#3131: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)

I gave today’s intro a fair bit of thought.  Usually, I like to keep things fairly light and apolitical here on the site, what with it being about toys and all, but I would be lying if I said that wasn’t becoming a harder thing to do these days.  My aim isn’t to offend, or hurt, or throw mud, or anything like that, but even from an apolitical stand-point, there wind up being some lines that get crossed, and it gets pretty hard not to say anything about it.  So, I’m gonna keep being me, and I’m gonna say what I say, and continue to just try to be my best self.  Today is July 4th, a day that’s typically dedicated to celebrating all the great things about America.  For me, on the site at least, that means I get to review another Captain America figure, because that’s how I roll.  This year, things are very much muddied by current events, leaving a lot of people not feeling quite so hot about America, and perhaps a little less proud to be part of this whole venture.  I can definitely feel that, and I think we’ve all got some work we can do to get to a better place together.  I think we can all work towards being our own best selves.  And if you think my best self isn’t going to take the opportunity, in a time of uncertainty, fear, and worry, to review a figure of Steve Rogers, a symbol of hope for all the things that America should be to all the people that call it home, then you’re definitely not one of my regular readers.  When you need some inspiration, a Captain America’s not a bad place to start, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was released as part of Toy Biz’s “Face Off” spin-off of Marvel Legends, which gave us new versions of the core heroes, facing off against their antagonists.  For his part, Cap was packed alongside Red Skull.  There was also a variant unmasked Cap, which was instead packed with Baron Strucker.  Look, he’s fighting a Nazi either way, right?  This was Toy Biz’s fourth and final version of Cap in their run with Legends, following the original Series 1, the Ultimate, and its more classically-inspired variant.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 46 points of articulation.  That hefty articulation count is aided by the addition of separately articulated fingers, something Toy Biz was giving a try later in their run.  They wound up as one of the very first things cut by Hasbro, and, honestly, it’s not a huge shock.  They’re really not much more than a novelty, and they mean he can’t really grip or anything.  It’s the sort of thing that alternate hands are just a far more efficient way of doing finger poses.  Other than that, the articulation is pretty decent from a range of motion standpoint, though perhaps not so much from the appearance angle.  They definitely aren’t super worked into the sculpt’s aesthetics.  Said sculpt was a mix of old and new.  He used the Ultimate Cap as a starting point, with the addition of a more classically-based set of gloves and boots, as well as slightly tweaked versions of the upper torso and head.  This whole sculpt wound up getting up-scaled for Toy Biz’s Marvel Legends Icons line, and it was honestly pretty good for the time.  It’s perhaps not aged quite so well, what with its wonky proportions and the slightly odd shaping of the face.  That said, the texture work, especially on the scaling, is really amazing work, and if nothing else, he’s certainly got a nice style to him.  At the time of release, he was probably one of Toy Biz’s best.  Cap’s paint work is decent enough.  Toy Biz was still tending to go pretty muddy with the colors at this point, but this guy actually gets a fairly bold and clean color scheme.  It works pretty well for the character, and, again, it’s really some of the line’s best work.  Cap is packed with his shield, which is the same as his Series 1 counterpart’s, complete with the cloth straps for placing over his shoulders.  This time, it’s better painted, and I particularly like the black interior; it definitely adds a lot more pop.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when this figure was released, I decided to stick with my Series 1 version, rather than trying to upgrade.  Given how difficult it was to get these packs, or really Legends in general, it wasn’t hard to justify.  I always kind of wanted one, but I never got the chance to grab him over the years.  Fortunately for me, he came into to All Time a couple of months ago.  He’s certainly a figure that shows his age, but I still really enjoy him for what he is.

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.

#3110: Superman

SUPERMAN

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES (DC DIRECT)

In the early 2000s, DC revitalized their World’s Finest book, a series that chronicled Superman and Batman’s joint exploits (well, mostly; it didn’t start that way), under the more minimalistic title of Superman/Batman.  The series launched with “Public Enemies,” a story line that saw Superman and Batman labeled enemies of the state by a soon-to-be-deposed President Lex Luthor.  It’s far from high art or anything, but it’s a fairly fun story.  At the time, DC Direct did a line of figures to tie-in, based on Ed McGuinness’s art from the book.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at the line’s take on Superman.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Superman was released in the first series of DCD’s Superman/Batman line, which was entirely “Public Enemies”-themed.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  These figures were far from super-poseable, with little more than enough movement to tweak the basic standing pose.  You can get maybe a slight take-off pose out of him, but even that’s pushing it.  He can at least get his arms closer to his sides than Batman could, but even so, it’s pretty limited.  Superman had an all-new sculpt, based on McGuinness’s art; it certainly shares a number of elements with the other figures, since they all had rather similar builds.  It’s at the very least a pretty solid recreation of the art in three dimensions.  In particular, they’ve really gotten McGuinness’s Superman’s head down pretty spot-on.  I do really love how that sculpt looks.  The cape seems perhaps a touch short, but I do like the dynamic flow to it; it helps to break up that basic standing pose just a little bit.  Superman’s paint work is actually quite nice.  I’ve always really enjoyed the metallic blue they chose for this first release; it just really pops so nicely, especially next to the matte finish on the flesh tones.  I’m not entirely in favor of the lack of actual eyes, but it’s a stylistic choice, I suppose.  It does sort of have a twinge of nostalgia for me, since it makes me think of the early Kenner STAS figures, so I guess it’s not entirely bad.  I do quite like the blue accenting in the hair, so that works out.  Superman is packed with a Superman/Batman display stand.  It’s just a stand, but it does what it needs to, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was in middle school when these were released, so I was on a much smaller budget.  That meant I only had the money for one figure from this set, and it wound up being Captain Atom, since I didn’t already have a bunch of him laying around.  I always wanted to grab this guy at some point, but I just never got around to getting one.  Last year, I was helping a family friend downsize their collection, and they gave me this guy in return for my help, which was honestly very nice.  He’s a very specific type of figure, and you have to want that very specific type of figure.  That said, I really like that very specific type of figure, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better adaptation of Ed McGuinness’s art, so he very definitely works for me.

#3094: Snake Eyes with Ninja Armor

SNAKE EYES with NINJA ARMOR

G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6 (HASBRO)

“Snake Eyes uses customized weapons to give him a powerful advantage over Cobra ninjas.  Whether riding his Ninja Hovercycle or battling enemies in hand-to-hand combat, Snake Eyes defeats his opponents with agility and the element of surprise.  During a mission to recover technological data stolen by Cobra, Snake Eyes had to get in and out within 90 seconds then escape from Storm Shadow and his team of ninjas.  He and StormShadow battled each other at high speed on their cycles.  Just when his enemies thought they had him, Snake Eyes suddenly deployed air-brake wings hidden in his backpack, leaped from his bike and knocked them all from their cycles with his tri-blade sword.  He was back on his bike and gone before they knew what hit them.”

I’ve touched only very briefly on Sigma 6, the early ’00s incarnation of the G.I. Joe franchise, here on the site.  And you know what?  That’s just not right.  Because Sigma 6 is pretty awesome.  And more people should appreciate it.  At its outset, Sigma 6 took more of a focus on a core cast of characters, though that expanded a fair bit as the line progressed.  I’ve focused a lot on the expanded roster, but not yet any time with that core team.  So, hey, let’s look at a Snake Eyes.  That’s always pretty fun.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes with Ninja Armor was released as part of the first Commando wave of the 2006 Sigma 6 line-up.  In an assortment that saw figure debuts for both Cobra Commander and Long Range, Snake Eyes was the one variant.  He was technically Snake Eyes’ second variant for the line, following up on the weird two-pack re-deco.  This one was actually different, what with the Ninja Armor and all.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  In terms of structure, this figure’s core figure is the same as the prior Commando release Snake Eyes.  The base Snake Eyes sculpt was definitely one of the most stylized of the original figures for the line, being quite spindly and lanky.  His masked head actually has eye holes, giving us a rare glimpse at a portion of his face.  It’s a really cool touch, and I really dig the little bit of scarring visible under the eyes.  Snake Eyes has the standard Sigma 6 suit under everything, much like the rest of the team, which gives the sculpt an opportunity to showcase a larger variety of detailing, including the little flip-up console on the arm, which remains one of my favorite features on these guys.  To fully ninja armor up this guy, he gets a removable visor, chest armor, shoulder pads, and shin guards, as well as the standard dog tag.  The visor is a much more armored piece, fully wrapping around the head, and also further down the sides of the face.  It’s more patterned after his V2 visor than the standard version had been, which I really quite like.  It really pushes that classic Snake Eyes vibe.  The body armor is decidedly not as Snake Eyes-y, but its a cool armor design in its own right, fitting well with the look of the visor.  It’s got a bit of a knight’s armor look about it, which definitely fits well with that V2 style visor.  The shin guards both have fold-out blades, because what is Snake Eyes without some extra blades?  Snake Eyes’ color scheme is generally pretty similar to the standard Snake Eyes fare, being black and grey.  He does get some extra details in bright green, which is certainly a lot of fun.  Snake Eyes is armed with a silenced assault rifle, a sword with three blades (which can fold in and out), a sort of a spear thing in two parts, a wing pack, and a cool case to carry everything in.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I’ve touched on before, Sigma 6 figures weren’t the easiest things to track down back when they were new.  I wanted *a* Snake Eyes at the time, with this one being the front runner on the list.  I never saw him, so I never got one, but he’s remained at the back of my mind since.  We actually managed to get a pretty cool Sigma 6 collection in at All Time, and this guy was included in it, complete even, so at last I have him.  I’m honestly pretty psyched about it.  He’s just so much fun, much like the rest of the line, and I’m all about it.

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.

#2973: Battle for Metropolis

SUPERMAN, LOIS LANE, BRAINIAC, & LEX LUTHOR

SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (HASBRO)

“It’s a never-ending battle of power and wits for Superman and his arch enemies in Metropolis, but this time, star reporter Lois Lane has the scoop!”

After the bulk of the product for the animated incarnations of Batman and Superman had run its course at retail, and shortly after officially shuttering Kenner and moving the DC license under their own name, Hasbro filled in their DC offerings with a lot of re-decos and repacks of stuff Kenner had done in the ‘90s. It helped to get a lot of figures back out there, but also helped to establish right from the start just how much Hasbro intended to phone things in with the license.  While Batman was clearly getting the main focus, there were never the less a few Superman sets, one of which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Superman, Lois Lane, Brainiac, and Lex Luther were released in 2001 as part of the Superman: The Animated Series line, in a set titled “Battle For Metropolis.”  Like many of the sets, it was three repacks and one new offering.

SUPERMAN

“Kal-El, infant son of Jor-El and Lara of the doomed planet Krypton, was rocketed to Earth when Krypton was obliterated in a cataclysmic explosion.  The baby was found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who named him Clark and raised him as their own.  As he grew, Clark discovered he possessed powers and abilities far beyond those of ordinary people…powers he decided to use for the benefit of humanity as Superman.”

It’s hard to do a Superman set without Superman, so here was the requisite Superman.  Have I said Superman enough?  Yeah?  So, this Superman was a straight reissue of Strong Arm Superman, from Series 4 of the main line.  At this point, Series 4 was still awaiting its proper US release, so despite his rather standard Superman appearance, he was actually sort of new.  That’s good, I guess.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  The arms are a bit restricted by how the action feature works, but he is otherwise pretty good on the mobility front, at least for a DC figure of this era.  The figure largely re-used parts from Capture Net Superman, the line’s “standard” Superman.  While not entirely show accurate, it was a halfway decent figure, and keeping things consistent is far from the worst thing.  This release got a new set of arms, bent more at the elbows and with the hands flat, for the purposes of lifting stuff overhead.  It’s not the most versatile pose, but it’s good for what it’s meant to do. His paint work is generally pretty decent.  It’s bright, colorful, and pretty cleanly applied.  And he’s even got actual eyes this time!  Superman is packed with a chunk of wall and a car bumper, both of which are meant for use with his throwing action feature.  It’s a little hard to get him stabilized holding them, but they’re still pretty nifty.

LOIS LANE

“As a top-notch reporter for the Metropolis Daily Planet, Lois Lane has a knack for catching the biggest stories and getting in the deepest trouble.  Possessing excellent detective skills and a keen eye for news, she takes risks in pursuit of the scoop.  Lois can handle just about any situation that comes her way and talks rings around most men…but one man leaves her at a loss for words — Superman!”

Lois Lane, despite being one of the oldest and most visible female characters in comics, had up to this point never had an action figure, which seems kind of silly.  She got her first two within a year of each other, so they were learning from their mistakes.  Lois was undoubtedly the selling point of this set, what with not having a figure before and all.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is rather restricted, with the head being largely immobilized by the hair, and the legs are also without any movement below the waist.  Additionally, she has a lot of trouble remaining standing, not helped by the lack of any movement in the legs, or peg holes in the feet so that you could use a stand.  It’s not a ton of fun.  Lois’s sculpt was all-new and would remain unique to this figure.  It’s alright.  It’s not 100% accurate to the animation model, but it’s about as close as the rest of the line.  The biggest issues are definitely with the eyes, which are just a bit too small to be accurate.  Lois’s paint work is kind of weak.  STAS was notable on that it actually gave its civilians a couple of different outfit options. Lois had two distinct color schemes, but this one is actually neither of them.  It seems to be going for her B outfit, which was red and black, but it’s not quite there.  Additionally, the application is quite dialed down, with only a few apps, which are kind of fuzzy.  It doesn’t do the sculpt any favors, which is a shame.  Lois is packed with her cellphone and a clipboard, which is better than the kind of stuff most of these figures got.

BRAINIAC

“Created by the scientists of the planet Krypton, the humanoid super-computer dubbed Brainiac was more concerned with saving itself as the repository for all Kryptonian knowledge than attempting to save the doomed planet.  Brainiac travelled the universe, draining the worlds he encountered of all knowledge and leaving them ruined husks before he came to Earth where he at last found a foe able to withstand his enhanced strength and mental power — Superman!”

I’ve actually reviewed this exact figure before, back when I looked at him on his own.  He’s honestly not a bad figure, and hadn’t been exceedingly easy to find, so a re-release was honestly okay.  This time, I do have his goofy space sled thing, though, which is pretty cool, right?  How about that?

LEX LUTHOR

“Although born and raised in Metropolis’ downtrodden Suicide Slum, Lex Luthor was destined to become a financial monarch and business magnate.  The aggressive young inventor uses his great cunning and intellect for his own personal advancement, creating the multi-billion dollar megacorporation LexCorp.  Only Superman rivals Luthor for power and respect of the people of Metropolis…for that, Luthor’s hatred of the Man of Steel knows no bounds.”

While Brainiac made some degree of sense, Luthor made almost none.  By this point, his first release was still rotting on the pegs of a lot of major retailers.  While he’s a story important character, this translation of him just didn’t really work, at least not as a Luthor.  I reviewed the Series 1 edition of the figure several years back, and the only difference between the two is some minor paint deco change up.  The gunmetal grey parts of the armor are now a pale metallic green, and the accents on the underlying figure are a truer green than before.  That’s it.    I can’t really say that either is really better than the other.  They both just sort of exist.  Difference for the sake of difference, really, which isn’t terribly compelling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember when this set came out, and I remember looking at it a lot, but I never actually got one.  I think it was just too soft a sell for me.  Sure, it’s got Lois, but she’s honestly kind of mediocre.  The other figures are the very definition of space fillers, which is likewise a disappointment.  It’s not bad, but I’m honestly kind of glad I waited until a loose one got traded into All Time to pick it up.

 

#2967: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS: UNIVERSE (HASBRO)


Despite a prominent spot in 2001’s Robots in Disguise, Ultra Magnus was effectively absent from the Unicron Trilogy, at least as far as direct presence was concerned.  The name was used again for Energon, on a rather rare redeco of Armada Overload.  As far as any actual Armada coverage, the closest he would get would come two years after the Armada line, as part of the more all encompassing Universe line.  Since I’m in an Armada sort of mood, but I also gotta have some Magnus love, let’s take a look at that figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus was released in the Transformers: Universe line, as half of one of Hasbro’s “Battle in a Box” sets, an run of market six (close out and department stores like Kohl’s) exclusive sets they tried with their in-house brands in ‘04.  His pack-mate was Treadshot, who isn’t an Ultra Magnus, so he’s not getting a review here.  In his robot mode, Magnus stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 15 workable points of articulation.  Structurally, this Magnus goes back to the tried and true method of making a Magnus by taking an Optimus and painting him white.  This one specifically is based on the Armada Prime mold.  It’s not a bad mold, apart from the forearm assembly being backwards, and has a decent update on the classic Optimus aesthetic.  The new color scheme works really well with it, and actually does look pretty suitably like a new character.  He’s got a set of forearm-mounted guns, which serve as his smokestacks in his alt-mode.  They were removable here for…reasons?  I don’t really know why.  Magnus is also packed with his own Mini-Con companion, Overrun, who was shared with the previous Optimus release.  He’s slightly redecoed here.  He’s got a kind of goofy robot mode, but he can also serve as a gun for Magnus.

Magnus’s alt-mode is a truck.  That’s it.  Okay, I mean, it’s like a sci-fi truck, I guess.  It’s not a bad alt-mode, especially for a Magnus, and the transformation sequence isn’t too complex or anything.  Those smokestacks fall off a lot, but it’s otherwise alright.  Overrun gets his own alt-mode, in addition to the gun mode, where he turns into a jet.  Right out of the box, his wings are reversed, but this can be easily corrected by popping them out and then back into the right spots.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t know of this set’s existence as a kid, or even until later into my adulthood, so I never did get around to looking for it.  Instead it rather came to me, as it was traded into All Time last summer.  I just wanted the Magnus, so Max wound up taking the Treadshot I didn’t want, and I had a sweet new Magnus.  He’s nothing phenomenal or anything, but he’s a Magnus that fits with my Armada collection, and that works for me.

#2960: Starscream

STARSCREAM

TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA (HASBRO)

“Starscream uses his speed and maneuverability as a jet to launch aerial attacks on the Autobots. No one can compete with him when it comes to speed and skill in the air. He slices through the sky, chasing the enemy and even endangering any Decpticon that gets in his way. As the second in command, he pretends to be loyal to Megatron, but is always looking for an opportunity to weaken his leader’s rule and take control of the Decepticons.”

Present in the franchise since its beginning, Starscream is a rather inescapable piece of the Transformers lexicon.  Other characters may come and go, but after Optimus and Megatron, the character next most likely to find himself in a given version of the story is Starscream, always Megatron’s lackey, always ready to betray him and take power for himself.  Transformers: Armada actually flipped the script on Starscream a little bit, though.  Rather than being purely motivated by his own self-interests, the Armada Starscream’s inevitable betrayal of Megatron saw him not taking power directly from Megatron, but rather switching to the side of the Autobots.  While still selfishly motivated on the surface, he would eventually find his own more valiant side, and even make a rather heroic sacrifice, something that no other version of Starscream would ever even consider in the slightest.  It was cool change-up, and a fun take on the character.  Helping even more on the fun/cool scale?  A pretty awesome toy, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starscream made up one half of the first Max-Con Class (the line’s equivalent to the modern Voyager Class) assortment of Hasbro’s Transformers: Armada line, released alongside the show’s debut in 2002.  In his robot mode, Starscream stands about 7 inches tall and he has 10 workable points of articulation.  As with most of the other figures in the line, Starscream’s articulation is rather restricted by the nature of his design.  There’s no neck movement, and the shoulders don’t move either.  He’s got some swivels near the shoulders, and some okay leg movement, but there’s not a ton of posing to be had here.  He’s good for one thing, and that’s standing.  The sculpt is a pretty impressive piece.  It matches up well with how he looks in the animation, and it’s got a solid bit of heft to it.  The boxy shapes definitely work well, and his robot mode is well-formed.  There’s a bit of kibble, especially when it comes to the back of the torso, but he generally makes it work.  He’s armed with a folding sword, which is actually his left wing removed and unfolded.  It’s not the most convincing thing, but it works in its own goofy sense.  Also included is his Mini-Con partner, Swindle.  Swindle’s robot mode isn’t quite as strong as Jolt or Blackout’s were.  It’s okay, but not great.  The R&D definitely went to Starscream on this one.  Swindle allows Starscream to unlock the two cannons on Starscream’s shoulders, which each shoot a missile.  The missiles are, sadly, missing from mine.  The cannons also have a tendency to unlatch themselves from time to time, and, if you’re not careful, the latches can wear out, causing them to be permanently be forward.  Fortunately, that’s not the case with mine.

Starscream’s alt-mode is a sci-fi jet.  The transformation is a little more involved than the other two, but he’s a more advanced class, so it makes sense.  It’s still not particularly difficult, and there are also a few spring-loaded components to the transformation.  The end result is a vehicle that’s a little awkward in some spots, but one that also lacks the major under the jet kibble left over from the robot mode, which is something that shows up a lot with the jets.  In his jet mode, there are some sound effects built in; they no longer work on mine, but there are a few jet related sounds.  They’re honestly more annoying than anything, so I can’t say I miss them.  Swindle has his own alt-mode as well; he turns into a racing car, and is honestly more convincing as a car than as a robot.  Now, why a race car robot is packed in with the big jet is anyone’s guess, but I try not to dwell too much.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the three Armada figures that my cousin owned for a very brief time and ultimately gave to me, Starscream was definitely his favorite.  When they were in his possession, I didn’t get to play with Starscream the way I did the other two.  So, when he was finally mine, that was a pretty big deal.  Unfortunately, he also wound up being the only one readily available to me to grab when I decided to get rid of a lot of my stuff at around 15 or so.  I wound up selling him off (to All Time Toys, actually, along with a bunch of junk that they honestly gave me more than they should have for), and it’s something I’ve regretted since.  I’ve been keeping my eye out for a replacement ever since.  Fortunately, I was able to snag one from a collection that came into All Time last January.  He was missing Swindle, but Max was nice enough to set me up with a replacement, and boom, here we are.  I really dig this figure.  He’s just a really good, solid toy, and I’m very glad to have him again.

#2953: Demolishor

DEMOLISHOR

TRANSFORMERS:ARMADA (HASBRO)

Demolishor fights ferociously in every battle to which he’s sent, regardless of the odds. If Megatron tells him to do something, he does it without hesitation. To Demolishor, a leader must always be obeyed at any cost. Megatron values the unswerving loyalty of his best soldier, but abandons him, when necessary, to save his own life. Demolishor has never resented any of these betrayals. But will there come a day when Demolishor questions the orders of his leader?”

Hey, remember when I was talking about Transformers: Armada a week ago?  Wanna here about it some more?  Well, you’re gonna, because it’s my site.  Sorry, I don’t make the rules.  Oh, wait, I actually do.  Well, there we are, I guess.  Last week, I looked at one of Armada’s heroic Autobots, so today, why not give the other side some coverage, with Decepticon Demolishor.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Demolishor was released alongside Hot Shot in the first wave of Super-Con Class Armada figures.  The assortment was the two of them and Cyclonus, who I don’t actually own.  In his robot mode, the figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 practical points of articulation.  Before we delve into the meat of the review, I want to address the elephant in the room: I am aware that Demolishor’s lower half is backwards in all of my photos of his robot mode.  I wasn’t aware when taking the photos, or for the nearly two decades I owned him prior to this review, but I’m aware now.  Honestly, he looks wrong to my eye in his correct configuration (I went for forward facing being the side that had the longer “feet” which seems more right to me), and this is genuinely how I’ve viewed him for almost 20 years, so I’ve decided to leave the photos as is.  For moral reasons, really.  Certainly not because I’m lazy and I didn’t want to have to reshoot and edit all of those photos.  Why would you even suggest that?  So, back to my morally correct version of Demolishor.  The robot mode on this guy does actually make for a pretty playable toy, much like Hot Shot.  Sure, he doesn’t have neck movement, but the arms are pretty solid, and they can even swivel forward and back, which not even Hot Shot could do.  Compared to Hot Shot, Demolishor’s kibble his also pretty minor. There are a few spots where extra details are present, but not really that many.  Demolishor also has a Mini-Con partner, Blackout, who, much like Jolt, is about 2 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Blackout allows Demolishor to unlock the missile launching feature on his shoulder, though this does require flipping his arms around.

Demolishor’s vehicle mode is a big made up sci-fi tank thing.  It’s a pretty easy transformation process, and the end mode is a pretty cool tank.  It’s even got a little seat, where you can place Blackout or one of the other Mini-Cons, in order to man the tank.  Blackout himself has his own tank mode.  It’s much smaller and conservative in its design, but it looks cool too, and can even combine with Demolishor’s vehicle mode for a more complete front to the tank.  In this mode, Blackout can also combine with Demolishor’s robot mode to form an arm cannon of sorts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I brought up in my Hot Shot review, I didn’t get my Armada figures new, but instead got them fairly quickly after their release when my cousin Patrick decided he didn’t want his anymore.  Demolishor was one of the three of them I got, and I got him mistransformed and without any instructions, so I just never knew.  Seriously, it kind of broke my mind you guys.  I found it out, and I had to text Max for emotional support and everything.  How could I be living this kind of lie all this time?  What else am I doing wrong?  Okay, it’s probably not that serious.  Demolishor may not have been my favorite of the three figures I had, but I did still really like him, and like Hot Shot, I still think he really holds up.

#2946: Hot Shot

HOT SHOT

TRANSFORMERS: ARMADA (HASBRO)

“Hot Shot is a young, heroic fighter who rushes into danger without regard to his own safety. He courageously charges into the middle of the fight to aid his friends in battle. He has taken charge in several battles, showing great leadership potential. But he needs the guidance of his elders before he can hope to lead the Autobots. Will he learn to be a leader who strives for good, or will his reckless nature ruin his promising future?”

As a child of the ’90s, as well as someone who sometimes dabbles in Transformers, it would be easy to assume that I’m into Beast Wars, but I’ve actually never had a particular attachment to it.  I mean, aside from Silverbolt.  That guy’s awesome.  Generally, I’ve tended to be more into the vehicle-based Transformers stuff.  I first dabbled with the franchise with 2001’s Robots in Disguise (which instilled in me a love of Ultra Magnus), but my first real investment in the franchise was during the show that followed in 2002, Transformers: Armada.  One of the central characters in Armada, and in fact the rest of the Unicron Trilogy, was Hot Shot, who I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hot Shot was part of Transformers: Armada‘s first wave of Super-Con Class figures, which were the line’s Deluxe Class equivalent.  He was the only Autobot in the assortment (which also included Cyclonus and Demolisher), and they all hit alongside the launch of the show in 2002.  In his robot mode, Hot Shot stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 working points of articulation, as well as a moving visor for his helmet.  Emphasis was still very much on the transformations and vehicle modes at this point, so Hot Shot’s movement is rather restricted.  The legs do alright, but his head doesn’t move, and his shoulders move side to side, but there’s no forward and back.  For the time, though, he remained remarkably mobile.  Hot Shot’s sculpt actually does an okay job of matching up with how he looked in the cartoon.  His race car driver design is carried over well.  There’s a fair bit of kibble from his alt mode, especially on the backs of the arms, but it at least folds up to be out of the way.  Hot Shot got his own Mini-Con partner, Jolt.  Jolt is a much smaller robot, standing about inches tall, and having a whole 6 points of articulation.  Using Jolt (or any Mini-Con, really, but Jolt’s the best one), you can unlock Hot Shot’s built-in weapon, affectionately referred to as his “axlezooka”, which is spring loaded to deploy.  The springs on mine are a little weak, so it needs a little extra help, but it’s still pretty cool.  There’s meant to be a missile, but it’s missing from mine.  Jolt also has a rather big gun piece which Hot Shot can wear as chest armor.

Hot Shot’s alt-mode is a modified Audi TT, which is a fairly generic looking sports car, really.  The transformation sequence is actually rather simple, so it makes it very easy to switch him back and forth without much trouble.  He also stays in the mode very securely.  In general, it just works very well.  Jolt has his own alt-mode; he transforms into a small helicopter through an even simpler transformation process.  Jolt’s gun can also be mounted to the front of Hot Shot’s hood, and Jolt can be mounted on one of the three Mini-Con ports on the vehicle mode.  The central one actually releases the springs on Hot Shot’s feet, to use as “driving claws.”  You know, as you do.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite how much I liked the show and kept up with it when it was new, I didn’t actually get any of the toys first hand when they were new.  Instead, my initial exposure to them was through my cousin Patrick, who had a small handful of them, and would frequently bring them over for both of us to play with.  During that time, Hot Shot was always my go-to.  Patrick decided fairly quickly that he didn’t need to keep them, so they were rather quickly gifted to me.  Hot Shot himself wound up getting lost at my grandparents’ house some time during my childhood, and it wasn’t until after I moved into their house a few years ago that I actually found him again.  He was missing all of his extra stuff, but fortunately for me, Max was able to help me out and get me set-up with Jolt and the gun.  I like this guy a lot, and he’s probably the most nostalgic I get about Transformers.

#2847: Chameleon Boy

CHAMELEON BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

While some of the Legion of Super Heroes’ members are gifted individuals from otherwise non-powered races, there’s a decent chunk of the team that’s actually just comprised of literally the first member of a race to join, making use of their native abilities.  I guess that’s why they needed to really enforce that “no duplication of powers” rule; otherwise Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl aren’t going to look so special, are they?  Amongst the members that are just regular people from their respective races is Reep Daggle, aka Chameleon Boy.  Chameleon Boy is a Durlan, and like all Durlans he possesses shape-shifting abilities.  You know, like a chameleon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chameleon Boy is the final figure in the Series 3 line-up for DC Direct’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  He’s the most unique looking of the bunch, which was honestly true of Chameleon Boy in the earlier Legion run, too.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Chameleon Boy uses a mix of prior base body parts, using the core of the Series 2 body, with the upper arms that he shared with this assortment’s Sun Boy figure, and the looser fitting lower arms of Brainiac 5 and Mon-El.  Also, in keeping with the mix of hand poses, his are both open, which is a first on this body.  He’s got a new head, which does alright with capturing the more alien features of Reep’s design, but feels somewhat off for the character when you get to the face.  He just seems to have too dull an expression, if I’m honest.  My figure is unfortunately saddled with a QC issue, as well; his left thigh is actually a right thigh, just backwards, most notable from the weird shaping near the hip, where it’s supposed to contact with the backside of his torso.  The more simple nature of the sculpt means it’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s very definitely wrong.  Chameleon Boy is another all painted figure.  It works out okay, but again there’s the issue with the scuffing going on.  Otherwise, the paint’s pretty decent, I guess.  Chameleon Boy has no accessories, but unlike the other figures in the line that also had no accessories, this one feels like more of a loss, because it feels like the perfect opportunity to give us his sidekick/pet Proty.  Alas, we’d have to wait on Mattel for that one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Chameleon Boy at the same time as Sun Boy and Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  I was mostly driven by all three of them being there, I guess.  None of them are amazingly impressive, and Chameleon Boy certainly suffers from the extra QC issue for me.  He’s alright, but that’s really about it.

#2840: Sun Boy

SUN BOY

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES (DC DIRECT)

Though introduced relatively early on to the Legion (he technically debuted alongside the far more prominent Brainiac 5), Dirk Mogna, aka Sun Boy, has remained relatively minor in terms of actual story telling.  He filled Lightning Lad’s spot as slightly persnickety red-head while LL was dead for a bit, but has otherwise just sort of been around for most of his time with the team.  He was even dropped from the team during the first major reboot in the ’90s, and hasn’t really figured prominently into any of the team’s non-comics appearances.  Despite that, he did still get a figure from DCD’s line, which is good for him, really.  Congrats, Dirk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sun Boy was released in Series 3 of DCD’s Legion of Super Heroes line.  Though hardly obscure, he’s probably the least relevant character the line would produce.  He’s sporting his classic ’60s costume, which is really the best known costume he’s got, since he kind of stuck with it, unlike others.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Sun Boy is built on the post-Series 2 body, but specifically with a pair of upper arms that sport some pretty mean shoulder pads.  These arms were shared with his Series-mate Chameleon Boy.  He also got a new head sculpt, complete with a collar, and a belt buckle piece.  It’s not a bad selection of parts, truth be told, and he even swaps out the hands so as to have one open and one closed.  The head in particular is fairly distinctly different from the others in the line, with the hair having its own distinctive shape, following the early ’60s depictions of the character.  The only down side is that he does have a rather obvious plug on his back from where the cape would have been if he’d had one.  Other non-caped characters also had it, but it feels like it stands out more here for some reason.  Sun Boy’s paint work is pretty much on par with the rest of the line.  He is again entirely painted, but that works to his benefit more than others, since it means no need for the red or yellow to either one go over the other, keeping it a lot cleaner looking.  One thing that’s not quite so clean looking, however, is the tops of his boots, which are scalloped on his design, in contrast to the flat tops that are on the sculpt.  They just straight up painted across the line, which isn’t ideal.  It’s not terrible, but it does seem odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a bit of a fixation on Sun Boy when I was much younger, for reasons I’ve not really been certain of in later years.  Of course, it kind of just went away once I knew of Ferro Lad, and he suddenly became my main focus.  By the time these figures came along, I had moved on, and I didn’t wind up getting him when he was new.  However, I found him at the same time as Star Boy, while on a road trip with my dad in 2007.  Not much more to say about him really, but hey, I do have him, so there’s that.