#3199: Moon Knight

MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS RETRO (HASBRO)

“A mercenary bound to the ancient spirit, Khonshu, Moon Knight fights to win the spirit its due!”

Ohhhh! Every day I wake up, then I start to break up, lonely is a man without love!  Every day I start out, then I cry my heart out, lonely is a man without love!  …you see, it’s clever, because that’s the song that Stephen wakes up to in Moon Knight, and…umm, I’m using it to start my review.  Fun, right?  Look, I’m just thrilled to be here, really.  Moon Knight’s mainstream, you guys.  I got Moon Knight socks the other day!  Moon Knight socks, you guys!  And there’s so many Moon Knight toys. We had this small selection, and now, it’s just so much more, and I’m all about it.  Moon Knight’s been shown on the card art for Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Retro line since the line began, but he’s just now finally made it into the line.  And I’m pretty excited about that too.  Let’s check him out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight is part of series 7 of Marvel Legends Retro, alongside Amazing Fantasy Spider-Man, Nova, Firestar, and repacks of Cap and Iron Man.  He’s one of two figures double-packed, the other being Spider-Man.  Moon Knight’s on Spider-Man’s level.  That’s crazy.  I’m so here for it.  As with the rest of the line, Moon Knight comes packaged in a beautiful retro throwback package, with lovely unique card art and graphics, all of which you must utterly destroy to open the figure.  That’s right, I destroyed this art, just for you guys.  I sure hope you appreciate that!  After being aggressively torn from his packaging, the figure stands just a hair over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is the same as the Cap I already looked at from this line, which is the classic 5 POA set-up with the addition of swivels on the forearms.  The boots are still separate pieces, but they’re also still glued in place, so there’s no extra movement there.  Moon Knight’s construction uses the same core body as the Cap figure, so he adheres pretty closely to the line’s own established style.  He gets his own unique head and cloak pieces.  The head’s a very basic full-face mask, which I feel like we’ll see more use of as the line continues.  The cloak is quite an impressive piece.  Still more on the basic side, but that perfect classic Moon Knight look.  The paint work on this figure is generally pretty basic, but I appreciate the slight change-up in tones of white for the belt and symbol, as well as the rarely used red eyes in reference to the original Moon Knight #1 cover.  The only thing I don’t really care for is the rather obnoxious brown production code printed on his inner right thigh; the odd color makes it kind of stand out, but it’s at least in a spot you won’t see most of the time.  Moon Knight doesn’t get any accessories.  I’d have liked maybe a staff or moonerangs, but accessories are at a minimum for this line in general, so it’s not majorly surprising, especially since he’s got the cloak.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like I said in the intro, Moon Knight’s been on the card backs for this line since the beginning, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for his proper announcement since.  I was very excited when he was finally shown off.  Obviously, he’s just a basic figure.  I’m not expecting him to break the mold or do anything crazy.  And I still have my slight reservations with this line as a whole, as I did when I reviewed Cap.  But I’ve also kind of mellowed on things a bit there, and I’m honestly just super thrilled at another Moon Knight.  Perhaps the luster will start to wear off once there’s a ton of Moon Knight stuff everywhere for a prolonged period of time, but for now, I’m just really happy about it all.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3198: Jet Jaguar

JET JAGUAR

S.H. MONSTERARTS (BANDAI)

As someone with only really a passing knowledge of the Godzilla franchise, I can tell you that there are two things I am very definitely a fan of, despite my limited knowledge.  The first is Mechagodzilla, because, I mean, come on.  It’s all in the name there, right guys?  The other one?  Jet Jaguar.  Why?  Well, simply put, because I love Ultraman, and Jet Jaguar?  Pretty much just Ultraman.  I mean, yeah, there’s more to that, but, I mean, come on.  I’ve got plenty of Ultraman love in my collection, especially in the Figuarts-style range, but now I’m finally hitting up the Godzilla side just a little bit.  I snagged a Mecha earlier in the year, and now, thanks to an updated appearance in Godzilla: Singular Point, I’ve also gotten a shot at a sweet new Jet Jaguar!  Jet Jaguar!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jet Jaguar is part of Bandai’s S.H. Monsterarts line, and has been showing up domestically in the last month or so.  In Japan, the figure is a web-exclusive, but in the US, we were fortunate enough to get him as a standard release.  Or, at least as standard as any Monsterarts release can be here.  As mentioned in the intro, the figure is based on Jet’s appearance in Singular Point, specifically his third, fully advanced form, and follows up on the Godzilla from the same source, with was released earlier in the year.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  While the figure is certainly very mobile, I did find that there was just a little bit of a learning curve on working his articulation properly, so as to not risk breaking anything.  Thankfully, it’s not anything too crazy, and after messing with him for a little bit, I was comfortable enough to not worry about damaging anything.  The range is generally pretty solid, but I did find some slight sponginess on the shoulders and hips, largely due to how they are constructed.  It’s nothing terrible, but I do worry just a little bit about how some of the joints are going to hold up over time.  Jet Jaguar’s sculpt is an all-new one, and it does a quite respectable job of recreating the character’s animation design.  The mechanical detailing on the head and torso is especially nice, and very crisp.  Some of the detailing on the legs is a little softer, but still not bad.  I’m not a fan of the use of rubber for the jacketing on the shoulders, but that’s about my only real complaint when it comes to this figure’s assembly.  Everything else is up to the usual SH standards, and he’s just a really slick looking figure.  Jet Jaguar’s color work is fairly basic for the most part, but as far as actual paint goes, there’s some rather nice weathering on the torso and head, and I really dig the clear blue for the eyes.  I also quite like the bright color palette, which really helps him to stand out amongst the other Monsterarts.  In terms of accessories, Jet Jaguar is pretty well loaded.  He’s got three different sets of manipulators (in gripping, splayed, and pointing), the Anguirus spike spear, three different styles of back attachment, with one set of just the “handles”, the back pack, and the full flight pack, an alternate set of “extended” antennae, a minifigure of Yun Arikawa, a chair for Yun which swaps out for one of the plates on Jet’s back, and a stand.  The spear is rubber at the top, so it was a little warped on mine right out the box, but I do appreciate that it splits in the middle to make it easier to get it into Jet’s hands.  The flight pack is articulated, which is fun.  It makes Jet a bit top heavy, but the stand sort of helps with that.  It’s not as useful as one of the stages or anything, but it can at least aid in keeping him upright.  Yun is actually articulated, which is fun, but lacks any sort of paint, so he’s just blue.  So, there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite having a very limited amount of any *actual* interaction with Jet Jaguar in media, I have this undying love for the guy.  When this figure was announced, I was pretty much immediately on board, and I was definitely plussed at being able to get him through All Time.  The figure’s not quite what I was expecting, I think, after messing with other Monsterarts, but that’s not a bad thing.  He’s still a lot of fun, and just a really nifty design overall.  I’d love to also see a classic Jet, if perhaps that’s on the table, but we’ll just have to see, I suppose.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3197: The Controller

THE CONTROLLER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

First appearing at the end of the first year of Iron Man’s initial solo title, Basil Sandhurst aka The Controller is one of those villains who’s always sort of stuck to the background.  He’s largely remained an Iron Man foe, but also spent some time working with Thanos against Captain Marvel and the Avengers, as well as doing the general bounce around amongst the core Avengers cast.  He’s never risen to any particularly crazy heights, and despite his nature as a guy who controls other people, he’s more often than not working for someone bigger these days.  Most recently, he resurfaced in Iron Man’s current run, this time working for Michael Korvac.  This increased prominence, coupled with his design being “blue Thanos,” has netted him his first action figure treatment, as a Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure.  I’m taking a look at that figure today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Controller is the Build-A-Figure for the self-titled series of Marvel Legends, which is the most recent Avengers-themed assortment.  Given that the assortment also features Iron Man in his most recent armor, Controller is a pretty natural fit.  The figure stands 7 3/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His size is a bit large for his listed height of 6 foot 2 inches, but as with most listed comic book character heights, there’s always a degree of variance in how they’re actually portrayed.  Controller’s certainly one of those characters that’s crept up in height over the years.  It’s also more excusable given the nature of his construction, which banks pretty heavily on the deluxe Thanos molds from last year.  He shares his arms, legs, pelvis, and shoulder armor with that figure, and his torso is also a slightly modified version of Thanos’s as well.  The two have classically looked astonishingly similar in their designs, and this is certainly a major factor in Controller getting made for this assortment, so I definitely get it.  He gets a new head, forearms, hands, shins, and feet, as well as a new belt piece.  By far, the head is the strongest piece.  It captures Controller’s cracked and segmented face really well, just really looks the part.  His new gloves and boots are far more simplified than Thanos’s were, which better fits the Controller’s usual look, and also just further removes him from the prior figure.  Controller’s paint work is more involved than it looks at first glance.  While the basic blues are just molded plastic, there’s a bit of highlighting on the lighter blues to make some of the muscle detailing stand out a bit more.  The exact shades seem just a little bit off, so it looks a little funky, but I do like to see Hasbro trying something other than just the flat colors.  The face also gets some accenting to really bring out those cracks, and that winds up paying off much better.  Despite being a Build-A-Figure, Controller nevertheless actually gets two sets of hands: basic fists, and a combo with open gesture.  The right open gesture hand is even holding a pair of his control discs, which is a fun touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t intend to finish this figure nearly as quickly as I did.  After a couple years of just buying full sets of everything Legends and sorting out what I didn’t want later, for this series I actually decided to be picky, since I wasn’t really that interested in more than half of the figures.  And, while I wasn’t opposed to owning a Controller, I was also content to wait for his parts to get traded in.  No rush.  Well, I got my two pieces from the figures I wanted.  And then Max got one figure, and didn’t want the parts.  And a customer at the store also wasn’t getting a full set, so I got those parts too, and one by one, I assembled a Controller in just over a day.  Hey, I won’t knock that!  He’s another one of those fairly by the numbers figures, who does exactly what he needs to, and ultimately succeeds because of it.  I wasn’t expecting a lot, but he’s certainly fun.

#3195: White Queen

WHITE QUEEN

GENERATION X (TOY BIZ)

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

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

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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

#3194: U.S. Agent

U.S. AGENT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Originally appointed by the US Government to replace Steve Rogers as Captain America, U.S. Agent John Walker must balance his moral compass against his duty to his country.”

When you need a Captain America-esque guy, but you need him to do un-Captain America-esque things, there’s one guy to call: John F. Walker, the U.S. Agent!  Beginning as the Captain America antagonist Super Patriot, John was tapped as the new Cap when Steve gave up the title during a falling out with the US government.  Obviously, Steve was always going to come back, and when he did, his uniform from his interim time as “The Captain” was handed over to Walker, who repurposed it as U.S. Agent.  He’s since become the go-to character for when you need someone who’s on the right side of the law, but maybe not morally there, albeit not in a totally villainous sense.  And, he got a great focus in the MCU in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.  All of that’s given him some leverage for a cool new comics-based figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

U.S. Agent is figure 6 in the Controller Series of Marvel Legends.  His presence in the series allows for all three of the main heavy hitter Avengers to have some sort of presence, without there being an actual Steve Rogers Cap variant needed.  This marks U.S. Agent’s third time in Legends form, and his second comics-based release, following the prior Hasbro version from way back in the Return of Marvel Legends days.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  U.S. Agent is built on the Reaper body, along with its Cap-specific parts courtesy of the Cap-Wolf release.  The Reaper body is perhaps just a touch small for how Walker is usually portrayed, but it’s not too far off, and I get the want for internal consistencies with the standard Cap.  He gets a brand-new head sculpt.  After years of Hasbro going a bit too gruff with Steve before finally getting it right, they dial back in on that gruffness for Walker.  The head’s maybe just a touch too large for the body, I think, but it’s otherwise a pretty good fit for the character.  U.S. Agent’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  Not quite as impressive as Speedball, but still better than previous fare.  The face gets a decent amount of accenting, and the detailing on the uniform is nice and crisp.  U.S. Agent is packed with his shield, two sets of hands (fists and a gripping/open gesture combo), and the arm for the Controller Build-A-Figure.  If there’s one thing I’d have liked to see, it’s an alternate Steve head to let this figure double as The Captain, but that’s far from an essential piece.  As it stands, he works well for John.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since getting a few goes at a good update to a classic Cap, and finally getting a really definitive one in the 20th Anniversary release, I’ve definitely been jonesing for a good U.S. Agent.  The prior one just wasn’t cutting it, so this one was certainly welcome.  As with Speedball, I expected this one to be a rather by-the-numbers release, though unlike Speedball, U.S. Agent winds up being truer to that expectation.  He’s not anything crazy, but he’s honestly just what he needs to be.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3193: Speedball

SPEEDBALL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Robbie Baldwin is exposed to an extra-dimensional energy source, he becomes Speedball, able to project a kinetic energy field allowing him to bounce like a super-powered rubber ball!”

Introduced in 1988, Speedball was one of Marvel’s active attempts at recapturing the success of Spider-Man through another young hero, going so far as to include Steve Ditko in the character’s creation, just for that extra push. Though he ultimately didn’t meet their expectations, he did find some notoriety as a member of the New Warriors when that book was launched just a few years later.  He’d go on to become a defining member for the team throughout its many iterations, right up until they got totally discarded in order for big shocks in Civil War, at which point we got sad emo boy Robbie becoming the ultimate edgelord Penance…yeah, it’s not great.  But it’s okay, because he’s back to being Speedball, and now he’s even got an action figure, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Speedball is figure 4 in the Controller Series of Marvel Legends, which is ostensibly an Avengers assortment.  He’s the fourth member of the founding New Warriors in the line, following Night Thrasher, Firestar, and Nova.  Fingers crossed for a Justice figure in short order!  This is Speedball’s first figure, though Robbie did get a Minimate as Penance.  But I don’t wanna talk about it.  You can’t make me.  ….Anyway, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Speedball is built on the 2099 base body, which is a more than respectable choice for the character.  The build’s a pretty good match, and the articulation scheme, especially with those butterfly joints on the shoulders, makes for a lot of fun posing.  It’s a solid basic body choice for a guy with a pretty basic costume set-up.  It’s only real downside is that we still have the expose pins on the elbows and knees, but it’s going to take a little bit for such things to completely disappear from the line.  Speedball gets an all-new head sculpt, and it’s very definitely the star piece of the figure.  The hair has a wonderful dynamic flow, giving it that crazy flop that was so signature to the character’s look.  Gambit *wishes* his hair was this chaotic.  The face has a nice warm and friendly expression that feels right for a fun-loving guy like Robbie, and the goggles, which are separate pieces, top of the look pitch perfectly.  Speedball’s color work surprised me in its quality.  Not only is the base application all clean and sharp, they also handle his distinctive patterning on his gloves, belt, and boots quite well, without missing any noticeable spots or cutting anything too keep it simpler.  His face and hair also get a far bit more accenting than we’ve typically seen on the Hasbro Legends, which really just gives the whole thing a really polished feel.  If I have one complaint about this figure, it’s that he doesn’t get any accessories of his own.  A recoloring of the Havok/Polaris effects with his multicolored kinetic energy would have worked decently in a pinch, I feel.  That said, it’s not the end of the world, I suppose.  Ultimately, he’s packed with the torso for the Controller, which is the largest piece, so the box is far from empty feeling.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was seven, I bought an issue of Wizard magazine because it had a feature on the upcoming Avengers: United They Stand cartoon, and I wanted to know everything I could about it.  Said issue also included a free preview copy of the latest iteration of the New Warriors at the time, which of course had Speedball front and center.  I’d not encountered him previously, and while I wouldn’t actually read most of his early New Warriors appearances until much later, the character’s distinctive visual always stuck with me.  I hated what they did with him in Civil War, and was always bummed that his only Minimate was as Penance.  So, this figure?  I was fairly excited.  He looked like a cool by-the-numbers figure.  In hand, that’s not what he is, because, despite the base body build, he’s not just a by-the-numbers figure.  He’s got a lot of care put into him, and he’s so much fun.  He’s simple, but he’s thus far my favorite Legend of the year.  And there was a Havok and a classic Cap this year, so that’s pretty high praise by me.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3192: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Tony Stark resolves to get back to basics, donning a new stripped-down Iron Man armor inspired by his most classic designs.”

Oh boy, are you guys ready for some more Marvel Legends?  I sure hope you are, because apparently the only settings on Hasbro’s release schedule for these are nothing at all and everything at once.  It’s…it’s a lot.  With no Avengers movies out or upcoming in the next year, the Avengers portion of the line is shifting over to purely comics based, which is where the most recent assortment sets its sights. The resident heavy hitter for this round is an Iron Man, who I’m gonna be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man is the non-numbered figure for the Controller Series of Marvel Legends. He’s based on Alex Ross’s updated Iron Man armor, which is his current set-up in the comics.  It’s a fairly nice merging of modern aesthetics with his classic design elements, offering a look that’s both unique, but still reads as a standard Iron Man.  Definitely a solid choice for the line-up.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  This Iron Man’s articulation scheme is probably the best we’ve gotten on a Legends Iron Man.  The 80th body and its spin-offs certainly weren’t bad from a movement perspective, but his figure takes a lot of the things that Hasbro’s learned from other lines and implements them for Marvel.  In particular, the neck is a mix of two ball joints and a universal, resulting in a ton of range we don’t usually see.  And, it’s all worked in really well from an aesthetic standpoint, making it doubly successful.  His sculpt is an all-new affair, of course.  It’s a really nice recreation of the armor as we’ve seen it on the page.  The depth of detail is also quite impressive, in part because it’s handled with so many separate pieces that are all assembled.  The only part I’m not super crazy about is the shoulder armor, which is a softer piece that goes over; when posing, it can be slightly restricting, and I worry about warping it by leaving the arms up for too long.  Beyond that, though, it’s a really strong sculpt.  His color work isn’t terrible, but it’s probably the figure’s weakest aspect.  The reds and golds are largely molded, rather than painted.  For the red, it means its not metallic; not the end of the world, but it doesn’t quite have that same pop.  For the gold, it means he’s got the swirls going on.  On my figure they’re rather prominent on the faceplate, which can be a tad distracting.  The actual paint application is all at least pretty clean, though, and I do like how the whites really stand out from the rest of the armor.  Iron Man is packed with two sets of hands (repulsor blasts and fists), and the two-part blast and smoke effects that were first included with Ironheart.  The replusor hands get the full wrist articulation, which I’m very happy about, and I’m also happy to see the Ironheart effects turn back up, as they’re honestly pretty cool.  It’s a shame that there’s not an unmasked Tony head, but there are at least options available.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With classic Iron Man and Modular Iron Man checked off, there’s not a ton left on my Iron Man checklist, but I’ll admit that I’ve liked this look since it was first shown off and was on-board for its inevitable Legends release.  When this one was announced, I was definitely planning to grab it, but didn’t think much beyond that.  It’s actually a pretty awesome figure.  He’s not my standard armor or anything, but it’s just hard to deny that this is a really, really good Iron Man figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

#3191: Rise of Boba Fett

BOBA FETT, BOSSK, & ANAKIN SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Ever since the Battle of Geonosis, young Boba Fett has made it his mission to confront the Jedi who defeated his father. Jango’s son doesn’t care that the duel between his father and Mace Windu was a fair battle between skilled warriors; Boba wants his chance to fight the Jedi. Eventually, his hunt is successful. He and Bossk fly Slave I to a planet where Mace and Anakin Skywalker are on a mission. The moment has come, and Boba is determined to make Windu pay for his actions on Geonosis, and to take his place as the greatest bounty hunter in the galaxy.”

Prior to the Book of Boba Fett, as far as general audiences were concerned, Boba Fett was a character in three Star Wars films with about five lines spread across them, and very little in the way of motive or characterization.  I mean, there was probably something there, but it was easy to overlook.  Even within his expanded universe stories, the character’s main set-up was just being the ultimate undefeated bad-ass who was the best at everything all the time.  He was like a walking Chuck Norris joke.  It’s honestly kind of boring, narratively speaking.  The first real bit of character work he got came when he was worked into Clone Wars, seeking vengeance on Mace Windu, the Jedi that killed his father.  Since Clone Wars was a prequel to Revenge of the Sith, a story where Mace is still alive, so he can’t exactly have anything of note happen to him.  So, Boba’s revenge arc must instead take the form of a character study, as he faces inevitable failure.  Given he’s a character that was previously defined as undefeated, it’s a unique take, and one that made the character far more intriguing to follow.  There was a whole set of figures based on the arc from the show, and I’m looking at that (or a portion of it), today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

“The Rise of Boba Fett” was a Toys R Us-exclusive Ultimate Battle Pack released in 2010 as part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars line.  It consisted of Boba Fett, Bossk, Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, R3-B7, the Slave I, and Mace Windu’s Starfighter.  Today, I’m just focussing on Boba Fett, Bossk, and Anakin Skywalker.

BOBA FETT

There were two Boba Fett’s in the Clone Wars line, but this one was specifically based on Boba’s first arc on the show, where he sports his Kamino clone smock thing that he uses to infiltrate the cloning facilities, which is also effectively the same attire he’s got in Attack of the Clones…which begs the question, did Boba change his clothes between his appearances, or was he just running around in the same set of clothes for god knows how long?  Only Boba really knows.  Or perhaps those who were within smelling distance.  The figure stands 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Boba’s an all-new sculpt, sporting just shy of the line’s best articulation scheme.  All he’s really missing are the universal joints on the hips, but given the outfit, the t-hips are just fine. The sculpt is pretty solid, especially for that mid-line level of being fairly accurate to the show models, but just a bit removed for accuracy’s sake. He’s perhaps a little full-faced for animated Boba, especially when compared to the later single release, but it’s still a very good piece of work. Boba’s color work is largely pretty basic. Most of it’s just molded colors, but what paint application is present is all pretty clean. Boba included a display stand, a collector card, and a chance cube. Light for a figure on his own, but given how much other stuff came with the set, not too surprising.

BOSSK

Another OT character getting some representation in Clone Wars, it’s Bossk, whom the show confirmed had ties to Boba pre-Empire. He too appears to have not changed his clothes in the meantime. Of course, it’s a pressure suit, and presumably there’s other stuff beneath it, so I guess it’s maybe a bit less gross.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Bossk’s sculpt is all-new, and remained exclusive to this release.  It’s a pretty impressive piece of work.  It really embraces the style of the show, so that it’s clearly different from a standard movie Bossk figure.  I really enjoy the exaggerated proportions, as well as the lager scale relative to the other figures in the set, and I like how the articulation works with the rest of the sculpt.  The color scheme on the figure takes Bossk’s usual colors, and goes slightly brighter with them.  The paint work is pretty basic, but it’s clean, and it does what it needs to.  I particularly like the slight accenting on the exposed skin.  It really sells the detailing on the sculpt well.  Bossk is packed with his usual blaster rifle, as well as a display stand and a collector card.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER

You gotta have one of the main guys in the big sets, I suppose, so this one got an Anakin.  Not the worst thing ever, but, you know, it’s still another Anakin.  This one is, at the very least, a pretty good one.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articuation.  This Anakin re-uses the mold from the Space Suit Anakin, which, while it looks like just a re-use of the first series Anakin at first glance, was actually an updated mold, with a better articulation set-up, specifically giving him actual knee and ankle movement.  Beyond that, the sculpt is just a pretty impressive piece.  It’s fairly accurate to the show design, while still working in the articulation and everything pretty well.  Anakin’s color work is nicely handled; there’s a fair bit going on, and the detailing on the armored parts in particular is quite an impressive set-up.  Anakin is packed with his lightsaber, a display stand, and a collector card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember this set being released, but I was not in the market for the whole set-up, with the big vehicles and everything, especially at that time.  It just wasn’t really worthwhile for the two figures I actually wanted.  When these three came into All Time a couple of years back, I was able to get those two, plus the extra Anakin, which is honestly a pretty good one too, all in a more affordable package.  Boba got a slightly better figure later, but this one’s still cool, and the Bossk figure is very definitely hard to beat.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with these figures to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website.

 

#3189: Spartan Buck

SPARTAN BUCK

HALO UNIVERSE (MATTEL)

Wow, is this me, doing another Halo review?  Already?  I mean, yeah, I guess so.  If I’ve got the figure to review, I might as well.  During the lead-up to Halo 5‘s release, Microsoft was trying to move past the purely older age range of the franchise up to that point.  In keeping with that, they moved the master license for the property from McFarlane Toys over to Mattel.  Mattel’s handling of the license was kind of lackluster for the most part, but they were also doing stuff for Halo 5, which was also kind of lackluster, so I guess it fit.  While Mattel’s first batch of products were pretty much everywhere, the weak response to their offerings meant that all of the follow-ups were generally scarce.  Amongst those scarce items: the second series of their Halo Universe line, which happened to feature the only ODST-related figure the line had to offer, Spartan Edward Buck!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spartan Buck was part of the aforementioned Series 2 line-up of Halo Universe, which started to just show up online in little trickles over a year after the release of the first series.  Buck wasn’t even truly confirmed as part of Series 2 prior to its release, and he’d been long assumed cancelled when he just randomly showed up.  Yeah, that was really just how the end of Mattel’s run on the Halo license went in a nutshell.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  This line’s scaling was definitely weird; the Spartans are supposed to be pretty big compared to regular people, so at only 6 1/2 inches tall, these guys don’t fit in with much.  But, I guess they had each other?  Sure is great that Mattel gave us a deep cast of characters, right?  Yeah… Given the general bulkiness of the figure and how Mattel figures generally were at the time, Buck’s articulation is surprisingly well-handled.  The range of motion is pretty decent, and he can pretty easily hold his weapon with both hands, something that I know the Series 1 figures really struggled with.  For this line, Mattel designed all of the Spartan figures to feature removable armor.  Given that we rarely see the Spartans without all of their armor, it was an odd choice, but I suppose their desire to do something different isn’t the worst thing. The construction means that he’s even bulkier than a Spartan usually would be, but it was consistent with the overall look of the line.  Mostly, it’s just the head being a bit too small that’s the issue, but I don’t hate it.  The armor actually looks pretty nice, and, apart from the calf armor having a tendency to pop out of place, it’s actually pretty secure.  The underlying suit is kind of goony looking, and I’m not ever gonna display him that way, but, again, it’s at least something different.  Buck’s paint work is largely on the basic side, but the application is clean, and he’s got a few pretty cool smaller details.  Buck is packed with an assault rifle, a knife, and an unmasked head.  The unmasked head is kind of on the large side relative to the helmet, but it’s a decent enough sculpt, and kudos to Mattel on actually giving him the extra head to swap, rather than trying to get an extra sale out of it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m amongst the people who though this figure got cancelled back in the day.  I was really not into the first series of the line, and was at least a little curious about this guy, but when a year went by and the others all got clearanced out, I called it quits and didn’t pay it much attention.  In the years since, this figure’s value’s gotten really high on the aftermarket.  Fortunately for me, I was able to snag a loose one that got traded into All Time for a reasonable price.  He’s a better figure than I’d expected.  He’s still got his own odd quirks, but I actually kind of like him.

#3186: IG-86 Assassin Droid

IG-86 ASSASSIN DROID

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“An IG-86 Assassin Droid lies deactivated in a Trandoshan trader’s cargo hold until a buyer can be found for the dangerous droid. But he is accidentally reactivated by a clumsy astromech droid, and the lives of everyone on board the ship are in peril.”

In addition to fleshing out the prequel-era characters, The Clone Wars also placed a focus on more directly tying the two trilogies together.  We got handful of younger OT characters featured, as well as a few lineages, and predecessors to things seen in the OT.  Amongst those predecessors, a recurring feature were the IG-86s, precursors to IG-88 and other Assassin Droids of the same model.  They never really step beyond bit player, but they help to more fully fill-in the world around the characters, and they always make for a good toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The IG-86 Assassin Droid was released in 2008 as part of the first year of Hasbro’s Clone Wars tie-in line, where he was figure #18.  The figure saw a few multipack releases as well during the line, with minimal deco changes, as well as one more widely changed version in the form of Ziro’s assassin droid, added to the line as figure #37 in the following year (that’s the one pictured next to Wilson over on the right).  All of the releases used the same mold.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The IG-86 mold was one of the most posable molds in the whole line, with universals on the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees.  He’s also got posable hands as well, making for far better gripping of the weapons.  The point is, there’s just a lot you can do with this guy, and it’s a lot of fun.  The sculpt is one of the best from the line.  It’s a great recreation of the animation model, with a nice merging of function and form.  Figures like the most recent Vintage Collection IG-11 are totally still banking on how this figure worked.  For the first release, IG-86 got a tarnished and dirty finish, a stark contrast to the usually more clean Clone Wars offerings.  It was a really impressive set-up especially for the time, and captured the whole “deactivated” thing quite well.  Ziro’s assassin droid trades in the grime for a unique set of markings, as well as a less metallic finish than the original release.  It’s suitably different, but cool for its own set of reasons.  Both versions of the Assassin droid, included two droid-style blasters, as well as a backpack for storing both of them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The standard IG-86 was one of my earliest purchases from the line, shortly after he hit retail.  I’ve always had a soft spot for IG-88, and I liked seeing the elements in animated form.  The sculpt, form, and function all just really work, making him one of the line’s very best.  I like him so much that I wound up snagging Ziro’s assassin from a collection that came into All Time, just so I could get another chance to mess with it.  They’re both really fun, and I love the two different decos.  Seriously top-notch.