#2905: Teela – Revelation

TEELA — REVELATION

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: MASTERVERSE (MATTEL)

As we wait for the second half of Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Mattel is still at work actually getting us the toys from the show.  The first assortment of figures based on the show (released as part of Mattel’s newly launched Masterverse line), were largely inspired by the show’s pre-time-skip opening episode, which was a little heavier on the classic aesthetic.  For the second assortment, there’s a bit more focus on those later appearances, including Teela, who spends the post-jump sequences as the the show’s central character, as she and her patchwork team attempt to restore power to Eternia.  Teela’s always been a major character in the mythos, but Revelation really gives her some proper focus, and she’s one of my favorite parts of the show, so I’m very excited about this figure.  Let’s see how it turned out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Teela is part of the second series of the Masterverse line, which just started showing up at retail in the last few weeks.  As noted in the intro, this Teela is her post-jump design, which is how she looks for most of the show’s run, at least so far.  We also had a confirmation at PowerCon that there will also be a classic-inspired version of her coming later in the line.  As with Evil-Lyn’s new design, Teela’s new design keeps elements of her original, while also modernizing.  She honestly takes it a bit further even then Evil-Lyn, with a design that’s probably the most up-to-the-minute and “trendy” of the new Masters design.  It’s got a good post-apocalyptic vibe, and it’s quite utilitarian, so I dig it.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and she has 31 points of articulation.  At her core, Teela shares parts with Evil-Lyn, as expected, though it’s not a ton.  Mostly, it’s just the inner workings and most base level parts.  It means that she’s got Evil-Lyn’s more improved articulation, which isn’t prone to the weird sticking at the hips, making her far more easily posed.  The majority of the sculpt is still new parts, so as to better line-up with Teela’s show design.  As with the others, it’s not a direct translation of the animation, but gets the important details and sort of homogenizes them with the house style.  Generally, I really like it.  The only slight issue I had with mine was where the hair piece aligns with the head; because of the undercut, there’s a little more room for error, resulting in my figure having a little bit of a gap where they join.  It’s not terrible, though, and it varies from figure.  Mine also has a glue spot on the back of the hair, which I wasn’t so thrilled about, but, again, this is an isolated issue…at least I hope.  Teela’s paint work is one of the more involved schemes from the line so far.  It all manages pretty well, with all of the base work being rather cleanly applied.  There’s even some accent work on her boots to make them look a little bit muddy, which is a cool touch.  In the show, Teela’s staff has the ability to take on a few different forms, so the figure gives us a few different versions.  There’s the spear set-up, the sword, and the collapsed version.  She’s also got two sets of hands, making for a pretty nice little selection of extras that cover a fair number of bases.  Not quite the same level as Evil-Lyn, of course, but still very good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really enjoyed Teela’s portrayal in Revelation, and I also liked her new design for the show, so I was down for the figure pretty much as soon as I knew it was coming.  As with Evil-Lyn, I’m very glad they started off with the post-jump look, and it makes for a very fun figure, especially with the extras that they threw in to cover more bases.  I look forward to building up more of her team from the show!

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.

#2902: Dr. Ian Malcolm

DR. IAN MALCOLM

JURASSIC WORLD: AMBER COLLECTION (MATTEL)

Wait, another Jurassic thing?  This quickly?  But I just looked at one last week.  Shouldn’t I be spacing them out more?  It’s okay, this one’s not actually a dinosaur, so it gets a special exemption, under the Goldblum by-laws.  Unless he, uhh, unless he wants to be a dinosaur.  That’s also covered by the by-laws.  They cover a great many things.

Ian Malcolm is really just a supporting player in the first Jurassic Park novel, and is even technically killed off, but when it came to the movie, Jeff Goldblum’s very Jeff Goldblum-y performance made him one of the film’s most distinctive and likeable characters.  His presumed death at the end of the book was therefore removed from the film, paving the way for him to take up the lead for the film’s first sequel.  He’s gotten plenty of toy coverage over the years, and Mattel made sure to include him as one of the very first human figures in their more collector-oriented Amber Collection line.  I’m taking a look at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dr. Ian Malcolm was part of the first assortment of the Jurassic World: Amber Collection from Mattel.  It initially was a GameStop-exclusive line in 2019, but over the course of the last year, the follow ups have seen wider releases, and so has Malcolm himself.  He’s seen here in his all-black attire from the first film, which is really just the best choice for him.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Malcolm’s articulation represent’s Mattel’s learning curve from 2019 pretty well.  They were definitely taking strides in the right direction, but he’s not *quite* there.  The original prototype for this figure was sporting double-jointed elbows, which were removed and turned into a universal joint during the production process.  It’s a little bit of a step-down, and Mattel clearly recognized this, since they’ve subsequently done a V2 release that swaps out this figure’s arms for ones with those joints added back in.  The two releases are otherwise the same, and the rest of the articulation is still a little bit of a mixed bag of not the best range and rather obtrusive to the sculpt.  It’s certainly not Mattel’s worst work, though, and was a vast improvement to their output from the few years prior.  The sculpt’s quality is generally pretty decent.  The likeness is a rather respectable Jeff Goldblum, certainly better than any prior attempts for the character, and really rivaled only by Hasbro’s Grandmaster figure in terms of closeness.  The glasses are a separate piece, but not one designed for removal.  I’m okay with that, as it gives them the appropriate depth, but means they aren’t overly bulky or at risk of getting lost.  His body matches decently with Goldblum’s rather slender build as well, and while the detailing is maybe a little soft on the clothing, it’s an overall respectable output.  The paint work on Malcolm is largely centered on the head, which gets a rather lifelike and realist paint app which helps the likeness quite a bit.  The rest of the work is rather basic, but it gets the job done and is generally pretty clean.  Malcom was packed with two sets of hands (relaxed and gripping), the flare he uses to distract the T-Rex, a glass, and a display stand.  My figure is without the extra hands and the glass, but he’s still got the flare, which is the most exciting piece anyway, so I’m not too bummed about it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ian Malcolm is definitely my favorite character in Jurassic Park, so I’m not opposed to having a cool toy of him, and I was certainly interested in this one when it was shown off.  Of course, then he was a GameStop exclusive, and I wasn’t having any of that, so I held off.  Fortunately for me, life, uhh, finds a way a loose one was traded into All Time back at the beginning of the summer, and while he was missing a few small pieces, it meant he was a whole lot easier to get, so I went for it.  I like him quite a lot, actually.  He’s not perfect, but he shows the direction Mattel was headed, and he’s just a pretty solid figure.  It almost makes me want to possibly pick up one or two of the others, and I’m not even that big a Jurassic Park fan.

#2900: Wreck-Gar

WRECK-GAR

TRANSFORMERS: STUDIO SERIES (HASBRO)

“Wreck-Gar and the Junkions team up with the Autobots after exchanging the universal greeting: ‘Bah-wheep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong!'”

Transformers: The Movie boasted, amongst other things, a rather impressive cast of celebrities voicing many of the new characters being introduced within the film.  They were a rather far-reaching group, from all different backgrounds, including Monty Python’s own Eric Idle, who voiced the leader of the TV-obsessed Junkions.  The character’s goofy charm and penitent for speaking in quotes and slogans made him rather popular within the fanbase, resulting in a character that’s had a fairly lasting impact.  No anniversary celebration of the film would be complete without him, and so Hasbro’s made sure that he’s properly present for the film’s 35th, with his own Studio Series release.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wreck-Gar is a Voyager Class release within the Studio Series line, numbered 86-09.  While initial ’86 figures were a contained subset, they’re now just shipping with the rest of the Studio figures, so Wreck-Gar’s case mate is Thrust from the Bumblebee movie.  Wreck-Gar marks our first version of the character since his exclusive release during Power of the Primes, though it’s hard to say that one’s really been off of shelves for a long time.  In fact, if you head over to your closest Walgreens right now, you might even still be able to find one!  In his robot mode, Wreck-Gar stands about 6 inches tall and he has 24 practical points of articulation (26 if you count the articulated nipple lasers….I’ll leave that one to you and your conscience).  As with all of the figures in this particular sub-set, the focus of Wreck-Gar’s sculpt is primarily to recreate the G1 animation design, something that this figure’s robot mode does quite well.  Yes, that even means including the weird laser nipples, a detail that has been missing from all of the other figures of the character.  In general, this figure just takes him much closer to animation designs than any of the prior versions, which, for a guy as TV-oriented as Wreck-Gar, just feels rather appropriate.  His construction does result in a few hollow spots on the figure, notably the backs of the arms and the inner legs.  I’m generally still not so much a fan of that, but it’s not the end of the world, and it’s kept to spots that aren’t quite as obvious.  Only the backs of the forearms really bother me.  Wreck-Gar is packed with his four-bladed axe, as well as two shields that can be placed on either his arms or legs.  Or both.

Wreck-Gar’s alt-mode is the same one he’s always had, which is a sci-fi motorcycle, a mode shared with at least one of his fellow Junkions, since he’s seen riding one of them during the film.  The transformation sequence isn’t too bad, especially not for a Studio release.  I was more or less able to figure it out without the instructions, so I’ll count that as a win.  As part of the transformation, his shields are removed and used as his wheels, which is a pretty standard conversion for Wreck-Gar’s, I gather.  The final bike mode is pretty decent.  There’s a kickstand, which is a fun touch, and while he’s maybe a touch small for another Wreck-Gar to ride him (although you can certainly make it work), he does scale alright with Deluxes, and even the more recent Voyager Hot Rod.  You can also store his weapon in vehicle mode, although it’s admittedly a little awkward.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m a pretty big Monty Python fan (although I’m more of Palin fan than an Idle fan), so Wreck-Gar’s always struck something of a chord with me.  When I got into collecting Transformers more seriously, I almost picked up the Primes version just to have him for my collection, but held off because I hoped for a better take.  I’m glad I did.  This one’s not perfect, but he’s a very nice figure, and it’s great to get another of the ’86-ers for the shelf.

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

#2898: Egon Spengler

EGON SPENGLER

GHOSTBUSTERS: FRIGHT FEATURES (HASBRO)

Hasbro became the latest holders of the Ghostbusters license last year, and, apart from one set of Plasma Series figures and the two Transformers crossovers, they didn’t have a *ton* of product.  Afterlife getting pushed back I’m sure didn’t help things, but with its release actually happening this year, things are starting to make their way out again.  Hasbro’s doing the Hasbro thing and diversifying their output, with a few different styles of toys based on the franchise.  On the more all-ages side of things is Fright Features, a new line of stylized figures based on the core team.  I’m taking a look at the Egon from that line today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Egon is part the initial shipments for Hasbro’s Ghostbusters: Fright Features line.  There are two case pack-outs floating around, which swap out which ghosts Peter and Winston get.  Egon, however, is the same across both.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The designs on these new figures have a little bit of a Real Ghostbusters vibe, but mixed with the actual film designs, so he’s a cartoony Egon that still kind of looks like Harold Ramis.  It’s an aesthetic I can get behind, and it makes for a pretty nifty looking figure.  All four ‘Busters share the same base mold, which can be a little tricky on more realistic lines, but works out okay in this more cartoony set-up, I feel.  If nothing else, it works for Egon, and with him being the only one I currently have, that’s cool by me.  About the only complaint I might have is that the arms are just hanging straight down by his sides, meaning he can’t two-hand the wand, but that too sort of fits with the pseudo-RGB vibe of the line. His head sculpt is his one unique piece, and it’s a good effort on an Egon that isn’t a spot-on Ramis, but still feels like Ramis’ Egon.  All of the important character elements are there, and it’s adapted well to the style that they’re going for.  Egon’s paint work is a rather simple endeavor, but it gets the job done, and the application’s all pretty clean.  He’s packed with his proton pack, which is a rather simple piece itself, but works well enough to be what it needs to be, so that’s cool.  The “Fight Feature” comes not from Egon himself, but rather from his other accessory, a small little ghost, which has a spring-loaded feature that makes it “scarier.”  I’m not sure exactly what ghost this is meant to be, but it’s a fun little gimmick, and I’m all about giving all of the main guys a ghost to square off against right out of the box.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures were first shown off last year, I was vaguely interested, but was mostly focused on the Plasma Series offerings.  I really only need so many different versions of the whole team.  I did like the looks of them, though, so, when they finally actually started showing up, I went ahead and snagged myself an Egon, because how can you go wrong with an Egon?  You really can’t.  This is a pretty fun little figure, especially for the price, and I’m curious to see what else Hasbro plans to do with this line.

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.

#2894: Melina Vostokoff & Red Guardian

MELINA VOSTOKOFF & RED GUARDIAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After decades of service, Melina Vostokoff distanced herself from the Red Room. But when Natasha Romanoff returns, Melina and Red Guardian must decide where their allegiance lies.”

After a year of delays, Black Widow finally got its release this past July.  It’s still not been entirely smooth sailing, but it did at least clear the slate to let the other movies get released.  The tie-in component for the movie was, unfortunately, too far along when the pandemic hit in 2020 to hold it back, so they shipped to stores more than a year before release, resulting in them being essentially gone by the time the movie actually hit.  Hasbro did at least hold off one piece of merch until after the film’s release, a two-pack of Melina Vostokoff and Alexei Shostakov (aka the Red Guardian), Natasha’s surrogate parents from the film.  I’m taking a look at that pack today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Melina and Red Guardian are a standalone two-pack Marvel Legends release, designed to tie-in with the movie.  If prior offerings are anything to go by, they were probably meant to be the home media tie-in, hitting some time last fall, but they were able to be pushed back.  Whatever the case, they started hitting retail within the last month or so, and seem to be generally sticking to the specialty channels at the moment.

MELINA VOSTOKOFF

Known in the comics as Iron Maiden, Melina Vostokoff is actually an antagonist of Natasha, and, much like Red Guardian, classically more of a contemporary in terms of age and experience.  For the film, she is given a maternal role, and refitted into a far less antagonistic character, which generally works out pretty well.  Melina was the one major character absent from the tie-in wave of figures last year, so her inclusion here is somewhat expected and very much justified.  In terms of design, she’s been given her all-white suit from the film’s climax, which allows her to match up with the rest of the crew, certainly making it a good choice.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Melina shares most of her parts with the two Widow figures from last year.  Given that she’s explicitly wearing the same gear as Natasha in the final sequence, as well as the fact that the builds between the actresses aren’t too far removed, it’s a sensible choice of re-use.  It’s aided by the fact that the body was a solid piece the first time around, and the second time around, so the third time makes sense too.  She gets an all-new head sculpt, which sports a rather solid likeness of Rachel Weisz, and meshes well with the pre-existing parts.  The torso is also modified slightly, as sort of a merging of the two prior pieces.  She keeps the basic detailing of the deluxe Widow, but gets the back pack from the single release.  Lastly, she ditches the Widow stingers, in the name of screen accuracy, since Melina doesn’t have them.  Her paint work is overall fairly decent.  The head uses the face printing, which turned out well.  The rest of the body relies fairly heavily on molded colors, but it works well.  There are some slight change-ups from the deluxe Widow’s color scheme.  Generally, it seems to make her more accurate, though I do miss the extra painted detail on the belt buckle.  Melina is packed with three sets of hands (in fists, loose grip, and tight grip), dual Markovs, two batons, and a grappling hook.  The hands and guns are shared with deluxe Widow, and the batons come from the single release (albeit with better paint this time), while the grappling hook appears to be an all-new piece.  Not a bad set-up, all things considered.

RED GUARDIAN

Red Guardian was included in the standard tie-in line-up last year, but his figure was notably not as screen accurate as the others, making a second go at him a worthy venture.  He’s seen here in his fully kitted out gear from the movie (something he didn’t have all of the last time around).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  He’s still a little bit on the small side, but at this point, I can be a little more forgiving, since I already dealt with that last year.  From the neck down, he’s the same as the Red Guardian from the main assortment.  The body was the best part of the earlier release, and wasn’t too terribly out of whack, so it’s re-use makes sense here.  To top it off, he gets an all-new head sculpt, this time sporting the helmet that was so notably absent from the first figure.  It’s a very nice piece, and works well with the body.  It designed to work like the more recent MCU Caps, where the helmet and face are separate parts, to aid in giving it proper depth.  Guardian’s new head also gives him the proper, fuller beard that he had in the movie, further aiding in the likeness’s effectiveness.  Red Guardian’s paint work has also been tweaked a bit from the prior version.  He’s got more silver this time around, as well as some extra detailing in a few spots on the costume.  Additionally, the light grey is now closer to white, which is more in line with how it looks in the movie.  In general, it does feel like a sharper appearance, and one that matches the movie just a bit better.  Red Guardian is packed with an alternate unmasked head, which, like the masked one, has a better likeness of Alexi’s disheveled appearance.  He also gets a set of alternate hands without the gloves, plus a miniature Red Guardian action figure like the one used in the movie’s prison break scene, and the same shield as last time, albeit in a darker color scheme this time around.  It’s not a bad selection, and I’m really glad the alternate head is there.  The shield’s kind of extraneous, since he doesn’t actually have it in the movie, and now we have two of them, but far be it from me to complain about extra stuff, especially when it doesn’t feel like anything important got cut.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was glad to finally get to see Black Widow after such a long wait, and I enjoyed it as a fairly by the numbers action film.  It didn’t break any molds, it didn’t change the world, but it was a good time.  Natasha’s family were definitely my favorite part of the movie, so I was eager to get the full line-up.  Melina makes a good addition to the team we already have, and Red Guardian fixes the figure we already got in such a way that prior version is kind of unneeded at this point, I guess.  Definitely a very fun two-pack.

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

#2893: Quicksilver

QUICKSILVER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quicksilver’s ultra-high-speed capabilities are a major asset to the Avengers in the fight against Ultron.”

While the first Avengers film hit during a period of time when Marvel Legends were dead, so they had to rely on an exclusive run to get the team out in 6-inch scale (and they didn’t even get out the whole team, anyway).  By the time of its sequel, Age of UltronLegends was finally getting its footing back, but still wasn’t quite strong enough to support the entire extended line-up of the team as seen in the film.  Three members of the team wound up at mass retail, with an Amazon-exclusive boxed set to fill out the rest of the original core six.  That left the three new additions to the team, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Quicksilver, out of the line-up.  Scarlet Witch and Vision were both able to get toy coverage out of their later appearances, but that didn’t work out quite so well for poor Pietro, who, you know, died in Age of Ultron and all.  We went through two special anniversary lines with no love for Pietro, but a third one would have just been ridiculous, I suppose, so here he is, after six whole years, finally in Legends form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver is part of the 10 piece “Infinity Saga” sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s one of the five standard sized single release figures, and one of four of those to be an actual wide release (because of course we can’t release a Captain America that’s not a Walmart exclusive, right?).  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The range of motion on the joints is all pretty solid, especially on that neck joint.  I do wish the knee joints broke up the sculpt a little bit less when posed, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen.  I also do dig the full transition to pinless joints here on the elbows and knees.  Quicksilver has an all-new sculpt based on his attire from the film’s final battle, which is a sensible choice, since that’s his most distinctive look, and the one that matches with most of the rest of the team (we still don’t have an AoU Scarlet Witch, so he doesn’t match her at all, of course).  The sculpt is an impressive piece of work.  The head doesn’t quite have a perfect likeness of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but it’s certainly got a resemblance.  Likewise, the body seems like it might be perhaps a slight bit too small for his build in the film, but it’s again not too far off, and there’s some really amazing texture work going on in the clothing.  Quicksilver’s paint work is pretty basic stuff for the most part.  The head gets the best work, with the face printing to give him a lifelike quality, and some solid accenting on the hair, for his proper eurotrash dye-job appearance.  The rest of the work is rather on the basic side, but it works for what it is.  Quicksilver is packed with two sets of hands, in fists and an open gesture, plus the head, torso, and arm of an Ultron drone.  It sure would be nice to get a full Ultron drone one of these days, but this is certainly a start, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quicksilver, specifically the Age of Ultron version of the character, was one of Jess’s favorite Marvel characters.  She really, really liked him, and she was really upset when he died.  I think I may still have the marks from her hitting in the theater, in fact.  She was also really upset that he didn’t get the same toy love as the other characters.  This figure was shown off just a few weeks before she died, and she was very excited.  It had been my plan to get her one of her own when they were released, but that didn’t happen.  It’s a shame that she just missed him.  I think she would have been very happy with the end result.  I myself am pretty happy with him, and with the extra meaning he brings along with him.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2891: Rodimus Prime

RODIMUS PRIME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: KINGDOM (HASBRO)

The 35th anniversary of Transformers: The Movie has been a major focus of Hasbro’s Transformers toy output in the last year, with a major focus being placed on it in the Studio Series, but also some overflow going into its sister line, Kingdom.  Play factor does seem to be a major factor in what exactly goes where, but in the case of today’s offering, it’s more that the Studio Series doesn’t actually have a history of offering the class size that this figure utilizes.  I’ve already looked at Transformers: The Movie‘s main star in his Hot Rod incarnation, but he’s got two distinct looks in the film, since once he takes ownership of the Matrix of Leadership, he is reborn as Rodimus Prime, who is historically a little bigger than Hot Rod.  So, let’s take a look at Rodimus, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rodimus Prime is part of Transformers War For Cybertron: Kingdom, as the line’s Commander Class offering for the year, following in the footsteps of Jetfire and Skylynx before him.  In his robot mode, Rodimus stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 34 practical points of articulation.  Much like Hot Rod, Rodimus is notably smaller than other figures in the same size class, falling somewhere between modern Voyager and Leader scaling, but the reasoning behind his higher price point isn’t really scale, it’s actually engineering.  Hot Rod made use of the Voyager price point to gather more complex articulation and parts layouts, and Rodimus is really the same.  So, while he may not be as big as others, he’s still got a lot going on under the hood (in more ways than one).  He’s also got some very serious heft behind him, which is very much in line with how this incarnation of the line has been run.  In terms of mobility, this figure takes the articulation and range of motion seen on Hot Rod, and just improves upon it, removing the usual restrictions Hot Rods and Rodimuses tend to run into.  He also takes the already jointed hands on the Hot Rod figure, and further articulates them, adding additional movement at the second knuckle, as well as separating out the pointer fingers on their own.  And it doesn’t even make them too floppy or loose for use with the accessories, which is always an accomplishment on its own.  The sculpt, like Hot Rod before it, is a great translation of the animation for Rodimus from the film, following in the steps of the sleekness seen on Hot Rod.  The two sculpts are also quite similar, making them really feel like two versions of the same guy, as they well should.  Of course, as a Kingdom release, rather than a Studio release, there are a few elements of the sculpt’s styling which do go for a few extra little details, to add more to the slightly larger canvas, and also link him a little bit more to how the Siege and Earthrise bots tended to look.  It also makes him a little more distinctly different from his Hot Rod incarnation.  Keeping the ball rolling on the extra features worked into Hot Rod’s robot mode, Rodimus gets a pretty notable extra of his own; his torso is designed to open up in such a fashion so as to reveal the Matrix of Leadership contained within, which is a very cool touch, especially since you don’t really have to disrupt his robot mode to show it off.  In an effort to further justify Rodimus’s higher price-point, the figure gets a rather intensive selection of extras, the largest of which is his Mobile Defense Bay, patterned after the piece that came with his original G1 figure, which includes a rather sizable mounted cannon for him to man.  In addition to the Mobile Defense Bay, Rodimus also gets his usual long rifle, as well as the Sword of Primus, the previously mentioned Matrix (which is the same Earthrise version included with Hot Rod), and 10 effects pieces.  One of the effects is designed for use with the matrix (and is notably a different one than was included with Hot Rod), while seven of them are re-used from Omega Supreme, and work as modular effects for the cannons.  The last two are designed for the exhaust pipes that make up the cannons on his forearms, but aren’t quite as sensible in the form.

Rodimus’s vehicle mode begins as a slightly modified version of the futuristic sports car that serves as Hot Rod’s alt-mode.  The transformation sequence isn’t quite as easily done on this one, and I did have some difficulty getting a few spots to seat correctly without using a little force, which isn’t always the most comforting thing.  One of the sides to the front fender also popped off during the sequence and doesn’t like to stay put when transforming anymore, which is a bit of an annoyance.  The end result is a pretty decent looking car mode, albeit one that’s not really animation based.   The smoke effects can be placed on the back of the exhaust in this mode, and the rifle and sword can both also be stored, albeit in a sort of janky fashion.  The Mobile Defense Bay and its contents fold up and turn into a trailer, as with the G1 version, allowing for something more in line with the proper Rodimus alt-mode when the core car mode is clipped in.  It makes for a more convincing version of the design than the Power of the Primes version, though it still strays a bit from the animation and original toy.  Like with Magnus, it’s just one of those things where compromises had to be drawn somewhere to make all of the different gimmicks work together, and like Magnus, I feel like the right call was made.  I also feel like it looks better in person than it did in the renders and stock photos, which I’d consider a win.  The only real downside is that the trailer does pop apart a little bit at the top seam, which looks like it may be a line-wide issue.  It’s minor, but still a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally more of a Hot Rod fan than a Rodimus fan, so of the two figures that hit this year, the Studio Hot Rod was definitely the one I was jamming one just a little bit more, at least initially.  That figure was really, really good, and I felt that this one might have a difficult time topping it.  So, I was a little cautious with my expectations of this figure.  In hand, he really blew me away.  He takes everything that worked so well on Hot Rod, and builds on it, resulting in a truly impressive piece, certainly the star of the Kingdom line.  I mean, Magnus is still my favorite, of course, because, you know, Magnus, but still, mad props to Hasbro on this one.

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

#2888: King Shark

KING SHARK

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

One of the absolute best parts of The Suicide Squad is Nanaue, aka King Shark.  King Shark has had a rather recurrent history with the team in the comics, but was left out of the first film in favor of Killer Croc, due to director David Ayer not wanting to rely as heavily on CGI for the character.  Given how the rest of the movie worked out, that was an odd line to draw, but whatever.  King Shark was in the second film, and he was awesome, and everyone agrees.  Great that we can all be on the same page about something.  Given his relative size, he’s been split up and made into a Build-A-Figure…but is also being sold as a single through Walmart, because why not?  Todd’s gotta Todd.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

King Shark is the Build-A-Figure for the Suicide Squad-tie-in line-up for DC Multiverse, split accross the four single figures included.  As I mentioned above, the same sculpt is also available pre-assembled and with a few accessories (and a different pair of shorts) as a Walmart-exclusive.  I’m just as happy to not have to deal with Walmart, so here’s the main line version.  The figure stands 9 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  After giving McFarlane some credit yesterday on the articulation front, I’m going to have to give them a hard time again, because oh boy is the articulation on this figure’s lower half just an absolute mess.  There are full universal-style hip joints under the shorts, but due to the thick rubber of said shorts, they are completely motionless, which seems like a silly design choice.  Of course, even if the hips were free to move, the knees would still be locked.  Again, there are full joints, but for some reason, there is a sculpted “lock” on each joint, which prevents them from getting much range.  You can flex them ever so slightly, but that’s it.  The ankles and toes are fully articulated, though, which is super useful, what with nothing else on the legs being mobile or anything.  Thanks McFarlane.  At least the upper half isn’t so bad.  The arms and neck get decent mobility given the design, and he’s even got an articulated jaw, which doesn’t look terrible.  The general quality of the sculpt is pretty nice.  It matches well with the model seen in the film, which is itself a really good design for King Shark.  He’s got that perfect balance of menace and cuteness, just like in the film.  He’s also quite sizeable, as he should be, and there’s some serious heft to the figure.  In terms of paint work, he’s honestly pretty good.  The skin does a nice job of subtly shifting between the two shades, without too much in the way of slop, and the smaller details of his face are pretty decently rendered as well.  Even the pants get a touch of accenting to bring out the sculpted pattern, which is pretty cool.  King Shark is really an accessory himself, and while the single has a stand, a card, and some limbs to chew on, the standard release doesn’t get anything extra.  Given the sheer size, though, it’s not really an issue, plus, he is, again, essentially an accessory himself.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy was my primary want from this set, from the word go.  I’ve always had something of a soft spot for the character, ever since the Total Justice days, and his recent appearances in Harley Quinn and the lead-up to The Suicide Squad got me very much on board with owning this figure.  After seeing the movie, that resolve only increased, and I was very excited to crack them all open and assemble this guy.  The leg articulation set-up sucks.  There’s no way around that.  I know there are modifications that can be done to fix it, but, unlike, say, Bloodsport, where the mods help but aren’t necessary, this feels more like fixing things that should have just worked out of the box.  All that said, the figure does look really nice, and the upper half is at least decent in the articulation department.  Even with the flaws, he’s still the second best part of this set.

All in all, I was expecting to be happy with this set, but I wasn’t expecting to like all of the individual figures quite as much as I did.  Polka Dot Man is the definite star for me, with King Shark right behind him.  Peacemaker and Harley are both really solid figures, too, and, much like in the movie, Bloodsport is the real surprise, as a figure I had no investment into, but that I actually came around to liking quite a bit.  The most damning thing about this set is the lack of a Ratcatcher II to complete the core team, since she’s really the heart of the film, and my favorite character to boot.  Hopefully, McFarlane will find a way to add her to the set.

#2886: Peacemaker

PEACEMAKER

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“A huge, hulking specimen with muscles on his muscles, Peacemaker is a world-class marksman—just like his fellow Squad member, Bloodsport, but if you ask him, better. He’s more than willing to fight, kill, and even start a war, but of course it’s all in the name of keeping the peace.”

First appearing in 1966, Peacemaker was a Charlton character, who, like the rest of the company’s characters, was passed along to DC when they purchased Charlton.  Peacemaker’s most notable contribution to the cultural lexicon is serving as the basis for the character that would become The Comedian in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen.  Peacemaker himself has been rather a minor character in the grand scheme of things, making him a natural fit for joining the Squad.  John Cena’s take on the super patriotic madman, and dude-bro Captain America type, proved so popular during the making of the film that James Gunn and John Cena have already been tapped to create a HBO Max-exclusive show all about him.  After seeing him in the film, I can certainly see the appeal.  And I’ve also got the figure.  Score!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Peacemaker is figure 3 in the Suicide Squad-themed assortment of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse.  As with Bloodsport, there are two versions of Peacemaker available: masked and unmasked.  The masked is the standard release, while the unmasked is a Target exclusive.  Todd’s gotta Todd, right?  The figure stands 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  Peacemaker’s articulation is pretty typical for a modern McFarlane offering, but it also means he falls victim to some of the bigger issues that the articulation entails, mainly that his sculpt is pretty badly broken up by putting him into poses other than just basic standing.  The worst offenders are definitely the elbow joints, which are really broken up and jarring when they’re bent.  It’s not a great look.  I mean, it’s certainly posable, but you tend to hope for something of a middle ground.  Hasbro’s got double joints down that don’t do those sorts of things.  Surely McFarlane can do a little bit better.  Odd implementation of the articulation aside, the sculpt itself is generally pretty nice.  The head has a respectable likeness of John Cena, and the mask is a decent recreation of the really goofy helmet from the movie.  The body also has a fairly nice set of proportions, matching well with Cena’s usual build.  The costume details are also quite well rendered, with some really nice texture work, especially on the shirt.  Peacemaker’s paintwork is certainly the most colorful of the bunch.  It’s still generally pretty basic, but it looks good, and the application is solid.  I do wish the helmet was a brighter, and perhaps shinier helmet, maybe even chromed, but I get how that wouldn’t necessarily be practical at this scale and price point.  When it comes to accessories, Peacemaker is affected similarly to Bloodsport, in that he’s not allowed to get any fire arms.  Instead, he’s got a broad sword, which he’s seen using during the film, and in a more prominent role than Bloodsport’s weird katana.  It’s not a bad choice, even if it’s maybe not the main choice I’d go with.  Fortunately, there are other options available for him, and I was able to get myself a third party version of his modified Desert Eagle (courtesy of Mark2Design), so I’m pretty happy.  In addition, he’s got a display stand, a collector’s card, and the arms to the King Shark Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the individual figures in this line-up, Peacemaker was definitely a strong second, after Polka Dot Man.  He’s just got a really good look, and there’s never been a Peacemaker figure before.  It helps that I really liked John Cena’s portrayal of the role, and I look forward to seeing how the show turns out.  The figure’s generally a pretty strong one.  The articulation could be a little better, but otherwise, this one’s a pretty strong figure.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2885: Bloodsport

BLOODSPORT

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Bloodsport is a world-class marksman specializing in brutality—his hands, and anything he wields with them, are deadly weapons. Trained by his mercenary father from the moment he was born, this hardened criminal has but one soft spot…which, of course, Amanda Waller uses to persuade (i.e. blackmail) him to join the Squad.”

When Will Smith was unavailable to reprise his role as Deadshot for The Suicide Squad, the film needed to fill his role in the line-up with someone with a similar energy.  Idris Elba was rather quickly announced as Smith’s replacement, initially just as a recast Deadshot, but ultimately as a different character entirely.  Bloodsport’s a rather minor Superman foe, created by John Byrne during his post-Crisis run on the book.  He’s never amounted to much, and he’s ultimately something of a blank canvas.  Honestly, he’s in a very similar spot to Deadshot himself when he was added to the Squad’s initial line-up in the ’80s, and that similarly allowed Gunn and Elba to craft a character that goes far beyond the simple quick replacement for Deadshot that he could have been.  He’s key to the core arc of the film, and gets his own unique spin on something of a tried and true backstory.  Bloodsport was central to a lot of the film’s marketing, so it’s no surprise to find him amongst the figures we got for the toyline.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bloodsport is the second figure in the Suicide Squad-themed assortment of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse.  In true McFarlane fashion, there are two versions of the figure available: masked and unmasked.  I’m looking at the masked version, which is the standard release, while the unmasked is a Walmart exclusive.  Given that he’s pretty evenly splits his time between the two looks in the film, it would certainly have made far more sense to include two heads with one figure, especially since literally everything else about the figure is the same, but that’s not how McFarlane’s ever operated, really.  I mean, at least it’s not like the Justice League Batman, where you have to buy no less than three of the same figure to get each minor tweak on his goggle/mask placement.  It could be worse, you guys.  The figure stands just over 7 inches tall and he has 36 points of articulation.  The Suicide Squad figures make use of rubber torso covers to allow for a little more range of motion to their torso joints, which is I suppose not the worst idea.  It’s not a lot more range, especially on Bloodsport, but it does give him a little more flex, which isn’t a bad thing.  Otherwise, the articulation works much like any other Multiverse figure, which means there’s an alright range, but it doesn’t always look super pretty.   That said, Bloodsport’s joints impede his aesthetics less than others from the line, so it’s a mark of some improvement.  His sculpt is largely pretty good.  He’s got more going on than Polka Dot Man, so there’s more for them to work with.  There’s a lot of layering and texturing, which all works pretty well, especially the texturing.  Some of the details, especially on the torso, are slightly soft, and I’m really not a fan of the front butt thing he’s got going on with his pelvis, but it generally looks good.  Obviously, the head has no likeness, but it matches well enough with the helmet design from the movie, and quite frankly, it doesn’t look any less like Elba than McFarlane’s actual unmasked head does.  There was initially some belief that the two Bloodsports might get different paint schemes, since the stock photos were quite different.  As it turns out, that’s because the unmasked shots were just on the actual production body.  Gone are all of the actual accents or the proper bronze coloring, replaced by a slightly metallic orange, that’s really much too bright for the character.  The general scheme is there, but the figure definitely lacks something.  I’ve already modified mine to do some panel lining and proper accenting (though the photos still show him unmodified), and it makes the figure look a lot better, for what it’s worth.  It’s just a shame he’s not like that out of the box.  Bloodsport is, in the movie, typically depicted with projectile weapons, but for the purposes of this figure, he gets two swords, which don’t feel quite his speed.  To McFarlane’s credit, they’re based on a sword that Bloodsport has in the film briefly, but it’s really brief.  Word is that Warner doesn’t want their figures coming with guns, and that’s why the swords instead.  Given the very sci-fi nature of Bloodsport’s weaponry, you’d think an exception could be made, but I can believe McFarlane’s hands were tied on this one.  At least he got *something*.  Also included is a display stand, a collector’s card, and the torso to King Shark.  Compared to Polka Dot Man, he does feel slightly light.  If only we could have gotten, oh, I don’t know, an unmasked head…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these were first shown off, I was really only interested in Bloodsport for the purposes of getting the King Shark part.  Then I saw the movie, and I really, really enjoyed the character, and that made me actually really want his figure.  I opted for the masked version, largely because it’s the easier of the two for me to get, and also doesn’t require me to step into a Walmart, but also because I really wasn’t feeling McFarlane’s take on Elba.  This is a figure that needs some work to really make him shine, but ultimately I’m still very happy with him, flaws and all.  If anything, that little bit of work makes me appreciate him all the more, and feels almost appropriate to the character.

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 and their eBay storefront.