#2273: Wolfsbane & Beast

WOLFSBANE & BEAST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Four days into these reviews, you should know what to expect here.  It’s time for one more of these Minimates reviews!  While yesterday’s pairing of characters was perhaps a little off-kilter, the assortment is finishing off with a pairing that’s actually a pretty natural one.  The feral but dignified Wolfsbane and Beast are both offered up in this final two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolfsbane and Beast are the final two-pack in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates.  Like the other sets in the assortment, they also include part of the Build-A-Mate Strong Guy, specifically the torso.

WOLFSBANE

“Rahne Sinclair was originally a member of the New Mutants before joining X-Factor. Her power is to shift into a wolflike form.”

Wolfsbane was a slight odd-man out for the New Mutants.  While most of their number were shunted from New Mutants into its direct replacement X-Force, Rahne was grabbed in the shuffle for a slight upgrade to X-Factor member.  It’s okay, her place in the X-Force roster had to be filled by the thinly-veiled knock off Feral.  They hardly missed her.  This figure marks Wolfsbane’s second time as a ‘mate, after getting released with her New Mutants team mates back in 2011.  This one stands 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the modern ‘mate body, with add-ons for the hair and shoulder pads, and non-standard hands for her claws.  The hair piece is new, and is shared with her pack-mate.  Sensible, I suppose, as they typically had fairly similar hair, though perhaps a bit odd to see when looking at the pack in the box.  The claws and shoulder piece are both re-used parts, which is a sensible choice.  In general, they do a decent job of capturing Rahne’s team appearance.  The paintwork on her is solid work.  It translates the design and has all of the important details.  One of the knee joints was a little stuck from the paint, but at least it didn’t break like with Polaris.  Wolfsbane’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

BEAST

“Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy initially only had large hands and feet, and was a natural gymnast, until an experiment turned him furry and blue.”

There’s been something of a revolving seat for who gets left out of any ‘mate recreation of the various forms of the original five-man X-Men team.  The last time we got a boxed set of them all together, it was Hank who was left out, but this time he gets the nod over Bobby, who was the one member of X-Factor whose costume didn’t change with the others.  Beast actually had three different looks, with two “human” looks and the usual blue and furry.  This one is the usual blue and furry, which we haven’t gotten a ‘mate of since Series 34, prior to the move to the properly bulked up larger characters.  This figure uses those bulked up parts, alongside the feet from the Series 34 figure, the hair he shares with Wolfsbane, and a new set of bulked up hands.  It’s a good selection of parts, and easily the most accurate recreation of the bulked-up Beast we’ve gotten in the line.  The paintwork is about what you’d expect, and it’s worth noting it goes more heavily into that beastly look from the end of his stint in X-Factor, rather than a friendlier appearance.  The color of his fur is a close match to the Series 34 version, however, should you prefer the friendlier look.  Like Wolfsbane, his only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This would be the last of the four sets of Minimates I got this year for Christmas from Super Awesome Wife.  It’s an okay set, though it’s probably my least favorite of the four sets personally.  Neither of the two included is really that much of a stand out, but they’re both certainly serviceable.

#2272: Multiple Man & Archangel

MULTIPLE MAN & ARCHANGEL

MARVEL MINIMATES

The last two sets of Minimates I looked at each paired off one member of X-Factor’s first incarnation with one from the second.  The first was the team leaders, Scott and Alex Summers, the similarly powered leaders of their respective teams.  The second was Jean Grey and Lorna Dane, the again fairly similarly powered love-interests of the team leaders.  For the third set, the connective tissue appears to be choice in head gear…*

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Multiple Man and Archangel are another set in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates, a whole assortment based around X-Factor.  Multiple Man is also available in a Luke’s Toy Store-exclusive two-pack with a duplicate of himself, allowing for quicker army building.  Also included with this pair is the head of the assortment’s Build-A-Mate, Strong-Guy.

MULTIPLE MAN

“Jamie Madrox has possessed the mutant ability to form duplicates from birth. He has been a member and the leader of X-Factor.”

Multiple Man’s first minimate was based on his 2000s X-Factor Investigations appearance, and pretty much since then a more classic version of the character has been fairly heavily requested.  Like a lot of this assortment, Multiple Man treads down the same roads as his recent Legends release; at least they know there’s a market, right?  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the modern ‘mate body, with an add-on piece for his jacket.  The jacket’s actually a new piece, which is a little surprising, but nice to see nevertheless.  The rest of his design is conveyed via paint work, which is a pretty impressive affair.  The shading on the uniform works really well, and I dig the green trench coat that more closely replicates the comics art.  Multiple Man’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is a slight let down.  It’s too bad we couldn’t get some alternate arms for a sans jacket look, or maybe an extra head with a different expression like the Legends release had.

ARCHANGEL

“Warren Worthington III lost his feathered wings in battle, but was given new, metal wings by the mutant Apocalypse.”

Archangel marks this assortment’s first straight remake of an earlier ‘mate.  His Death design was first released back in Series 19 of the line, and hasn’t been updated since.  This one is different, but I don’t know that it’s inherently better.  He gets an add-on for his wings, which are a different piece than the previous Archangels, another surprise.  While these seem to capture the earlier stylings of the wings a bit better, it’s at the cost of the cool ball joints of the old ones; these wings only have the one possible pose.  That’s a bit of a letdown.  His paint work is at least pretty good.  I like the general color scheme of this one a little more than the prior release, and I think the face is more Warren Worthington-esque than the earlier version.  Archangel gets a flight stand and a regular display stand.  Cutting the death mask from this release is another letdown.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got these two from the same source as the last two packs: Super Awesome Wife!  As I noted yesterday, I mostly wanted the first set, and the rest were along for the ride.  That said, this set’s probably number two for me.  Both figures are decent, but I can’t help but wish there were some more extras included, and there’s no denying that Archangel suffers a bit from change fro the sake of change.  Multiple Man’s pretty cool, though.

*Interestingly, as odd-ball as this pair may be, this is not the first time Madrox and Worthington have been paired up in this line; Madrox’s more modern appearance from Series 31 was packed with two different versions of Angel.

#2271: Polaris & Jean Grey

POLARIS & JEAN GREY

MARVEL MINIMATES

To round out the first week of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m continuing yesterday’s theme, with another look at some Minimates.  Yesterday kicked off a pair of X-Factor teams with their respective team leaders, the brothers Cyclops and Havok.  Today, I’m following that up with their respective love interests from said teams, Jean Grey and Polaris!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Polaris and Jean are the second set in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates.  Like yesterday’s set, they also include part of the Build-A-Mate Strong Guy, specifically his arms.  I’ll be looking at those arms alongside the rest of him at the end of the week.

POLARIS

“The Mistress of Magnetism, Lorna Dane is the daughter of the mutant Magneto, and occasionally battled the X-Men before joining X-Factor.”

Though Havok has been a little more lucky, Polaris hasn’t actually gotten a single ‘mate since her very first one, all the way back in Series 20 of the line, a whopping 12 years ago.  In DST’s defense, that figure held up surprisingly well, and the only reason she really needed a follow up was to get her a second costume.  Like the Legends figure also released this year, Polaris is sporting her first X-Factor costume.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation…or at least she would if mine hadn’t had the peg tear off of the right hand the first time I tried to move it, necessitating me gluing it back in place for this review.  Yay for tacky paint on joints!  She uses the basic ‘mate body, with the same poofy-sleeved upper arms as Havok, plus an all-new hair piece, and add-ons for the wrist and ankle straps.  The hair is a decent recreation of her wacky, crazy ’90s hair.  It doesn’t translate quite as well to this style as Havok’s look did, but for the most part they did a decent job of making it work.  The paint work on Polaris is fine, apart from it’s tacky, joint destroying nature in a few spots.  Aside from that little nit, it does actually look pretty solid.  Lorna included two effects pieces and a clear display stand.  Like the Legends figures, Polaris and Havok again share the same effects, just differentiated by color.  I’m still not sure how well it works.  Also, my figure has that whole torn joint thing, so she can only use one of the pieces.

JEAN GREY

“A powerful telepath, Jean Grey was a founding member of the X-Men. She later became a founding member of X-Factor.”

Jean’s the first figure so far from this assortment to not have been beaten to market by a Legends equivalent….probably due to this being a fairly low-profile look for her.  While her initial green and yellow number checks off the standard Jean Grey boxes and has therefore seen a little bit of toy love, and Scott’s second round costume was forever immortalized by having an action figure early on, Jean’s red and yellow number is often overlooked.  This is actually her first figure.  She is largely built from the same bank of parts as Cyclops, which I guess makes sense, what with the whole uniform thing.  The gloves are still technically incorrect, but at least they remained internally consistent.  The only differing piece between the two figures is Jean’s hair, which is the same one they’ve been using for Jean since the ’90s costume back in Series 34.  Again, props for consistency. Like Scott, Jean’s paintwork is rather straight-forward.  It’s clean, it’s eye-catching, and it’s definitely very red.  Jean looks weird in this much red.  Jean comes up light on the accessories front, with only a clear display stand.  Since her mask is painted onto the face, it would have been nice to at least get an unmasked head to swap out, or possibly some sort of telekinesis effect.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on yesterday, I got this whole series of figures from my Super Awesome Wife.  Let’s all be real, the stars of the assortment are yesterday’s set; everyone else was really just along for the ride.  This set’s okay, not anything really amazing.  Neither figure has that wow factor, but neither one of them is bad either.  All in all, a decent set.

#2270: Havok & Cyclops

HAVOK & CYCLOPS

MARVEL MINIMATES

Okay, six days into this year’s Post-Christmas reviews, we’ve stumbled into our first theme: Minimates.  Yep, the next five days are going to be all about Minimates, which, somewhat like the Robin figure I reviewed on Saturday, feels a bit like getting back to my roots.  It’s been a while since I’ve just done a week of Minimates reviews.  For years, one of the more persistently demanded teams yet to grace Minimate form was the ’90s incarnation of X-Factor.  After giving us most of the characters in other, non-X-Factor forms, DST has finally given us the core team, each paired alongside one of their predecessors from the original X-Factor line-up.  I’m kicking things off with the two teams’ respective leaders, the brothers Havok and Cyclops!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Havok and Cyclops are part of Series 78 of Marvel Minimates, which is, as noted above, based on the first two incarnations of X-Factor.  In addition to the two main figures, this set also includes the legs and torso of this assortment’s Build-A-Figure, Strong Guy, who I’ll be reviewing on his own at the end of the week.

HAVOK

“Alex Summers, Scott’s brother, was a member of the X-Men before leading a new incarnation of X-Factor. He can create directional directional energy blasts.”

Okay, so the Legends release has stolen this guy’s thunder ever so slightly, but I am nevertheless still stoked to have yet another figure of Havok’s X-Factor duds.  They’re very sentimental to me, and while I’m glad we got the two versions of classic Havok we did before this guy, I am still so thrilled by this guy’s existence.  In contrast to the Legend, the old Toy Biz figure, and even the Kubrick, this Havok actually gives us the first incarnation of Havok’s ’90s costume, before he got the yellow straps to match the main X-team.  The only other instance of his first costume in toy form that I can think of is the X-Men Under Siege! board game from the ’90s, so it’s a pretty noteworthy thing.  The figure is 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s constructed using the modern standard ‘mate body, with the poofy-sleeved upper arms, and add-ons for the hair, jacket, and glove cuffs.  The cuffs are the same Spirit pieces we’ve seen many times before, but the hair and jacket are all new pieces.  While I always envisioned this look with a full head-piece myself, I must admit that this layout works pretty well, and keeps him from being overly bulked up.  Havok’s paintwork is pretty impressive, given just how much detail is going on.  The face is really the first time I feel they’ve gotten comic Havok down; the previous two seemed just a bit too intense with the screaming.  The gritted teeth here look good.  The torso is fully detailed under the jacket, and I was pleased to see that they had even included some of the easier to miss details such as the pockets on the sides of his legs.  Havok is packed with two brand new effects pieces and a clear display stand.

CYCLOPS

“Scott ‘Slim’ Summers was the deputy leader of the X-Men before forming X-Factor. He possesses the power of optic blasts.”

And again Legends did a bit of thunder stealing here, what with giving us this exact costume in the Vintage wave this year.  Who would have guessed?  Certainly not me.  While I don’t have quite the same level of attachment to this costume that I do Havok’s, this Cyclops costume is still pretty sentimental to me, and I’m down for another version of it.  It should be noted that this is Cyclops’ second X-Factor costume.  The first was released as part of a boxed set in 2009, and remains the only time that the original costume has been done in toy form.  In that regard, Minimates are just catching up with everyone else and releasing the more popular white and blue.  The figure is constructed solely from re-used parts, with the cowl/visor piece from Series 68’s Giant Size X-Men Cyclops, plus standard cuffed boots and flared gloves.  If you want to get really technical, the gloves are supposed to have folded over cuffs like the boots, but otherwise the parts make for a good match to his comics appearance.  Cyclops’ paint is a bit more straight-forward than his brother’s, but still very nicely done, with clean application and a striking color scheme.  Cyclops is packed with an alternate hairpiece (borrowed from the Series 34 release) with his Jim Lee-style exposed hair, which he had towards the end of this costume’s run, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair (and the rest of the series, for that matter) were a Christmas gift from my Super Awesome Wife.  Amusingly enough, the series was wrapped as two pairs, and these two weren’t in the first pair, but I knew they had to be in the selection of wrapped gifts.  It may have slightly undermined my excitement on the first pair, which may have slightly annoyed Super Awesome Wife.  Whatever the case, I was very glad to get them, and this pair in particular has extra sentimental value to me, being my first two figures of both characters packed in one set.

#2269: Batman

BATMAN

JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION (MATTEL)

As toys have become more of a collectors game, and toy companies have begun to cater to said collectors, there’s been one major issue plaguing our favorite brands: how do you keep mainstay characters affordable and easily available to younger audiences who haven’t quite latched onto that collector’s game?  The answer? Evergreen lines.  These are lines with figures that don’t follow the same sort of assortment break-down of collector lines, and aim to keep the big names on the shelves, while also producing a cost effective line.  There are a handful of different levels to these sorts of lines, and furthest down the list are the very basic figures that serve as fodder for the shelves at drugstores and places like Dollar General or Family Dollar.  Figures that are cheap, plentiful, and can stand up to some play.  I’m looking at one such figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman is part of Mattel’s budget Justice League line, which features all of the iconagraphy of Justice League Action, but sports figures that are otherwise unrelated.  This specific Batman variant was also offered a few years ago under a purely Batman branding, but saw release, as is the intended purpose of the line.  The figure is about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has four points of articulation.  He moves at the neck, shoulders, and waist; no hip movement for him, although some of the line’s more recent offerings have added that.  Structurally, this figure feels quite similar to the Ultra Hero Series and offerings like it, which I can certainly dig.  His sculpt is a fairly clean, rather basic affair.  All of the important details are there, but it doesn’t really move beyond them.  His cape is a cloth piece, slotted into his back a little clumsily, but it’s sturdy and won’t be going anywhere.  As far as paint, he’s pretty basic.  The color scheme is slightly non-standard, being mostly black with a yellow emblem and belt.  It’s not a bad look, though, and the paint for the logo and face is pretty decent.  He’s got no accessories, which isn’t much of a surprise given the usual price point on these things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this guy in a big box of presents from my in-laws.  He clearly wasn’t meant to be the star attraction or anything, just something small that they presumably picked up for me while somewhere else.  I can’t say he’s the sort of figure I’d buy for myself, but as a gift, he’s kind of nifty in his own way.  And, of course, now I’m looking at what else has been done in this style, because I have a serious problem.

#2268: Transforming Dick Grayson

TRANSFORMING DICK GRAYSON

BATMAN FOREVER (KENNER)

For day four of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m taking a look at something it’s been…Forever since I’ve reviewed.  Yes, the site may have started with a series of four Batman Forever reviews, but there have been none featured since.  Now, six years later, we return.  Are you feeling it?  The significance?  The shock?  The awe?  Well, you should be, because this whole thing’s a very big deal.  Let’s just revel in all of this for a bit, shall we?

 

Done reveling? Cool.  Let’s review a Robin action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Transforming Dick Grayson was one of the first assortment of Batman Forever figures released to tie-in with the movie in 1995, which was the same assortment that gave us three of the four previously reviewed Forever figures on this site.  It’s worth noting that there was no straight forward standard Robin in this initial assortment; you just had to decide whether you preferred this or Hydro Claw Robin as your go-to annoying Chris O’Donnell Robin figure.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt was unique to him in the initial assortment, but would later get repainted blue and used as Triple-Strike Robin later the same year.  It’s an okay sculpt, being generally pretty faithful to the film design.  He’s noticeably a lot skinnier than Hydro Claw, and for that matter a lot skinnier than Chris O’Donnell was in the role.  It’s not terribly off, and works fine for the more classical Robin proportions, so I can’t knock it too much.  His pose is fairly neutral, apart from the slight bend in the left arm; this was present on Hydro Claw, and it’s also on Street Biker Robin, so maybe that’s just how they assumed Robin would pose in default.  There’s a good chance that character design sheets for the movie may have had him in such a pose, which is further supported by all of the prototypes having a totally different hair style than O’Donnell sported in the film.  Whatever the case, the pose keeps him from looking too stiff, so I can’t fault it.   The figure’s paint delivers a fairly standard set of Robin colors as you might expect, but does have one interesting feature: his Sudden Reveal Mask!  Yes, in order to give Dick his usual mask when transforming him into Robin, you reveal the mask by dipping his head in cold water, and then remove it again by dipping it in warm water. It would probably be a more compelling feature if it wasn’t bound to be just a little bit off in both modes, but it’s nifty enough as is.  To aid in his transformation, Robin also included a cape (which on my figure hadn’t had all of the excess molded parts cut off…see the picture), a chest piece, wrist guards, and boots.  And, of course, he also has Robin’s signature bat-brass-knuckles.  Never leaves home without them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was a Christmas gift from my brother Christian, who was eager to get something that a) I didn’t already have and b) would amuse me.  Apparently, he caught the packaging illustration at the top of this guy’s card and felt that alone was amusing enough to warrant getting this for me.  I can’t argue with him on that; the packaging art on this is a national treasure.  The figure?  He’s okay.  Perhaps not terrible impressive in his own right, but still one of those figures I never had that I always had this morbid desire to own just for the sake of owning him.

#2267: Gorn

GORN

STAR TREK (MEGO)

For day three of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m turning to a license that I don’t often review for this particular segment, Star Trek.  I am at best a moderate Trek fan, so toys and such from the franchise tend to not be the sorts of things I ask for around the holidays.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, but they just don’t usually excite me all that much.  There’s one notable exception, though; one character that I’m always all about.  That’s the Gorn captain.  Appearing in only one episode of the original series (“Arena”), the Gorn is nevertheless my favorite thing in Star Trek, and I’ve got just about all of the action figures of the character there are.  One that I don’t have is the original Mego Gorn.  While the main crew figures were quite faithful to the show, the aliens were a fair bit less so.  Though hardly the worst offering of the assortment, the original Mego Gorn was still pretty far off the mark from his TV-counterpart, being nothing more than the head of Spider-Man foe the Lizard on the body of a Klingon.  It resulted in a rather dopey looking figure.  I still very much want one, but that’s not the point.  The point this time around is centered on the various ReMego stuff from a few years ago, which led to a lot of the Trek figures getting reissued.  The Gorn, however, got a new figure instead, this time more faithful to the show.  And, now that Trek is once again an official Mego license, there’s yet another stab at the Gorn.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Gorn is from the fourth Star Trek assortment under the new Mego heading.  They’re no longer a Target exclusive, nor are they all lumped into one common assortment.  That being said, some of them are still showing up at Target, depending on what those Targets opt to stock in their collectibles section, so your mileage may vary.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation (due to the lower legs being all one solid piece).  The Gorn is built on the Type-2 male body and sports a non-standard head and lower legs, both of which are re-used on this figure from the DST Mego-style Gorn from 2010.  Given they were designed by the same team that is working on the current Mego’s, that’s really not much of a surprise.  They’re a far more accurate recreation of the show design than the classic Mego, while still ever so slightly tweaking the designs to make them work with the rest of the line.  Unlike the DST version, which had a much brighter palette, this figure’s color scheme is far more in line with the actual colors on the show, making for a more subdued look.  It ends up looking a bit better in my eyes, but I can certainly accept the validity of both versions.  As far as the actual paint, this one’s a bit of a step up, with far more detailing on the head, and even some slight accenting.  He’s also got glow in the dark eyes…for those that feel he should, I suppose.  The new Gorn costume isn’t terribly far removed from the DST version, but it’s definitely a little better tailored to the figure, especially on the arm bands, which are properly hemmed this time around.  The Gorn also gets some armament this time: he’s got a belt, phaser, and communicator.  They’re the standard Starfleet pieces, but in red, just like the original Gorn (and the Klingon before him) included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I already had the DST Gorn, and therefore didn’t feel an immediate need for another Mego variant, I have to admit I liked the improvements this guy offered.  Maybe not enough to order him online myself or anything, and odds of seeing him in-person were greatly reduced, so I honestly wasn’t sure I’d get one.  A week before Christmas, my dad made a passing mention of seeing Gorn and the rest of the series at a Target of all places, and wouldn’t you know it, this guy was under the tree on Christmas morning.  The improvements on this guy are definitely worth it, and I’m always down for another Gorn.  Now I feel the need to own the proper vintage release.  Great.

#2266: Omega Supreme

OMEGA SUPREME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

For Day 2 of the post-Christmas reviews, I transition from very familiar territory to very unfamiliar territory.  For one thing, I got into this whole Transformers thing after Christmas last year, so this is the first time I’m reviewing one under this whole giftly heading.  Secondly, this particular Transformer marks my first experience with a scale I have as of yet left untouched: Titan Class.  They’re the big boys of the Transformers ‘verse and today I’m looking at Omega Supreme, a Titan Class offering with a name that sounds not unlike something you’d order from a pizza place.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega Supreme is the Titan Class offering for Siege, hitting shelves in the fall of 2019.  Omega was previously one of the possible options for the Power of The Primes Titan, but he and Scorponok were beaten out by Trypticon in the fan poll.  Omega is the sixth unique Titan Class figure since the scale was introduced with Metroplex in 2013.  Much like Jetfire, Omega’s vintage figures is one of the non-Takara based molds, instead being based on a toy made by the company Toybox.  This resulted in his classic toy and his animation model being more divergent than others, since Takara was involved in production of the cartoon and wasn’t interested in promoting another company’s toy.  That being said, his changes weren’t quite as drastic as Jetfire’s.  Whatever the case, this figure follows the general Siege trend of sticking pretty closely to the G1 animation models.  In his robot mode, this Omega Supreme stands 24 inches tall, roughly twice the size of his vintage counterpart, though in keeping with the rough size as he was portrayed in the cartoon…sometimes.  His size was variable.  If Jetfire was a big, solid figure, then Omega is his bigger, solider cousin.  Admittedly, he’s not quite as heavy as I was expecting given the size, but he’s still got some very serious heft to him.  His movement is somewhat impeded by this, as the joints need some pretty hefty ratcheting in order to hold up this pretty hefty boy.  He’s still fairly mobile, given the size and all, but you’re really only getting standing poses out of him in his robot mode.  Very sturdy standing poses, but standing poses nevertheless.  Omega’s sculpt is certainly impressive.  It’s unique to him, and is really a whole different beast than the sculpts on the smaller figures, just because there’s so much to him.  His head’s probably the standout part, thanks to the nifty looking face beneath the visor.  It’s a really solid look, following the animation model in a way that the vintage figure didn’t…you know, what with the vintage figure not having a face and all.  The rest of the body maintains the line’s general attention to the smaller “real world” details, while still maintaining an overall clean look like the animation.

Omega’s alt-mode is actually a multi-part thing.  He turns into a city, a tank, and a rocket.  Like the figure himself, Omega’s transformation is quite an involved endeavor.  It’s not overly complicated (in fact it’s actually rather straight forward), but the sheer size of him means that you really need to sit down in a nice open space and devote some time to completing the transformation.  The arms pop out and turn into the rocket, the front of the torso and the head become the tank, and the rest of the body becomes the city.  Of note: the tracks of the city are actually meant to go all the way around, but there was no way to fit the whole build in my photo set-up.  So, you’ll just have to imagine it goes all the way around there.  I know, shame on me.  As noted, the transformation works pretty well, and he’s a solid addition in base mode.

Like Jetfire, Omega includes a sizeable effects piece, which can actually separate into four individual effects, allowing for a bunch of different set ups.  Also included with Omega is his little micromaster buddy, Autobot Countdown.  Countdown is pretty much like all the other micromasters in terms of construction, and can alternate between robot and moon rover modes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Have you ever felt really good about gift-giving, only to be totally outclassed?  Because I have, and it’s all centered on Omega here.  See, I had done the nice thing, and picked out some gifts for Jason and Max at All Time, which I was pretty darn proud of.  They both opened them, and they both liked them, and boy did I feel good about the gift giving.  Then I got outclassed, because Jason then asked me: “Do you want an Omega”?  So, now I have an Omega, having passed on him when he was new.  Ultimately, I wasn’t planning to pick him up, and I stand by that after getting one of my own.  However, he’s very definitely one of those things that I don’t mind owning in the slightest, even if I might not have gotten one for myself.  Now I have to figure out where the heck I’m putting him.

#2265: Luke Skywalker – Jabba’s Palace

LUKE SKYWALKER — JABBA’S PALACE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known.”

And lo, the Post-Christmas reviews begin!

There were a few years running where my first post-Christmas review was invariably an Alien Queen, but after my friends and family ran out of Alien Queens to buy me, I’ve moved onto another theme, it would seem: Star Wars.  Honestly, it’s not all that new a concept, me getting Star Wars figures over the holidays, going all the way back to the Millenium Falcon I received for Christmas of ’96.  So, I guess I can dig it being the new trend.  So, let’s kick things off with a Luke Skywalker figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jabba’s Palace Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Black Series offering.  Much like the two Captain Americas that they got last year, they also got two versions of Jedi Luke back to back.  Sometimes, I think Walmart’s toy buyer might be a little limited in their sights.  Whatever the case, this figure theoretically started showing up alongside the Triple Force Friday stuff back in October, though realistically, he started showing up shortly before the holidays.  This Luke is the second Return of the Jedi Luke we’ve gotten in the Black Series line-up, following the more end of the movie inspired version released back in 2014.  This one, as the name denotes, is based on Luke as he first appears in Jabba’s Palace, prior to ditching his vest and getting his robotic hand damaged. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s fairly reliant on parts from the previous Jedi Luke figure.  He uses the body of that figure, along with a new head, the right hand from Bespin Luke, and an all-new vest overlay piece. The new head is the real star attraction.  While I always felt that sculpt on the original Jedi Luke head was far better than the sub-par paint job allowed to show through, it’s never the less a little bit of an artifact of an older way of doing things, since the separate face/hair pieces have become the new way of doing things, and allow for a more realistic recreation.  This new sculpt follows that new styling, and is honestly one of Hasbro best attempts at a young Hamill likeness, at least as far as the face is concerned.  The hair I’m still a little iffy about, but it’s certainly not terrible.  The new vest piece is a decent overlay; it’s not too bulky.  Of course, it’s also not designed to be removed, which I was a little let down by, but if you don’t want it on the figure, it’s easy enough to remove, keeping in mind it’s not really going back on.  And, on top of that, after removing it, you’ll also discover that he’s missing the previous figure’s belt (which would have no doubt affected the look of the vest at this scale, so I get why it’s gone).  The figure is also privy to the improvements in paint since the last Jedi Luke.  That previous figure was honestly one of my worst experiences with iffy paint in the line, but this guy gets the new face print tech, which works very well for him.  There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing this paint on the old sculpt, just to see how the two pair off, but as is, this one looks very good.  This Luke ends up being a little better accessorized than the last one.  While he no longer has the swapable flap for the front of his uniform, he still gets his lightsaber (with a more accurately painted hilt this time), a cloth-goods cloak, and the blaster he steals from one of Jabba’s guards (re-used from Kanan Jarrus).  Not a bad assortment of extras, and certainly enough to make him worthwhile even if you have the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since Force Friday.  As a kid, I went as Jedi Luke for Halloween, so I’ve always had a soft spot for this costume design, and felt the old figure wasn’t doing it justice on the shelf.  I found this figure just before Christmas and actually bought him with some money I got from my Grandmother for the holiday.  He’s solid improvement without being a straight replacement.  I just kind of wish Hasbro would stop giving their best figures to Walmart as exclusives…

#2264: Batgirl & Donatello

BATGIRL & DONATELLO

BATMAN VS TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

Over the summer, DC Collectibles launched their Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line with a crossover Mikey as Batman figure, before moving onto the main series of two-packs.  I looked at the first two sets when they hit at the end of September, and liked them enough to stick around for one more, which is my personal favorite pairing of the line, Batgirl and Donatello.  They had a little bit of wait associated with them, but they’re finally here, so let’s have a look at them, shall we?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batgirl and Donatello are the third Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles two-pack, who were supposed to hit stores in October, but ended up hitting throughout November in most locations.  As with the other offerings from this line, they are available exclusively at Gamestop.

BATGIRL

Barbra Gordon as Batgirl is no stranger to animation, having been a regular fixture since The New Batman Adventures.  This version of Babs is based on her recent(ish) “Batgirl of Burnside” redesign from the comics, which, in addition to just being a solid design in its own right, also really lends itself well to the style of animation from the movie.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Barbra’s articulation is about on par with the Damian figure from the same line, so she’s pretty mobile, and has a slightly better range than the main Batman.  That said, she’s still a bit more restricted than any of the Turtles, especially at the right hip, due to the structure of the belt.  The sculpt on this figure is another nice, clean recreation of the film design, and ends up looking quite flattering in three dimensions.  Like Robin, her cape is a sculpted piece, rather than cloth like Bruce’s, but it’s sensible for the shorter style.   The paintwork on Batgirl is pretty decent overall.  It’s bright and colorful, but not quite as sharp and clean as Batman and Damian were.  It’s certainly not bad, but I feel like it could be just a little better.  As is, she feels about on par with one of the middle-of-the-run Batman: Animated figures: not terrible, but not as strong as I’d prefer.  Batgirl is packed with a respectable selection of accessories, including three sets of hands (fists, closed grip, and open grip), a batarang, a blowdart, a small vial, her cellphone, a grapple with two attachments, and a slice of pizza.

DONATELLO

Donatello is the resident tech expert of the Turtles, as well as a fan of purple, so he pairs off pretty decently with this more recent incarnation of Batgirl.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme follows the same set-up as the other three Turtles, so there’s a lot of range to be had, and he’s generally a little more mobile than Batgirl.  The joints on my figure were a little on the looser side, more like Leonardo than like Raphael.  I wasn’t super thrilled about that, but it’s not terrible. It’s not bad enough to cause any difficulty standing or anything.  Design-wise, Donnie follows the lead of the 2012 show, making Donnie the tallest and skinniest of the four Turtles.  It works quite well for the character thematically, and translates pretty well to the design of the toys.  The head does end up looking a little bit off in my eyes, mostly due to it departing the most from that classic Turtles shaping.  That said, it’s more a question of finding the right angle for it.  Donatello definitely has the best weapon storage of the four, I think largely because it’s the one area where he doesn’t stray from the classic design.  There’s a spot on the back where the staff can slide in, and it stays pretty securely, and doesn’t feel like it could snap at any moment.  After changing up the coloring slightly for Raphael, Donatello is again approximately the same shade as tho other two.  His paintwork is alright.  It’s clean, it’s bold, and it looks decent.  Donatello is packed with three sets of hands (fists, gripping, and flat), his Bo Staff (which splits in the middle for an easier time putting it in his hands or on his back), an extra helmeted head, a TCRI canister, a shellphone, and another slice of pizza.  Now we’re up to seven slices!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the line was shown off, this was the only pack I actually knew I wanted, so I went ahead and pre-ordered it through Gamestop.  Ultimately, I ended up seeing the others in person and decided to pick them up, which only made me more anxious to pick up this pairing.  So, it was getting more than a little frustrating when people were finding the set and I still hadn’t heard any word on mine coming in, what with it being, you know, the only one I actually bothered to pre-order and all.  Fortunately, Super Awesome Wife has her connections and made darn sure that this set eventually got to me.  As the set that features my favorite Turtle and my favorite of the Bat-cast from the movie, there’s a lot riding on this one.  I do enjoy it overall, and I’m certainly happy to have the figures, but if I’m entirely honest, I’ve cooled off a bit on the line since it started, meaning I don’t really see myself going back for the standard Mikey/Alfred or the Shredder/Ra’s sets.  If they opt to do maybe a non-movie-based follow-up with a Nightwing and Casey, we might be back in business, but that’s something of a longshot.