#2164: Jabba’s Skiff Guards

KLAATU, BARADA, & NIKTO

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Jabba the Hutt always enjoyed the thrill of using the lives of others as tokens in his games of peril and doom. Years ago he presided over the dangerous Tatooine Podraces where dozens of pilots put their lives on the line as crowds screamed and cheered. He now hoped to surpass that drama by escorting his prisoners Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca to their end in the Great Pit of Carkoon. But the captives quickly overcame the skiff guards Klaatu, Nikto and Barada, and brought Jabba himself to a fitting end.”

The denizens of Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi give Mos Eisley Cantina a good run for its money in terms of their unique and strange alien designs..  Fitting, I suppose, since the two locations are on the same planet and all.  The characters in Jabba’s company are divided into three separate groups.  There are the ones in the palace proper, the ones on his sail barge, and the ones on the skiffs over the Sarlac Pit.  Today’s figures, Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto (a sci-fi callback referencing the words spoken to Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still) fall into that third category.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Released in 1999, these three were part of the third year of Cinema Scenes for the Power of the Force II line.  They were designed to coincide with the release of the Skiff proper that same year, which just seems downright sensible, doesn’t it?

KLAATU

This is Klaatu, who is apparently a male Kadas’sa’Nikto, at least according to his Wookiepedia entry, which is pretty much my only source for info on this guy.  He’s green, reptilian, and looks like he’s wearing his pajamas.  That’s pretty much all I got.  Oh, right, the figure!  Yeah, so he’s 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  All pretty standard there.  His sculpt was unique to him and would remain so.  Klaatu’s stance is the least pre-posed of this bunch, and honestly his actual sculpt is also the least detailed, which leads one to wonder if he may have originally been slated for some sort of a single release earlier on, before being moved here.  Klaatu’s paintwork is decent enough, if not incredibly eye-catching.  It’s got some weathering going on, so that’s pretty cool.  Klaatu is armed with a pike, which he has a little bit of difficulty properly holding with his pose.

BARADA

This is Barada, who is a Klatooinian, something that may have caused some confusion around his buddy Klaatu.  Barada actually has a whole backstory, not that any of it’s remotely touched on in the movie.  His sculpt would actually be re-used again years later for a single release in slightly different colors.  While still not incredibly pre-posed, he’s still a little more so than Klaatu.  His sculpt is also far more detailed, especially in regards to texturing, which is how he was able to be re-used much later on without much issue.  Barada’s vintage figure actually used the wrong color scheme for the character, meaning this figure was the first time he would receive his proper colors.  The paintwork is fairly strong, especially when it comes to his skin tone.  Barada was packed with a blaster pistol.

NIKTO

This is Nikto…wait, no, it’s actually not!  Despite what the box may claim, the character’s actual name is Vizam, and he’s a member of the Kajain’sa’Nikto, a separate race of Nikto from Klaatu up above.  Additionally, Vizam isn’t even present on the skiff in the movie; he’s part of Jabba’s sail barge crew (he’s seen manning one of the blaster cannons).  But, there was no sail barge set, so here he is.  Of the three sculpts in this set, Nikto/Vizam is actually my personal favorite.  The posing on him is well executed, and I particularly appreciate how he’s sculpted to properly hold his weapon.  I also dig all the work on the various layers of his outfit; it gives this figure a little more depth than his pack-mates.  His paint work is again pretty decent.  They were definitely starting to try out accenting here, which works well for this particular set of characters.  Nikto/Vizam is packed with another pike, but this one is actually unique from the one given to Klaatu.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Jabba’s palace group has never been super high on my list of interests, so I didn’t have these growing up (though I did have one of the reissues of Barada). I ended up getting these guys from All Time during one of my Potf2 splurges back in December.  Ultimately, they’re one of the intersting cases of figures that don’t do a whole lot on their, but as part of a greater set, they’re pretty nice.

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#2149: Cantina Band Member

CANTINA BAND MEMBER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Mos Eisley may be home to scum and villainy, but it’s not without its entertainment value.  There’s plenty of peppy tunes to be had in the Mos Eisley Cantina, home to the Cantina Band, known more specifically as Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes.  The Cantina Band is definitely a distinctive element in the first film, even if they do boil down to just six identical guys with rubber masks.  The band was absent from the vintage line, but Power of the Force put a lot of effort into filling out the Cantina, with both patrons and employees.  Rather than releasing the Band’s individual members, Kenner took advantage of the shared basic design and released one figure with a bunch of instruments, allowing fans to buy how ever many they wanted…provided it wasn’t more than five.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cantina Band Member was offered up exclusively through Star Wars Insider Magazine and the official fan club in 1997.  The figure was limited to five per person…which actually means no one was able to get a complete band, since there are six members in the movie (two of them played the same instrument).  Whoops.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  In order to facilitate holding all of the instruments, the Band Member was given both elbow and wrist joints, thereby making him one of the most articulated figures in the line.  Such as it is, he still has some trouble holding the instruments, but it was a nice idea.  The sculpt on this guy isn’t a bad one; the aliens always made out the best in this line, and he’s no exception.  The head’s definitely the best piece, and does a quite respectable job of capturing the mask from the movie.  The body falls a little bit victim to PotF‘s penchant for pre-posing.  It’s not terrible, and is really just limited to the slight forward step of the legs.  It does make him slightly tricky to keep standing, though.  The paintwork on him is fairly basic, but there’s definitely some nice accenting on the head and hands, which gives him a little bit of pop.  Accessories are really the main game here, as the figure includes five different instruments.  Included are the Kloo Horn (played by band leader Figrin D’an), the Dorenian Beshniquel (played by Doikk Na’ts), the Fanfar (played by Ickabel G’ont and Tedn Dahai), the Omni Box (played by Tech Mo’r), and the Bandfill (played by Nalan Cheel).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t so much up on the fan club stuff in the ’90s, so I didn’t get one of these as a kid.  Instead, he’s one of the perks of working with All Time Toys, as I literally had this guy thrown at me by the owner when he was informed I didn’t own one yet.  He’s not quite as good a figure as Kenner was aiming for, but he’s still a pretty solid offering, and at some point I’ll need to track down a few more of them.

#2143: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

LEGENDS OF BATMAN (KENNER)

“As Robin, he fought crime beside Batman all his life, and with every bit of his mentor’s determination! Now Robin has grown up, and he has a new super-hero identity: Nightwing! His sonic blaster and armored cowl make him a force to be reckoned with! Together, Batman and Nightwing can take on any villain in Gotham City!”

In 1994, we were in between Batman movies, but the holders of the DC license over at Kenner didn’t just want to sit and wait for one to role out in order to release new toys.  The went with a radical concept: basing figures on the comics…well, at first anyway.  Legends of Batman began as a rather straight comic Batman line, with one or two Bat-variants worked in, but it would eventually morph into a full-fledged Elseworlds-esque line.  For today’s review, though, I’m sticking wit the line’s early focus, with a look at Batman’s former sidekick, Nightwing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nightwing was released in Series 1 of the Legends of Batman line.  He’s based on Nightwing’s early ’90s design, which was still current at the time of this figure’s release, and figured into Knightfall, a storyline that was a prominent inspiration for early Legends figures.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation, as was the standard for Kenner figures at the time.  Nightwing sported an all-new sculpt, and you can definitely see a lot of the origins of things like Total Justice in this figure’s sculpt.  He’s heavily pre-posed, and exactly what that pose is supposed to be is a little up in the air.  They were definitely going for dynamic, but dynamically what, that they never settled on.  This intended dynamic look is also passed on to the hair; it’s early ’90s Nightwing, so of course he’s got the mullet, and it’s just whipping around back there like crazy.  On top of the pre-posing, Nightwing is also really bulked up.  This wasn’t uncommon for this costume to showcase Dick bulked way up to near Schwarzenegger-ian proportions, and this figure follows suit.  Strictly speaking, it’s not inaccurate, but it sure is super goofy.  He’s more bulked up than most of the Batmen in the line, which is downright silly.  Nightwing’s paintwork was rather muted compared to the comics design, which honestly robs this design of it’s one real selling point: that it was eye-catching.  Also, despite the “feather” detail being sculpted into the figure’s torso, it goes unpainted, with the figure relying on a removable shoulder piece to provide the yellow.  Unfortunately, if you’re like me and your figure is missing that piece, it makes Nightwing look especially incomplete.  In addition to the removable shoulder piece, Nightwing includes what is obviously the most appropriate accessory for him, a missile launcher!  Clearly this is Dick Grayson’s signature item.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I wasn’t quite into collecting yet when this figure was first released, I did still get him within the decade of his release, albeit as a used offering.  My cousin Rusty had this one, and I always liked it.  Since he knew I was a bit more of a Batman fan than he was, he ended up giving it to me.  Sure, he didn’t have all of the parts, but it was a nice gesture.  The figure’s definitely dated, even moreso than some of his compatriots, but your can’t really say he doesn’t live up to the comics design.

#2142: Sabretooth

SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sabretooth is just one of the several man-made killers created by the Weapon-X project. Once an ally of Wolverine, he is now one of the most vicious of the X-Men’s foes. He has an incredible healing factor that makes him immune to most drugs and poisons, and he has greater endurance than most human beings. With his fearsome claws, sharp teeth and innate savagery, Sabretooth has a bloodlust that is rivaled only by his hate for Wolverine!”

Early in the Toy Biz X-Men line, there was a frequent occurrence of characters having just changed their costumes just as their figures would get made.  Mainstay X-Men Wolverine and Cyclops needed V2s pretty quickly, but so did a few of their foes.  Sabretooth was a notable example, having just gotten a major redesign right before his V1 figure’s release, requiring a second go less than a year later.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sabretooth was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line (the same series that also gave us the second Cyclops figure) in 1993.  He uses Sabretooth’s updated Jim Lee design, which, in addition to streamlining his costume, also began the trend of bulking the character up considerably.  It was also the look that was used on X-Men: The Animated Series, which had started not long before this figure’s release.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation.  He’s actually pretty limited on the articulation front for one of these figures.  Necks and elbows were still pretty inconsistent at this point, so that’s not a huge shock, but the lack of knee joints is certainly odd.  It also makes him incredibly hard to keep standing, which isn’t exactly a plus.  Why exactly they opted to cut so much articulation from this figure isn’t exactly clear.  The sculpt itself isn’t bad.  It capture’s Victor’s bulked up look pretty well without going too overboard.  He matches up well with Lee’s usual depiction of the character, even if his stance is perhaps a little rigid.  The paintwork is on the basic side, and there’s definitely some slop on the edges of the brown, but it’s about what you’d expect for the time.  Sabretooth included no accessories, but he did have a “Snarl and Swipe” action feature; squeezing his legs swings his arms in and out and opens his mouth. It’s not a bad gimmick, all things considered, and the lack of exposed levers and such was a marked improvement on Toy Biz’s earlier offerings, taking a page out of the Super Powers book.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My first V2 Sabretooth was not his original release, but was instead the Marvel Universe re-release, given to me as a gift by a family friend.  That one eventually broke on me and got lost in a shuffle of figures some time back.  The one seen here is the original release, which I actually got for my birthday a couple of years ago, alongside a handful of other ’90s Marvel figures.  He’s not exactly a very playable figure, but he certainly looks the part.

#2135: Rebel Pilots

WEDGE ANTILLES, TEN NUMB, & ARVEL CRYNYD

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“For generations, an evil power has spread throughout the galaxy. It began with Darth Sidious’ sinister plot to conquer the planet Naboo and peaked with the Empire’s domination of the galaxy. Throughout the era, brave starfighter pilots flew into space to fight this power. Naboo pilots braved impossible odds to save their planet from the superior forces of the Trade Federation. years later, X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles, B-wing Pilot Ten Numb, and A-wing pilot Arvel Crynyd were part of the assault on the second Death Star. Their success at the Battle of Endor released the iron grip on the galaxy.”

Several reviews in, I must admit, I’m running out of interesting things to say about Rebel pilots.  There sure are a lot of them, which is probably a good thing, given their high mortality rate.  Like other areas of the Star Wars ‘verse, they also get into the whole specialization bit that Lucas got particularly fond of, with each ship getting its own branch of pilots.  A few of them were packed with their vehicles, but Kenner eventually went for broke and threw a handful of them together in one multipack.  I’m looking at that set today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as the “Rebel Pilots” Cinema Scene, released as part of the third year of Power of the Force II Cinema Scenes in 1999.  Of all of the Cinema Scenes, they were the one that seemed to have the loosest grasp on the concept, since it’s not actually based on a particular screen grab from the film like the others.  I think Kenner was just using the easiest excuse to put out these guys in a multipack.  I’m certainly not complaining.

WEDGE ANTILLES

After being officially introduced to the line in 1997 as a pack-in with the Millenium Falcon carrying case, Wedge got his second figure in pretty short order as the real headliner of this set.  While that figure gave us Wedge in his cold-weather gear from Hoth, and generally followed the stylings of the earlier figures from the line, this one gives us him in his more standard X-Wing pilot attire from both A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  From the neck down, he’s the same body as Biggs and the Rebel Alliance Pilot.  It’s a fairly standard pilot attire and they had fairly similar builds, so it works fine for Wedge.  He gets a new head, which marks a first in the line, giving a pilot a removable helmet.  It’s a little oversized, especially when compared the admittedly quite undersized helmeted heads of the earlier pilots, but actually looks pretty decent.  Under the helmet, there’s a decent likeness of actor Dennis Lawson, which looks closer than the prior attempt.  It does, of course, benefit from being his whole head, rather than just the face. The paintwork on Wedge is pretty decently handled, albeit pretty basic in implementation.  Interestingly, the various colors on his flightsuit have been slightly changed from Biggs and the Rebel Alliance Pilot, making Wedge a little bit more unique.

TEN NUMB

While everyone knows fellow Sullustan rebel Nien Nunb, he’s not the only one to figure into Jedi‘s climactic star battle.  B-Wing pilot Ten Numb was also there, and so he got a figure.  Yay.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, although a lot of his parts are unsurprisingly pretty close to Nien Nunb’s.  It’s honestly not a bad offering.  He’s not super posable or super detailed, but he’s a good match (at least sculpturally) for the character’s on-screen appearance.  Like Wedge, he’s also got removable headgear, which is actually pretty impressive given how oddly shaped his head is.  Ten’s paint is the subject of some scrutiny, because his jumpsuit is actually entirely the wrong color.  In the film, he’s in red, but early promotional shots had the character in white, and that’s what his figures tend to be wearing.  If nothing else, it makes him more easily distinguished from Nien Nunb, so I guess there’s that.

ARVEL CRYNYD

Okay, so this guy?  Not actually Arvel Crynyd as it turns out.  Arvel is an A-Wing pilot, and is notable for crashing into the bridge of the Executor.  If a figure’s getting his name, it would make more sense for it to be the A-Wing Pilot.  This guy on the other hand, isn’t an A-Wing pilot at all.  He’s actually a Y-Wing pilot named Lt. Telsij.  Talk about mistaken identity.  Telsij is another all-new sculpt, and he’s pretty much on par with the other two, although he’s obviously a little closer to Wedge in terms of styling.  He too has a removable helmet, which is another good fit.  Beneath it is a nicely detailed, sufficently unique looking head.  In terms of paintwork, Telsij is in a similar situation to Ten.  His jumpsuit is red here, but should actually be grey to be screen accurate.  What’s weird is even if this were Arvel, the red would be incorrect, so I’m not sure where the color came from.  Whatever the case, it’s likely going to be hidden from view and he’s minor enough for it to be forgivable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this set as a kid, but I knew of its existence, and have wanted it for a bit.  I finally got it via a large Star Wars collection that was traded into All Time Toys.  There were actually a few of this set mixed in with all the loose items, so I was able to fish out the best copies of each of them.  It doesn’t fit the trend of the rest of the line, but I don’t really mind it, because this is actually a pretty dope set.

#2114: Cyclops II

CYCLOPS II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“The man called Cyclops possesses the uncanny mutant ability to fire beams of devastating energy from his eyes. These optic blasts are so powerful that they can only be effectively harnessed by a special ruby-quartz visor designed by Professor X. Over the years, Cyclops has grown from a sullen, withdrawn loner into the cool, confident, capable leader of the X-Men’s Blue Strike Force!”

While Wolverine got on the multiple figures bandwagon as soon as Toy Biz’s X-Men line had multiple series by which to deliver multiple figures, it took other characters a little longer to get there.  The villains got on the repeats a little quicker, but the first non-Wolverine duplicate from the main team was the X-Men’s leader man, Cyclops, who would end up getting a pretty major overhaul for his second figure, appropriately named “Cyclops II.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops II was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  He was then subsequently re-released in 1995 as part of the cartoon-driven “Classics” assortment.  The figure seen here is officially the classics release, but the core figure is identical between the two.  Cyclops was sporting his Jim Lee costume, which was brand-new at the time, having replaced the previous X-Factor costume (which was used for the first figure, as well as his talking counterpart) right on top of said costume getting a toy.  It was about as timely as you could get, really.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation.  When I reviewed the 10-inch figure whose sculpt was based on this one, I noted that the larger figure had more articulation.  Due to the built-in action feature, this Cyclops lacks neck articulation, which is certainly a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the figure’s proportions are also thrown off by the batter compartment needed to power said light-up feature.  This means the torso’s really big, making the arms in particular look comparatively pretty small.  It also means this is a Cyclops that suffers from the opposite problem of the prior figure, being rather on the bulky side for a guy whose nickname is “slim.”  Proportions aside, there’s still some decent sculpted work on this figure.  The head is a respectable translation of his look from the comics, with some nice detail work on the hair in particular.  The pouches and straps mixed throughout the sculpt are also quite nicely detailed, which I’m sure was really a big hit with all the pouch and strap aficionados in ’93.  A shame there weren’t also some shoulder pads, right?  Cylcops’ paintwork was rather on the basic side, but solid stuff nevertheless.  The original release of this figure came packed with a backpack and a gun, which are, of course, the obvious accessories for Cyclops.  However, for the re-release, he was instead given Comcast’s hover platform, because, again, really the obvious choice, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While this figure was out when I started collecting, the rerelease hadn’t quite hit, so it was X-Factor Cyclops that had the honor of being my first Cyclops figure.  This guy came a little bit later, as a gift from a family friend who was well aware of how much I loved X-Men.  He quickly transitioned to being my main Cyclops, at least for a little bit.  He would eventually be outpaced by other Cyclops figures, and was amongst 23 of my X-Men figures that got boxed up and buried in the garage during my high school years, and would remain there until the summer after I finished college, when I finally unearthed them.  He’s not my first Cyclops, he’s not my best Cyclops, but he’s an important Cyclops, and I still enjoy the corny little guy.

#2107: Kyle Katarn

KYLE KATARN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“It is a period of civil war. The Rebel Alliance struggles to free the galaxy from the clutches of the evil Galactic Empire. Discovering that Imperial forces have begun developing a new type of stormtrooper, the Rebels call on mercenary Kyle Katarn. His mission: seek out and destroy the secret Imperial project called Dark Trooper. A rogue mercenary loyal to no one, Kyle Katarn has accepted a near-impossible mission to destroy the Empire’s ability to develop an army of unstoppable stormtroopers known as Dark Troopers.”

Remember two years ago when I looked at two figures from the Expanded Universe sub-line of Power of the Force?  Well, would you look at that? I’ve finally made my way back to the rest of them.  For their first real go at Expanded Universe offerings, Kenner aimed to diversify, focusing on several different EU tales.  Included among those was the 1996 video game Dark Forces, which covers the (original version of the) acquisition of the Death Star plans, before delving a bit into its own lore.  The player plays as Kyle Katarn, a Rebellion-hired mercenary, who would make his action figure debut in the EU line.  I’ll be looking at said figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kyle Katarn is the first of the two Dark Forces-themed figures released in the Expanded Universe sub-line.  He hit shelves in 1998 and, like all of the EU figures, was a little bit scarce.  Though his bio is definitely referencing Dark Forces, and all reference material points to him being based on that game, Kyle’s design is actually a fair bit closer to the game’s sequel, Jedi Knight.  There are definitely some merged elements, and you can be a little bit forgiving with the ’90s graphics, the biggest giveaway is Kyle’s beard, since he didn’t have that in the first game.  They’ve even edited the illustration of him from the first game in order to make him closer to the figure.  Why did they decide to go with the second game’s look?  Well, there are a few possible reasons, but my main guess is that giving him the beard made him more immediately distinguishable from Han, as well as the other EU Han-stand-in Dash Rendar.  You wouldn’t want to confuse the fans, would you?  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He sports a unique sculpt, which, while pre-posed, is still fairly manageable.  By this point, the proportions issues of the PotF2 were essentially gone.  Kyle’s still definitely a product of his time, but that’s more because Kyle, the character, is a product of his time.  The face on this figure does seem a little friendlier than I’d expect from a supposed mercenary, but it’s still quite a nice offering.  I also like some of the liberties they’ve taken with some of the costume elements; in particular, I really dig his chest armor.  Kyle’s colors are a little bit brighter than the usual Star Wars fair, which works pretty well for him.  The application is pretty clean, and there’s even a little bit of weathering on the boots.  Kyle was packed with two different styles of blaster, allowing him to swap between them as he would in the game.  And, since I got him still in-package, he also has a 3D-fold-out display base, which places him in front of an Imperial Shuttle.  I really love these things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the day, the only EU figures I had were Luke and the Emporer, due to how hard the line-up was to find at retail.  When I started filling in holes in my PotF collection, these guys were all very near the top of my list, but they don’t show up super often, and I was insistent that they still be packaged.  I ended up getting fairly lucky with these, as a complete set was traded into All Time Toys a few months back, and they let me take (most) of them, for a pretty good deal at that.  Having not played the Dark Forces games personally, my interaction with Kyle is peripheral at best, but I still have fond memories of staring at his prototype all those years ago in a Star War fan magazine.  The figure’s pretty typical for the line, which is to say he’s pretty fun.

*Kyle is also notable for another reason: he’s the 5000th unique figure to be added to my collection!  That’s way too many, right?  Or is it not enough?

#2094: Biggs Darklighter

BIGGS DARKLIGHTER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Tatooine native and childhood buddy of Luke Skywalker, Biggs Darklighter holds off quickly advancing TIE fighters in the Death Star trench.”

There’s actually a decent chunk of material that was left on the cutting room floor when Star Wars made it to theaters.  Perhaps the most pivotal blow is to the role of Biggs Darklighter.  Luke’s best friend has a handful of scenes focusing on his journey from Imperial to Rebel pilot, but the final cut of the film just leaves him as one of Luke’s two wingmen (the other being Wedge Antilles) as he begins his trench run on the Death Star.  His demise at the hands of Vader isn’t even dwelled on all that much, so the audience could be forgiven for not realizing he and Luke had any connection at all.  Because he’s ultimately pretty minor, he was left out of the toy side of things until some of his scenes were reinserted for the Special Edition release in the ’90s.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Biggs was released in the 1998 assortment of Power of the Force II figures.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s depicted in his X-Wing pilot garb, which was, at the time, the only thing we’d seen him in, so I guess it was sensible.  Biggs is actually the first proper X-Wing pilot we got in PotF2, as both Luke and Wedge had been done in their insulated suits from Hoth.  Biggs is comparatively a lot less bulky, and a little more in line with later offerings, though he still gets the permanently affixed helmet, which ends up looking a little bit under-scaled compared to some of the later offerings.  What we can see of the face doesn’t really look much like Biggs’ actor Garrickk Hagon, but I guess it doesn’t look unlike him either.  He’s got the mustache, which is really the most distinctive element.  The paint work on Biggs is pretty decent, and sticks to the script for the pilots.  The best work is definitely on the helmet, which has his unique patterning, which is pretty nifty.  Biggs is packed with two differently styled blasters, you know, from all those times he used blasters.  There’s a big one and a small one.  Also, as a ’98 figure, he also includes a Freeze Frame slide, showing Biggs from the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite collecting the line in ’98, I don’t actually have many memories of seeing that many of the new figures at retail at the time.  This included Biggs, though I’ve subsequently seen him *a lot* over the years.  This one came to me fairly recently, though its resided in the same house as me for some time.  About a decade ago, my brother went through a Star Wars phase, and this is one the handful of figures he still had on-hand, which he gave to me a few months back to aid me in my mission to get a full run.  I can’t really say there’s much special about Biggs.  He’s just sort of there, but I guess he’s not awful.

#2085: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: UNITED THEY STAND (TOY BIZ)

“One of the original members of the Avengers, Steve Rogers – better known as Captain America – has always been the ultimate Wielding Soldier. Wearing the patriotic colors of the American flag, and wielding his trusty shield, he fights alongside his teammates in the name of truth and justice.”

Well, this isn’t a Spider-Man review.  What gives?  Fear not, dear readers, the Molten Man series reviews will return tomorrow,  but I’m taking a slight detour in honor of Steve Rogers’ birthday, July 4th!  Oh, also it’s some American holiday as well.  Whatever the case, I’m taking a look at a Captain America figure, because that’s how I do.  In the ’90s, Captain America figures were nowhere near as plentiful as they are now, and somewhat astoundingly, Toy Biz’s huge 5-inch line only spawned five figures of him over the course of the whole decade.  Today, I’m looking at one that just barely squeaked in under the radar in 1999, as part of the tie-in line for Avengers: United They Stand.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America was part of the first series of the Avengers: United They Stand line (though, like other Toy Biz tie-in lines from the same time, both Series 1 and 2 hit shelves simultaneously).  Though not a series regular in the cartoon, Cap did have a prominent guest star appearance, and would have been joined by fellow guest star Iron Man had Series 3 ever been produced.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  If the sculpt on this guy looks familiar, it’s because I’ve looked at most of it before.  In a line otherwise made up of entirely new sculpts, Cap re-used the body of the Electro Spark Cap from the ’90s Spider-Man line.  Sort of an interesting choice, since it didn’t really match Cap’s design from the show, and all of the packaging actually showed the Marvel Vs Capcom Cap instead.  As I noted the first time I reviewed the sculpt, It’s quite large and exaggerated, which does make him look rather goofy.  He gets a new head and an Avengers belt buckle to differentiate him.  The head is a decent enough piece, and certainly feels more like your usual Captain America than the Electro Spark one, but it’s also really small, especially when compared to the body.  This only furthers the body’s proportion issues.  Cap’s paintwork is actually quite bright and eye-catching, and an improvement over the prior use of this mold.  There are some minor issues with bleed-over, but they’re as prefaced: minor.  Cap was packed with his usual shield, once again saddled with a gimmick, but this time not one that total destroys the aesthetics.  It’s just got a little magnet imbedded on one side, which triggers an “explosion” on the included droid accessory, where part of it pops out.  It never worked super well, but it also didn’t really ruin the figure, so I can’t complain.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The United They Stand figures were pretty hard to find when they were released, so I got them as I found them.  Cap was nearer the end of my completion of the set, fourth to last.  I found him on a trip with my parents to a Kmart, which was sort of out of the ordinary for us.  It also marked an important change in my collecting, as my parents both tried to assure me that I pretty much already had this figure.  They were right, but still bought the figure for me, starting me down a path of buying nearly identical variants of the characters I like.

#2073: Robot Wolverine

ROBOT WOLVERINE (ALBERT)

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Created by the villainous Reavers to be an exact duplicate of the X-Man Wolverine, Albert gained real feelings in an electrical accident. Now constantly rebuilding himself out of whatever materials he can find, Albert scours the world for his heroic doppelganger – but whether to befriend him or to harm him, even he is not sure!”

Desperate for a steady stream of Wolverine variants to keep their line running, but not quite ready to just start outright making them up (that would come later), Toy Biz delved into the X-Men villains roster, and pulled out te robotic Wolverine duplicate Albert.  Never a majorly prominent character in the mythos, Albert would ultimately serve as an inspiration for Logan‘s antagonist X-24, whatever your take on that may be.  His only figure still remains that original Toy Biz figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robot Wolverine was released in Series 6 of Toy Biz’s X-Men line and was the sixth Wolverine variant to grace the line (a fact that the packaging proudly proclaimed).  The figure stands 5 1/4 inches tall (continuing the trend of Toy Biz’s Wolverine figures steadily climbing in height as the line progressed) and he has 7 points of articulation.  He lacks elbow articulation often seen on these figures because…reasons?  The figure’s sculpt was an all-new offering, based on the character’s rebuilt appearance following his time locked up in police impound, which is fair, since otherwise he’d just be a slightly off-looking brown-costumed Wolverine.  It’s admittedly an interesting design, with something of a post-apocalyptic Mad Max vibe to it.  It’s certainly a different sort of look for the line.  There are some pretty neat little touches mixed throughout, and I particularly like the handcuffs stitched onto his torso.  It’s a goofy little touch which is totally accurate to the source material, and shows off Toy Biz usual commitment to the material nicely.  The rest of the sculpt matches the usual Toy Biz style of the time, which I suppose is pretty okay from a consistency standpoint.  The figure’s sculpt is accented by a solid paintjob.  While it’s perhaps not the most exciting or eye-catching colorscheme, it’s accurate to how he looked in the comics, and there’s no shortage of detail work, with most of the sculpted details getting proper paint as well.  He’s the sort of figure that could have possibly benefited from a wash, but that really wasn’t Toy Biz’s speed at the time.  Albert was packed with a spare set of arms, with a more robotic appearance and claws attached.  They swap out for the standard via the figure’s action feature.  Squeeze his legs and his arms spring out of their sockets, and then you can install the new ones.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Albert *just* predates me getting into the line, and was late enough that he wasn’t one of the ones resurfacing right as I got into things, so I didn’t have him growing up.  In fact, he’s quite a recent addition to my collection.  I had to see Endgame at a slightly out of the way theater, and while killing a little time before the movie, my dad found a comic book store, Beyond Comics, to check out.  They had a rather nice selection of ’90s Marvel stuff.  What caught my eye wasn’t actually this figure, but was instead the Invasion Series Havok, who I will literally buy every time I see him.  However, I felt a little silly having my only purchase be a figure I already own five of, so I scoured the racks for another figure I didn’t have.  Albert was the winner of that particular lottery.  He’s actually not a bad figure, and is unique among Wolverine variants for being not a Wolverine variant at all.