#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.

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#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.

#2072: Kicking Woody

KICKING WOODY

TOY STORY (THINKWAY TOYS)

The latest installment in Pixar’s Toy Story franchise hits theaters today, and it’s a pretty big deal.  The end of an era.  Why, it’s almost as big a deal as the last time that they did this, back when it was Toy Story 3!  But, they’re way more serious about it this time, I guess.  We’ll see how it goes.  To get myself into that Toy Story mood, I’m doing the absolute most appropriate thing possible, and reviewing a toy, from the original movie no less!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kicking Woody was one of two Woody variants produced by Thinkway Toys for their 1995 Toy Story line.  They were denoted by their action features.  This one kicks.  I know, shocker.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation, though the articulation on his legs is slightly hampered by his action feature.  Unlike Buzz, whose design has built-in articulation (which his figure ignored a good bit of), Woody’s got, what, one point of articulation in the canon?  At the neck?  And that’s replicated here.  Beyond that, he’s changing up the material from cloth to plastic, meaning the articulation’s just sort of made up.  It’s really not bad, though, especially for the time this figure was released.  Woody’s sculpt is actually a pretty respectable offering.  The proportions match well with his film model, and the likeness is certainly there on the head.  The body is definitely on the smooth side, with no real texturing like he really should have, but we’re once again falling into the realm of “product of his time.”  All of the important details are definitely there, and there’s no denying who he’s supposed to be.  Woody’s sculpt is topped off with his signature cowboy hat, which is a nicely sculpted piece which sits quite nicely and snugly on his head.  Woody’s paintwork is pretty standard; it’s a decent match for the source material, and it’s bright and colorful.  The application is overall pretty good, with minimal bleed over and not as many fuzzy lines as were on my Buzz figure.  Woody was originally packed with a snake (presumably about to go into or just exiting his boot), which my figure no longer has.  He does still have his kicking action feature, though; press the button on his back and his leg swings upward.  Very exciting.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Woody from the films, this figure’s been with me for quite some time.  Toy Story was the first movie I saw in the theater, which probably explains a lot about me when you really get down to it.  Woody was definitely my favorite character, so my parents made pretty quick work of finding me this figure.  He was the only one I picked up from the original line, and he’s been in my collection since his 1995 release.  I gotta say, he’s a really solid figure, and remains my favorite version of the character, despite being almost a quarter century old.  He’s one I’m really glad I hung onto.

#2066: A-Wing Pilot

A-WING PILOT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Our first glimpse of the Rebel pilots in A New Hope had them all wearing the same uniform, be they X-Wing or Y-Wing pilots.  Empire continued the trend for the snowspeeders as well.  It wasn’t until Return of the Jedi that the idea of fighter-specific pilot uniforms really came into play, with the A-Wing and B-Wing pilots being granted brand-new designs.  The toyline took advantage of these new looks and they were introduced into the vintage line pretty quickly.  The B-Wing pilot would end up being absent from Power of the Force II, but the A-Wing pilot got his due, and that’s the figure I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The A-Wing Pilot was included with the A-Wing proper, released in 1997, during the third year of Power of the Force II.  While a lot of the PotF2 vehicles came sans-pilot, I guess they decided the A-Wing pilot just wasn’t exciting enough to sell on his own.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  The A-Wing Pilot’s sculpt was unique to him, and it’s fairly decent, if maybe not all that thrilling.  He fits the general aesthetic of the line three years in, meaning that the worst of the stylization is gone, and he’s not pre-posed to speak of, but he’s still not quite at the high point of the line.  He’s a little bulkier than pilots tend to be, but not ridiculously so.  I do like that his face isn’t just a complete blank slate; there’s a bit of character there.  Curiously, this figure lacks peg-holes on his feet, something that’s unique to him.  They’ve been a standard feature of the line for quite some time, but for some reason this guy got skipped.  It’s strange to say the least.  His paintwork is as straightforward as anyone else from the line, meaning he’s clean, and pretty much accurate to the source material, but very definitely basic.  The A-Wing Pilot included no accessories of his own, being an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t own the A-Wing, and I never did.  But, I kind of like pilots, so I picked this guy up loose from All Time, because why not.  I had store credit, and I was on one of my PotF binges.  He’s not a terribly impressive figure, but then he was never really meant to be; his purpose is to fill a cockpit, and in that regard, I guess he’s alright.

As noted above, I grabbed this guy from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2059: Longshot

LONGSHOT

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Once a slave to the extradimensional tyrant Mojo, Longshot eventually escaped, came ot Earth and joined forces with the X-Men. Armed with razor-sharp throwing knives, his combined abilities of amazing agility and incredible luck allow him to take on the fiercest foes. Recently, Longshot left the X-Men to search for the secrets of his past and travel to parts unknown!”

Have I reviewed a Longshot figure before on this site?  I feel like I have. <checks backlog>  Why yes, yes I have, waaaaaaaaaay back in review #0034.  Wow, that was a while ago.  It also predates me being quite as in-depth with these intros, so I guess I haven’t really talked about him much, apart from saying he’s nobody’s favorite.  Aw, that feels a little bit cruel.  Past-Ethan’s a little bit of a jerk, isn’t he?  Well, on the Longshot front, it’s worth noting that the guy hasn’t had the best luck when it comes to action figures, both in terms of quantity and quality.  He had exactly one figure during the Toy Biz 5-inch days, and that’s the one I’m looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Longshot was part of Series 4 of Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men line.  He falls into one of the line’s most oddball series, with Professor X, Cyclops II, Ahab, Sabretooth II, and the Brood as his fellow releases.  Longshot joined Ahab and the Brood in the club of “not having been relevant in several years” at the time of release.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  He’s a bit more limited in movement than a lot of the other figures from this line, and I’m not entirely sure why.  He’s only got one elbow joint (the left), which is in order to facilitate his knife-throwing action feature.  That I can kind of get.  But he’s also got no neck movement, for seemingly no reason.  That I don’t get.  Were they just not sure how to articulate it with the mullet?  Whatever the case, it’s not doing him any favors.  Also not doing him any favors is the general quality of the sculpt.  This early in the line, Toy Biz’s sculpts were still very hit-or-miss, and this one’s more miss.  It’s largely that head, which just looks downright goony.  Longshot’s usually depicted as being a somewhat charming fellow, but none of that’s visible, unless you are particularly charmed by the face of a chimpanzee.  Which maybe you are.  I’m not one to judge.  But Longshot isn’t classically this simian.  Toy Biz’s sculptors also seem to have understood the basic concept of the mullet, but not really the implementation, resulting in a hairstyle that’s…well, it’s certainly something.  The head is also rather small when compared to the rest of the body, which, it should be noted, is a much better example of sculpting, comparatively at least.  Longshot’s paintwork is fairly standard.  It’s clean and the colors match his usual depictions.  The face again gets the worst work, though, getting those round, wide eyes, making him look like he’s in a constant state of surprise.  Longshot was packed with two knives (in case you lost one, I guess) and a bandolier, which helped to complete his usual look.  He also had the “KNIFE THROWING ACTION!”, where his right arm will swing forward when pulled back.  It’s not the most technically impressive feature, but at least it wasn’t overly intrusive.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get Longshot new, but I did get him fairly quickly after the fact (probably around 1999-2000), courtesy of Cosmic Comix during one of their legendary Midnight Madness sales back when they were still on Main Street in Ellicott City.  I don’t know exactly why I got Longshot, but I remember wanting him, for one reason or another.  He’s…not a great figure.  Of course, he’s in luck, because he’s not even the worst figure in this particular series (that’s Ahab).  Longshot’s goofy, and not a good take on the character, but I suppose he’s got his own sort of charm.

#2052: Wedge Antilles

WEDGE ANTILLES

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Despite his presence in all three films in the original trilogy, two-time Death Star run survivor Wedge Antilles didn’t get figure release during the vintage line’s run.  What’s more, his first ever figure wouldn’t even come as a single release.  Instead, Wedge found himself as the selling point of a carrying case shaped like the Millennium Falcon.  Why Wedge, a character who never even stepped foot on the Falcon was included with the carrying case is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think anyone was going to complain about finally getting a Wedge figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The carrying case that included Wedge hit shelves in 1997, as part of the Power of the Force II line.  There were actually two versions of Wedge offered with the case.  The first shipments gave Wedge an inaccurate color scheme and markings on his helmet, which were corrected in later sets.  The figure I’m looking at here is the corrected version.  Wedge stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same sculpt as the Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Pilot Gear, meaning that, like that figure, he’s not actually wearing X-Wing gear at all, and is instead based on the cold-weather gear he sports during the Snowspeeder sequences on Hoth in Empire.  It’s actually the only time we’ve gotten Wedge in this particular get-up.  It also gave the line its second Snowspeeder pilot, allowing for that poor Snowspeeder to actually have a two-man crew.  Despite its exaggerated proportions, it’s not a terrible sculpt, and it has a lot of great detail work going on.  Wedge does get a new head sculpt, and while it’s not a spot-on Dennis Lawson or anything, it’s distinctly a different face from the head used on Luke, which is really the most important thing here.  Wedge’s paintwork actually changes things up a fair bit from the Luke figure, with different colors for his gloves, boots, and belt, as well as a radically different set of details on his helmet (though the original release actually had the same helmet detailing).  It’s a nice paint scheme, and again helps to sell him as a distinctly different figure from the Luke release.  Though more an accessory himself, Wedge still included one accessory of his own.  It’s a re-packaged Han Solo blaster pistol, which was actually the standard issue Rebel blaster for this line, so it certainly fits.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wedge is one of those figures that has long been on my want list, but he’s a slightly rarer item from the line, so I hadn’t really come across him.  Fortunately, I was able to find him loose and on his own during one of my PotF binges last December.  He’s not an amazing figure or anything, but I do find myself having something of a nostalgic twinge for him, even though I didn’t have him when I was younger.  Plus, he’s the first Wedge figure, which is pretty cool in its own right!

#2039: Speeder Bike (w/ Scout Trooper)

SPEEDER BIKE (w/ SCOUT TROOPER)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Just over a month ago, and then also two weeks before that, I took a look at the first and second releases of the Imperial Speeder Bike from Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  At this point, it can’t be too much of a surprise that I’m following those up with the final piece of the trio.  I’ve looked and both Luke and Leia with their stolen rides, but why not look at the proper rider of the ride, the Biker Scout?

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

As I noted in the Luke review, the speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia back in March.  I liked it then, I liked it the second time, and I still like it now.  It’s hard to go wrong on this one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This was our first Biker Scout since the vintage line, and, unlike that one, this one was designed specifically with riding the bike in mind.  To facilitate this, the figure’s articulation scheme is changed up a bit.  Rather than the standard 6 points, he’s got 7, which includes movement at the knees, as well as a a hinge-style neck, allowing for him to look up and down.  It’s the same articulation spread used for the Swoop Trooper, but I think it actually works a little bit better for this guy, since the configuration of the bike means he’s more likely to need to look upwards.  Despite the extra articulation, he still ends up being rather pre-posed, even moreso than the other two Speeder Bike figures.  He’s got a defined squat, and really deeply bent arms.  It’s the arms that I think are the worst bit of it, because they don’t quite work as well with the bike as you might hope.  It’s a shame they couldn’t also spring for elbow joints to match the knees.  Despite its awkward stance, the costume details on this guy are at least accurate, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  His paintwork is limited to black detailing on a (very yellowed) white plastic, and it’s rather on the sloppy side.  Like, even for this line, it’s really quite sloppy.  While Luke and Leia both got accessories in addition to the bike, the Biker Scout was not so lucky.  No comically enlarged comically small Biker Scout blaster I’m afraid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the one I got as a kid, and Leia was the most recent addition.  Where does this guy fit into it all?  Well, not that far ahead of Leia, actually.  I picked him up in the Farpoint 2018 Dealer’s Room, from one of the vendors I frequent.  I’d long wanted one, and this one was a case of right price at the right time.  Ultimately, he’s really the weakest of the three variants, though.  The main figure’s just not as strong as a proper figure as the other two, nor is he a particularly endearing Biker Scout variant.  It’s kind of a shame this was his only Power of the Force release, but there’s always the Power of the Jedi single-card.

#2024: Snake Eyes & Scarlett

SNAKE EYES & SCARLETT

G.I. JOE: NINJA FORCE (HASBRO)

For its first three decades, G.I. Joe was in a rather frequent state of change, attempting to keep itself matched with the times.  Since hitting a smash success with the A Real American Hero incarnation in the ’80s, there’s been a bit of difficulty updating, since a lasting fanbase has prevented them from completely revamping things the way they may once have done.  In the early ’90s, they made a bid at a more informal re-vamp, by breaking out some of ARAH‘s established characters into smaller sub-series, each following a popular theme of the time.  Mainstays Snake Eyes and Scarlett found themselves at the hoist into the “Ninja Force” brand, a decidedly foreign tone for a line that had “American” in its title.  Given the line’s hiatus just a year after this re-branding took center stage, it was perhaps a little too foreign for the established fanbase.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Snake Eyes and Scarlett were both released in 1993, during Ninja Force‘s second year running.  The comics by this point had interwoven both Snake Eyes and Scarlett with Cobra Ninja Storm Shadow, whose move over to the Joe side had led to him being Ninja Force‘s central character during its debut year, and these two coming along to join him seemed like a rather sensible move, at least from a marketing perspective.

SNAKE EYES

“SNAKE-EYES excelled in Long Range Recon Patrols and high-risk covert missions in Southeast Asia. His success was based on his ability to use everything from trees to fog when making himself virtually “invisible,” even to skilled Cobra Ninjas. He perfected his mystical martial arts techniques with the same ninja clan that trained STORM SHADOW. Snake-Eyes was living a self-disciplined, tranquil life in the High Sierras when HAWK recruited him for the G.I. Joe team. Since then, he has proven himself an invaluable asset to the Ninja Force and one of the fiercest fighting menaces against all Cobra legions.” 

This Snake Eyes marked his fifth time gracing the small-scale line, which made him the most prevalent character in the line (though Duke would catch him by virtue of getting two figures released that same year).  Snake not joining the Ninja Force until its second year may seem a little odd at first glance, but it’s likely that his very recently released V4 figure from ’91 prevented his presence for the sub-brands ’92 launch.  Up to this point, Hasbro hadn’t really done the same character two years running (apart from Cobra Commander, who was granted a new figure every year from ’91-’94), so I guess they wanted to let the Commando Snake do his thing a little longer.  Snake Eyes stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Snake Eyes’ articulation was a marked change from where the line had been for it’s prior nine years, by virtue of the addition of an action feature.  Squeeze the legs and his arms swing up and down for his “Basami Slice”.  Said feature limits the hip movement to more simple swivels and removes the waist.  Removing movement for a figure that’s part of the “Ninja Force” does seem like an odd choice, but it was the direction things were going at the time, so you can’t really fault Hasbro from leaning into that curve.  This figure’s design took the opposite position to the V4 release, which had almost completely abandoned Snake Eyes’ ninja side, and in contrast plays up the ninja side about as much as is possible.  In fact, you’d be forgiven for not realizing this was Snake Eyes at all at first glance.  He’s got actual, visible eyes, for Pete’s sake!  Where’s the signature eyewear?  Morphed into some sort of full faceplate thing, I guess.  He’s also bulked up substantially from his prior figures, because that’s what the ’90s does to you.  It’s actually not a bad sculpt all around, with solid detail work, showing a definite progression from earlier in the line.  Snake Eyes’ paintwork is actually pretty involved for an Snake Eyes figure.  He’s got TWO colors!  That’s crazy!  Snake Eyes was packed with an impressive selection of accessories.  He included three different swords of varying sizes and styles, plus a small knife, nunchucks, a pair of claws, and a display stand.  Mine is missing the knife and claws, but with that many accessories to start with, he doesn’t feel like he’s missing too much.

SCARLETT

“SCARLETT began her training in the martial arts at age nine and was awarded a black belt at age 15. She was not only physically ahead of her time, but mentally as well. She graduated summa cum laude from two Ivy League universities and went on to excel in training courses at all four branches of the armed forces. Cobra often mistakes her for just a pretty face rather than a member of G.I. Joe’s elite Ninja Force, which makes her perfect for undercover missions. She is great friend to each of the Joes, especially SNAKE-EYES, and a deadly enemy to Cobra.”

Despite being in the line’s first year and being a prominent fixture in both the comics and the cartoon, this was only Scarlett’s second figure, a full decade after the original figure.  She wasn’t previously as linked to the whole ninja-thing as Snake Eyes, but the two have been linked since very early on, so her place here as a companion to Snake Eyes was reasonable.  The figure is just under 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 13 points of articulation.  Like Snake Eyes, she has an action feature that limits the hips and waist.  Her action feature, the “Kato Kick” works a little differently than Snake Eyes, since it’s a kick, and there’s a sort of looser way of activating it.  If Snake Eyes’ design was a departure from his usual design, Scarlett’s is even more so. There’s really nothing left of her original look, apart from her red hair, I guess.  The rest of her look leans really heavily on the ninja thing, enough that this same sculpt was easily re-purposed into Chun-Li the same year.  Scarlett’s headsculpt was actually a notable improvement over the less attractive original Scarlett head, better matching her depictions in other media.  She makes use of soft-goods for both her pony tail and sash.  They sort of lend themselves to being all sorts of curled up and messy, but they were a decent enough idea.  Her paintwork is nice enough.  She’s very green, which was an interesting contrast with the red hair.  Not the most attractive color scheme, but not terrible when compared to some of the other figures from the same period of the line.  Scarlett includes the same accessories as Snake Eyes, but molded in yellow instead of blue.  My Scarlett’s missing even more of the extras, but again, with this many, it isn’t quite as much of a loss.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I first started getting into G.I. Joe, I was always rather perplexed by this subset of the line.  To my younger self, they seemed kind of pointless and goofy, but I’ve kind of gained a new appreciation for them.  I’ve always been a big fan of Snake Eyes and Scarlett, so when this pair showed up in a big ’90s Joe lot at All Time Toys, I fished the two of them out. Are they hokey?  Yes.  Are they the best versions of the characters?  No.  Are they a lot of fun?  Absolutely.

As I noted, I got this pair from All Time Toys, who have been getting a rather steady stream of G.I. Joe collections as of late.  So, if you’re looking for old Joes or if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2017: Scorpion Alien

SCORPION ALIEN

ALIENS (NECA)

We interrupt our regularly scheduled Avengers coverage for a look at another “A” franchise.  Yes, it’s April 26th, or 4-26, also known as Alien Day, or at least it has been for the last few years.  And this year, I did actual manage to flag something special to review for the occasion.  Last month, I took a look at the NECA’s Kenner-inspired take on Sgt. Apone.  Today, I’m following that up with my first look at one of NECA’s Kenner-style Aliens, namely the Scorpion Alien, the closest the original line got to a standard-issue Xenomorph variant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Scorpion Alien is the second of the three figures in the Kenner-inspired Series 13 of NECA’s Aliens line.  As sort of the quintessential alien of the original line, it was a little bit of a surprise that the Scorpion Alien wasn’t in the first Kenner-inspired assortment, but my guess would be that NECA was looking to space him out a little bit from the other more standard Alien variants.  At this point in the line, a more standard Xeno is a little more appreciated.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 39 points of articulation.  The Scorpion Alien uses the general model of the recently released Ultimate Alien Warrior as a starting point, mostly cribbing the internal workings and articulation scheme of that figure.  Most of the exterior is new; I think the pelvis and maybe the lower legs are the only truly un-changed parts.  Everything else gets a new skin.  It’s not *terribly* different from the film design, just a lot spikier, really.  For the sake of mixing things up a bit, and making him a little more unique, NECA’s also changed up the musculature a little bit, making him ever so slightly bulkier in areas such as the shoulders and the thighs.  It matches better with the slightly stouter build of the old figure, making him a more true adaptation of that figure.  The paintwork on this figure also leans pretty heavily on accuracy to the original’s exact coloring, with a heavy bronze accenting.  It’s a good look, though, as always, I’m slightly partial to blue, so I wouldn’t be opposed to a re-paint.  Still, this is a good look for the figure, and I appreciate the heavy bronze to black ratio.  The Scorpion Alien doesn’t have any accessories, but he does include a reprint of the comic included with the original figure.  I was slightly saddened by the lack of a blast apart feature, but I can’t really blame NECA for leaving that one out.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I was already picking up Apone, the Scorpion Alien was a pretty easy sell for me.  Though not far removed from the original design, he’s always been my favorite Kenner Alien design, so I was happy to see him show up in this line-up.  If you have any of the other Xenos from this line, he may not feel like much new, but I dig the changes they made, and I think he makes for a fun variant.  Hope you didn’t mind the detour.  The Marvel stuff will be back tomorrow!

I picked up this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have (or had, at least) the whole series.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.