#3120: Death Watch Mandalorian

DEATH WATCH MANDALORIAN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An extremist clan that attempted to take over Mandalore during the Clone Wars, the Death Watch Mandalorians are tenacious warriors embracing the ancient traditions of their people”

The first “mainstream” follow-up to Boba and Jango Fett in terms of depictions of the Mandalorians in Star Wars was in The Clone Wars, where the terrorist group the Death Watch appeared as antagonists of the Republic forces, attempting to take Mandalore back to its warrior roots.  The Watch took on a number of different forms over the course of the series, as they took over control of Mandalore, and eventually had their own splintering following Darth Maul’s machinations within the Watch.  Though the Watch are classically seen as antagonistic, The Mandalorian casts a slightly different light on them, placing them in the role of a young Din Djarin’s savior’s during the Clone Wars.  Well, at least one of them, anyway.  Since their appearance in the flashbacks in Season 1, the live action incarnation of the Death Watch has been slowly finding its way into toy form.  Today, I’m taking a look at the Black Series version.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Death Watch Mandalorian is figure 21 in the Mando-sub-set of Phase IV of The Black Series.  He’s both the final Mando themed figure in this assortment, as well as the final overall figure in the assortment.  He’s the fifth army builder to come out of The Mandalorian, as well as the third time we’ve gotten some form of Mando Warrior army builder in Black Series.  He’s based on the Mando that saves Din during his flashback in the Season 1 finale, but all of the other Mandos in that sequence appear to be wearing the same armor, so it works as any of them, really.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  His articulation structure is about what you’d expect for an armored figure in the modern incarnation of the line.  He’s got quite of mobility, and can generally pose pretty nicely.  There’s a little bit of restriction at the shoulders and hips, but other than that, everything’s pretty great.  This figure is sporting an all-new sculpt.  At first glance, he appears to share the head/helmet with Boba, but this one’s actually a single solid piece, with no actual underlying head.  There’s a chin and such sculpted under there, but it’s not fully designed.  I suppose there’s no real need for it to be a separate piece if there’s no chance of ever taking it off.  The rest of the body sculpt is pretty nicely handled.  The armor plates are separate pieces mounted in place, which gives it a nice, properly assembled feel.  The paint work on the Death Watch Mando is a decent set-up.  He’s much cleaner than a lot of Mandos, but that’s accurate to what we see on-screen; guess they had more time for armor upkeep in those days.  It’s a cool color scheme, which is rather unique.  I very much dig all of the blues.  The figure is packed with a larger blaster rifle and a small blaster pistol, which are both pretty fun pieces, as well as a jet-pack, which appears to be an all-new one, different from the others we’ve seen.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I dug the Death Watch look during Clone Wars, and I definitely dug the updated version of the design that showed up in The Mandalorian.  Given it’s short appearance, I wasn’t expecting to see it show up particularly soon, but it’s also not something I thought was entirely unlikely.  I liked the Clone Wars version that came out in 2020, but it was built on an old mold, so I was glad to see the all-new version show up here.  He’s a really solid, really fun figure, showcasing all of the advancements that Hasbro’s worked into this line in the last few years.

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.

#3119: The Client

THE CLIENT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A mysterious Imperial who keeps a low profile in a safehouse on Nevarro, the Client is the face behind an otherwise faceless bounty, an off-the-record assignment with a high value”

Yesterday, I discussed one of the instances of The Mandalorian bringing back characters from elsewhere within the franchise, but how about all those new characters it introduced?  During the first season, we got quite a few new recurring characters.  Showing up in the first episode and remaining confined to the show’s first year was “The Client,” a mysterious, unnamed former Imperial played by Werner Herzog.  Though certainly not one of the show’s action-oriented characters, he nevertheless added a distinctive quality to all of his scenes, which helped to really sell the show as its own thing early in its run.  And, surprising everyone, now he’s an action figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Client is figure 20 in the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation.  He’s the second of the three Mando figures in this particular assortment.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is more on the restricted side compared to the rest of the assortment, but it’s kind of sensible, given that he’s by far the least action-y of the bunch.  He’s still got more than enough mobility to pull any of the poses you’d really need from him…well, apart from sitting down, since the jacket doesn’t really allow for that.  The Client’s sculpt is all-new, based on his look in the show.  The real selling point, of course, is the Herzog likeness, which is pretty strong.  Not quite 100% there, but close enough to be recognizable in context.  The body replicates his outfit from the show pretty nicely.  There’s a lot of texturing, and a few separate pieces, which gives him a lot of rather nice depth to his design.  The Client’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  As with most of the Black Series, he’s on the drab side, but appropriately so.  The one thing I’m really not big on is the flesh tone paint on the bald spot, which is rather jarring compared to the molded skin tone on the rest of the head.  I’m sure there’s a production reason for the choice, but it just looks weird as is.  The Client is packed with a tracking fob, a camtono (aka the icecream maker), and two stacks of Beskar.  The camtono is actually a really cool piece, with a removable lid and opening panels on the sides.  Absolutely thrilled to have this prop in this scale.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Client is one of those figures that I didn’t really think I needed before he was announced, and even after his announcement I was kind of 50/50.  But, upon seeing him in person, and seeing the cool accessory selection, I decided to jump on him.  He’s not the most thrilling figure, I suppose, but he’s well done for a non-action-y sort of guy, and when else are we going to get a Werner Herzog action figure, right?

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.

#3118: Ahsoka Tano

AHSOKA TANO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A Clone Wars veteran and now wandering Jedi, Ahsoka Tano forges her own path in the galaxy, righting injustices that she discovers”

Shifting the Black Series focus a bit for today, I’m moving from The Bad Batch forward in the timeline to the post-OT world of The Mandalorian.  While the first season was largely populated by characters original to the show, the second season saw a number of returning faces from elsewhere in the franchise.  Continuing her role as the connective tissue of the Star Wars TV shows is Ahsoka Tano, who serves as Din and Grogu’s first contact in the wider Jedi world.  She’s subsequently re-appeared in The Book of Boba Fett, and is slated for her own series next year.  She’s no stranger to toys, of course, but she’s just recently gotten a whole swath of live action-inspired figures, including a Black Series release, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ahsoka Tano is figure 19 in the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation, the first of the three Mando figures in the second assortment of 2022.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Ahsoka’s articulation scheme is actually a pretty impressive set-up, all things considered.  The legs, specifically at the hips and knees, have been designed to allow for a very wide range of motion, while also still maintaining the cohesion of the sculpt.  It’s a careful balance, but one that works out very well here.  There are some restrictions in a few spots, of course, notably on the neck, due to the head tails, but given the overall nature of the design, it’s commendable that they got it working as well as they did.  Ahsoka’s sculpt is an all-new one, and it’s a strong one at that.  The likeness on the face is a solid recreation of Rosario Dawson in the role, and the body sculpt is realistically proportioned and has some really sharp texturing and detailing.  Ahsoka’s paint work is generally pretty basic for the line.  The printing on the face makes her suitably lifelike, and they’ve done a nice job with the markings on her face and head tails.  The body gets all the basics.  Nothing really crazy; just some blues and greys.  The application is cleanly handled for the most part, though there are a few spots on my figure where some of the masks were clearly a bit misaligned.  In particular, her right wrist bracer’s greys are off by just a bit, making the whole thing look oddly shaped.  Ahsoka is packed with her two lightsabers.  The blades are removable, and the hilts can be hung from her belt.  It’s definitely on the lighter side, but it’s also about what’s expected from this line.  I can’t really think of anything else she could really get, apart from maybe a soft goods cloak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I enjoyed Ahsoka’s reappearance on The Mandalorian, and I really dug Rosario Dawson in the role, so, despite her only being minorly different from the other Black Series Ahsoka I have (on the outside, at least), I was still interested in seeing what Hasbro could do with the updated design.  She works really well.  I dig the new articulation set-up a lot, and I think this design works pretty well for the format.  Of the two Black Series Ahsokas I have, this one’s definitely 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.

#3117: Omega – Kamino

OMEGA — KAMINO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Born and confined to the cloning facility on Kamino, young Omega serves as assistant to Chief Medical Scientist Nala Se. Offered an opportunity to escape, Omega joins the Bad Batch on their adventure”

Let’s just keep this Black Series week going, continuing off of yesterday’s specifically Bad Batch focus, with another member of that particular team.  I noted yesterday that the team got two additional members after their initial appearance.  The first was Echo, the clone they rescued during their mission in The Clone Wars.  For their own show, they took fellow “defective” clone Omega under their wing.  In light of losing one of their members to Order 66, Omega winds up stepping into a far more integral role for the team as a whole, and is in many ways the focal point of the show.  Season 2 looks to only be building on that more, so, you know, pretty important.  Certainly important enough to justify an action figure, and that’s what I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega is figure 10 in the Bad Batch sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation, placing her before Echo chronologically, though they’re side by side in terms of actual release.  She’s the other of the two Bad Batch figures in the set, which makes sense.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  Quite an impressive selection of articulation for a figure as small as she is, and the range is all pretty solid too.  Omega is sporting an all-new sculpt, specifically based on her design from the earliest episodes of the show, when they’ve just fled Kamino.  It’s a good starting point for her, but also allows some room for additional designs later down the line.  Omaga is notable for being our first time getting a kid in this line…well, a human one, anyway.  Obviously, with their experience on smaller scale lines, Hasbro handles a smaller figure just fine, and it does a nice job of paving the way for young Anakin and Boba, should the demand be there.  The sculpt is pretty solid; she definite sticks close to the animation model, more like Hunter did.  It works a bit better here, since she’s already supposed to be a bit further removed from the others in terms of design anyway.  It captures the spirit of the character pretty well, and the details are all nice and sharp.  The paint work on Omega is nicely handled.  It’s a bit brighter and bolder than other figures in the line, which is a nice change of pace.  Omega is packed with her Zygerrian energy bow, rebreather mask, and Ruby, the pet lizard that the Batch transports.  The bow is only in its fully extended version, with no option to collapse, likely due to the logistics of making something like that work.  All of the accessories are rather on the simple side, but at least they help her to feel like a pretty decent value, even with the smaller stature of the core figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

You can’t really have the rest of the Batch without Omega.  I was quite a fan of Omega’s inclusion in the show, and I’d been hoping to see her turn up sooner than later.  I’m glad that she and Echo showed up together to fully round out the team in one swoop.  Obviously, there’s some room for more variants with more stuff, but this figure’s a good start, and rounds out the line-up very nicely.

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.

#3116: Echo

ECHO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Echo was a soldier in the Grand Army of the Republic, known for his strict adherence to orders and rules — hence, his nickname, which was sarcastically gifted by his clone brothers”

After a lengthy period of virtually no Black Series stuff to review at all, I’m suddenly finding myself with a bit of a surplus of them, which is certainly far from the worst thing.  So, how about a whole week of them?  I’m picking back up with yet another addition to the titular team of last year’s The Bad Batch.  While all four of the initial members were covered last year, over the course of their Clone Wars arc and their own show, they picked up a few auxiliary members as well.  The Batch’s first mission concerns locating Echo, a member of the Domino Squad who was presumed dead during the events of “The Citadel.”  The Clone Wars Season 7 revealed that Echo had survived, but in a heavily wounded state, which left him with extensive cybernetic replacements, and more than a little bit of trauma.  After being rescued, Echo joined up with Clone Force 99, and served as a full-fledged member for their own show.  He got a pretty kick-ass new design in the process, and that’s always fun for toys.  Let’s check out how that went.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Echo is figure 11 in the Bad Batch sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation.  He’s one of two Bad Batch figures in this specific assortment, and the whole bunch of them are technically the second assortment of the year, and are just starting to trickle out to retail now.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His articulation is largely the same as the other Batch members, minus the wrist joint on the right arm for obvious reasons.  Additionally, the hip joints are a bit more restricted here, due to the rubber kama, though I did find them a bit more mobile than I’d expected at first glance.  As far as construction goes, Echo has a bit of re-use, with the legs being the same as the updated clone body, albeit with a new set of knee pads.  Beyond that, Echo is an all-new sculpt.  He’s closer to Tech in terms of how he adapts the show design, removing it a little bit more from the animation design, in order to keep it closer the the main line’s more realistic style.  He still retains all of the major design elements, just a little more realistic, which works out pretty well.  I really dig all of the texturing and small detail work, as well as the fact that they’ve actually kept him a little more svelte than the rest of the team, as he was always depicted post-rescue.  Like the rest of the team, Echo gets a removable helmet, though it’s a bit more of an accomplishment this time than the other team members.  On the show, Echo’s built-in headgear actually interfaces with his helmet, in a way that’s such a cheat that they never actually show him taking off the helmet on screen from any angle other than straight ahead (i.e. the angle that doesn’t actually show how the parts interface).  I was honestly expecting either just an alternate head, or some sort of a tweaked design for either the helmet or the head.  Hasbro actually did a pretty solid job of making it work, in almost exactly the way it should work, as seen on screen.  Echo’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the team.  The paint on the face is convincingly lifelike, and there’s some respectable wear and tear on the upper armor.  Echo is packed with his helmet, back pack, a blaster pistol, and a grapple attachment for his right arm.  The pistol can be stowed on his left side, which is appropriate, but he’s unfortunately still without a trigger finger on the left hand, so he can’t quite hold it right.  The grapple is a fun piece overall, but there’s no actual line connecting the two pieces.  It still works as a cool power arm looking thing, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With the core Batch completed earlier this year, I was definitely very excited to get to the add-ons.  Echo is a character I liked from his first appearance way back in Clone Wars, and I loved seeing his character arc evolve through Bad Batch.  His updated design is one of my favorites from the team, and I think it made the jump to toy really, really well.

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.

#3115: Captain Atom

CAPTAIN ATOM

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (DC DIRECT)

In the opening arc of Superman/Batman, after Lex Luthor makes the titular duo fugitives, he sends his own team of government-sponsored heroes after them.  Heading this team is Captain Atom, a character that DC really seems to like pulling the Inspector Javert angle with.  Surprising no one, the Captain realizes that, you know, Luthor’s, like, a villain and all, and aids our heroes.  As I’ve mentioned before, the story’s not high art or anything, but it did give Captain Atom some nice focus, and also netted him his very first action figure in 2005.  That’s pretty cool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Atom was released in the first series of DC Direct’s Superman/Batman line, which, as previously noted, was entirely themed around the “Public Enemies” storyline.  Captain Atom is seen here in his one look from the story, which was also his one main look for his time at DC during his post-Crisis revival.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation…or at least he did before his shoulder joint crumbled when I pulled him out of storage for this review.  This is why you shouldn’t make joints out of clear plastic, you guys.  It doesn’t end well.  Captain Atom sported the most basic version of the McGuinness-styled body mold that was introduced for this assortment.  It’s a good, basic mold, most of which wound up re-used for various other McGuinness-style characters, including Superman Blue and Red, whom I reviewed here a few years back.  It does better with the arm posing than the other molds…you know, when the shoulder joints don’t shatter.  His head sculpt is the one notable unique piece, of course, and it’s a nice recreation of McGuinness’s version of Atom.  The hair in particular has just the right amount of swoopiness.  I dig it.  The paint work on this figure is rather on the basic side.  It’s admittedly a slight letdown, because the finish is all very flat, where in the comics, McGuinness made it very clear that Atom was supposed to be very shiny.  At least a slightly more showy metallic finish, or possibly some gloss, would have been really nice.  As it stands, it’s okay, but not very flashy.  Captain Atom is packed with a display stand, sporting the Superman/Batman logo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in last week’s Superman review, back when these were new, my buying habits were rather scaled back, so I could really only afford one of them, and that was this guy, who I picked up from my usual stop Cosmic Comix back in 2005 when they first hit.  I was quite excited about this figure, I recall, because I’d always found the character’s design to be pretty awesome, and there were previously no toy options at all.  Since Mattel was still unable to produce him for their JLU line at the time, this one was my first real option.  Issues with the breakage and the flat finish aside, he was awesome at the time, and he’s still pretty cool now.  And, even all this time later, the competition on the good Captain Atom figure front is still rather sparse.

#3114: Boba Fett – Throne Room

BOBA FETT — THRONE ROOM

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“One of the most fearsome and capable bounty hunters in the galaxy, Boba Fett seemingly met his demise in the Sarlacc pit. A survivor, Fett lived to fight another day”

I last discussed Boba Fett just over a year ago.  I mean, on the site.  I’ve discussed him elsewhere more recently than that.  I mean, I think.  I don’t have a photographic memory of when I’m talking Boba Fett, or anything like that.  Hang on, I’m getting kind of lost in my own intro.  Let’s re-center.  Right, so when I was last discussing Boba Fett here on the site, I talked about how The Mandalorian had finally given the character something to do after thirty years of him just sort of sitting around.  Did this please his fans?  To be short: not really.  But it’s okay, he had his own show on the horizon!  That had to make them happy, right?  Cuz, you know, he gets to be a bad-ass, like the movies implied he was but never actually showed?  And, like, he gets, like character growth and stuff?  No, they don’t like that.  Too much focus on Boba Fett.  So, the show takes a breather from Boba, focuses on others.  That makes it better, right?  Still going with no, apparently.  Well, I guess we should all just pack it in at this point.  Hey, at least I got this new toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Boba Fett (Throne Room) is a Deluxe-sized Black Series offering, as part of Phase IV of the line.  He, like all of the deluxes, is a solo release, but he’s also meant to tie in with the handful of other Book of Boba Fett offerings, which started hitting in the last month or so.  There are a number of potential Fett variants spinning out of his reappearance on The Mandalorian and follow up in Book.  This particular figure is based on his “Throne Room” look, from the post-credits-scene of Mando Season 2, after he’s regained his armor and had it repainted, but before he goes through the bacta treatments in his own show.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  Boba’s articulation scheme models itself on the improved style we saw with the last Deluxe Fett, although obviously slightly tweaked to be more practical with the new design.  Given that the new design is rather bulky, I was surprised by how much range some of the joints on this figure got, but I certainly won’t knock it.  We’re a far cry away from the Rogue One days, that’s for sure.  Boba is a mix of old and new pieces, as well as having a number of pieces that are designed for being shared.  The helmet and gauntlets are reused from the RotJ release from last year, while the head and parts of the legs are shared with the robed version of Boba from the main assortment that ties in with this guy’s release.  The rest is all-new, though, it’s worth noting that everything about this figure is getting at least one re-use, for the pre-repaint version of the armor from “The Tragedy.”  Whatever the source of the parts, they certainly work well.  Everything meshes well together, and it replicates his show design quite nicely, while also maintaining functionality as a figure.  The helmet may be the same as the Jedi version, but this time around it’s designed to be removable, and has even been modified to have an extra piece on the interior to make it sit a little better on this figure’s head.  The underlying head has a passable likeness of Morrison, albeit the heavily scarred version from The Mandalorian.  Honestly, the scarring helps to hide any weaknesses of the likeness a little bit, so it works in their favor a bit.  While I’d had issues with the prior helmet coming out of the package a little misshapen, this one was just fine right out the box, likely due to it not being packaged on his head.  Boba’s color work is fairly decent; it’s more basic, since it’s his much more cleaned up appearance, but it makes him far more bold and striking.  The work on the face is a bit more subtle, which is nice, and it adds to the overall lifelike quality of the figure.  Boba is packed with his jetpack (with removable rocket), a rifle, and a small blaster pistol.  It feels kind of light, given his deluxe status, but I guess that’s going more towards the overall depth of construction more than it is quantity of accessories.  Plus, there’s that whole business of Hasbro knowing with absolute certainty that people will always by Boba, even at a higher price point.  Can’t really fault them for playing the game, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really liked the last version of Fett.  It was a very fun release, and a great starting point for future versions of the character.  I also really enjoyed his updated appearance in The Mandalorian, and that was the main thing I wanted to see following the OT update.  This figure turned out really nicely.  He’s got a hefty price tag, but ultimately, he still feels worth it.  He’s just a lot of fun, and that’s what a good Boba Fett needs to be.

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.

#3113: Black Noir

BLACK NOIR

THE BOYS (NECA)

“Silent, stealthy, and enigmatic, Black Noir is The Seven’s superpowered ninja.  His superstrength and heightened senses, such as his razor-sharp hearing, are matched only by his proficiency in the martial arts.  Criminals run in terror at the mere mention of his name.  Little is known about this lethal warrior, other than his having trained with a master sensei to become the death dealer that he is today.  Whatever lies behind Black Noir’s mask is a complete mystery — which only makes him more terrifying.”

Last week, Amazon Prime’s The Boys adaptation returned for its third season.  I’m writing this review before that, so, you know, I don’t know how it went.  I’m sure it was just fun for the whole family, right?  Just, like, a bunch of people all being super nice and friendly to each other.  Good clean fun.  Classic super hero stuff.  Yeah, that’s definitely how it went down.

All kidding aside, The Boys is pretty much the epitome of “not for everyone,” but I’ve enjoyed the previous two seasons…I mean, in the way that anyone enjoys watching terrible people do terrible things to each other.  Following the second season, they opened up the merchandising floodgates, so there’s all manner of stuff from the show.  It’s a bit tricky for me to really say I like any of the characters enough to actually want any of them in toy form, but there’s one notable exception, and that’s Black Noir.  He’s just a class act, start to finish.  He’s great.  Here’s a toy of him.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Okay, so, I’m going to get this out of the way first and foremost: the pictures for this review are of a modified Black Noir figure.  Here are links for a few pics of the figure unmodified.  I’ve decided not to run them as the main ones for reasons I’ll discuss in the review proper.  So, let’s get to the review proper.  Black Noir is a standalone release for NECA’s The Boys line, following up on the Series 1 release from last year, which featured Homelander and Starlight.  Noir was initially part of Target’s Haultathon event, before being opened up to a wider specialty release the following month.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The movement on Noir is fairly standard for NECA releases these days.  It’s a decent assortment of joints, but it’s admittedly a little restricted, especially for a more agile character like Black Noir.  He makes do with it, I suppose, and he’s at least not just a statue or anything.  The integration into the sculpt is a little awkward in a few spots, but that’s also something that’s fairly typical of NECA.  Black Noir’s sculpt is an all-new one, based on his appearance in the show.  It’s mostly a good sculpt.  The top half in particular is where things really work.  The mask assembly is pretty solid, and the layout of all the armored plates and their respective texturing on the torso is actually really great.  I’m not super keen on how high up the elbows are on the arms, but they’re otherwise okay.  I’m also a fan of how well they’ve worked all of those knives into this look.  Things fall apart for the sculpt below the waist.  The boots are kind of goony looking, and the legs, especially the shins, seem far too skinny.  But, by far the worst thing about the sculpt is the figure’s crotch.  On the actual costume, Noir has an athletic cup, which is, you know, pretty sensible for someone in his line of work.  Obviously, it’s a little bulky, but that ain’t what we ended up with on the figure.  No, the figure has…well, it’s certainly one hell of a cod piece.  Perhaps Noir is just very excited about his work?  I’m not entirely sure what the line of logic was on this piece, but it honestly seems a bit baffling to me that no one at any point in the process looked at this figure and went “hey guys, should Black Noir’s penis be quite that obvious?”  It’s honestly just distracting, really, and not exactly the sort of thing I want on the front page of my site, or even on my shelf, really.  So, I did a little bit of awkward surgery, just to make him look a little bit less ridiculous.  That’s what you’re seeing here.  It’s still a little awkward, but a whole lot less so.  Moving past the sculpt, Black Noir’s coloring uses, unsurprisingly, a lot of black.  There are a variety of finishes to the black, which winds up working well for the design.  Black Noir is billed as an “Ultimate” release, but that doesn’t quite seem to line up with his accessories.  He gets three sets of hands and two knives.  They’re all nice enough, but for an “Ultimate” figure, it might have been nice to have a few more weapons, or possibly some alternate battle damaged parts.  Heck, an Almond Joy would have been pretty funny, too.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I like Black Noir a lot on the show, and I think he’s got one of the cooler designs, so as soon as figures were a thing, I was hoping he’d be out sooner than later.  NECA confirming him was definitely cool, and I was looking forward to getting him in hand.  The prototype shots had me worried with that crotch, but I was hoping it was a posing issue.  It wasn’t, and that was definitely frustrating.  I’m happy with the figure after the modification, but it’s not really something I want to have to do my figures, just to get them to a passable spot.  Without the issue, this figure’s a lot of fun, but it’s a pretty big issue, and one that should have been corrected in the prototype stage.  Ultimately, I’m happier to have him with a little work than to not have him at all.

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

#3112: N.E.S.T. Bumblebee

N.E.S.T. BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Re-imagined as a N.E.S.T. Jeep, Bumblebee and the Autobots team up with N.E.S.T. to protect the Allspark from the Decepticons.”

So, I guess I’ll just review a Transformers figure, like, once a month now, right?  That seems to be the way I’m headed.  Well, okay, that seems to be a thing I’ve done twice now.  I suppose I shouldn’t cling to it too early; might be a bit hasty for such things.  Well, anyway, I’m doing a Transformers review today.  It seems the thing to do, largely because I’ve got a new Transformer, and not a ton of other new things in need of review, I suppose.  But, it’s okay, because it’s at least a pretty cool one.  Despite it being neither a Soundwave nor an Ultra Magnus, it *is* a Jeep, so it still checks off at least one of the boxes for me in terms of being a Transformer that I need.  So, without further ado, here’s N.E.S.T. Bumblebee!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

N.E.S.T. Bumblebee is a Fan Channel-exclusive Deluxe Class Transformers: Studio Series release.  He’s figure 77 in the line-up, which places him between Voyager Class Thrust and Deluxe Class Sideswipe, though he was released rather far removed from both of them.  Though marketed as a Bumblebee movie release, this figure isn’t actually based on anything in the movie, and is instead more closely tied in with the Universal Studios ride, which features N.E.S.T. as a prominent part.  Of course, he’s still not specifically based on anything directly from the ride, but we’re getting closer at least.   In his robot mode, Bee stands a little under 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  N.E.S.T. Bee is re-using the sculpt from Offroad Bee wholesale.  I like that sculpt a lot, so, you know, I’m okay with it.  The first use of the mold did have a slight issue with loose hips; for this release, they’re a little bit tighter, but not by much.  It’s a bit of a downer, but still not enough to ruin the figure for me.  He maintains his solid construction in robot mode, which is a definite plus.  The change-up for this release is the color scheme, which trades out the yellow of the original release for more of a gun metal grey.  It’s not classically Bumblebee, but it’s a nice color for the mold, and he also trades out the clear and blue parts for a drab green, further removing him from the prior release.  Like the previous version, this one is packed with his blaster attachment for his arm.  He also gets the small Sam Witwicky figurine from the Revenge of the Fallen Bee release.  It’s not really to scale, and doesn’t really interact with the figure at all, but, well, it’s there, so, there it is.

As with the last release, this Bee’s alt-mode is a fully-licensed Jeep.  The transformation scheme is still pretty decent, without all that fiddly-ness of some of the other Studio releases.  The end result still holds together pretty well, and apart from those somewhat obvious arms, it’s a very convincing Jeep recreation.  In this mode, another change-up to the color scheme, namely the addition of a N.E.S.T. insignia to the hood of the car, which is a fun little touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really love the last Jeep Bumblebee.  It’s quite possibly my favorite Studio Series release.  I just really love that mold, and I like picking up molds I love.  This one doesn’t really have any reason to exist, but, honestly, I don’t care.  It was a fun toy the first time around, and it’s still fun now, just in a different set of colors.

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.

#3111: Sonic Attack Spider-Man & Black Cat

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN & BLACK CAT

MARVEL MINIMATES

Marvel sure does like their cross overs, and they have for quite a while.  As perhaps the company’s biggest name hero, Spider-Man’s found himself at the center of a good number of them.  In 1993, it was actually one of his villains that was center stage, for “Maximum Carnage”, an event spinning around, you guessed it, Carnage.  Spidey himself was still rather involved, it running through his books and all, and so were a good number of his supporting cast members.  The whole event was a fairly big multi-media success, and in 2018, DST put together a set of Minimates to mark its 25th Anniversary.  I’m taking a look at Spider-Man and Black Cat today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Sonic Attack Spider-Man and Black Cat were released as part of the 76th specialty series of Marvel Minimates, which was entirely themed around the “Maximum Carnage” cross-over.  They and the rest of the assortment hit shelves in October of 2018.

Also included in this set is a piece to the Build-A-Mate Shriek.  This time around it’s the head and hair, which are definitely her most distinctive features!

SONIC ATTACK SPIDER-MAN

Every so often, we get an update on the classic Spidey, and since he had his standard look during the story, this is as good a time as any to get one.  This one specifically goes for that ’90s aesthetic, as a sort of a post McFarlane version of the character, which does have a distinctly different flair to it than previous figures.  Structurally, he’s pretty much like any basic Spidey, meaning he’s just that core ‘mate body.  It’s a good core body, so it’s hard to go wrong with a straight re-use.  Correspondingly, he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The paint does the heavy lifting here.  He’s got all the usual hallmarks of a late-line Spidey, so he doesn’t have quite as expansive a selection of weblines as some of the earlier versions.  He does get a lot of detailing on the not-red parts, though, with a very creative use of shading on the arms, legs, and torso, which help to capture the artistic feel of Spidey as seen in the story.  The paint work is all fairly clean on this guy, and the coverage for both colors is pretty consistent.  This Spidey’s accessory selection is where things really get more unique.  He gets the usual webline and display stand, as well as the sonic gun from which the figure’s name is derived, and, for the first time ever, a pair of thwip hands.  They’ve been on the request list for quite a number of years now, but it’s pretty cool to finally get them.

BLACK CAT

Black Cat certainly hasn’t had as many ‘mates as Spider-Man, but she’s gotten a respectable amount, with four separate releases under her belt.  What’s most impressive is that there hasn’t been any overlap in terms of costume choices.  This one uses her mid-90s appearance, which isn’t terribly different from her first ‘mate, but lacks the fur collar and has a deeper neckline…so deep that it becomes more of a waist line, really.  In terms of parts, Felicia gets five separate add-ons for her hair, glove, and boot cuffs.  The hair is from the MvC Phoenix, and is suitably large and flowing for a Black Cat piece.  It also follows her original ‘mates precedent of re-using a Jean Grey piece, so I guess that’s fitting.  The cuffs were last used on TRU Series 24’s more modern Black Cat, and work just as well here as they did there.  Black Cat’s paintwork is overall pretty decent.  It keeps the usual striking nature of her design, and the line work is mostly pretty sharp.  The skin tone is a bit uneven in terms of coloring, which is a little distracting, but for the most part she looks pretty decent.  They managed to convey a feminine figure alright here, though she does at times feel a little top-heavy to me.  Spidey may have done very well on the accessories, but Black Cat’s not quite so lucky.  All she gets is a display stand, which really doesn’t feel like much, does it?  Certainly there was something else to throw in?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got no real attachment to this cross-over, and I was already starting to dwindle on my Minimates purchasing when these hit.  But, I kinda liked the look of the set, so I grabbed it.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a ton from yet another standard Spider-Man, but this guy turned out really well, and the accessories in particular really make him.  Definitely a worthy update to a core character.  Black Cat’s a solid ‘mate, but I don’t know that she’s terribly exciting.  Despite being technically something new, I can’t help but feel like she’s a little redundant.  Maybe I’m just not that huge a Black Cat fan.