#3189: Spartan Buck

SPARTAN BUCK

HALO UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Wow, is this me, doing another Halo review?  Already?  I mean, yeah, I guess so.  If I’ve got the figure to review, I might as well.  During the lead-up to Halo 5‘s release, Microsoft was trying to move past the purely older age range of the franchise up to that point.  In keeping with that, they moved the master license for the property from McFarlane Toys over to Mattel.  Mattel’s handling of the license was kind of lackluster for the most part, but they were also doing stuff for Halo 5, which was also kind of lackluster, so I guess it fit.  While Mattel’s first batch of products were pretty much everywhere, the weak response to their offerings meant that all of the follow-ups were generally scarce.  Amongst those scarce items: the second series of their Halo Universe line, which happened to feature the only ODST-related figure the line had to offer, Spartan Edward Buck!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spartan Buck was part of the aforementioned Series 2 line-up of Halo Universe, which started to just show up online in little trickles over a year after the release of the first series.  Buck wasn’t even truly confirmed as part of Series 2 prior to its release, and he’d been long assumed cancelled when he just randomly showed up.  Yeah, that was really just how the end of Mattel’s run on the Halo license went in a nutshell.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This line’s scaling was definitely weird; the Spartans are supposed to be pretty big compared to regular people, so at only 6 1/2 inches tall, these guys don’t fit in with much.  But, I guess they had each other?  Sure is great that Mattel gave us a deep cast of characters, right?  Yeah… Given the general bulkiness of the figure and how Mattel figures generally were at the time, Buck’s articulation is surprisingly well-handled.  The range of motion is pretty decent, and he can pretty easily hold his weapon with both hands, something that I know the Series 1 figures really struggled with.  For this line, Mattel designed all of the Spartan figures to feature removable armor.  Given that we rarely see the Spartans without all of their armor, it was an odd choice, but I suppose their desire to do something different isn’t the worst thing. The construction means that he’s even bulkier than a Spartan usually would be, but it was consistent with the overall look of the line.  Mostly, it’s just the head being a bit too small that’s the issue, but I don’t hate it.  The armor actually looks pretty nice, and, apart from the calf armor having a tendency to pop out of place, it’s actually pretty secure.  The underlying suit is kind of goony looking, and I’m not ever gonna display him that way, but, again, it’s at least something different.  Buck’s paint work is largely on the basic side, but the application is clean, and he’s got a few pretty cool smaller details.  Buck is packed with an assault rifle, a knife, and an unmasked head.  The unmasked head is kind of on the large side relative to the helmet, but it’s a decent enough sculpt, and kudos to Mattel on actually giving him the extra head to swap, rather than trying to get an extra sale out of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m amongst the people who though this figure got cancelled back in the day.  I was really not into the first series of the line, and was at least a little curious about this guy, but when a year went by and the others all got clearanced out, I called it quits and didn’t pay it much attention.  In the years since, this figure’s value’s gotten really high on the aftermarket.  Fortunately for me, I was able to snag a loose one that got traded into All Time for a reasonable price.  He’s a better figure than I’d expected.  He’s still got his own odd quirks, but I actually kind of like him.

#3188: Dr. Fate

DR. FATE

BLACK ADAM (SPIN MASTER)

In the bleak landscape that is the current state of the DC live action movies, there stands one un-cancelled, un-delayed film.  That film is Black Adam, the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson-led spin-off of Shazam!  DC’s really banking on this one, and kinda banking on Black Adam a lot as a character right now.  I’m iffy on the whole prospect, really, but we’ll see how it goes.  To fill in the movie’s cast a bit, Black Adam is joined in his first cinematic venture by a small contingent of the Justice Society of America.  Pierce Brosnan is playing Doctor Fate, and I’m honestly not hating that, so when it comes to the tie-in toys, that’s what I’m hitting up to start.  I mean, Doctor Fate, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr Fate is part of the first assortment of basic figures from Spin Master’s Black Adam line.  As with their The Batman tie-in line, its an off-shoot of the main 3 3/4 inch DC line, so he can work with those figures as well.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s got the same basic articulation scheme as the rest of the line, though they’ve slightly changed up how the hips work, and it’s not quite as effective.  Beyond that, though, it works pretty decently given the scaling and size.  The figure’s got an all-new sculpt, which is loosely based on the film design for the character.  I say loosely because he’s clearly based on some sort of preliminary design for the character, as there are a fair number of details that don’t quite line up with the final film look.  The helmet is probably the closest piece (which tracks, since it looks like the helmet was actually a physical prop during filming), and it’s a pretty strong piece.  The body, especially the collar and belt, are off for sure.  I don’t think they look bad; they’re just inaccurate.  The actual quality of the sculpt is pretty solid; his proportions are more balanced than previous figures, so he’s not quite as ridiculously buff.  It works better for Fate, so I dig it.  The cape is a cloth piece; it’s that same papery cloth from before, but it’s at least lacking that hole in the back that most of the Bat-figures had.  The figure’s paint work is decent enough.  The helmet’s even got some pretty nifty accenting, so that’s cool.  There’s a bit of a color match issue on the blues on the legs, but otherwise he looks alright.  Certainly on par with the rest of these figures.  Dr Fate is packed with two magic effect pieces, which he can hold in his hands.  They’re honestly pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m skeptical about this movie, but I’m not skeptical about a cool Dr Fate figure. I’m not lining up to throw more money at McFarlane, so I was pretty happy to hear that Spin Master had their own line running.  I’ve only been seeing the Black Adam figure thus far, but I was out running errands the other day, and happened up this guy and jumped on it.  He’s not film accurate, but he’s still a lot of fun.  If I can just find that Atom Smasher figure, I’ll be all set.

#3187: Ultra Magnus – Shattered Glass

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS GENERATIONS: SHATTERED GLASS COLLECTION (HASBRO)

“Welcome to an alternate universe where the bad guys are good, and the good guys are bad…Shattered Glass is a mirror universe where Optimus Prime and the Autobots are the evil conquerors and ruling class of Cybertron, opposed by the noble Megatron and his heroic Decepticon rebels.

Ultra Magnus has become bored with warfare.  Having ended more sparks than he can count, he sets his sights on something greater: the destruction of the universe.”

First appearing in 2008 as the inspiration for a Botcon-exclusive boxed set, “Shattered Glass” is the Transformers version of a pretty classic sci-fi trope: the alternate universe where all the good guys are evil and all the bad guys are good…you know, kinda like it says in the italicized text above.  I guess Hasbro’s kind of okay at explaining that one too.  While all the tie-in toys were initially just handled by Fun Publications, the group in charge of both the Transformers and G.I. Joe Collector’s Clubs and their respective exclusives, and therefore not part of any of Hasbro’s proper Transformers lines, Hasbro officially brought “Shattered Glass” into their line with a Generations Select two-pack featuring the evil counterparts to Optimus Prime and Ratchet, in 2020.  In 2021, they launched a full sub-line, the Shattered Glass Collection, which was exclusive to Hasbro Pulse.  Personally, I’m not deep enough into Transformers to really need the Shattered Glass stuff, but…well, as you can see, there’s kind of an Ultra Magnus.  And, uhh, I kinda tend to just buy everything Ultra Magnus.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus is figure #6 in the Shattered Glass Collection.  He’s the first of the second batch of figures for the line, and started arriving to those who pre-ordered him at the beginning of September, which was about a month ahead of his original projected release date.  Hey, it’s not as drastic as *some* of Hasbro’s recent date changes, right?  Right.  In his fully built up robot mode, the figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 20 workable points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s mostly the same as the Kingdom Magnus.  It’s a good, classic Magnus mold, and genuinely my favorite Magnus, so I’m certainly not hurt by seeing it turn up again.  There are a few quirks to this particular use of the mold, but they’re largely to do with the paint, so I’ll get to them in a moment.  Before that, I’ll discuss the one new part of this mold, which is the head.  The original BotCon Shattered Glass Magnus had a unique head sculpt, which gave Magnus a skeletal visage and a more sinister shaping to his helmet.  It’s certainly a different design for the character, and it’s kind of the one signature part of SG Magnus, so this figure gets a new head to match that look.  Personally, I feel it clashes just a bit stylistically with the rest of the body, but it’s not a bad piece in its own right.  The paint work marks the biggest change-up for this figure, as has been the case for all of the Shattered Glass releases.  While a lot of the palette shifts for the Autobots are more centered on giving them more classically evil colors to mess with, in Magnus’s case, he actually gets a throwback to his history, with the colors of Powered Convoy, the original toy Magnus used the molds from (which were almost Magnus’s colors as well, had Hasbro not decided to shift his colors before Transformers: The Movie‘s release).  It’s honestly a sensible choice for an alternate universe Magnus, since it involves reversing his color scheme, making it feel all evil and stuff.  Unfortunately, this color scheme winds up requiring some paint where there wasn’t on the first use of this mold, which messes with the tolerances on some of the moving parts just a bit.  On my figure, the prime offenders are the inner wrist guards and the shoulder rockets, neither of which really wants to sit just right.  Beyond that, though, they look pretty solid.  It’s worth noting that in the Transformers canon, the Powered Convoy colors have been made into a separate character, Delta Magnus, and in order to facilitate this guy pulling double duty, he also includes the standard Kingdom Magnus head colored to match the core body.  He’s also got his blaster rifle (now in red), as well as the sword, axe, and Matrix of Leadership from the Legacy Laser Prime.

As a re-use of the Kingdom mold, SG Magus has an inner bot under all of the outer armor.  His mold is totally unchanged, which is honestly just fine by me.  He does get a drastically different color scheme, however.  While the outer robot could pull double duty as Delta Magnus, the inner robot uses the original Powered Convoy inner bot colors, thus allowing him to serve as a third character, Magna Convoy.  I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know anything about Magna Convoy, and reading his wiki entry didn’t really help much on that front, but I do like the look of the color scheme he’s got.  Not enough to ever display this figure sans armor, but such is the curse of any inner Magnus bot.  The inner bot turns into the same truck cab as the original Kingdom release did, just with the updated colors, and just like that one, you can reconfigure the armor pieces into a trailer for the cab.  It’s still a little bit slapdash, but I still don’t really mind that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Max’s fault.  No, really, it’s totally Max’s fault.  He completely enabled me on this one.  I didn’t even know it was coming, he told me about its existence, and he even let me jump in on his Pulse Premium membership to help me get one.  How dare he?  Downright unreasonable.  In all seriousness, I’ve been wanting a Delta Magnus re-deco since Siege, and that only increased with the Kingdom mold in play.  I wasn’t expecting the Shattered Glass angle, but I can’t say I’m upset about it, since it just means extra stuff.  He’s gonna stay in the Delta Magnus mode for my display, but I’m always down for more options.

Oh, and there’s also a comic.  Right.  Genuinely forgot.  Was gonna do a bit and then I actually forgot.  He comes with the first issue of IDW’s Transformers: Shattered Glass II, which gets a special exclusive cover for this release.  It sure is a comic.  There are words.  Illustrations.  Colors.  Events occur.  Not sure I’d say it has a plot, but it’s sure got a lot of Magnus.  I can’t say it’s good or bad.  It just…is.

#3186: IG-86 Assassin Droid

IG-86 ASSASSIN DROID

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“An IG-86 Assassin Droid lies deactivated in a Trandoshan trader’s cargo hold until a buyer can be found for the dangerous droid. But he is accidentally reactivated by a clumsy astromech droid, and the lives of everyone on board the ship are in peril.”

In addition to fleshing out the prequel-era characters, The Clone Wars also placed a focus on more directly tying the two trilogies together.  We got handful of younger OT characters featured, as well as a few lineages, and predecessors to things seen in the OT.  Amongst those predecessors, a recurring feature were the IG-86s, precursors to IG-88 and other Assassin Droids of the same model.  They never really step beyond bit player, but they help to more fully fill-in the world around the characters, and they always make for a good toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The IG-86 Assassin Droid was released in 2008 as part of the first year of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, where he was figure #18.  The figure saw a few multipack releases as well during the line, with minimal deco changes, as well as one more widely changed version in the form of Ziro’s assassin droid, added to the line as figure #37 in the following year (that’s the one pictured next to Wilson over on the right).  All of the releases used the same mold.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The IG-86 mold was one of the most posable molds in the whole line, with universals on the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.  He’s also got posable hands as well, making for far better gripping of the weapons.  The point is, there’s just a lot you can do with this guy, and it’s a lot of fun.  The sculpt is one of the best from the line.  It’s a great recreation of the animation model, with a nice merging of function and form.  Figures like the most recent Vintage Collection IG-11 are totally still banking on how this figure worked.  For the first release, IG-86 got a tarnished and dirty finish, a stark contrast to the usually more clean Clone Wars offerings.  It was a really impressive set-up especially for the time, and captured the whole “deactivated” thing quite well.  Ziro’s assassin droid trades in the grime for a unique set of markings, as well as a less metallic finish than the original release.  It’s suitably different, but cool for its own set of reasons.  Both versions of the Assassin droid, included two droid-style blasters, as well as a backpack for storing both of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The standard IG-86 was one of my earliest purchases from the line, shortly after he hit retail.  I’ve always had a soft spot for IG-88, and I liked seeing the elements in animated form.  The sculpt, form, and function all just really work, making him one of the line’s very best.  I like him so much that I wound up snagging Ziro’s assassin from a collection that came into All Time, just so I could get another chance to mess with it.  They’re both really fun, and I love the two different decos.  Seriously top-notch.

#3185: Vulture

VULTURE

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“When his business partner attempted to swindle Adrian Toomes out of the flying harness he had invented, Toomes stole the harness back and embarked on a life of crime as the high-flying Vulture! Recently rejuvenated, the Vulture is now a more dangerous threat than ever – as Spider-Man has learned, to his lasting regret!”

Man, the ’90s were definitely rough on some characters, especially as they tried to stay hip and relevant.  Spider-Man foe the Vulture, perennially defined by being, like, the oldest man alive, got saddled with the whole “making myself young again by draining off other people’s lifeforce” thing, in addition to also getting a new armored look, which also had a headband built-in.  It was, like, all of the ’90s things at once.  And it didn’t really stick, which was probably for the best, really.  Man, what a time.  And that’s how we got his first action figure, no less.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Vulture was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line.  He was based on the character’s revamped design, which got a special focus on the show.  And, more specifically, he was actually kind of animation-based, in contrast to the likes of the X-Men line.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this sculpt before, albeit at twice the size, when its 10-inch equivalent was re-used for Savage Land Angel.  It’s a rather awkward sculpt, all things considered.  The body’s kind of scrawny and goony looking, and the head is rather large in comparative scale, which just makes the scrawny and goony thing even more apparent.  The armor detailing is at least pretty sharply handled.  You know, if you like your Vulture to be armored.  The paint work on the figure is basic, but pretty well handled.  There’s a little bit of bleedover on the edges of the lighter green, but otherwise it works well.  Vulture was originally packed with a small gun sort of thing, meant for storing in his side holster, thought that piece is missing from mine (and most loose ones, honestly; it was super easy to lose).  He also featured a “Spreading Wing Action”; squeezing his legs lifts his arms, thereby spreading his wings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you know how I was ragging on overly ’90s Vulture?  Yeah, well, as stupid as it may be, I kinda like the overly ’90s Vulture.  That being said, I didn’t own this figure, for whatever reason.  I remember looking at it, but I just never picked it up.  I wound up getting one loose a few years back at a toy show, in one of my pushes to complete my Toy Biz run.  He’s a really goofy figure, and I don’t know that he really captures the design as well as he could.  Or maybe he does, and it’s just destined to be forever super goofy.  You know what?  It’s probably that.

#3184: Alisha Hawthorne & Buzz Lightyear

ALISHA HAWTHORNE & BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

LIGHTYEAR: ALPHA CLASS (MATTEL)

For their summer offering this year, Pixar went back to the well that is Toy Story, but, having acknowledged that you can only wrap up the franchise’s loose ends so many times before you start to really see diminishing returns, they went a little bit different with things.  In the early 2000s, we got Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a Saturday morning cartoon that was meant to be the in-universe Saturday morning cartoon that went with the Buzz Lightyear toy from the movies.  In 2022, Pixar asked the question: “what if the cartoon and the toy were both actually based on a movie?”  And then they went ahead and made that movie.  And there was much rejoicing.  No, the other thing.  There was a lot of complaining, actually.  Mostly by people who didn’t, you know, actually see the movie.  But, that’s just our culture at the moment, I guess.  I liked it.  I also bought some toys, because, well, that’s who I am.  And I enjoy the recursiveness of the toys based on a movie based on the toy from a movie, which was in-universe based on a movie.  It’s mind-boggling in just the best possible way.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Alisha Hawthorne and Buzz Lightyear are a Target-exclusive two-pack release, courtesy of Mattel’s Lightyear: Alpha Class line.  There are a handful of different scales in play for the tie-ins, with the Alpha Class stuff being on par with Mattel’s other collector-geared lines, though they’re still definitely toys.

ALISHA HAWTHORNE

Buzz’s partner at the beginning of the film, Alisha winds up getting a small but very integral to the plot role in the movie.  Over the course of about 20 minutes of the film, we see her live out pretty much her entire life as Buzz checks in with her between his light speed jumps.  This figure is based on her look from about the mid-point of things, when she’s established herself as the commanding officer of their station, and gets the fancy dress uniform to go along with that.  Barring the classic Space Ranger attire, it’s her most distinctive look, and it is very snazzy.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Her movement is about the same as Mattel’s other collector lines, which is to say it’s actually pretty good.  They’re using pinless construction on the elbows and knees, so everything looks pretty slick.  The actual sculpt is unique to this release, and does a fairly respectable job of capturing Alisha’s design from the movie.  I quite like the way the hair turned out, and the uniform is nice and sharp.  Alisha’s paint work is pretty decently handled.  The base work is all very cleanly applied, and there’s some great small detail work on all of her ribbons and medals.  The eyes are perhaps a touch crazy looking, but I think that’s more an adaptation thing, just being one of those design elements that looks fine on screen but ever so slightly off on an actual physical object.  Alisha technically doesn’t really get any accessories, but, it’s honestly hard to say that with absolute certainty.  The stuff included all feels like it *should* go with the other figure, but there’s no reason you can’t share the load.  Product shots showed her with the knife, so I gave her that for the Wilson photo, just so she had something more to do.

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

As the titular character of the film, Buzz gets a lot of looks over the course of the movie, and pretty much all of those got toys.  Obviously, they’re not going to stick his main Space Ranger gear in an exclusive two-pack, so that’s not what this one gets.  Instead, this one is sporting the suit he does his last jump in, which is what sends him into the film’s “current” time.  It’s kind of an interesting choice, since it means he doesn’t really match up with Alisha, who is out of the story by the time he dawns this gear.  That said, it’s the one he spends the second most time in, so it’s at least a pretty prominent one.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme is very similar to Alisha’s, though he also gets a ball-jointed waist, which adds just a little more range to his posing.  The sculpt appears to be unique to this release.  It’s the only way thus far to get Buzz with the flight cap, so that’s cool and unique.  The detailing on the sculpt is generally pretty solid.  He’s definitely a good recreation of the animation model, and this particular look has a lot of cool intricate details to work with.  Some areas, notably the arms and legs, are a little softer on the detail work, but the overall look is pretty great.  Buzz’s paint work is fairly strong.  The base work is nice and clean, and the level of work on the small printing and insignias is particularly impressive.  Buzz is packed with his removable helmet, a rifle, the warp crystal in its case, an upgraded version of the IVAN autopilot, his portable computer (with closing lid), and a laser knife.  It’s a great selection of extras, and none of them feel phoned in at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Toy Story was my first movie in the theatre, so I definitely have more than a small attachment to the franchise.  As faithful readers will have no doubt picked up from the Matty’s Corner entry about some of the basic figures, I took my son Matthew to see the movie when it was released.  He, unsurprisingly, wanted toys, so I took him to pick out a few.  At the same time, I saw this set, and it really spoke to me.  It was also on sale.  Win-win.  It’s a really great set.  Both figures are really strong, but honestly, the Buzz just really steals the show for me.  The detailing, both in terms of sculpt and paint, as well as the accessories, just really put the whole thing over the top.

#3183: Imperial Clone Shock Trooper

IMPERIAL CLONE SHOCK TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Originally founded during the Clone Wars as security police and bodyguards, the group of clones known as Shock Troopers now operate as elite forces of the Empire.”

The Shock Troopers first showed up very near the end of Revenge of the Sith, as re-decoed Clones whose red coloring served as sort of a precursor to the Imperial Guards.  The similarities were taken a bit further when they were further used in Clone Wars, which established as the Coruscant-based police force, far more directly loyal to Palpatine and his cronies.  Their loyalty gave them more to do during Clone Wars’ direct follow-up, The Bad Batch.  Though effectively replaced within the show by the Elite Squad, they’re still present as the Empire’s initial enforcers.  We got a Shock Trooper on the old style Clone body, but now we’re also getting one on the new body.  Whooooo!  New body!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Clone Shock Trooper is figure 7 in the Bad Batch sub-line of The Black Series Phase IV.  He started as a Walmart-exclusive, but he’s set to get a slightly wider release later in the year.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  This Shock Trooper is, as noted in the intro, built on the newest of the Clone base bodies.  Like, actually the whole thing.  No weird combo of parts, or anything.  So, I guess there’s that.  It’s a good sculpt, it poses well, and it just makes for a good figure.  This guy in particular is based on one of the officers, meaning he’s got the shoulder pauldron.  It’s a nice piece with a lot of great texture work.  It’s fixed in place on the shoulders which, if I’m honest, seems a bit short-sited, since it means he can’t just be the standard Shock Trooper.  But, I suppose they might have done that on purpose, since this was an exclusive release, and it’s possible they might be saving the standard trooper as a main line release.  Whatever the case, it’s at least not loose and flopping about as such pieces tend to do in these figures.  The paint work on this guy is pretty straight forward, but it does what it needs to and the application is all pretty clean.  It’s a striking color set-up.  The Shock Trooper is packed with both long and short versions of the standard clone rifle, which makes for a decent selection of options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much as I like a good Clone variant, I wasn’t exactly looking to rush out to Walmart for specifically this figure.  Thankfully, I didn’t have to, since we got a small stack of them traded into All Time.  Boom, easy way to get one.  He’s fun.  Not breaking ground or anything, but fun.  And sometimes, that’s all you need.

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

#3182: Jet Trooper

JET TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Star Wars: Battlefront II lets players call in reinforcements from the most skilled soldiers and units in the galaxy, including the aerial specialist Jet troopers.”

First appearing in a very bit appearance in the background of one shot of the fifth season Clone Wars episode “Sabotage,” the 501st Jet Trooper’s rather unique design was set to get a mass release figure as part of Hasbro’s main Clone Wars line in 2013, as part of the wider Star Wars line re-launch that was to go along with the 3D re-release of Attack of the Clones.  When Phantom Menace’s 3D re-release went over worse than Phantom Menace‘s original release, the AotC re-release was scrapped, and the domestic release of the toys to accompany was cancelled.  The nine Clone Wars figures included wound up with only an international release, which was kind of a shame.  The design wound up brushed off for a few other projects, including Battlefront II, which finally got the Jet Trooper another chance at a figure…albeit an exclusive one.  Eh, you win some, you lose some.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jet Trooper is a Gamestop-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series release, as part of their larger “Gaming Greats” sub-line.  He’s #6 in the sub-line.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  In what is just a confusing sequence of parts creation and selection at this point, the Jet Trooper is largely *not* built from the updated Clone body we got at the start of Phase IV.  He gets the new head/helmet, but that’s it.  Below the neck, he’s using a variation on the Captain Rex tooling.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, and now it’s been almost completely reverse engineered into a standard Clone body.  The question just remains: why?  Why, after introducing the new body, are we still getting a combination of parts from three distinctly different Clone base bodies, interwoven with each other?  Like, maybe just pick one and stick with it?  Ultimately, it doesn’t impact this guy too badly, since, as I said, the Rex tooling is still pretty solid.  The leg movement is kind of stiff, but otherwise it works okay.  The torso’s been modified to add a port for the jetpack, so that works out well.  The Jet Trooper’s paint scheme is fun, bright, and fairly unique, and the application is nice and clean.  It’s definitely the best thing about the figure, and it really works out well.  The Jet Trooper is packed with his jetpack (borrowed from Jango Fett), and a small blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I quite like this design.  I quite like Clones in general, and this one just really works.  It’s a cool, nifty look, begging for good toy treatment.  It’s a shame that there are so many barriers to entry on the first figure, and I wasn’t thrilled about the Gamestop-exclusiveness on this one.  Fortunately for me, I was able to get one via a convenient trade-in at All Time.  That sure was easy.  He’s a really fun figure of a really fun design, and I’m glad to have added him to the collection.

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

#3181: Obi-Wan Kenobi

OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

Obi-Wan battles the enemies of the Republic as war expands across the galaxy. The Jedi General continues his hunt for General Grievous and leads diplomatic missions to far-flung worlds. Whether he is battling droids or negotiating with potential allies, Obi-Wan is resolute in his fight to save the Republic.”

The prequel films were, admittedly, not great when it came to character building. They were a bit like reading a Wikipedia article on the events. All the big stuff was covered, but there was ver little human element. The Clone Wars does a lot to salvage the films and the characters within by actually spending time with them, and even giving them some genuine emotional arcs, making you actually care about what happens to them. Though technically one of the main characters of the films, Obi-Wan had the misfortune of largely getting shoved to the side in favor of the plot. The Clone Wars gives him his own stories, and even a small glimpse into his history before the movies. And it also lets him just be cool, and that’s never a bad thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obi-Wan Kenobi was released in 2011 as figure 40 in Hasbro’s Clone Wars Collection. He was the fifth version of the character in the line, and the first to be based on Obi-Wan’s improved design model from later in the show, as they slowly moved him closer to his RotS look.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  As the line moved into its more show-design accurate era, the Clone figures notably took a slight hit to articulation, but, on the flip side, the Jedi characters made out a lot better, by virtue of, you know, actually getting knee joints.  That’s the case with Obi-Wan, and even with the harder plastic skirt piece and the t-hips, he still manages to be quite mobile.  His sculpt was an all-new one, and it’s a far more show accurate one than the four that preceded it, and for my money, more accurate than those that followed it as well.  There’s a really good flow to it, and I love all the sharp angles.  The style is really captured well here.  The color work on this guy is generally pretty good as well.  The paint work is cleanly applied, and the colors all match well with the show.  Obi-Wan’s only accessory was his lightsaber.  It was a step down from prior offerings, but it does at least cover the basics, so it’s got that going for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The late run Clone Wars figures were much harder to keep up with at retail, so by this point I was really just making do with what I already had.  Since I already had the first Obi-Wan, I wasn’t actively searching for another, and this one slipped under my radar.  Back in the summer of 2019, All Time got a sizable collection of Clone Wars figures, and I wound up snagging a large swath of them.  Mostly, they were clones, but I also picked up this figure out of the bunch.  He’s probably the best Obi-Wan to come out of the line, and certainly my favorite.

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

#3180: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already?  well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically.  And, technically is what really matters here.  Why?  Because it’s my site, that’s why.  Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again.  It’s quite simple:  early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure.  Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures.  Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron.  It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright.  Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do?  The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black.  It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it.  It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap.  Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed.  As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  Yay big ol’ club.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff.  I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin.  Sauron was one of those figures.  He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.