#3011: Magneto

MAGNETO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Magneto casts off his anti-human sentiments and carries on Xavier’s dream of peaceful coexistence, thereby founding the X-Men.”

2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the X-Men crossover “Age of Apocalypse” and 2021 marked the 25th anniversary of the tie-in toys for that crossover.  What’s the significance of 2022?  It’s the 25th anniversary of the toys being a year old, I guess.  That’s gotta count for something, right?  Well, I’m gonna make it count for something, because in my case, it counts for reviewing another round of AoA-themed Legends.  That’s pretty cool, all things considered.  Throughout the history of the X-Men, Magneto has flirted with the idea of not being such a bad guy, even aiding, or in some cases outright joining the team.  It rarely lasts, but AoA posited that, were Magneto to see his friend Xavier murdered at a young age, that might just be the thing to make him an objectively good character.  So, in the AoA universe, Magneto is an unquestionable force of good, founder and leader of the X-Men, and the most prominent force in the fight against the objectively evil Apocalypse.  As such, he’s a pretty perfect choice for headlining the second assortment of AoA Legends.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Magneto is part of the Colossus Series of Marvel Legends.  He is the only figure in the set not to include a piece of the Build-A-Figure, and is likewise this assortment’s double pack, which is honestly pretty sensible.  This is the fourth time the AoA version of Magneto’s gotten a figure, following the original Toy Biz 5-inch figure, the Minimate, and the 3 3/4-inch Hasbro version.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  As with the last few Magnetos, he’s based on the Spider-UK body, which is a good fit for the character, so I’m pretty happy to see it continue to be in use for the character.  In terms of design, Magneto’s AoA look wasn’t a drastic change from his mainstream look, so there’s a lot of room for parts re-use.  That being said, the only part (aside from the base body), that’s shared with the standard Magneto is the belt.  He also shares his forearms and boots with the modern Magneto, which are generally pretty good matches for the updated designs from the AoA books.  He gets a few new parts as well, namely an all-new cape/shoulder pad piece, as well as two new heads.  The cape does seem a little tame for how the AoA Magneto’s cape was usually depicted, but it’s still a pretty nice piece, which at least keeps the figure well-balanced.  The new heads give him helmeted and un-helmeted looks.  The un-helmeted is certainly the stronger of the two.  The facial features are a bit more defined, and the hair turned out quite well.  The helmeted head’s not terrible, but the helmet seems a touch on the small side, and I do feel like there’s a missed opportunity in not doing the blacked-out face under the helmet, as he was frequently depicted in the books.  Magneto’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  It’s straight forward, and really rather minimal, but it does what it needs to for the most part.  There’s a little bit of misalignment on one of the eyebrows one un-helmeted head, but it generally looks pretty good.  The only odd part is the decision to leave off the purple trunks. Later illustrations of the character dropped them, but the actual cross-over itself always showed him having them.  Magneto is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, the other in open gesture, as well as two electricity effects.  Not a ton of stuff, but it covers the basics.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

AoA Magneto is really one of my favorite parts of the whole AoA thing, something I brought up when I reviewed the Toy Biz figure, itself my favorite of the Toy Biz AoA figures.  I’ve definitely been hoping for an update in Legends form for quite some time.  I was bummed when he wasn’t included with the first assortment, but his absence felt like it really confirmed a second assortment, since how can you not do this guy?  I was happy to be right.  Ultimately, there are some elements of the figure that could stand to be a little stronger, but he’s generally still a pretty solid take on the character, and I’m glad we got the update.

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.

#3010: Blue Ranger

BLUE RANGER

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (THREEZERO)

Oh man, I haven’t reviewed any Power Rangers since last year!  …get it?  Because we’re only two weeks into the–okay, yeah, it’s not that funny, I guess.  Also, it’s a joke I’ve already pulled once.  So, you know, there it is, I guess.  Look, I’m not proud of it either, okay?  Let’s just get to the actual review, I guess.  As far as Rangers reviews go, the original incarnation, Mighty Morphin, has become a bit rarer around here, what with me having already gotten the whole core team in my preferred scale some time ago.  I do have a soft spot for the Blue Ranger, of course, so that does leave me more avenues to review the occasional release here and there.  While we’re here and there, ThreeZero has recently picked up the license for the purposes of some 1/6 scale figures, which includes my boy Blue, so I’m taking a look at their take on him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Blue Ranger was released at the same time as the other five Rangers in ThreeZero’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers line, hitting late last fall.  He and the others were available both as single releases and in one boxed set for the whole team.  Obviously, mine’s the single release, but the actual figures are the same between the two styles of box.  The figure stands just shy of 12 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

In true 1/6 form, the most prominent piece of sculpting here is the head, or in this case more specifically the helmet.   Blue’s triceratops-inspired helmet is nicely recreated here.  It’s not quite a perfect match for the on-screen helmet, but it gets all of the elements, and it’s pretty close.  It’s quite sleek in its implementation, and the sculpting is all properly clean and sharp in its detailing.  The paint work is likewise clean and sharp.  The extra panel lining on the edges isn’t strictly show accurate, but at this scale it helps to make the sculpted elements pop a bit more, which is a plus.  The overall finish of the helmet is glossy, in proper fashion for how it looked in the show…most of the time, anyway.  There’s no alternate unmasked head included with these releases, which is on one hand a slight letdown compared to other 1/6 stuff, but on the other hand totally understandable given how much lower the price point is on these figures compared to others on the market.

In contrast to my last two ThreeZero reviews, where the figures were fully sculpted, and a mix of plastic and diecast parts, the Rangers are more classic 1/6 scale figures, making use of cloth costumes with plastic accents and underlying body.  It’s appropriate, what with all the spandex involved with the actual costumes and all.  The main suit is a spandex-like material, which scales well to the body and is generally well-tailored to match.  Obviously, some of the stitching is a little larger than it should be, but not by much.  The metallic finish on the material matches the original Sentai costume, and is just overall very sleek looking, which I’m all about.  The white elements are applied via a rubberized paint, which is clean, sharp at the edges, and offers consistent coverage.  The belt piece is a mix of cloth and plastic, with the main belt being a pleather like material, and the buckle being plastic.  The back of the belt is a little bit rudimentary in its design, but otherwise the piece works well.  The cuffs for the boots and gloves are sculpted plastic parts.  They’re nicely fitted to the body, and help to further keep the costume in place, as well as maximizing the posability on the wrists and ankles.

The body under the suit is clearly designed for function over form, as you would hope for this style of figure.  It shapes well under the suit, but is largely built for being well articulated.  There’s a rubbery sort of a padding on the mid section for more proper shaping, which does its job nicely.  The articulation is a little stiffer than I’m used to at this scale, but that makes it more practical for holding poses.  It just takes some getting used to hearing the joints make a rather noticeable squeak every time you pose them.  All things considered, this body certainly competes well with the top end of 1/6 scale bodies, which is a definite plus.

The Blue Ranger is pretty decently accessorized.  He includes 4 pairs of hands, his Power Lance, and the Blade Blaster.  The hands are great for all manner of poses, giving you a lot of options.  The Lance and Blaster are notable for actually being fully transformable.  The Lance can be used in the separate dagger forms, as well as combined, and full extended.  Likewise, the Blade Blaster is capable of all three of its forms, in one piece, rather than three separate versions like we tend to see.  The weapons getting their full compliment of set-ups was actually a pleasant surprise for me, as I’d fully expected them to just be in their collapsed forms, since that was how the Figuarts release handled things for all the non-Reds.  Ultimately, the combined form on the Lance is a little wobbly, but it’s still cool that the functionality is actually there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

ThreeZero has been a rather pleasant discovery for me in the last year.  I really liked both of the prior offerings I’d grabbed, and when I saw this guy go up for order, I was definitely down to at least give him a try.  I was expecting him to be a passable figure at least, but at the price point, I wasn’t expecting him to be nearly as impressive as he wound up being.  For less than half of the price of your average Hot Toy, you get a figure that’s maybe not *quite* the same quality and is a little lighter on the accessories, but it’s not as much of a gap as you might think.  This is another win for ThreeZero as far as I’m concerned, and they certainly have my attention for future releases.

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

#3009: Snake Eyes & Timber

SNAKE EYES & TIMBER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

I haven’t actually gotten to talk about G.I. Joe, specifically it’s most recent re-launch, Classified Series, since all the way back in October, which on one hand doesn’t seem that long ago, but also really does.  It’s not really like I’m missing much that’s worth reviewing, of course; there hasn’t really been much new.  When last discussing things, I brought up the line’s Original 13, the debut line-up for the Real American Hero incarnation of the franchise.  While some of them remained more or less confined to those early years, a few of them took off.  Most notable was the first year’s resident cost-saver, Snake Eyes, who would become the franchise’s most distinctive character.  Today, we turn our sights his earliest incarnation, or at least a re-imagining of it, alongside his trusty sidekick, Timber!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Snake Eyes and Timber are a deluxe-sized release, thus far unseen in the main retail line, for Hasbro’s G.I. Joe: Classified Series, where they are item 30, placing them right after Breaker and the RAM Cycle in the numbering sequence.  Though pairing off Snake Eyes with Timber is nothing new for the brand, it’s not usually this version of Snake Eyes that gets paired with Timber, since Timber was first included with Version 2.  However, with the initial Snake Eyes being V2-inspired already, it made sense not to double back on variants.

SNAKE EYES

We’ve had no shortage of Snake Eyes variants in this line up to this point, with this in particular being the fourth version.  There have been two versions based on V2, and one based on the film, but this one goes back to the original commando-based V1 design.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Snake Eyes is built on a mix of parts, largely stemming from the Beach Head-version of the Duke mold.  It’s a good starting point for an update on Snake’s classic turtle-necked design, and just a good starting point in general, as it remains one of my favorite figures in the line.  He borrows the holster from the first Snake Eyes, in a nice bit of cross-use, and then gets a new head and shins, along with new overlay pieces for his webgear and the sheath for his knife.  As stated above, the aim of this sculpt is to capture the V1 design, or at least to offer something of an update to it.  It does a good job of that, and in fact stays a lot closer than the more sci-fi-inspired figures from the rest of the line.  It’s a fitting choice, since this is supposed to be an earlier in his career Snake Eyes, presumably from before the Joes get quite as tech savvy.  I particularly like the new head, especially how you can see the separate parts of the assembly.  The webgear likewise has a lot of depth of detail to it.  In general, it captures all of the broad strokes of the original figure, but at a larger scale and with more going on.  Still, it’s not over designed, or anything like that; it’s the right level of detailing.  Snake Eye’s paint work is much simplified compared to the prior figures.  This is on purpose, no doubt to call back to the V1 figure’s complete lack of paint.  This one is a little more detailed than that one, but does have a slight variance to the exact finish of the blacks, just to give him a little bit of variety.  He also gets one small bit of white detailing on his grenade, which is a nice touch.  Snake Eyes is packed with his classic Uzi, as well as an ump45 with, to quote Tim, “a whacked out front end,” an assault rifle that appears to be a combination of a number of things with a lot of customizations, a Beretta m93r (with removable silencer, just like the first release),  and a large knife.  The rifles are fun, since they both feature removable magazines, which I always enjoy.  Snake Eyes includes no sword, of course, as is proper for a true commando Snake Eyes.

TIMBER

First included with the V2 Snake Eyes back in ’85, Timber had appeared in other media prior, notably in the cartoon as the wolf that guides an irradiated Snake Eyes back to safety in the second mini-series.  Over the years, he’s been featured in the main line a good number of times, but it’s rare that he’s ever anything more than an unarticulated accessory.  For his debut in Classified, Hasbro’s given him the proper figure treatment.  He’s about 3 inches tall and 5 1/2 inches long, and he has 29 points of articulation.  While his articulation doesn’t have as full a range as I might like, there’s still quite a bit of range to it, and he can get into a decent selection of poses.  The sculpt does quite a nice job of capturing a rather basic wolf look, with an impressive level of detail work.  He includes two different heads, one calm, and the other snarling, again adding to the display options for the figure.  The paint work on Timber is generally pretty solid.  There’s a pretty nice two-toned thing going on with the fur, which has a rather subtle change-over.  I also really like the gold irises on the eyes, as well as the slight shading to the scars on the face.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I generally do angle towards the V2-style for my default Snake Eyes, I’ll admit I have quite a soft-spot for the commando look for the character, especially as sort of a “starter” look for the character.  I was hoping we’d see at least some sort of a nod to it in the modern line, but wasn’t expecting a full-on update.  I’m very happy with how this one turned out.  He’s just a very nice figure.  Timber’s also kind of an essential piece, and I’m happy to see Hasbro give him the proper deluxe style treatment here.  In general, this is really one of the coolest sets to come out of Classified, and I look forward to seeing what else Hasbro might do with this price-point.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#3001: Steel Bone HO2 Firepower Mecha

STEEL BONE HO2 FIREPOWER MECHA — GRAY-GREEN

DARK SOURCE (JOYTOY)

It’s a new year, and this intro serves to cover a few bases, really.  First and foremost, faithful readers will no doubt notice that there were two days between this review and #3000.  After writing a review every day of every week for over eight years, I’ve finally arrived at the conclusion that it’s maybe a little much for me.  So, I’ll be stepping back.  Not a ton, mind you, but I’ll at least be taking weekends for the foreseeable future.  But, hey, that’s still five days a week for you guys to read my crazy ramblings, right?  With that out of the way, let’s jump into the first day of my post-Christmas reviews!

More often than not, I tend to stick to more domestic offerings, as well as generally lower-price point options.  Every so often, I do like to branch out just a little bit and try something new.  This year, that’s apparently Joytoy, a company that I was honestly not really familiar with prior to 2021, but who I’ve become rather fascinated with in the last few months.  Hey, I like a cool mecha, and they certainly have a lot of those.  So, I’m looking at my first Joytoy item today, with the Steel Bone HO2 Firepower Mecha!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Steel Bone HO2 Firepower Mecha [Gray-green] is part of Joytoy’s Dark Source toyline.  Their various different lines correlate to different themes/storylines, which are really just excuses to more cool robot designs, really.  It also corresponds to a few different scales.  Dark Source is a 1/25 scale line, centered on figures that are about 2 3/4 inches for a standard sized human.  The mechs are, of course, much larger than a standard sized human.  In the case of this one, it stands just shy of 8 3/4 inches tall.  An exact articulation count is a bit tricky on this one, due to how many moving components there are, and how many pieces have to flex out of the way in order to do any real posing.  The limbs can be a bit restricted, especially at the shoulders and hips, but there’s a lot that can be done, especially given how bulky the design is overall.  I especially dig all of the movement in the hands, as the fingers not only get movement at each of the knuckles but there’s also side-to-side movement on the fingers, which adds a lot of extra gripping options, which is pretty cool.  In terms of structure, the Steel Bone design is pretty squared off and rather on the utilitarian design.  It’s certainly meant to be military in nature.  The actual construction of the mech is actually made out of quite a lot of potentially modular pieces.  It comes out of the box in effectively the load out seen in the photos, but there are lots of other possible builds, if you so choose.  It can be a little tricky swapping parts in and out, and finding just the right balance and layout, but it does add a lot more fun to the figure.  In the effort to aid in that modular nature, the mech gets a few deliberately swappable pieces, namely the chest plate and thigh covers, which have an option for slightly more rounded parts.  I myself prefer the alternate parts, so I appreciate them being there.  The mech’s armaments also tie into the modular nature.  Worked into the mech proper are two shoulder mounted mini guns.  They attach with a handful of the modular parts included, but also can be worked in a few different ways, again with the whole modular thing in mind.  Separate from the mech proper, there’s a big hammer.  What’s fun about the hammer is that it’s almost no unique parts; everything is a basic modular piece, or shared with the Mecha’s own construction.  So, again with the modular.  That’s commitment to the concept.

The Steel Bone includes its own pilot, designed to work with it’s built-in cockpit.  He’s about 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s utilitarian and military-inspired in a fashion similar to Mecha, which is sensible.  He works in a lot of rather classic sci-fi psuedo-military type stuff, which makes him suitably generic, but also serves as a nice call back to other designs.  I quite dig the removable helmet, and how well it sits, especially given the scale and how little it impacts the underlying head’s design.  The pilot gets a fun selection of extras himself.  There’s an alternate left hand, two rifles, a pistol, and a medical kit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been just starting to dip my toes into the waters of Joytoy, and it’s pretty much exclusively the fault of Jason from All Time Toys.  He’s recently decided to give them a try at the store, and we’ve all pretty much been looking for that entry point.  This one’s boxy, green, and he’s got a hammer and miniguns.  He checks off a lot of my boxes.  So, it certainly made things even easier when Jason gave me this guy as my Christmas gift this year.  It’s pretty darn great, really, and a great introduction to Joytoy.  I could foresee this getting a little bit dangerous…

#3000: Captain America – Infinity War

CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HOT TOYS)

In a turn of events that I suppose is all rather fitting, today, the last day of 2021, also marks my 3000th review here at the site.  Pretty crazy, huh?  I never really foresaw myself making it quite this far, and yet, here I am.  3000 is a very big number, and a bigger number than the the total quantity of figures I had in my collection when I started this thing.  Moreover, I’ve made it all the way to the end of 2021, a journey that I would very much be underselling with the description “turbulent.”  A lot’s happened, and it has not been easy.  But I’m here.  And I’ve got a thing to review.  And I suppose that’s the most important thing in the moment.  So, let’s jump back to 2018, back to the throws of Avengers: Infinity War, specifically Captain America and his rather disheveled look from his own rather turbulent year.  Fitting, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is part of the Infinity War tie-in component of Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, where he’s figure MMS 481, which made him the sixth of the IW tie-in figures.  The figure arrived not too long after the film’s release, hitting in the fall of 2018.  There were two releases of him, a standard and a “Movie Promo Edition” which was a Sideshow-exclusive in the US.  The difference between the two comes down to a few accessories; the figure proper remains the same.  This Cap is based on his Nomad appearance from the film, which is of course the only look he actually has in Infinity War, so I guess that makes sense.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and he has over 30 points of articulation.

While most Caps these days include multiple heads, this release only has the one.  It makes some degree of sense, since he doesn’t have the helmeted look in the film, so I suppose he only needs the one head.  It’s only the one facial expression, but that’s not uncommon for unmasked heads from Hot Toys.  This one does live up to Hot Toys’ usual penchant for very lifelike sculpts.  It sports a pretty spot-on likeness of Evans in the film, at least facially.  The hair is perhaps a little bit too orderly for proper film accuracy, but it’s not too far off, and it’s certainly closer than either Hasbro or Bandai’s attempts were.  It avoids the seam at the sides of the head that the Endgame release had, but trades it out for a rather noticeable join at the back of the head where the longer hair attaches.  It’s still not the worst thing, but at this price point, you do hope for a little better.  At the very least, the paint work topping it all off is really good, up to Hot Toys’ typical standards for face paint, with a very lifelike quality to the whole thing.

In Infinity War, Cap is, at least canonically, supposed to still be wearing the suit he had in Civil War, having had not time on the run between films to swap out.  In actuality, there are a few changes to the suit beyond just the expected wear and tear of being on the run, but they’re generally minor.  In terms of how the suit works on the figure, it’s pretty similar to the Endgame figure, being two main parts, with a lot of layers attached.  As with that figure, this one’s belt sets perhaps a little low, but it’s otherwise a well-tailored outfit that works well with the underlying body of the figure and captures the look of the outfit seen in the film quite nicely.

The underlying base body appears to be the same one used for Endgame Cap, which was a good fit for Evans’ build for the character, as well as doing a good job of balancing aesthetics and functionality.  As with that figure, the movement of the base body is somewhat impeded by the nature of the suit design, which does have some notable restrictions at the hips and shoulders.  Still, there’s plenty of movement to be had, and he can get some pretty solid range on most of the joints.

When it comes to accessories, Cap gets quite a few, including:

  • 8 hands
  • 2 Wakandan shields
  • Outrider corpse
  • Corvus Glaive’s Spear
  • Proxima Midnight’s staff
  • Display stand

The hands include a pair of fists, a pair of gripping, a pair of relaxed gesture, and a right pointing/left open gesture combo.  They give all the important needs for posing and working with the included accessories, and also do a good job of capturing the look of his gloves from the movie.  They’re a little tricky to swap out, but not impossibly so.  The two Wakandan shields are designed for specifically right and left sides, and are able to be fully collapsed or extended, which is certainly nice engineering.  The display stand is the same style as we saw on the Endgame figure.  I dig the hexagonal shape.  And that’s all of the standard release stuff.  The exclusive also adds a fallen Outrider corpse piece to sit atop the stand (along with a printed piece which looks like dirt ground), as well as both Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight’s weapons.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I missed out on the standard release of this guy when he came into All Time.  I mean, not really missed out, I suppose, since he was in stock, and I just dragged my feet on him, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to jump back into Hot Toys.  Once the Endgame release truly broke me on that, I regretted passing on this guy, so he went on my list of figures I was definitely planning to snag should they get traded in.  As luck would have it, this guy wound up getting traded in within about a week of me getting the Endgame version, which was a solid thematic thing.  He’s the best version of this design available to be sure, and he’s honestly the version of Cap that most reflected my personal mind state as I navigated the last year. A little broken, a little lost, and his resolve a little shaken.  But he’s still him deep down.  A fitting send off to the year.

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 and their eBay storefront.

#2997: High Evolutionary

HIGH EVOLUTIONARY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With a highly advanced intelligence and a cybernetic exoskeleton, the High Evolutionary challenges the Fantastic Four.”

First appearing in the pages of Thor, Herbert Edgar Wyndham, aka the Higher Evolutionary, is kind of one of those grander scope sort of villains.  He’s not really straight-forward evil, but more invested in a larger advancement of humanity and life as a whole.  Some times these goals put him at odds with our heroes, some times less so.  And, more often than not, he’s really just off on his own.  Interestingly, despite what the bio says outright and the presence of the figure in the assortment may suggest, he’s only had fleeting contact with the FF, and very rarely as an adversary for the team.  But, if it gets me a High Evolutionary, it gets me a High Evolutionary.  I won’t be picky.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The High Evolutionary is the final figure in the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Marvel Legends.  This marks his very first time in action figure form, which is pretty darn cool.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  High Evolutionary’s movement scheme is pretty standard for the line.  He’s a little bit on the restricted side, especially on the torso and hips, but given the character’s tendency to mostly just stand around menacingly, it honestly isn’t too bad.  He’s also got the pinless construction on the elbows and knees, which continues to be a nice upgrade for all of the figures that have it.  High Evolutionary’s sculpt is an all-new piece, and it’s honestly got a lot going on.  It’s clearly classically inspired at its base, but uses some of the more modern interpretations of the character to add a little bit more detailing, especially on the face.  It makes for a figure that’s a little more visually stimulating than he might be if he were just a straight classic look.  Generally, I quite like it.  The figure’s color work is almost entirely reliant on molded plastic, which is all metallic and swirly.  I’d prefer that the maroon sections were maybe a touch darker, but otherwise it looks pretty solid.  He’s got minor paint work for a few of the smaller accents, which works out pretty well.  They’re cleanly applied and they get the job done.  The High Evolutionary is packed with two sets of hands, one set in fists and the other in open gesture.  It’s not a ton, but he is a completely new sculpt, and I’m not really sure what else there is to give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My primary knowledge of this guy came from his one episode of X-Men: The Animated Series.  He’s a weird guy, but he’s got a cool look, and it’s definitely been one I’ve wanted for a while in toy form.  His inclusion in this particular assortment may be a little weird, but I’m honestly just glad to have gotten him, and it’s especially nice that Hasbro really put the effort into making as much of a one-off as possible.

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.

#2995: Rancor with Luke Skywalker

RANCOR with LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Within Jabba the Hutt’s desert palace on Tatooine, there is a special pit that houses a rancor. Over five meters in height, this reptilian-like creature has long, exaggerated arms, dangerous fangs and huge claws — truly a fearsome sight. The crime lord uses the rancor as a means of eliminating enemies and failed employees. Its pit is located beneath Jabba’s court, providing an excellent view for the crime lord and his associates as victims struggle helplessly to defend themselves. That all changes when Luke Skywalker is dropped into the loathsome pit. Armed with only a large bone leftover from one of the rancor’s previous victims, the Jedi Knight conquers the horrible beast.”

Oh boy, that sure is a nice Rancor there.  Sure would be a shame if someone were to…SABOTAGE IT!!!!  Right?  Get it?  Because, it’s like the whole thing where a bunch of winy fanboys claimed that Hasbro was sabotaging their own product, and then it was ultimately the winy fanboys who…you know…actually sabotaged it?  Isn’t it funny?  Or is it just sad.  Oh, right, it’s probably just sad.  And I’m likely to piss someone off with this intro, aren’t I?  Ah well, these days I fear nothing, so I’ve really got nothing to lose.  Not even the Rancor.  Especially since I wasn’t backing the Black Series one anyway.  But that’s not the point.  What is the point is that I’m falling back on my classic Star Wars reviewing fodder, Power of the Force, and that’s where I’m staying.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Rancor with Luke Skywalker were added to Kenner’s Power of the Force II line in 1998, as the largest of the creature packs that they were doing.  They’re based on Return of the Jedi, of course, and were actually the only creature pack where that was the case, since Jabba was from his Special Edition appearance in A New Hope, rather than his classic Jedi look.

RANCOR

Certainly one of the largest creatures in the Star Wars verse, or at least one of the largest that’s justifiable in toy form, the Rancor has been getting toy treatment since the vintage line.  This would mark its second time in toy form.  The figure stands about 10 inches tall (thanks to the hunch) and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s not an overly mobile figure, but the Rancor’s also not an overly mobile creature.  It’s main purpose is really just to lumber menacingly, which this one does quite well.  It does have a little trouble standing up, but careful posing can help it find that sweet spot for staying balanced.  The Rancor’s sculpt was an all-new one.  The vintage figure had gone far more basic on its detailing, so this one stepped things up a bit.  The end result is quite a nice piece, especially when compared to some of the smaller figures of the same line.  He’s a respectable match for the creature we see on-screen, and there’s a lot of solid texture and smaller detail work.  Due to the nature of the softer plastic, some of the details are likewise a little softer, but it’s generally quite good.  The only downside to this one is the “Real Feel Skin” feature, which can make him prone to a bit of gunk build-up.  It’s not quite as bad as yesterday’s Clayface figure, but it does require some occasional cleaning.  The paint work on the Rancor is pretty solid, actually.  There’s some decent accent work on the skin, which helps to bring out more of the sculpted details, as well as add a little more depth to the figure’s overall look.  The Rancor gets no accessories of its own, but it does get…

LUKE SKYWALKER

…a Jedi Luke variant.  1998 had quite a few Jedi Luke variants, covering various deviations of his main look throughout the film.  This one is very specifically Jabba’s Palace, after he’s lost the cloak and saber, before he’s gotten shot in the hand.  It’s the only one to fit that very specific narrative.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He uses the same head and torso as a few of the Jedi Lukes from the same year, which makes sense from a consistency standpoint, and also means he’s re-using some pretty decent parts.  The arms and legs are new, and designed with him leaning back to look at the Rancor in mind.  The legs do make him a little tricky to keep standing, and the arms are unfortunately rather stiff for any decent posing.  He’s not a bad sculpt, but he’s a more limiting one to be sure.  His paint work is a little more involved than other Jedi Lukes by virtue of him having a bunch of brown flecks to simulate Tatooine sand.  It’s all a ploy to keep his father at bay, really.  Luke is packed with the large bone he uses to defend himself against the Rancor, which is a pretty fun scene specific piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was definitely a Jedi Luke fan as a kid, and liked this particular scene a lot, but it was kind of an expensive set, and never a super easy one to find, so I didn’t get this one as a kid.  Instead, I got it quite recently, just over the last summer, when one of them came through All Time loose.  I’ve actually been low-key looking for one for a while now, so I was pretty happy to finally get one.  It’s definitely an important piece of the PotF collection, and one I’m glad to finally have.  There have been more involved Rancors since, but this one’s still just a very nice piece, and the Luke pairs off well with him.

#2992: Human Torch

HUMAN TORCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Fiery and hot-headed, the Human Torch can burn through just about any adversity with a smile.”

What a shock!  Four days into Fantastic Four reviews, I’m reviewing, would you believe it, the fourth member of the team?  Crazy how that works.  I mean, nobody let Toy Biz know.  They don’t tend to go for that sort of thing.  Or, you know, that whole “still being in business” sort of thing, I suppose.  Since taking over the license, Hasbro has been pretty good about doing the FF in proper batches of all four team members, and this latest round is no exception.  So, let’s look at that fourth member, the Human Torch, in his all flame-on-y form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Human Torch is another figure from the FF-themed Retro Collection assortment of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  While the last three are definitively in their Byrne-era costumes, Torch is a little more multi-purpose, as he’s in fully flamed-on form.  Stylistically, he still follows how Byrne illustrated him, but he can also work with other variants of the FF, especially since there are no specific costume details visible.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Structurally, he follows the lead of the Super Skrull Series Torch, who moved Johnny over to the ANAD 2099 body, which does generally feel like a better fit for the character than the Bucky Cap had been.  He gets the head, hands, and forearms from the Walgreens release, which are certainly the best parts of that one.  He also gets the flames add-on for the shoulders, though it’s been tweaked to remove the back peg.  This unfortunately makes it a lot trickier to keep the piece in place, which is definitely the most frustrating thing about this figure.  In general, the sculpt’s not bad, but I will say he’s the one that feels the most far-removed from a proper classic illustration.  The paint work does at least do its part to help with that classic look.  He’s largely relying on the translucent plastic he cast in to sell the effect, but they’ve also painted on the scorch line effects commonly used in the comics to show that he’s fully ablaze.  It works surprisingly well in three dimensions.  He’s packed with a spare set of standard fists, as well as two flame effects.  The effects are a bit tricky to use, given there are already sculpted flames on the forearms, but I’m glad they at least threw in something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Johnny is always tricky to handle in toy form, going all the way back to Mego.  Of the Walgreens figures, he was definitely the weakest, and the Super Skrull release was better, but still not quite there.  I was a little iffy on this one going back to fully flamed-on, but it did work out better than I’d expected.  All things considered, this one is pretty good, and has the added benefit of being able to serve multiple purposes within the display.  It’s not a huge shock he’s usually the first to sell out.

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.

#2991: The Thing

THE THING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With his nearly indestructible body and incredible strength and stamina, the Thing possesses the ability to crush evil.”

Benjamin J Grimm tends to get simplified down to just dumb muscle, but he’s actually quite a nuanced character, perhaps the most nuanced of the core team.  He’s quite literally the rock that grounds the team, as well as the most practically-minded member of the team, making him the perfect counterpoint to Reed’s lofty theoretical concepts.  And, in case you couldn’t tell, he’s also my favorite member of the team.  So, I’m always happy to see him get more proper appreciation.  I’m also happy to see him get solid toy coverage, which is, admittedly, rather frequent.  That works out, I guess!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Thing is part of the FF-themed assortment of the Retro Collection sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  As with the rest of the team, he’s patterned on his old ’90s Toy Biz figure, in terms of both the packaging and the figure packed within it.  That means that, like the others, he’s wearing his Byrne-era costume, specifically the more classic speedo-wearing look.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same as the last two Thing figures, which is understandable.  It’s a really good starting point, and I’m sure Hasbro would like to get as much traction out of it as possible.  Three years later, it still remains a very strong sculpt, and it’s still the best version of the Thing out there, so you’ll hear no notable complaints from me.  This time around, he gets two new head sculpts, as well as a new set of hips to actually give him the short-shorts look.  I didn’t hate the briefs look for the last two figures, but it would have definitely been out of place for this design in particular.  The two new heads cover two different expressions, one angry and teeth gritting, and one more calm.  Both sculpts take some rather clear inspiration from the character’s second season animation model from the ’90s cartoon, which I am totally on board with.  It’s a little sharper on the edges to fit with the pre-existing body sculpt, but it really works.  The angry expression is really great from every angle.  The calm one is a little dopey looking in some angles, but even so I kind of find myself a little more drawn to it, just do to my own want to always have a not as angry option for any given Ben Grimm figure.  Ben’s paint on this release more follows how the Super Skrull Series version did things, providing some highlights to a few areas of the sculpt.  I don’t know that it works out quite as well on this particular release.  In some spots, especially the feet, it feels a little bit slap dash.  It’s ultimately not terribly noticeable in person, but it stands out a bit more in the photos than I’d prefer.  It could certainly be worse, but I find myself almost wishing they’d foregone the accenting entirely, to really capture that ’90s figure feel a bit more.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, Ben gets two sets of hands, one in fists and the other in open gesture.  In contrast to the other figures, Ben and his accessories literally take up every available spot in the blister, so he definitely doesn’t feel like he’s lacking anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Any good FF set needs a good Ben Grimm for me, and I’m especially attached to that ’90s animated look.  The fact that this guy is not only in the Byrne costume, but also leans more heavily into the actual animation style is pretty much exactly what I need.  The accent paint’s a bit wonky, but certainly not enough to ruin the figure at all, and the sculpt still really shines.  I’d love to see a variant in the tank top gear, but I can wait on that.  This one is more than enough to hold me over until then.

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.

#2990: Mr. Fantastic

MR. FANTASTIC

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“As Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards utilizes his scientific brilliance and pliable form to make a difference in the world.”

In contrast to what Reed’s bio may say above, when the Fantastic Four first debuted, Stan Lee intended for them to have no direct impact on the world around them.  In particular, Reed’s inventions and jumps forward would be mostly self-contained within the team’s own adventures, and not so much affecting the world around him.  This was the status quo for some time, but slowly it was shed, to the point that Reed became a major architect for advancement within the Marvel universe, as kind of a touch stone for the other heroes.  What’s all of this got to do with the toy?  Not a ton, but I was running out of ways to start FF reviews, so here you go.  Let’s look at this new Reed Richards figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Fantastic is part of the FF-themed assortment of the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Like Sue, he’s based on his ’90s figure, to match with the packaging style, which places him in his John Byrne-designed costume.  He’s also a separate throwback to his Toy Biz Legends boxed-set counterpart, making him a two-fer.  Nifty!  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Like Sue, Reed is making use of the same basic construction as his Walgreens counterpart.  This time around he keeps the same head sculpt, since it’s just a pretty solid classic Reed sculpt.  He swaps out the standard arms from the last figure for a pair of suit jacket arms, as well as an all-new lab coat piece, allowing him to do the lab look like the Toy Biz ML figure had, which is a fun touch.  And, thanks to the way the Mr. Fantastic body is constructed, they jacket is easily swapped around to the other Reed figures, so it’s got even more use to it.  Reed’s paint work is generally pretty solid.  He matches Sue in terms of coloration, and the application is generally pretty cleanly handled.  The streaks in his hair now use the printing technique, rather than straight paint, which makes them a little subtler, and generally just a bit nicer looking.  Reed is packed with a standard set of arms done up to match his uniform for that non-coated look, as well as the stretched out hands from the Super Skrull Series release, for just a little bit of stretch-y look.  Compared to Sue, this feels a little less light, and it’s a nice selection of extras.  I would have loved to get the fully stretched out arms too, but at this point it’s sort of a running gag that the Legends versions of this costume don’t ever get both normal and stretched out arms ever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have a definite soft spot for the Toy Biz Legends version of this guy, so it was a high bar to clear.  The inclusion of the lab coat certainly helped him on that front, as did not really changing too much from the Walgreens version, since that was also just a very good figure.  Reed’s a figure that maybe gets a little lost in the shuffle of this whole assortment, but he’s no less a cool figure, and he’s my favorite Legends Reed to date, as well as a worthy update to two of my favorite Reed figures in general.

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.