#3001: Steel Bone HO2 Firepower Mecha

STEEL BONE HO2 FIREPOWER MECHA — GRAY-GREEN

DARK SOURCE (JOYTOY)

It’s a new year, and this intro serves to cover a few bases, really.  First and foremost, faithful readers will no doubt notice that there were two days between this review and #3000.  After writing a review every day of every week for over eight years, I’ve finally arrived at the conclusion that it’s maybe a little much for me.  So, I’ll be stepping back.  Not a ton, mind you, but I’ll at least be taking weekends for the foreseeable future.  But, hey, that’s still five days a week for you guys to read my crazy ramblings, right?  With that out of the way, let’s jump into the first day of my post-Christmas reviews!

More often than not, I tend to stick to more domestic offerings, as well as generally lower-price point options.  Every so often, I do like to branch out just a little bit and try something new.  This year, that’s apparently Joytoy, a company that I was honestly not really familiar with prior to 2021, but who I’ve become rather fascinated with in the last few months.  Hey, I like a cool mecha, and they certainly have a lot of those.  So, I’m looking at my first Joytoy item today, with the Steel Bone HO2 Firepower Mecha!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Steel Bone HO2 Firepower Mecha [Gray-green] is part of Joytoy’s Dark Source toyline.  Their various different lines correlate to different themes/storylines, which are really just excuses to more cool robot designs, really.  It also corresponds to a few different scales.  Dark Source is a 1/25 scale line, centered on figures that are about 2 3/4 inches for a standard sized human.  The mechs are, of course, much larger than a standard sized human.  In the case of this one, it stands just shy of 8 3/4 inches tall.  An exact articulation count is a bit tricky on this one, due to how many moving components there are, and how many pieces have to flex out of the way in order to do any real posing.  The limbs can be a bit restricted, especially at the shoulders and hips, but there’s a lot that can be done, especially given how bulky the design is overall.  I especially dig all of the movement in the hands, as the fingers not only get movement at each of the knuckles but there’s also side-to-side movement on the fingers, which adds a lot of extra gripping options, which is pretty cool.  In terms of structure, the Steel Bone design is pretty squared off and rather on the utilitarian design.  It’s certainly meant to be military in nature.  The actual construction of the mech is actually made out of quite a lot of potentially modular pieces.  It comes out of the box in effectively the load out seen in the photos, but there are lots of other possible builds, if you so choose.  It can be a little tricky swapping parts in and out, and finding just the right balance and layout, but it does add a lot more fun to the figure.  In the effort to aid in that modular nature, the mech gets a few deliberately swappable pieces, namely the chest plate and thigh covers, which have an option for slightly more rounded parts.  I myself prefer the alternate parts, so I appreciate them being there.  The mech’s armaments also tie into the modular nature.  Worked into the mech proper are two shoulder mounted mini guns.  They attach with a handful of the modular parts included, but also can be worked in a few different ways, again with the whole modular thing in mind.  Separate from the mech proper, there’s a big hammer.  What’s fun about the hammer is that it’s almost no unique parts; everything is a basic modular piece, or shared with the Mecha’s own construction.  So, again with the modular.  That’s commitment to the concept.

The Steel Bone includes its own pilot, designed to work with it’s built-in cockpit.  He’s about 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s utilitarian and military-inspired in a fashion similar to Mecha, which is sensible.  He works in a lot of rather classic sci-fi psuedo-military type stuff, which makes him suitably generic, but also serves as a nice call back to other designs.  I quite dig the removable helmet, and how well it sits, especially given the scale and how little it impacts the underlying head’s design.  The pilot gets a fun selection of extras himself.  There’s an alternate left hand, two rifles, a pistol, and a medical kit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been just starting to dip my toes into the waters of Joytoy, and it’s pretty much exclusively the fault of Jason from All Time Toys.  He’s recently decided to give them a try at the store, and we’ve all pretty much been looking for that entry point.  This one’s boxy, green, and he’s got a hammer and miniguns.  He checks off a lot of my boxes.  So, it certainly made things even easier when Jason gave me this guy as my Christmas gift this year.  It’s pretty darn great, really, and a great introduction to Joytoy.  I could foresee this getting a little bit dangerous…

#3000: Captain America – Infinity War

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HOT TOYS)

In a turn of events that I suppose is all rather fitting, today, the last day of 2021, also marks my 3000th review here at the site.  Pretty crazy, huh?  I never really foresaw myself making it quite this far, and yet, here I am.  3000 is a very big number, and a bigger number than the the total quantity of figures I had in my collection when I started this thing.  Moreover, I’ve made it all the way to the end of 2021, a journey that I would very much be underselling with the description “turbulent.”  A lot’s happened, and it has not been easy.  But I’m here.  And I’ve got a thing to review.  And I suppose that’s the most important thing in the moment.  So, let’s jump back to 2018, back to the throws of Avengers: Infinity War, specifically Captain America and his rather disheveled look from his own rather turbulent year.  Fitting, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the Infinity War tie-in component of Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, where he’s figure MMS 481, which made him the sixth of the IW tie-in figures.  The figure arrived not too long after the film’s release, hitting in the fall of 2018.  There were two releases of him, a standard and a “Movie Promo Edition” which was a Sideshow-exclusive in the US.  The difference between the two comes down to a few accessories; the figure proper remains the same.  This Cap is based on his Nomad appearance from the film, which is of course the only look he actually has in Infinity War, so I guess that makes sense.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

While most Caps these days include multiple heads, this release only has the one.  It makes some degree of sense, since he doesn’t have the helmeted look in the film, so I suppose he only needs the one head.  It’s only the one facial expression, but that’s not uncommon for unmasked heads from Hot Toys.  This one does live up to Hot Toys’ usual penchant for very lifelike sculpts.  It sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Evans in the film, at least facially.  The hair is perhaps a little bit too orderly for proper film accuracy, but it’s not too far off, and it’s certainly closer than either Hasbro or Bandai’s attempts were.  It avoids the seam at the sides of the head that the Endgame release had, but trades it out for a rather noticeable join at the back of the head where the longer hair attaches.  It’s still not the worst thing, but at this price point, you do hope for a little better.  At the very least, the paint work topping it all off is really good, up to Hot Toys’ typical standards for face paint, with a very lifelike quality to the whole thing.

In Infinity War, Cap is, at least canonically, supposed to still be wearing the suit he had in Civil War, having had not time on the run between films to swap out.  In actuality, there are a few changes to the suit beyond just the expected wear and tear of being on the run, but they’re generally minor.  In terms of how the suit works on the figure, it’s pretty similar to the Endgame figure, being two main parts, with a lot of layers attached.  As with that figure, this one’s belt sets perhaps a little low, but it’s otherwise a well-tailored outfit that works well with the underlying body of the figure and captures the look of the outfit seen in the film quite nicely.

The underlying base body appears to be the same one used for Endgame Cap, which was a good fit for Evans’ build for the character, as well as doing a good job of balancing aesthetics and functionality.  As with that figure, the movement of the base body is somewhat impeded by the nature of the suit design, which does have some notable restrictions at the hips and shoulders.  Still, there’s plenty of movement to be had, and he can get some pretty solid range on most of the joints.

When it comes to accessories, Cap gets quite a few, including:

  • 8 hands
  • 2 Wakandan shields
  • Outrider corpse
  • Corvus Glaive’s Spear
  • Proxima Midnight’s staff
  • Display stand

The hands include a pair of fists, a pair of gripping, a pair of relaxed gesture, and a right pointing/left open gesture combo.  They give all the important needs for posing and working with the included accessories, and also do a good job of capturing the look of his gloves from the movie.  They’re a little tricky to swap out, but not impossibly so.  The two Wakandan shields are designed for specifically right and left sides, and are able to be fully collapsed or extended, which is certainly nice engineering.  The display stand is the same style as we saw on the Endgame figure.  I dig the hexagonal shape.  And that’s all of the standard release stuff.  The exclusive also adds a fallen Outrider corpse piece to sit atop the stand (along with a printed piece which looks like dirt ground), as well as both Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight’s weapons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the standard release of this guy when he came into All Time.  I mean, not really missed out, I suppose, since he was in stock, and I just dragged my feet on him, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump back into Hot Toys.  Once the Endgame release truly broke me on that, I regretted passing on this guy, so he went on my list of figures I was definitely planning to snag should they get traded in.  As luck would have it, this guy wound up getting traded in within about a week of me getting the Endgame version, which was a solid thematic thing.  He’s the best version of this design available to be sure, and he’s honestly the version of Cap that most reflected my personal mind state as I navigated the last year. A little broken, a little lost, and his resolve a little shaken.  But he’s still him deep down.  A fitting send off to the year.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2999: In Space Silver Ranger

IN SPACE SILVER RANGER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Okay, when I reviewed Zeo Gold, I may have been a little overzealous in calling him the greatest Power Ranger ever.  And why is that?  Because I may have been overlooking this guy, Zhane, aka the In Space Silver Ranger, Power Rangers In Space‘s resident Sixth Ranger.  Because, the thing is, Zhane?  He’s pretty darn cool.  Possibly the coolest.  And I’m down for that.  And now he’s got this brand new figure from Hasbro’s current run, which I definitely a win as far as I’m concerned.  So, let’s explore this win just a little bit further, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

In Space Silver Ranger is a Walgreens-exclusive release from Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection, with limited quantities available through Hasbro Pulse as well.  Thus far, only the Pulse quantities have shown up.  As with yesterday’s Andros, this figure’s release is a bit wonky, since we saw him before Hasbro had officially announced him, and then he showed up on Pulse with no actual quantities, before finally being put up for order, with an actual in-stock status.  Zhane is either the fourth or fifth of the Space Rangers to make it to release, depending on if you count the small quantities of Blue that have made it out as an actual release.  Whatever the case, it’s notable because it’s the first time Zhane hasn’t been the last member of team by a large margin.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s using the same construction as the other male Space Rangers.  It’s a consistency thing, really, and at this point, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  He does get a new belt piece, which has been tweaked to remove the holster.  Otherwise, it’s the same basic piece.  The colors are where the real changes occur, since he’s now, well, silver.  Unlike the others, it’s more than just swapping silver for the main color, since Silver gets a whole different selection of accent colors as well.  They’ve gone for more of a toy style to the colors, since his suit is actually silver, rather than a flatter shade than the helmet as it was in the show.  It’s a slightly more intriguing design in toy form, so I get the choice.  The silver is molded plastic, rather than paint.  It doesn’t look quite as slick, but it will probably hold up better over time.  Zhane is packed with an unmasked head (which looks a lot better in person than I’d expected), two sets of hands, his Super Silverizer in both blaster and blade configurations, and an effects piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In Space Silver is at the very least tied with Zeo Gold for my favorite Ranger, so I was very anxious to see him show up in this line, especially after he got left out of Bandai’s Legacy Collection.  When he was shown off in-hand with no announcement, I was worried about him being an exclusive, and sure enough, there he was.  Fortunately, I had Max in my corner on this one, and he was able to help me snag one through the Pulse order window.  I’m very thrilled to have this figure in-hand, and I’m very happy to have a decent In Space Silver.

#2998: Andros

ANDROS

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

The continuing narrative of the first six years of Power Rangers, and its conclusion in Power Rangers In Space allowed for a slightly different structure to the show’s first episode.  Since most of the team had already been introduced in the preceding season, the show places its main focus on the one new member of the team, Andros, the season’s Red Ranger.  We first encounter him on a recon mission spying on a gathering of villains from prior seasons, which requires him to have a more incognito appearance, at least at first.  It’s a design that has as of yet not gotten any toy coverage, but Hasbro’s addressing that here, with the figure I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Andros in Disguise is a Target-exclusive one-off release for Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection.  Or he’s at the very least an exclusive to Target for now.  It’s a slightly confusing situation, as has been the case with a handful of releases from Hasbro recently.  Photos of him showed up with no official announcement, and then Hasbro themselves showed him off, but with no actual mention of release plan, and no mention of any exclusive status.  And then he just showed up on Target’s website, and was very quickly in-stock, making the whole thing a rather surprisingly quick turn around.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, his actual sculpt is identical to Andros in his Red Ranger gear (and all of the other male Space Rangers, for that matter).  It’s a sculpt that gets the job done, and it matches up with the other Andros, so it makes sense.  The main structural change up is the addition of a cloth robe piece for him.  It kind of looks like a bath robe, which I don’t really think is the intended appearance.  It’s a little goofy looking, especially in the photos, but I’ll admit it looks a fair bit better in person than I’d expected it to, and actually holds shape pretty well.  Even the velcro on the front stays secure, which isn’t always a guarantee.  The color work on this guy is another notable change up. Technically, in the show, he’s just wearing his usual Red Ranger gear under the cloak, but it’s shot in a way that hides it in the shadows.  To simulate this, Andros is wearing all black this time.  It’s an interesting look, and the presence of extra gold accenting, especially the insignia on the front, makes it feel like this is an established design from elsewhere.  That being said, I don’t know specifically where, and my brief searching on the internet hasn’t turned anything up.  So, I guess it’ll just remain a mystery.  It certainly looks cool, though.  Andros is packed with two heads, one helmeted (and in all-black to match the main figure), and one unhelmeted (re-used from the prior release), as well as two sets of hands, his Spiral Saber, Astro Blaster, and effects pieces for both weapons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is an odd release, and certainly not one I really thought I would need.  That said, In Space is my favorite incarnation, and there’s very little I wouldn’t buy from it.  So, this guy was certainly on my radar, not that I was in a rush or anything.  Max actually wound up ordering one online, before managing to find one in store.  Since he didn’t need two, he was kind enough to set me up with the spare.  He’s not essential, and it’s not like he really does anything new, but he’s a rather fun one-off variant.

#2997: High Evolutionary

HIGH EVOLUTIONARY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With a highly advanced intelligence and a cybernetic exoskeleton, the High Evolutionary challenges the Fantastic Four.”

First appearing in the pages of Thor, Herbert Edgar Wyndham, aka the Higher Evolutionary, is kind of one of those grander scope sort of villains.  He’s not really straight-forward evil, but more invested in a larger advancement of humanity and life as a whole.  Some times these goals put him at odds with our heroes, some times less so.  And, more often than not, he’s really just off on his own.  Interestingly, despite what the bio says outright and the presence of the figure in the assortment may suggest, he’s only had fleeting contact with the FF, and very rarely as an adversary for the team.  But, if it gets me a High Evolutionary, it gets me a High Evolutionary.  I won’t be picky.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The High Evolutionary is the final figure in the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Marvel Legends.  This marks his very first time in action figure form, which is pretty darn cool.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  High Evolutionary’s movement scheme is pretty standard for the line.  He’s a little bit on the restricted side, especially on the torso and hips, but given the character’s tendency to mostly just stand around menacingly, it honestly isn’t too bad.  He’s also got the pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which continues to be a nice upgrade for all of the figures that have it.  High Evolutionary’s sculpt is an all-new piece, and it’s honestly got a lot going on.  It’s clearly classically inspired at its base, but uses some of the more modern interpretations of the character to add a little bit more detailing, especially on the face.  It makes for a figure that’s a little more visually stimulating than he might be if he were just a straight classic look.  Generally, I quite like it.  The figure’s color work is almost entirely reliant on molded plastic, which is all metallic and swirly.  I’d prefer that the maroon sections were maybe a touch darker, but otherwise it looks pretty solid.  He’s got minor paint work for a few of the smaller accents, which works out pretty well.  They’re cleanly applied and they get the job done.  The High Evolutionary is packed with two sets of hands, one set in fists and the other in open gesture.  It’s not a ton, but he is a completely new sculpt, and I’m not really sure what else there is to give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My primary knowledge of this guy came from his one episode of X-Men: The Animated Series.  He’s a weird guy, but he’s got a cool look, and it’s definitely been one I’ve wanted for a while in toy form.  His inclusion in this particular assortment may be a little weird, but I’m honestly just glad to have gotten him, and it’s especially nice that Hasbro really put the effort into making as much of a one-off as possible.

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.

#2996: Psycho-Man

PSYCHO-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Highly intelligent, Psycho-Man uses advanced technology to manipulate emotions and threaten the Fantastic Four.”

And we’re back to the Marvel Legends.  We’re staying on the FF path for the next two days, resuming today with Psycho-Man, a Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation the title’s fifth Annual.  He appeared only a few times in the ’60s, before his connection to the Microverse was used to tie the Micronauts into the mainstream Marvel universe in the ’80s.  His connection back to the FF was brought back around during John Byrne’s run on the book, who used the character to, amongst other things, get Sue to accept that she was a bit old to be going by “Invisible Girl” and that she was also the team’s strongest member.  Good story for her, though perhaps not an astounding showcase for Psycho-Man himself.  He does have a pretty killer look, though, and that always makes for a good figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Psycho-Man is part of the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Marvel Legends.  He fits in pretty perfectly, since his only other figure was during Toy Biz’s original FF line, which these figures are homaging.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and sports 28 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is actually quite impressive given his overall bulk.  The use of ball joints at the neck and mid-torso really give him a nice range, as do the double joints at the elbows and knees.  He’s also using the pinless construction again, which looks nice and sleek.  Psycho-Man’s sculpt is a completely new offering, and it’s a pretty nice one at that.  It’s definitely going more for the Byrne take on Psycho-Man, which is fitting with the theme, and also just the better take on the character, I feel.  It’s a clean, sleek, and very technically impressive.  He’s only got the one set of hands, which has become a rarity these days.  They’re a decent combo as well, at least in terms of posing options and the like.  Psycho-Man’s paint work is pretty straight forward, with the colors being largely reliant on molded plastic.  It all works very well, and I really love the metallic green.  He’s packed with only one accessory: his Control Box, the thing that allows him to control other people’s emotions.  It’s a rather basic piece, but still a rather fun one.  At least he got something, and this does work quit well with his right hand pose, allowing it to be carried under his arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though Psycho-Man’s not really a prominent player in much of anything, I do rather fondly remember his one appearance on the FF cartoon, as well as the figure from the toy line that accompanied, which did get a good amount of use by me on the basis of him just being a pretty great chunky bad-guy toy.  I wasn’t really sure we’d ever see an update on that one, but I sure am glad we did.  This figure is just a pretty solid offering from start to finish, and I can’t imagine there being a better take on the character in figure form.

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.

#2995: Rancor with Luke Skywalker

RANCOR with LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Within Jabba the Hutt’s desert palace on Tatooine, there is a special pit that houses a rancor. Over five meters in height, this reptilian-like creature has long, exaggerated arms, dangerous fangs and huge claws — truly a fearsome sight. The crime lord uses the rancor as a means of eliminating enemies and failed employees. Its pit is located beneath Jabba’s court, providing an excellent view for the crime lord and his associates as victims struggle helplessly to defend themselves. That all changes when Luke Skywalker is dropped into the loathsome pit. Armed with only a large bone leftover from one of the rancor’s previous victims, the Jedi Knight conquers the horrible beast.”

Oh boy, that sure is a nice Rancor there.  Sure would be a shame if someone were to…SABOTAGE IT!!!!  Right?  Get it?  Because, it’s like the whole thing where a bunch of winy fanboys claimed that Hasbro was sabotaging their own product, and then it was ultimately the winy fanboys who…you know…actually sabotaged it?  Isn’t it funny?  Or is it just sad.  Oh, right, it’s probably just sad.  And I’m likely to piss someone off with this intro, aren’t I?  Ah well, these days I fear nothing, so I’ve really got nothing to lose.  Not even the Rancor.  Especially since I wasn’t backing the Black Series one anyway.  But that’s not the point.  What is the point is that I’m falling back on my classic Star Wars reviewing fodder, Power of the Force, and that’s where I’m staying.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Rancor with Luke Skywalker were added to Kenner’s Power of the Force II line in 1998, as the largest of the creature packs that they were doing.  They’re based on Return of the Jedi, of course, and were actually the only creature pack where that was the case, since Jabba was from his Special Edition appearance in A New Hope, rather than his classic Jedi look.

RANCOR

Certainly one of the largest creatures in the Star Wars verse, or at least one of the largest that’s justifiable in toy form, the Rancor has been getting toy treatment since the vintage line.  This would mark its second time in toy form.  The figure stands about 10 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s not an overly mobile figure, but the Rancor’s also not an overly mobile creature.  It’s main purpose is really just to lumber menacingly, which this one does quite well.  It does have a little trouble standing up, but careful posing can help it find that sweet spot for staying balanced.  The Rancor’s sculpt was an all-new one.  The vintage figure had gone far more basic on its detailing, so this one stepped things up a bit.  The end result is quite a nice piece, especially when compared to some of the smaller figures of the same line.  He’s a respectable match for the creature we see on-screen, and there’s a lot of solid texture and smaller detail work.  Due to the nature of the softer plastic, some of the details are likewise a little softer, but it’s generally quite good.  The only downside to this one is the “Real Feel Skin” feature, which can make him prone to a bit of gunk build-up.  It’s not quite as bad as yesterday’s Clayface figure, but it does require some occasional cleaning.  The paint work on the Rancor is pretty solid, actually.  There’s some decent accent work on the skin, which helps to bring out more of the sculpted details, as well as add a little more depth to the figure’s overall look.  The Rancor gets no accessories of its own, but it does get…

LUKE SKYWALKER

…a Jedi Luke variant.  1998 had quite a few Jedi Luke variants, covering various deviations of his main look throughout the film.  This one is very specifically Jabba’s Palace, after he’s lost the cloak and saber, before he’s gotten shot in the hand.  It’s the only one to fit that very specific narrative.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He uses the same head and torso as a few of the Jedi Lukes from the same year, which makes sense from a consistency standpoint, and also means he’s re-using some pretty decent parts.  The arms and legs are new, and designed with him leaning back to look at the Rancor in mind.  The legs do make him a little tricky to keep standing, and the arms are unfortunately rather stiff for any decent posing.  He’s not a bad sculpt, but he’s a more limiting one to be sure.  His paint work is a little more involved than other Jedi Lukes by virtue of him having a bunch of brown flecks to simulate Tatooine sand.  It’s all a ploy to keep his father at bay, really.  Luke is packed with the large bone he uses to defend himself against the Rancor, which is a pretty fun scene specific piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was definitely a Jedi Luke fan as a kid, and liked this particular scene a lot, but it was kind of an expensive set, and never a super easy one to find, so I didn’t get this one as a kid.  Instead, I got it quite recently, just over the last summer, when one of them came through All Time loose.  I’ve actually been low-key looking for one for a while now, so I was pretty happy to finally get one.  It’s definitely an important piece of the PotF collection, and one I’m glad to finally have.  There have been more involved Rancors since, but this one’s still just a very nice piece, and the Luke pairs off well with him.

#2994: Batman, Robin, Alfred, & Clayface

BATMAN, ROBIN, ALFRED, & CLAYFACE

THE NEW BATMAN ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Criminals beware…these relentless Caped Crusaders are ready to fight the forces of evil anytime, anywhere, and stop even the most devious villains in their tracks!

Gotham City’s Dark Knight Detective, Batman never shirks his duty to defend the city against its many bizarre criminals, no matter how powerful.  Even if it means facing the awesome might of Matt Hagan, aka Clayface.  Empowered by strange chemicals, Clayface is stronger, bulkier and meaner than ever!  Of course, Batman is far from alone in his crusade for justice.  Tim Drake, as Robin, is the newest member of Gotham’s crime-fighting elite.  Along with Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s ever-faithful butler and confidante, Batman is ready to continue his battle against evil!”

It’s Christmas Day, a day that I usually devote to something a little more festive and Christmas-y.  For a number of reasons, I’m not feeling that one quite as much this year, so I’ve opted to instead continue my look into Hasbro’s late-game Animated Batman sets.  I suppose it’s not the oddest connection.  This one in particular does really push the surrogate family angle, which feels a little bit Christmas-y, I guess.  So, in the spirit of a little bit Christmas-y, let’s look at this here set of figures.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Batman, Robin, Alfred, and Clayface were released as a TRU-exclusive boxed set, released in late 1999 to expand the New Adventures of Batman line under the Hasbro banner.

BATMAN

Have I mentioned the need for a Batman variant in these sets?  Because they totally needed one, in each and every one of these. For this one, they went for a rather nifty little tweak for the variant.  He’s not animation accurate, but he’s a classic blue Batman, which is rather fun.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s another re-use of Detective Batman, which is really always a nice starting point.  It’s a good sculpt, and it still worked well here.  The change up to this one comes in the from of paint, mainly the cape, cowl, gloves, and boots are all bright blue instead of the usual black.  It’s a good look, and simulates the classic look quite nicely.  Batman was originally packed with a big missile launcher.  It was goofy, and I didn’t hang onto it.

ROBIN

Since Dick Grayson was Nightwing, TNBA replaced him in the role of Robin with Tim Drake.  Tim had previously been released in the  Bat-family set, and became the first of said family to get another go in the boxed sets.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  This figure used the same mold as the two single-carded versions of the same character.  It’s generally pretty on-model for the show design.  I suppose he’s a touch tall and lanky, but not overly so.  The cape is a separate piece.  It’s a little bulky at the collar, but otherwise a rather nice piece.  His paint work is bright, colorful, and fairly cleanly applied, which is cool.  Robin was packed with a weird sled thing, which I’m missing, of course.

ALFRED

The undoubted selling point of this here set, Alfred, much like Gordon and Lois, was granted his very first action figure here.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He was constructed from a mix of unique and re-used parts.  His arms and legs came from Wildcard Joker, while his head and torso were all-new.  The head was quite a nice in-model Alfred from the show, and it’s certainly one of their stronger ones.  The Joker parts don’t technically match the show design, especially with the gloves that he never wore, but they approximate well enough that the re-use is understandable.  Alfred’s paint work is rather basic, mostly just black and white.  At least, unlike Gordon, the eyes are painted.  Always a plus.  The hair’s not the right color, at least not for a present day Alfred, but it’s admittedly a relatively minor thing.  Alfred was packed with a serving tray, which I actually still have, thanks to it being actually relevant to the character.

CLAYFACE

Clayface hadn’t had a toy release since the BTAS days, and that one was rather scarce by this point, so I guess a re-release wasn’t the worst idea.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has movement at his shoulders, and that’s it.  The set’s definitely very New Adventures-themed, and the shaping of that design was quite different, but this figure nevertheless uses his BTAS mold, largely unchanged.  The only actual adjustment is to the left arm, which rather than ending in a shooting spike formation like the original, is now just an arm with a fist.  The whole thing isn’t the worst sculpt, but much like Batgirl and Poison Ivy, it suffers from rather plainly not being accurate to what it’s supposed to be representing.  Also, this release has some major issues with a sticky residue building up on the figure’s surface over time.  You can clean it off, but it comes back, and it’s just generally not so pleasant.  The paint work on this figure, or at least the coloring, marked a change, since he was now a much paler tan.  No idea why, but he was.  Clayface was packed with a safe and a bomb to go inside it.  He couldn’t really do anything with it, of course, and I lost mine, so there we are.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set does hold a bit of significance to this particular date, as the year it was released, it was very definitely the item highest on my Christmas list.  I’d gotten the Bat-family pack the year prior, and I desperately wanted this set to expand my roster.  How could you not want an Alfred?  Well, and I also didn’t have a Clayface, and the blue Batman did rather excite me too, so it was really just Robin I didn’t need.  Even he was a solid release of his own, and wound up becoming my go-to figure for him.  In retrospect, it’s maybe not the most thrilling set, but I’m still very glad I got it, and I remember it quite fondly.

#2993: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Fiery and hot-headed, the Human Torch can burn through just about any adversity with a smile.”

What a shock!  Four days into–wait a second, I feel like I just did this.  This is the Retro Collection Human Torch review, right?  I mean, the name’s the same, and the bio’s the same…but the figure’s different?  I’m sure this won’t get confusing at all.  There’s always this sort of dilemma when it comes to Human Torch on how exactly to handle his figures.  He’s got the two rather distinct looks, but it’s tricky to justify doing an extra of just one member of the team every time you do them.  The last two times Hasbro tackled the FF, they took two different approaches, with a fully flamed-on for the classic suits, and a powered-down for the modern.  This latest round gets the fancy treatment, though, with both versions in play for the same line-up.  That’s crazy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch is a Pulse-Exclusive Retro Collection release, timed to coincide with the FF-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  Like the others, he’s patterned not only on Toy Biz’s ’90s toy line, but also on the Byrne-era design for the character, specifically his non-flamed-on look.  This marks the first time since the 10-inch Toy Biz line that this design’s gotten the fully powered-down treatment, and the only time there’s been one that matches with a full set of the other three.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  As with the flamed-on release, he’s on the ANAD 2099 body, and re-uses the head from the Super Skrull Series Johnny.  I’m iffy on the head, less for why I was the first time, when it looked a little malformed.  It looks better here, so I think there may have just been some mold issues the first time around.  What bugs me on this particular release is that the hair is just plainly wrong for any version of this costume.  This fits neither Byrne’s depiction, nor the animation model.  The face would have been fine with a new hair piece, I think, but re-using the whole thing comes off as a bit lazy.  Otherwise, the parts selection isn’t terrible.  The body has become the standard for Johnny, and I don’t mind that too much.  The paint work matches pretty closely to both Reed and Sue, so there’s some good consistency there.  The head is again a little better this time around than the Super Skrull release had been, so that’s a nice improvement.  The flame effect hands even actually paint the gloved parts white, which looks a little nicer than just the straight orange from last time.  Human Torch includes a spare set of hands in fists, as well as the swirly flame effects for the arms, and the shoulder flames from the other Torch release, which actually sit a little more securely this time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed by this figure when he was first shown off.  The fact that he was exclusive was annoying enough, because I do really like having a flamed-of Johnny, but I was also really bummed about the re-used head.  I still ordered him, though, because these are my favorite FF costumes, and I wasn’t going to miss out on actually having a Johnny that matched.  In-hand, I gotta say, I’m pleasantly surprised by this figure.  I’d still have preferred a new head, but I can appreciate this one for what it is.  And boy, do they all look really good together.

#2992: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Fiery and hot-headed, the Human Torch can burn through just about any adversity with a smile.”

What a shock!  Four days into Fantastic Four reviews, I’m reviewing, would you believe it, the fourth member of the team?  Crazy how that works.  I mean, nobody let Toy Biz know.  They don’t tend to go for that sort of thing.  Or, you know, that whole “still being in business” sort of thing, I suppose.  Since taking over the license, Hasbro has been pretty good about doing the FF in proper batches of all four team members, and this latest round is no exception.  So, let’s look at that fourth member, the Human Torch, in his all flame-on-y form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch is another figure from the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  While the last three are definitively in their Byrne-era costumes, Torch is a little more multi-purpose, as he’s in fully flamed-on form.  Stylistically, he still follows how Byrne illustrated him, but he can also work with other variants of the FF, especially since there are no specific costume details visible.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, he follows the lead of the Super Skrull Series Torch, who moved Johnny over to the ANAD 2099 body, which does generally feel like a better fit for the character than the Bucky Cap had been.  He gets the head, hands, and forearms from the Walgreens release, which are certainly the best parts of that one.  He also gets the flames add-on for the shoulders, though it’s been tweaked to remove the back peg.  This unfortunately makes it a lot trickier to keep the piece in place, which is definitely the most frustrating thing about this figure.  In general, the sculpt’s not bad, but I will say he’s the one that feels the most far-removed from a proper classic illustration.  The paint work does at least do its part to help with that classic look.  He’s largely relying on the translucent plastic he cast in to sell the effect, but they’ve also painted on the scorch line effects commonly used in the comics to show that he’s fully ablaze.  It works surprisingly well in three dimensions.  He’s packed with a spare set of standard fists, as well as two flame effects.  The effects are a bit tricky to use, given there are already sculpted flames on the forearms, but I’m glad they at least threw in something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Johnny is always tricky to handle in toy form, going all the way back to Mego.  Of the Walgreens figures, he was definitely the weakest, and the Super Skrull release was better, but still not quite there.  I was a little iffy on this one going back to fully flamed-on, but it did work out better than I’d expected.  All things considered, this one is pretty good, and has the added benefit of being able to serve multiple purposes within the display.  It’s not a huge shock he’s usually the first to sell out.

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.