#2121: Rebel Alliance Pilot

REBEL ALLIANCE PILOT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

In my review of the Power of the Force II A-Wing Pilot back in June, I discussed how the Rebel Pilots gained unique uniforms in Return of the Jedi after they’d all shared the same basic look for A New Hope‘s trench run.  But, they *did* all share a uniform originally, which means that toy makers will find themselves with a need to fill a few spots with generic guys in that same uniform.  That’s where today’s figure comes into play!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Alliance Pilot was available exclusively with the Target-exclusive Y-Wing Bomber, released in 2000 as an exclusive part of the Power of the Force II line.  Exclusively.  Lot of excluding going on there.  He was officially billed as “Unique Rebel Alliance Pilot,” which is rather amusing, because…well, he’s not.  He’s just definitively a generic place holder figure for all of the various unnamed pilots seen in the movie, meaning he’s exactly the sort of figure you would have every right to own multiples of, and who would therefore not be unique in the collection.  What’s more, even his molds aren’t really unique.  From the neck down, he’s identical to the 1998 Biggs Darklighter figure, which is fair, since he was our first proper New Hope-styled pilot.  The head is a new piece, at least in theory, though I myself remain unconvinced that it’s not just Biggs’ head without the mustache painted.  I’d have to actually see the Biggs head sans paint to confirm this, of course, which is a bit much for me.  Whatever the case, the two heads are certainly very similar, and this figure possess the same undersized helmet issue that Biggs had, which is consistent at the very least.  May the Rebel Pilots are just pin-headed?  For the most part, his paintwork matches Biggs, at least as far as the body is concerned, barring one color change-up on his chest monitor.  The head is different, with the skintone being molded rather than painted, and his helmet having a more generic selection of details.  Everything about the paint says “designed to fade into the crowd.”  The Pilot included no accessories, really being an accessory himself and all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There’s not a lot noteworthy about this figure, and that kind of extends to how I got him.  I picked him up alongside the carrying-case version of Wedge, back in December when I was on a PotF2 binge.  He’s fine.  That’s the best I can say about him.  I’m sure if I had the vehicle he was originally packed with, he’d look nice piloting it.  As it stands, he’s just one of those figures I have because I’m looking to get a full run.

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#2060: Cobra B.A.T.s Army Building Set

COBRA B.A.T.S ARMY BUILDING SET

G.I. JOE VS COBRA (HASBRO)

1986 was a good year for G.I. Joe, if you’re me at least.  Not only was my all time favorite army builder, the Cobra Viper, introduced that year, but so was my second all time favorite army builder, the Cobra Battle Android Trooper, better known as the Cobra B.A.T.  After two variants in the vintage line, the B.A.T.s disappeared from G.I. Joe for over a decade, but would return triumphantly in 2002, as the backbone of Cobra’s forces during the “Sound Attack” iteration.  They got a brand-new sculpt in the main line, as well as an online-exclusive rerelease of some old molds, designed expressly for army building.  I’ll be looking at the latter today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Cobra B.A.T.s Army Building set was available exclusively through online retailers in 2003.  The line-up was not quite the one seen here, as it actually had one less standard B.A.T., one more Inferno B.A.T., and the commanding officer Overkill.  They were, however, all sold sealed in little baggies, which means that getting them after the fact is pretty much always going to involve buying a bunch of loose figures.

COBRA B.A.T.S

This was the fourth version of the basic B.A.T. to grace the line.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 15 points of articulation (again including an extra joint on the right forearm).  Since (most of) the original B.A.T. tooling was lost prior to the line’s re-launch in 1997 (part of the reason there was such a gap on B.A.T. figures), this figure instead is built on the body of the V2 B.A.T.  It’s not the same, and really just not as strong a design as the original, but the original was gone, and this is far from the worst substitute.  It’s overall a slightly bulked up B.A.T., apart from the head, which is actually quite a bit pared down from the usual B.A.T. design.  It’s definitely a lot less of a melding of sci-fi and military, falling more firmly on the sci-fi side.  While it results on a figure that’s more internally consistent, it does also remove some of the more definitive flair of the original concept.  This one could really be any sci-fi-robo-henchman.  The main thing that this figure does to the V2 is try and give it the V2 colors, which is an interesting experiment.  I’m not sure how I feel about a ’90s Joe sculpt that’s not done up in its proper neon.  It’s not an displeasing look at all, but it’s definitely different.  Like his predecessors, he’s got the lenticular in his torso, detailing his robotic innards, and I will say that this one is designed to stay more firmly in place than the original, which is certainly a plus.  The B.A.T.s each included an alternate gun-arm attachment, as well as a black display stand.

COBRA INFERNO B.A.T.

Not content to just give us a bunch of standard B.A.T.s, Hasbro also created a new style of B.A.T. for this set, the Inferno B.A.T.  Designed as more independently operating troops, they also had a gimmick where they were always overheating, which gave them the distinctive design we see here.  The body is the same as the standard-issue trooper, but now it’s molded in a translucent red.  It’s actually a pretty solid look, and the brighter palette just feels “right” on this sculpt.  He had the same stand as his fellow troops, but swaps out the black gun-arm for a bright red one.  I dig it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on these when they were new because I was upset that they weren’t the V1 mold.  I was a picky child.  I didn’t get them until a decade after their original release, when I fished these five out of the loose Joes bin at Yesterday’s Fun.  They didn’t have a second Inferno B.A.T. or an Overkill, so I just had to make due with what I got.  They’re not my favorite versions of the B.A.T., but they’ve grown on me, and I can definitely appreciate them for what they are.

#1956: Firefly

FIREFLY

G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6

“FIREFLY is an expert in the art of sabotage and specializes in explosive devices that disable electronic systems. He worked in covert ops on missions involving computer espionage and was brought onto the SIGMA 6 Team to destroy a sophisticated computer virus created by COBRA to destabilize the world economy. He infiltrated the evil organization and blew up the base’s central electronics core, stopping the virus from being transmitted and ending all computerized COBRA activity for over a year. He became a permanent member of the SIGMA 6 Team to provide his expertise in fighting the COBRA B.A.T. troops. His Innovative Devices have provided the team with powerful weapons to deplete the ranks of these dangerous robots.”

G.I. Joe is a franchise of change.  Well, it was, anyway.  Beginning in the late ’60s, when it became unfashionable to be selling war toys, and the line had to be rebranded as “Adventure Team,” the brand became rather comfortable with re-formatting itself to suit the times.  In the early ’00s, after a decent run with a relaunch of the ARAH line, it was time to re-brand again.  In an effort to fit in more with the anime-influenced, sci-fi-heavy market of the time, Hasbro created Sigma 6, perhaps one of the most divisive incarnations of the brand in existence.  Either you love it, or you despise it, with very little room between.  Some of the changes to beloved characters drew this divisiveness out even more, and today’s focus, Firefly, was at the center of some of that conflict.  Rather than the clear cut Cobra saboteur of the ’80s, he was a member of the Joe team, with a character arc that amounted to more than the line “Cobra saboteur.”  How could this be?  They were killing the line!… You know, apart from the whole running for another year and a half after this figure’s release, and giving Hasbro the liquidity to launch the 25th Anniversary line and get the movie financed.  But yeah, it killed the line.  Let’s look at this awful thing that killed the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firefly was released in the second Soldier Wave for the 2006 line-up of Sigma 6 figures, as the assortment’s one debut character.  Like most of the line, he’s based on the character’s appearance in the corresponding cartoon, albeit filtered through a slightly different stylization.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Firefly’s sculpt was all-new to him, though it definitely shared more than a few stylistic elements with the various other Sigma Suit-sporting characters from the line.  Stylized as he may be, there are still a lot of really fun sculpted elements mixed in throughout this guy’s sculpt.  I love the differing textures on the various parts of the suit, as well as the fact that Firefly’s been given a distinct build when compared to the rest of the team.  I’m also still a fan of the cool little flip-up communicator that every team member had built-in; it was such a fun little touch.  Firefly also has one of my favorite headsculpts from this whole line; that evil smirk of his just exudes so much character, and is just so on point for him.  The modular nature of Sigma 6 was a pretty big selling point for the line, and most of the early figures have pretty involved costume pieces.  As a Soldier release (meaning he was at a lower price-point), Firefly had less pieces than some, but he was still pretty jam-packed.  He had a mask, web-gear (missing from my figure), belt, elbow and knee pads, and a set of dog tags, all of which add-up to a very unique looking figure.  By far, my favorite part is the mask, which has a very distinct flair to it, and sits so perfectly on his head.  In addition to the accents to his uniform, Firefly was armed with a nifty looking sub-machine gun (with a removable magazine and everything), plus two lightsaber-inspired torches, and a land-mine/trap gizmo.  The trap is kind of goofy and hard to use, but the gun is awesome, and the torches can be inter-locked with it for a different configuration, or the flame effects can also be removed and attached to the gun’s barrel.  There are a lot of play options here, to say the least.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sigma 6 was a concept I loved so much, but one I never was able to actively collect when it was new.  Firefly is a figure I admired from a far for quite some time before finally being able to add a mostly complete sample to my collection late last year, courtesy of House of Fun.  There’s so much I love about this figure, and he perfectly encapsulates everything that was so great about this line.  He’s a fun re-vamp, a fun design, and just a generally fun toy.  And he most decidedly did *not* kill the brand.  That came later.  Whatever the case, I’m glad to finally have one of my own, and he really is pushing me to get more of these figures.

#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.

#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.