#1651: Big Barda

BIG BARDA

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

“Born on the evil, warlike planet Apokolips, Barda was specially trained in all forms of combat by Granny Goodness. However, she fell in love with Scott Free, a child of peaceful New Genesis raised on Apokolips, and used her warrior skills to help him escape to Earth. Barda accompanied Scott, and they married after he assumed the name of Mister Miracle, world’s greatest escape artist. Since then, she has fought evil alongside her husband, both of them serving in the Justice League of America.”

When it came to DC Universe Classics‘ line-up, there was definitely a penchant for leaning heavily on Jack Kirby’s Fourth World creations.  This is something of a carry over from Kenner’s Super Powers, a line that inspired much of the DCUC line.  One prominent Fourth World member that was absent from Super Powers was Big Barda, who made her debut rather early into DCUC‘s run.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Big Barda was released in Series 7 of DC Universe Classics.  There were two versions of the character available: with helmet and without.  As you may have pieced together from the photo at the top of the review, this one’s the un-helmeted release, which, despite not being a standard look for the character at all, ended up as the easiest of the two versions to find.  Why the decision was made to make it two separate figures, rather than just tossing in the alternate look as an accessory is anyone’s guess, but it’s just the first of the problems that plague this figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall.  I’m gonna say that again: 6 inches tall.  So, for those of you playing the FiQ home game, double-checking the stats up against prior players reviews, you’ll note that Barda is shorter than the DCUC Mr. Miracle, despite Barda being consistently depicted as a good half foot taller than Scott, and having, you know, “Big” in her name. Kind of an issue.  What’s especially odd about this is the fact that Barda has a completely unique sculpt…so, there’s really no reason for her to be the same size as all of the other female figures.  There’s legitimately no good reason for Mattel to have so badly underscaled Barda.  Apart, of course, from the looming “they’re Mattel and thereby must suck at everything” bit they’ve got going on.  And even from an internal standpoint, she’s still really off, because her arms and legs are really quite scrawny, again, in sharp contrast to that “big” descriptor.  How did nobody along the whole process stop and go “wait, something’s not right here.”  Or maybe they just thought it was an ironic nickname?  Like “Einstein” or “tiny”?  That seems like an appropriately Mattel thing to do, I guess.  If there’s one redeeming aspect to the figure, it’s the paint.  It’s from a time when Mattel was still kind of trying at such things, so she actually has some pretty solid accenting work, especially on things like the chainmail on the arms and legs, where it really helps bring out what few strengths the sculpt actually has.  In terms of accessories, Barda was rather light.  She has her staff and one of Atom Smasher’s arms, and she can’t even hold her staff all that well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

No super exciting story about acquiring this figure.  A friend of mine bought this figure thinking there was a helmet included, and upon discovering no helmet was included, she handed it off to me.  The sans-helmet figure wasn’t my first choice, and I mostly just kept her because I wanted to finish my Atom Smasher.  She’s a flawed figure.  I can’t really get past that.  On the plus side, with the introduction of DC Icons and its rather diminutive nature, I at least have somewhere to put her.  Yay?

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#1850: Metalhead

METALHEAD

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2012, PLAYMATES)

Ninja Turtles?  Again?  So soon?  And in this economy?  Hey, I don’t make the rules…oh wait, yes I do.  Well, in that case, I make the rules, so if I want to review two Ninja Turtles items within a month of each other, that’s what I’m gonna do.  So, yeah…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Metalhead was released as part of Playmates’ 2012 Teenange Mutant Ninja Turtles line, which coincided with the launch of Nickelodeon’s show that same year.  He was released in the second assortment of figures, alongside Dogpound and Fishface, and hit shelves in late 2012.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  As a non-Turtle, Metalhead is less articulated than the main characters.  That said, his Turtle-like disposition means he’s still a little more articulated than most of the other figures in the line.  His arms are rather restricted, but on the plus side, he has some solid movement in the legs, making him a very stable figure.  I like that.  Metalhead’s sculpt was all-new to him, and it’s a pretty strong one.  He and his assortment-mates marked the line’s turn to more cartoon-accurate sculpts, so Metalhead keeps in line with that, as a pretty good match for his TV counterpart.  He’s perhaps a touch squatter than Metalhead was on the show, but otherwise not bad.  I like the small details worked throughout him that take him from standard robot to a sewer-dwelling turtle robot.  I think my favorite of the bunch is definitely the shell made from a manhole cover.  That’s nifty!  The paintwork on Metalhead is passable work.  It’s fairly basic, and some of it’s prone to chipping, but it’s good enough to get the job done.  Metalhead’s one accessory was a missile, which works with the missile launching feature built into his right arm.  I’m really not all that into it, but it’s fairly innocuous without the missile in place, so it doesn’t hold the figure back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Metalhead hit while I was still basking in the high of having just gotten into the 2012 relaunch of TMNT. I had gotten the whole first series and was anxiously awaiting the second assortment, with Metalhead being at the top of my list.  I actually even pre-ordered him on Amazon, which marks the only time I’ve ever gotten a TMNT figure that I didn’t just grab off a store shelf.  He’s a pretty fun little figure, and really appears to the robot geek in me.

#1849: Archangel

ARCHANGEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Forever racked with internal conflict and dark urges, Archangel nonetheless strives to be a hero, saving the world from grim forces of evil with the aid of his impressive metallic wings.”

Back when Hasbro was first dipping their toes in the “what if Marvel Legends didn’t have to suck?” pool, I will admit, I was somewhat skeptical.  I bought exactly one of the Return of Marvel Legends era figures new, because I was totally, seriously committed to keeping to the Marvel Universe scale, you guys!  Yeah… that worked out well for me.  Though it certainly reignited interest in the line with the fans, ROML was less of a smash success with retailers, in part due to late joiners like me.  That resulted in the last two assortments at retail, the Rocket Raccoon Series and the Hit Monkey Series, to be rather under-ordered, and by extension a little on the rare side, especially now that people are looking to go back and fill in the collection.  One of the most expensive figures from the Hit Monkey Series was fan-favorite Archangel, a pretty important piece of that Jim Lee X-Men line-up that Hasbro’s really been pushing.  Fortunately, for those of us that missed out on him, Hasbro just put out a fancy new reissue!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Archangel is a standalone release, the first figure in Hasbro’s go at deluxe releases for the Marvel Legends line.  He was originally slated for a December release, but started showing up at various establishments a few weeks ago.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 40 points of articulation.  Like the prior release, this Archangel is built on the Bucky Cap body, with an additional plug-in piece for his wings.  The base body is a good fit for Warren, just like it was the first time, so no complaints there, and they’ve even swapped out the slightly mismatched boot feet from the original with the more aesthetically matched feet from Carnage.  The add-on wings are definitely an imposing and very impressive addition to the figure.  These are definitely a far-cry from the oddly-shaped, strangely bird-like thing we got on Toy Biz’s first 6-inch Warren.  The one real downside to them is that they do make the figure rather top-heavy, so he can be a little difficult to keep standing if you don’t get the wings and the legs positioned just right relative to each other.  Of course, this is something that’s kind of an issue with literally every Archangel figure (seriously, I had a hell of a time getting my old Toy Biz 5-inch figure to stand for this review’s comparison shot), so I’m willing to give Hasbro the slightest bit of a pass on this one.  Archangel also makes use of the same head as the last figure (and by extension, the X-Force Boxed set version), depicting his usual cowled look.  I’m not sure it’s aged terribly well; it’s definitely suffering from some primo Hasbro-scowl.  Fortunately, if you don’t like that head, there are three, count ‘em three, more to chose from.  The two fully unmasked heads, depicting both Warren’s more angelic and more demonic sides, are quite smartly re-used from last year’s Adam Warlock figure.  They’re surprisingly close matches for Warren’s unmasked appearances from the ‘90s (the angelic head especially), so that’s a good catch on Hasbro’s part.  And, if your problem with the standard head is that it doesn’t cover *enough* of his head, then Hasbro’s got you covered there, too!  A repainted Blizzard/Eel head serves to depict Warren’s Death-mask from his earliest appearances as Apocalypse’s horseman.  It’s not as ingenious a re-use as the other two, but it works better than I’d expected it to.  The original Archangel’s paintwork was heavier on the metallics, which made some of the details of his costume blend together a bit more than they should have.  This new figure goes for something more on par with the very first Toy Biz figure from back in the day, which is very ‘90s, and makes the details stand out from each other much better.  In addition to all those extra heads I mentioned up above, this Archangel also comes with an extra piece that’s not actually for him, but is instead for the recent Apocalypse Build-A-Figure.  Its a clamping hand, which swaps out for the standard right hand.  Its a pretty classic way of showing off his shape-shifting powers, and I definitely appreciate being given the extra option here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, as I noted above, I totally missed out on the original release Archangel, and I wasn’t about to pay his usual going rate.  But, my X-Men display has been becoming more and more complete, so Warren’s absence was more and more noticeable.  This re-release was definitely something I was very excited for, and I’m very happy with how he turned out.  I love all of the new display options, and I’m quite happy to be able to recreate the old Archangel II figure from back in the day, since that’s long been my favorite look for the character. 

Like most of my recent Legends purchases, I got Archangel from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re interested in buying Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1848: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An impressive, boulder-like exterior grants the Thing exceptional strength and durability in even the rockiest of battles”

They did it!  Look at that, they totally did it!  They finished the FF!  It’s a Christmas Miracle! …but it’s only just now November, so it’s, like, a pre-Thanksgiving Miracle?  That just doesn’t seem to have quite the same ring to it. 

The Fantastic Four and Marvel Legends have a rather storied history.  The team was rather infamously incomplete in the main line for the entirety of Toy Biz’s run, and even with the aid of boxed sets and other such things, over the years, getting the whole team in one cohesive style hasn’t been all that easy.  So, when Hasbro announced they’d be releasing the latest versions of the team, one at a time, at Walgreens, I was excited, but decidedly skeptical.  I also had to go in more or less blind, since at the time of Sue’s release, we’d only seen a prototype for Johnny, who is easily the least impressive of the set.  Reed came along and was awesome, which reignited hopes, but there was a lot riding on this final piece of the set, Benjamin J. Grimm, the ever-lovin’-blue-eyed Thing!  Does he deliver?  Well, to paraphrase the man himself, it’s reviewin’ time!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing is the tenth Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and the sixth in their Fantastic Four sub-set.  He started arriving on store shelves last month, and will hopefully be arriving in serious numbers over the next few months.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  As we’d all pretty much expected (especially when he was slotted at the very end of the release schedule), Ben is sporting an entirely new sculpt.  His rather unique build and the rocky structure of said build means Ben’s usually the one with the all-new sculpt.  In the past, it’s also tended to translate to him being the figure with the most behind the times construction.  This time, however, it seems Hasbro has been taking note of what does and doesn’t work when it comes to Legendsizing larger scaled characters.  Ben’s mobility is surprisingly good for a figure of his size.  His elbows end up rather limited, which is a bit of a bummer, but on the flipside, the knees have a ton more movement than I’d expected from this figure.  This figure manages to do a pretty solid job of walking the fine line of articulation vs. aesthetic.  Speaking of aesthetic, there was much discussion before this figure was unveiled as to which version of the character we’d be seeing.  There was definitely a campaign to get a more Kirby-inspired version of the character, but the final release opts for something that’s more an amalgamation of his more recent appearances.  While I would love a more Kirby-faithful figure at some point down the line, the amalgamated, less artist specific nature of this one means he fits right in with the rest of the team, and consistency of style in FF line-ups has long been one of the biggest issues I’ve had with them.  It helps that the design they’ve gone for works really really well, and that the sculpt is just filled to the brim with sweet, rock monster goodness.  There are two different heads included.  They aren’t much different from each other, but give Ben some slight variety in expression.  The head he comes wearing has an angrier, teeth-baring appearance, while the second head is decidedly more reserved.  While both are solid sculpts, I definitely find myself more drawn to the calmer head, because for some reason Ben having regular teeth just really weirds me out.  Maybe it’s just flashing me back to the old Roger Corman flick.  The paintwork on Ben could have been really basic.  They could have just molded him in orange plastic, and left it at that.  Instead, Hasbro actually put in the effort to do the accent work on Ben’s rocky hide, and the figure is all the better for it, with the intricacies of his craggly being deftly highlighted.  In addition to the second head, Ben is also sporting two sets of hands in both fists and open gesture.  They allow for a nice variety of additional poses.  With two heads, four hands, and one of the largest single-release sculpts we’ve gotten since the Legends re-branding, Ben’s packaging ends up pretty darn jam-packed, and pretty darn hefty.  It’s honestly a little bit astounding that he’s the same retail as the other three.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ben’s my favorite member of the FF, so I was a little bummed out that I’d have to wait to the very end to get him.  He’s had an okay stock of figures in the past, but none of them ever seemed to quite stand-up to the test of time, or even the figures from the very same assortments.  I will admit, I was a little worried about how this guy would turn out.  Prototype shots of him surfaced at Toy Fair, and I didn’t hate them, but he wasn’t wowing me as much as I’d hoped.  Then the in-package shots hit, and the whole story changed.  In-hand?  I love this figure.  I love, love, love this figure.  Have I mentioned that I love this figure?  Because I do.  I really, really do.  I love this figure, and I love my whole FF line-up that goes with him.  This is just the best, and I sincerely doubt this FF display is ever going to be topped.  Now, can I please have a new Dr. Doom to go with them?

#1847: Silver Surfer

SILVER SURFER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A metallic-skinned humanoid from the planet Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer gets his name from his shimmering appearance and iconic hovering surfboard.”

Introduced during the legendary “Galactus Trilogy” that ran through issues 48, 49, and 50 of the original Fantastic Four run, Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer, took on something of a life of his own, as quite a popular hero in his own right.  He found himself teamed with Dr. Strange, Namor, and the Hulk to form the surprisingly under-known Defenders (no relation to the Netflix series of the same name), and proved a pivotal figure in quite a number of Marvel’s great big cosmic epics.  Nevertheless, he’s still inescapably linked to the team whose book spawned him.  In fact, it’s extraordinarily rare that the FF makes a toy appearance without this guy in tow, and their latest, much heralded return to Marvel Legends was no exception, though we sure did have quite a wait to get him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Surfer is the ninth Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends figure, and the fifth in their Fantastic Four sub-line that’s been running since early 2017.  He was originally supposed to start showing up at Walgreens this past spring/early this summer, but they seem to have run into a few issues with distribution over the last year, meaning he’s really just started showing up in substantial numbers within the last month, almost in tandem with the Thing figure that was supposed to be his follow-up.  Though Surfer was an early addition to Legends during both Toy Biz and Hasbro’s tenures, we haven’t seen a new one since 2007, and that one was somewhat middling, even when it was new.  His absence has certainly been felt as we’ve added more cosmic figures to the line.  This figure stands a little under 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation. He’s built on the Sunfire/2099 base-body, and I’m of two minds about this.  While the general build and the presence of those very nice butterfly joints at the shoulders make for a figure that’s impressive internally, the use of the 2099 body also means that Norrin’s a little smaller than I generally think of him being when compared to the rest of the line.  As it is now, he’s a smidge shorter than the Human Torch (who was on the Bucky Cap body), which just seems wrong.  Of course, that could be more connected to my increasing frustration with the choice of the Bucky Cap body for Johnny…I’ll get past it.  The simple fact of the matter is that this is really the best body Hasbro had on hand for the Surfer right now, and I certainly don’t hate it.  I’m just mildly perplexed, that’s all.  Surfer gets a new headsculpt, and aims to really set right the problem that both prior Legends Surfers had: tiny heads.  This one is certainly much more properly sized for the body it’s been placed on, and captures his usual stoic expression quite nicely.  The paint is pretty what you expect from Silver Surfer: a lot of silver.  Just a standard metallic silver, though; no fancy chroming or anything, though I imagine that wouldn’t hold up too well with all of the articulation.  It’s just a straight silver, with no accents or anything, which, after seeing how the Toy Biz figure turned out, was probably for the best.  Silver Surfer is packed with a healthy assortment of extras.  He’s got three sets of hands in fists, flat-handed, and open gesture poses, adding a much appreciated variety of character to the figure.  He also includes his titular surf board, which is a decent piece.  It goes back to the foot-peg method of connecting, which may not be as fancy as the magnets from the Toy Biz one, but I think it ultimately looks a bit better in the end.  Lastly, he includes a pair of energy effects pieces.  They’re the same swirly ones we’ve seen a number of times over, but this time they’re clear yellow and all sparkly.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a few near misses on finding this guy, which was more than a little frustrating.  Fortunately, I was able to find him without much trouble (in fact, I was even able to score a second one for my dad).  He’s not without his little quirks, but by-and-large, he’s a solid offering, and certainly the best Legends version of the character to date.

#1846: Everett Ross & Erik Killmonger

EVERETT ROSS & ERIK KILLMONGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“While Everette Ross is assigned to escort T’Challa to American soil, Erik Killmonger threatens the security of the Wakandan borders from which T’Challa hails.”

Despite having to share a year with the merchandising juggernaut that was Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther actually seems to have made out alright in terms of toys.  In fact, counting what we saw this year at SDCC, Panther may very well have the most complete selection of Legends figures of any of the MCU films, which is no small feat.  Today, I’m looking at our first taste of the continuing Panther offerings, Panther ally Everett Ross and Panther foe Erik Killmonger!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Everett and Erik are another Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, which hit alongside yesterday’s Falcon and Winter Soldier pairing.  Like that one, this set originally began its life as a Toys R Us-exclusive, before finding itself without a home over the summer.  Fortunately, Target was able to step-in and make sure these two still made it to us.

EVERETT ROSS

First debuting in Civil War (well, in the MCU, anyway), Everett gets his toy intro here, thanks to his rather substantially larger role in Black Panther.  Martin Freeman’s no stranger to toys, with multiple plastic versions of his turns as both Arthur Dent and Bilbo Baggins, but I don’t know that any of them have been quite up to this quality.  Everett is 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation, and is built primarily out of the suit body first introduced with Agent Coulson.  It’s fitting, as Ross is something of a late-game replacement for Coulson, and also just another guy in a suit.  It’s a perfectly reasonable starting point.  The body’s not without its flaws, but they’re not so bad that they break the figure or anything.  It’s all topped off with a brand-new head sculpt, which does a great job of capturing Freeman’s bemused and bewildered smirk.  Guy’s got a lot of character in his face, and it’s all perfectly present here.  In terms of paintwork, Ross is mostly pretty standard fare.  His suit is various shades of grey, which, not terribly exciting, is at leas clean, and accurate to the source material.  His head gets a printed face, and it’s definitely another success, resulting in quite a lifelike looking figure.  Everett is packed with a handgun, which is actually, like, a real gun, and not some sort of sci-fi contraption.  Crazy!

ERIK KILLMONGER

Amusingly enough, our first double-packed character from Black Panther isn’t the title character at all, but instead his main antagonist, Erik Killmonger.  Killmonger was, of course, in the main Legends assortment for the film, in this very outfit, even.  Tim was kind enough to review that one for me, but I knew this one was coming, so I decided to hold out.  Boy am I sure glad I did.  Like his predecessor, he stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s completely identical to the prior release, barring one thing: the unmasked head.  The standard, masked head is, of course still included as well, but now you’ve got the option to also showcase Michael B. Jordan’s floppy hair!  Can you imagine how cruel the world would be without that as an option?  I certainly can’t.  It’s an excellent piece, with a spot-on Jordan likeness, and, unlike the equivalent T’Challa head, it actually sits properly on the body, so he won’t look super goofy with it on.  In addition to the extra head, another major change to this release is the paint.  The standard release Killmonger was somewhat lacking on the paint front, leaving an impressively detailed sculpt looking a little bit barren.  This offering fixes some of that, adding back in a lot of the gold detailing that was missing from the prior release.  Unfortunately, he exchanges it for the leopard print patterning of the last figure, which I’m a little sad to see missing this time around.  Given the darker coloring of the main suit, it’s not the end of the world, though, and it’s overall a net gain in terms of appearance.  Killmonger is packed with the same pair of blades as his regular-release counterpart, as well as an extra set of hands just for holding them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Falcon and Winter Soldier, I initially passed on this set.  And then, I passed on it a second time, because I really only had the funds for one pack, and I went for the other one.  But, as luck would have it, when I made my way back to that same Target, there was still one set left, so yay for me!  I don’t think this set quite has the “wow” factor of Falcon and Winter Soldier, but both figures are very solid offerings, especially if, like me, you skipped the standard Killmonger release.

#1845: Falcon & Winter Soldier

FALCON & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Trained by different armies, but equally prepared to defend their allies from any threat, Winter Soldier and Falcon stand their ground to protect the Earth from other worldly adversaries.”

There were a *lot* of characters in Infinity War, so its not a huge shock that even several months later, there’s still a pretty healthy helping of action figures streaming out of the Hasbro toy machine.  While there were plenty of MCU characters granted their very first figures over the course of all of this, today’s set actually concerns two who we’ve seen before, The Cap’s bestest pals, Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Since their last figures were both exclusives that not everyone could find, Hasbro decided to re-issue them in…an exclusive set that not everyone can find.  You win some, you lose some.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Falcon and Winter Soldier ended up as a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, alongside Black Panther’s Everett Ross and Killmonger.  The sets were shown off early in the year and initially theorized to be Toys R Us-exclusives, but we all know how that turned out.  Both figures are based on their Infinity War appearances…in theory, at least.

FALCON

Falcon’s look from Civil War to Infinity War didn’t change much, and, much like the Minimate, this figure reflects that, really being quite similar to the previous release.  He stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His sculpt appears to be identical to that last figure.  The head may possibly be new, but the body is definitely the same.  While not perfect, the previous sculpt was certainly passable, and its re-use is certainly more acceptable than, say, that same Cap body that Hasbro keeps giving us.  The main difference between these two releases is the paint, but oh boy what a difference does it make.  The Civil War figure was somewhat lacking on a few of the smaller applications, which gave him this almost unfinished vibe.  This figure, on the other hand, adds back in a lot of the smaller details, and just overall gives the figure a better finish, making him look comparatively much more complete.  The figure includes the same wing pack as the last release, so the wings are still not posable.  He also lacks the deployed version of Redwing, but that’s acceptable, given Redwing doesn’t factor into the movie.  Also still missing are his guns, but at this point that’s no surprise, and it has to be some sort of a licensing issue.

WINTER SOLDIER

I haven’t actually reviewed a Winter Soldier Legends since, well, Winter Soldier.  He had a Civil War release, but that one just never spoke to me for whatever reason.  By extension, this guy ended up as the main draw of the set for me.  While Falcon’s design was fairly unchanged from Civil War to Infinity War, Bucky actually had a number of changes implemented, resulting in a design that’s actually a little closer to the comics incarnation of the character in design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s a mix of old and new parts, with the same head and arm as the Civil War figure, and the boots from the WS/AoU/Civil War Cap, with everything else being new to this release.  The head actually has an amazing likeness of Sebastian Stan, far better than the prior release might have made clear.  The only real trouble is that it’s clearly Bucky circa Winter Soldier, not the scruffier, recuperating-in-Wakanda-for-a-year of Bucky Infinity War.  That said, it’s an issue that bugs me far less here than it did on Cap.  From the neck down, he’s actually quite accurate, and marks some improvements in movement from the WS variant of the character.  I particularly like all of the small detail work on the stitching on his torso; it adds to the realism.  Bucky’s paintwork is definitely one of the figure’s strongest suits.  The work on the body is reasonable in its own right, though not necessarily anything particularly stand-out.  The head, however, uses the face printing, and it’s one of the best instances of it I’ve seen, certainly rivaling the likes of Hot Toys in the realism department.  Bucky is packed with two different rifles.  The first is the same goofy dead-fish-looking thing that the WS release got, but this time in gold.  I hate it just as much this time as I did the first time around.  Fortunately, this figure also includes the assault rifle from the Netflix Punisher, which is a far more sensible piece, and will be the one my figure will be keeping.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw these figures once at an out of the way Target, and passed on them at the time, reasoning that Falcon wasn’t all that different from the one I had, and I’d be perfectly content to just keep my first Winter Soldier.  I also figured I might see them later, at a more local location.  Well, then I didn’t, so when I happened upon that same Target again, I was more easily swayed.  I knew Bucky would be the star of the set for me, and I was correct on that front.  While he may not be 100% accurate to the film, he’s still the best version of the character to date, and an all-around fun figure.  I didn’t expect much out of Falcon, having already picked up the CW release.  This one makes just a few subtle changes, and yet still ends up feeling almost like an entirely new figure, and he’s a lot better than I’d expected him to be.

#1844: Buffy Summers

BUFFY SUMMERS

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER PALZ (PALISADES)

It’s always somewhat fascinating to peer back at the failed toylines of yesteryear.  Perhaps none are more fascinating than those produced by fan-favorite Palisades, a company that made a huge smash in the toy collecting world before succumbing to financial troubles, and a few questionable business strategies.  At the height of the block figure craze, they introduced their own line, PALZ.  Perhaps the most expansive line of PALZ produced were the Buffy The Vampire Slayer PALZ.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of the main character today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Buffy was released in Series 2 of the Buffy PALZ line.  Each series of the line was based on a season of the show, so this is a Season 2 Buffy.  She’s specifically based on the episodes “Surprise” and “Innocence,” two rather pivotal episodes that deal with the fallout of Angel’s loss of soul.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  As with the three prior PALZ figures I’ve looked at, this Buffy is built on the basic female body (Four figures in and I still haven’t actually reviewed the male body; that’s kind of amusing), or should I say “bodies,” since Buffy’s got two them.  The one she comes wearing is based on her “Innocence” appearance, and it’s pretty straight forward as far as Buffy looks go.  She’s got an extra light jacket piece, which I don’t recall getting any other use, as well as a hair piece with her hair more pulled back, which I believe was another unique piece.  Both pieces replicate Buffy’s look from he episode pretty well.  PALZ were known for their plethora of swappable pieces, but Buffy doesn’t so much swap pieces as she does come with a second figure.  Her second look is based on “Surprise” and requires only the swapping over of her head, hands, and feet to complete it.  She gets another hair piece as well as a slightly heavier jacket piece, both re-used from the previously reviewed Vampire Buffy.  Again, they match the show appearance pretty closely, though this look’s a bit less distinctively Buffy than the other one.  The paintwork on both bodies is pretty solid, though not terribly involved.  The “Innocence” look ends up with the most interesting work, with the pattern of her shirt and her necklace being handled nicely.  There are two different faces to choose from on the head.  They aren’t as divergent as some of the faces were, but offer up a happier/angrier selection, which complements the chosen attire well.  In addition to the whole extra body, Buffy is also packed with the rocket launcher she uses to dispatch the Judge, as well as the torso of his aforementioned Judge-iness, which is perhaps one of the most clever Build-A-Figure ideas ever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Buffy, along with Drusilla from the same assortment, is my first introduction to PALZ.  I came across the two of them at Baltimore Comic-Con and they were fairly cheap, so I figured I’d give them a shot.  I was fortunate in getting what I feel is the best version of Buffy right off the bat, and it was because of how cool this figure was that I ended up tracking down an almost complete set of the line.

The Blaster In Question #0070: Hades XVIII-6000

BlasterInQuestion1

HADES XVIII-6000

RIVAL (PHANTOM CORPS)

Sometimes you don’t need to make something entirely new to end up with something really good.  Sometimes you just need to take something promising, and tweak it just a bit, then double its capacity and add a shoulder stock.  And presto, its as easy as that.  At least, it is if you’re Nerf, because that’s exactly what they did to bring us this week’s blaster, the Hades.  Just imaging James Woods is reading this review to you.  

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Hades XVIII-6000 was launched in 2018 as the main spring-powered blaster in the Rival line’s fall quarter releases.  It features a hefty 60 round capacity tacked on to pretty much the exact same system as the Artemis XVII-3000, which used a pump action, rotating barrel mechanism to continuously feed rounds into the chamber.  With the integral magazines laying parallel to the blaster body, it’s a very streamlined layout that yields a high capacity for the size.  The Hades’ shell seems to be all original even with its similarities to the Artemis.  Thinking the Artemis might be better suited to the name Persephone, personally.  As mentioned before, the Hades has double the capacity of the Artemis and actually has a shoulder stock, making it more of a rifle.  Like the Artemis, the Hades’ pump grip is kid of an odd shape, in my opinion.  It’s not really shaped to the human hand, it’s just sort of there.  That’s really my only complaint with any weight behind it, anything else from here on out is really just nitpicks.  For instance, While I’m happy about the inclusion of a shoulder stock, I think the pistol grip is a little too far back as it makes the respective distances from off hand, to shooting hand, to shoulder a little wonky.  I think it would be as simple as moving the pistol grip forward just a couple inches to make it really nice, but I acknowledge its a highly subjective opinion to have, so not everyone will experience the same thing.  Additionally, I’m a little bummed that Nerf has gotten into the habit of leaving iron sights off of Rival blasters for a while now.  Sure you can use the red dot sight they make, and even such, sights don’t really help on a Nerf blaster, but I really enjoy when they are there.  As you’d expect from a Rival blaster of this size, the Hades hits pretty hard.  Pair that with the capability of slam-fire and you’d better be really sure your younger sibling deserved it before you bust into their room and start blasting away.  I believe the Geneva Convention lists an unprovoked attack from the Hades as a declaration of war, so keep that in mind.  If you do take that route and need to rearm, you reload the Hades by sliding the top cover all the way back to the stock and loading rounds into the ports on the top sides of the magazine tubes.  The Hades comes packaged with 60 Rival rounds in standard yellow, as well as blue and red team indicator flags.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

A common misconception that a lot of people have about Hades is that he wasn’t really a villain.   He was just kinda grumpy and could be a little frightening due to the nature of his job.  And I’d say that’s an apt description of this blaster.  It’s a really good blaster, like, you should go buy one.  It just depends which side of it you find yourself on that determines how frightening it is.  I guess I didn’t really write this to sound like James Woods very much, just replace some of the verbs with “schmooze” and I think that should do it.

#1843: Lak Sivark

LAK SIVRAK

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“The Shistavanen Wolfman, expert hunter, tracker and Imperial world scout meets the mysterious Rebel Florn Iamproid, Dice Ibegon. The two would eventually become Rebel Warriors and fight in the Battle of Hoth.”

When looking to fill the Mos Eisly Cantina with an assortment of visually interesting creatures, the effects team initially set out creating all sorts of new and unique creatures, the likes of Panda Baba, Momaw Nadon, and even Greedo.  But, sometimes you don’t have time to make an expensive and unique costume, so you just have to make due with an off-the-shelf wolf man costume.  Thus began the life of Lak Sivrak, the cantina patron that George Lucas hates, precisely because he’s just an off-the-shelf wolf man.  For the 1997 special edition, Lak found himself replaced all together, with a totally new alien, but that didn’t stop him from getting an action figure as a consolation prize.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lak Sivrak was released in the 1998 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall (because of the slouch) and has 6 points of articulation (unaffected by the slouch).  Have I mentioned the slouch?  It figures somewhat prominently into this guy’s sculpt, which was brand-new at the time, and has remained unique to him.  It’s a pretty decent offering.  As an alien, he’s not held back by this biggest issues that plagued Power of the Force, being far less stylized looking that his compatriots.  Sure, he’s still quite stylized, but he looks less so, and that’s really the important thing, right?  The aforementioned hunch falls in line with the typical pre-posing of these figures, but when it’s applied to a wolf man creature, it’s certainly less noticeable than it would be on the likes of Han or Luke.  Maybe that’s just how he stands all the time.  We don’t know, we’ve only seen him that one time, and he was sitting down.  Weird wolf man posture canon confirmed.  You heard it hear first, guys.  Lak’s paintwork is pretty standard faire.  It’s clean, it matches well with the source material, and there’s enough small detail and accent work to keep him from looking too bland, so I think we can call that a win.  Lak is packed with a blaster pistol, a “vibro-blade” (whatever the heck that is), and one of the freeze frame slides, offering up proof that, yes, this guy really was in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Lak is yet another more recent addition to my collection, though recent is becoming increasingly relative in these reviews.  I picked him up from one of Lost in Time’s sidewalk sales back during the spring, alongside a whole slew of other figures.  He’s nice enough, and has the virtue of being something of a talking point, due to his disappearance during the special editions.  And hey, if nothing else, he’s a pretty sweet Wolf Man figure, right?