#2659: Nightwing

NIGHTWING

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The DC C3 Construction line was divided into two segments: cartoon-based and comic-based.  In both cases, the products were mostly based on current iterations of the characters.  In the case of the comics stuff, they were largely focused on what was going on at that moment in the Batman side of the DCU, which meant a bat-family that was made up of Tim Drake as Robin, Cassandra Kaine as Batgirl, and Dick Grayson as Nightwing.  It’s that last one that’s going to be my focus today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like last week’s Batman, Nightwing was released in April of 2005, as part of the “Mini Flyers” assortment of DC C3 Construction, which would prove to be the line’s final assortment.  He was part of the very cleverly named “Nightwing Mini Flyer” set.  Man, how did they come up with those craaaaaazy names?  Nightwing was patterned on his late ’90s/early ’00s costume, which is ultimately his most memorable and lasting design.  The figure is built on the fully upgraded C3-style Minimate body with the shorter style feet *and* the peghole on the head, to allow for better hold on the hair piece.  He makes use of add-ons for his hair, wrist cuffs, and boot pieces.  The wrist cuffs were previously used on Power Man, and would go on to be used on so many other figures, but the hair and boots were new to this guy, and would remain unique to this release.  Like Robin, his hair piece is made of a much softer plastic than usual.  That said, with the peg on the piece, it has a lot less trouble staying in place.  In terms of paint work, Nightwing’s generally pretty decent, but is not without a few missteps.  Notably, on this particular copy, the face is printed a little bit high on the head, which makes him look like he’s got a big chin going on.  The actual face looks pretty good though, as is the detailing on the torso.  The only thing I’d really like to see changed would be how dark the blue is, since it’s easy to miss it on the black plastic.  Of note, that was one thing that the DCD release ended up changing.  Nightwing was packed with his pair of Eskrima sticks, which were their own new mold, albeit one that was very similar to the mold used for the Daredevil billy club pieces.  They were kinda small, but it was nice to get something for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Mini Flyers originally hit, Nightwing was the one I was most interested in, due to that whole “being a big Nightwing fan” thing that I’ve got going on.  I wound up getting him at the time, but wound up losing most of his parts over the years.  Thankfully, when the other C3 figures came into All Time, so did he.  He’s pretty decent overall.  There are some issues that the DCD release would fix, but there are also some parts that this guy did a little better, so it winds up as something of a toss-up between the two.

#2652: Batman

BATMAN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

The initial assortment of DC C3 Construction hit in the summer of 2004, and they were really focused on actually selling it as a line of construction sets that also included some Minimates.  In their second year in 2005, they tried that again, albeit with a smaller assortment this time.  Following that assortment, they kind of gave up even trying to pretend about what they were doing, and transitioned the line to a much more compact, lower price point selection of “Mini Flyers”, small vehicles that were a very thin excuse to put out the Minimates effectively on their own, only, you know, not.  Even through this end, they stuck to their heavy focus on Batman characters, including variants of the main man himself.  I’m looking at one of those variants today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman was released in April 2005 in the very originally named “Batman Mini Flyer” set, one of the six Mini Flyer sets that made up the final assortment of the DC C3 Construction line.  By this point, they were only packing a single Minimate with each set, so as to keep the price down, so Batman was all by his lonesome.  He was a comic-based figure, specifically drawn from his ’70s era appearances, as denoted by his predominately blue color scheme.  He’s built on the standard ‘mate body with C3 feet.  Still no standard peg holes for the heads, so he’s got a solid noggin piece.  He’s got add-ons for his mask, cape, belt, and gloves.  The mask, cape, and belt are the same ones used on the Dark Knight Batman included with the larger Batmobile set, but the gloves are new pieces for…reasons?  There were four standard Batmen in the C3 line, and every one of them used a different set of glove pieces, and I couldn’t for the life of me begin to tell you why.  These ones do at least put the arm spikes on the back of the gloves, where they’re supposed to be but tend not to be.  So, that makes them cool, I guess.  Also, these parts are not rubbery like last week’s Robin, so that’s another marked improvement.  Batman’s paint was generally pretty basic, and definitely not as involved as Robin.  Given the classic inspiration, that’s somewhat sensible, but not doing the shading on the front of the mask does feel like a missed opportunity.  I do like the slightly different expression on the face under the mask, though; it’s a nice change-up from the usual neutral expressions.  This Batman didn’t get any accessories, but there was the Mini Flyer, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Mini Flyer’s are really where this line lost me, so I missed out on picking all of them but one when they were at retail.  Batman wasn’t that one, but he was a figure I was always interested to have.  Thankfully for me, he came in with the larger Minimate collection that showed up at All Time last year, and here we are.  Ultimately, I think DCD’s later classic Batman was slightly better, but this one’s still got his own charm to him.

#2645: Robin

ROBIN

DC C3 CONSTRUCTION (PLAY ALONG)

In 2004, Marvel Minimates entered their second year, making them by far the most successful Minimates offering up to that point.  Not that it took much, of course.  That same year, the brand attempted to expand…in a fashion, anyway.  Since Marvel’s cavalcade of super heroes proved successful, there was an attempt to get DC in the game as well.  Due to how the DC license was split up at the time, there was no space for a straight forward DC Minimates release at quite that time, but through a bit of loophole abuse, Art Asylum was able to partner with Play Along, who held the license for DC-based construction sets.  Dubbed “C3” (for “Create, Construct, Customize”), the sets each included at least one Minimate as a pack-in figure.  The first round was Batman-heavy, and included multiple versions of the Caped Crusader, as well as his trusty sidekick, Robin, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robin was included in the “Mini Batmobile” set, one of the first 7 sets released in the DC C3 Construction line in the summer of 2004.  There was also a Batman included in the set, but I’m just focusing on Robin this time.  Robin was one of the comic-based figures, and was specifically based on the Tim Drake incarnation of the character.  This was noteworthy for being the only Minimate version of Tim ever to be produced.  The figure was based on the standard ‘mate body, with the new C3 feet, of course, so he stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While he’s got the C3 feet, he’s still without a hair piece with a peg, showcasing the slow evolution of the line.  He gets a new hair piece, cape, belt, and gloves.  They were pretty decent pieces overall, but for whatever reason, the add-ons for this guy are really rubbery.  This is the biggest issue when it comes to the hair, which has a lot of trouble staying properly in place, as it’s not rigid enough to actually clip on.  It still looks okay, but it’s not ideal for play.  The gloves are definitely the nicest pieces, though, and have some pretty sharp detail work.  The paint work is pretty solid.  It showcased a bit more detailing than earlier Marvel efforts, with the mask and boots in particular having quite a bit of creative lighting to them.  The face and musculature remain fairly basic at this point, but it allowed him to remain at least somewhat consistent with the animation-based figures from the same set.  Though Robin was effectively an accessory himself, he nevertheless did get an extra of his own, namely Tim’s signature bo staff.  It’s another soft plastic piece, but it still looks pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these guys were shown off, the Mini Batmobile was the one I most wanted, and was subsequently the first one I got.  As with many of my early ‘mates, I lost most of the parts to both the Batmobile itself and the two figures it included.  Batmen are a dime a dozen, but this was the only modern era Robin, so I’d been looking for a replacement for a little while.  Thankfully, when All Time got in that large collection of Minimates last year, I was able to snag a replacement Robin.  He’s definitely one of the coolest C3 offerings, and honestly holds up pretty well, even after all this time.

#1939: Gorn

GORN

STAR TREK (ART ASYLUM)

For an alien that only actually shows up one time in all of The Original Series, the Gorn sure does get a fair bit of toy love.  Every manufacturer to hold the classic Trek license has given us at least one of this guy.  And can you blame them?  Just look at him.  Isn’t he super awesome?  Well, I sure think so.  Among the toy love he has received was a figure during the Art Asylum/Diamond Select years, which gave us some of the most accurate and well-crafted figures that Trek has ever seen.  I’ll be looking at that particular figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Gorn was released in 2002, in the third series of Art Asylum’s Star Trek: The Original Series line, as part of an alien-heavy assortment, which also included a slightly worse for wear Kirk variant, which paired off nicely with this figure.  The Kirk and Gorn were re-released in 2010 in two-pack form, as part of the “Dilithium Collection,” but the Gorn seen here is the original release.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  The Gorn sported an all-new, totally unique sculpt.  It takes the design of the character as seen in “Arena” and idealizes things just a little bit, with the end result being a figure that keeps all of the important details you remember, while avoiding so costume accurate as to look goofy and fake.  He’s a large, hulking figure, with an impressive stature, and he’s packed with tons of detail all throughout.  The head is by far my favorite piece of the figure.  It’s sharply defined, and captures that sort of sneering menace of the character from the episode.  The cross-hatch pattern on the eyes is well-scaled to the rest of the head (earlier figures have been known to make it too large), and he’s just got a great likeness of the mask from the show.  The rest of the body is pretty strong in its own right, with the texturing of the skin continuing all throughout.  The garment he wears is slightly cleaner and smoother, but still has enough detail to keep it from looking jarring when placed next to the very detailed body.  There’s some slight mixed-media going on, with a rubbery material being used for the skirt piece.  It’s surprisingly thin and malleable, which is always a little concerning in regards to long-term integrity, but it seems to have held up in the 15 years since his release.  Gorn’s paintwork is actually some of the nicest that the line had to offer.  The base work is clean, and he’s got some very subtle, very well-applied accenting.  Definitely a very life-like appearance.  The Gorn was packed with the typical Gorn accessories, a spike and a translator, as well as the typical AA Trek accessory, a weird plastic coin.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Gorn is a figure I’ve wanted for quite some time.  In general, AA’s Classic Trek line was never easy to find at retail, and this set in particular was a fan-favorite.  I’d only seen this Gorn in person a few times, and he was always rather pricey.  I finally found him at Factory Antiques (the largest antique mall in the country!…or at least that’s what all the signs say), loose, and for a price I was willing to pay.  He’s a very nice figure, and perhaps the finest Gorn figure ever released.  Personally, I think he’s the best figure to come out of the AA Trek run, but I may be slightly biased.  Whatever the case, I’m just really happy to finally have him in my collection.

#1612: Cardassian Borg

CARDASSIAN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, we looked at the Borg of the species I like, and we looked at the Borg of the species I don’t know but that looks cool.  Now, we look at this Borg.  It’s not a Borg of a species I like.  It’s actually the opposite of that.  It’s the Borg of a species I actively dislike.  And it’s not even cool like the last one.  It’s…it’s just the third one, and I have this unhealthy need to finish things.  So, without further ado, here’s the Cardassian Borg.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cardassian Borg, designated 3 of 3, is the final figure in the Borg: Assimilation line from Art Asylum*.  The Cardassian is the shortest of the three Borg figures, at a little under 8 inches tall.  He’s got 17 points of articulation, which includes moving arms on his left arm attachment, which is pretty cool, actually.  That’s probably the last time I’m using “pretty cool” in this here review.  Because this is a Cardassian, perhaps one of the most boring races in all of Star Trek.  This figure has an all-new sculpt, which is, from a technical standpoint, pretty solid.  The Cardassian Borg is probably the least borg-ified of the bunch, lacking the shoulder pads and more obvious technical implants, and also having his neck and one of his hands exposed, which keeps him looking more like a standard Cardassian.  Even the armor’s detailing follows the usual Cardassians design more closely than the others in this assortment.  Even the facial expression lacks that dead-ness that the other two figures have.  He’s got the same sort of a sneering expression that seemed to be a genetic trait of those wacky Cardassians.  The paint on this guy is pretty much on par with the other two, which is to say it’s honestly pretty good.  Hey, look at that.  I almost said “pretty cool” again.  Well, what do you know.  Like the other two figures in this assortment, the Cardassian Borg’s only accessory is that weird coin thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really only got this guy to complete the set.  I’m guessing you probably could have gathered that from the review.  Honestly, just as a figure, this one’s the weakest of the three, but he’s not atrocious. It’s more that I just don’t really like Deep Space 9, and I sort of associate the Cardassians entirely with that show.  He could be worse, I suppose.

*There were actually four Borg figures originally designed for this assortment.  The fourth would have been a Ferengi, but for a number of reasons, the assortment was cut back to three figures.  The Ferengi would have likely been in a second series, had there been one.

#1611: Hirogen Borg

HIROGEN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, so this post isn’t brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend like yesterday’s.  I mean, it’s still inspired by her, since it follows a theme she set forth, but…yeah…

Today, we’re looking at a combo of two of the badassiest threats in Sci Fi!  Yeah, it’s not only a Borg, it’s also a Predator—what’s that?  Oh, it seems I’m getting reports that this is not, in fact, a Predator.  Apparently, it’s a Hirogen.  What’s a Hirogen?  Well, according to Memory Alpha, they’re “a nomadic species of hunters.”  Are we sure they aren’t just Predators?  Because they sound like Predators.  Ah, what do I know?  Let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hirogen Borg was officially designated 2 of 3 and was part of Art Asylum’s one-series wonder Borg: Assimilation.  Fun fact: this borg-ified variant of the Hirogen is actually the only Hirogen action figure in existence.  Yes, even in all of Playmates’ insane coverage of the license, they never ever made a single Hirogen.  I think that speaks to the obscurity, right?  Or to the fact that they were on Voyager.  Either way, no prior figures.  The Hirogen is the tallest of the three Borg figures, at 8 1/4 inches tall.  He’s also got 17 points of articulation.  The sculpt is once again all-new, and very, very impressive.  In particular, the texture work on the face is really sharp.  In terms of design, the Hirogen Borg is far more symmetric than the Klingon.  There’s still some definite asymmetry in a few spots, but by and large he’s a lot more balanced than the last figure.  His stance is also straighter, which is another nice change, helping to sell the differences between the two species.  He still keeps the slight stylization present on the Klingon, which is nice for consistency’s sake, and I believe makes for the superior sculpt.  As with the Klingon, the paintwork on the Hirogen is monochromatic, but still very much top-notch.  It’s impressive the kind of range AA was able to pull out of variations on silver and grey, but they certainly did a lot.  He’s a little cleaner looking than the Klingon, which once again seems to fit with the stylistic differences they were pushing with the sculpt as well.  Like his Klingon compatriot, the Hirogen’s only accessory is the weird coin thing, but, once again, he’s hardly hindered by it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I certainly checked out the Klingon figure when he was new, the Hirogen didn’t even cross my radar.  Chalk it up to me knowing nothing about the Hirogen in the slightest.  Upon seeing the full set of three figures in person, the Hirogen actually stood out to me the most of the three, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite of the bunch.  Not bad for a figure of a race I didn’t know a single thing about until a month ago.

#1610: Klingon Borg

KLINGON BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Today’s post is brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  No, she didn’t buy me this figure, but she did point to this spot on my calendar of upcoming reviews, hold up today’s figure and say “you should do this one on that day.”  Who am I to argue?  Well, the owner and head writer of the site, I guess, but I’m really not going to push this one.

In the early ’00s, after Playmates had held the Star Trek license for over a decade, the reins were passed to up-and-coming company Art Asylum.  Poor AA ended up with some of the worst Trek properties to merch (Enterprise and Nemesis), but still put out a solid selection of figures.  They weren’t afraid to experiment a little bit with things.  One of those experiments was their Borg: Assimilation line, which toyed with what non-human races would look like when assimilated by the Borg.  Today, I’m looking at the Klingon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Klingon Borg, officially designated 1 of 3, was part of the first, and only, series of Art Asylum’s Borg: Assimilation line.  The figure stands a whopping 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  He’s a little restricted in terms of movement, but he was fairly decent for the time.  The big claim to fame of any Art Asylum figure was sculpting.  The Klingon Borg had an all-new sculpt, featuring a tremendous amount of detail work.  Every surfaced is covered with some sort of texture or small detail, from the ridges on his forehead, to the machinery of his Borg components.  This guy lives up to the Borg’s penchant for asymmetry, with one cybernetic eye, two differently shaped shoulder-pads, and one big honking claw arm to replace his right limb.  He loses the usual Klingon dreads, which impacts his design a bit; originally, he was designed with a bevy of cables that would replace the hair, but apparently this made him look too Klingon.  As it stands, he’s got just the one big wire, which is a decent halfway point.  His face is a good mix of Klingon and Borg sensibilities, with a determined, but still somewhat lifeless stare to his eyes.  It’s worth noting that this figure is a fair bit more stylized than many of AA’s Trek offerings, with a more pronounced set of features on his face, slightly exaggerated proportions, and a decidedly slouched pre-posed nature.  But, as a concept figure, this guy is more about what could be, outside of the limitations of a live-action sci-fi show’s budget.  Though his paint is somewhat monochromatic, it is no less carefully detailed than the sculpt.  His cybernetic sections in particular are rife with small detail work, showcasing a variance in silvers, greys, and brasses that keep him from looking too bland, and give him that nice “used future” feel.  For accessories, all this guy had was the weird themed coin thing that all of the AA Trek figures got.  This one’s red and has the Borg symbol on one side.  Not really much to do with the figure, but given the effort that went into the figure’s design and sculpt, the lack of real extras doesn’t hinder him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this guy when he was new.  He seemed to hang around KB Toys for a little while.  I almost got him on several occasions, but kept passing for other things.  He and the rest of this series ended up being part of this year’s Farpoint charity auction, and it was that wonderful mix of being something I’d been looking for and also being for a good cause, so I went for it.  Though I’m hardly the world’s largest Trek fan, I can’t deny this is one cool figure.

#1594: Boromir & Merry

BOROMIR & MERRY

LORD OF THE RINGS MINIMATES

“One does not simply review a Boromir Minimate without referencing a Boromir meme”

Boromir (probably)

After the success of Marvel Minimates, the brand had big dreams.  In conjunction with Play Along Toys, they were able to snag the rights to Marvel’s distinguished competition (well, in a loop-hole-y sort of a way), as well as the rights to one of the hugest hits of the early ’00s, the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Unfortunately, the line didn’t launch until after Return of the King‘s exit from theatres, meaning we only got two series of two packs before the line ultimately failed.  A lot of this had to do with the somewhat baffling decision to double release one half of each series two-pack.  Fortunately, by the second series, we were finally starting to get all-new packs, including today’s focus, Boromir and Merry!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Boromir and Merry were one of the five two-packs in Series 2 of the Lord of the Rings Minimates line.

BOROMIR

You know Sean Bean had to have a good laugh when he got cast as Boromir, the only member of the Fellowship that dies over the course of the story.  I mean, Bean’s sort of the quintessential dead guy of Hollywood, so it’s really perfect casting.  Boromir and Faramir were two of my favorite characters from Lord of the Rings, and since Faramir never got a Minimate, I guess Boromir’s my guy.  As with all of the human sized characters, Boromir was built on LotR‘s new medium-sized base body, meaning he’s closer to the 3-inch mark than the standard ‘mate.  He’s still got the usual 14 points of articulation, albeit somewhat restricted by some of his add-ons.  Speaking of add-ons, Boromir has five of them for his hair, cloak, wrist bracers, and the bottom of his tunic.  All of these were unique to this particular ‘mate.  They display a simpler era of ‘mates, being without the texture work and dynamicism that newer ‘mates tend to have.  It certainly gets all of the important details, though, and Boromir is well-captured.  The paint follows the sculpt’s trend, erring on the side of simplicity.  I don’t know that his face looks all that much like Sean Bean, but it’s not as if it looks unlike him, either.  Boromir is quite well accessorized, including his sword (with scabbard), shield, horn, and a display stand.

MERRY

Its a little weird to be looking at only one half of a duo, especially since it’s a two-pack based line and all, but here we are.  At least they were good enough to put Merry and Pippin both in the same series.  As a Hobbit, Merry was built just on the standard Marvel-style body.  He had add-one for his hair, cloak, and jacket.  His pieces are obviously more in line with Boromir, but the lessened detailing isn’t quite as noticeable at the smaller scale. I quite like how they’ve gotten the proper shaping to his hair; Frodo didn’t really look like the real person, but Merry is definitely closer, albeit in a cartoonish fashion.  The paint on Merry is pretty solid stuff, and I like the likeness on the face a lot, as well as the very slight way they’ve livened up his color scheme.  He definitely pops.  Merry is packed with his own sword (technically a dagger) and a sheath for it, as well as a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Series 2 of this line was pretty scarce, so I didn’t get any of them new.  I was able to finally secure this set just this past November, via Luke’s Toy Store’s special buy collection.  I’ve really picked up an appreciation for Boromir, and Merry was my favorite hobbit, so this set was a pretty cool find.  It’s reminded me of how much I loved those earlier ‘mates, as well.  Now, I just need to find myself a Pippin!

#1345: Star Trek Minimates

CAPTAIN KIRK, SPOCK, DR. McCOY, KHAN, & GORN

STAR TREK MINIMATES (ART ASYLUM)

I’ve spoken twice before about the original, larger-sized Minimates, the important stepping stone on the way to getting us the licensing behemoth that we now have.  Today, I’ll be touching on them yet again, this time looking at the one property to have graced both styles of Minimate: Star Trek.   After doing ‘mates from Crouching Tiger and some music ‘mates, and even some Bruce Lee ‘mates, Art Asylum turned their sights onto Trek mostly because they already had the license (they produced a Dark Angel Minimate for the same reason, but with less success).  Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of them, and I’ll be looking at them today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These five were released in the first (and only) series* of the larger-scale Star Trek Minimates from Art Asylum.  There was also a Mugato in the series, as well as an accompanying ToyFare-exclusive “Trouble With Tribbles” Kirk, but I don’t yet have those two.  Maybe some day.

All of the figures featured here are built on the 3-inch Minimate body, which is a little different from the smaller body in terms of construction, mostly around the elbows and knees.  The assembly can afford to be just a touch more complex at the larger scale, and that’s really the source of most of the changes.  Nevertheless, it works the same as the smaller body from a basic functioning stand-point, and it has the same 14 points of articulation.

CAPTAIN KIRK

This was the first of the 14 MInimates of James T. Kirk.  He’s most prevalent of the Trek characters by far, though he’s got nothing on the likes of Spider-Man and Iron Man.  Anyway, this is the one that started it all.  This figure has three add-on pieces: hair, and both pants cuffs.  The hair was new to this guy (though it was also shared with the ToyFare variant, and would have presumably been used for the Mirror Universe version in Series 2).  I gotta say, I like this piece a lot more than the initial smaller Kirk ‘mates.  It’s still a bit more simplistic than more recent ‘mates, but that’s certainly not a point against it, and it’s definitely in keeping with the other ‘mates of this time period.  The paint work on Kirk is about on par with the rest of the earlier ‘mates.  It’s all pretty clean, but also rather on the simple side.  All of the important things, like the face and various uniform elements are there.  The face has a pretty decent likeness of Shatner (honestly, I think it was a bit better than later attempts), and the uniform details seem to be pretty accurate.  The colors are generally pretty decent, but once again, far more basic than later ‘mates would be.  Kirk was packed with a phaser (painted in all silver, rather than the proper silver and black), as well as one of the goofy puzzle pieces that they threw in with all of the early guys.

MR. SPOCK

Spock’s not too far behind Kirk on the variant front, with a whole 8 Minimates under his belt.  There does seem to be a little less variation to his, though.  Like Kirk, this figure has add-ons for his hair and pant cuffs.  Spock’s hair piece is fine, but I find his style of hair doesn’t translate quite as well to this sort of figure.  Later pieces worked a fair bit better, I feel.  I think his hair just needs more detail to it, otherwise it just ends up looking like a skullcap or something.  The paint on Spock is rather similar to Kirk’s, but once again, I don’t think it works quite as well.  The face definitely tries for a Nimoy likeness and, while it isn’t horribly off, I think the lack of any sort of line work for the cheekbones is really holding it back.  Most characters can get by alright without the cheekbones, but not those played by Leonard Nimoy.  In addition, the shade of blue chosen for the shirt is several shades too dark and far too greyed out for the blue shirts from Classic Trek.  This shade almost looks like something from the JJ Abrams films, which wouldn’t be released for 7 years after this.  Spock includes an extra right hand, doing the Vulcan salute, as well as a tricorder and the puzzle piece.

DR. McCOY

McCoy’s important because he finished out the show’s core trio.  Sadly, he always seems to be the one who gets overlooked.  It’s a shame, really.  But hey, he got this ‘mate and a few others, so that’s pretty good for him, right?  This guy is very similar to the other two, with the exact same cuffs on the legs and then a unique hair piece.  The hair falls somewhere between the other two, being not quite as strong as Kirk’s, but a fair bit more recognizable as hair than Spock’s.  It’s definitely not bad.  In terms of paint, he’s almost identical to Spock, overly dark blue and all.  On the plus side, the likeness on the face is the spitting image of DeForrest Kelly, surly country wisdom and all.  He includes the same tricorder and puzzle piece as Spock, but obviously loses the saluting hand.  It would have been nice to get one of his medical gadgets or something, but the tricorder’s enough, I suppose.

KHAN

Khan’s pretty popular for a guy who was only in a single episode of the show.  Oh, right, and there was that movie thing, I guess.  That might have helped.  Khan’s had a few Minimates, and not a single one of them has been in the same outfit.  This is one of his red outfits, likely chosen for it’s contrast with the rest of Series’ color schemes.  He’s got a hair piece and a skirt for the bottom of his tunic.  Both pieces are pretty solid, so that’s good.  Khan has one of the more complex paint schemes in the set (though not *the* most.  That comes later), and it’s generally pretty nicely handled.  My only real complaint is that his face is slightly off-center, which is a problem that occasionally cropped up with these early ‘mates, due to the hair peg being near the back of the head.  On the plus side, the likeness on the face is pretty decent.  Khan’s only accessory is the puzzle piece.

GORN

Okay, so I freaking love the Gorn, and this is like my whole reason for buying this set.  Because I desire to own every Gorn figure in existence.  I’m actually pretty close on that, so, yaaaaaay.  Gorn FTW!  This guy uses add-ons for his hands and his skirt.  There’s no piece for the head, which leaves the peg hole exposed, but it’s not huge issue, given the placement.  The add-ons are nicely sculpted and pretty cool looking overall.  The skirt piece is a little thick, so he splits at the middle a lot, but it’s a minor issue.  Gorn gets the most complicated of the paint jobs.  It’s still pretty simplified, but I actually really like it.  The face is pretty neat, and I like how they’ve translated his design onto the basic head block.  They’ve also done a nice job with the pattern on his tunic, so that’s cool.  He was packed with a spike, a translator, and that freaking puzzle piece.  Mine is lacking these, sadly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I always wanted to pick up a set of these back when they were still new, back when they would have been my first Minimates, but for whatever reason, I never got any of them.  I’m the reason the line failed, you guys.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been on the lookout for a set for a little while now, and I ended up finding these guys at Amazing Heroes, which was a cool toys, comics, and games store that my brother found just outside of Seattle.  I was actually pretty happy to find an almost complete set in one go.  I kinda dig these guys.  Kirk and the Gorn are the definite stars, and translate really well to the more simplistic style.  The others are pretty solid as well, if not quite as stand out.  Now, I gotta get that second Kirk and a Mugato….

*There was a proposed second series, which would have rounded out the main crew and given us a Klingon, but, like all of the 3-inch lines, Trek never made it past Series 1.

#1152: Bruce Lee

BRUCE LEE – ASCENSION OF THE DRAGON

BRUCE LEE MINIMATES

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Okay, let’s take a brief break from all this Star Wars stuff, and have a look at something else I like to review a lot: Minimates!  I’ve spoken a few times about the genesis of the current gen Minimates, and how the line was initially much larger in scale, and a bit smaller in scope.  Back in April, I actually took a look at my first 3-inch Minimates, based on 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  In a similar vein, today’s review takes a look at another of the earliest licenses to grace the Minimate form, Bruce Lee!  There were four different Bruce Lees available, each based on a different movie.  Today, I’ll be looking at the “Ascension of the Dragon” version of Bruce.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

bruceleemm2Bruce was released in the first and only (well, only to be released anyway; there was a second series of figures planned) series of Bruce Lee Minimates.  All four figures in the set were released both tubed and carded, but the figures within the packaging were essentially the same.  Now, this figure is titled “Ascension of the Dragon,” but his look is based on Lee’s character Hai Tien from Game of Death (the movie Lee was filming when he died, and thus never completed).  It’s the source of the yellow and black-striped jumpsuit that so many other forms of media have parodied since, and it’s kind of the defining Bruce Lee look, so it’s definitely a very solid choice for one of the four ‘mates produced.  The figure stands a little over 3 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the old 3-inch ‘mate body.  As I noted in my CTHD review, the body is very similar to the modern-day 2-inch body, but it has a few marked differences, and sort of shows some of the Minimate development process.  The figure has one add-on pice for his hair.  It’s obviously a lot more basic and geometric than more recent ‘mates but it does a suitable job of summing up the general look that Bruce had in the film.  The rest of his details are handled via paint.  As with pretty much every early ‘mate, the level of detail is definitely more on the simple side of things.  That being said, what’s there is very sharply detailed, and even with just a few scant details, the face does quite a nice job of conveying Lee’s likeness.  The ‘mate included a pair of nunchucks, a green pointed stick, and one of the weird puzzle piece things that all the early ‘mates included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t get this guy new.  Of course, unlike the CTHD ‘mates, this is actually the sort of figure I might have actually picked up new, but I just never got around to it.  I ended up getting this guy at a flea market (the same one where I got Thallo and Savage Dragon, and in fact the same one where I got the CTHD ‘mates as well).  He’s certainly a fun figure.  Very different from modern ‘mates, but in a way that’s not of a lower quality, just a different one.

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