#1842: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY

“SNAKE EYES is proficient in 12 different unarmed fighting systems (Karate, Kung-Fu, Jujitsu) and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons. Has received extensive training in mountaineering, underwater demolitions, jungle, desert and arctic survival, and some form of holistic medicine. Qualified Expert: All NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms.”

In 2007, Hasbro was in something of a dry patch.  Marvel Legends was all but dead, the Star Wars franchise was slowly dragging along waiting for Disney to buy it, and their in-house G.I. Joe’s re-branding as “Sigma 6” didn’t pan out quite as they’d hoped.  But, with the looming quarter-century anniversary of G.I. Joe’s A Real American Hero incarnation, they were hoping to at least have a modest, 25 figure celebration.  Little did they know that they’d inadvertently revive the brand for another five years of resounding success.  Yes, the 25th Anniversary line was the breath of fresh air that G.I. Joe needed.  Ironic, given that the whole purpose of the line was fixating on the past, but it showed Hasbro that you didn’t need to totally ditch the past to inject some modern ingenuity into the line.  Today, I’m looking at one of that line’s many, many variants of Joe heavy-hitter, Snake Eyes!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes was part of 2009’s 10-figure “Hall of Heroes” sub-set of the G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary line.  He was figure 10 of 10, bookending the assortment, which featured another Snake Eyes as figure 1 of 10.  Even in the limited engagement sub-line, there were still two different Snake Eyes variants!  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s the same figure as the initial boxed-set 25th Snake Eyes, based on Snake’s original 1982 appearance.  After years of him being a pretty straight ninja, it walked him back to being a commando, who I guess would make more sense on a military task force.  That figure’s sculpt was very good, with tons of great little details littered all throughout.  The mask has tiny little vents at the front, his goggles are now clearly a separate piece, and you can even make out the stitching on his cowl.  His proportions are far more true to life than either the vintage or ‘00s lines, and the use of rubber overlay pieces for his web gear mean his gear has a much higher level of detailing, and he can even properly stow some of his weapons, something of a rarity in prior offerings.  The original Snake Eyes figure was actually part of the assortment as a cost-saving measure; a figure that required no paint applications.  This figure operates as a send-up to that, being predominately molded in straight black plastic.  He’s not completely without paint, though, as that would look rather cheap on a modern figure.  He’s got the slightest bit of accenting on his buckles, and the rim of his goggles.  It’s very subtle, enough that you might miss it, allowing him to maintain the same look as his original figure, while still maintaining that ever so slight extra detailing.  Snake Eyes is packed with a knife, handgun, uzi, and satchel, as well as a display stand with the G.I. Joe logo and his name printed on the front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember a few weeks ago when I was talking about All Time getting in a large collection of vintage Joes?  Well, this past week they followed it up with a collection of 25th Anniversary Joes.  As a huge shock to everyone, I’m sure, I didn’t come home with a huge stack of Vipers this time.  Nope, just this guy, who was one of a handful of Snake Eyes variants sitting at the bottom of the box.  He’s a very nice figure, just like all of the Snake Eyeses built on this body.  Hasbro really was at the top of their game here, and it resulted in great figures, even when they just were minor re-paints like this guy.

This guy was loaned to me for review by All Time Toys.  Like I mentioned above, they just got in a collection of these, which they’ve got available on their eBay Store.  So, if you want Snake Eyes or some of his other compatriots, check them out there.  Of course, I make no promises about this particular Snake Eyes, because he may or may not be staying in my collection.  And, if you’re more in the market for something new, also check out their website.

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#1837: Abe Sapien

ABE SAPIEN

HELLBOY (MEZCO)

Man, I’ve gone almost the whole month of October without looking at anything all that spooky.  That in and of itself seems pretty spooky, right?  No?  Okay, fair enough.  Anyway, within the spirit of the month, I guess I’ll look at something from the more paranormal side of things, with another visit to the world of Hellboy, a series that blends so many of my personal interests.  Today, I’m looking at my favorite character from the Hellboy-verse, Abraham Sapien!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Abe Sapien was released as part of the first series of Mezo’s movie-based Hellboy line.  There were two different Abes available, one standard release (shirtless), and one Previews-Exclusive release.  Today’s review focuses on the exclusive release, which allowed for (more or less) a fully-suited up Abe.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  He has the same articulation as the Kroenen figure I looked at a few years back, which means he has the same pluses and minuses as that figure.  Overall, it’s standard for the time, but there remain a few odd-ball joints that subsequent lines from Mezco would re-work or drop entirely.  Some of these joints, the mid-foot cut joints in particular, were a little fragile and prone to breakage, as was the case with one of my Abe’s feet.  Fortunately, it’s one of the less essential joints, so gluing the foot back together hasn’t robbed him of all that much.  Abe’s sculpt was shared between the two variants, and then re-tooled for the battle-damaged figure from Series 1.5 and the main Abe from Hellboy 2.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt overall.  It’s filtered a bit through the lens of Mezco’s more stylized sensibilities, so he’s a little ganglier, and a little more angular than he was in the movie.  There are two heads included with the figure.  Since this Abe is meant to be the fully kitted-out Abe, he comes wearing his goggled head, which is accompanied by the two pieces of his rebreather system.  The rebreather can easily removed by popping off the head, allowing the head to be displayed without it, if that’s your prerogative. By virtue of being a straight re-paint, he lacks the gloves and shoes that Abe should technically have in this set-up, but I suppose we can all just imagine that he’s decided to forego those pieces for the day. The paint is, of course, imperative here, since it separates him from the standard release.  The first Hellboy figures were a bit more reserved in coloring than later counterparts.  Abe in particular seems to have been toned down a fair bit from his on-screen appearance.  His blues are more murky, which makes him a little less eye catching.  I do like the shiny finish they’ve given him, but beyond that, he does sort of run together a bit more than I’d like.  Of course, he’s still far from terrible.  Abe is packed with a second head, sans the goggles, and also included a belt, but mine seems to have gone missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came into the first Hellboy movie with no familiarity of the source material, so I didn’t know what to expect.  Retailers didn’t either, so the figures weren’t the easiest to track down.  I never found the basic Abe, but I was fortunate enough to get this one through a friend who worked at Diamond.  He’s a decent figure, but perhaps not as strong as the Kroenen figure I looked at before.  Admitedly, my opinion may be slightly colored, since there are a greater number of Abes on the market to choose from.  Still, you could do a lot worse than this one.

#1825: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

“Trained by the black-hearted Adolf Hitler himself, the Red Skull and his fearsome visage were intended as a symbol of Nazi supremacy. During World War II, his unparalleled evil genius only could be matched by his arch-foe: the star-spangled Super-Soldier called Captain America. After failing to tip the wartime balance of power in favor of the forces of tyranny, the Red Skull spent decades in suspended animation – awakening in present day to enslave humanity and resurrect the power of the Third Reich!”

Nazis.  I hate these guys.

Back in 2014, when I was only 11 reviews in on Marvel Legends, I looked at the then-most-recent-version of Red Skull.  Now, four and a half years and 270 Legends reviews later, I’m going all the way back to the beginning, and taking a look at Johan’s very first Legends treatment.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends.  After three series of the “chase” figure being a variant of a main figure from the line-up, they’d introduced the concept of a secret, separate character chase figure with Series 4’s Goliath.  But, while that figure was just a simple repaint of the Marvel Collector’s Editions Giant-Man, their next go, Red Skull, would be a brand-new character with a “new” sculpt.  Why the quotes?  I’ll get to that.  As the “chase” figure, Red Skull wasn’t actually advertised at all on any of the packaging, making him an unknown offering to a great number of collectors, I’m sure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  Now, right off the bat, we run into the issue of articulation.  Toy Biz Legends were regularly boasting upwards of 30 points of articulation, so the Skull being below 20 is definitely notable.  What’s more, the distribution is really whacked out; 10 of those points are in the legs. Heck, he’s got toe joints, but no double joints on the knees and elbows, and even just cut joints on the shoulders and hips.  Why such odd articulation choices?  Re-used parts.  Red Skull is made up of a combination of the upper half of the X-Men: Movie Series Professor X and the Legends Series 3 Daredevil.  The Xavier body was three years old by this point, and from a line that was comparatively under-scaled.  And while the DD parts might have been a genuine Legends release, even the original felt out of place at the time of his release, and the parts also feel out of place for the Skull.  Red Skull also had a new head and hands, an add-on piece for his coat, and the Dr Doom holster stuck to his right leg, all in the name of separating him further from the figures that birthed him.  Unfortunately, even the new pieces don’t quite seem at home.  The head is too large for the body, and has no real neck to speak of.  The jacket piece, conversely, seems to sit too high on his body, leaving a good portion of his awkwardly designed hip joints still exposed, further exaggerating the largeness of the head, and the mix-and-match nature of the body.  On the plus side, the paint’s kind of decent, I guess.  The head in particular makes out pretty well.  Going for something other than a straight red seems to have worked out nicely.  Red Skull was packed with his peak cap, a pistol (borrowed from Dr. Doom), and the same display stand that was included with Cap, but in a different color scheme.  He also included a reprint of Captain America #16.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 5 is around the time that the magic of Marvel Legends was starting to wear off for me, thanks in no small part to this crazy “chases” thing that they introduced.  I was lucky with Red Skull.  My dad was at a comic show, and happened to find him for a somewhat reasonable price from a dealer.  Even new, he wasn’t great.  Toy Biz definitely made a lot of missteps on this one.  He’s a reminder that, as great as some of those figures were, Toy Biz’s Legends had some real stinkers.  Also, behold the start of the trend of crappy Red Skull Legends that perpetuates to this day.

#1821: Cobra Viper

COBRA VIPER

G.I. JOE: SPY TROOPS (HASBRO)

“Ripping up the roads on their COBRA VENOM CYCLE vehicles, COBRA VIPER members like to think of themselves as a biker gang with the most technologically advanced hogs on the planet”

Here we are at the finish line.  Just one more entry in my insane 6-in-1 Day of the Vipers reviews!  Oh yeah, I did it!

In 2003, the G.I. Joe line once again rebranded, taking on the heading “Spy Troops.”  Joes and Cobras were given infiltration gear and disguises, and it was all very spy-y.  Well, it was mostly spy-y.  Some of it was not at all spy-y at all.  The the Viper’s one release during the line’s run fell into that non-spy area.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cobra Viper was released as a pack-in figure with the Cobra Venom Cycle, a small-scale vehicle from the Spy Troops line.  The cycle was undoubtedly the selling point, but I don’t have it, I just have the Viper.  For I am a mad man.  He’s the same basic figure I’ve looked at three previous times today, the tweaked V5 Viper mold that Hasbro would continue to use for another three years after this.  Hey, they had a good formula down, right?  The big difference, of course, was the paint scheme.  He’s got this olive sort of thing going on, which is right in line with the overall look of most of the Spy Troops figures.  At first glance, he looks a little bit like the Turquoise Viper from ’02, but if he’d been left out in the sun.  That being said, I do actually quite like this color scheme, and have generally found myself kind of drawn to this figure.  Since he was just a pack-in with a vehicle, the Viper didn’t come with any accessories of his own.  Maybe he’s like the pacifist of the group, or something?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the last figure I dug out of the collection at All Time.  I had just about called it on getting any more Vipers, and I looked down and saw this guy staring at me.  With no accessories of his own, he was an easier grab than some of the others, and I’ll admit, I was just thoroughly broken at that point.  There’s not really anything to distinguish him from the rest, but he’s a Viper, and a kinda neat one at that.  He rounds out the set nicely.

So, there you have it: nine new Vipers, courtesy of my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for old Joes (provided that you don’t want Vipers, because seriously, I’ve cleaned them out) or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1820: Cobra Vipers

COBRA VIPERS

G.I. JOE VS COBRA (HASBRO)

“COBRA VIPERS are the grunts of the COBRA legions.  If there’s a dirty job that needs doing, these guys are first in line.  They wear multi-layered body armor and wrap-around helmets with built-in radio telecommunications gear, and carry multi-burst laser pistols, commando rifles and grenade launchers.  They know that they’re looked down upon by the more elite COBRA groups, but that just makes them fight harder so they can prove to everyone that plain rottenness gets the job done as well as fancy training.  They’re ready at a moment’s notice to cause harm and do damage anywhere that COBRA COMMANDER sends them.”

For part 5 of The Day the Vipers, we move to 2002.  An important year for G.I. Joe, as it returned fully to mass retail, relaunched under the G.I. Joe vs Cobra banner.  The first assortment of vs Cobra figures sported all-new sculpts, of a radically different styling than the vintage line.  However, when the initial line-up proved successful, Hasbro wanted to follow-up as soon as they could, and re-purposed a number of vintage-styled sculpts for a quickly thrown together second assortment.  Included amongst those figures, was the Cobra Viper, who had been absent since 1997.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The three Vipers here were available in two different ways.  Turquoise was available at mass retail, with Indigo as his color variant, both of them packaged with Mirage.  The Crimson Viper, on the other hand, was packed with 11 identical Vipers, a Tomax, a Xamot, and a Baroness, as part of the 2002 Joe Con-exclusive Crimson Strike Team boxed set.  All three figures were built on the V5 Viper mold, but now used a slightly higher quality of plastic than V5 and the Officer/Trooper did, resulting in figures that not showcase the sculpted details better, but also stand up a little better to play.  All three are sporting wholly unique paint schemes.  Turquoise and Indigo are the more similar two, mostly just palette-swapping from each other.  Turquoise’s overall lighter coloring means the handful of details that have gone unpainted are a little more obvious than they are on the much darker Indigo.  Both of them leave the hands unpainted, which don’t hate, but I do which they’d have at leas painted the edge of the glove to make it look like a strap, rather than some weird skin tag, but that’s quite minor.  I dig Indigo’s blue visor, as well as the swirly, molded camo on the fatigues portions of their uniforms. Crimson rivals only the V1 Viper in terms of quantity of painted details.  Just about every sculpted element is properly painted, and very sharply handled at that.  He’s definitely a very good looking figure.  In terms of accessories, Indigo and Turquoise are each packed with a sniper rifle and a back pack, both different from the originals.  Crimson gets the same backpack as prior Vipers, but yet another rifle, which is probably one of the best when it comes to his ability to actually hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding the original Viper in the collection that All Time Toys bought, it was actually the 2002 bunch that really grabbed my interest.  2002 was the year that got me into the small-scale Joes, and though I never actually owned these figures, I’ve still got a soft spot for them.  In particular, I’ve wanted at least one of the Crimson ones for quite some time.  All three figures here are a lot of fun, and while the original Viper might be objectively the best Viper I got, these three are my favorites.

Thanks goes to All Time for helping me out with these.  If you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1813: Hawk & Dove

HAWK & DOVE

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED (MATTEL)

Jeez, when are the Teen Titans going to stop masquerading as the Justice League?  First Cyborg, now these guys?  Okay, actually, first these guys, by a little bit…unless we’re going to count Super Friends…but then it’s actually first Robin….I’m getting sidetracked.

For Justice League Unlimited’s expansive roster, the creators actually searched just about every corner of the DC Universe for characters not otherwise tied up.  While most of the Titans characters were tied up in their show, for whatever reason, Hawk and Dove weren’t, so they got tapped for Unlimited, getting their main focus in the appropriately titled “Hawk and Dove.”  They also got some figures out of it, which would end up being the very first figures of the pair.  Not too shabby at all!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawk and Dove were released in the second round of Justice League Unlimited figures, in a three pack that was rounded out by a re-issue of Wonder Woman.  Given her prominent role in the duo’s eponymous episode, she was a decent choice to pair off.  But, she was just a slight tweak on a character I already had, so I’ve subsequently gotten rid of her.

HAWK

First up, it’s Hank Hall, aka Hawk.  The older and gruffer of the two, he’s also voiced by Fred Savage, of Wonder Years and Princess Bride fame.  Pretty nifty!  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Hawk was built on JLU’s larger male body, which was a retooling of the Superman base.  It’s a decent fit for Hawk, especially as he’s depicted in the show.  It’s worth noting that, the way the pieces work out, Hawk actually ends up with more new parts than most in this line.  He’s got a unique head, of course, but also has a slightly tweaked torso and arms, which allow for the attachment of his “cape” and gloves.  The cape piece I get needing a unique piece for, but the arms are a little surprising, given this line’s penitent for just painting details on.  Of course, I’m certainly not complaining.  Hawk’s paintwork is pretty straightforward and clean.  The red matches the show, and pairs well with the white, presenting an all-around nice looking figure.

DOVE

Hank’s younger brother Don took up the mantle of Dove…at least he was replaced by Dawn Granger following Don’s death during Crisis.  Convenient that they were able to find someone with such a similar name, huh?  On the show, Don was played by Jason Hervey, Fred Savage’s on-screen brother in The Wonder Years.  Family reunion!  Dove is built on the skinny male body, retooled from the Flash body.  It’s definitely a perfect match for Dove’s build from the show.  While Hawk got a bunch of new parts, Dove only gets a new head sculpt.  Fortunately, it’s a really strong sculpt—a pitch-perfect match for his animation model.  Dove’s paintwork is similar to Hawk’s, as you would expect.  It’s also cleanly applied, and the white is thick enough to not have any bleed-through from the blue plastic, which definitely shows some quality work on Mattel’s part.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

“Hawk and Dove” is one of my favorites amongst the earliest episodes of Unlimited, so I was slightly bummed when they were absent from the first assortment.  Their presence in the second series was definitely a plus.  As luck would have it, they were the first set I found, at a Walmart on the way back from a family vacation.  Both of the figures included are pretty strong, definitely amongst the best Mattel produced in this line.

#1760: Endor Rebel Commando Infantryman

ENDOR REBEL COMMANDO INFANTRYMAN

MILITARIES OF STAR WARS (SIDESHOW)

“The men and women of the Rebel Alliance were fiercely dedicated to the principle of freedom, and would lay down their lives to win their objectives. Some were Imperials disillusioned with their government’s tyranny. Some were from worlds subjugated by the Empire. In stark contrast to the faceless anonymity of the stormtrooper ranks or the precision drilling of Imperial Academy training, Alliance troops were aggressively individualistic and much more rag-tag.”

Back in the day, Sideshow Toys was a much smaller company, whose primary focus was largely horror.  Their first big break came along in the form of Star Wars, a property that had previously been confined pretty much exclusively to mass retail.  They were granted a special license (no small feat when you take all of Hasbro’s exclusivity deals), and got right to work producing characters from all throughout the saga.  The line’s still running (though they’ve started partnering with Hot Toys for a lot of releases), but today I’ll be jumping back to the line’s earliest days, and having a look at one of my favorite “characters” from Star Wars, the Endor Rebel Commando!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Endor Rebel Commando was released by Sideshow in 2007, as the debut offering in their Militaries of Star Wars line.  The Rebel was no doubt chosen for the relative ease of creation, especially when compared to the likes of the Stormtroopers.  There were three versions of the Commando available: the Infantryman, the Pathfinder, and the Sergeant.  The figure seen here is the Infantryman, the most widely available of the three, and the one meant to represent the most basic “army builder.”  It’s the same basic design as the Endor Rebel Soldier I looked at from the PotF2 line, though he’s obviously aiming for a more screen accurate appearance.  The figure stands 12 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

The headsculpt was a slight change of pace for Sideshow’s Star Wars stuff, since he’s not meant to be based on one particular actor or character.  However, he’d look kind of odd if he were too generic. So, what Sideshow did was create a sculpt that was realistic, and clearly one individual, but still generic enough that if you have a few of them standing around, it’s not going to look too odd.  While I don’t know that the sculpt they gave us is my ideal head for a Rebel Soldier, there’s no denying it’s a very well crafted sculpt, which looks quite lifelike given the period of time in which it was released.  He’s perhaps a little cartoonish by modern 1/6 standards, but he’s right on par with the rest of Sideshow’s stuff at the time, and a marked improvement over the types of sculpts we were getting from Hasbro just a few years prior.  The paint work is somewhat thickly applied and a little basic by modern sculpts, but once again was very good for the time, and, admittedly, not bad even by modern standards.   The eyes in particular showcase some incredibly lifelike work.

The figure’s outfit showcases another area where the industry really changed following this figure’s release.  It’s a mixed media affair, as you’d expect.  He’s got a vest, jacket, undershirt, and pants that are all tailored pieces.  Though by today’s standards, they may be somewhat bulky, loose-fitting, and sport some rather sizable seems, they were decent work for the time, and again an improvement over similar figures from other companies.  With a little bit of careful posing, you can get them to look pretty great.  He also gets a belt with number of sculpted pouches (and one cloth one) and a bandolier, which both match the other offerings in style, and replicate the gear the Rebels were carrying in the movie.  His boots and gloves are sculpted.  The gloves are actually just hands, and they’re very nicely detailed, and quite well scaled to the body.  Sideshow at this time was always very good with the gloves.  The boots are, unlike with later figures, actually boots that slip over the figure’s feet.  Due to being made from a softer material, their detailing isn’t quite as sharp, but they’re still very good.  Lastly, and most importantly, the Infantryman has his helmet.  The Endor helmets are my favorite aspect of this design, and while this one isn’t a 100% match for the ones from the movie (it’s a little flat at the top, and sits a little high on his head), it’s still a very nice piece, and really pulls the whole figure together.

The primary failing of this, and really all of the early Sideshow Star Wars offerings, is the base body he’s built on.  He uses Sideshow’s Buck body, which was decent when they first started using it, but was almost a decade old by the time of this figure’s release.  It’s a rather stiff body, and clothes have trouble hanging the right way on it.  It’s also very skinny and suffers from some very odd internal proportions.  It’s this body that makes the uniform look a bit more off than it should, despite how it looks when not on this body.

The Infantryman’s uniform was more involved than some of the line’s other figures, so by comparison, he’s a little lighter on accessories.  He includes a Blastech A-295 blaster rifle, his hard-pack survival pack, and a display stand with the Star Wars logo on it.  He doesn’t get some of the more interesting smaller extras, but what he gets all of the basics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It took me quite a while to actually break into the Sideshow Star Wars line, and it was a ways after this figure’s release.  I remember being very interested in possibly getting this figure, but I just never did.  He’s not a bad figure at all, especially when you look at when he was released.  What’s more, this is still the only time that the Endor Rebels have been released in this scale.

The item reviewed here is not from my personal collection, but was instead loaned to me for review by my friends over at All Time Toys.  If you are interested in owning the figure from this review, he’s available through All Time’s eBay page.  And, if you’re looking for other toys, both old and new, please also check out All Time’s full eBay store front, and take a look at their webstore at alltimetoys.com.

#1636: Johnny Quick

JOHNNY QUICK

CRIME SYNDICATE (DC DIRECT)

The Crime Syndicate is a fairly simple concept.  They’re just an evil version of the Justice League.  Pretty straight-forward stuff.  That’s probably why, even after multiple attempts by DC to abandon the whole Multiverse concept, this group is always pretty quick to turn back up.  They’re actually a bit less frequent than you might think when it comes to toys, though.  Despite first appearing in 1964, it wasn’t until 2003 that they got their first action figures.  I’ll be looking at the first figure of Flash-equivalent Johnny Quick* today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Johnny Quick was released in the one series Crime Syndicate line from DC Direct.  He’s based on Johnny’s classic design, which is a pretty straight forward take off of the Flash’s design (though not as straight-forward as the *other* evil Flash equivalent, the Reverse Flash, who pre-dated Johnny by a year).  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Not a lot of movement, and he’s really only good for a basic standing pose, but this was pretty standard for DCD figures of the time.  Johnny pre-dates DCD’s move to artist-specific figures, so he’s instead patterned on DCD’s then current house style.  It’s a style that works especially well with silver age characters like Johnny.  The figure’s sculpt is basic and clean.  He’s not too bulky or too skinny.  Most of his costume details are painted, rather than sculpted, so his head is where most of the important work is.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, but I do wish his expression was a bit less bland.  Johnny was prone to his maniacal laughing and the like, so an evil grin really would have really hit the spot.  The others in this assortment were a bit more emotive, so poor Johnny was just left out in the cold.  The paint work on Johnny is clean, and the colors are bold.  His red/yellow were well-matched to the Flashes that DCD had available at the time, which was a plus.  Nothing particularly notable or exciting beyond that, but hey, passable is still passable.  Johnny’s only accessory was a Crime Syndicate logo-emblazoned display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Acquiring the Crime Syndicate figures was a rather slow process for me, despite my excitement for them when they were announced.  Johnny was the fourth one I picked up, actually a few years after his release.  Despite having long since sold out of their initial quantity, Cosmic Comix had gotten in another of this guy, and I ended up grabbing him during a sale (I think it was for Free Comic Book day, but I could be wrong).  He’s an okay figure.  Not perfect, but he’s definitely a solid offering, especially for the time.

*not to be confused with DC’s heroic speedster, John “Johnny Quick” Chambers, an Earth-2-based hero from the ‘40s.

#1610: Klingon Borg

KLINGON BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Today’s post is brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  No, she didn’t buy me this figure, but she did point to this spot on my calendar of upcoming reviews, hold up today’s figure and say “you should do this one on that day.”  Who am I to argue?  Well, the owner and head writer of the site, I guess, but I’m really not going to push this one.

In the early ’00s, after Playmates had held the Star Trek license for over a decade, the reins were passed to up-and-coming company Art Asylum.  Poor AA ended up with some of the worst Trek properties to merch (Enterprise and Nemesis), but still put out a solid selection of figures.  They weren’t afraid to experiment a little bit with things.  One of those experiments was their Borg: Assimilation line, which toyed with what non-human races would look like when assimilated by the Borg.  Today, I’m looking at the Klingon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Klingon Borg, officially designated 1 of 3, was part of the first, and only, series of Art Asylum’s Borg: Assimilation line.  The figure stands a whopping 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  He’s a little restricted in terms of movement, but he was fairly decent for the time.  The big claim to fame of any Art Asylum figure was sculpting.  The Klingon Borg had an all-new sculpt, featuring a tremendous amount of detail work.  Every surfaced is covered with some sort of texture or small detail, from the ridges on his forehead, to the machinery of his Borg components.  This guy lives up to the Borg’s penchant for asymmetry, with one cybernetic eye, two differently shaped shoulder-pads, and one big honking claw arm to replace his right limb.  He loses the usual Klingon dreads, which impacts his design a bit; originally, he was designed with a bevy of cables that would replace the hair, but apparently this made him look too Klingon.  As it stands, he’s got just the one big wire, which is a decent halfway point.  His face is a good mix of Klingon and Borg sensibilities, with a determined, but still somewhat lifeless stare to his eyes.  It’s worth noting that this figure is a fair bit more stylized than many of AA’s Trek offerings, with a more pronounced set of features on his face, slightly exaggerated proportions, and a decidedly slouched pre-posed nature.  But, as a concept figure, this guy is more about what could be, outside of the limitations of a live-action sci-fi show’s budget.  Though his paint is somewhat monochromatic, it is no less carefully detailed than the sculpt.  His cybernetic sections in particular are rife with small detail work, showcasing a variance in silvers, greys, and brasses that keep him from looking too bland, and give him that nice “used future” feel.  For accessories, all this guy had was the weird themed coin thing that all of the AA Trek figures got.  This one’s red and has the Borg symbol on one side.  Not really much to do with the figure, but given the effort that went into the figure’s design and sculpt, the lack of real extras doesn’t hinder him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this guy when he was new.  He seemed to hang around KB Toys for a little while.  I almost got him on several occasions, but kept passing for other things.  He and the rest of this series ended up being part of this year’s Farpoint charity auction, and it was that wonderful mix of being something I’d been looking for and also being for a good cause, so I went for it.  Though I’m hardly the world’s largest Trek fan, I can’t deny this is one cool figure.

#1600: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO

“SNAKE EYES served in Long Range Recon Patrols in Southeast Asia. He left the service to study mystic martial arts with the same Ninja family that produced STORM SHADOW. SNAKE EYES was living an ascetic existence alone in the High Sierras with his pet timber wolf when he was recruited for the GI JOE team. He is a qualified expert in all NATO and Warsaw Pact small arms, has a black belt in 12 different fighting systems, and is highly skilled in the use of edged weapons.”

Ah, look at that.  Another hundred reviews.  That means it’s time for—wait, sorry, hadn’t updated the script.  Right.  Hi there dear readers!  Welcome to the Figure in Question’s 1600th review.  Usually on the hundred mark I do a special high-end deluxe review, but I like to mix things up occasionally and space those particular reviews out a bit more as I go along.  So, the deluxe reviews are new going to be every 250 reviews from now on.  So, in honor of this not at all monumental review, I’ll be taking a look at a Snake Eyes figure.  Wooo-eee.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This particular Snake Eyes figure was packed with the Kid Rhino DVD release of the first two mini-series of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon, which hit in 2003.  It’s the 16th version of the character released, and is actually just a slight re-working of his very first figure.  This figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s the exact same figure as the ToyFare-exclusive Snake Eyes figure from the same year (already reviewed here).  It’s the original Snake Eyes mold, with the version 1.5 swivel arms, and Roadblock’s pelvis piece.  It’s a sculpt that shows its age, but one I still very much like.  The main difference with this figure and that one is coloring (though not paint, as the actual paint applications on these two are identical).  Rather than Snake Eyes’ usual all black palette, this figure is molded in a dark blue, which mimics how he was colored in the cartoon.  Given how this figure was released, it’s certainly a reasonable change, and makes for a somewhat unique looking figure.  Snake Eyes was packed with a pretty decent accessories complement, given his nature as a pack-in.  He included a sword, an Uzi, a pack of explosives, a back pack, and his trusty canine sidekick Timber.  Sadly, I lost Timber at some point, something I still kick myself about.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the DVD set that included this guy as a Christmas present from my parents some years back.  I know I’d seen it somewhere and expressed interest in it, and they took note of this and got it for me.  Of course, I certainly didn’t ask for the set just for the figure included with it.  That would be preposterous, right?  Who would do something like that?  Not me.  Not me at all.  Despite essentially having reviewed this figure before, there’s just something about this particular variant that I really like.