#3235: Hobgoblin

HOBGOBLIN

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“A criminal mastermind bent on Spider-Man’s destruction, the Hobgoblin employs an eerie arsenal to carry out his malevolent schemes. Hurling pumpkin bombs and razorsharp bats from his jet glider, the Hobgoblin has Spider-Man constantly on his guard!”

When Spider-Man: The Animated Series was going into production, its story editor John Semper, who guided the show throughout its run, was not part of the initial crew.  When he arrived, he discovered that a number of odd decisions had been made by higher ups, in an aim to keep the show more relevant.  With the Green Goblin identity having been abandoned in the comics and Hobgoblin serving as the main goblin antagonist, initial plans had Norman Osborne assuming the Hobgoblin identity, rather than Green Goblin.  This choice was so cemented that Toy Biz’s tie-in line’s first assortment had already gone into production with Hobgoblin in its roster, in place of the more classic Green Goblin.  Semper disliked the choice, but was forced to keep Hobgoblin for merchandising purposes.  However, rather than make Norman Hobgoblin, Hobbie was kept a separate character, and the order of the goblin appearances was reversed, with Norman’s Green Goblin joining the show later.  But, Hobgoblin was still in the show’s opening line-up.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hobgoblin was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line, with re-issues in both the Marvel Universe and Marvel Super Heroes lines.  The mold was also up-scaled for the 10 inch line, and downscaled for the diecast line.  He was based on Hobbie’s classic design, just like the show design.  It was really his only look at the time, so it made sense.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is rather odd; he’s got shoulders, hips, and knees on both sides, but only his right arm gets elbow movement, and he lacks a joint for his neck.  It winds up making the figure rather stiff.  His sculpt was an all-new one at the time, and wound up more or less remaining unique, though there were a couple of re-issues and minor re-colors.  It’s a decent one for the most part.  Some of the details are a little bit on the soft side, but the general layout of everything looks pretty decent, and he wasn’t a terrible match for the animation design.  His paint work is generally pretty good.  The application’s not particularly intensive, but it’s generally clean.  Though he’s clearly got sculpted elements on the hips for his shorts to go a little further, they are unpainted.  It’s not terribly noticeable, though.  Hobgoblin was packed with his Goblin Glider and a pumpkin bomb.  His arm is spring loaded, and there’s a notch in his hand so he can fling the pumpkin bomb, and the Glider also features a launching missile at the front.  None of it’s terribly obtrusive to the figure’s design, which is certainly a plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have the regular Hobgoblin as a kid.  I was never much attached to the character, really.  I did have the little diecast version, and one of my cousins had this particular release, but that was the real extent of it.  The one seen in the review came to me courtesy of Max.  I’ve been working on my 5 inch Marvel collection for a while, and he had snagged this guy, but ultimately didn’t feel like he needed to keep him, so he was kind enough to pass him on to me.  How very kind of him.  The figure’s okay.  There were better Hobgoblins and just better figures in general in the line.  Even the basic Green Goblin’s honestly a better figure.  But, he’s certainly not bad, especially for the era.

#3230: Nimrod

NIMROD

X-FORCE (TOY BIZ)

“The most dangerous Sentinel of a dark future timeline, the robot known as Nimrod has returned to the present to achieve his prime directive — the eradication of all mutants! With an arsenal of weapons and a virtually indestructible body, there’s little anyone can do to stop him… even the X-Men!”

Where would we be without our dangerous Sentinels from a dark future timeline?  In a much worse place, I assure you.  I mean, without Nimrod, we wouldn’t have Bastion, or all of the Orchis subplots from Hickman’s X-Men.  Could you imagine a world without those things?  Because I can.  And…actually I wouldn’t mind it so much.  But I guess I’d miss Nimrod a little bit.  But, fortunately, he does exist.  So, you know, here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nimrod was released in Series 6 of Toy Biz’s X-Force line.  This marked his very first time as a figure, and would more or less remain his only version for a surprisingly long time.  Unfortunately, due to an issue of timing, they wound up going with a very modern and up to the moment look that Nimrod was sporting in the X-Force comics at the time, which was a rather divergent look that didn’t stick.  But, I guess it’s better than nothing?  Sure, let’s go with that.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Nimrod wasn’t particularly posable, with no neck or elbow movement, as well as greatly restricted movement on his shoulders and knees.  Not really a ton you can do with it all, but it’s kind of something you have to deal with on any version of Nimrod.  He’s just clunky.  The figure’s also rather on the small side for Nimrod, who’s classically a pretty sizable guy.  He’s chunkier than other figures, but not actually any larger, which does make him seem…less than imposing.  The figure does an alright job of capturing the design from the comics, for better or for worse.  It’s not as sleek a design as the usual, but there’s at least some cool tech detailing.  Nimrod’s colorscheme is largely red, which isn’t the usual, but it’s again accurate.  All of the red is molded, with painted yellow and black accenting.  Nimrod was originally packed with a missile for his wrist cannon, which my figure is missing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nimrod wasn’t really much on radar as a kid, largely due to him not actually looking like the character in anything I knew him from.  I wound up getting him much later, during one of my 5-inch Marvel sprees in the summer of 2017.  He’s not really the figure anyone wanted.  He’s not bad, though.  Just limited by the source material he came from.  It’s just a shame they didn’t at least do him in the more classic Nimrod colors at some point, just to sort of do that half step.  But, nowadays, we’ve got the Legends release, so I guess it all worked out.

#3226: Air Assault Batman

AIR ASSAULT BATMAN

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (KENNER)

“Gotham City’s most dangerous villains have escaped from Arkham Asylum! In order to save humanity. BATMAN and ROBIN have armed themselves with special rapid-deployment techno-cape backpack equipment and highly- camouflaged suits to track down every last criminal- no matter where they are hiding! Join the BATMAN Crime Squad on their life or death mission to save humanity from its most dangerous enemies!”

Last Friday, Kevin Conroy passed away.  Though perhaps not a household name, he was well known through the world of fandom as the voice of Batman for three decades.  He was the definitive voice for the character, and the one that legions of Bat-fans hear in their voice whenever they think of the character.  Like so many greats, I never met Kevin Conroy, but I’ve heard plenty of stories from people that did that support that, outside of being the definitive Batman, he was also just a really great person, who very genuinely appreciated the support of his fans.  Batman: The Animated Series launched the year I was born, so, for me, Kevin was always Batman.  There was no time where he wasn’t the voice I heard in my head, and his portrayal shaped my view on the character almost entirely.  It’s going to be very odd to not hear him as Batman in future projects.  But, there’s no denying the impact he had, and the legacy he left behind.  So, in his honor, today I’m taking a look at a Batman figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Air Assault Batman was released in 1995 as part of the “Crime Stoppers” sub-branding of Kenner’s Batman: The Animated Series tie-in line.  “Crime Stoppers” was designed as Kenner’s justification for doing a bunch of wacky Batman and Robin variants, under the trappings that these new suits were designed to aid in rounding up a bunch of escaped villains.  The first series has six Batmen and one Robin, and notably no actual villains for them to stop.  This guy was very areal themed, as you might guest from his name.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt was largely unique, apart from sharing his head with all of the standard Kenner Batmen from the line.  The head was, admittedly, a pretty good recreation of the animation model, so it’s a respectable re-use.  The body sculpt was new, and sports a bit of an armored up look. Presumably, it’s to help combat g-force, or something like that.  It also looks pretty sweet, so it’s got that going for it.  The extra armoring details are rather fun, and do a rather nice job of changing him up a bit from the basic Batman look.  The color scheme on this guy goes for a very sky-oriented look.  He’s largely a light blue shade, with some white accenting that got a sort of art deco kind of patterning to it.  It’s funky, and honestly doesn’t feel too out of place with the overall aesthetic of the line.  The finish on mine has taken a bit of a beating over the years, but it’s not as bad as some in my collection.  Air Assault Batman only included one accessory, but it was the source of his whole gimmick: his Transforming Techno-Wing Backpack, perfect for all your assaulting in the air needs!  It’s honestly a pretty fun piece, with a bunch of moving parts, and just a cool overall look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure’s pretty notable, because, while he’s not my first Batman (that was this guy), he’s still a very early one, more than likely my second, and very definitely my first Animated Batman figure.  I got him for Christmas in 1995, alongside my very first Robin, which sort of cemented the two of them as a pair, especially given their similar gimmicks.  He got a lot of play time as my go-to Batman, until I had more standard versions to replace him (and even then, he just got shifted to being Earth-2 Batman for all of my JLA/JSA cross overs).  And, of course, he always sounded like Kevin Conroy in my head.  Thank you for everything you did, Kevin.

#3225: Stryfe

STRYFE

X-FORCE (TOY BIZ)

“Stryfe is the mysterious evil mutant who could be Cable’s brother – or perhaps even Cable himself! No one knows the truth about this fearsome warrior, and anyone who came close to finding out learned never to do it again! Styfe’s armor is not only shatter-proof, it’s packed with amazing weapons systems. But his most dangerous weapon is his energy mace – with just a touch it can destroy a skyscraper.”

Ah, Stryfe.  He’s so ’90s, it’s painful.  Definition of try-hard.  Just way too much going on.  Ooooh, what if he’s Cable?  Or what if he’s a clone?  And what if he looks like Wolverine, but with more Wolverine stuff shoved on his face?  But he’s also in a full suit of armor?  And he’s maybe a telepath?  And there’s a random “y” in his name, in place of the proper vowel?  See what I mean?  Too much going on.  He’s just so hard to follow.  At least he had a short run of action figures, I guess.  Well, here’s the first one of those.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Stryfe was released in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s X-Force line.  He was one of two outright villains in the first assortment, the other being the wonderfully named “Forearm.”  Gotta love that one.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation, as well as a flip-up helmet.  The figure’s sculpt was all-new.  Apart from the head, which was re-used for one of the X-Men boxed sets later down the line, it was a sculpt that remained unique.  I looked at the slightly miniaturized version of the sculpt when it was in the Steel Mutants line-up, and I wasn’t particularly enamored by it at the time.  I’m still not really enamored by it here.  He’s scrawny, strangely shaped, and still largely devoid of detailing.  The flip-up helmet is an interesting concept, but it just winds up looking really strange.  It’s just so flat, and the underlying head just winds up looking silly.  The cape piece is removable, and….well, it connects at a very unfortunate spot, right in the middle of the butt.  Yes, this figure has a butthole.  Why connect it there?  Doesn’t it just feel like it’s asking for trouble?  The paint work on this figure is very basic.  Lots of silver.  All very flat.  It’s alright.  Stryfe was packed with his weirdly shaped mace, which is just about as goofy as he is.

 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t like Stryfe.  I’ve never liked Stryfe.  This figure’s always looked lame, and I stand by that.  I bought him because I want all of them, and he was cheap because I bought him loose.  He’s not great.  He’s really not.  He’s a try-hard, and that comes through on the figure, too.  I guess it could be worse.  It could be Ahab.  But that’s not a lot to clear, really.

#3220: Warpath

WARPATH

X-FORCE (TOY BIZ)

“He’s super-strong and super loyal! He’s the Native American known as Warpath! The X-Force team loves him for his rock-steady calm in even the most dangerous situations. Because he’s so big and so strong, Evil Mutants often attack him first, thinking that “the bigger they are, the harder they fall”. But in Warpath’s case, it’s the Evil Mutants who fall!”

The X-Men were really big in the ’90s, and the best way to capitalize on that is spin-offs!  Previous X-book The New Mutants was made more x-friendly with its own x-themed title, X-Force, and, with X-Force itself becoming a pretty big deal, it got its own spin-off of Toy Biz’s own X-Men toyline.  They got right to work filling in the team’s roster, in an assortment that, in a form of dramatic irony, didn’t actually feature any of the New Mutants members who had transferred over.  It did, however, feature Warpath, brother to X-Man proper Thunderbird, getting a figure years before his brother did.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Warpath was released in the first series of Toy Biz’s X-Force toyline.  He was one of three actual team members in the set.  The X-Force line was a bit slower on getting out actual team members than the X-Men line, but then again, the actual book was far more focused on side characters most of the time too.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Warpath lacks elbows and knees, which were still kind of phasing in and out at this point.  Presumably, the lack of them here was somehow linked to his slightly larger stature.  Not much larger, mind you; he’s actually surprisingly small for Warpath, who is classically a quite large and imposing guy, especially in the ’90s.  The sculpt is also kind of soft in terms of detailing, and sort of pre-posed, but also really stiff?  It’s an odd mix.  His muscles are also just kind of odd lumps.  I mean, aside from the very definite presence of feet, he’s not a bad match for a Liefeld drawing.  Perhaps not in terms of actual look, but certainly in terms of vibe.  The paint work on the figure is honestly not bad.  It’s bright and colorful, and the application is pretty sharp and clean.  Warpath is packed with…a red bazooka?  Not really sure why.  Not exactly true to the character, but, well, there it is.  He also featured a “Thunder Punch Action,” which just means his arms swing opposite directions when he’s twisted at the waist.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is another one of those figures that I looked at a lot growing up, but never actually wound up buying until I was an adult.  I snagged him sealed in the summer of 2017, alongside a bunch of other ’90s Toy Biz stuff.  He’s…not a terribly impressive figure.  I mean, he’s not awful either, I guess, but that’s not exactly a lot to write home about.

#3195: White Queen

WHITE QUEEN

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

“The former White Queen of the sinister Inner Circle, the telepathic Emma Frost, recently re-evaluated her philosophy and alliances. As a result, she has accepted Professor Charles Xavier’s offer to join Banshee in training Generation X, the next class of young mutants enrolled at his school. Shrewd, manipulative, and hardened by her villainous past, Emma Frost will provide the tough guidance necessary for her new students to make it through the turbulent times ahead.”

During the events of the X-Men crossover “Phalanx Covenant”, Marvel formed a new X-team, Generation X.  It was a bunch of younger mutants (essentially the ’90s answer to the New Mutants, who by this point had all been folded into X-Force and X-Factor), under the tutelage of two reformed X-foes: Banshee, who’d been on the main team for years, and the very recently reformed Emma Frost, aka the White Queen.  The reformed White Queen angle wound up sticking, and she’s pretty much been there since.  Her Generation X run wound up getting Emma her first action figure, which is pretty cool, all things considered.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

White Queen was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Generation X line.  After years with more or less the same look, Generation X had placed her in a more toned down outfit.  It’s not classic White Queen, but a solid argument can be made that it’s far more appropriate for a toyline that’s selling at mass retail.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall (the Generation X line as a whole was just a touch scaled up), and she has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation on this figure is more or less pointless.  She’s kind of just a statue that you can slightly move the head and arms on.  The hip joints in particular are rather pointless.  Any real change means she can’t stand at all.  So, she just really stands there.  Which, I guess, is what Emma tends to do in the comics.  You know what, I guess it’s the perfect set-up, isn’t it?  The sculpt is a rather stylized one.  Her hands are notably quite large, and the body’s got some definite pre-posed-ness to it.  The proportions are generally just all over the place, and she winds up looking a little bit odd.  I do like how the detailing on the outfit worked out, though.  The paint work on White Queen was the source of a variant for the figure.  The main release has a flesh tone painted on the upper legs, suggesting she’s wearing short shorts, while a rarer version of the release drops the extra paint app, and effectively gives her pants.  Not  huge change, but there it is.  There was also a later variation of the figure in the Marvel Hall of Fame line, dubbed “Black Queen,” which, predictably, swaps black in for all of the white parts, as well as the hair.  Presumably, it’s supposed to be Selene, but it really just winds up looking like Emma’s going through a goth phase.  White Queen’s orignal release was packed with a Psychic Energy Spear, whatever that is, as well as the Generation X display stand.  Black Queen gets the same Spear, but in silver.  Again, no clue what it is, but, you know, there it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was a long trek to getting all of the variants of this particular figure.  I got the standard release version first, courtesy of Jess, who bought it for me from Power Comics, the comic shop near our apartment when we first moved in together in 2016.  A few years later, I picked up Black Queen loose at a toy show in 2018.  And, I finally wrapped it up with the variant of White Queen, which I snagged from a collection that came into All Time in 2021.  They’re all kind of goofy, and not particularly unique, but there’s a novelty behind how I got them all, which is pretty nice.

#3190: Iceman

ICEMAN

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Iceman has the mutant ability to turn himself into a being of living ice. Once he does that, he can create almost anything he wants: ice slides, ice weapons, ice shields, not to mention icicles and snowballs. And when he really concentrates, he can create a blinding snowstorm even in the middle of July! But most important of all, the X-Men know that no matter how hot the battle, Iceman always keeps his cool.”

Sometimes in the toy world, you discover an issue with an item way too late in the production process, or perhaps even completely after the production has wrapped, leaving you with no way to actually fix the issue.  So, what are you to do?  Well, sometimes you just ignore it.  Other times, you decide to double down on the money train, and do something to fix the issue quickly, all so you can rake in that sweet, sweet cheddar.  Or, ice, as it may be in this case.  This case being the first Toy Biz X-Men Iceman, whose clear plastic and thermochromatic paint caused issues with the intended “stick him in the freezer” gimmick, and meant that the figure just broke.  But it’s okay.  They made another one!  And this time he’s different!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman was released as part of Toy Biz’s first dedicated Repaint series of X-Men, released in late 1993/early 1994, around the main line’s 4th and 5th assortments.  He was perhaps the most sensible of the repaint choices, given the issues with the first release.  The figure stands a little under 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  It’s the same mold as the prior release, which is a respectable classic Iceman sculpt, and fits in quite nicely with the early line figures.  The major difference between this one and the original is now he’s blue.  It’s a nice, consistent, transparent blue, which looks really cool, and makes him immediately different from his Series 2 counterpart.  He includes the same ice sled piece, which can still work with the freezing gimmick, with a little bit less risk of him breaking right away.  That said, you have to be careful with these things, especially given the age of the plastics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when I was a kid, this was the Iceman that my dad had in his collection, so I got to use it with my collection from time to time.  I never had one of my own, but did eventually get the re-release of the clear version from KB a few years later.  I eventually found this guy on his own in a bin of loose figures a few years ago, and, viola, now I have both.  Woo-hoo!

#3185: Vulture

VULTURE

SPIDER-MAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (TOY BIZ)

“When his business partner attempted to swindle Adrian Toomes out of the flying harness he had invented, Toomes stole the harness back and embarked on a life of crime as the high-flying Vulture! Recently rejuvenated, the Vulture is now a more dangerous threat than ever – as Spider-Man has learned, to his lasting regret!”

Man, the ’90s were definitely rough on some characters, especially as they tried to stay hip and relevant.  Spider-Man foe the Vulture, perennially defined by being, like, the oldest man alive, got saddled with the whole “making myself young again by draining off other people’s lifeforce” thing, in addition to also getting a new armored look, which also had a headband built-in.  It was, like, all of the ’90s things at once.  And it didn’t really stick, which was probably for the best, really.  Man, what a time.  And that’s how we got his first action figure, no less.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Vulture was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Animated Series tie-in line.  He was based on the character’s revamped design, which got a special focus on the show.  And, more specifically, he was actually kind of animation-based, in contrast to the likes of the X-Men line.  The figure stands just shy of 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this sculpt before, albeit at twice the size, when its 10-inch equivalent was re-used for Savage Land Angel.  It’s a rather awkward sculpt, all things considered.  The body’s kind of scrawny and goony looking, and the head is rather large in comparative scale, which just makes the scrawny and goony thing even more apparent.  The armor detailing is at least pretty sharply handled.  You know, if you like your Vulture to be armored.  The paint work on the figure is basic, but pretty well handled.  There’s a little bit of bleedover on the edges of the lighter green, but otherwise it works well.  Vulture was originally packed with a small gun sort of thing, meant for storing in his side holster, thought that piece is missing from mine (and most loose ones, honestly; it was super easy to lose).  He also featured a “Spreading Wing Action”; squeezing his legs lifts his arms, thereby spreading his wings.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you know how I was ragging on overly ’90s Vulture?  Yeah, well, as stupid as it may be, I kinda like the overly ’90s Vulture.  That being said, I didn’t own this figure, for whatever reason.  I remember looking at it, but I just never picked it up.  I wound up getting one loose a few years back at a toy show, in one of my pushes to complete my Toy Biz run.  He’s a really goofy figure, and I don’t know that he really captures the design as well as he could.  Or maybe he does, and it’s just destined to be forever super goofy.  You know what?  It’s probably that.

#3180: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members–Wait a minute…didn’t I review this figure already?  well, hypothetical reader, the answer to that question is…not technically.  And, technically is what really matters here.  Why?  Because it’s my site, that’s why.  Okay, maybe I should actually explain what the heck I’m reviewing this guy again.  It’s quite simple:  early in the days of their X-Men line, Toy Biz liked to justify the re-releases of figures they’d already done by doing minor tweaks to their color schemes, in dedicated “Repaint” series, in order to not only keep those figures out, but also freshen up the shelves a bit, but without having to actually produce a whole new figure.  Generally, I like to bundle those repaints into the main review, but, well, I don’t always own them when I review a figure the first time, so I guess I just have to follow them up this way.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron (the repaint) was added to Toy Biz’s X-Men line in 1993-1994, right around the same time as Series 4 and 5 of the line, alongside a whole assortment of repainted figures.  Of all the figures present amongst the repaints, his was the oddest choice, given how minor the character was, but perhaps they were looking to tie in with the show’s second season, where he actually had a pretty important role to play.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He’s 100% the same sculpt as the standard release of Sauron.  It was a decent sculpt for the time, and honestly holds up pretty alright.  Still not sure exactly what he’s wearing, but what are you gonna do?  The change to this one’s paint is honestly pretty subtle; instead of orange pants, his are gold with a little bit of black.  It’s super minor, but I actually quite like it.  It’s nice that they actually added, rather than just doing a straight palette swap.  Interestingly, the card back prototype showed him with red shorts, a figure that, to date, no one has any evidence actually existed.  As with his original release, Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  Yay big ol’ club.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wound up going back to the toy show where I’d gotten my standard Sauron the next year, in hopes of finding more Toy Biz stuff.  I discovered it was rather slim pickings that year, but managed to fish a handful of the repaint figures out of a loose figure bin.  Sauron was one of those figures.  He’s not a bad figure, but the two offerings do feel slightly redundant when in the same collection together, I suppose.

#3175: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“The powerhouse of the fabulous Fantastic Four, Benjamin J. Grimm may look like a ‘Thing’, but he’s a rock-solid Super Hero through and through! Fiercely loyal, unflinching in the face of danger, The Thing brings his ‘Clobberin’ Time’ strength to bear against the likes of the wicked Wizard and the sinister Psycho-Man.”

Okay, hear me out: what if The Thing got actual clothes?  Would that be a crazy, novel idea?  Maybe.  Just maybe.  But a man can dream.  Or, you know, just look into the years and years of Fantastic Four history, where there’s plenty of instances of just that thing happening.  I mean, there’s just, like, Ben Grimm, running around in an almost full FF uniform, instead of just an overly large speedo.  Usually, it has something to do with him getting depowered, and then starting to wear a different uniform, and then inevitably being repowered, and, book, the Thing’s in a tank top.  Oh yeah.  Dig it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing was released in Series 4 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, which wound up as the line’s final assortment.  He was the third version of Ben within the line, and was clearly designed to tie-in with Ben’s stretch of episodes in the cartoon’s second season where he had the tank top look.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, he lost the elbow and knee joints for this release, despite the other two figures getting them.  He does get a waist joint, though.  Additionally, he’s the largest of the cartoon-inspired Thing figures, making him feel more true to the character as he appears in the show, and having him look a little more cohesive with the rest of his team.  The figure’s sculpt was all-new, and followed the character’s season 2 design pretty closely.  It’s especially evident in the face, which really feels spot-on, but even the general shaping of the body seems to line-up pretty well.  The only real deviation is the torso, especially around the waist, where he winds up with far more toning and definition than he ever had on the show.  The figure is also sculpted with just a touch of pre-posing; he appears to be in mid-stride.  It’s nothing too crazy, and it winds up making him very stable on his feet, which makes it really feel like a win.  The figure’s color work is pretty basic; the majority of it is molded.  What paint is there is generally pretty clean, though there is a touch of fuzziness on the edges of the white parts of the outfit.  To their credit, the portions of the exposed skin that are on the torso, and are therefore painted, actually match pretty closely with the molded tones on the arms and head, which is quite an accomplishment.  Series 4 of the line was all about platforms with action features.  For Ben, that translates to a vaguely rock-looking thing, which he can “break” apart.  It’s not a terrible gimmick, but it’s also not a great one.  Just sort of there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always really liked this particular design for Ben, largely due to its presence in the cartoon’s second season.  That said, I already had the trench coat version of Ben from the prior assortment when this one hit, so I didn’t really *need* this one, and I wasn’t really into doubling up at that point.  So, this one remained absent from my collection for a surprisingly long time, finally making its way into the set back in 2017, when I wound up snagging it out of a case at an antique mall.  He’s actually a pretty solid version of the character, and has the notoriety of being a version that doesn’t get covered much, so that’s pretty cool.