#1540: GCPD Rogues Gallery

RENEE MONTOYA, BANE, KILLER CROC, MR. FREEZE, & POISON IVY

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES (DC COLLECTIBLES)

For my ninth and final 2017 post-Christmas review, I’m returning to a line that fills me with lots of mixed emotions: DC Collectibles’ Batman: Animated.  I was very supportive of the line early on, an really liked the first couple of series, despite some of the minor flaws.  However, as the line has progressed, I’ve found a lot of the later offerings to be a bit lackluster. The thing that broke me from the line was actually the set I’m looking at today.  As I’ve noted a few times, “Heart of Ice” is hands down my favorite episode of Batman: The Animated Series, and is possibly just one of my favorite cartoons ever.  Obviously, I was eager to get a proper Animated Series Mr. Freeze.  The first figure was the New Adventures design, which is fine, but not really what I wanted.  So, what does DCC do when it finally comes time to release the classic Freeze, one of the most demanded figures in the line?  Pack him in with four other figures in an expensive boxed item.  ….Yay?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This five pack was released about mid-year last year, under the title “GCPD Rogues Gallery.”  All five figures in this set are based on their Animated Series designs, with the four titular Rogues being the second figure for each, following their TNBA design-sporting single-releases.

RENEE MONTOYA

Fulfilling the “GCPD” segment of this set is Officer Renee Montoya.  Montoya is noteworthy for being the second of B:TAS’s successful original creations that made her way back into the comics after the fact (following the immensely successful Harley Quinn, of course).  Montoya is the one wholly unique figure in this set.  She’s wearing her beat cop uniform, since she didn’t make it to detective until TNBA.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 22 points of articulation.  Her articulation works better than some of the Batman: Animated figures I’ve looked at, which certainly makes me feel a bit better.  Her sculpt is definitely one of the strongest in the set, recreating her animated design rather nicely. She avoids being too devoid of detail, another issue that plagued some of the line’s other figures.  Similarly, her paint is also very strong.  The application is nice and clean, and the colors all match up with her on-screen appearance.  Montoya is packed with an extra head, a handgun, a shotgun, four pairs of hands, and a display stand.  The head offers Montoya without her hat, which I guess is nice, in theory, at least.  In practice, it’s just very annoying.  Why?  Because, thanks to the design of the double barbel DCC’s used for her neck peg, if you’re not careful when swapping out the heads (a very difficult task, I might add), then the peg will pop out of the neck, rather than the head.  I ended up having to spend about 20 minutes removing the barbel from the second Montoya head to put the one with the hat back on, and after all that, the peg is mangled to the point that I doubt I’ll be able to successfully swap it again.  Okay, but what about the guns?  Well, they look nice, but I almost broke both of them taking them out of the package.  Also, despite the plethora of hands included, there’s not really a combo that can properly hold the shotgun.

BANE

The New Adventures Bane was one of my favorite figures from the single-packed line, so this figure has a lot to live up to.  I’m gonna let you all down easy here: he doesn’t.  He’s not helped by the design, to be fair.  The B:TAS Bane design is certainly one of the weakest from the original run of the show (part of why he got such a drastic redesign later).  He’s not particularly intimidating or anything.  He’s just looks like a slightly paunchy luchador.  Not the greatest design for a villain.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Okay, let’s get this out of the way: Bane can’t stand.  Like, at all.  Just getting the photos for this review was one of the most infuriating experiences I’ve gone through.  The actual sculpt is decent, I suppose.  It replicates the show design well-enough, but I find he lacks the playability seen on the last Bane figure.  His paintwork is decent from a palette stand-point; he’s bright and colorful.  The application’s a bit iffy, and he’s got several spots of random shininess on an otherwise matte finished figure.  It’s rather distracting and makes for a fairly sloppy looking figure.  Bane includes four sets of hands, a dumbell, and a display stand.  The dumbell’s a nice extra, but, as with Montoya, there’s not actually a hand that can properly hold it.  Doesn’t that seem like the sort of thing that you would want to double check before sending this figure out?

KILLER CROC

I never actually got the TNBA Croc.  I kept meaning to, but I never did.  It’s okay.  I’ve never been a huge Croc fan anyway, so I probably didn’t need two of him.  Truth be told, Croc’s another character who I feel had a stronger design initially, so this figure’s good for that.  He stands just a little shorter than Bane, and he has 23 points of articulation.  He has the mid-torso movement like we saw on the first Bane figure, which is certainly a plus.  It helps to make him one of the most easily posed figures in the set.  It also allows for a lot more fine tuning on his weight distribution, helping him stay standing a bit better.  The sculpt is another strong offering, and I’d certainly place him on par with Montoya in that respect.  He’s very true to the show’s design, and captures Croc’s character.  I look at this guy and can hear him saying “I hit him with a rock!”  The detail work is all very sharp and crisply defined, not soft like some of the others in the line.  The paint on Croc isn’t the most exciting thing, but it matches the show.  It’s all cleanly applied, and it looks pretty decent for what it is.  Croc is packed with three sets of hands and a display stand.  No rock to hit Batman with?  I guess I can supply my own.

MR. FREEZE

Four figures in and I’m finally getting to the one that actually matters!  Yeeeeeeeaaaaahhhhh! …Sorry, that’s not really appropriate for Mr. Freeze, is it?  He’d go for a more reserved, served cold sort of thing.  Ah, yes.  A Mr. Freeze figure.  Of course.  Would that it could warm his frozen heart.  But alas, there is no hope for him.  But hey, cool figure, right?  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Freeze has nay favorite sculpt of all the figures included here.  He’s just really got the show design down pat.  The best piece by far is the head, which just looks absolutely spot-on from every angle.  The rest of the sculpt is a solid recreation of his suit design from the show, and it’s really only marred by one thing: the head dome.  On its own, it’s fine, but it doesn’t fit the body quite right, so it never sits flush the way it should and it pops out a lot.  It’s not awful, but it’s a minor annoyance, and there was no such issue on the last Mr. Freeze figure.  If there’s a major downfall to this figure, it’s the paintwork.  It’s not the worst I’ve seen in this line, but it’s definitely sloppy, especially on the blue parts of his suit.  How they got the others in this set so clean and not Victor is honestly a bit baffling to me.  Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, five sets of hands, a snow globe, and a display stand.  Ready for the common theme of this review?  Despite the large selection of hands, he can’t really hold his gun very well, and he can’t actually hold the snow globe as well.  I appreciate the extras being included, but I wish they could be more adequately used.

POISON IVY

Last up, it’s Poison Ivy, the other hotly demanded figure in this set.  I picked up the first Ivy figure, and I liked her overall, but she was certainly a flawed offering.  I was sort of hoping that this one would fix some of those.  It does, but there are some other ones that have cropped up to replace them.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 23 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is…okay? It has its ups and downs.  It’s definitely not anywhere near as accurate as the other figures in this set, which is a shame, really.  She’s far more on par with the last Ivy, in that she looks okay from certain angles, but not so great from others.  I do like that she doesn’t have the ugly seam running down the side of her hair this time.  Unfortunately, she’s now got a rather ugly bend in her right leg, as well as a severely misshapen wrist bolt.  It kind of ruins the aesthetics.  The paint on Ivy is okay, but rather on the sloppy side of things.  It’s especially bad on her legs, where there’s a few spots of errant paint.  Ivy is packed wth five sets of hands,  the Wild Thorny Rose seen in “Pretty Poison,” and a display stand.  At least she has hands that can actually hold the rose.  I guess that’s a nice change.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I discussed in the intro, I was less than enthused by DCC’s decision to lump all of these figures into one big set, so I didn’t grab this when it was new.  My parents were nice enough to get this for me as my main gift this Christmas.  This set frustrates me because I really wanted to like it, but it’s perhaps the most frustrating thing I received this year.  Sure, most of the figures are a marked improvement on the single releases, but there are still enough flaws throughout the set that it’s infuriating.  The fact that Freeze and Ivy include more accessories also drives home the point that DCC designed them as individual releases and held them back to move this big set, which feels like a real cheap move to me.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have the Mr. Freeze I wanted.  He’s a good figure.  Montoya is also a solid addition, and Croc’s a pleasant surprise that I probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  Ivy’s another flawed version of the character, though, and Bane just does nothing for me.  So, that’s 2/5 figures in this set that I would have much rather passed on.  That’s not a very good spread, especially for something that carries this hefty a price tag.

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#1539: Xenomorph

XENOMORPH

ALIEN: COVENANT (NECA)

“Ridley Scott returns to the universe created, with Alien: Covenant, a new chapter in his groundbreaking Alien franchise.  The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world.  When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.”

…Okay, I’ve been putting this off for about as long as I could.  Let’s do this.  For my eighth post-Christmas review, I’ll be asking an important question: is it possible to enjoy an action figure based on something you utterly despise?  I’ve pondered this question before, amusingly enough, in the same franchise as this review, and from the same toy maker even.  I mean, I was able to enjoy four whole Alien 3 figures, right?  Surely Alien: Covenant isn’t that different, is it?  Well, yes and no.  The thing about Alien 3 is that it existed before I even got into the Alien franchise.  I knew it was coming before I even started Aliens.  I had fair warning.  It’s just sort of done.  And, the way Aliens ends, Alien 3 is very easy to ignore.  Moreover, as much as I dislike the movie, I’ll be the first to admit that not *everything* about it sucks.  Things like the quadrupedal Xeno I can certainly get behind.  Alien: Covenant?  Well, I had to experience it new, which definitely sucked.  It’s a sequel to Prometheus, a movie that I enjoyed more than I expected, but an incredibly flawed one nonetheless.  At the end of Prometheus, I actually had this little twinge of hope, that maybe Scott would be taking his characters in a different direction than the earlier films and trying something new.  Silly me.  Covenant takes what I liked in Prometheus and gives it a fiery, explosive death, and takes everything I didn’t like about it and sticks it front and center.  And then it sort of tries to reinvent the wheel by reintroducing audiences to one of the most distinctive monsters of all time in a way that assures you beyond the shadow of a doubt that everything clever Scott did in the original Alien was an accident.

…I’m getting very sidetracked.  I should probably talk about the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Xenomorph is part of NECA’s Alien: Covenant line, released to coincide with the movie’s theatrical run.  The figure stands 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation, plus a bendable tail.  This Xeno sports an all-new sculpt, modeled after the Xeno seen on screen in Covenant.  To NECA’s credit, they’ve crafted a very good recreation of the creature seen in the film.  Every detail looks spot on, and everything is very sharp and well defined.  The figure’s articulation is pretty decently worked in, and he’s just as posable as his brethren from the other movies.  The paint’s pretty solid too.  The fine details on the head are all well outlined and clearly applied, and there’s decent accent work that shows off the sculpt pretty well.  Viewed just on its merits as a plastic recreation of the thing we see in the movie, this figure is nothing short of exceptional.  And there lies the rub.  I could go on for a very long time about what I didn’t like about Covenant (I’ve already gone on too long, frankly), but nothing frustrated me more than the design of the Xenomorph.  It’s like someone looked at the original design and said “how can remove everything unique, interesting, and genuinely terrifying about this design?”  Simply put, this alien looks like a skinned human with a Xeno head stuck on top.  Is that pleasant?  No.  Is it gross? A bit.  Would I want to run into this thing? No.  Is it scary? Not really.  There’s too much going on, and it’s all far too familiar to me.  Remove the head, and you’re left with a monster that would look at home in any slasher film of the week.  It’s really generic.  And I get that they designed it this way on purpose, so that it would still look alright when brightly lit (which is most definitely not true of the Xenos seen in Alien or Aliens; they look downright goofy when seen in regular lighting).  So bravo, you created Aliens you can look at in daylight.  But why, though?  Why?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure came from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  I had mentioned to her that the Books A Million in the mall where she works had a decent selection of NECA Aliens figures, and when she went back, the Covenant figures were all they had left.  She knew I didn’t like the movie, but she really wanted to get me something Alien-related, so she got me this one.  It’s a thoughtful gift, no doubt.  It’s not her fault that the movie sucked.  Nor is it NECA’s, or even this figure’s.  Like I said, just as a figure of the design in the movie, this figure is solid.  And I’ll put it on the shelf with my other NECA Xenos, and be content.  But I really wish the movie had been better.  And I really wish the design were better.  And I really wish Ridley Scott would learn to quit while he’s ahead.

#1538: Nite Owl

NITE OWL

WATCHMEN (MATTEL)

“Awkward, shy, and unnaturally obsessed with masked vigilantes and ornithology, Dan Drieberg was a surprisingly good fit to inherit the mantle of Nite Owl.  He is a talented engineer with a tragic childhood that feeds his needs to help the helpless and fight the good fight.  However, the world is not a perfect place and Dan is forced to constantly question his own morality.”

I’ve now made it through a full week of my post-Christmas reviews, and now we’re kind of nearing the end of this whole thing.  For today’s review, I’m switching over to a property that I’ve covered a few times on this site, Watchmen.  I was pretty huge into Watchmen a few years back, especially around the time of the film adaptation.  In the years since, my fixation has sort of waned, probably due to the overabundance of grimdark super hero stories in the last several years.  I still appreciate it for what it is, and there’s no denying that the story has lots of exciting designs, just ripe for toy form.  The comics designs are somewhat rare in the toy world, but Mattel put out a set of them a few years back, and I’ll be taking a look at the Nite Owl figure from that set today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nite Owl was the fourth figure in Mattel’s “Club Black Freighter” subscription, released back in 2013.  He’s based on the comics Nite Owl design, of course, which is a more simplistic look than his more sculpted look from the film, but I feel a slightly more polished and to the point design.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall 23 points of articulation.  The whole Club Black Freighter set was designed to fit stylistically with DC Universe Classics, and a lot of this was done via parts re-use from that line.  For Nite Owl, this means he uses the standard mid-sized arms, legs, and pelvis, along with a new torso and head, as well as add-ons for his cape and belt.  The legs are the end of DCUC legs, meaning they’ve had the rocker-ankles removed.  It’s definitely an annoyance, and it means he can’t really ever keep his feet flat on the ground, which looks rather goofy.  On the plus side, all of the newly sculpted pieces really do look cool.  The head’s a solid piece of work, and replicates Gibbons’ take on Nite Owl quite nicely.  His hard plastic cape, though very cool looking, effectively renders his arms motionless from the elbow up.  The end result to all of this is a figure that’s not really good for anything but standing around.  But at least he looks good, I suppose.  The paint work on Nite Owl is decent enough, and certainly better than a lot of Mattel’s output.  It’s clean and matches well with the art from the book.  It’s not the most thrilling color combination, but that’s true to the character, so one can hardly complain.  Nite Owl is packed with a display stand, three owl-arangs, and a grappling gun, as well as big novelty card thing with an art-deco sort of illustration.  The stand’s fine, but he has some trouble successfully holding any of the other extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Nite Owl was another Christmas gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  By the time the Club Black Freighter set came along, I was kind of done with Mattel’s whole subscription model and past my Watchmen fixation, so I ended up passing on them.  I almost bought Nite Owl a few times from Matty Collector during a couple of their year-end sales, but never got around to it.  Jess spotted him at the GameStop she works at and grabbed him for me.  He’s sort of an interesting phenomenon, a “super-posable” figure that doesn’t work as much more than a statue.  Ultimately, he’s not a bad figure, but he sort of fails at what he’s supposed to be.  I guess he’s rather par for the course when it comes to Mattel, though.

#1537: Finn – FN-2187

FINN — FN-2187

STAR WARS: TITAN HEROES (HASBRO)

“After his first taste of combat during a brutal First Order night assault on a Jakku village, Stormtrooper FN-2187 defects from Kylo Ren’s forces, becoming a fugitive.”

For my sixth post-Christmas review, I’m ducking back into the world of Star Wars, with another figure from the sequel trilogy.  This one specifically comes from The Force Awakens, which feels so long ago now, doesn’t it?  Prior to the movie’s release, we got a whole slew of Finn figures wearing his more civilian get-up, which, while accurate to the film and certainly the look he was sporting for the majority of its runtime, was perhaps a little less than exciting.  Slightly more exciting was his Stormtrooper-armored look from the opening of the film, which we had to wait until after the film’s release to get.  Thanks to weird distribution, I never actually picked up a single figure of Stormtrooper Finn, but now I have one, and I’m reviewing him today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Finn, or FN-2187 as he’s known when he’s still a Stormtrooper, is from the third main assortment of Force Awakens-themed Star Wars: Titan Heroes.  He hit around May of 2016 and was released alongside the Fifth Brother from Rebels.  The figure stands about 12 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s built very much like one of the smaller basic-line figures, but, like the previously reviewed Titan Heroes Rey, he’s molded in a much harder plastic, and he’s largely hollow.  This figure is largely a re-use of pieces from the First Order Stormtrooper, which is sensible enough, I suppose.  It’s rather on the skinny side, given how bulky these particular troopers tend to be, but the overall detail work is generally pretty decent.  It’s not any worse than the smaller figures in that regard, though compared to Rey, the only other Titan Heroes figure I own, he seems a little lower in quality.  On the plus side, his head sculpt was an all-new piece to this figure, and it was certainly one of Hasbro’s best Boyega sculpts, certainly on par with the Ridley likeness on Rey.  The paintwork on Finn is okay, but noting to really write home about.  The head gets the cleanest work, and manages to look pretty lifelike.  The body’s a bit on the sloppy side, especially on the hands, but it’s not atrocious.  Finn is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster, which is a decent replica of the real pos and can be stowed on his thigh when he’s not holding it.  It’s a shame he does’t get a helmet or anything, but at this scale and price-point, it’s not a huge shock.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Finn was a gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend’s parents.  He’s more of a companion piece to a larger gift they got for the two of us (a Sphero BB-8 was the main gift, with a Finn figure for me and a Rey for Jess).  I’ve never really devoted much of my time to this particular line, but I did really like the Rey figure I picked up a while back, and Finn makes for a decent enough companion piece to her.  He’s not the most thrilling figure in the world, but he’s still a pretty solid toy.

#1536: Ultraman Ace Suit

ULTRAMAN ACE SUIT

S.H. FIGUARTS X ULTRA-ACT (BANDAI)

It’s Day 5 of my post-Christmas reviews, and today I’ll be returning to one of my very favorite franchises, Ultraman.  My Ultraman reviews have gotten few and far between.  That’s the sort of thing that happens when they end the main line you collect of something, I suppose.  Without a steady stream of new Ultra-Act offerings, there’s a bit less regularity to my Ultra-collecting habits.  The Figuarts offerings are very cool, but there’s also a bit of overlap between the two collections, so I haven’t really picked up anything from that line.  Well, until now, anyway.  Today’s figure is based on the currently running Ultraman manga, which is a sort of soft reboot of the franchise, taking only the original show as canon, and following the adventures of Hayata’s son Shinjiro as he takes up the mantle of Ultraman.  The series has also introduced some of the later Ultras as recurring characters, though they aren’t proper Ultramen like they were before.  So, without further ado, here’s the Ultraman Ace Suit, piloted by Seiji Hokuto, a reimagining of one of Ace’s two hosts!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Ace Suit is the third offering in the SHFiguarts X Ultra-Act line, following the standard manga Ultraman and the Ver7.2 Suit.  As the Ace Suit is the third suit to appear in the manga, it’s a sensible release order.  The figure stands about 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Ace is the shortest of the three manga Ultras, and the figure reflects that.  I will admit, after messing around with CaRB for a few days, Ace’s articulation felt a little bit restricted, but compared to the average Figuarts offering, he’s not too bad.  The shoulders are the most  difficult thing, because they have to be configured just right for any given move.  But, once you get a feel for the figure, it’s not too hard to get him posed how you’d like him.  Ace’s sculpt is unique to him, and it does a pretty respectable job of translating the manga design into three dimensions.  It certainly helps that Ace is my favorite so far of the manga Ultras.  I definitely appreciate the common elements between this design and the classic Ace design, especially filtered through the manga’s more tactical design aesthetic.  His suit is pretty sleek and clean, and I quite like the more squared off nature.  It really goes well with the classic Ace elements, such as the pseudo Greco-Roman style helmet.  The sculpt gets all of these design elements worked in quite nicely, and doesn’t skimp in the smaller details.  I like that you can tell what’s actually armor and what’s a more flexible undersuit, just through the shaping of the materials.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty much on par with the various Ultra-Act figures I reviewed.  Everything is pretty clean and sharp, and the metallics look top-notch.  I particularly like that his lenses are translucent yellow; they look amazing when the light hits them the right way.  The Ace Suit is quite well accessorized.  He includes three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and flat poses), extra gauntlets, his specium blade, a slightly longer set of wrists (for use with the blade), and an alternate unmasked head with two different facial expressions.  The blade can be a little tricky to get set-up the right way, since it requires swapping out the wrists and getting the hands and bracers swapped over to the new ones, as well as getting the blade properly seated between the arms.  It took a few tries to get my figure to hold the blade the right way.  The extra head is certainly a nice touch, especially after a similar piece was left out of the first release of the main Ultraman.  The separate expressions work much the same as they do with the DBZ figures, and add a nice bit of character to the figure, though I hardly see myself displaying him unmasked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ace is Tim’s fault indirectly, and I suppose my parents fault directly.  It’s Tim’s fault I know this figure exists.  Which is a bit weird, when you get down to it, since I’m the Ultraman fan, but somehow this one slipped past me.  Once I saw him, I knew I wanted one, and my parents were nice enough to get me him for Christmas.  It’s kind of funny, because, while I like the original Ace, he’s never been one of my favorites.  This figure, on the other hand, very definitely is.  He’s a ton of fun, and just really cool looking to boot.

#1535: Inferno Squad Agent

INFERNO SQUAD AGENT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“In the wake of the Death Star’s destruction, the Empire created the Inferno Squad to ensure that Imperial secrets would remain safe.  Their fierce loyalty to the Empire and exceptional skills in both aerial and ground combat set this squad apart from the rank and file troopers.”

It’s Day 4 of my post-Christmas reviews.  Today, I’ll be turning my sites on that galaxy far, far away, and looking at a figure based on the *other* highly divisive Star Wars sequel released this year, Star Wars: Battlefront II.  I myself haven’t yet played Battlefront II, but that certainly doesn’t mean I can’t partake in any of the cool figures that have come out of it, right?  The game has reintroduced an actual campaign to the gameplay, but rather than playing as the 501st (like in the original Battlefront II), you now play as members of the Inferno Squad.  Which apparently translates to TIE Fighter pilots with a little bit of extra detailing.  Cool by me.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Inferno Squad Agent is one of three GameStop-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offerings from 2017.  This one was released to somewhat coincide with the release of the game he’s based on, which seems sensible enough.  This figure stands 6 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  There’s not actually anything new to his sculpt.  For the most part, he’s a pretty straight re-hash of the first Black Series TIE Pilot.  That was an incredibly strong sculpt the first time around, and it still holds up very well three years later.  In place of the original belt, this figure has the spare Stormtrooper belt from Han.  It’s a nice, yet simple, way of differentiating him a little bit more from the original release, and matches up with at least a few of the Agents from the game.  Paint marks where most of the changes are from the original TIE Pilot.  He’s still not crazy different or anything, but different enough to matter.  He’s got the same basic detail work as his predecessor, but now he’s also got some extra red accent work to help denote his Inferno Squad status.  I found the edges of said accenting to be a little fuzzy on my figure, but I was otherwise pretty happy with them.  The bright red contrasts well with the rest of the figure, and helps him stand out when placed next to the original.  The Inferno Squad Agent is packed with the standard E-11 blaster.  Thankfully, this one continues Hasbro’s trend of including accent work on the accessories, which is a pleasant change from the last TIE Pilot’s straight black blaster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy came to me courtesy of Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She’s been working at GameStop for the last couple of months, and was able to score this exclusive for me for Christmas.  He’s not wildly different from the standard TIE Pilot, but I dig the red accents a lot, and I was enough of a fan of the first one that I don’t mind getting a lot of that figure again.  A good toy is a good toy.

#1534: C.a.R.B. – Collared and Reprogrammed Body

C.a.R.B. – COLLARED AND REPROGRAMMED BODY

TOA HEAVY INDUSTRIES (1000TOYS)

“The Collared and Reporgrammed Body is an unauthorized experimental body with erratic A.I. installed to the head of a captured Synthetic Human. An imperative cleanup order for the CaRB has been issued by TOA Heavy Industries, and the 4 members of the Anti-CaRB Squad is out to hunt it down.”

For day 3 of the post-Christmas reviews, let’s mix things up.  I mean, not drastically, or anything.  I’m still looking at an action figure here because…I mean…what else is there, right?  Getting more to my original point, today I’m moving away from the realm of licensed toys.  Sure, I love me some licensed toys (as most of this site’s reviews will attest), but I also really love toys that are just fun completely on their own merits.  There’s not a ton of that out there these days, but every so often a little gem will break through.  One of my very favorite recent discoveries was Assemble Borg, which was a whole ton of fun, but it’s sadly a rather small line and most of its figures carry hefty aftermarket values.  So, if I want more like that, I have to be more adventurous with what I add to my collection.  In the spirit of that, let’s have a look at today’s focus, the Collared and Reprogramed Body, also known as CaRB!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CaRB is the second 1/12-scale figure in 1000Toys’s (pronounced “Sen Toys”) TOA Heavy Industries line, following their debut Synthetic Human figure.  This figure and his Synthetic Human predecessor are based on designs by artist Tsutomu Nihei, whose work I was not familiar with prior to discovering the line.  I’ll be looking into more of it, I’m sure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 41 points of articulation.  The posablilty on this figure is one of its strongest aspects.  The range of motion on just about every joint is insane, and a lot higher than I’m used to seeing on even some of the best figures out there posablily-wise.  This guy can pretty realistically pull of actual Cirque du Soleil moves (as tested by Tim), and, perhaps more amazingly, he can hold them all.  His joints are all tight enough to keep him in most poses, but he doesn’t have the ratchet joints that are usually used for such things, resulting in a very smooth posing process.  It’s really nice.  So, I’ve talked about the amazing posablity, but what about the sculpt its attached to?  Does all the motion make him into little more than an artist’s mannequin?  No, it actually doesn’t, really.  There are certainly some allowances as far as proportions go, and he’s not a pitch perfect recreation of the human anatomy, but he’s still surprisingly well put together.  While all of the joints are un-hindered, they’re still quite nicely worked into the sculpt, so his overall silhouette isn’t too negatively affected by them.  As you may have guessed from the bio, CaRB makes use of a lot of pieces from the Synthetic Human, which had a very sleek, balanced balanced design, meant to look like a real person.  This guy swaps out the more human face for a smooth, almost featureless faceplate, designed to play up his intimidation and artificialness.  It sort of reminds me of Kroenen from Hellboy, and that’s definitely a good thing.  He also swaps out the original left arm and lower right leg for more boxy, robotic components.  While the faceplate seems to have more of a desire to continue the design aesthetic of the body (albeit with a slightly different end goal), these replacement limbs look sort of slap-dash, just quick replacements for the prior parts, designed by someone with slightly less technical know-how than the originator of the Synthetic Human.  It paints an interesting back story, and also gives the figure an asymmetrical, Frankenstein’s Monster sort of look to him.  Another consistent element to the new pieces is offensive capability.  While the Synthetic Human is without any built-in weaponry, CaRB has clearly been built for fighting.  His right hand and fool both have blades that flip out, but most impressively, his left forearm has two lengthy blades that slide out.  One of the two blades is a little looser than the other, and has trouble staying extended, but that’s literally the only complaint I have about this figure.  CaRB’s paintwork is subtle, but definitely solid work.  I love the finish on this guy; he’s got this very sleek polished look.  All of the application is pretty sharp on my figure, and he just generally looks cool.  CaRB includes no accessories, which is slightly surprising for a figure that carries this sort of price tag, but there’s enough built into the figure that I didn’t really find myself upset by the lack of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Surprisingly for a cool import figure based on nothing I’m particularly familiar with, this figure is actually *not* Tim’s fault.  It’s actually my parents’ fault.  Well, their fault, via me.  I saw a review of this guy on The Fwoosh, and he looked really cool, so I added him to my Amazon wishlist with the intent to pick him up at some point.  My parents were ahead of me on that front, and he was amongst my gifts Christmas morning.  Hands down, this is one of the coolest figures in my collection.  I like him.  I like him a lot.

#1533: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

LEGENDARY MARVEL SUPER HEROES (DST)

For my second day of post-Christmas reviews, I get to look back on things I’ve forgotten.  Namely, the line today’s figure came from, Legendary Marvel Super Heroes.  The line is Diamond Select Toys’ continuation of the Mego-stylings seen in the World’s Greatest Super Heroes toy line of the 1970s, launched back in 2015.  I looked that the first two figures, Spider-Man and Captain America, back when they were new, and I was quite supportive of the line, and very much looking forward to its future offerings.  And then…I sort of forgot about it.  I feel a bit bad about that.  I blame Hasbro releasing 3 million Marvel Legends that I have to buy every year.  It takes up a lot of my time.  Anyway, today, I’m finally returning to Legendary Marvel Super Heroes, with a look at a character who never got a proper Mego back in the day, Daredevil!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil was the sixth figure in DST’s Legendary Marvel Super Heroes, released in mid-2016, between Deadpool and Punisher.  As with the rest of the figures in this line, he was built on the same standard body, which a slight re-fitting of Mego’s Type II body, with minor adjustments by Paul “Dr. Mego” Clarke.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like the other figures in this line, Daredevil is essentially three figures in one, with only the base body shared between the three.  If you have any standard Mego bodies lying around, or even prior figures from this line, you can display all three looks as separate figures.  For the purposes of my review, I’ve supplied two extras from my own collection.

The first of the three included looks is DD’s “vintage” design.  This is the one that’s meant to come as close to a legit Mego figure as possible.  The difference between DD and the last two I looked at is that, as a character with no actual vintage counterpart, DST and crew have had to come up with a figure that mimics the stylings of the old figures, a task at which they’ve very much succeeded.  By far the best part of this look is the head sculpt, which captures the classic DD design perfectly, while also preserving that Mego charm.  By modern standards, he looks a bit dated, but that’s sort of the idea, now isn’t it?  This is a head that will look completely at home next to the likes of Cap and Spidey.  The paint on the head is fairly simple, but it’s bold and the application is very clean, which looks pretty fantastic.  DD has a red bodysuit, which has been tailored to match the classic Mego one piece suits.  It’s got some pleather cuffs for the gloves, which feels appropriately vintage.  My only real complaint here is about the logo, which is very hard to see.  A higher contrast would have looked nicer, I think.  There’s a separate pair of red shorts overtop, which are definitely goofy, but also totally true to the ’70s version of the character.  As far as molded pieces go, he’s got a fairly standard set of red boots, as well as belt with a pleather holder for his billy club.  Said billy club is molded in bright red and can be popped apart at the middle.  He also includes an extra right hand with a more formed grip.  It’s nice to have the option, but it sort of doesn’t feel right to me, since it goes against the vintage Mego look where they all had the same hands.

The second costumed look for both Cap and Spidey was an updated version of the classic costume, but for DD they’ve opted to go for a totally different look, since just another version of the red costume might be a little bit drab.  So, instead, he gets a slightly modernized take on his original yellow costume.  As an unabashed fan of the Yellow Daredevil design, I’m definitely happy this costume made it into the set.  Where both Cap and Spidey got an all-new masked head for their second costume, DD’s is the same head, just painted in the appropriate colors.  The sculpt is strong enough that I don’t mind, and in fact I think it’d just be frustrating if they gave us a different head sculpt here, since the two would then never match.  This costume also gets the same belt and holster as the first one, just in a darker brown this time.  The actual costume is far more involved.  There’s a yellow body suit, which is slightly tighter to the body and also includes more of a collar to better hide the underlying body at the neck.  There’s an additional pleather unitard that goes overtop, which is also tightly tailored to the body, and features a much more obvious insignia.  He gets a set of far more detailed boots, modeled after those worn by a boxer (fitting, given his background) as well as new hands in fists.  He also gets the gripping right hand, as well as a billy club in brown.

The last look in the set is Daredevil’s alter-ego, Matt Murdock.  He gets an unmasked head sculpt, which looks to use the same starting point as the masked heads.  It’s okay, but I’m not sure it works quite as well as just the basic masked head.  It’s got some very clean paintwork, so that’s nice.  Matt’s seen here wearing a suit, which was patterned off the classic Mego suits seen on Clark Kent and the like.  It’s rather baggy and more than a little goofy, but it fits the style and, if nothing else, it’s easy to get on the body.  He also includes a set of sunglasses (which stay on much better than the glasses included in the Spider-Man set), as well as standard flesh tone hands, an extra gripping right hand, his briefcase, and his cane.

Also included in this set is a booklet detailing the process of getting this figure made, as well as giving a detailed account of DD’s history in both toys and comics.  It was certainly an entertaining read, just like the other two I’ve gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Daredevil was given to me by my parents as a Christmas gift this year.  He’s a figure I kept meaning to get, but I just kept getting side-tracked.  When playing with my Dad’s Mego collection as a kid, Daredevil’s absence definitely bugged me, so getting this figure definitely feels nice.  The standard look is definitely my favorite of the three, but I like them all.  Given his uniqueness, I think this set offers a bit more value than the last two I looked at, but I’m still a little bit frustrated that only one body is included, especially since one of my spares broke while I was shooting the photos for this set.  Nevertheless, this is a fun set for sure, and essential for any Mego fan’s collection.

#1532: Masked Rider 2 & Cyclone

MASKED RIDER 2 & CYCLONE

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

And let the Post-Christmas reviews officially begin!

Okay, so it’s my first day of Post-Christmas reviews, and for three years running, I’ve kicked things off with a figure of the Alien Queen.  That’s…not the case this year.  Sorry guys, there’s a limited number of Alien Queen figures out there for my family and friends to gift to me.  It was beyond all of our control.  You’re just going to have to make due with a Kamen Rider review.  I’m sure you’ll all manage.  Without further ado, let’s have a look at Masked Rider 2 and the Cyclone!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So, what’s all this “Masked Rider 2” business, you’re probably asking.  I’ll tell ya.  During the production of the first Kamen Rider series, lead actor Hiroshi Fujioka injured himself performing a stunt.  The producers of the show had a few options.  They could replace Fujioka with another actor and hope no one noticed, they could have him get some sort of plastic surgery, or they could come up with a reason for Fujioka’s Hongo to leave the show and introduce an interim replacement.  They opted for the last choice, and introduced the franchise’s first secondary rider, Hayato Ichimonji.  Ichimonji took over as the main protagonist of the show for about half a season, until Fujioka was able to return, at which point Ichimonji and Hongo shared the title.  And now you know all about Masked Rider 2!  There have been a few prior versions of Kamen/Masked Rider 2 from SHFiguarts, but it would appear that this set is the most recent, hitting in 2015.  He’s based on Ichimonji’s first main design, which was fairly similar to the original Kamen Rider’s in a lot of ways.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s very similar in construction to prior Figuarts offerings, especially the Power Rangers and the like.  His sculpt is unique to him, and it’s actually pretty solid.  It does a nice job of translating his design into figure form, all while allowing for articulation and maximum posability.  His proportions are a little bit optimized, of course, as is the style of the line, but it certainly works for this guy.  The level of detail, especially on his helmet, but also on his belt, is incredibly impressive.  The paint on Ichimonji is all pretty sharp and clean, and the colors match up pretty well to his screen counterpart.  He includes several different sets of hands in a variety of poses.  There’s fists, two different flat palms, an open grip and a bike grip.  It’s nice to have the variety, but I’m pretty much only ever going to use the bike grip ones.  He also includes two different tail attachments for his scarf.  One is flat and one is dynamic.  But honestly, who’s ever going to use anything but the dynamic version?

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

He can’t very well be “Kamen Rider” without a bike to ride, now can he?  Of course not.  Previously, Figuarts Kamen Riders and bikes were sold individually, but not this time, and that’s definitely a good thing for me.  The Cyclone measures about 5 1/2 inches long by about 4 inches tall.  It’s got actual moving wheels, and even a working kickstand, which I always count as a plus, and is generally just constructed like an actual bike.  That means it looks really, really good.  Just fantastically sharp construction and everything.  Hands down my favorite part of the whole thing is the back wheel, which is actually on shocks, with working pistons and everything.  That’s an insane attentiveness to detail, that by no means needed to be there, but by god they wanted it to be accurate, so there it is.  The average consumer won’t likely even notice it, but I will, so it matters to me.  The bike comes with two different attachment pieces to keep it standing,  One is pretty basic; it just hooks over the back wheel and keeps it standing, which is decent enough.  The more exciting piece is the one that requires some extra gear not included in this set  There’s a port that plugs into the base of the bike, allowing you to connect one of the standard Figuarts display stands to it.  It’s a pretty awesome option, and allows for some kick-ass set-ups.   It’s a shame no stand was included in the set, but it’s not like there aren’t already a ton of extras included here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This here set was a gift from my boi Tim, who shares with me a love of Kamen Rider, despite the fact that neither one of us has ever really sat down and watched any iteration of the show.  A good design aesthetic is a good design aesthetic.  I’ve been wanting to get one of the classic Riders for a while, so when I opened this set up I was pretty pumped.  And, as luck would have it, I even had a spare display stand that came with the K-2 Tim got me for my birthday.  It’s almost as if he planned it that way (he really didn’t, though).  This is a fantastic set, which has been so much fun to mess around with.  The only downside is now I need more Kamen Riders…

#1531: Mr. Meeseeks

MR. MEESEEKS

POP! ANIMATION (FUNKO)

I’m Mr. Meeseeks!  Look at meeeeee!”

-Mr. Meeseeks

Oooooooo.  It’s that time of the year.  Time for the holiday gift reviews!  Caaaaan doooooo!  As with prior years, I’ll be kicking things off with my one non-Christmas gift of the season, as sort of a prologue to the main items.

My introduction to Rick and Morty was really just in the last year, and it wasn’t actually something from the show at all, but rather a gag animation done by the same crew featuring Rick and Morty reciting, verbatim, the record of an actual court case, which was somehow weirder than the actual show.  It piqued my interest enough to give the show as a whole a try, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen.  In particular, I liked “Meeseeks and Destroy”, the episode that introduced the Meeseeks, a goofy disposable workforce.  Today, I’ll be following the advise of Mr. Meeseeks’ catchphrase, and taking a look at him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Meeseeks is #174 in Funko’s Pop! Animation line, falling into their first assortment of Rick and Morty Pops.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has a basic swivel joint at his neck as his only articulation.  This Meeseeks appears to be based on Jerry’s first Meeseeks from the episode.  Since it’s the one we spend the most time with, that’s pretty sensible.  This guy merges the typical Pop aesthetic with the simplistic animation style of the show, though he leans a little bit more towards the show side of things.  Really, the only thing that denotes this as a Pop is the larger, squarer shaping of the head.  Everything else is pretty standard for Meeseeks.  He’s got the round, blank eyes, but that’s really not a change for Meeseeks.  He even ends up getting a mouth.  Technically, Pops are supposed to omit that detail, but it’s probably one of the most overlooked rules, and I believe all of the Rick and Morty figures got mouths, so Meeseeks is far from the only figure in this category.  His pose is appropriate for Meeseeks, and certainly breaks from some of the more generic Pop poses, so I can definitely get behind it.  Paint on Meeseeks is fairly sparse, with him mostly being molded in the appropriate shade of blue.  There’s a little bit of paint for his face and hair, and that’s all fairly decent.  Nothing amazing, but certainly passable work.  Meeseeks actually does include an accessory, which is outside the norm for a Pop.  He gets a display stand to help keep him upright.  I didn’t have too much trouble keeping him standing on his own, but I appreciate the option of the stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mr. Meeseeks was given to me as an anniversary gift by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  She’s not really a fan of Rick and Morty herself, but she knows I like the Meeseeks, and she’s also a pretty huge fan of the “I’m Mr. Meeseeks” music video (which I definitely recommend giving a watch; it’s quite amusing), so she got me this guy.  Pops aren’t always my thing, but this is definitely a case where the source material really fits the style well, resulting in a pretty solid final product.