#2693: Weapon X

WEAPON X

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

Wrapping up the radical changes that occurred to the many X-Men characters within the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline, we have Wolverine, who has such radical changes as “not called Wolverine” and “has one less hand.”  Okay, the hand thing’s a bit more radical, I suppose.  Not that it really impacted anything about who he was as a character, of course.  But it did at least give him a new look to make a toy out of, and Toy Biz was always down for that, weren’t they?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Weapon X was the final figure in the AoA Series of X-Men.  He was the requisite Wolverine variant for the set, which is sensible, I suppose.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Well, sort of 8 points, I guess.  The sculpting on the hair is such that the neck joint can’t move at all, but on the flip side, when he’s got one of his attachments for the stump in place, it gives him an extra joint there.  So it kind of works out, I guess.  As I addressed during my review of Patch back during the “Day of the Wolverines”, the Weapon X mold was retooled into that particular figure, though it’s worth noting that most of the parts are still technically unique between the two figures, thanks to a handful of minor changes to each of them.  It’s…not the worst thing ever?  It does slightly trend away from the ever increasing size of Wolverines at this point in the line, so I suppose that’s nice, though he’s forever stuck in this sort of mid-lunge-hunch posture, which really can’t be good for his back, adamantium spine or not.   His arms are also kind of weirdly outstretched, and I don’t even know what’s going on with his neck.  It’s weird to say the least.  Logan’s costume for the crossover isn’t a terribly involved one, and the paint is likewise not terribly involved.  Everything is rather basic.  The blue is a bit brighter than it should be, I suppose, and he’s missing the yellow, but the application is at least pretty clean, I guess.  Weapon X was packed with a handful (heh) of attachments for his stump, of varying quality.  The claws make sense, of course, being all story relevant and everything.  The hook is kinda goofy, and the missile launcher just made no damn sense.  I’ve only got the claws anyway, so I guess it doesn’t really matter too much at the end of the day.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I only got Sabretooth when these were new, and by the time I was starting to track them down after the fact, I was pretty well overloaded on Wolverines, so this one never really jumped out at me.  My brother Christian was always a little more of a Wolverine fan than I, so he actually got this one as a kid, from our local comic shop Cosmic Comix, I believe.  When he got around to not wanting most of his figures anymore, this was one of the ones I happily assimilated into my collection, mostly because it meant I didn’t actually have to put time or money into getting one of my own.  He’s alright, I guess, but I again confront the fact that this just isn’t that interesting of a design, and doesn’t really make for a terribly fun toy.

#2687: Aunt Beru

AUNT BERU

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Beru Lars was the closest thing to a mother that Luke Skywalker ever knew. She and husband Owen lovingly raised Luke as their nephew, and trained him in the mundane ways of moisture farming on their arid Tatooine homestead.. All along, Aunt Beru understood that a larger destiny awaited Luke. Years before, on another part of Tatooine, the slave Shmi Skywalker raised the boy who would become Luke’s father-Anakin Skywalker. Like Aunt Beru, she sadly understood she could only love and nurture her boy for a relatively short period of time before she had to allow him the freedom to fly on his own wings.”

I know what you’re thinking: “Why does Shmi Skywalker get mentioned in Aunt Beru’s bio?  Isn’t that a weird reach?”  Yes.  Yes, it is.  But it’s okay, because weird reaches are something that defined this particular branch of the Power of the Force line.  In celebration of the upcoming Prequel Trilogy, Hasbro (who was once again putting their name on action figures, after deciding to shut down their Kenner division) decided to celebrate in the best possible way you can when you can’t actually release anything from the movie you’re promoting: awkward, forced tie-ins.  Instead of actual Episode 1 based product, they produced the “Flashback Photo” figures, a set of Original Trilogy figures that each had a tie to someone from the new movie.  Figures like Vader, Obi-Wan, R2, or 3PO all made sense, being in both sets of movies and all, but what of other characters?  Well, you get pairings like Beru and Shmi, who aren’t related, and don’t actually interact on-screen….but, I guess they’re sort of similar?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Aunt Beru was added to the Power of the Force line in 1999, as part of the second round of the “Flashback Photo” figures that were leading into the new film.  This was Beru’s first figure (not an exceptional shock, really), and remains the only OT Beru figure we’ve ever gotten.  Clearly she’s overdue for Black Series treatment, right?  Riiiiight.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  She’s rather limited on the mobility front, due to the harder plastic skirt, but it’s Beru; it’s not like she was exactly action oriented.  Her sculpt was an all-new thing, and it’s actually a rather nice offering.  The proportions are fairly balanced and realistic, and pre-posing is kept to a minimum.  Her outfit is fairly well detailed, and she’s even got a halfway decent likeness of actress Sheila Mary Fraser.  Generally, just pretty good sculpting for the time when you get down to it.  Additionally, the paint work’s not too bad either.  Mostly, it’s flat base color work, but there’s some decent work on the pattern of her collar, and the accenting on the hair also works quite well.  Beru’s real selling point is the accessories.  She gets the best ever accessories for an Aunt Beru figure: a pitch and cup of blue milk!  It’s kind of a signature thing, so it’s nice they put it in there.  Hasbro obviously knew that old woman in a sensible jacket and dress serving a good, calcium building beverage wasn’t going to fly off shelves, so they packed Beru with one of the Lars family Service Droids.  Though simply dubbed “Service Droid” on the package, this guy is actually a WED-15-77 Treadwell droid, which is a somewhat recurring type of droid from the films and expanded universe material.  Treadwell even has a single joint at the base of his treads, and a spot for keeping the milk, making him the perfect companion piece to Beru.  Lastly, there’s the “Flashback Photo” piece, which is really just an extra piece of packaging that you’d be forgiven for immediately throwing away.  It’s a picture of Beru on a set of shutters; pull the tab down, and they flip to show Shmi Skywalker.  Thrilling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is one of those oddball releases that isn’t really ripe for buying as a kid…so I didn’t.  She got traded into All Time over the summer, and I snagged her then, as I continue my quest of getting all of Power of the Force.  Honestly, while she may not be the most thrilling character, Beru is a better figure than you might expect, and holds up surprisingly well for this line.  For me, though, Treadwell is the real star.  He’s just so nifty!

#2686: Apocalypse

APOCALYPSE

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Apocalypse is the ruler of America. New York City is now Apocalypse Island, and all humans are sentenced to slavery! Only the most powerful mutants survive to reign alongside the high lord En Sabah Nur! Those who oppose him, like Magneto and his X-Men must live in hiding, under the constant threat of being caught – or surrender. This is not some bleak view of the future – this is now… the Age of Apocalypse.”

Hey, look at that, two AoA Apocalypse figures within the same month.  That’s pretty nifty.  It’s almost like I…planned it.  Yeah, sure, that’s why I delayed reviewing the Legends figure for so long.  Just for this awkward tie in here.  Yep.  That’s totally it.  Let’s go with that.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Apocalypse is another figure from the twelfth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was totally inspired by the “Age of Apocalypse” event that was just wrapping up in the comics at the time.  He’s really the most obvious figure out of the set, what with the event being named after him and all.  It marked his third figure in the line, though this one was something of a departure from the prior releases.  The figure stands just over 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He gained extra movement at the forearms on both of his arms, but notably lost the movement at the neck, for some reason.  He and Magneto were both very anti-neck movement, I guess.  Apocalypse’s AoA design was in some ways a bit less built up than his mainstream look, but was more built up in others.  Whatever the case, it was different, and required an all-new sculpt.  It’s alright, but not quite as strong as either of the prior two Apocalypses.  His proportions are really wonky, especially on the arms, which make up about 50% of the figure’s mass.  He’s also a bit lighter on detailing than other Apocalypse figures, in part due to how the design works out.  The hands can be popped at the forearms (hence the extra joints there), but they definitely have some trouble staying in place.  Likewise, the cape and collar are separate from the main body, but have trouble really staying attached, since there’s nothing to really hold them there.  So, they just kind of jostle around a lot.  Not a ton of fun to play with, really.  The paint work on Apocalypse is pretty straight forward, and not bad overall.  The only part I’m really iffy about is the metallic purple, used on the head, hands, and part of the boots.  It’s not a terrible color, but it does kind of clash with the other colors on the figure.  Apocalypse was packed with an extra buzzsaw arm attachment, which can swap with either of his standard arms, as well as an imprisoned Shadow King, which is actually a pretty cool little extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, Apocalypse I was my Apocalypse, and I never really cared enough about the character to feel the need to own another version.  So, I didn’t.  This guy wound up being a more recent addition to the collection.  I picked him up along with a batch of other sealed Toy Biz figures a couple of years ago from Collector’s Corner, who were running a sale on them at the time.  He’s remained sealed since then, and I really only opened him for the review (which is the case with a handful of my more recent Toy Biz acquisitions), meaning he’s largely removed from any real nostalgia or anything.  He’s not a terribly impressive figure, to be honest, and lacks a lot of the toyetic qualities that made the prior two figures fun.

#2680: Dark Trooper

DARK TROOPER

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. Known as phase III, this most powerful of the Dark Troopers is actually a figure known as General Mohc. Practically unstoppable, he represents the greatest threat to the success of the Rebel Alliance.”

Kenner’s Expanded Universe sub-set covered a few different EU tales, giving them each at minimum a pair of figures.  Though previously unexplored in the toys, that included some video game coverage, in the form of two figures based on the video game Dark Forces.  The first of those was the game’s protagonist, Kyle Katarn.  The second was today’s focus, the Dark Trooper, a concept that’s certainly moving up in the world, thanks to a proper canon appearance in the second season of The Mandalorian.  But, let’s jump to those humble beginnings, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dark Trooper is the final single carded figure in the Expanded Universe sub-line of Kenner’s Power of the Force II.  He’s the other of the two later release figures I mentioned in last week’s Spacetrooper review.  Also of note is the fact that the Dark Trooper was the only of the nine single release figures not to be shown off on the cross sell on any of the packaging, for whatever reason.  The figure stands 4 1/4 inches tall (the second tallest in the set) and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s definitely one of the stiffer figures included in this line-up, only further highlighted after looking at the Spacetrooper last week, with his extra movement and all.  Given the bulked up design of this particular look, the slightly more restricted set-up isn’t totally shocking however.  This mold was new to this figure, but would later be re-used in its entirety for the Fan’s Choice rerelease in 2007, likely due to the combination of rarity and popularity of this particular release.  It’s an interesting sculpt, because it feels more dated than the rest of the assortment, but that’s actually because he’s going for a recreation of the game model, which means he really should be that bulked up and geometric.  Hard to take the ’90s out of a ’90s design,  I suppose.  There’s a fair deal of detail work going into this guy, which does a lot to make him a bit of a step up from a straight recreation of the game look.  I also appreciated that the jet pack is actually a separate piece, with full detailing on the figure beneath it.  In terms of paint work, the Dark Trooper’s actually got a bit more going on than it seems on the surface.  All of the silver is painted, rather than molded, and there are actually two distinct shades between the outer armor and the mechanics.  The Dark Trooper includes a rather goofy looking heavy blaster lifted straight from the game, as well as yet another fold out display.  This one’s definitely one of the most clever, being based on the game’s HUD, allowing you to simulate an in-game set up.  That’s pretty nifty!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Dark Trooper was a figure that was almost not mine, and was almost the cause of a real tussle between me and Max….okay, not really.  But, when we were pulling the figures out when they came in, he had called dibs on the Sentinel, and then also set this one to the side…only I didn’t realize he’d set this one to the side with the intent to buy it himself, so I grabbed it with the rest of my set and innocently sent him a shot of the whole set after I’d opened them and set them all up.  Then there was much discussion between the two of us, at which point Max very graciously let me keep the Trooper, because he’s nice like that.  It’s nice to have the whole set-up of these guys after all these years, and the Dark Trooper is certainly nifty, especially after their TV appearance!

 

#2679: Sabretooth

SABRETOOTH

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Although Sabretooth is usually one of the X-Men’s most fearsome foes, in this different reality, he is in fact an X-Man, fighting for peace alongside his former adversaries. And although he still possesses his savage strength and animal-like instincts, he also shares those traits via an empathic link with his feral companion, Wild Child who channels those primitive instincts, keeping rage in check.”

Following up on last week’s renewed coverage of the Toy Biz “Age of Apocalypse” figures after, like, a five year break, I’m taking a look at yet another figure who hasn’t yet been graced with an update from Hasbro*…coupled with someone who has!  Yes, it’s another pair of formerly villainous characters who found heroic traits during the crossover, Sabreooth and Wild Child!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sabretooth was released in the 12th series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was all AoA-based.  This was the fourth version of Sabretooth we’d gotten, though unlike Magneto, all of Victor’s figures had been uniquely different each other.  Sabretooth had one of the more drastically different designs for the cross-over, as this one removed him even more from the furry, more ferally-inspired costumes he’d had previously, in favor of one of he more Magneto inspired costumes the X-Men were sporting.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  This guy’s articulation was pretty interesting, because it’s just a sort of odd assortment.  Like, he adds swivels on the legs, which were actually new for this guy, I think.  Not sure exactly *why* they did that, as they’re not really essential for the character, but they were certainly appreciated.  Oddly, however, he’s only got a single elbow joint, just on the right arm.  The left is without.  Not sure why.  Whatever the case, he was by far the most articulated Sabretooth, after the last three figures were all missing some key movement of some sort.  In terms of height, he wasn’t much larger, but this guy was certainly wider than the prior Sabretooths, making him fit with the overall bulked up aesthetic for the figures in the line at this point.  As I’ve noted with the others from the set, it was certainly fitting, given that the crossover was happening at the height of the ’90s “X-Treme” trends, meaning that all of the characters wound up looking like Apocalypse was mandating some pretty heavy steroid use in this new reality.  It works out okay for Sabretooth in particular, since he has generally stuck with his bulk-up after the fact.  The sculpt here does wind up looking a touch awkward, but you can’t say they didn’t follow the stylings of the art. The ponytail is a separate piece that pegs in, so you can reorient it however you’d like when posing him.  My only real complaint would be how ferocious the facial expression is, given that Victor was generally a little friendlier in the cross over.  Sabretooth’s paint work is pretty basic, but also pretty clean, and again, pretty consistent with the art.  Sabretooth’s main accessory is his partner in crime Wild Child, who is depicted here as an unarticulated figurine.  He’s perhaps a touch on the small side for proper scaling, but otherwise not bad.  Also included is a chain to connect him to Sabretooth’s arm, as seen in the series.  It works pretty well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sabretooth was the first AoA figure I got, and the only one I had when they were new.  He was a birthday present from my great aunt Nelda.  I was used to getting some weird gifts from the extended family, so this one was surprisingly on the mark for her.  It would not surprise me to find out that she had enlisted the help of my Grandmother, who was always pretty up to date on what I liked.  It was actually the first Sabretooth I had for my collection, and it was a few years before I found out that this one wasn’t supposed to be a bad guy.  It was also a little while before I had even the slightest clue who Wild Child was supposed to be.  This is a goofy, very tied to its time pair, but they actually aren’t bad figures looking back on them.

*Notably, while we haven’t gotten a Hasbro Legends update for AoA Sabretooth, he was one of the two figures from the crossover during the Toy Biz days.  Not that I’d call that one a worthy fit for the rest of the new set, but, it does still put him ahead of poor Magneto.

#2673: Spacetrooper

SPACETROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. The ability of spacetroopers to operate exclusively in space made them a valuable asset to the warlord, Grand Admiral Thrawn. These heavily armed stormtroopers wear full-body armor and have equipment that enables them to function as personal space-capable assault vehicles.”

In the history of Stormtrooper variants, today’s focus, the Spacetrooper, is actually one of the very earliest.  They first appear in A New Hope, one of them being seen when the Falcon gets pulled into the Death Star. Admittedly pretty easy to miss, being a) rather small and b) not actually very removed from the regular Stormtrooper design.  He was also portrayed by concept designer and future director Joe Johnson, which is a nifty little bit of trivia.  The idea has stuck around since, gaining some slight changes over the years.  When it came time to adapt Heir to Empire into comic form, they were granted a unique armored appearance, which served as the inspiration for their very first action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Spacetrooper was part of Kenner’s Expanded Universe sub-line for Power of the Force.  He was one of two figures that shipped a little bit later than the rest, and were subsequently even harder to find at retail at the time.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has a whopping 8 points of articulation.  He’s notable for being the first use of a universal joint on the shoulders, in contrast to prior figures’ simple cut joints.  Why this particular figure was granted these is kind of a random guess, but I’d hazard it’s due to how the shoulders are designed.  It’s a little rudimentary in its implementation, but still quite cool, and certainly useful for a wider range of posing.  The sculpt was an all-new affair, reasonable given the all-new design.  He’s got the basic elements of a Stormtrooper, but a little more armored up, and a little more streamlined.  There are a few other movable elements worked in as well, with an adjustable jetpack, and a fold out blaster built into the left arm (but only the left, because two blasters is too many).  As with the articulation, it gives the figure a bit more variety for posing, and just gives him a better general feeling of value compared to some of the more basic troopers.  In terms of paint, the Spacetrooper is a little lax; mostly, he just relies on the molded white plastic.  It’s slightly pearlescent, which makes a touch hard to properly photograph when coupled with the lack of accenting.  Still, it’s not terribly far removed from the rest of the PotF stuff at the time, and it does hit all of the major elements.  The Spacetrooper doesn’t get any proper accessories, thanks to everything being built in.  He does still get the fold out back drop, though, which is still pretty darn cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the full set of EU figures came through All Time Toys back in 2019, we didn’t actually know it was a full set at first.  Max had pulled out his Imperial Sentry, and told me I was welcome to the only other one we knew was in the lot, which was this guy.  Honestly, I was pretty happy just to get him, because I’ve always thought he looked pretty nifty, and I’d not gotten the chance to pick him up at that point.  Compared to some of the others, he fades into the background a little bit, but he does a lot of cool, innovative stuff for the time, and honestly holds up pretty well.

#2672: Magneto

MAGNETO

X-MEN: AGE OF APOCALYPSE (TOY BIZ)

“In a different world the X-Men were founded by Erik Lehnsherr, better known as Magneto, the master of magnetism. Although the team roster has changed slightly, their quest for peace between human and mutants remains unchanged. A drive instilled in Magneto by a man he once called a dear friend – the late Professor Charles Xavier.”

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of mega X-Men cross-over, “Age of Apocalypse”, but this year marks the 25th anniversary of the tie-in toys for “Age of Apocalypse.”  You tell me: which of those is the cooler thing?  Yes, I know most people would say the actual cross over, but this is a toy site, so, you know, bear with me?  Yes, in 1996, we got a small assortment of figures based on a story that was just wrapping up in the pages of all of the X-books at the time.  I already looked at Cyclops several years ago, but I’m diving into the rest of that set, starting things off with the alternate realities X-Men founder and leader, Magneto!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto is part of the twelfth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line, which was, as noted above, entirely based on “Age of Apocalypse.”  He marked Magneto’s fourth time in the line, but all of the others were just his main design.  This one is…slightly different?  Magneto’s design in the the series is admittedly one of the least changed, but it’s still different from what we’d gotten previously.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  He gets waist articulation, which is cool, but loses his neck movement, I guess because of the hair?  They gave other characters with long hair neck movement (including the Cyclops in this very series), but perhaps it was something about the style?  Compared to his last three figures in the line, this Magneto was definitely bulked up, fitting with the general bulking up trend of the line.  Additionally, Magneto was notably pretty darn swoll in the comics at this point, so it’s not like the figure is inaccurate.  In fact, he’s quite a faithful recreation, with the head doing quite a nice job of capturing the general style of the comics, and the various pieces of the costume being quite nicely defined.  The cape is a separate removable piece, and it has quite a dynamic flow going on with it, which gives him a nice bit of flair.  In terms of paint work, Magneto is pretty basic for the most part.  The application’s generally pretty cleanly handled.  The use of the metallic on the upper purple armored bits is pretty cool, and an early use of such color work for the line.  It also mixes better with the flat purple parts than you might think, and works in an armor vs cloth sort of way.  Magneto is packed with a removable helmet (a feature making its return here from the first figure), and a big hand…thing.  Presumably, it’s some sort of manifestation of his powers, perhaps referencing the scrap metal armor Magneto assembles for himself while fighting Apocalypse?  It’s pretty cool regardless, and certainly makes more sense than just giving him a random gun like the last figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Magneto’s definitely one of my favorite designs to come out of AoA, similarities to his standard design and all.  It was one I was really into as a kid, and while I missed this guy when he was still new, I actually got him not too terribly long after the fact, thanks to a loose collection of Marvel figures that came into Cosmic Comix in the early 00s.  Magneto was one of a handful of figures I grabbed from it, though at the time he was missing his cape and effect piece.  Thankfully, I was recently able to acquire both pieces from a collection that came through All Time, making this guy totally complete after almost two decades.  He’s a fun figure, and probably one of the most unassuming from this particular assortment.  I’d sure love to get a Legends update on this design!

#2631: Grand Admiral Thrawn

GRAND ADMIRAL THRAWN

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. A tactical and military genius, Grand Admiral Thrawn rallied the remnants of the Imperial fleet and set in motion a plan to destroy the New Republic. Using Force-inhibiting ysalamiri, he became vitally close to achieving his evil plans.”

Last week, I was discussing EU characters who really ran away from their expanded universe origins and became lasting pieces of the franchise in their own right.  While last week’s focus, Mara Jade, was prominent, she never made the jump to official canon proper.  Today’s subject, Grand Admiral Thrawn, actually did.  First introduced by author Timothy Zahn in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, Thrawn has also been confirmed to exist in the post-Disney-acquisition world of the franchise, having served as the primary antagonist for the second half of their Rebels series.  And, perhaps his future in the franchise is unexplored, if The Mandalorian‘s quick reference is anything to go by.  Well, in the mean time, let’s look at a little bit of toy coverage!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Grand Admiral Thrawn was released in the Expanded Universe sub-line of Power of the Force in 1998.  Like many of the characters included, this was his first figure, though thanks to actually becoming proper canon, he’s had a few more of them in recent years.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Thrawn is an all-new sculpt, but not exactly an unfamiliar or unique one.  He takes a lot of cues from how Kenner handled other Imperial Officer figures, which makes a bit of sense, from a consistency stand point.  Like Mara Jade, he’s clearly not a direct lift from the comics illustrations of Thrawn, in order to help him look a bit more in line with the rest of Power of the Force.  His head seems a touch large in my eyes, but otherwise it’s not a bad looking sculpt, and is consistent with how Thrawn generally looked.  It’s basic, but appropriately so.  The paint work is also pretty basic and straight forward, but again consistent with the character’s depiction.  It’s definitely a more unique color scheme, so he stands out nicely in a group of Imperials.  Thrawn is packed with a ysalamiri, the weird thing he’s got on his shoulders there, as well as a small blaster pistol, and the fold out diorama.  This time, it’s the bridge of ship, presumably the Katana.  It’s pretty sweet.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

All of these were rare when released, and Thrawn’s quite a fan favorite, so he was also always pretty rare.  Fortunately, that whole set came through All Time last year, so I was finally able to snag one then.  He’s not the most technically impressive figure or anything, but he’s still pretty nifty, and I’m glad I have one.

#2630: Iceman II

ICEMAN II

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“One of the youngest X-Men, Bobby Drake always resigned himself to the role of the jokester, using his ice powers to cool off the attitudes of his more serious team-mates. But for the short time the White Queen inhabited his body, Iceman’s powers were pushed to the max, affecting his appearance and the performance of his mutant ability. Now back in control of his own body, Iceman has begun to redefine himself, testing his limits to discover how powerful he really is.”

Though a founding member of the team, Iceman was not really one of the X-Men’s most prominent members in the ‘90s, at least when it came time to make the cartoon and pick its main cast of characters.  He got one guest appearance, but that was all, and subsequently, he didn’t get a *ton* of coverage in the toy line at the time, either.  Granted, he still got a little bit of coverage, by virtue of that whole helping to found the team, thing, so he wasn’t left completely high and dry.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceman II was released in the Invasion Series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line.  In the comics, Bobby’s body had been taken over by Emma Frost for a brief period of time, and she’d unlocked Bobby’s ability to actually make himself out of ice, resulting in a slightly different appearance for the character, which this figure was based on.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure before, as all but the head was re-used for the Mutant Armor version of the character.  It’s not a bad sculpt at all, and the head included here is a rare look at a proper Bobby Drake face, albeit a slightly icy one.  The whole sculpt was used again for a two-pack release with Pyro in 2000, but with a slightly different coloring (which is the one seen next to Wilson in the photos).  The standard release of this one was molded in clear blue plastic, with a little bit of white airbrushed on to help give him that frosted appearance.  It didn’t work so well on the Mutant armor release, but I think it looks a bit better here.  For the two pack, he was a more opaque blue, which also isn’t a bad look.  Iceman II (and the two pack release) was packed with two ice hand attachments, done up to match the figure’s finish.  They’re a pretty cool extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t have the original Iceman II in my collection as a kid (though I did have the two-pack version, who I mostly got because I wanted the Pyro he was packed with), I do remember looking at him during the mega 5-inch figure purchase period that was local comic shop Ageless Heroes going out of business back in 2000.  I almost picked this figure up at the time, as I was working on putting together a set of Champions figures.  However, I already had *an* Iceman, even if it wasn’t this one, so I refrained in favor of someone I didn’t already own (fairly certain it was Black Widow).  This one here came into my collection via a bunch of figures that just came into All Time a few weeks ago.  He was complete and I didn’t already have him, so why not?

#2624: Mara Jade

MARA JADE

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Five years after the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance has driven the evil Empire into a distant corner of the galaxy. But a new danger has arisen: the last of the Emperor’s warlords has devised a battle plan that could destroy the New Republic. Before the death of Palpatine, Mara Jade was the Emperor’s right hand assassin. Five years later and now a successful smuggler, the last thing Mara expected was to stumble upon her former arch-enemy – Luke Skywalker.”

The Star Wars Expanded Universe had a whole host of new characters to add to the mythos, coming from all sorts of different mediums, and doing all sorts of, some times, contradictory things.  A few of those EU characters because rather pervasive, but few were quite as recurrent as Mara Jade, a character who appeared about just every medium other than the movies.  Destined to become Luke Skywalker’s eventual wife, Mara was revealed to be just on the outskirts of plenty of prior events, just waiting to peer into the shot, I suppose.  She’s become rather downplayed since Disney took over, of course, but she was pretty big with the fanbase, and did get a few action figures, the first of which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mara Jade was released alongside the rest of the initial Expanded Universe line-up of Power of the Force figures in 1998.  As such a popular character, she was a rarer figure from an already scarce assortment, at least at the time.  She was one of the three figures in the line-up to be based on the Heir to Empire story, fittingly Mara’s first appearance.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and she has 6 points of articulation.  Mara’s sculpt was unique to her, and based at least somewhat on her appearance in the Heir to Empire comics adaptation, though it’s mostly in regards to her attire, since her features don’t match the rather stylized depiction of the character from the comics.  Neither was she really based on Shannon McRandle, the model who portrayed Mara on the covers of the novels she appeared in.  Instead, she’s just sort of an averaged appearance, I suppose.  It works fine for the character, and it’s not like she’s any further from her usual appearances than any of the characters who actually appeared in the movies were.  Mara’s paint work is rather eye catching, especially the bright red hair, and the application is all pretty clean.  They did actually differentiate between the black of her body suit and her boots, so that looks pretty nice.  Mara is packed with Luke’s lightsaber, a blaster pistol, and another 3D backdrop like the rest of the series.  This one shows off a downed ship, and is definitely one of the cooler backdrops.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t know anything about Mara when these figures were new, and I certainly didn’t really see her in person to push me to find out.  As I’ve become more versed with Star Wars over the years, I’ve of course come to know a bit more about her, and I’ve been subsequently more invested in these figures.  I picked her up at the same time as most of the rest of the set, when they all came in through All Time.  Mara’s a pretty cool little figure.  Perhaps not the flashiest of this line up, but a fun and unique figure nevertheless.