cartoon-based toy lines, where they can fudge some details.  However, for the Studio Series, which prides itself on the accuracy of the alt-modes, that’s a more than slightly tricky prospect.  In that regard, the line splits Dropkick into two distinct figure, one that turns into his car mode, and one that turns into his helicopter mode.  This one is the car mode version, which is actually technically screen accurate, since Dropkick is just a car for a brief portion of the film, before he acquires the helicopter mode.  In his robot mode, the figure is just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 15 workable points of articulation.  He’s a little more restricted in terms of poseability than some of the other ‘formers I’ve looked at, but he’s still got enough to get some decent poses out of him.  Dropkick’s robot mode is a pretty decent recreation of his pre-triple-changer form. It’s not accurate to how he looks for most of the movie, but it’s certainly a lot closer than the Helicopter Dropkick figure was.  Dropkick’s alt-mode is a 1973 AMC Javelin muscle car, and the transformation into it is actually a pretty smooth process, honestly the smoothest of the Studio Series figures I’ve picked up so far.  Typically my Studio Series figures only get transformed into their vehicle modes so that I can get the photos and then go back to their robot modes essentially permanently, but I’ve been swapping Dropkick back and forth since getting him, which is a pretty good sign of the alt mode’s strengths.  Dropkick is packed with his liquifying cannon, which his hand folds out of the way for, allowing it to be arm-mounted like it is in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I did really like Bumblebee, I’ve been slowly picking up some of its toys, which, I know is a crazy concept for me.  I saw Helicopter Dropkick many times, but I didn’t really care for the changes they made to his robot mode, so I always passed on him.  When this one was announced, I was interested, but I never ended up seeing one in person.  Fortunately for me, one got traded in at All Time, making picking him up quite an easy feat.  I like this figure quite a bit, and it’s probably the most I’ve enjoyed a Studio Series figure, which is certainly not a bad thing.

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, and while he wasn’t part of it, they’ve recently acquired a pretty decently sized Transformers collection and a lot of it’s still available here If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2342: Ectotron

ECTOTRON

GHOSTBUSTERS X TRANSFORMERS (HASBRO)

At Toy Fair this year, Hasbro confirmed that they had acquired the rights to produce toys based on Ghostbusters and the franchise it spawned, which, while it isn’t the big deal it once was, is still pretty darn nifty.  It’s not entirely surprising, though, considering that just last year, they launched the crossover-based Transformers: Collaborative two Ghostbusting-themed cross over Transformers.  One was a re-decoed Optimus in Ecto-1 colors, which is all well and good, but not terribly exciting for the non-Optimus fans out there, but the other was an all-new character, Ectotron, who turns into the Ghostbusters’ distinctive mode of transportation, and is the figure I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ectotron is the first of the two Ghostbusters x Transformers figures released by Hasbro last year.  He was shown off right on top of last year’s Toy Fair, and went up for preorder right after.  He’s been making his way out through various markets throughout the last year.  In robot mode, the figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and has 21 usable points of articulation.  Ectrotron was an all-new design, reverse-engineered from his alt-mode and also meant to somewhat replicate the classic Ghostbusters geared-up look in robot form.  Ectotron uses the Combiner Wars Hot Spot as a starting point, with the upper arms, legs, and general inner mechanics being the shared.  He still ends up with his fair share of new parts, however, in order to create his slightly more Ghostbuster-y look.  I like the Ray-esque goggles on the head, though it’s a shame they don’t move up or down.  I will admit that after getting into the line with Siege, a figure based on older molds does feel a little more…rudimentary?  He’s a lot blockier, and also not quite as solidly built as the Siege stuff, with more hollow spaces in his build and a generally clunkier design.  His joints also feel a bit looser than others, particularly on the legs, and there are a few joints that have become standard on newer figures, which are absent here, limiting some of his posing options.  There’s also more kibble from the vehicle mode here than on other recent figures.  I think the shoulders are the only part that really bugs me, but there’s a lot of it sticking off of the back of the figure.  Additionally, the figure’s proton pack has a lot of trouble staying in place on my figure.  I feel like maybe I’m doing something wrong there, but I couldn’t get it to seat any more securely.  Ectotron’s alt-mode is the Ecto-1, in all its fully licensed GM 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor glory.  The transformation into the car is a pretty straight-forward process, and I found it to be pretty easy.  Compared to the likes of the fully licensed vehicles of the Studio Series, which tend to have more fiddly transformation processes, this one was a lot easier to pick up and flip between the two forms.  Some of the procedures, such as transforming the proton pack into the gear on the top of the car, is pretty clever in its implementation, and the final Ecto-1 is a really satisfying replica of the real thing.  Part of the transformation process gets Ectotron his proton wand for the pack, but he’s also got a small Slimer figurine to go with him, which is a cool little extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ectotron initially hit while I was still trying out Transformers, so I didn’t grab one initially.  However, I finally had a chance to see one in person, and I had some store credit to burn through, and I was impressed enough in-hand to give him a try.  Compared to something from Siege, yeah, he feels like maybe a slight step down.  That being said, there’s a lot I like about this guy, even if a lot of it’s linked to the pure novelty of what he is.

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

#2241: Hot Shot

HOT SHOT

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Though Siege has overall been something of a G1 love-fest, that’s not all there is to the line.  Figures like the Galaxy Upgrade Prime give showcase to some of the franchise’s other incarnation, in that figure, and in turn today’s figure’s case, the incarnation being the “Unicron Trilogy”, a somewhat loosely connected set of shows that ran from 2002 to 2005 and that really brought the more classic vehicular Transformers back into the spotlight after Beast Wars and Beast Machines had shifted the focus for a bit.  One of the central characters within the Unicron Trilogy was Hot Shot, a character who was essentially a new creation, and who is one of the better remembered parts of that incarnation.  It’s fitting that he would make his way into some piece of War For Cybertron, especially when the Optimus he goes with was already there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hot Shot is one of nine Transformers Generations: Selects figures designed to augment the Siege line at regular retail.  All of the included figures are slight re-workings of pre-existing molds, shipped in a brown cardboard box, and only initially available through online retailers. Like the Galaxy Upgrade Prime, Hot Shot is based on his appearance from Transformers: Cybertron, the last entry in the Unicron Trilogy.  While it might not be my first choice of Hot Shot designs, at least it’s not Energon.  It’s also a sensible choice given the parts catalogue they’re working with right now.  In robot mode, the figure is 5 inches tall and has 20 workable points of articulation.  Hot Shot’s largely a re-paint of Hound.  While the transition to Jeep instead of sports car is a little weird for the Armada fan in me, but it’s a respectable match for the Cybertron Defense Hot Shot figure from the Cybertron line.  In order to differentiate him a bit, he does get a new head sculpt (which was erroneously used as the basis of the illustration on Hound’s packaging…whoops), which is a nice recreation of the CD figure’s noggin.  Aside from that, it’s the same figure as Hound, which isn’t a bad thing.  I liked the sculpt the first time around, and I still like it now, especially with that new head.  Since the figure is more or less unchanged, so is his alt-mode, which is the same Cybertronian-styled Jeep.  Again, I thought it was pretty cool the first time, and it’s still cool here.  The transformation is still pretty simple, and fun to go back and forth through, so I’m down for it.  The whole figure is changed up by switching the colors from Hound’s muted green to a red, blue, and yellow palette, which evokes Hot Shot’s design nicely, and honestly hides the re-used molds pretty darn well.  I’m down for the drastic change in color scheme!  Hot Shot includes the same accessory compliment as Hound, but with the colors tweaked to match the new scheme of the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beast Wars was on the air when I started to get into cartoons, and I was certainly familiar with it and how it connected to this whole Transformers thing.  I even had a few of the toys, but it never quite clicked with me.  What did click for me was Transformers: Armada, which I actually watched pretty darn faithfully when it was airing on Cartoon Network.  I had a small number of the toys, with Hot Shot being a personal favorite.  While Cybertron wasn’t quite so much my jaam as Armada, I’ll take pretty much any excuse to get a good Hot Shot toy.  And that’s what I’d classify this as: a good Hot Shot toy.  Of course, now I’m seriously contemplating third party pieces to make him more accurate, and that’s a very dangerous and scary road to go down.

I grabbed my Hot Shot figrue from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.