#2485: Snake Eyes

SNAKE EYES

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

For my second day looking into Hasbro’s relauched G.I. Joe, I’m already retreading.  I know, that’s crazy.  Here me out, though: it’s Snake Eyes.  Having one Snake Eyes is like having one potato chip: I just prefer not to have any at all because potato chips are weird and so are the people that like them.  No, wait, that’s not right.  I mean, the potato chip thing is right.  You potato chip people made your bed, now lie in it, and all of its inevitable potato chip crumbs.  But the Snake Eyes thing is definitely not right, because I will buy just about any Snake Eyes figure you put in front of me.  So, here’s this Snake Eyes.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Snake Eyes is figure 02 in G.I. Joe: Classified Series, and is notable for being the one figure in the first assortment to be double-packed.  That’s a smart move, because people sure do love Snake Eyes.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Do you remember my review of the deluxe Snake Eyes?  Do you recall how much I loved that figure’s sculpt?  Good, because this guy has the exact same sculpt.  I’m not surprised, because it’s not like Hasbro was quiet about Snake Eyes also being in the main line, and it would be silly to only use such a great sculpt for a one-off exclusive.  What sets this guy apart is the color scheme.  The deluxe release went for a palette that was overall more complex and varied than we tend to see on Snake Eyes, with lots of browns, greys, and silvers.  I remarked in my review of that figure that Hasbro could have just left a lot more of the figure straight black.  Well, turns out they had that in mind, because this release strips things down a fair bit more, to mostly just black this time around.  Lest anyone think they just cheaped out, there’s still plenty of variation in the finish of the various black sections.  Personally, I enjoyed the slightly updated design colors from the prior release, but the all black does really feel more like Snake Eyes to me, so I like having both options available.  The other slight change-up for this guy is the accessory selection.  Obviously, he doesn’t get the whole rack of weapons of the deluxe, and he also drops the extra set of hands.  In addition, the Uzi and Beretta have been dropped in favor of more sci-fi-esque weaponry, more in line with the how the rest of the line is armed.  They’re both pretty nifty designs in their own right, and I’m sure a slightly easier sale to retailers in this day and age.  He does keep the backpack, silencer, and knife, although there seems to have been a slight mold error with the knife and its corresponding sheath this time, as it doesn’t want to go all the way in.  I may need to see about modding that, because it’s a little bit annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was absolutely thrilled with the exclusive Snake Eyes, and honestly didn’t know what to expect of the standard retail release.  I honestly wasn’t even sure he’d be any different, at least as a core figure.  The paint change-up was not expected, but I really do enjoy it, and I’m just as happy with this guy as I was the initial release.  It will be hard to decide which one will be my main one for display.

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.

#2484: Roadblock

ROADBLOCK

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

“G.I. Joe is a highly skilled, on-demand, special operations force of men and women from around the globe. These extraordinarily talented heroes are selected for their elite abilities and tasked with defending the world from Cobra, a ruthless criminal organization bent on total domination. With unwavering courage and steely determination, the brave members of G.I. Joe are prepared to seek out Cobra in any environment on the planet. From hostile jungles to ice-clad arctic peaks…wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there.”

Back in April, I took my first look at the Classified Series, Hasbro’s new attempt at relaunching G.I. Joe as a line of 6-inch figures in the same vein as The Black Series and Marvel Legends, with their fancy deluxe Snake Eyes figure that they offered up as a Pulse Exclusive.  That guy was pretty darn awesome and definitely got me excited for the rest of the line.  Well, just four short months later I’ve finally gotten my hands on the first series proper, and I’ll be kicking things off with the most rhyme-tastic member of the Joes, Marvin F. Hinton, aka Roadblock!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Roadblock is figure 01 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, the first of the five figures that make up Series 1 of the line.  Roadblock at first glance seems sort of odd as number 1, but Hasbro’s really been pushing him as a main character as of late, so this tracks with that.  At 6 3/4 inches tall he’s the tallest of the initial set of figures, and he has 37 points of articulation.  From a movement, he’s got all the same sorts of joints as what we saw on Snake Eyes, but his mobility is slightly more restricted, both by Roadblock’s slightly larger frame, and also by the presence of a somewhat thick vest piece overlay on the torso.  He’s still quite capable of attaining plenty of the necessary Roadblock-appropriate poses, and then some.  For my figure, his legs are a touch loose at the hips, but otherwise, the articulation is solid.  When these figures were unveiled, Roadblock’s design was under quite a bit of scrutiny, with people generally feeling it didn’t look enough like the character.  He’s certainly not a pitch-perfect recreation of the V1 figure, that’s for sure.  He is, however, a pretty close update of Roadblock’s 1986 V2 design (minus a t-shirt, and plus a couple of armored bits on the legs), which, among other things, is the design that was used in G.I. Joe: The Movie.  So, it’s not like that look doesn’t have its own level of prominence.  Now, is it quite as quintessential and appearance?  Perhaps not, but it’s still a valid Roadblock look.  Personally, I might have liked to see them throw a tank top under the vest and make the vest a little more easily removed, but I’m sure a more classically-inspired Roadblock is very definitely in the cards moving forward.  Taken on his own merits, this Roadblock’s sculpt is still rather impressive, and makes for a cool looking figure.  The detail work on his uniform is nice and sharp, and it’s cool to continue to see Roadblock portrayed as noticeably larger than the other members of the team.  His paintwork is generally pretty solid stuff.  There’s certainly a lot going on.  I know people weren’t big on the golden armor plates.  I’m not super crazy about them myself, but I also don’t find myself all that upset with them either.  They’re just there.  I do really dig the tattoo on his left shoulder; that’s a fun little piece of character added to the figure.  Okay, so, let’s talk about the other area that people weren’t so big on: the accessories.  Or, more specifically, the primary accessory.  Roadblock is the team’s heavy gunner, and he was originally packed with an M-2 Browning.  This figure replaces that with a more sci-fi-y rail gun-style weapon.  The thing is, it’s actually far more sensible for him to be carrying something like this in the somewhat sci-fi driven world than it would be for him to be carrying an actual WW2-era M-2 Browning, which is almost a century old at this point.  So, I can really understand Hasbro’s desire to update.  It’s a cool weapon with a cool design, and I really dig its removable clip/battery pack.  And, if you don’t dig the rail gun, I find that Deathlok’s mini gun makes for a pretty awesome replacement.  In addition to the rail gun, Roadblock also includes a small knife, which can be sheathed on his vest.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Going into this line, Roadblock was probably the figure I was looking forward to the least.  You see, for all the defending of the changes to the figure I did up there, I will admit that they amounted to a figure that did feel a little bit less Roadblock-y to me.  Ultimately, he was at the bottom of my list.  However, All Time ended up getting in their Roadblocks a week before the other figures, so I wound up with him on his own, and that allowed me to enjoy the figure in a vacuum.  He’s still probably my fifth-favorite figure in the set, but he doesn’t trail quite as far behind the others as I’d feared he might initially.  He’s actually a pretty fun figure.

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

#2482: Lando Calrissian in General’s Gear

LANDO CALRISSIAN in GENERAL’S GEAR

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Proving his impressive flying capabilities and natural leadership qualities during the battle of Taanab, Lando is appointed General in charge of the attack on the second Death Star.”

In addition to a whole stock of disguised looks for their infiltration of Jabba’s Palace at the film’s beginning, the heroes of Return of the Jedi all also get new, fancy, high ranking uniforms as the film progresses.  No longer content to just steal Han’s clothes, Lando picks up some new toggs to go along with his promotion to general within the Rebellion ranks.  It’s pretty standard Rebel officer fare, but with the addition of a cape, because if you’re gonna be as suave as Lando, you gotta have a cape!  It also serves as the perfect excuse to give Lando just a touch more toy coverage, thereby giving me more things to review.  Alright!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lando in General’s Gear was added to Kenner’s Power of the Force II line 1998, and was the third, and final, Lando to grace the line.  It’s honestly not terribly surprising; they really just added his looks in the order that they appeared in the films.  I suppose they could have throne us a curve ball and given us Lando in Smuggler’s Gear (i.e. Han’s clothes), but the world just wasn’t quite ready for that yet.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  His sculpt was all-new, which actually surprised me a bit, because I could have sworn the head remained the same between all three Landos.  It’s very similar to the one used on the other two, but not quite identical; his features are a touch more refined.  The rest of the sculpt is notable because, despite the fact that by 1998 the line had pretty well abandoned the hard pre-posing of earlier years, this guy’s stance really isn’t neutral.  I mean, sure, it’s not quite as disco-ready as the first Lando, but he’s definitely got quite the wide stance going there.  Among other things, it makes it quite hard to get him into the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, which is sad, given that’s really the primary purpose of this particular look.  Pre-posing aside, this is actually quite a nice sculpt.  The detail work is all pretty sharp, and the texturing on that removable cape in particular is really sweet.  The paintwork is pretty standard for this line, so application’s more on the basic side, but generally pretty clean.  Some of the details are a bit sharper than previous Landos, especially on the face, showing the line’s upward trend of improvement.  Lando was packed with a blaster pistol and a freeze frame slide showing him in the Rebel briefing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Lando figure growing up was the Skiff Guard Disguise version, but I recall my cousin Rusty having this version of Lando among his collection.  In fact, through various interminglings of our collections, I believe I even managed to wind up with the cape floating around my collection for a good while.  The figure, however, I waited on.  He came from a large trade in at All Time, and was one of the few I didn’t already have, so boom, there he was.  He’s probably the best PotF Lando, truth be told, though maybe not quite as fun as disco Lando.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2480: Ranger Slayer

RANGER SLAYER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Though they were a smash success on TV, Power Rangers and comics didn’t have the strongest start.  Attempts were made to start some sort of on-going in the show’s hey-day, but nothing really took off, and eventually things just got dropped.  However, a renewed interest in the MMPR-incarnation of the show allowed Boom Studios to launch a comics-based revival in 2016, which ultimately expanded into its own full-fledged continuity.  One of the bigger stories to come out of it was “Shattered Grid”, an alternate universe story featuring an evil Tommy Oliver as its primary antagonist Lord Drakkon.  Serving Drakkon was a brainwashed and crazy Kimberly Ann Hart, now under the monicker of Ranger Slayer.  Hasbro is starting to delve into the comics a little with their toyline, including Ranger Slayer, who I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ranger Slayer is the final figure in Series 5 of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection.  Following Lord Drakkon’s release in Series 3, she’s our second Boom Studios-inspired figure.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 30 points of articulation.  Ranger Slayer is sporting an all-new sculpt, and even gets a slightly tweaked articulation scheme, most notably on the ankles, which are a slightly more compact design than the standard boots we’ve been seeing on other Rangers in this line.  The articulation’s great in concept, but perhaps a little iffy in execution, as on my figure, her feet tend to fall off at the ankle during posing a lot.  This also makes her not exceedingly stable on her feet, so she falls down a lot.  I’m not a huge fan of this.  In contrast to Magna Defender and his permanently attached cape, Ranger Slayer’s cape is totally free floating, and doesn’t actually attach to the figure.  Ultimately, it works out okay, but it does mean it falls off a lot, which I’m again not the biggest fan of.  At the very least having it peg into her back would have helped.  The final issue with my figure is one that isn’t a line-wide one, but is an annoying one nevertheless.  It seems the head on my figure wasn’t quite properly molded, resulting in the socket for the neck joint not actually clicking into place.  It just sort of wedges on there, and never all that securely.  That, coupled with the cape and the feet, really makes posing her a pain.  Moving past all of that, I will say that the figure has a good *looking* sculpt, and I particularly like the way the cape has been sculpted so dynamically.  Her paint work is decent, but probably the weakest of my Series 5 set.  There’s a few spots of noticeably missing paint, and some sloppy edges, especially on the legs.  Ranger Slayer includes her Bow of Darkness, Blade Blaster, a stock of three arrows, a shooting arrow effects piece, and two sets of hands (gripping and fist/flat combo).  It’s too bad she didn’t also get an unmasked head, especially given that Drakkon got one, but at least she doesn’t feel like she comes up too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I haven’t really followed the comics from Boom, but I have been aware of some of the broad strokes elements, which included Drakkon and Ranger Slayer, both of whom have some pretty nifty designs going for them.  I missed out on Drakkon’s initial release, but I definitely didn’t want to miss this one (or any of this series, really).  Ultimately, this is a figure I had pretty high expectations for, and unfortunately, especially in the case of my personal copy, I definitely feel a little bit let down.  She’s not a bad figure, and she still does have an impressive design, but she’s just not quite as playable as I’d like.  Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing Hasbro go back to the comics well again for things such as the Ranger Sentries.  That’d be pretty cool.

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

#2479: Time Force Red Ranger

TIME FORCE RED RANGER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

My relationship with Power Rangers is a little bit turbulent.  While I recall the tail-end of the original run of MMPR, it wasn’t until Zeo that I jumped into the merchandising aspect of things.  Then Turbo came along and kind of killed any real interest I had, before I got thoroughly hooked by In Space.  Its follow-up Lost Galaxy was fine, but not my favorite, and Lightspeed Rescue has really always left me a little bit bored.  My last true hurrah with the franchise was Time Force, after which I pretty much tapped out (but then again, so did Saban…at least for a bit).  Time Force is finally making its entrance into The Lightning Collection, with its Red Ranger, Wes Collins, who I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Time Force Red is part of Series 5 of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection, and is both this assortment’s requisite Red Ranger and our first Time Force Ranger.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Surprisingly, Time Force Red is an all-new sculpt.  Given how Galaxy Red was handled, I was definitely expecting this guy to be fairly re-use heavy.  Obviously, I’m sure most of these parts will end up used again for the the other three male Time Force Rangers, but it’s nice to see them actually go to the trouble of mixing things up a bit with some new parts.  I actually like how these parts turned out a little bit more well put together than some of the earlier parts.  It’s definitely a slightly sleeker sculpt than the MMPR parts, which definitely suits the design aesthetic of Time Force in general.  If I have one complaint about the sculpt, it’s that the helmet seems a touch wide, but it’s possible my memories of the old figures are playing tricks on my eyes with that one.  It’s certainly not a *bad* sculpt, so I’m hard-pressed to really complain.  His paint work is pretty clean, and is probably the best in this particular assortment, at least as far as my copies are concerned.  It definitely works well with the more crisp and clean nature of the design, as I think paint errors would have been more of an issue here.  Time Force Red is packed with his Chrono Blaster, a pair of Chrono Sabers, an effects piece, two pairs of hands (gripping and a fist/thumbs-up combo), and an unmasked Wes Collins head.  The sabers can combine as in the show, resulting in a slight compromise to the handles when they’re separate.  Still, it’s a cool gimmick.  The thumbs-up hand is one the better alternate hands, and the unmasked Wes head is another strong likeness.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Time Force still ranks pretty highly for me in terms of Power Rangers shows, and while Wes isn’t necessarily my favorite member of the team, I’m still glad to be getting our first taste of the team.  He’s a pretty solid figure, and I really dig all of the new parts they’ve given him.  I look forward to getting the rest of the team to go with him!

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

#2478: Mighty Morphin’ Blue Ranger

MIGHTY MORPHIN’ BLUE RANGER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Continuing on yesterday’s Lightning Collection theme, today we’re jumping just a little bit back in Rangers history, with a Mighty Morphin’ era figure.  Hasbro’s been slowly weaving the inaugural team into the Lightning Collection line-up, and the latest to join them is Billy Cranston, the Blue Ranger, notable for being the only member of the MMPR team to stay with the show for its whole run, before being retired from active Ranger duty during the events of Zeo.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mighty Morphin’ Blue is part of the fifth series of Lightning Collection figures, and is the MMPR offering for this particular set.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Billy is largely built out of the same bank of parts as the other male MMPR Rangers, which is fairly sensible, and also fairly expected.  It also means he’s a pretty straight-forward figure in terms of what he does.  The new helmet’s a nice enough piece, though as with all of the MMPR figures, I think I do prefer the Figuarts one. Something about the proportions on this one just seems a little off.  Of course, it’s still got all the important Blue-specific elements, so it’s still very identifiable as Billy’s helmet.  As with Red and Black, Billy gets a slightly tweaked belt, with the proper belt buckle, which continues to be a really cool, and not immediately expected element.  Billy’s paint work is pretty straight forward stuff; if you know general Hasbro paint, you know how this one goes.  There’s minimal slop or bleed over on my sample, so that’s certainly good.  For me, the part where this figure really shines is the accessory selection.  He gets an unmasked head (with a pretty solid David Yost likeness; it’s easily the best of the MMPR likenesses), two pairs of hands (in gripping and fists), his power lance in separated and fully extended form, and a blue lightning effect.  The unmasked head is definitely a lot of fun, but I was also really happy to get the fully extended Power Lance, given its absence from the Figuarts release.  Now, between the two, I have the full accessory complement.  Yay!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I generally haven’t felt the need to pick up the MMPR cast in the Lightning Collection style, thanks to already having the Figuarts and still being quite happy with those, Billy is by far my favorite member of the team, and just one of my favorite Rangers in general.  Given the extra unmasked portrait and the extended lance, this one was pretty easy sell for me.  Not gonna lie, he’s making it harder for me to stick to the my plans to skip MMPR, because I do really like this figure.  I think I’ll be able to manage holding out on the others, though.  Whatever the case, this guy’s pretty sweet.

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

#2477: Zeo Gold Ranger

ZEO GOLD RANGER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

ZEEEEEEEEOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLD!!!!!  OH YEAH!!! …ya know?

I began my last Zeo Gold Ranger review with a note that I don’t review many Power Rangers here, a statement that has become patently untrue, so I guess I can’t very fairly repeat it.  However, if I *didn’t* review many Power Rangers around here, this guy would still probably make the cut.  Why is that?  Because he’s the Zeo Gold Ranger, and the Zeo Gold Ranger is the best damn Power Ranger there is.  And I will fight you on that.  Okay, I probably won’t.  It’s okay if you don’t agree.  I’m gonna be sad, and that means you made me sad on my birthday, but I guess we’ll all learn to live with it.  I can learn to forgive.  Where was I?  Yes, the Gold Ranger review.   Excellent.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zeo Gold is part of Series 5 of Hasbro’s Power Rangers: The Lightning Collection, following Zeo Blue’s debuting the show’s coverage in Series 4.  But, as I noted in the review of that figure, Zeo Gold was technically the debut figure, thanks to an early release last summer as part of an SDCC two-pack last year.  At their core the two releases are the same, but there are some differences when it comes to accessories, which I’ll touch on when I get to that section of the review.  This actually marks the third Gold Ranger in the line, after the Beast Morphers and Dino Charge versions, for those keeping track of such things.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  A number of Zeo Gold’s parts are shared with Zeo Blue, but he still gets a new set of arms, lower legs, head, and armor, which keeps him looking *fairly* unique when compared to Blue.  It’s a solid selection of the parts for him, and does a really nice job of capturing the suit as seen in the show.  The torso armor is a little more floaty than I might have liked, especially when compared to the White and Green Rangers.  It’s not terrible, and the floating is preferably to being totally fixed when it comes to posability.  It’s a really nicely sculpted piece, though, and it and the helmet are definitely the coolest parts here.  On the helmet, I especially like the raised kanji element, as the Bandai figures usually didn’t have quite as nicely pronounced.  It looks really sharp here.  The paint work is overall pretty solid on this guy.  The helmet’s definitely the best, with the sharpness again really coming though, but I also really like the accenting on the chest piece.  There’s a touch of inconsistent coverage on the upper sections of the knees, but beyond that, it’s pretty good.  Now, for the change-ups from the SDCC release, the accessories.  The biggest shift is the unmasked head, because while the SDCC figure was Jason, this release is Trey of Trifecta, and gets the corresponding unmasked head.  It’s just the one Trey head, and it definitely would have been cool to get all three triplets, but only one of them actually wore the suit at a time, so I guess this is fine.  I totally don’t need three of him.  That would be silly.  It’s worth noting that the Jason head that went with Jason in the SDCC set actually got packed with the standard Mighty Morphin’ Red in Series 3, meaning it’s pretty easy to make him Jason on your own.  No matter who you prefer to have in the suit, Zeo Gold gets two sets of hands in gripping and fists, as well as a yellow effects piece (both of which were the same on the SDCC version), and his Staff of Gold, which is in a slightly different configuration than the two versions included in the SDCC set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As noted in the intro, Zeo Gold’s my favorite Ranger, so when be was initially released in the SDCC set, I was a little bummed, but figured a single-release was inevitable.  It was quite a wait (with two other Gold Rangers taunting me in the meantime), but he finally showed up, and boy was I excited to see him in the line-up, and he was the first figure I tore into once I got the set in-hand.  I was happy with the Legacy Collection Gold when he was released, but he’s not held up, and I was definitely glad for this upgrade.  He’s really awesome, and I’m so happy to have him.  ZEO GOLD!

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

#2475: Darth Vader with Removable Helmet

DARTH VADER with REMOVABLE HELMET

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Luke Skywalker removes his father’s head gear so that Anakin may look at at his son with his own eyes for the first time. Darth Vader became one with the light side of the Force when he rescued his son from the clutches of the Emperor.”

Remember last week when I was talking about the difficulty of coming up with credible variants for certain characters in Star Wars, given how little they change between installments?  Good, because it remains relevant for today’s review!  Darth Vader’s one of those tricky things to balance for toys, because the guy’s kind of the face of the franchise, but he also looks the same in all of his appearances (to the untrained eye, anyway).  For the vintage line, he only had one figure throughout the whole three movie run, and at the outset of Power of the Force II it looked like history might repeat itself.  That standard Vader did get a re-card, and even a slight tweak on posing to keep him on shelves, but by 1998, Kenner was doing revamps on all of the core characters, and Vader found himself on the receiving end of such a revamp, one which even gave us something we’d never seen on a Vader before: a removable helmet!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Darth Vader with Removable Helmet was added to the Power of the Force line in 1998, as the line’s third basic Vader release.  Unlike the line’s prior Vaders, which were all sort of amalgams of his designs from all three films, this one was the first to specifically replicate one design, in this case Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands a little over 3 3/4 inches tall (as they were back to acknowledging that Vader was taller), and had 7 points of articulation.  Just like the Bespin Luke figure from the same year, Vader is granted an extra point of movement on his right wrist, thanks to a removable hand (again making this a more Jedi-specific release).  I’ve actually looked at the bulk of this figure’s sculpt before, when it was used for the “Escape the Death Star” Removable Dome Vader release.  It really was the best sculpt Vader got out of PotF2, so I definitely can’t complain too much.  It’s far less beefy than the initial Vader, and even adds the missing inner robes that hadn’t actually been done in action figure form at this point.  The main distinguishing feature on this guy is the unmasked head, which is a pretty solid recreation of his unmasked appearance in the film, especially given the level of detail we typically got from this era of figure.  In terms of paint work, this figure marked another improvement for the line, with more than just the straight black of the initial Vaders from the line.  This guy also gets some of the proper silver detailing on his shoulders, plus all of the various colors he should have on his chest panel and belt.  And, of course, he gets a fully painted face under the helmet, complete with eyebrows, meaning he’s pre-Special Edition!  Vader was packed with his lightsaber (whose blade has a tendency to fade over time for this particular release), as well as a Freeze Frame.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Add this Vader to the list of figures I didn’t have as a kid (which, to be totally fair, is all of the Potf2 figures I’ll be reviewing from here on out), but it’s one I very much wanted and never managed to get.  One of my parents’ friends had both this and the Bespin Luke when they were released, and I always wanted this guy to pair off with my own Bespin Luke, but I never quite managed it.  Over the years, I kept an eye out, but he doesn’t crop up as much as some of the other entries in the line, so it took a little while.  Fortunately for me, one wound up floating around the back room at All Time for a little bit, so I was finally able to snag him.  He’s definitely the best Vader for this line, so I’m very glad to have him.

Thanks to my friends at All Time Toys for setting me up with this guy.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2474: Rhino Alien

RHINO ALIEN

ALIENS (NECA)

NECA’s Aliens used to be a rather frequent feature around these parts, but the line has slowed down a little bit as of late.  The core stuff right now has been a handful of one-off releases, largely centered around Kenner-inspired variants on previously.  A few months ago, I took a look at their Kenner-ized Drake, and now I’m jumping over to another one of the Xenos.  As I’ve no doubt brought up before on this site, Kenner took the concept of the Dog Alien from Alien 3 and really ran with it, creating all sorts of Xeno off-shoots.  NECA’s crafted a few of them in their 7-inch line, and the latest of the bunch is today’s focus, the Rhino Alien!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rhino Alien is a standalone release for NECA’s Aliens line, loosely meant to coincide with the Kenner Drake figure, though it’s at a different price point and in a totally different style of package than Drake.  It started hitting shelves not too long after he did, although due to some production errors I know he’s been rolling out a little more sporadically.  At full height, this figure’s a whopping 10 inches tall and has 34 points of articulation.  Of course, given that he’s based on one of the Kenner line’s quadrupedal Aliens, he’s not really meant for standing at full height, and is instead meant for posing on all fours.  Fortunately, the articulation works well enough to make both types of poses possible with this guy.  The hips can be a little tricky, but for the most part he’s pretty easily posed, and I don’t feel quite as worried about breakage as on other NECA offerings.  I’m still going to be slightly cautious, because I’ve been wronged before, but it does seem a little better.  In terms of sizing, this guy’s one of largest Xenos (barring the Queen, of course, which is in a class of its own), not just in height, but in bulk as well.  He achieves this through an all-new sculpt, and a pretty impressive one at that.  It’s somewhat patterned on Kenner’s own Rhino Alien, of course, but it’s worth noting that in terms of body construction, it seems to be taking more of its cues from Kenner’s Bull Alien.  The Kenner Rhino’s anatomy was a bit more further removed from the standard Xeno’s, while the Bull had something a little more in line with the Dog Alien’s merging of the Xeno with a quadrupedal design.  Ultimately, I think the Bull’s approach worked a little bit better, and as an added bonus, this leaves the door open for a possible Bull Alien later down the road, which would certainly not be a bad thing.  The quality of the sculpt is on par with NECA’s other Xenos, so the details are all quite sharp, and follow all of the broad strokes of the original Kenner figure, while also filling in some of those smaller parts.  The head dome has been designed to be removable, revealing a whole bunch of further details, which had been hidden under the dome.  This is probably NECA’s most impressive Xeno sculpt, honestly.  In terms of paint, the figure steps things up for Xenos.  He’s molded in orange, with black, brass, and some purples painted over top.  It makes for an incredibly impressive appearance, and looks pretty sick when it catches the light just right.  In addition to the previously mentioned removable dome, the Rhino also includes a reprint of the “Ice Storm” minicomic that was included with the original Kenner figure.  It’s definitely a fun read, but very much a product of its time.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I haven’t been quite as completist on the Kenner-tribute Aliens as I was the movie stuff, so there were a fair number I’d missed.  Because of that, I wasn’t 100% certain I’d be getting this guy, but after seeing him in person, it was definitely hard to say no.  It’s a very, very fun piece, and definitely the best of the Xenos I’ve gotten.  It’s just so much fun to mess with, and pairs off well with the Space Marines I’ve picked up.

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

#2473: Sugar Man

SUGAR MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Mixed in with a lot of re-imaginings of prior characters, Age of Apocalypse did also have a few honest to gosh new characters, wholly original to this reimagined universe.  Included in that grouping is today’s focus, Sugar Man, a character that even 25 years later still has no main universe counterpart.  In fact, he’s more or less his own main universe counterpart, since he was one of the four character’s to travel into the 616 following AoA’s wrap-up, and spent a good 20 years cropping up in the background of various X-Men stories.  He’s also really gross.  Yuck.  Well, let’s review him, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sugar Man is the Build-A-Figure for the predictably titled “Sugar Man Series” of Marvel Legends.  Given his monstrous size and odd proportions, he’s a rather natural choice.  While this is his first Legend, it’s not actually his first figure, if you can believe it.  He managed to get a figure from Toy Biz’s 5-inch line back in the day.  The figure’s 6 1/2 inches tall, and just about as wide, and he’s got 38 points of articulation.  Though he’s got plenty of joints, he’s not exactly the most exceedingly mobile figure in the Legends line-up.  In the figure’s defense, however, a lot of the limits are imposed by the character’s design, and he’s certainly a dramatic improvement over the old ’90s figure.  Sugar Man’s sporting an all-new sculpt, which isn’t really that surprising, because really, who would he share parts with? It’s definitely an impressive sculpt, and a really hefty one, too.  The detailing is all nice and crisp, and there’s a great dynamic flair to him with the facial expression and his flailing tongue.  He is truly hideous, and I can’t really say I’d want him any other way.  Hideous is kind of Sugar Man’s game.  There’s also just a lot going on with this sculpt, from the unique gesturing on each of the hands, to the novelty buttons lining his suspenders.  Someone certainly had fun with this one.  In terms of paint, Sugar Man does a pretty solid job of translating the quite frankly rather messy color jobs the character was usually sporting in the comics into something that looks alright on a mass produced figure.  There’s a fair bit going on here, just like with the sculpt, with a fair amount of accenting, especially on the head/torso.  Sugar Man is packed with his hammer, complete with “SUGAR” inscribed on one side.  He can either hold it or keep it stored on his belt, though it’s a little tricky to get it in there, given his general shaping.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with a lot of AoA stuff, I can’t really say that Sugar Man was a character I was dying to have in figure form.  Heck, I don’t even have the old one.  However, he did certainly look pretty impressive, and I was already planning to grab the whole assortment, so here we are.  He’s certainly one of the most unique BaFs we’ve gotten, I’ll give him that, and he fills out the rest of the assortment well.

This is definitely one of the most focused assortments of this line we’ve gotten, what with the very defined theme and all.  My favorite is definitely Morph, who’s quite basic, but just such a clean translation of his comics design.  X-Man’s another high ranking one for me, with Jean not too far behind.  Sunfire was certainly better than I’d expected, and I guess Dark Beast isn’t too bad either.  I can kind of take or leave Weapon X and Wild Child, but I definitely knew that much going in.