#0070: Gingerbread Man

GINGERBREAD MAN

LEGO MINIFIGURES

In the spirit of being festive for Christmas, I’ll be looking at something vaguely Christmas related.  It’s another figure from LEGO’s Minifigures line.  This time depicting everyone’s favorite Christmas themed cookie (okay, maybe not everyone’s­) :  The Gingerbread Man

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Gingerbread Man is the 2nd figure in the 11th series of the LEGO Minifigures line.  He uses the traditional LEGO body, but he has a specially sculpted head in place of the usual piece.  It’s a really cool piece, and looks perfect for its intended use.  The Gingerbread man is molded in a creamy brown color, and has detailing to represent his icing details.  In addition to the icing, he’s also got a slightly darker brown detailing to show the texture of the gingerbread he’s made from.  It’s a subtle effect, and could have easily been left out, but the extra mile really adds to the figure.  The Gingerbread Man includes a mug and a LEGO stand.  The mug has painted letters that read “DUNK ME!” which is another really cool touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked the Gingerbread Man up along with several others from the same series from a bookstore at the beach while vacationing.  I think he’s really cool, and is definitely a shining example what LEGO can do with the line.

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#0061: Space Villain

SPACE VILLIAN

LEGO MINIFIGURES

Today, I’ll be taking a look at another block figure, though this one’s probably more widely known.  When block figures started to hit it big, LEGO, the originator of the “block figure” decided to get in on the action.  Typically, the only way to get a LEGO minifigure, you would have to buy a LEGO set, but LEGO decided to start up a new line of just the minifigures.  These guys are blind bagged, meaning getting a particular figure can be a bit tricky, but overall, the line’s been a huge hit.  They offer a wide variety of figures, and today I’ll be reviewing the “Space Villain.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Space Villain was the 13th figure in the 3rd series of the LEGO Minifigures line.  The Space Villain is built on the traditional LEGO body, with a peg-leg in the place of his right leg, and a mechanical arm in place of his right arm.  He also has a sculpted helmet with a removable yellow visor.  The face and torso feature the figure’s only paint.  The details are nice and sharp, and they feature some very nice metallic silver.  The Space Villain has a laser gun with a removable laser blast, and comes with the black stand included with all the LEGO Minifigures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the Space Villain from my local LEGO Store, with a handful of others I had grabbed from their display at random.  He’s cool enough, not one of my favorites, but a well put together figure.

#0031: Heather Hudson & Box

HEATHER HUDSON & BOX

MARVEL MINIMATES

Look at that!  More Minimates!  What a rarity!  Okay, not really.   Today, I’ll be looking at two more minimates from the ever growing Marvel Minimates line.  It’s Heather Hudson & Box, members of Canadian super team Alpha Flight!  If you’re unfamiliar with Alpha Flight, they’re like the Avengers, but more ….Maple-y?

Heather Hudson is one of the more prominent members, though she typically operates under the code-name of her sometimes dead husband Vindicator.  Box is a guy who can control technology.  They’re just great!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 14th Toys R Us Exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.

HEATHER HUDSON

Heather is shown here in her Vindicator costume, based on that of her husband, James Hudson, the original Vindicator.  She’s built on the basic Minimate body, so she’s about 2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Her mask is a sculpted piece, and she includes it with two different colored visors: Blue and Red.  I prefer the blue mostly because the red plastic of the red visor bleeds through the white paint of the mask.  Heather also includes an alternate hair-piece so that she can be displayed unmasked and a stand to simulate her flying.  Her paint is decent, though she does have a recurring issue of red plastic bleeding through the white parts of her costume.

BOX

Box is depicted in his armored up form.  I don’t know which version because I’ve never really followed the character that closely, but I feel certain that he’s had more than one look.  His built on the basic Minimate body, though he’s got some extra pieces that make him a little taller, and his sculpted boots restrict his ankle articulation, leaving him with 12 points.  Box has a good selection of sculpted parts:  Helmet, chestplate, gloves, belt and boots.  He also includes an alternate gun hand, a blast off stand and an alternate hair piece to show Box’s ghostly operator Madison Jefferies.  The paint on Box is nicely done, with little slop and no issues with bleed through.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is important because it marks one of the first times I was able to purchase minimates from Toys R Us’s online store.  Of course, I had to know the sku’s because all of the set in the wave were listed as “Marvel Minimates Wave 14: Figure” but that’s beside the point!  Man TRU sucks…

#0025: John Stewart

JOHN STEWART – GREEN LANTERN

DC MINIMATES

So today is yet another Minimate review.  I promise to take a bit of a break from the Minimates, but they do make up a fairly large chuck of the collection, so they’ll tend to pop up fairly often.

We’re looking at a Minimate from the DC line today.  This figure is Green Lantern John Stewart, the first Minimate produced in DC Direct’s attempted revival of the DC Minimates line after the initial Lego inspired C3 line failed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

John was a San Diego Comic Con give away, meant to drum up interest in the full DC Minimates line.  Like many Minimate give aways, he features no additional parts, but that’s not an issue with this design.  John is built, unsurprisingly, on the basic Minimate body.  He stands about 2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  John is based on his appearance from the Justice League cartoon, which is a good look.  The lines are all very clean and sharp looking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Although he was released a while ago, John is a fairly recent addition to my collection.  I don’t know why, as I’m a huge Green Lantern fan and a pretty big fan of John himself, but I’d say it’s mostly to do with him only being available at SDCC.  Anyway, I’ve got one now, and he’s a great addition to my collection.

#0024: Betsy Braddock

BETSY BRADDOCK

MARVEL MINIMATES

Today, we’re looking at another Minimate.  Once again, this one if from the extensive Marvel line.  The character in question is Betsy Braddock, sister to Captain Britain, and future X-Man(well X-Woman) Psylocke.

For those of you unaware of who Betsy is:  She’s a telepathic mutant.  There, you’re caught up.  Okay, actually there’s a lot more, but I’ll cover all that on the next Psylocke Minimate…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Betsy is depicted here in her first “Psylocke” outfit.  She’s obviously meant to be a mid-80s Psylocke, from before she started joining in on the fighting.   She’s built on the basic Minimate body, so she stands about 2 inches tall, and has 14 points of articulation.  She has sculpted hair, though I do believe it is reused from an earlier ‘mate, and a set of unique upper arms to depict the poofy sleeves of her early look.  She’s painted in mostly variations of purple and pink.  She’s a fairly decent interpretation of the character, though she does end up looking a bit dull.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Not much to report here.  This is admittedly my favorite look for Psylocke, but it’s not like there’s a large number of them to choose from.  I guess I like that this one kinda treads the line between her other two most prominent looks, not too covered up(the armored look) and not too skimpy(whatever the hell that was that Jim Lee put her in).  So, yeah…

#0023: Photon

PHOTON

MARVEL MINIMATES

Today’s review is another Minimates item.  This time the figure comes from the Marvel Minimates line.  It’s a Minimate of Photon.  I know what you’re thinking: “Who’s Photon?”  Allow me to provide an answer! Photon, aka Monica Rambeau, actually started her career under the name Captain Marvel.  She was the second (well, technically third if you count Billy Batson, now known as SHAZAM!, but Marvel Comics would prefer you didn’t) character to use the name.  She was introduced in the 80s, and was somewhat prominent for a while, joining and even leading the Avengers for a short period.  However, the character was depowered in the early 90s and fell into obscurity for a bit, until writer Warren Ellis brought her back in his series Nextwave.  Recently, she’s had a slight resurgence, but nothing major, mostly owing to the fact that she can’t seem to hold on to a code name for very long.  Anyway, she was also in 80s cross over series Secret Wars which is why the figure I’m reviewing got made in the first place.  Yeah…I know way too much about Photon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Photon was released as part of the Toys R Us exclusive Secret Wars boxed set.  Like the Captain America set I reviewed earlier, the set was decided by an online poll.  Guess who I voted for.  Photon is depicted in her debut costume.  She’s built on the basic Minimate body, so she stands a little over 2 inches tall.  She has 12 points of articulation, 2 less than usual for a Minimate, due to her sculpted boots.  She has sculpted hair, boots, and cape.  They’re all handled well.  The design is nice and clean, which is fitting for her character.  The black/white contrast really helps to make her stand out on the shelf.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, you’ll notice that I mentioned that she’s part of a 4-pack, but I’m not reviewing the others from the set.  That’s because I don’t own them.  Photon was the only character I really wanted from the set, but that’s actually not why I don’t have the others.  I’ve bought a whole set for one figure in the past, so I probably would have again if I’d been given the chance.  But…I wasn’t.  Yeah, my Toys R Us has never carried the fan poll Minimate sets, and this set predates tru.com carrying said sets, so I was never able to find this figure.  Apparently, this was a common problem with this set, given its fairly high value on ebay now.  So, still really wanting a Photon figure (The only Photon figure ever, mind you) I tracked down Photon loose, for probably a little too much money.

#0020: Reborn & Suspended Animation Captain America Minimates

REBORN & SUSPENDED ANIMATION CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL MINIMATES

For today’s review, I’ll actually be looking at something I just got, for a change.  This is another Minimates entry.  Today’s review focuses on half of a set that was both a Toys R Us-exclusive and a Fan’s Choice set: Captain America Through the Ages.  The set was released to coincide with Cap’s return to the land of the living, and featured four of his looks from throughout the years.  I’ll be looking at two of those today.

REBORN CAPTAIN AMERICA

First up is the figure that functions as the set’s definitive Captain America.  This figure depicts Cap as he appeared right after his return from the dead.  It’s the classic Captain America look with a few minor changes that aren’t really noticeable.  The figure stands about 2.5 inches tall, and has the standard Minimates articulation of 14 points (well, technically 12, since the boots remove the foot articulation).  Minimates mostly rely on paint to convey the character, and it all looks crisp and well applied.  Like most of the more modern Minimates, he does have his share of sculpted pieces: Glove cuffs,  Mask, Belt and Boots, as well as an alternate hair piece for an unmasked look.  He also includes his mighty shield, for throwing, which can either be plugged into his left glove or his shoulder harness, depending on how you want to display him.  One thing he doesn’t come with, however, is an alternate left glove cuff sans the strap for the shield.  This is a bummer, because it effectively makes his really cool harness piece useless, because his glove looks weird.  I gave mine the right glove from SA Cap, because I think that one looks better sans gloves, but it would have been nice for Diamond to include the extra piece.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION CAPTAIN AMERICA

Interestingly enough, this figure also depicts Cap after he returned from the dead…the FIRST time!  Yep, this figure’s based on Cap’s appearance at the beginning of Avengers #4, right after the Avengers find him floating in the ocean, frozen in a block of ice. This is back when Cap’s long nap in the ice was about 15 years, not the 70 years it is now.  Anyway, the figure gives us Cap in his army fatigues, which have been shredded, revealing his Captain America costume below.  He’s got the basic Minimates articulation.  The painted details are once again really well done here.  The tears in the fatigues are quite well done.  He also has a few sculpted pieces:  his hair, gloves, belt, as well as both a mask to put on his head and one to drape over his shoulders.  He also comes with a spare set of ungloved hands, his shield, and coolest (heh!) of all, a chunk of ice to place him in.  I could complain that it’d be cooler if the chunk actually covered more of the figure, but it does the job pretty well.  This is a really neat variant of Cap, and is definitely one that will stand out on the shelf.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was never able to track this set down at retail, and for whatever reason never got around to picking it up online.  When I saw it going for between 60 and 70 dollars, I just figured I’d missed my shot.  Fortunately, I was able to score these two loose on ebay for a decent price, and I’m really glad, because they’re great additions to my already large Minimate collection.  One of these days, I’ll get the other half of the set.  I mean, everybody’s gotta have a crazy 90s armored Captain America in their collection, right?  How could you not?

#0015: Dracula Minimates

DRACULA BOXED SET

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

Happy Halloween everybody!  The Fantastic Four reviews will continue tomorrow, but I thought I’d do something a bit more festive today.  So, I’ll be looking at the Dracula boxed set from Daimond Select Toys’s expansive Minimates line.  This is the first of many, many, many, many, many Minimates reviews, because I have quite a few of these little guys.

For those of you that don’t know Minimates:  What is wrong with you?  Get on that!  In all seriousness, Minimates are a line of two and a half inch block figures produced by Diamond Select Toys.  This set comes from their Universal Monsters line.  Marvel is their flagship license (Waves 50 & 51 were just released last month!), but they’ve also done Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Both Modern and Classic Battlestar Galactica, DC Comics,  Playstation, Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel vs Capcom, Tomb Rader, Terminator 2, Lost in Space, the Walking Dead, the Expendables,  The Dollars Trillogy, Back to the Future, Knight Rider, Rocky, Platoon, Silence of the Lambs, Clerks, and even Ace of Cakes and Desperately Seeking Susan.  It’s a pretty big line!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The set is based on the 1931 Dracula starring Bela Lugosi.  The set was released in the second wave of Universal Monsters Minimates, along with an accompanying Frankenstein set.

DRACULA

First up is the movie’s title character, Count Dracula himself.  Drac is based on his look from the film.  He’s built on the standard minimate body, which means he stands about 2-2.5 inches tall and has the standard minimate articulation of 14 points.  Most of the detailing on a minimate is conveyed via painted detail, but Drac has a few sculpted pieces as well.  Drac features a sculpted hair-piece and a cape/vest/jacket slip over piece for the torso.  They’re done well, with some nice small details.  As I said above, minimates rely mostly on paint, and Drac is no exception.  His primary paint is the details depicting his face.  They’re nice and sharp, though I’m not sure how much Lugosi I see in the face.  Still, it’s a very nice Dracula face, which is what counts.  Unfortunately, the paint is not as sharp everywhere, especially on Drac’s vest, which has some pretty bad bleed over.  Drac is obviously the draw of the set, and slight paint issues aside, he lives up to that.

DR VAN HELSING

Next is Dracula’s old foe, Dr. Van Helsing!  Van Helsing is also built on the basic minimate body, so he stands the same height and has the same articulation.  Van Helsing features two sculpted pieces:  his hair, and a jacket/vest torso cover.  They do the job suitably, and look pretty good.  His only real paint work is his face detailing.  The face is nice and sharp, and there’s some well-done silver detailing for his glasses.  He’s well-constructed, if a bit boring.

MINA HARKER

Next is the heroine of the piece, Mina Harker.  Like the other two, Mina is built on the basic body.  Mina technically has the same 14 points of articulation, but her leg articulation is rendered virtually non-existent by her sculpted dress piece.  In addition to the dress, Mina also features sculpted hair and a sculpted collar.  The detail work is done well, though she is noticeably more simplistic than the other figures in the set.  Like Van Helsing, Mina is a solid figure, but a bit on the boring side.

RENFIELD

Last up is Dracula’s faithful servant, Renfield!  Like the rest of the set, Ren is built on the same minimate body and has the typical articulation.  Ren only features one sculpted piece, his hair.  It looks appropriate, and represents the character’s look fairly well.  The paint detailing on the figure is really where it shines.  He’s got a great set of suspenders, and his shirt has lots of folds and wrinkles, which give him a lot of dimension.  His face detailing is nice and sharp, and depicts actor Dwight Frye very well, giving him a crazed grin as though he’s about to let out that distinctive cackle.  Renfield is a great example of a figure that could have been quite drab, but was saved by the small details.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really like this set.  I’m a big fan of the universal monsters movies, and this one covers one of the most memorable.  Mina and Van Helsing are kind of boring, but the set is made worth it by the inclusion of a really solid Dracula and an awesomely handled Renfield!