#1907: Magneto

MAGNETO

X-MEN: DELUXE EDITION (TOY BIZ)

“After his interment in a concentration camp, Erik Lehnsherr realized that the only way mutants could survive would be to dominate mankind. Turning his complete control of magnetism to his newfound cause, Lehnsherr became the mutant terorrist Magneto, determined to win freedom from oppression for his fellow mutants, no matter what the cost. His mad dream has only been kept in check thanks to the ever-vigilant actions of the X-Men!”

For Day 6 of the Post Christmas reviews, I’m keeping that 10-inch Marvel thing going.  After a more broad Marvel Universe look with Nick Fury, I’m heading over to the ’90s commercial juggernaut that was X-Men.  Today’s focus is on the X-Men’s very first baddie, Magneto.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto was released in the second “Deluxe Edition” series of the X-Men line, which preceded the larger Marvel Universe line by a couple of years.  The figure stands 10 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t have a joint on his right elbow.  Left one’s still there, and the smaller counterpart figure has both of them, but this guy doesn’t.  I have no clue why, and I don’t know if anyone really does, but there it is.  The figure is patterned on the Magneto II figure from the 5-inch line, though, as with a number of these figures, the larger version allows for a much better formed sculpt.  In particular, he has less of the odd pin-headed nature that the smaller figure possessed, which makes the figure much more appealing.  The arms are still a touch stubby, but that’s a minor complaint.  Overall, though, it’s a really strong classic Magneto sculpt, unmarred by the action features that sort of held back the smaller figure.  Even his paintwork is a fair bit better.  The colors are brighter, the application is cleaner, and the use of molded flesh tone instead of painted makes him look far more lifelike.  Magneto was packed with a blaster pistol, because that was just how you did with these figures in the ’90s.  Hey, at least it wasn’t a wooden gun, right?  That would just break his mind right in two.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Magneto never got a reissue in any of the later lines, unlike a lot of the others, and as one of the more prominent characters released, he never really hung around all that much.  As such, I don’t believe I ever saw one in person.  Like Fury, this figure was a stocking stuffer from my parents.  I actually really like him, and I think he’s one of the line’s nicest offerings.  Its kind of a shame he didn’t get any reissues.

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#1906: Nick Fury

NICK FURY

MARVEL UNIVERSE 10-INCH (TOY BIZ)

“When a military robot from World War II is accidentally reactivated in the present, chaos sets in! Resuming its 50-year-old mission to destroy London, the robot begins smashing its way through the crowded city streets. Called in to stop the giant steel behemoth are Wolverine, Britain’s own Union Jack and Nick Fury agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.! With Fury using his advanced S.H.I.E.L.D. technology, Wolverine striking out with unbreakable adamantium claws and Union Jack relying on sheer cunning, the three heroes successfully neutralize the robot and leave it looking like scrap metal.”

For my fifth day of Post-Christmas reviews, I’m returning to a very comfortable ground, and looking back at one of my earliest collecting sources: Toy Biz’s run with the Marvel license.  While their 5-inch line was the real star of the ‘90s, running in tandem with it was a line of double-sized figures which proved pretty popular with the younger audience.  And in the ‘90s, the “younger audience” definitely included me.  Through creative parts re-use, Toy Biz racked up quite an impressive roster for the scale, and today I’m looking at Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nick was one of the larger scale Marvel Universe line’s 1998 offerings, hitting in an assortment that contained the Union Jack and a fairly standard Wolverine variant mentioned in the figure’s bio up there.  I’m always quite amused by this line’s way of creating a playable story from the seemingly off the wall character choices.  This one is admittedly one the most plausible of the ones I’ve found.  This figure stands 10 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  While Nick had a 5-inch figure with its own unique sculpt, this figure was released after the 10-inch line was almost entirely in repaint territory, so that sculpt was never actually sized up.  Instead, Nick is a repaint of the Spider-Man line’s Punisher.  I looked the the 5-inch release of that sculpt a little while back.  The designs of the two characters are similar enough that it’s really not much of a stretch I suppose.  It’s a nice enough sculpt, especially for its time of release, so there are no complaints there.  The larger version of the sculpt has the removable shoulder holster of the smaller figure permanently affixed, but this actually works out even better for Nick, since the shoulder piece is a pretty consistent element of his design.  The main change is the addition of his eye-patch, with is a soft-goods piece that’s been glued in place over his eye.  It’s a reasonable, cost effective way of handling the design change.  Nick’s paint gives him a more SHIELD appropriate color scheme of blue and white.  It ends up adding some details where there aren’t any on the sculpt, as well as overlooking some details that *are* on the sculpt, but that’s about par for the line.  The coolest work is definitely on his hair, which is actually a black base with the brown dry brushed over, giving it a neat layered appearance.  Pretty nifty!  Nick was originally packed with a rather larger gun piece, which my figure lacks.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nick was a stocking stuffer from my parents, and what a stocking stuffer he was!  Obviously, I didn’t have this guy growing up.  In fact, I remember seeing him only one time as a kid, and not even at a regular retail store.  The nature of the line by the time Nick hit was really one of get as many different figures out as you can and don’t look back, so there are a large number of them whose existence is really only known to the people who happened upon them for the window the figures were available.  Nick was definitely one such figure.  The Punisher mold’s a good fit for the character, and is perhaps an even better mold than his 5-inch figure had.  While he’s certainly on the goofy side by today’s standards, Nick’s still a lot of fun.

#1899: 4-LOM

4-LOM

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

A couple of weeks ago, I looked at the Power of the Force II version of the Gand bounty hunter Zuckuss.  Today, I follow that up with a look at the Zuckser’s usual partner in crime, 4-LOM.  It’s been a good year at the site for these two, since I wrapped up their Black Series versions a couple of months back.  So, without further ado, here’s another 4-LOM!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

4-LOM was released in Collection 2 of the 1997 assortment of Power of the Force figures.  He joined Bossk and Dengar as that year’s bounty hunter contingent, and predated his partner Zuckuss by a year.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  As with all figures of 4-LOM, his construction is fairly similar to the line’s version of C-3PO.  It is important to note, however, that as similar as they may be, there are actually no pieces shared between the two.  As a slightly later figure, 4-LOM shows the changes in the line’s aesthetics, so he’s not as muscly and pin-headed as earlier offerings.  While his sculpt doesn’t quite show the same level of detail as his equivalent Zuckuss figure, but he’s definitely still a lot better than the average figure from the line.  In fact, the sculpt was good enough that Hasbro still felt comfortable reissuing it in a boxed set from 2004, where it didn’t look too out of place.  4-LOM’s paintwork was a nice departure from the generally pretty basic detailing of the line up to this point.  The standard work is still pretty good, but now he’s also got this sort of rust detailing throughout via a orangey-brown wash.  It’s not the most advanced detailing, nor is it quite as impressive as Zuckuss, but it’s certainly better than no detailing at all.  4-LOM is packed with his usual long blaster rifle, as well as a smaller blaster rifle to mix things up a bit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I mentioned in my Zuckuss review, Getting the Black Series pairing of Zuckuss and 4-LOM got me more invested in the characters.  And, since I’ve been steadily working together a complete PotF2 collection, this pair made their way to the top of my want list.  Since All Time Toys got in a sizeable collection of PotF2 figures, I was able to pull both of these guys out at the same time.  Zuckuss was the star figure to be sure, but 4-LOM is no slouch himself, and as a pairing, they’re quite hard to beat.

As I mentioned above, I got 4-LOM here from my friends at All Time Toys, at the same time as the Zuckuss figure.  They’ve got a solid backlog of Power of the Force figures, as well as Star Wars figures from all eras, old and new.  Check out their website and eBay store to see for yourself!

#1895: Spider-Man & Mary Jane

SPIDER-MAN & MARY JANE

SPIDER-MAN: HOLIDAY SPECIAL (TOY BIZ)

“Peter Parker spends a lot of the tome swinging from building to building, patrolling the streets as Spider-Man.  But when the holidays come around, Spidey makes sure he’s home in time to spend them with his wife, Mary Jane.  Spider-Man and Mary Jane celebrate the holidays like any normal couple, except that Spidey delivers the holiday gifts by swinging in through their apartment window!”

It’s once more that time of year; another Christmas day, a therefore another Christmas-y review!  I’ve covered all sorts of different topics over the course of the last five Christmas reviews, from basic Christmas concepts (Santa and a Gingerbread Man), to classic holiday specials (Hermie from Rudolph and Charlie Brown from…well, A Charlie Brown Christmas), to one of my favorite Christmas movies (White Christmas).  This year, I’m actually playing it a lot closer to the sorts of things I review on this site from day to day, and taking a look at Spider-Man and Mary Jane…albeit a slightly more festive take on the characters.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spidey and MJ were released in 1999 as part of a seasonal “Holiday Special” pack, which was an extension of the Spider-Man: Animated Series line that was still running at the time, as well as a more festive take on the Famous Couple’s pairing of these two from the same year.  It included the two figures, as well as a Christmas-themed magnet featuring the two of them.

SPIDER-MAN

Headlining the pack is our main man Spider-Man.  Spider-Man takes his usual look, and adds a Santa hat, belt, and boots.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation.  He uses the Spidey-sculpt first introduced with Octo-Spider-Man, which would be one of Toy Biz’s favorite sculpts to re-use during their 5-inch days.  It’s not the most posable take on the character, but it worked well enough.  The new parts, with the exception of his belt buckle, are all cloth parts.  It works best for the hat (which, it should be noted, is glued in place), and the belt is decent enough.  The boots, however, are kind of odd, and make keeping him standing a little tricky.  They’re removable if you so choose, though, so you have your options there.  The paintwork is mostly standard, though it’s worth noting that he gets a metallic blue in place of the classic blue.  Not entirely sure why the change was made; perhaps metallic blue is more festive?  Spidey actually does get an accessory; it’s a cloth bag, with a little printed cardboard insert with some presents on it.  It’s a little finicky to get him holding it, but it’s a decent addition.

MARY JANE

Both of Mary Jane’s figures during the Toy Biz run came in 1999, and they were built from the same base figure.  I mean, I guess that’s pretty sensible, right?  She stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation (though the neck is, as always with this mold, very restricted).  Like her Famous Couples release, this Mary Jane is a repainted Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four line.  It’s  decent sculpt in its own right, though it’s slightly hindered for this release, by virtue of all the cloth and such she’s got glued to her.  The hat’s okay, and the skirt’s workable, but the fake fur on the arms, legs, and especially the torso end up looking really goofy.  She’s just not particularly playable as a figure, nor is she particularly appealing to look at.  She’s definitely the weak link of the set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this set a good number of times at various stores back when it was new, but I never got around to actually buying one.  As regular readers will have no doubt noticed, I’ve actually had to outsource a couple of my Christmas review items in recent years, but last year, right before the holiday, I actually came across this set at Gidget’s Gadgets, and while I couldn’t get it done last year, I was able to ear-mark it for this round.  It’s goofy, and hokey, and totally without use outside of the holiday season, but the pair does have something of its own charm.

#1892: Wolverine II

WOLVERINE II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“His super-sharp adamantium claws can slash through steel. His mutant healing ability can mend even the worst wounds in minutes. He’s Wolverine, the best at what he does and what he does best is fight Evil Mutants! With his keen senses of sight, smell and hearing, and his frighteningly fierce fighting style, enemies claim Wolverine is more animal than mutant. But his fellow X-Men know that he’s the best friend they have, especially when the going gets deadly dangerous!”

Did you know that wolverines use snow as refrigerators to keep their food fresh?  That’s your fun FiQ fact for today…’s Tiger Stripe Wolverine review.  You guys thought I was going to forget about the running gag, didn’t you?  Well, I didn’t!  Okay, let’s just take a look at the figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine, or “Wolverine II” as he is referred to on all of the packaging, is part of the second series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line. The first series had used Wolverine’s then-current brown costume, but Logan had reverted back to an approximation of his classic look not too long after that figure’s release, so Toy Biz followed suit with this figure.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Wolverine’s sculpt was new to him, and would serve as the basis for a number of figures that would follow, including when it was up-scaled for the 10-inch Deluxe Edition figure (reviewed here).  While the smaller scale doesn’t quite serve the sculpt quite as well as the larger, but all of the basics are still there, and it’s still a pretty strong offering for the character.  He’s a little on the tall side for a proper Logan, but that was the trend of the time, and he’s certainly not as bad as some of the figures that would follow.  The primary differences between this figure and the larger one are to do with his claws and the raised lever on his back to allow for an “action feature” when spinning his torso.  The claws are an interesting choice.  They’re spring loaded, but since there’s no locking mechanism, they just pop right back into place.  Also, they’re stubby and curved, and the spring feature makes his forearms really boxy, so I’m not really sure it’s worth the tradeoff.  Wolverine’s paintwork is decent enough.  Fairly basic, and not without some slop, especially around the edges of the blue parts of the costume.  The black details also seem to extend a bit further into the rest of the costume than they traditionally do in the comics, but that’s rather minor.  Wolverine was packed with a gun, because, when you get down to it, isn’t that really Wolverine’s defining trait?  Having a gun?  Well, not my Wolverine, because his gun is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, this figure was *not* my first Wolverine.  That would be the Battle-Ravaged Wolverine from the Invasion Series, which was the current figure of Wolverine when I got into collecting.  The trouble with that figure, as cool as it is, arose when I got the Black Bird, which the larger Battle-Ravaged figure couldn’t actually fit inside of, meaning I really needed a smaller figure.  Around the time I got my Black Bird, my parents were in the process of buying a new house, and my dad was going back and forth many days getting things ready to move in.  I accompanied on many of those trips, Black Bird in tow, with only my Series 1 Cyclops in it, since he was the only one who actually fit.  On one of those days, my dad had to go and pick up carpet from the mall, where there was also a KB Toys.  In exchange for accompanying, my Dad bought me this guy (he also bought himself a Ch’od figure, because him also getting a figure was part of the ritual) to go with my Black Bird.  He stuck with me for the whole move in process at the new house.  Is he the best Wolverine ever?  Maybe not, but I do still really like him.

#1885: Zuckuss

ZUCKUSS

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Zuckuss answers Darth Vader’s call for bounty hunters to help locate the Millennium Falcon and her crew.”

I’ve established a loose ranking of Empire Strikes Back’s bounty hunters throughout my various Black Series–wait a minute…this isn’t a Black Series review.  That was my Zuckuss review from two weeks ago…this one’s very different.  For one thing, he’s about 2 inches shorter, and for another, he’s 20 years older.  But he’s still Zuckuss, and he’s still getting reviewed.  So there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zuckuss was released in Power of the Force II‘s 1998 assortment.  Like with the Black Series releases, he followed his partner in crime 4-LOM, who was released the prior year.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall (befitting Zuckuss’ slightly smaller stature) and has 6 points of articulation.  The articulation is ever so slightly hampered by the nature of the character’s design and its implementation on the figure, which sees Zuckuss’ robes recreated through a thick rubber piece, similarly to the line’s take on Obi-Wan.  This time, however, the robes cannot be removed, due to the figure’s somewhat oddly shaped head.  It’s a shame, really, since there’s a fully detailed body under there, which is a lot of fun.  Oh well.  The sculpt that you actually can see is still a solid offering, to be fair.  The aliens were always where PotF2 shined, and Zuckuss is no exception.  The detail work is nice and crisp, and he’s a fairly spot-on recreation of Zuckuss’ on-screen appearance.  Zuckuss’ paintwork is actually some of the best we got from this line, by virtue of not being as cut and dry as most samples.  The robes in particular really benefit from that dry-brushed weathering that’s been placed all along them, giving them a more real-world-feel than most of his compatriots.  Also, quite impressively, the painted detailing extends under his robe, meaning if you find a way to remove it, he’ll still look all finished and proper.  Zuckuss is packed with his blaster pistol, which is a fairly standard inclusion.  And, as a 1998 figure, he was also packed with a Freeze Frame Action Slide, which shows off Zuckuss and his fellow bounty hunters on the bridge of the Executor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Completing my Black Series pairing of Zuckuss and 4-LOM got me interested in the characters, and their prior figures.  I’ve been steadily piecing together a PotF2 collection, and, as luck would have it, my friends at All Time Toys just got in a fairly substantial collection from someone.  I never had Zuckuss growing up, but he looked cool enough that I just really felt compelled to buy him.  He’s an example of how good this line could be when Kenner really pulled their A-game.  Definitely one of my favorite figures from this line.

So, as I mentioned above, I got Zuckuss here from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a solid backlog of Power of the Force figures, as well as Star Wars figures from all eras, old and new.  Check out their website and eBay store to see for yourself!

#1878: Gambit

GAMBIT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Gambit has the mutant ability to take the energy of any object and put it to his own use. That use usually means turning the object into a deadly weapon. Gambit is a martial arts expert with a lightning-fast karate kick. When battling multiple attackers, Gambit relies on his Techno Battle Staff for additional assault power.”

As someone whose primary introduction to the X-Men came from their ’90s cartoon, I have an almost unhealthy appreciation for their resident Cajun sleazeball, one Remy LaBeau, aka Gambit.  I am, of course, not at all alone in this, which has helped to keep him relatively high on the action figure count.  Today, I’m jumping back to the beginning, and taking a look at his very first figure (more or less).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit was initially released in the second series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  Following the success of the cartoon, he was subsequently re-released in the “Classics” assortment a few years later.  The figure reviewed here is technically the later release, though the only actual difference between the two is the accessory selection.  This figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Gambit’s sculpt is fairly typical of an early Toy Biz figure, meaning he’s a little more rudimentary than later offerings would be.  He’s slightly scrawny, and the details are a little softer.  This is definitely a kinder, friendlier looking Gambit than you usually see.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s definitely different than other Gambits.  His trench coat seems to have thrown Toy Biz for a bit of a loop, as well.  Rather than sculpting it onto him, they opted for a removable piece…mostly, anyway.  The bulk of the jacket is just a thin plastic get-up, not unlike the capes from the old Kenner Star Wars figures.  It’s not terribly sturdy, and isn’t really the sort of thing we ever saw again from them.  It looks alright, but certainly limits his playability when in place.  What’s slightly odd is the decision to make the collar of this jacket a sculpted element, which is part of the figure’s torso.  This means it’s always there, even when the coat is off of the figure.  Why not just leave the collar as part of the coat?  Who knows.  Well, someone at Toy Biz probably knew, I guess.  Gambit’s paintwork is alright.  It’s pretty basic, and gets the general gist of the character down.  There’s a lot of pink, which is really the most important thing when you get right down to it.  It does get a handful of details wrong, though, such as keeping the sleeves of the shirt pink (rather than matching with the pants as they did in the comics), and the pink squares on the sides of his legs are a different pattern than usually seen.  The original release of Gambit included his staff, while the re-release included the bandolier and knives (presumably meant to stand in for his playing cards) from Longshot.  Gambit has an action feature, a kicking action, which is an interesting choice for the character.  It’s also not implemented incredibly well, because it’s default state is actually with the leg extended, meaning the latch is in a constant state of strain when he’s in a basic standing pose.  The end result is a figure that you will commonly find with his leg forever stuck at a 90 degree angle.  Fortunately, this isn’t the case with my figure, but I’ve seen my fair share of figures that weren’t so lucky.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t recall exactly where I got Gambit, but I know I was with my parents, and it was very early into my collecting because it was before we moved into the house that they’ve been in since I was four.  So, somewhere in late ’95?  Anyway, despite how harsh I may have been on this figure in the actual review segment, it’s worth noting that this remains my very favorite Gambit figure to date, and just one of my favorite X-Men figures in general.

#1871: Rebel Fleet Trooper

REBEL FLEET TROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Aboard the Rebel Blockade Runner, Rebel freedom fighters begin their defense against an Imperial invasion.”

The Rebel Fleet Troopers are our first glimpse at the heroes of Star Wars.  They are also our first glimpse at what happens to anyone who’s not a main character, as they are quickly dispatched in an uncharacteristic bit of spot-on marksmanship from the Stormtroopers.  The greatest indignity of all, however, would come from Kenner, who didn’t grace those poor Fleet Troopers with a single figure during the run of the original Star Wars line.  Fortunately, Power of the Force II would sort of make up for that, though with perhaps one of the line’s most infamous figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rebel Fleet Trooper was released as part of Power of The Force II‘s 1997 line-up, alongside the Hoth-themed variant of the Rebel Trooper, amongst others.  He is, of course, based on the dome-helmeted Troopers from A New Hope‘s opening sequence, though perhaps a bit more loosely based than some of this line’s offerings.  The Trooper was one of the line’s biggest offerings (in more than one way), clocking in at over 4 inches tall.  And he’s not just tall, he’s built.  And when I say “built” I mean like a truck.  If the actual Fleet Troopers in the movie had been anywhere near as big as this guy, maybe they wouldn’t have gone down so quickly.  This guy’s sculpt definitely represents Power of the Force at the peak of its ’90s macho man insanity.  It’s actually a little surprising to see when compared to the rest of the figures from this same year, who had started dialing these things down.  At this point, it’s almost caricature.  Like someone, somewhere along the line was trying to win a bet or something, and seeing how far they could get with this.  Whatever the case may be, he’s perhaps the goofiest sculpt in the line, and that’s saying something.  As far as paint goes, the Fleet Trooper is fairly standard for the line.  Somewhat surprisingly, it’s actually a somewhat subdued color scheme compared to the movie, but the application’s clean and he’s close enough to work.  The Fleet Trooper is packed with two blasters: the standard-issue Rebel blaster, as well as a re-pack of Han’s, because this guy wanted to feel more like a main character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Fleet Trooper was amongst the figures my cousin Patrick and I had shared custody of at my grandparents’ house back in the day.  That one got lost along the way, so this one’s a replacement I picked up during one of Lost in Time’s sidewalk sales at the beginning of the summer.  He is super, super goofy, and a prime example of PotF2‘s “worst”, but man oh man do I love this guy.

#1864: Forge

FORGE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Forge is the X-Men’s brilliant high-tech weapons inventor. Not only can he custom design a deadly arsenal in almost no time… he’s ready to jump straight into action and use it! In fact Forge is such a fierce fighter that when he straps on his weapons and activates his amazing bionic leg, he becomes a one-man army!”

The ‘90s X-Men line was the most expansive selection of the characters ever put to plastic, offering up main, supporting, and minor characters from all throughout the franchise’s history.  It definitely took a heavy lean towards the ‘90s, of course, and paramount to the line’s early days was getting collectors a complete line-up of the X-Men of the X-Men #1 era.  Included amongst that line-up was relatively new addition (at the time) Forge!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Forge was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, and was sporting his strike-team uniformed look, which is, by far, Forge’s most prominent design.  Also, his current design at the time, so it made a lot of sense.  Apart from some repaints of this same figure, this would be the only Forge figure we’d get from Toy Biz, so, hey, they better have made it count.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Sculpt-wise, Forge is fairly typical of the early line figures.  He’s definitely got a more refined sculpt than a lot of his Series 1 counterparts, but compared to later-run figures from Toy Biz, he’s definitely on the scrawny side.  Though, for a character like Forge, the scrawnier nature isn’t too terrible, especially if your a fan of the tech-geek take on the character seen in the likes of X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men.  Some of the details, especially the pouches and his boots, are far more simplistic than they’d be on more current offerings, but on the plus side, the details on the head sculpt are actually pretty sharp.  Forge’s gun is molded into his hand. Ostensibly, it’s to aid with the figure’s quick-draw action feature, though I can’t say I understand why it had to actually be molded in place for that.  It ends up rather restricting what you can do with the figure.  The paintwork on Forge is about par for the course on this line.  Application’s clean and fairly basic, and the colors are bright.  I quite like the clear molded plastic for his artificial arm and leg; it’s a nice touch.  Like a number of the early Toy Biz figures, there were two minor paint variants on Forge, concerning the color of his holster.  The initial figures were brown, but it was changed mid-production to yellow, which is the one seen here.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Forge a few years back, during my first resurgence of 5-inch X-Men collecting, just after my freshmen year of college.  I ended up finding him loose from Yesterday’s fun.  Forge has never been a particular favorite of mine, and the figure doesn’t really do much to change that, being more or less middle of the road, but he’s certainly passable.

#1857: ASP-7

ASP-7

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“From the newly-created footage in Star Wars: A New Hope – Special Edition.”

Those words are proudly splashed across the front of this figure’s packaging.  Remember when that actually would have excited people?  Remember before Lucas kept changing and changing them, and just generally ruining everything?  Pepperidge Farm remembers.  And me; I also remember, which I guess is more relevant for this site, isn’t it?

The ASP-7 was one of the many additional CGI characters added to the original trilogy during Lucas’ first CG-laden Special Edition fever dream, and is, admittedly, one of the less offensive additions.  He just hangs in the background and carry’s some metal bars around.  At least he doesn’t dance in front of the camera…or shoot first…or sound like Temuera Morrison.  Point is, things could have been way worse for old ASPy here.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The ASP-7 was released in the 1997 assortment of Power of the Force II, right on top of that whole “Special Edition” thing.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has…articulation.  An exact count’s a little tricky, because it’s hard to tell what’s actually a proper joint, and what’s an un-articulated joining of the plastic.  The general gist is that this guy’s just not terribly mobile.  His sculpt was an all-new offering, and has remained unique to him.  It is simultaneously a product of its time and completely different than the rest of the line it hails from.  He’s honestly far more screen-accurate than a good chunk of the Power of the Force figures, but at the same time, that’s not saying a lot.  As a mid-90s CG model, the ASP-7’s movie counterpart was pretty devoid of detailing, and was quite rudimentary.  This figure follows suit, so while he may not have the wonky proportions of a lot of his compatriots, he also lacks a lot of the fun detail work that really allows most of the line to shine two decades later.  The paintwork on the ASP-7 is decent enough.  Like the sculpt, it matches very closely to the on-screen appearance.  Those rather generic filler gradients of the animation model come through perfectly clear here.  On the plus side, this is undoubtedly an area where it looks better on the toy than in the movie, because this styling of paintwork is fairly common place, especially in toys of this era, so he ends up looking alright.  He’s packed with a single accessory: a pile of bars, just like the ones he’s seen carrying in the movie.  I don’t think you can come up with a better accessory than that, can you?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The ASP-7 is the penultimate figure in the selection of them I grabbed over the summer during one of Lost in Time’s sidewalk sales.  He was grabbed first and foremost because he was a figure I didn’t already have, but also because, hey, kinda nifty robot, right?  I know the actual review segment here was kind of rough on him.  He’s not the finest offering this line had, not by a long shot.  But, as with so many of the figures in this line, I still can’t help but kind of love this little guy, warts and all.