#0034: Uncanny X-Men Team Pack

ROGUE, WOLVERINE, LONGSHOT & CYCLOPS

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

Today’s review looks at yet another mighty Marvel toy line, Hasbro’s Marvel Universe.  The Marvel Universe line is pretty much Hasbro doing Marvel characters in the scale that they know best: 4 inch(well, technically 3 ¾ inch, but let’s not split hairs).  The line’s been running for a few years, and Hasbro likes to mix things up occasionally and release figures in multipacks.  I’ll be looking at their 80s/90s X-Men Boxed set today.  The set features X-Men mainstays Rogue and Wolverine, as well as prominent 80s member Longshot and a kiddified version of X-Men leader Cyclops.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These figures were released in the 2013 series of “Team Packs”

ROGUE

First up, it’s everyone’s favorite angsty mutant who can’t touch anybody!  Rogue is depicted here in her Jim Lee designed 90s costume.  It’s a good choice, as this is the costume that most people are familiar with.  Rogue stands just shy of 4 inches and has roughly 20 points of articulation.    She’s built on Hasbro’s second basic female body, with a new head and arms, and add –on pieces for the jacket, belt, and boots.  The body sculpt is well done, and the generic body works fine for her underlying spandex costume.  The newly sculpted pieces are passable, if not the greatest.  The jacket’s sculpt is well done, and the boots do their job, though they do kinda stick out as add-on pieces.  The head is far from the worst in the line, or even the worst Rogue figure we’ve seen, but it’s not the best offering.  The hair looks fine, but the face is far too gaunt, and they’ve left her with her mouth permanently open.  The paint is passable, but could be better some places, particularly at the cut joint’s on her thigh, where it’s virtually impossible to get the lines of the yellow parts to line up.

WOLVERINE

Next, it’s the most famous X-Man by far!  Wolverine is depicted in his brown and yellow costume from the mid-to-late 80s, which, like Wolverine himself, is no stranger to the action figure world.  Wolverine stands closer to the 3 ¾ inch mark, making him noticeably shorter than Rogue, and he has 18 points of articulation.  The figure is actually just a repaint of the same version of the character from the Wolverine: Origins tie-in line, but since I never got that one, it’s new to me.  The sculpt is decent, especially the body, which conveys Wolverine’s short and stocky nature pretty well.  The claws are a solid piece on each hand, which is okay by me, since they have a tendency to warp at this scale. Like with Rogue, the head leaves something to be desired.  It’s a bit too squat, and the details are a bit on the soft side.  Paint on the figure is okay, though he does have very fuzzy lines on some of the brown sections, particularly the shoulders.

LONGSHOT

Next, it’s everyone’s favorite, uhhh… no, hang on, it’s just Longshot.  And Longshot’s nobody’s favorite.  Longshot is depicted in his debut costume from the 80s.  Longshot stands about 4 inches tall and features 22 points of articulation.  Hasbro wisely reused the body previously used for Ghost Rider and the AIM soldier.  It’s a nice body, with a whole lot of folds and wrinkles which work great to hide folds and wrinkles.  The reused body is masked with the addition of a new head and hands, as well as add-ons to represent his cuffs, pouches, and belt.  These are all well sculpted end fit well.  The head is obviously a focus point, and it’s a decent piece.  It has a pretty nice determined look, and actually manages to make his mullet look okay.  The paint is nice and clean, with no noticeable bleed over or slop.

CYCLOPS

Lastly, it’s the fourth figure in the three-pack.  So, yeah…that’s a thing.  He’s actually more of an accessory than a separate figure.  In the 80s, the X-Men had a few run-ins with the villain Mojo.  Mojo was a TV exec from another dimension, always looking for the new fad.  After a few fights with the X-Men, Mojo decided that what his viewers really wanted to see was the X-Babies, child versions of everyone’s favorite mutants.  This Cyclops is based on the X-Babies version of the character.  Cyclops stands just shy of 2 inches tall, and has no articulation.  Given the small scale and since he’s technically an accessory, the articulation’s not an issue.  He’s an all new sculpt, and it’s a good sculpt!  It’s nice and simplistic, but in a good way that reflects the source material.  The paint could be a bit better, as there is some noticeable slop, but it’s not terrible.  Cyclops may actually be my favorite figure in the set!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nothing much to report in this section.  I mostly got this set because I wanted the other sets in the series and buying the whole series was the most practical way of handling it.  I’m certainly not disappointed by this set, but it’s not really one of my favorites.

#0033: Alpha Flight Minimates Part 1

GUARDIAN, PUCK, NORTHSTAR & MARINA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Did somebody say I should review more minimates?  No?  Oh…well, too bad ‘cause that’s what I’m doing, whether you like it or not!

Today’s review focuses on another set of the greatly expansive Marvel Minimates line.  This is also another set of characters from Canada’s premier super-hero team:  Alpha Flight!

Guardian is (was?) the leader of the group, husband of fellow member Heather Hudson, and all around generic hero guy!  Puck’s a short guy!  Northstar’s a guy who’s powers can only be activated by holding hands with his twin sister!  Also gay.  And Marina does water stuff!  There, now you know the characters as well as I do.  Let’s get to the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four were released as a boxed set available through online retailer Action Figure Express during San Diego Comic Con 2012.

GUARDIAN

Guardian is depicted in his basic red and white, Canadian flag costume.  He’s built on the basic minimate body, so he stands a bit over 2 inches tall and features the standard 14 points of articulation.  He has a sculpted mask, with an alternate hairpiece to swap out to display James Hudson unmasked.  The detailing on the figure is well done, with little slop or bleed over.  James also doesn’t suffer from the same red paint bleed that Heather did, which is nice.  Lastly, Guardian includes an alternate robot head, so that you can depict the artificial replacement Guardian from after James’s death, which is a neat little throw in.

PUCK

Puck is shown here in pretty much the only uniform he’s ever had: Black unitard with boots and wrist bands.  It’s certainly an odd look, but I guess he looks fairly unique, so there.  Puck is built on the basic minimate body, with one slight deviation.   To simulate Puck’s diminished stature, he’s been given a set of “slipper” feet in place of the regular ones.  This brings Puck’s articulation down to 12 points, and only really reduces his height in a very subtle way.  It does help to make him appear a bit more stocky, however, so it’s not too bad.  Puck’s got a sculpted cowl, as well as a new hand that is sculpted to let him do hand stands with the included stand.  Puck’s detailing is well done, and fairly detailed, especially the hair on his arms and legs.  And I really like his face for some reason…

NORTHSTAR

Ah, Northstar.  This guy.  He’s probably the best known of the characters featured here, due to also being a member of the X-Men and, most likely, his status as one of Marvel’s  few long lasting gay characters.   He’s depicted in what is his best known, and in my opinion best designed, costume.  The simple black and white is rather striking, and it looks pretty good in Minimate form.  Northstar’s only sculpted piece is his hair, which he includes in both black and white.  This is a nice touch, given the variance in the coloring Northstar’s hair has received over the years.  I think I prefer the black just because that seems to be the way he’s depicted most often.  His details are handled with some pretty good simplicity, which really fits the character’s design.  Lastly, Northstar includes a stand to simulate his flying abilities.

MARINA

Marina was a later addition to the team, and she honestly didn’t stick with them for too long.  She married the Sub Mariner and joined the Avengers, where she was turned into a giant monster and killed by her husband.  Which is a bit of a bummer.  She’s depicted in what I believe is her only costume.  She’s built on the basic minimate body, though she has a set of specially sculpted hands to depict her webbed fingers.  She also has a sculpted hair piece, which is nicely done.  The entire figure is painted, no molded colors, which is a bit of a rarity for a minimate.  It looks nice, though, and helps to set her apart from the others.  She is certainly a unique looking minimate.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set, like so many other “Action Figure Xpress exclusives” from my very favorite minimate retailer: Luke’s Toy Store.  I do really like this set, which is really saying something, because I only have a passing familiarity with the characters it features.

#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!

#0007: X-Men Original Members Boxed Set

CYCLOPS, MARVEL GIRL, BEAST, ICEMAN, & ANGEL

X-MEN ORIGINAL MEMBERS BOXED SET

Today we look at another of Toybiz’s First Appearance boxed sets.  This one’s not quite as colorful as the Avengers set, but it’s still pretty fun.  The set is of course based on the founding members of the X-Men in their original uniforms, straight from X-Men #1.

CYCLOPS

THE FIGURE ITSELF

What better place to start than leader-man himself: Scott Summers, aka Cyclops!  He, like all the others in the set is depicted here in his black and yellow uniform from the early issues of X-Men.  He’s got 12 points of articulation.  The sculpt is pretty good, especially the head, which does a good job of capturing a nice determined look.  The facial expression is very Kirby, which is appropriate.  The body is another story.  It’s not terrible mind you, but it could be a little better.  His shoulders are a bit on the broad side, and his waist is too thin.  The torso is also a rather flat in general, which is a bit odd.  The best part of the figure, I think, is the hinged visor.  It showcases the very nice sculpt below, and highlights the light-piped eyes, simulating his optic blasts.  I also love that his right hand is specially molded to allow you to pose him holding his visor.

MARVEL GIRL

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next up is Scott’s girlfriend,  the marvelous Jean Grey, aka Marvel Girl.  She shown in her early costume, before they tweaked her design to set her apart more from the boys.  And that’s unfortunate, because it makes for a somewhat ugly figure.  Her proportions are really off.  She’s got long arms, huge hands and feet, and what looks like no ears.  Not to mention that her torso looks way to short.  Throw in the odd choice of rooted hair for the pony tail, and you’ve got yourself quite the funky looking figure.  She’s not the most hideous figure that Toybiz ever put out (That honor goes to the Marvel Legends Scarlet Witch.  Euggghh…), but she‘s far from the best.  She looks okay with the team, but not really anywhere else.

BEAST

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next up is the resident brains AND brawn, Hank McCoy, aka The Beast.  This is a pre-blue and furry beast, which is quite the rarity in the toy world.  It’s a pretty good representation of that too, though the face sculpt focuses a bit too much on the “brawn” side of things in my opinion.  The huge hands and feet are well done, and make him really easy to balance, which is quite nice.  He’s a solid addition to the set.

ICEMAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next is the hot-headed but cool Bobby Drake, aka Iceman.  He’s probably the figure in the set that stands out the most, because he’s the only one not in the standard black and yellow uniform.  They’ve chosen to show him in is snowy form, from before he learned to actually turn into ice.  The figure’s  molded in clear plastic, with very light blue accents painted generously to make him more opaque.  It’s a great effect, and really makes him look nice and icy.  The sculpt is pretty strong.  He suffers from some of the same wonky proportions as Cyclops, but once again the face sculpt is spot on, depicting an nice cocky grin beneath his snowy exterior.  One minor complaint I have is that the ice blasts are permanently affixed to his hands, which does ruin his play factor a bit.

ANGEL

THE FIGURE ITSELF

And, saving the best for last, it’s everybody’s favorite angelic millionaire, Warren Worthington, aka Angel.  Angel is, in my opinion, the best this set has to offer.  He doesn’t suffer from the wonky proportions that seem to plague this set.  He’s got a perfect expression for that “I’ve got so much more money than you” millionaire look.  Plus those wings!  Those awesome articulated wings!  The figure also is somewhat of a rarity in that it depicts a pre-archangel Warren, which is always a nice change.  If I had one complaint, it would be that the figure is a bit difficult to keep standing, mostly due to the wings, but it’s nothing that I can’t deal with.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is another set I remember being quite excited about, though not as excited as I was for the Avengers set.  I think it was probably because I had most of these characters already from Toybiz’s extensive X-Men line.  I believe that this set was a Christmas gift, though I don’t remember who it was from (probably my parents).

I also have spare set of this one, thanks to my Angel figure going missing not long after I got the set.  Having gone without him for so long probably just makes me appreciate him more now (That sounded weird…).

#0006: Avengers First Appearance Boxed Set

ANT-MAN, WASP, HULK, IRON MAN, THOR, & GIANT-MAN

TOY BIZ AVENGERS FIRST APPEARANCE BOXED SET

Now a days, pretty much every one knows who the avengers are, but back in the mid 90s, they were  kind of obscure outside of the comic collecting community.  So, sets like the one I’m reviewing today were kind of a big deal.  I’ll be taking a different approach to these, and reviewing the whole set all in one shot.

ANT-MAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

First up is Ant-Man, the first of the two Hank Pym figures included in this set.  He’s a good deal smaller than all of the other figures in the set, but that’s to be expected.  He’s got 7 points of articulation, which is good for the scale.  The most impressive part, I feel is the removable helmet, which is astounding on a figure this size.  And it looks great to boot!

WASP

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next is Hank’s girlfriend, then wife, then ex-wife, then it got really complicated, Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp!  The Wasp is depicted in her original uniform, as is appropriate for an Avengers #1 set.  It’s not my favorite look of hers, but it’s not bad.  The figure shows the look off pretty well.  Wasp is about the same height as Ant-Man and has pretty much the same articulation, though his works better.  It would have been nice to get a regular sized Jan as well, but this one worked fine.

HULK

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Next is the jade giant, the Incredible Hulk.  Hulk is in his shown here wearing his Avenging shorts (I mean, that has to be their purpose, right?  Because we only ever see him wearing them with the Avengers).  Hulk is well sculpted, but the paint leaves a little bit to be desired.  Or more specifically the choice of plastic color.  They went with this sickly looking pale green, which doesn’t befit Dr Banner at all.  He looks like he needs a little sun.  Overall, a fine figure.

IRON MAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Onto the armored Avenger, Iron Man.  He’s depicted in his second suit of armor, the same as his original, but gold plated.  To emulate the coloring properly, Toybiz offered two versions of the set.  One came with a Vac Metalized shiny, gold chromey paint job, and the other came with a dull, brozish style of coloring.  My original was the dull version, but when his helmet got stepped on and crushed, I upgraded to the shiny one, found loose at a toy show.  Oh, and that helmet I mentioned?  Yeah, it was removable, which was definitely this figure’s coolest feature! Just look at Tony’s handsome mug!

THOR

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Oh boy.  This Thor.  Man this Thor.  This was not a good Thor.  Though, amazingly, it was the only Thor figure I owned until late into the Marvel Legends line.  But it’s not a very good figure.  The Chrome helmet and chest-circle-thingies (technical term!) are cool, and the basic body’s okay.  But then you look at that face.  Oh, man that face.  It’s bad.  And to top it all off, he has this weird poofy cloth cape, which pretty much never looked right.  I’m fairly certain this figure is the reason why I didn’t like Thor until the movie came out in 2011.

GIANT MAN

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lastly, we have what I consider to be the best figure in the set:  Giant Man!  He’s the second version of Hank Pym we’re looking at in this set, and he’s actually not quite accurate, what with Hank not being Giant Man until Avengers # 2, but man this is a cool figure, so I’m willing to overlook it.  The coolest thing about this figure, I feel, is the size.  He had some serious scale on his side.  Plus he’s just about a picture perfect representation of Hank in this costume.  The paint is sharp, the sculpt is good.  This figure’s got some serious win on his side!  He once had a set of antenna, but they fell of after a few months of play.  But at least they both fell off, preserving the symmetry.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These figures are pretty important to me, because they represent a first for me:  waiting for a figure to be released.  In the early days of the internet, I remember seeing the control art for these guys on Raving Toy Maniac.  I was absolutely thrilled.  I printed it out, and made paper figures to hold me over.

I finally saw these figures on an end-of-the-school-year shopping trip with my Nanna.  They were on an end cap and I eagerly picked them up and informed her that I didn’t need to look at anything else.  I was done.  She didn’t really get it.  Who were these characters?  Didn’t I want a Spider-Man, or a Batman instead?  Nope.  I wanted my Avengers and that’s what I got.  And man was it a great day!