#2350: Storm & Logan

STORM & LOGAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Back in January, I delved into the time capsule of the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates, and their choice to use the Ultimate universe’s versions of Marvel’s merry mutants over their mainstream counterparts.  Some of the characters weren’t too heavily changed, while some of them were.  Today’s set pairs both sides of that coin, with Storm (a character whose backstory and characterization were both fairly divergent from 616) and Wolverine (a character so unchanged from his mainstream counterpart that no one really noticed that the one included in this particular set *isn’t* actually the Ultimate incarnation).

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were paired up for the specialty Series 3 assortment of Marvel Minimates, and they would both also be included in the TRU 5-pack and 4-pack that corresponded to the assortment.  They were split up and matched with their opposite numbers in the Wolverine/Sabretooth set for the Canadian release, and then Logan found his way into one more stray two-pack for Walmart and Target.

STORM

Storm’s Ultimate incarnation may have been different in terms of character, but in terms of design, she really wasn’t that far removed.  I could see regular Storm wearing this at some point in the ’90s.  The figure is built on the pre-c3 ‘mate body, with long feet and all.  She had four add-on pieces for her hair, necklace, and boots.  The necklace is shared with her assortment-mate Jean Grey, and the hairpiece was re-used twice more (for Emma Frost and She-Hulk).  The boots remained unique to this release, though, and use the older style slipping over the standard feet style of design.  Like the others in these early assortments, the general style on these parts is rather basic, though she’s certainly one of the most built-up ‘mates of the earliest releases.  It’s a little odd for Storm to be one of the largest characters, but that’s really just how the trappings of the early line work out.  Storm’s paintwork is actually pretty good for the early figures.  It’s still more on the basic line, but there’s a fair bit going on, with the coolest bit by far being the wraps on her arms.  That said, she does miss out on actually getting the sculpted earrings painted; at least they got her ears, though.

LOGAN

The standard Ultimate version of Wolverine was packed with Sabretooth (and Cyclops), but you can’t have just one lone Wolverine, can you?  Of course not.  As I touched on in the intro, he’s actually the one figure in this assortment who wasn’t from the Ultimate universe, instead being just a regular civilian version of the original Logan, as denoted by the hair’s distinctive shaping and his lack of goatee.  He too uses the standard old body, but with a set of the old-style claw hands as well as an add-on for the hair.  This is probably my favorite Wolverine hair piece the line produced, which makes it rather a shame that this was the only time it was used (though it was shown on prototype shots for the DOFP Wolverine, before being replaced with the New X-Men Wolverine piece). The rest of the figure is handled via paint, and it ends up working out alright.  The face is a rather unique expression for Logan, but one that works in the context of the earlier ‘mates, and the detailing on the jacket is actually pretty impressive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Wolverine and Sabretooth review, the only Series 3 set I picked up when these were new was Cyclops and Jean.  I got this one along with a handful of other older sets from Luke’s Toy Store back during one of their sales.  I’ve always wanted this pair, so I was glad to finally get them.  Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from them, but they’re both pretty solid ‘mates, even by more modern standards.

#2238: Trapjaw

TRAPJAW

MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Evil & armed for combat”

It’s been a stretch since I’ve looked at anything Masters of the Universe.  With it being pretty much the only major property Mattel’s got going for them (on the action figure front, at least; they’ve still got Mega Construx, Hot Wheels, and Barbie, I guess), and they’re supposedly trying to relaunch the brand again this year.  Until that line launches, I’ve got my love the 200x line to keep me warm.  I’ve got a pretty decent little collection of that line, so I’m dusting one of those off for review today.  Let’s have a look at Trapjaw!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Trapjaw was released in the second assortment of Evil Warriors as part of the 2002 Masters of the Universe relaunch (though, as part of said second assortment, he didn’t actually hit until 2003).  He was released alongside a Skeletor Variant and the previously reviewed Tri-Klops.  The figure stands a little under 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 workable points of articulation.  Technically, there’s a joint on his jaw as well, but it’s spring loaded, so it doesn’t really hold a pose (though I was able to keep it open long enough for the photo at the top of this review).  Like most of the 200x line, Trapjaw was sporting a unique sculpt, in contrast to his original figure, which used the same torso as everyone else and shared his legs with Roboto and Man-E-Faces.  Nope, this guy was all new.  Like a number of the figures I’ve looked at, Trapjaw was well-served by the divergent sculpts, as he was able to lean more heavily into the “mutilated cyborg” elements of the character.  The end result is far more imposing design than the one from the ’80s, making another member of Skeletor’s band seem like a genuine threat, rather than just another pea-brained buffoon.  Of course, then the cartoon went and made him a buffoon anyway…guess you can’t win them all.  There are a lot of really fun little details worked into this figure, including the stitching on his torso, which adds to that general “Frankenstiened” feeling of this upgraded design.  Trapjaw’s paintwork is pretty decent, being a little more detailed than some of his compatriots.  He takes the general basics of the classic design, but tones them down ever so slightly to make them fit better with the sculpt.  The application’s all pretty sharp, and he doesn’t leave as many details unpainted as some of the other figures in the line.  Trapjaw included three different robot arm attachments.  The main one is a claw, with some extra articulation worked in.  He’s also got a hook, as well as a gun attachment.  They swap out pretty easily and all fit well with the rest of the arm, and can even be stowed on his belt or his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Last year, when All Time got in a rather large 200x Masters collection, I was already invested in getting Buzz-Off and Man-At-Arms, but hadn’t quite jumped on the Trapjaw figure.  Jason told me that if I was getting any 200x Masters, I really needed at Trapjaw, because he’s one of the best.  After finally getting this guy for myslef, I can’t disagree with that assessment.  Definitely one of the line’s best, even if Trapjaw isn’t one of my personal favorite characters.

#2288: Spirit Iron-Knife

SPIRIT IRON-KNIFE

G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6 (HASBRO)

“Spirit Iron-Knife started in field operations and was selected for the most difficult missions because of his outstanding ability to spot overlooked clues.  He became a lead investigator at special ops and solved complex cases with his ability to track suspects using shreds of information.  He was soon promoted to covert ops and used his tracking skills to to uncover criminals skilled at concealing their existence.  He is also an expert at creating small, precisely targeted explosions that disable mechanical or electronic systems without destroying the entire structure.  He is a highly skilled marksman with his bow, using technologically advanced arrows that deliver powerful explosions.”

In the last several months, I’ve taken some time to really look at the G.I. Joe franchise, with a real focus on its ’80s A Real American Hero incarnation, which was by far the franchises most popular and successful incarnation.  Now I’m taking a jump ahead to the incarnation that followed, Sigma 6.  Launched in the mid-00s, it tried to modernize things and tap into what was popular at the time, and it was honestly a pretty decent success. Well, purely commercially, anyway.  With the pre-existing fans?  Let’s just say they don’t deal well with change.  So, after a solid three year run, it was put to bed and replaced with a return to the old.  But, let’s not focus on the end, let’s focus on the beginning, with one of the line’s launch figures, a re-imagined Spirit Iron-Knife.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spirit Iron-Knife was one of the five figures released in the first Commando assortment of the Sigma 6 line, which launched the line in 2005.  Compared to the others in the assortment, Spirit was something of an oddball choice, not being amongst what people would typically consider the “core” Joes.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new at launch (and would later be re-used for a second version of Spirit), though it certainly had some similarities to his team-mates, given the line’s general style and the uniformed nature of the Joes.  Spirit’s design is shared with his cartoon counterpart, and marked something of a departure from his original ’84 design (which was a little bit stereotypical for a Native American tracker).  He had received quite a redesign in the comics that accompanied the 2002 relaunch of ARAH, and his S6 design seemed to take a few elements from that, as well as being the first version of the character to tap into Billy from Predator as a design inspiration.  The final result is honestly the most unique of the five initial figures, not just when compared to the other four in the same set, but also compared to prior versions of Spirit himself.  The figure’s sculpt is definitely the coolest of the initial assortment, showing some neat deviations from the standard uniform, and giving us a head with a lot of character behind it.  As one of the more deluxe “Commando” releases, he also got to be a slightly mixed media affair.  Not only is his head band cloth, but he’s also got a pair of actual pants to wear over his Sigma suit, as well as the usual set of dogtags.  The figure was then armed with a bow, four arrows, a quiver, a knife, a sheath, a pair of axes, and his pet eagle.  As is the nature of the Sigma 6 beast, mine is incomplete, with only the bow and the knife sheath.  I know, for shame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve discussed before, Sigma 6 was a concept I very much enjoyed, but unfortunately not a line I was able to get much of when it was new.  Spirit was a figure I always wanted, but was just never able to get.  I was eventually able to track one down back in November of 2018.  It took a while to get him and he’s not complete, but it’s still very nice to have even just the core figure, because he’s quite a cool offering.

#2287: Wolverine & Sabretooth

WOLVERINE & SABRETOOTH

MARVEL MINIMATES

In a lot of ways, the earliest assortments of Marvel Minimates are an interesting time capsule of Mavel’s media presence in the early ’00s.  That’s why the first series is based on the two properties that were getting movies in 2003, and why our first set of X-Men weren’t based on anything from the mainstream universe, but rather the Ultimate line, which was getting Marvel’s big push at the time.  Though not the resounding success of Ultimate Spider-ManUltimate X-Men was still pretty big deal.  We got four sets dedicated to the team, plus a bunch of repacks made up of those sets.  Today, I’m looking at Wolverine and Sabretooth.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolverine and Sabretooth were released in Series 3 of Marvel Minimates, specifically the specialty assortment.  Both were available at TRU in a five-pack, and Wolverine was also packed with Cyclops at Target and Walmart (and I’ve already reviewed him here). Both characters are, as noted above, based on their ultimate universe incarnations.

Sabretooth’s Ultimate incarnation started out fairly close to his mainstream counterpart, with some of his first movie counterpart injected in.  Also four adamantium claws, because four is more than three, so he’s better than Wolverine.  Take that Wolverine.  The figure is built on the original long-footed ‘mate body, meaning he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The articulation is a bit restricted by the add-on pieces, so it’s mostly just the arms that move.  He’s got add-ons for his hair, hands, belt, and jacket.  They fit that older, much more simple aesthetic of the line, but are still pretty nicely sculpted pieces.  Honestly, the only part that looks really dated is the hair, and that’s amusingly the one piece of this figure that was re-used later in the line.  His paint work is again in line with the rest of the older stuff, but there’s a fair bit of detail going on, especially on the face and torso, showing some shades of where the line would go with such details.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The only Series 3 set I picked up new was Cyclops and Jean Grey.  Everyone else I passed on, I guess probably because they were the Ultimate versions…of course, then I also passed on the GSXM boxed set, so I have no idea.  This set is one I picked up from Luke’s Toy Store during one of their many sales for a ridiculously low price.  I already had the Wolverine, but it’s worth it just for Sabretooth.  He may not be my preferred version of the character, but he was quite an under-appreciated ‘mate.

#2283: Man-At-Arms

MAN-AT-ARMS

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Heroic Master of Weapons”

My introduction to Masters of the Universe was not via the franchise’s original ’80s incarnation, but was instead through the attempted 2002 revival series.  Though ultimately not as much of a success as the original line, I myself have always much preferred this incarnation, in part for my own sentimental reasons, and in part because I have no reason to be sentimental about the original.  Whatever the case, I’m always game for a look back at the line that got me into things, and that’s just what I’ll be doing today, with a look at the updated series’ take on Prince Adam’s own wise, sagely mentor, Man-At-Arms!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Man-At-Arms was released as part of the Heroic Warriors half of the first assortment of Mattel’s 2002 Masters of the Universe line, alongside the basic He-Man and Stratos.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While the vintage Man-At-Arms was built from the same bank of parts as He-Man and a good chunk of the rest of the line, for the purposes of the 200x update, he was given a major overhaul and, consequently, a totally new sculpt (albeit one that would be used for a handful of Man-At-Arms variants as the line progressed), just like pretty much every one else in the line.  Earlier in the line, Mattel was still trying to hang onto some of the build aspects of the old line, so unlike later figures, Man-At-Arms still has a removable chest piece, much like his vintage counter part.  While there’s not a ton of reason to remove it, it does allow for a continuation of the interchangeability that the old figures had, which would more or less be removed from the line from Series 2 onward.  The arm and leg pieces are not removable this time around, but it’s honestly a bit of an improvement, since now they won’t constantly fall off or be at risk for breaking.  Man-At-Arms’ sculpt is certainly an impressive one, and definitely the strongest of the debut Heroic Warriors.  They’ve gone really crazy with all of the various tech details, which help to really differentiate him from his prior figure, as well as further remove him from his genesis as largely a repaint of the basic barbarian.  That barbarian aspect is much more removed.  What’s not removed this time around is Duncan’s mustache, always curiously absent from his original figure.  This one has it in all of its Selleck-esque glory.  He’s also got a far more intimidating facial expression than his predecessor, making this one guy I would not want to mess with.  The paint work on this figure is fairly decent.  Like the sculpt, the paint exhibits far more detail than the ’80s version, though it still doesn’t quite do the sculpt justice.  Plenty of details go unpainted, and are therefore very easily missed by the casual eye.  Befitting his name, this Man-At-Arms came with two styles of armament.  He has the classic figure’s mace (albeit at a slightly more imposing scale) and adds an arm cannon which slips over his left hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Man-At-Arms was, admittedly, never a character that was high on my list.  As such, I never had one growing up, and I hadn’t come across one since starting to go back and fill in the holes in the collection.  When All Time got in a whole bunch of 200x Masters figures a couple of months ago, Man-At-Arms was included.  Since I was already picking up a few others, he was a pretty easy purchase.  Now my collection feels a bit more complete.

As touched on above, I picked this guy up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2259: Spider-Man & Carnage

SPIDER-MAN & CARNAGE

MARVEL MINIMATES

The early assortments of Marvel Minimates were home to some quite distinctive ‘mates.  While they are by and large a simpler selection and design, that can’t be said for every release.  In fact, the two ‘mates I’m looking at today remained some of the line’s most detailed for a long period of time, to the point where replacing them with updates seemed quite a daunting task for quite a while.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Spider-Man and Carnage.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Carnage are the final pairing from Series 2 of the main Marvel Minimates line, hitting alongside Series 1 and 3 in the summer of 2003.  Both would see re-release in a TRU 4-pack the following year, and Spider-Man would also be released in a TRU 5-pack and as a single in ’03, as well as packed with Green Goblin at Walmart and Target in ’04, and with Gajin Wolverine at Target in ’06.  He got around is what I’m getting at.

SPIDER-MAN

Perhaps the definitive classic ‘mate was this Spider-Man.  He was easily the poster child of the line’s launch, and remained front and center until the arrival of a new “standard” classic Spidey in Series 24.  It’s not a huge shock, I suppose, given that he’s Marvel’s most recognizable hero and his design allows for the showcasing of a “pure” Minimate body.  He stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation, and is constructed on the old long-footed body.  As with any standard Spidey, he’s great for taking a step back and appreciating the basic body at its best.  The heavy lifting, of course, is done with paint, and this Spidey had some of the very best.  All of his weblines are properly defined, something that would disappear as the line moved on.  Additionally, the face of his mask is really a perfect boiling down of Spidey’s classic mask.  No ‘mate that followed ever quite got that same feel.  It’s not 100% perfect; the blue is probably a touch dark, and compared to later releases, the lack of any musculature can be a little glaring.  On his own, though, he’s very strong.  Like the other Spider-Men in this inaugural assortment, he was packed with a webline piece.

CARNAGE

Having just escaped the ’90s, we were all still very invested in Carnage at this point, making him a solid choice for the final villain in this initial line-up.  It would be his only Minimate for a resounding 11 years, in no small part due to how well this one was implemented.  He’s fairly similar to Venom in his constuction, being a base body with a new set of hands, but it’s important to note that the hands on this one aren’t the same as on Venom, which was honestly a little bit surprising, but not unappreciated.  The real star of the show is again the paint.  Carnage’s distinctive black and red swirls are present on every visible surface, no small feat given how often details on the sides and backs of limbs got cut as the line progressed, or even compared to how sparse the rest of the early ‘mates were.  Heck, he gets full detailing on his hands and feet, the one place even Spidey’s weblines don’t go.  That’s impressive, and is part of why it took them 11 years to top this one, with a ‘mate that was rolling in the sculpted add-ons.  This one did it without those.  Carnage was packed with an extra hand, shaped like an axe, to demonstrate his shape-shifting abilities.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t actually get this set new.  My brother had one, but I ended up getting just the Spidey from elsewhere, and never felt compelled to track down Carnage until he was far too expensive on the aftermarket.  Then I got the 2014 release, and just didn’t feel the need to go back.  When All Time got in a large ‘mate collection back a few months ago, I managed to add every figure from the first year of the line to my collection, minus one: Carnage.  There was but one Carnage in the lot, and that went to Max, who’s definitely the store’s resident symbiote fanatic, so I wouldn’t dream of fighting him on it.  However, I did send him a photo of my shelf containing all but that one missing ‘mate, and he decided to go and be one of them pesky nice and generous people and give me his Carnage so that I could complete the set-up.  Can you believe the nerve of this guy?

#2255: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT (MATTEL)

As we come to the close of 2019, we also come to the close of Mattel’s 17 year run with the DC Comics toys license.  Their run with the license had its share of ups and downs as they stumbled their way through the boys toys market.  They definitely hit their biggest success with DC Universe Classics, a line of super-articulated 6-inch figures, but just as they launched that line, their competitors at Hasbro opted to shrink their Marvel lines down to 3 3/4 inches.  Mattel followed with DC Infinite Heroes, a line that was…not very good.  After launching in 2008, they were already pretty much dead at retail by 2009.  It did hang in there til the end of ’09, and in typical Mattel fashion, they started to get the hang of things just before giving up.  One of the line’s better offerings wasn’t from the line proper, but was instead a pack-in with 2009’s direct to video Green Lantern: First Flight movie.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was available exclusively at Best Buy, packed in with the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of First Flight.  Though he doesn’t bear any official Infinite Heroes markings, he was constructed from mostly IH parts, albeit ones that hadn’t shown up at retail yet when he hit.  The figure is a little shy of 3 3/4 inches tall (noticably smaller than Hasbro’s Marvel Universe offerings) and has 22 points of articulation.  The body used here is Mattel’s second attempt at a standard male body, which was a huge improvement on the first.  The only piece shared between the two was the torso, arguably the only part of the body worth keeping.  The articulation is almost double, meaning that you could actually, you know, pose the figure.  It’s still a little backwards compared to the likes of MU, with only cut joints at the neck and hips, but at least he could move his wrists and ankles and get some side to side motion on the arms and legs.  The proportions are also a lot better; they’re still not a perfect set-up, but at least he doesn’t have those frightening monster hands.  The new joints weren’t the most resilient, though, and the cut joints at the wrists in particular were prone to tearing, which happened with the left arm on mine.  That said, IH had breakage problems from early on, so this wasn’t exactly a step back.  GL’s one new part was the head, which was patterned on his animated appearance.  It’s not a bad sculpt, and actually works pretty decently for a comics Hal as well (which is why Mattel ended up re-using it for comics Hal later down the line).  The paint work on Hal is okay, nothing amazing.  It lacks some of the smaller details of the costume from the movie, and there are some odd choices like not lining the edge of his armband up with the arm joint, but it’s not awful.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Infinite Heroes launched, I picked up a few of the figures to give it a try, but ultimately wasn’t that impressed and backed out of the line.  However, when First Flight was released, it was right on top of my birthday that year, and my brother was absolutely committed to getting me the deluxe version, figure and all, and had my parents drive him around to a couple of Best Buys in order to make sure he could get me one.  This figure is honestly pretty good, and if Mattel had put out figures like this at the launch, then maybe Infinite Heroes wouldn’t have been such a flop.

#2234: Bullseye

BULLSEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A former soldier with perfect aim, Bullseye never misses his mark. From the early days of his career as a costumed criminal, the ruthless assassin has set his sights most often on a single target – Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. Any object – be it pencil, playing card or paper clip – becomes a deadly weapon in the skilled hands of the man who could be the world’s greatest assassin!”

Daredevil has a wonky history with villains.  His most prominent foe, the Kingpin, wasn’t even his villain to start with.  On the flipside, a lot of foes originally introduced in his book would end up getting grabbed by other heroes in the Marvel universe.  He just doesn’t get true claim to anything!  Well, he actually does get full claim to today’s entry, Bullseye, who first appeared in Daredevil’s book in ’76, and has remained attached to the character ever since.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bullseye was released in the 9th Series of Marvel Legends from Toy Biz, a series notable for being the first ever Build-A-Figure centered series of Legends.  Bullseye was one of the two figures in the line-up to get a variant release as well.  The standard release was sporting a pouty closed mouth look, while his variant had a mad grin.  It was…an odd choice, especially given the more drastically different variant from the same series.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 48 points of articulation.  That’s a very high count of articulation, and includes individually articulated fingers.  Toy Biz was definitely articulation mad at this point.  Bullseye was the first figure to use his mold, but he would be far from the last; Toy Biz quickly retooled it into a base body, and it was still in use by Hasbro as late as 2015’s Allfather Series Iron Fist. A decade of use isn’t a bad run.  While it wound up looking rather dated by the end of its run, it was one of Toy Biz’s stronger sculpts…at least the base body, anyway.  The Bullseye-specific parts were a little more of a mixed bag.  The boots and gloves are pretty solid sculpts, but the head on both versions of the figure ended up being too large to properly scale with the rest of the body.  The prototype shots looked fine, so it was clearly some sort of error that cropped up during production.  It’s a shame, because he ends up looking a little goofier than intended because of it.  The two versions of Bullseye had divergent paint schemes, which both had their pluses and minuses.  The standard is a more strict white and black scheme, with just a little bit of accenting to make some parts pop.  However, they slightly messed up the gloves, Leaving the top stripe black instead of white, despite how it’s sculpted.  The variant fixed this issue, but swap out the white and black for a light grey and a gunmetal grey, which, while not a *terrible* look, isn’t nearly as striking as the standard scheme.  Unfortunately, due to the size of the included BaF parts for this line-up, the individual figures went without any figure-specific extras.  He included the left leg of Galactus, as well as a reprinted copy of Daredevil #132, Bullseye’s first appearance.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Both versions of Bullseye were a little tricky to get at first.  I got the standard first, courtesy of finding an untouched case of figures at the local KB Toys.  I was all content to just have that version, but in a bit of luck a few months later happened to find a whole pile of both Series 9 variants hidden at my nearby Walmart.  I like both figures for different reasons, but

#2231: Daredevil & Kingpin

DAREDEVIL & KINGPIN

MARVEL MINIMATES

Despite the general “lower tier” nature of the first series of Marvel Minimates‘ character selection, at least in terms of the corners of the universe they chose to focus on, there’s no denying that within the theme itself, they did go for a pretty heavy-hitter assortment.  We got both halves of the Hulk persona, plus Daredevil with perhaps his two best know supporting cast members.  Elektra was packed with DD’s first costume, but his standard reds were packed with long-time foe Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Daredevil and Kingpin were the final two-pack in Series 1 of Marvel Minimates.  Kingpin would remain exclusive to the specialty pack-outs (at least for the first year of the line), while Daredevil was available in TRU’s Boxed Sets assortment, as well as by himself in the Shop-Ko-exclusive singles assortment.

DAREDEVIL

Daredevil’s all-red attire fairly quickly replaced his somewhat gawdy yellow number, and quickly became his go-to look for quite a few years.  By 2003, there had been an attempt to replace it, but it was back to being his main look once again.  The figure uses the original Marvel base-body (long feet and all), so he’s 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  From a construction standpoint, he and the Yellow Daredevil are identical, both using the same mask and belt add-on pieces.  They were definitely solid pieces, especially for the more simplified aesthetic of early ‘mates.  Red DD’s paint work is comparatively far less complex, since he’s mostly just molded in the appropriate red.  They do mix things up a little bit by giving him at least some cursory detailing on the boots and gloves, and he’s got the same full face under the mask.  He includes the same billy clubs as Yellow, but in red this time around.

KINGPIN

Beginning as a Spider-Man foe before being adopted as Daredevil’s arch-nemesis, Kingpin was a pretty natural inclusion here, and ended up as the only version of the character in the line for almost a decade.  Of all the ‘mates at launch, he’s probably the one that strays the furthest from the standard Minimate form, getting a rather large add-on piece for his torso, in order to properly capture his size.  This means that he ends up far more properly scaled than Hulk from the same assortment, and is probably one of the main things that kept him acceptable for mixing with later ‘mates for quite so long.  In addition to the torso, he also got a unique pair of hands.  The right holds a cigar, while the second is sporting an impressive gold ring.  The paintwork on Fisk is surprisingly involved, with by far the most detailed face of the first series, plus actual pin-stripes on his legs.  Kingpin was packed with a curved cane, which seems a little simpler than Fisk’s usual fare, but is a cool extra nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I got the other two sets when they were brand new, it was another five or six years before I finally added this pair to my collection, courtesy of a friend who found them while she was doing some cleanout of her house.  I don’t really know why it took me as long as it did to get them, but I was happy to finally have them at the time.  Ultimately, there are improved versions of both figures in this set, so neither is truly essential.  That said, they do round out the collection nicely, and cap off the first series of the line very well.

#2198: Buzz-Off

BUZZ-OFF

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

“Heroic Spy in the Sky!”

As a child of the decade post-80s (more commonly referred to as the ’90s, I suppose), I missed out on the initial run of a lot of the top ’80s toys.  Fortunately for me, there was something of an ’80s resurgence that began right around 2002, and it was this wave of psuedo-nostalgia which gave me my first proper taste of things such as G.I. Joe and Masters of the Universe.  For the Joes, it did eventually lead me to a proper appreciation for the true vintage stuff, but in the case of Masters, something about that early ’00s branch really stuck with me, thereby making it the 2002 line that I get nostalgic for, not the old ’80s stuff.  As a matter of fact, there are a good number of Masters characters whose vintage designs do nothing for me.  Good example?  Today’s figure, Buzz-Off!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Buzz-Off was added to the re-launched Masters of the Universe toyline in 2003, as part of the fifth assortment of heroic warriors in the line, alongside three He-Man variants, Ram-Man, Man-E-Faces, and Roboto.  The figure is roughly 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation, thanks to the inclusion of ball-joints on the wings and little arms on his back.  That makes him one of this line’s most articulated figures.  The vintage Buzz-Off figure was designed to share parts with the villainous Whiplash.  I know, when I think of bees and reptiles, I see the similarities too.  For the 2002 relaunch, both characters got starkly divergent treatments, which was probably for the best on both counts.  While swollen and muscle bound was the only way to go for the vintage line, Buzz-Off’s recreation was now svelte and angular, easily one of the most slimmed down designs of this whole iteration of the brand.  It’s a quite unique look, and much like Roboto from the same assortment, it takes a much goofier design and makes it a little bit more palatable in the context of the wider story and the type of character than Buzz-Off is supposed to be.  When it came time to adapt the character to the new cartoon, Buzz-Off received a noticeably drab color scheme, drastically different from his old look.  For the figure proper, he more meets in the middle.  The basics of the old design are definitely still there, but he looks less like “wrestler in a bee” costume this time around.  Buzz-Off was packed with an axe (with launching, because that’s how axes work) and a pair of goggles for protecting his eyes while flying, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The thing about the 200x Masters line is that as cool as the redesigns were, and as much as I liked the look of the figures, they were our first real taste of how badly Mattel could screw up case packouts and distribution.  Remember how I mentioned the three He-Man variants in this set?  Well, they were heavier packed than the the three new heroes, and for Buzz-Off and Roboto in particular, that made them very, very hard to find when they were new.  No Buzz-Off for me.  In fact, since coming into that big GoodWill find several years ago, there have been just a few figures left to check off on my list of Masters I still really wanted.  Buzz-Off was at the top of that list.  Fortunately for me, All Time got in a whole bunch of 200x Masters figures a couple of months ago, and Buzz-Off was right there with them, meaning I was finally able to add him to my collection!

As touched on above, I picked this guy up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.