#2290: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“The all-American hero Captain America charges into battle for justice.”

Back in 2012, Marvel Legends was kind of in hibernation, meaning the main line of Avengers figures were in the smaller 3 3/4-inch scale.  Walmart, however, carried an exclusive line of Legends-styled figures for the movie, to at least give us (most) of the main cast.  These figures were still a little rarer than the usual release, however, and over the course of the last eight years, Hasbro have done what they can to get some of those figures (or at least those looks) back to market.  A lengthy flashback sequence (plus an involved fight scene) in Endgame proved a fairly good excuse to put back out the first movie’s take on Cap.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America (affectionately referred to as “America’s Ass” Cap by the fanbase, due to the movie’s commentary on the costume’s…benefits to Cap’s physique) is part of the third Endgame-themed series of Marvel Legends.  While the assortment was officially a fall 2019 release, there was a definite split in distribution, which caused a lot of the figures to be pretty scarce until around the first week of 2020.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  As far as the sculpt is concerned, this figure’s completely re-use, though not all from the same source.  The majority of the figure is the old Walmart release, with the head of the Quantum Suit Cap (which I had pegged for re-use when it debuted).  The head was the most inaccurate part of the original figure, so the replacement is certainly an improvement.  Unfortunately, while the head may work in modern times, the body, though good in 2012, is really out of date eight years later.  The articulation on the hips his definitely the weakest bit, but the lack of proper wrists also holds him back, as does his limited range of the shoulders.  The head also sits a little high on the neck, and takes some pretty careful posing to not look super goony.  Also, despite the whole “America’s Ass” commentary from the movie, the old sculpt definitely doesn’t do that aspect of the costume any favors.  Obviously, Hasbro was looking for a figure to save some tooling costs on, but ultimately, this is a figure that should have warranted an all-new body sculpt; the old one just doesn’t quite pass muster anymore.  The paintwork on this figure changes things up a bit from the original release; the brighter colors of the Walmart figure have been toned down a fair bit, resulting in a more film-accurate color scheme.  Additionally, he’s got the face printing on the head, making the figure look a little more lifelike.  Cap gets the upgraded shield from the 10th Anniversary line in place of the old one, as well as one of the arms for the Thor Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This Cap figure fills me with mixed emotions…which seems to have been a running theme for Cap Legends in 2019, honestly.  I never hated the 2012 costume the way others did, so I’m not put off by the prospect of an update, especially given it’s prominence in Endgame.  The 2012 figure certainly wasn’t bad for his time, and I reviewed him quite favorably when I looked at him back in 2018. Unfortunately, the rehash feels kind of hollow, especially when compared to some of the other work Hasbro put out last year, and it’s also hard not to view this figure as taking the regular retail slot from the standard Endgame Cap, who would have made far more sense in one of the standard assortments, and who still proves particularly hard to acquire for a lot of fans.  Obviously, there are things behind the scenes at Hasbro that I’m not privy to, so I can’t know exactly why they chose to do things this way, but it doesn’t stop this Cap figure from feeling somewhat lackluster, and not quite what I wanted.

Cap was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s currently in-stock at their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2289: Death Star Trooper

DEATH STAR TROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Grand Moff Tarkin created this select force of soldiers to defend the galaxy’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star. These elite troopers manned the gun towers during the Battle of Yavin, a conflict that resulted in the Death Star’s destruction.”

The original 12 Kenner Star Wars figures were largely populated by the film’s most distinctive characters, or even a few stand out designs, such as the Tusken Raiders and Jawas.  The slight odd-man out to this line-up was the Death Squad Commander, later renamed the Star Destroyer Commander, a uniformed and helmeted Imperial trooper based on a character that really didn’t get much action in the film proper.  When the line was brought back in the ’90s with an even deeper reach of characters, it would still take most of the run to finally get a follow-up to that original character, this time named the Death Star Trooper.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Death Star Trooper was released in the Power of the Force II line in 1998.  He and Ree-Yees were the only two knew figures in 1998’s final main assortment, resulting in both of them being quite difficult to get at their time of release.  General lowered interest in Power of the Force as well as a reissue of this figure brought his price way down, to the point that he’s pretty much just as easily found as any other figure from the line.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He was an all-new sculpt at the time and….well, it’s certainly an interesting one.  By ’98, the buffed-up, pre-posed look had been pretty much weeded out of the line.  This guy definitely wasn’t buffed up, but somehow he manages to be one of the most pre-posed the line ever produced.  And exactly the purpose of that pose?  Who knows?  He looks like he’s going for a jog or something.  I mean, the Death Star is a pretty big place.  They gotta get around somehow.  Aside from the posing, the sculpt is honestly pretty good, with a solid recreation of the uniform, and even a removable helmet to boot!  Sure, he’s got some wonky headgear going on beneath it for some reason, but it’s still pretty nifty.  His paintwork is fairly basic, but does what it’s supposed to do, and looks pretty decent.  The trooper was not seen armed in the film, but for this figure was armed with a ridiculously large blaster rifle, which despite the pre-posing, he still can’t hold very convincingly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got the original Death Squad Commander, which has given me a soft spot for the general concept of this figure, but I didn’t own this one growing up, largely due to how rare he was at the time.  I ended up getting him during one of my big Power of the Force splurges at All Time.  He’s not anything amazing or special, but he’s at the very least not as boring as some of the other Imperial guys.

#2283: Man-At-Arms

MAN-AT-ARMS

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Heroic Master of Weapons”

My introduction to Masters of the Universe was not via the franchise’s original ’80s incarnation, but was instead through the attempted 2002 revival series.  Though ultimately not as much of a success as the original line, I myself have always much preferred this incarnation, in part for my own sentimental reasons, and in part because I have no reason to be sentimental about the original.  Whatever the case, I’m always game for a look back at the line that got me into things, and that’s just what I’ll be doing today, with a look at the updated series’ take on Prince Adam’s own wise, sagely mentor, Man-At-Arms!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Man-At-Arms was released as part of the Heroic Warriors half of the first assortment of Mattel’s 2002 Masters of the Universe line, alongside the basic He-Man and Stratos.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While the vintage Man-At-Arms was built from the same bank of parts as He-Man and a good chunk of the rest of the line, for the purposes of the 200x update, he was given a major overhaul and, consequently, a totally new sculpt (albeit one that would be used for a handful of Man-At-Arms variants as the line progressed), just like pretty much every one else in the line.  Earlier in the line, Mattel was still trying to hang onto some of the build aspects of the old line, so unlike later figures, Man-At-Arms still has a removable chest piece, much like his vintage counter part.  While there’s not a ton of reason to remove it, it does allow for a continuation of the interchangeability that the old figures had, which would more or less be removed from the line from Series 2 onward.  The arm and leg pieces are not removable this time around, but it’s honestly a bit of an improvement, since now they won’t constantly fall off or be at risk for breaking.  Man-At-Arms’ sculpt is certainly an impressive one, and definitely the strongest of the debut Heroic Warriors.  They’ve gone really crazy with all of the various tech details, which help to really differentiate him from his prior figure, as well as further remove him from his genesis as largely a repaint of the basic barbarian.  That barbarian aspect is much more removed.  What’s not removed this time around is Duncan’s mustache, always curiously absent from his original figure.  This one has it in all of its Selleck-esque glory.  He’s also got a far more intimidating facial expression than his predecessor, making this one guy I would not want to mess with.  The paint work on this figure is fairly decent.  Like the sculpt, the paint exhibits far more detail than the ’80s version, though it still doesn’t quite do the sculpt justice.  Plenty of details go unpainted, and are therefore very easily missed by the casual eye.  Befitting his name, this Man-At-Arms came with two styles of armament.  He has the classic figure’s mace (albeit at a slightly more imposing scale) and adds an arm cannon which slips over his left hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Man-At-Arms was, admittedly, never a character that was high on my list.  As such, I never had one growing up, and I hadn’t come across one since starting to go back and fill in the holes in the collection.  When All Time got in a whole bunch of 200x Masters figures a couple of months ago, Man-At-Arms was included.  Since I was already picking up a few others, he was a pretty easy purchase.  Now my collection feels a bit more complete.

As touched on above, I picked this guy up from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2282: Strong Guy

STRONG GUY

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Strong Guy joined X-Factor for the simplest of reasons–the regular paycheck!  Caring little about the problems between man and mutantkind, he lives instead for the finer things in life–wine, women and song!  And he’s not above using his tremendous mutant strength to put those who would criticize his lifestyle in their place!”

After three assortments of pretty solid team building, the fourth series of Toy Biz’s X-Men line is one of the stranger line-ups the line would produce.  I mean, it doesn’t have the weirdest character choices per se (well, apart from Tusk, because who the heck went “where’s my Tusk action figure?”), but more that it seems generally unfocused and all over the place.  It would be this assortment which introduced off-shoot team X-Factor into the line.  And what character would they use to launch?  Would it be team leader Havok (who had been scrapped from the Series 3 line-up), or even X-universe mainstays Polaris, Multiple Man, or Wolfsbane?  Nope, it was Lila Cheney’s bodyguard Guido, who had just taken the name “Strong Guy,” denoting his status as a…uhh….strong…guy.  Yeah…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Strong Guy was added to the Toy Biz X-Men  line-up in 1993 as part of the aforementioned Series 4 line-up.  He would see a re-issue in 2000 in ever so slightly different colors as part of the KB-exclusive X-Men line, but beyond that, this was it for Guido, at least until last year’s Minimate and this year’s Legend.  Lucky Guido.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit on the small side for Strong Guy (though that made him a nice fit with Hasbro’s Marvel Universe a few years later), but he’s got enough of a size difference that it works.  Strong Guy is missing joints at the elbows and knees, I can only assume due to his larger size.  Honestly, he makes out alright without them, so it’s not the end of the world.  Much like Ch’od, who was similarly limited in terms of articulation and also similarly-sized, Strong Guy’s sculpt ends up as a pretty solid offering.  The character’s distinctive proportions are well captured, and there’s a lot of character in the figure’s face, which helps to keep him looking fairly unique.  He also matches up well with the art stylings of the time, honestly in a far better fashion than any of the other X-Factor characters.  Strong Guy’s paint work is pretty solid for the time.  All of the important details are there, and the application is fairly clean.  Technically, there should be a patch of blue on his vest, but honestly the X-Factor art was stylized enough at the time that Toy Biz can be forgiven for not realizing that wasn’t just a harshly shaded patch.  Strong Guy included no accessories (though, like most Toy Biz figures of the time, he has his hands molded to hold *something*), but he did have a “Power Punch” action, which raises his arms up and down when his torso is spun around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Strong Guy is not a figure I had growing up.  He actually was added to my collection during my post-freshman-year-of-college Toy Biz binge, after finding him at All Time Toys.  He was still packaged, and, for whatever reason, I just never got around to opening him.  He ended up sitting unopened for another 8 years, until I finally cracked him open a month ago in preparation for this review.  I don’t know why I delayed so long, but he’s a pretty fun little figure, truth be told.

#2266: Omega Supreme

OMEGA SUPREME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

For Day 2 of the post-Christmas reviews, I transition from very familiar territory to very unfamiliar territory.  For one thing, I got into this whole Transformers thing after Christmas last year, so this is the first time I’m reviewing one under this whole giftly heading.  Secondly, this particular Transformer marks my first experience with a scale I have as of yet left untouched: Titan Class.  They’re the big boys of the Transformers ‘verse and today I’m looking at Omega Supreme, a Titan Class offering with a name that sounds not unlike something you’d order from a pizza place.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega Supreme is the Titan Class offering for Siege, hitting shelves in the fall of 2019.  Omega was previously one of the possible options for the Power of The Primes Titan, but he and Scorponok were beaten out by Trypticon in the fan poll.  Omega is the sixth unique Titan Class figure since the scale was introduced with Metroplex in 2013.  Much like Jetfire, Omega’s vintage figures is one of the non-Takara based molds, instead being based on a toy made by the company Toybox.  This resulted in his classic toy and his animation model being more divergent than others, since Takara was involved in production of the cartoon and wasn’t interested in promoting another company’s toy.  That being said, his changes weren’t quite as drastic as Jetfire’s.  Whatever the case, this figure follows the general Siege trend of sticking pretty closely to the G1 animation models.  In his robot mode, this Omega Supreme stands 24 inches tall, roughly twice the size of his vintage counterpart, though in keeping with the rough size as he was portrayed in the cartoon…sometimes.  His size was variable.  If Jetfire was a big, solid figure, then Omega is his bigger, solider cousin.  Admittedly, he’s not quite as heavy as I was expecting given the size, but he’s still got some very serious heft to him.  His movement is somewhat impeded by this, as the joints need some pretty hefty ratcheting in order to hold up this pretty hefty boy.  He’s still fairly mobile, given the size and all, but you’re really only getting standing poses out of him in his robot mode.  Very sturdy standing poses, but standing poses nevertheless.  Omega’s sculpt is certainly impressive.  It’s unique to him, and is really a whole different beast than the sculpts on the smaller figures, just because there’s so much to him.  His head’s probably the standout part, thanks to the nifty looking face beneath the visor.  It’s a really solid look, following the animation model in a way that the vintage figure didn’t…you know, what with the vintage figure not having a face and all.  The rest of the body maintains the line’s general attention to the smaller “real world” details, while still maintaining an overall clean look like the animation.

Omega’s alt-mode is actually a multi-part thing.  He turns into a city, a tank, and a rocket.  Like the figure himself, Omega’s transformation is quite an involved endeavor.  It’s not overly complicated (in fact it’s actually rather straight forward), but the sheer size of him means that you really need to sit down in a nice open space and devote some time to completing the transformation.  The arms pop out and turn into the rocket, the front of the torso and the head become the tank, and the rest of the body becomes the city.  Of note: the tracks of the city are actually meant to go all the way around, but there was no way to fit the whole build in my photo set-up.  So, you’ll just have to imagine it goes all the way around there.  I know, shame on me.  As noted, the transformation works pretty well, and he’s a solid addition in base mode.

Like Jetfire, Omega includes a sizeable effects piece, which can actually separate into four individual effects, allowing for a bunch of different set ups.  Also included with Omega is his little micromaster buddy, Autobot Countdown.  Countdown is pretty much like all the other micromasters in terms of construction, and can alternate between robot and moon rover modes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Have you ever felt really good about gift-giving, only to be totally outclassed?  Because I have, and it’s all centered on Omega here.  See, I had done the nice thing, and picked out some gifts for Jason and Max at All Time, which I was pretty darn proud of.  They both opened them, and they both liked them, and boy did I feel good about the gift giving.  Then I got outclassed, because Jason then asked me: “Do you want an Omega”?  So, now I have an Omega, having passed on him when he was new.  Ultimately, I wasn’t planning to pick him up, and I stand by that after getting one of my own.  However, he’s very definitely one of those things that I don’t mind owning in the slightest, even if I might not have gotten one for myself.  Now I have to figure out where the heck I’m putting him.

#2261: Prince Xizor

PRINCE XIZOR

STAR WARS: SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE (KENNER)

“Prince Xizor is the head of the galaxy-wide criminal organization known as Black Sun, his power and influence challenged only by the Emperor and Darth Vader. A villainous mastermind, Xizor uses his huge , intergalactic shipping operations as a legitimate front, employing millions of criminals to execute favors for the Empire and carry out its his own evil agenda. His characteristic lack of emotion is due much to his Falleen ancestry which evolved from a species of reptile. Cold and clever, he plots his moves with a diabolical genius and fights with the skill of a tera kasi master, stopping at nothing to get in his way. Those that dare challenge Xizor generally meet with death by his own hand or by one of his myriad of henchmen. His favorite proverb: “To contend with Xizor is to lose”.”

In 1996, the Star Wars expanded universe got its first real time in the public spotlight, courtesy of the multimedia event that was Shadows of the Empire.  A movie launch without the movie, Shadows encompassed books, comics, video games, and of course toys, and told a story set in the gap between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.  Since it was set between two established chunks of the story, there wasn’t very much at stake just pitting our heroes against Vader’s forces, since we all knew the outcome wouldn’t arise until the end of Jedi.  This meant there needed to be a new villain.  Enter Prince Xizor, a villain whose imposing nature was hindered only by not being Darth Vader in a universe where Darth Vader exists.  Oh, and also by totally having his look stolen by Ivan Ooze a year prior.  Xizor was central to much of the story’s marketing, and wound up with two figures from Kenner for their part of the tie-in.  I’m looking at the standard single release today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prince Xizor is the final single-carded figure in the Shadows of the Empire spin-off line of Power of the Force II figures.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  That said, only the arms really have practical movement most of the time, thanks both to the weird braids on the back of his head, and the thick plastic robe that encases most of the figure.  A lot of this Xizor’s sculpt is shared with the two-pack release of the same time, but it remains unique to the character.  That’s…good?  I mean, it’s certainly different from everything else.  That said, Xizor was generally depicted as a fairly skinny guy, and this figure does not follow that set-up.  He definitely falls into that really buff PotF2 aesthetic, and perhaps exemplifies it even more than other figures from the main line.  It’s really only exaggerated by the really bulky robe, but even with that removed, it’s still not great.  I mean…there’s some interesting detail work going on under the robe, so that’s cool, but it’s not like it’s a particularly endearing design.  It’s a relic of its time at best.   The colorscheme is also a definite relic, and easily feels like the least Star Wars-y aspect of the character.  Neither purple nor the pale green feel like the fit the established Star Wars color scheme, especially the colors of the original trilogy era.  The application on the paint is decent enough, but that doesn’t really change how out of place he feels with the others from the line.  Xizor is packed with a pair of shield blades, which can snap together into one larger shield.  They’re nifty enough, and honestly one of the more exciting parts of the figure, because they’re unique if nothing else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Even as a kid, I never liked Xizor.  He always felt like an intruder, trying to hide amongst the rest of the Star Wars line, but always sticking out.  As such, I never owned him.  But, after managing to get everyone else from the Shadows line, I felt it was wrong for him to still be missing.  I ended up grabbing him during one of my PotF buying sprees last winter.  There were a lot of figures, so I guess that made buying Xizor a little more palatable.  He’s still not really a favorite of mine, and having the figure in hand hasn’t really changed any of my opinions about it or the character, but here it is, I guess.

#2260: Action Sailor

ACTION SAILOR

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Since joining the Joes, I’ve held the record for personally sinking more enemy ships than the entire 3rd fleet, and that’s on a bad day!  I’ve torpedoed so many hulls, I’m surprised the ocean hasn’t overflowed with scrap iron!  On dry land, I’m a fish out of water.  I’d rather be on my sea sled than in a tank or jet fighter; luckily I have plenty of courageous teammates to handle those jobs. Making the seas safe from criminal scum is my life’s work, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than as a member of G.I. Joe!”

In 1994, it was the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand as a whole, but perhaps not the best spot for the brand’s 3 3/4 inch scale, which had ruled the market for 12 years.  In its last gasp of breath before going on a hiatus, the line merged styles with its 12-inch predecessors for a line of commemorative 3 3/4-inch figures based on the original Joes.  Each of the major branches of the military was covered with one figure based on the original packaging illustrations.  In the case of the “Action Sailor” that meant a pretty sick looking wet suit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Action Sailor was released in 1994 as part of the final year of the Real American Hero branding’s vintage run.  He and the other four 30th figures were sold as deluxe boxed items in packaging that replicated the original box.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While the original Action Sailor was in a more standard uniform, this figure instead gives us the sailor in his Navy Frogman outfit, by far the most distinctive look for this branch.  His mold was brand new to him, but a slightly altered version was used by Fun 4 All later in the ’90s when they put out their Keychains.  As I noted in that review, I find this and the Action Pilot to be the best of the 30th sculpts.  It’s a lot more organic than the soldier and marine were, and gets to add in the details of a fully kitted out design.  This version of the mold is also a lot sharper than the keychain recreation, allowing the details to more clearly be made out, making it all the more impressive.  Also, the better quality plastic means that he’s not as easily broken, allowing me to finally have a diver without the broken pelvis.  Yay!   His paintwork is a fairly basic set-up; the black is just molded plastic, with some silver and flesh toned details mixed in throughout.  The Action Sailor included his sea sled, a scuba tank, two flippers, a harpoon gun, a flashlight, and a hose.  My figure’s missing the gun, flashlight, and hose, but even so, he makes out alright on the accessory front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Action Sailor is important me because the Keychain release is actually what got me into small-scale G.I. Joe.  That one was never quite as impressive as a proper Joe, but I hung onto him for a good while.  It wasn’t until much later that I even knew that non-keychain releases existed, nor did I know of the difference in quality.  This guy came from a small collection of Joes that All Time got in about a month before the huge collection.  He got a little overshadowed, but I was still pretty happy to have the proper Hasbro release after all these years.  He’s not majorly different, but it’s different enough that I felt he was worth the purchase.

#2256: Deadpool

DEADPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Boy howdy am I running out of compelling ways to start Deadpool-themed reviews.  To say he’s overdone may be something of an understatement.  There’s *only* been three figures of him this year for Marvel Legends though, so I guess that represents Hasbro backing things off a little bit.  Lucky us.  I’ve managed to pick up all of them so far, so why stop now, I guess.  So, here’s one more Deadpool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deadpool is a standalone Marvel Legends release, done up in the retro style cardback packaging.  Like the Grey Hulk I reviewed earlier this month, he was originally slated to be a con-exclusive release, before being moved to the fan channel.  This Deadpool is designed to be an earlier in his career Deadpool, specifically patterned after the ’90s Toy Biz figure whose packaging this one mimics.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Sculpturally, he’s essentially identical to the classic Deadpool figure released in the Sasquatch Series last year.  The only difference between the two is that this one adds a second strap of pouches to the left leg so as to better mimic the old figure.  He’s using the 2099 body, which is a solid starting point, especially for a character like Deadpool.  He then has add-ons for his webgear/belt, the pouches on his legs, and his neck, wrist, and ankle straps.  He’s also got the classic Deadpool head, which fits the body a lot better than the Juggernaut Series one did for the X-uniform Deadpool.  Ultimately, it results in a pretty solid figure, especially if you missed the Classic Deadpool like me.  The figure’s paint mixes things up a little bit as well.  This is in part to more closely match the old toy, so things like the belt and torso gear have been left red like on that figure.  However, they’ve also changed the black parts of the costume to a dark metallic blue, which is honestly a pretty cool look, and really feels like it hearkens back to those early ’90s appearances of the character.  The application is all very clean, and the colors really pop off of each other.  Deadpool is actually pretty decently accessorized for a vintage-packed release, with two swords, two small machine guns, a pistol, and a larger assault rifle.  Given that the Classic Deadpool only included the swords, that’s actually kind of surprising, and I’m definitely glad they went the extra mile.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Hulk, when this was still planned for a con release, I paid very little attention to it.  I passed on the Sasquatch Series release numerous times, and this one, while certainly a neat look, didn’t feel any more essential than that one.  The shift to Fan Channel meant that he more or less arrived in my lap, and going in with no expectations, he’s another figure I ended up liking quite a bit.  Honestly, that’s kind of been the case with all of this year’s Deadpool figures, so maybe I should just stop complaining about them.

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The backbone of the First Order and Imperial forces, and really the Star Wars universe as a whole, the Stormtroopers are a prominent fixture of the toys from the galaxy far, far away.  That being said, given their general unchanging appearance within each trilogy, keeping them fresh can be a little difficult.  We got our first standard First Order Stormtrooper in The Black Series back with the Force Awakens product launch, with a few exclusive derivations since then.  The Trooper is returning to the main line for the trilogy’s conclusion Rise of Skywalker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper is figure 97 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the Force Friday launch figures numerically.  Given the grouping of the other three Rise tie-in figures, plus his general level of repeat, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he was a late addition to the line-up to fill out the case.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The majority of this figure’s sculpt is re-used.  He shares all but the had and arms with the initial First Order Trooper from 2015.  The parts that are kept are actually the best parts of that release, being not only accurate to the source material, but also quite nicely articulated, especially at the mid-torso and the ankles.  The head was first introduced on the two Last Jedi troopers, representing the slightly more angular trooper helmet that was used in the second film.  It’s different from the original helmet, but I can’t really say that one of them is better than the other.  The arms are the new parts for this figure, and they’re notable for fixing the one major flaw of the original release: the poor range of motion on the elbows.  For the first time, a FO Trooper can get more than 90 degrees of motion, meaning he’s also the first Trooper that can properly hold a blaster rifle.  That’s gonna be fun to talk about in a moment.  The paint work on this figure follows the trend of all of the FO troopers I’ve grabbed, in that he’s okay, but not without a few noticeable flaws.  My figure has some slop on the helmet, but just in general the change overs from black to white are kind of fuzzy.  This release of the FO Trooper is packed with the riot trooper gear, meaning he’s got the shield, the improved TLJ version of the baton, and a small blaster pistol.  What’s not listed there?  That’s right, a blaster rifle.  Yep, the first FO Trooper that can properly hold a rifle doesn’t have one.  Irony of ironies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the standard and riot troopers during the TFA run, so I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the subsequent figures.  I didn’t think much of this figure, but I’d already decided to pick up the whole assortment when he was announced, so he was along for the ride.  After Kylo, he’s a pleasant surprise.  Sure, it’s frustrating and almost baffling that there’s no rifle included, but the core figure is a solid improvement on the prior releases, making this the best version of the design out there.

#2252: Sith Trooper

SITH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Sith troopers were a stormtrooper variant that served the First Order during its war against the Resistance. Named after the Sith, an ancient order of Force-users devoted to the dark side of the Force, these troopers were the next evolution of Imperial/First Order stormtroopers. They wore red-colored stormtrooper armor and wielded a type of black and red blaster rifle.”

Hey, new Star Wars movie!  You know what that means: new trooper variants created to sell new toys!  Ain’t no stopping the merchandising juggernaut…unless, you know, you stop it…the way that the market has come increasingly close to stopping the Star Wars merchandising juggernaut in the last few years.  But that’s kind of sad and bleak, so maybe I shouldn’t talk about that.  Where was I?  Toys!  Always toys!  So, for the new Star Wars, there’s a cool new trooper called the Sith Trooper, Kylo Ren’s new elite force.  I’m looking at one of those guys today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sith Trooper is figure 92 in the Black Series line-up, the third figure from the Force Friday product launch.  The Sith Trooper was previously released as this year’s SDCC-exclusive preview figure, which included some additional weapons to differentiate it from the basic release.  The core figures are the same between the two releases, however.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Perhaps the most impressive bits of articulation on this figure are the butterfly shoulders, which I believe are a first for Black Series.  Given the design of the various trooper armor, it’s actually a little surprising that we’ve never seen this type of joint implemented, since it’s so nicely hidden.  However, while there’s great movement in the shoulders, the neck joint is surprisingly limited for one of these figures; they’ve been doing the double ball joints a lot recently, and the range has been pretty solid, but for this guy, it’s little more than a cut joint.  Maybe it’s just my figure, but I was rather disappointed by that.  Plusses and minuses of the articulation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  Overall, it’s pretty strong.  I definitely dig the Stormtrooper/Clonetrooper/Praetorian Guard hybrid that’s going on with these guys, and I look forward to seeing the design in action in the movie.  The sculpt is quite sharply rendered, and I really dig all of the texturing, both on the armor and on the underlying jumpsuit.  The sculpt also does a really nice job of making those two elements feel like separate pieces as well, which is an improvement on a lot of the earlier troopers.  The Sith Trooper’s paint is decent enough, though not overly involved.  Most of the red is molded, and most of the black is painted.  The application is overall pretty clean, but there’s a little bit of fuzziness on the helmet.  Beyond that, it’s pretty clean and striking.  This Sith Trooper is quite packed with the impressive armory of the SDCC release, but he does still get two styles of blaster, matching the ones included with the smaller Sith Jet Trooper.  They’re decent weapons, but are also the source o my biggest complaint about the figure.  He’s got a holster much like the First Order Troopers, meaning there’s a spot for a gun the plug into his right thigh.  Unfortunately, the hole is too large and the pegs on both guns too small, meaning that the blasters just fall right out at the slightest touch.  The fact that there are two blasters and he can only hold one really exacerbates this issue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Sith Trooper was one of the earliest designs we saw from Rise, and I knew I wanted the figure pretty much right away.  I didn’t even try with the SDCC release, because those have always been a barren source of amusement in the past, and the Troopers always get the standard release.  This figure was the one I opened right after Kylo, and that may have slightly colored my opinion, as I found myself a bit underwhelmed with him at first.  Playing around with him for the review, I did find myself enjoying him a bit more.  That said, there are still a few issues that keep this figure from being “great.”

I picked up this guy from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.