#2281: Major Vonreg

MAJOR VONREG

STAR WARS RESISTANCE (HASBRO)

“A vicious, daring man of few words, Major Vonreg is known for his custom crimson TIE fighter and his lightning fast strikes against anyone who dares intrude into First Order territory.”

For my last day of Post-Christmas reviews for this year, I’m taking a look at another figure from Star Wars Resistance.  Yesterday’s figure, Kaz, was part of the show’s titular resistance, but today’s figure hails from the other side of the war, the First Order.  While the majority of the First Order we’ve seen have been their ground troops, Resistance‘s focus on pilots translated to both sides.  Kylo took the part of star pilot of the First Order in the films, but the show introduced its own villainous lean pilot, Major Vonreg.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Major Vonreg is another basic figure from the first (and only) assortment of Star Wars Resistance figures.  He was one of three villains available present in the line-up.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, based on one of the show’s more distinctive designs.  Clearly, he’s got the standard First Order TIE pilot as a starting point, which is fine by me.  He’s a little more armored, and he’s got an all-new helmet design, which calls back to the Clone Pilots and is definitely one of the coolest First Order designs.  It’s sleek, it’s imposing, and it makes him pretty distinctive.  Of the three Resistance figures I’ve looked at so far, Vonreg is the only one to be fully armored up.  This makes the stylization from the show a little less evident, meaning this figure actually doesn’t look too out of place with the standard movie fare.  That makes him even more versatile, and I’m all about it.  The sculpt sports some decent detail work, especially on that underlying jumpsuit.  Despite not actually having a face, he’s actually one of the more detailed figures from the line.  The paintwork on Vonreg is a fairly distinctive look…or at least it was before we had a whole sub-division of all red troops.  Of course, I guess he could double as a Sith Trooper Pilot if you were so inclined.  Whatever the case, the all red look is a good look, and the variations of shades help him from being too bland.  Vonreg is packed with a small blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Between yesterday’s review and today’s, I’ve managed to watch a few episodes of the show, so hey, I’m not a total novice.  Not that the first couple of episodes have much of Vonreg here, but at least I’ve got some background.  Like yesterday’s figure, Vonreg was given to me by Cheyenne, who was determined to get me at least a few figures I didn’t have.  Vonreg is another pretty fun figure, aided further by his ability to fit in not just with figures from this line, but also from the main movie line.  He’s a solid trooper figure, even if he is technically a named character.

#2280: Kaz Xiono

KAZ XIONO

STAR WARS RESISTANCE (HASBRO)

“Confident and skilled when piloting a New Republic X-wing fighter, Kaz now feels out of his element having been assigned to be a spy for the Resistance.”

The Post-Christmas reviews are finally starting to wrap up here, and for the last two days, I’ll be looking at a pair of items with a common theme.  In addition to keeping with my whole “back to the beginning” thing by bookending this year’s reviews with another set of Star Wars reviews, the two final figure reviews hail from Disney’s Star Wars Resistance, their two-season Sequel-era cartoon that launched in 2018.  In addition to a few returning faces (including my dude Poe), the show also introduced a sizable cast of new characters.  Today, I’m taking a look at the show’s main character Kaz Xiono!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kaz Xiono was released in the six figure basic figure assortment for Star Wars Resistance‘s launch assortment…of course the launch was all we ended up getting, so there’s that.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  He and the rest of his companions would of course end up being the last new 5POA figures we would receive, at least as of right now.  Kaz is based on his standard look from the show, with an all-new sculpt that is an impressive recreation of his animated design.  Though he’s little more than a basic civilian in appearance, the design is still quite sharply rendered, with even a separate jacket piece to help add some more depth to the design.  He’s a very clean looking figure.  He’s also a very playable figure; though he’s only got those basic joints, they’re all unimpeded by the sculpt, making this a figure that’s perfect for use in vehicles.  Shame there weren’t any to go with the line, but alas, no sense crying over that now.  The paintwork, like the sculpt is clean and basic.  The green is cool, since that’s a rarer color with your typical Star Wars character, making Kaz something of a standout amongst his peers.  Kaz is packed with a removable helmet and a blaster pistol.  The pistol is the same one included with Poe, but the helmet’s all-new, and another very nicely done piece, as it goes on and off without any trouble.  It’s also got a pretty fun pattern printed on it, continuing the trend of having him stand out a bit from other such figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I have to admit, I’ve still yet to see a single episode of Resistance.  I didn’t have cable when it started airing.  Now I’ve got Disney+, so there’s really no excuse, but I still haven’t made the time to sit down and watch it.  That means I’m not actually familiar with Kaz here.  That said, the lack of a 5POA line for Rise of Skywalker made me really want something new of that style, and here was this pretty nifty line of figures I never actually bought.  Cheyenne (of Chey and Jess’ fun time reviews) was nice enough to get me Kaz here as a Christmas gift, and I gotta say, he’s just a really nifty little figure.  I’m happy to have him, and really feel like I should watch the show now.

#2279: Alpha Flight

VINDICATOR, PUCK, NORTHSTAR, AURORA, SHAMAN, & SNOWBIRD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Remember when I reviewed Guardian back in September, and I mentioned that Hasbro had thrown out the concept of trying to release all of the Alpha Flight team-members one at a time in favor of dropping them all at once in one fell swoop as an Amazon-exclusive set?  Well, here we are.  Just about a whole team in one go.  It’s just how they do.  Introduced in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #120 as part of Wolverine’s backstory, they eventually got a book of their own, which ran for over a decade.  Since that original run, though, they’ve had a little trouble keeping in the public eye, which has made their toy prospects a little tricky, especially since they’ve got a rather sizable line-up.  One big drop is pretty much the only way any company has ever been able to get them out to market, and that’s exactly what Hasbro did here.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This six figure set is an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, which was first listed for pre-order last fall, and started shipping about a month or two ago.   It’s designed to augment the Guardian and Sasquatch figures recently released in the main line, as well as giving fans a second chance at the incredibly hard to complete Puck build-a-figure from the last series of Return of Marvel Legends.

VINDICATOR

Heather McNeill Hudson, Calgary, Alberta”

In an effort to keep up with my claims of having reviewed 100% of the Heather Hudson figures in existence (it’s easy when there’s only three of them), here’s the latest one of those.  Whoooo.   Like the other two, this one is Heather in her version of the Vidicator costume, which she started wearing after her husband Mac’s (first) death.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which works reasonably well for Heather (and confirms that Wolverine’s got something of a type…that type being red heads of a certain build who are married).  She fortunately swaps out the high heels for a pair of flat soles, and ditches one of the open hands for a first.  She also gets an all-new head sculpt, which is quite a nice piece.  It’s fairly basic, but it’s clean and it sits well on the body.  It’s also got a posable ponytail, which is handy for different flight based poses. Heather’s paint work is okay, but not without a few issues.  The biggest is the change in red from James‘ suit to this one.  The figures were close enough in production time, that the two of them really should have been sporting the same colors.  As it is, they are’t terribly far off, but it’s enough of a difference to be grating when they’re displayed together.  Additionally, the maple leaf emblem has really lost the maple-leaf-ness this time around, looking far more like a bunch of random jagged lines.  My last complaint is more of personal preference, but the opaque coloring on the visor is a little bit of a bummer, especially since both of her prior figures have managed to do translucent.

PUCK

Eugene Judd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan”

Puck is the one figure who’s had a Legends release before, as the Build-A-Figure in the self-entitled “Puck Series,” an assortment put together to tie-in with The Wolverine‘s release that ended up dumped on Diamond Distrubutors and then wound up being incredibly hard to find.  That all resulted in Puck having a rather inflated after market price and being something of a barrier to entry for any prospective Alpha Flight fans.  Hasbro is throwing fans a bone here with an almost straight re-release of that figure.  He stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Apart from a missing waist joint, he’s otherwise very nicely articulated for a figure of his size and stature.  His sculpt is the same as his Build-A-Figure counterpart, aside from his head, which is an all-new, better scaled to the body, and just generally superior head sculpt.  Though I never owned the BaF, I did have the Marvel Universe Puck, which is actually quite similar stylistically to this one, apart from being about 2/3rds the size.  I liked that sculpt a lot, and I like this sculpt a lot.  Puck’s paintwork is alright; it’s a bit sloppy on his logo, but otherwise things look pretty decent.

NORTHSTAR

Jean-Paul Beaubier, Montreal, Quebec”

Northstar’s never had a Legends figure before, but he *was* part of Hasbro’s 2007 poll run by ToyFare, alongside his sister Aurora.  Why they decided to run tow halves of a pair in a fan poll that was only going to produce a single figure is anyone’s guess, but hey, at least he finally made it.  First Appearance Storm has as of yet not been quite so lucky.  Though the character has had a few looks over the years, this figure goes for the same one as all of his other figures, which is his first appearance suit.  To be fair, it’s his best look by far, so I’m not complaining at all.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Northstar is built on the ANAD 2099 body, which is a decent enough choice for the character given how he’s usually drawn in the comics.  His head’s better scaled to the body than Quicksilver, the last character to use the body, so he’s off to a decent start.  Said head is the figure’s one new piece, and it’s a respectable offering, doing a solid job of marrying Byrne’s depictions of the character with the general Legends aesthetic.  He’s certainly looks suitably pompous and stuck on himself, which is really what you need for the character.  Unfortunately, he misses out on the one other thing the character could really benefit from: an open hand.  Both of his are fists, meaning he can’t hold hands with his sister, which is a major bummer, what with that being a whole part of their power set and all.  His paintwork is also a little iffy, due to the transitions between black and white being rather fuzzy, and their also being a few errant marks of the opposing color on both sections.  The pearlescent white is pretty nice, though.

AURORA

Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, Montreal, Quebec”

As noted above, Aurora appeared alongside her brother in the 2007 fan poll, but was likewise not the winning figure, thus giving her the lengthy 12 year wait for a proper figure, which this set finally brought to an end.  Like her brother, Aurora is sporting her original design, which is again the cleanest and most dynamic of her various designs.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Aurora is built on the Psylocke body, which is a solid choice for the character, though suffers from some issues with the plastic that the original release didn’t.  The primary issue is with the elbows, which have had reports of major issues with breakage.  While I’ve not experienced this with either of my figure’s arms, I will say that the joints are a little tighter than I’d like, which has made me very cautious when posing her.  Beyond the re-used body, she also gets one of the may open gesture hands in place of Psylocke’s grip (making Northstar’s fists even more egregious), as well as a brand new headsculpt.  Like her brother’s, the sculpt does a respectable job of marrying Byrne’s style with the general Legends aesthetic.  Her paintwork is very similar to Northstar’s, meaning it’s a little iffy on the costume, but overall an okay offering.  It’s a little bit cleaner on her than on her brother.

SHAMAN

Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, Calgary, Alberta”

Perhaps the most straight-forwardly-named member of the team, Shaman is also the least fortunate member when it comes to toys, having only a Minimate release to date, in contrast to the rest of the team having at least a couple releases under their belts.  Why he gets left out is anyone’s guess, but at least he wasn’t left out this time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Shaman is built on the Bucky Cap body, a mold which seems be starting to wear out, because Shaman doesn’t feel anywhere near as solid as earlier figures on the body.  I don’t dislike it’s continued use, but it’s a bit of an issue when it’s quality starts to fall as it has here.  I suppose to make up for it slightly, Shaman gets the most new pieces of all the figures in the set, with a new head, plus add-ons for his belt/loincloth and wrist bracers.  The parts are all nice enough; the head’s a little devoid of personality, but then that’s kind of Shaman, isn’t it?  The paint on Shaman is unfortunately the worst in the set.  Typically, he’s depicted in green and orange, but this figure has yellow instead, which just doesn’t look quite as good.  Additionally, the application is really sloppy, especially on the torso, which makes the whole thing look kind of messy.

SNOWBIRD

Narya, Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories”

Snowbird as a character was one of Byrne’s earliest creations, actually pre-dating his comics work, and being refitted into Alpha Flight in their first appearance.  It’s kind of a shame he never took the time to, you know, actually make her a full character.  Sorry, is my dislike of Snowbird showing?  I’ll do my best to keep that under wraps.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  I’m gonna be real here guys, I don’t actually recognize the parts Snowbird is built from.  They have to be re-use, because every thing else in this set is, but I’m at a loss myself.  The head and cape are both new to be sure, though.  They do their job of recreating her design alright.  The cape’s maybe a little smaller than usually shown in the comics, but that comes with trying to make it more manageable and not have the figure falling over all of the time.  Snowbird’s paintwork is decent enough.  There’s a slight mismatch between the shades of white on various parts of her costume, but it’s not too noticeable in person, and the metallic blue is certainly very nice looking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With Sasquatch and Guardian already in my collection, I was certainly intrigued by the prospect of slowly building an Alpha Flight line-up.  I didn’t really expect to do it all at once, but that’s how it happened.  I ended up getting this set from my parents for Christmas.  The set’s really more spectacle than anything, sold on the novelty of completing the team in one go.  Removed from that novelty, most of the figure’s are kind of middle of the road, which I guess is only fair, since so are most of the characters.  Puck marks an improvement on the impossible to find Build-A-Figure, so he’s the star of the set for me.  The rest are okay, but virtually all of them are held back by some small production issue, which makes the set feel…underwhelming?  At least when looking at the figures individually.  As a unit, paired with the other figures?  They are pretty cool.

#2278: Chewbacca & C-3PO

CHEWBACCA & C-3PO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Encountering a Stormtrooper in Cloud City, C-3PO was blasted at point blank range and his limbs were scattered.  Chewbacca gathered the parts of the protocol droid and partially reassembled him.”

Remember when I was talking about C-3PO’s late entry into The Black Series, just three days ago?  Well, lucky him, he’s gotten not one, but two exclusive figure releases right on top of each other.  I suppose he’s just finally getting the due he deserves.  While the last figure was based on 3PO’s most recent appearance, this one goes back to the original trilogy, and gives us a dedicated Empire Strikes Back 3PO.  You can’t really have an Empire 3PO without a proper Empire/Jedi Chewy to carry him around.  So, one-two-boom, here they are, in one convenient Amazon-exclusive package!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Chewbacca and C-3PO are, as noted in the intro, are an Amazon-exclusive pairing, which was listed for pre-order shortly after Force Friday and started shipping in November.  The two are packaged in a box that’s similar in size to the deluxe-size package used for Grievous, which is a lot smaller than previous two-pack boxes.  It makes this feel a little less like a two-pack, and more like a deluxe Chewbacca that includes 3PO as an accessory.

CHEWBACCA

For his first (and previously only OT-based) Black Series figure, we got Chewy based on A New Hope.  While his look is more or less the same in all of the original films, there were some slight changes in his look from A New Hope to Empire, mostly to do with how the hair on his head sat.  For the later movies Chewy was all about “bangs” game.  We got our first taste of a Chewy with bangs on the Target-exclusive Solo-based figure, but those weren’t *quite* right for a vintage Chewy, and he had the wrong bandolier.  This one aims to be the definitive secondary Chewbacca.  He stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Like the last Chewbacca, this one borrows heavily from the first Black Series Chewbacca.  This one gets yet another new head and upper torso, but keeps the standard bandolier that the Solo version ditched (hence the need for a new upper torso with only one bandolier imprint, rather the the v-shape of the Solo release).  While I had some issues with the mold when it debuted, at the very least, the mold quality has improved, and so now the parts sit better together, making for a better looking figure overall.  The new head’s the main focus of the figure, of course, with the slightly looser hair on his head, as well as a more relaxed expression, which feels more in line with Chewy’s more reserved status as the trilogy progressed.  I liked the improvements of the Solo sculpt a lot, but this does even better, and makes for the most cohesive Chewbacca sculpt to date.  The paintwork on this figure largely a match for the Solo version, which is a plus, since that was a solid paint-app.  The transitions are much more subtle, and the eyes are more lifelike than the original Chewbacca, resulting in a much more natural-looking take on the character.  As a late-in-the-movie version of the character, this Chewy is after he’s lost his bowcaster.  So, instead of that, he’s got a stolen Imperial blaster, borrowed from one of the proper Stormtroopers.

C-3PO

Ho boy, it’s another C-3PO.  It’s been days.  Days, I tell you.  As noted in the intro, this guy is based on 3PO’s appearance in Empire.  It’s not really much different from his appearance in the previous film (which is what the first Black Series figure was based on).  The color of the foot changes, and he’s a little messier.  In terms of construction, he’s using the same combined 3PO/4-LOM set-up as the 3PO I looked at three days ago, but this time around he gets the relaxed 3PO hands, instead of the posed 4-LOM hands.  It’s still a good sculpt, so I’ve got no complaints.  The paintwork follows the Target-exclusive’s lead, going for a slightly duller gold, which looks a bit more movie accurate.  In contrast to the very clean 3POs we’ve gotten previously, this one’s also got some serious dirt and grime, no doubt gotten when he got all blasted apart.  The main gimmick to this guy is the ability to pop his arms and legs off, simulating the major damage 3PO takes while in Cloud City.  In order to complete this look, he also has wire attachments that connect to each of his joints to replace the missing limbs.  They don’t really stay in place, but they do the job, and they look convincing.  He also has a net bag for Chewy to carry him in, completing the whole look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always dug this particular set-up for these two characters, with the Star Wars Saga release being my go-to Chewbacca for years, and the Applause plastic statue thing being literally the only one of those things I ever owned.  I’ve also been jonesing for a proper Empire/Jedi Chewy, since we had the rest of the main cast from Empire.  Needless to say, I was on board for this set when it was first shown, and I was definitely happy to get this pair from my parents for Christmas.  I’m very happy with both figures included, and they’re my default versions of both characters.

#2277: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

A decade removed from the Star Wars prequels, they don’t seem quite as bad as they once did.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still major issues and my recent re-watch of Attack of the Clones certainly reminded me of why it’s the worst movie in the franchise, but even when we all thought they were universally trash, there were always some redeeming elements.  For Revenge of the Sith, my favorite bit was always General Grievous, a character I had latched onto before the movie even opened, and whom I would continue to enjoy when he became a major player in the second Clone Wars cartoon.  Though his characterization may have been a little two-dimensional, and his name is just silly (it’s just an adjective!  That’s not a name), he certainly had one of the coolest designs to come out of the prequels.  Even when I had my strict “no prequels” rule for The Black Series, I could always see myself possibly breaking that rule for a good Grievous figure.  Here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Grievous is the first figure in the Deluxe subdivision of The Black Series, numbered “D1.”  So far, he’s the only deluxe size figure to be available through all retailers…well, all the ones that were willing to carry him, which didn’t end up including the likes of Walmart or Target.  He started hitting around the second quarter of last year.  Grievous only has one film appearance, so this figure rather sensibly draws from that.  I want to state at the top of this review that this is a very good figure, but he, like every Grievous figure ever created, is also a flawed figure.  It’s a design that has a degree of necessary cheating to work on the screen.  In person, on a fixed item, that cheating isn’t possible, and concessions have to be made…but I’ll get to that.  At full height, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, as you might expect, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that.  It manages to fairly accurately recreate his design as seen in the movie, and, in contrast to most Grievous figures, most of the joints in the design are joints on this figure.  Not all, of course.  Some concessions have to be made for the hands and feet, given the scale of the figure, and there are one or two other spots (notably the wrists), where there should be movement but isn’t.  I do really like how tight all of the joints are on this figure; far too many Grievous figures wound up with really floppy joints.  The design of the sculpt also allows this Grievous figure to have a feature that most forego: actual combining arms.  We’ve seen them before but typically only on less articulated figures.  More often then not, they’ll just release him with his arms one way or the other, or, in the case of the first 3D Clone Wars figure, they’ll give him extra arms.  The combining arms end up being the feature that causes this figure the most trouble.  The four separate arms are nicely articulated on their own.  When you go to combine them, it’s a little tricky, because even a slight warp will make them not a perfect fit.  And once they’re together?  Well, you’re certainly not getting full movement out of the joints once the arms are combined, which proves rather restricting.  As nifty an idea as the combining arms may be, I can’t help but feel that swappable arms might have worked a bit better in this regard.  At the end of the day, I can’t really blame them for trying, and this is certainly the best go at it we’ve seen.  The paintwork on Grievous is some of the most impressive work we’ve gotten from the line; the weathering alone really sells the figure, as it gives him a much more realistic appearance, which is rather amusing for a completely CGI creation.  Grievous is a rather well accessorized figure, including his DT-57 blaster, his four stolen lightsabers (which, according to Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force formerly belonged to Pablo-Jill, Eeth Koth, Roron Corobb, and Shaak Ti), and a cape.  The blaster and sabers are pretty standard fair.  The cape is a bit of a let down, if I’m honest.  The decision to use cloth is definitely understandable, and I do really dig the inclusion of the spot to store Grievous’ collection of sabers, but the cape’s totally wrong at the shoulders, with a big, obvious join, as opposed to the proper flowing under his collar plate look.  The grey and red parts also aren’t hemmed together at the bottom, which looks a bit sloppy.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s bad enough that I don’t see myself using the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for a Grievous Black Series figure for a while, and was happy to see him announced…but I was never happy about that cape, and it honestly held me back from picking him up, as silly as that may be.  Fortunately, my in-laws had my back on this one, and got me Grievous for Christmas.  After opening him up, the cape still frustrates me, but the rest of the figure is just so well-engineered that I really don’t care all that much.  This is definitely the best Grievous figure out there.

#2276: Orion

ORION

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“The Scourge of Apokolips. Orion is Darkseid’s son and a half-brother to Kalibak. He turned against his father’s evil ways to fight on the side of justice. Orion wields the astro-force, an energy beam of tremendous power, and bears a computer-like device whose rays disguise his true face, the visage of one born on Apokolips. Although Orion is greater than mortal, he can be defeated in battle by a stronger warrior, or injured by conventional weaponry. When traveling on Earth, Orion has used the alias ‘O-Ryan.'”

This year’s Post-Christmas reviews sure do involve a lot of me coming full circle on some stuff and “going back to the beginning” so to speak.  Today’s focus is perhaps not back to the beginning for the site so much, but it is certainly a return to form for my collecting as a whole.  But that’s for the last section of this thing.  Let’s get through the lead-in first.  I’ve reviewed Kenner’s Super Powers six times before on this site; I’ve probably discussed it a few more times than that.  It’s kind of the quintessential DC toy line, and quite frankly, it’s kind of the quintessential comic book toyline.  Mego may have really gotten super heroes out there, but Super Powers is the genesis of most things we think of in terms of super hero toys.  The line ran three years, each year stranger than the last.  As it progressed, they got some help on it courtesy of Jack Kirby, whose Fourth World characters would become a fixture of the line.  Orion, central hero of the Fourth World would join the line not long before its end.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Orion was released in 1986, as part of the third and final series of Super Powers figures.  He and series-mate Mister Miracle rounded out the line’s New Gods theme.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation….7 if you count the neck, but that’s not *really* a point of articulation.  Orion, like every Super Powers figure, was a totally unique sculpt.  While the line’s first assortment stuck to the DC style guide, but the second year there were sizable changes for some of the more secondary characters, especially the Fourth World stuff.  Orion followed suit, with one of the more intensely different designs.  Honestly, if it weren’t for his name being on the box, you could be forgiven for not realizing this guy was supposed to be Orion.  The base color scheme is the same, and you can see some remaining elements of his helmet and astro harness, but only slight elements.  The helmet in particular, typically the one constant piece of Orion’s design (and honestly the best piece of Orion’s design) received a major overhaul.  It’s…well, it’s goofy to say the least.  The sleekness of his original design is gone, and while there’s still a lot of Kirby in this look (fitting, since it was an authentic Kirby design and all), it’s just not as strongly heroic as the original design.  Some of it is a symptom of the line’s knack for action features.  Most of them weren’t an impediment to the design of the figure, but Orion was notable exception, because you can definitely tell that a lot of that helmet design had to do with being able to fit in flipping Orion’s face from “good” to “bad.”  It’s certainly a memorable trait of his from the comics, but I’m not really sure it was worth upending his classic design.  All that said, it doesn’t make for a terrible looking toy, and Kenner still put their best foot forward on translating the design into plastic form.  The paintwork is all pretty solid, with a bright palette that is nothing if not eye-catching.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Super Powers may have ended six years before I was born and nine years before I began collecting action figures, but that didn’t stop it from being a huge impact on my collecting as a child and as an adult.  The line first become notable to me as a kid due to my love Hal Jordan, and his notable lack of then-current action figure coverage.  This one being just a few scant years removed made it relatively attainable to me, and so I, with some definite help from my parents, set out on collecting my first “vintage” line.  The Super Powers archive was my home page, I knew the line-ups to each assortment by heart, and I knew the rumors for the failed fourth line-up (before we actually knew the official fourth line-up).  I would scour ebay, looking at auctions for all of the figures.  And, for Christmas every year, I would put two more figures from the line on my Christmas list, and my dad would dutifully track them down.  Interests change, and I fell out of Super Powers for a bit, and when I got back into it, I was doing most of my own buying.  At one point, I was even planning to round out the line-up by buying one figure for myself out of every paycheck.  That didn’t pan out, as you can see by my not owning the whole line yet.  This year for Christmas, I decided I to ask a Super Powers figure again, so I made up a list of the ones I didn’t have, and then this guy was the very last thing I opened on Christmas morning.  It was a nice throwback.  And with that, I have 26 Super Powers figures; just eight left.

#2275: C-3PO & Babu Frik

C-3PO & BABU FRIK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

C-3PO longs for more peaceful times, but his continued service to the Resistance keeps him on the frontiers of galactic conflict.

A tiny, well-regarded droidsmith, Babu Frik can modify virtually any droid, regardless of the security measure protecting its systems.”

Since his later than others entry into the line, C-3PO has been steadily racking up quite an assortment of Black Series figures for himself.  Though his look may not change all that drastically throughout the majority of the films, Hasbro has nevertheless seen fit to give us as many of the character’s minor tweaks as they can.  He wound up getting at least one figure for all three of the sequel trilogy films (though the Last Jedi figure was only available through Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge park expansion), with his appearance in Rise of Skywalker providing his latest offering, alongside the minuscule droidsmith Babu Frik.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

C-3PO and Babu Frik are a Target-exclusive Black Series offering, which started hitting about a week or two before the movie arrived in theaters last year.  The set depicts 3PO as we saw him in much of the promotional material before the film, carrying Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, and sporting red eyes, as opposed to his usual gold tones.  These two things don’t happen at the same time in the final film, but then again, the figure doesn’t require him to be doing everything at once either, making his more of an all-encompassing Rise of Skywalker 3PO.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  This 3PO is a combination of the first 3PO and the improved protocol droid arms from 4-LOM, meaning he can bend his arms.  This same change was also seen on 000 and the Galaxy’s Edge 3PO, so it was really just expected here.  He gets a new head, sporting a removable backing, allowing for his internals to be revealed, just like in the movie.  I’m always skeptical of features like this, lest they not fit properly when popped back into place, but 3PO’s head remains together fairly securely, and I must admit the feature looks pretty darn cool.  Beyond that, the construction on 3PO is the same as the first figure, which means it’s a very nice looking sculpt, and was very posable even before the addition of the improved arms.  The paintwork on 3PO is pretty decent all around.  He is again a flat gold, rather than vac metalized, which I still don’t mind all that much.  The gold isn’t quite as bright as the first 3PO, which seems more accurate.  He also gets some small silver piping on the arm joints, which we’ve not seen before, as well as the expected extra detailing on the back of the head.  The most notable change, though, are the eyes.  Like Dryden Vos, they’re therno-sensitive. At room temperature, they’re a standard gold, but when cold, they turn a bright red, like his eyes do briefly in the film.  It’s a nifty effect, even if I don’t see myself getting a ton of use out of it.  3PO is packed with Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, both borrowed from previous figures, as well as a whole nother figure, Babu Frik.  Okay, I say he’s a whole figure.  That’s perhaps a slight stretch.  Babu is certainly more of a figure than I had anticipated; I fully expected an unarticulated mini-figure, but to my surprise, Babu sports ball joints at the shoulders and waist.  He’s also got a moving visor, so he can properly work on the back of 3PO’s head. Certainly he is far more impressive figure than I’d initially expected.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair was another gift to me from my in-laws.  I’d expressed a moderate interest in the pair prior to the film’s release, but wasn’t sure what to expect.  After seeing the movie and quite enjoying Babu’s sequence, I was quite happy to open these two up Christmas morning.  I was even happier when I actually took them out of their box and discovered just how playable Babu was.  Definitely a fun little offering, and a great choice of exclusive.

#2274: Strong Guy

STRONG GUY

MARVEL MINIMATES

On a team of oddballs and easily overlooked characters, Lila Cheney’s bodyguard Guido, under the alias of Strong Guy, is probably the most oddball and easily overlooked of the second X-Factor line-up.  Perhaps because of that, he became sort of the signature character for the team, a fixture for incarnations going forward.  The team’s line-up just really feel complete without him.  So, making a toy version of the team without him simply hasn’t happened.  The advent of Build-A-Figures for Minimates finally made it possible to make this five man team work in an assortment that could still sell to retailers, all while giving us the whole line-up in a single shot.  And, hey, it gives Strong Guy his second ever action figure.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Strong Guy is the Build-A-Figure for the 78th Series of Marvel Minimates.  He’s the fourth Minimate BaF, and the first one to really take advantage of the ability to get a slightly larger ‘mate out there by divvying up their pieces amongst four sets.  Unlike the rest of the assortment, Strong Guy is totally new to Minimates, which makes sense, what with him not really having other bankable looks to fall back on like the rest of the two teams.  The figure stands 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation, though like most bulked up ‘mates, there’s the caveat of the articulation all being rather limited.  Strong Guy starts with the basic ‘mate body, and then has add-ons for the torso cap, pelvis cap (with a torso extender), bulked up thighs, and straps for the wrists and ankles.  Somewhat amusingly, he doesn’t get the poofy upper arm sleeves like Havok and Polaris, which makes his arms seem slightly under-developed.  Why they didn’t opt to include those parts is anyone’s guess, but I suppose it’s possible they just didn’t cost out.  Strong Guy’s torso piece is all-new, and does a respectable job of recreating his distinctive proportions from the comics.  The design clips over the standard torso and replaces the arm pegs with another set mounted on the new torso piece.  For my money, they seem to sit out a little too far from the core of the body, and I definitely worry about their long-term integrity in terms of posing without breaking.  That said, they do the job alright.  The rest of the parts are re-used from elsewhere, and keep him inline with his teammates. His paintwork is respectable.  The best work is definitely on the face, which gets his design from the comics down.  The base color work on the body could be a little crisper, and the paint on some of the joints is a little thick, but he looks alright.  He’s got no accessories, but he’s technically an accessory himself, so I guess that pans out.  It would have been nice to at least get an extra stand for him, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gee, I wonder where Ethan got this Build-A-Figure, built from the parts included in four sets that he just reviewed this week.  Yeah, this whole assortment was a gift from my Super Awesome Wife.  Havok was my primary focus, but I was also pretty invested in completing Strong Guy as well, which was the main push for rounding out the assortment.  He’s not perfect, but he’s a solid recreation of the character.  And now I’ve got this pretty nifty little X-Factor team.

#2273: Wolfsbane & Beast

WOLFSBANE & BEAST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Four days into these reviews, you should know what to expect here.  It’s time for one more of these Minimates reviews!  While yesterday’s pairing of characters was perhaps a little off-kilter, the assortment is finishing off with a pairing that’s actually a pretty natural one.  The feral but dignified Wolfsbane and Beast are both offered up in this final two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolfsbane and Beast are the final two-pack in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates.  Like the other sets in the assortment, they also include part of the Build-A-Mate Strong Guy, specifically the torso.

WOLFSBANE

“Rahne Sinclair was originally a member of the New Mutants before joining X-Factor. Her power is to shift into a wolflike form.”

Wolfsbane was a slight odd-man out for the New Mutants.  While most of their number were shunted from New Mutants into its direct replacement X-Force, Rahne was grabbed in the shuffle for a slight upgrade to X-Factor member.  It’s okay, her place in the X-Force roster had to be filled by the thinly-veiled knock off Feral.  They hardly missed her.  This figure marks Wolfsbane’s second time as a ‘mate, after getting released with her New Mutants team mates back in 2011.  This one stands 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the modern ‘mate body, with add-ons for the hair and shoulder pads, and non-standard hands for her claws.  The hair piece is new, and is shared with her pack-mate.  Sensible, I suppose, as they typically had fairly similar hair, though perhaps a bit odd to see when looking at the pack in the box.  The claws and shoulder piece are both re-used parts, which is a sensible choice.  In general, they do a decent job of capturing Rahne’s team appearance.  The paintwork on her is solid work.  It translates the design and has all of the important details.  One of the knee joints was a little stuck from the paint, but at least it didn’t break like with Polaris.  Wolfsbane’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

BEAST

“Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy initially only had large hands and feet, and was a natural gymnast, until an experiment turned him furry and blue.”

There’s been something of a revolving seat for who gets left out of any ‘mate recreation of the various forms of the original five-man X-Men team.  The last time we got a boxed set of them all together, it was Hank who was left out, but this time he gets the nod over Bobby, who was the one member of X-Factor whose costume didn’t change with the others.  Beast actually had three different looks, with two “human” looks and the usual blue and furry.  This one is the usual blue and furry, which we haven’t gotten a ‘mate of since Series 34, prior to the move to the properly bulked up larger characters.  This figure uses those bulked up parts, alongside the feet from the Series 34 figure, the hair he shares with Wolfsbane, and a new set of bulked up hands.  It’s a good selection of parts, and easily the most accurate recreation of the bulked-up Beast we’ve gotten in the line.  The paintwork is about what you’d expect, and it’s worth noting it goes more heavily into that beastly look from the end of his stint in X-Factor, rather than a friendlier appearance.  The color of his fur is a close match to the Series 34 version, however, should you prefer the friendlier look.  Like Wolfsbane, his only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This would be the last of the four sets of Minimates I got this year for Christmas from Super Awesome Wife.  It’s an okay set, though it’s probably my least favorite of the four sets personally.  Neither of the two included is really that much of a stand out, but they’re both certainly serviceable.

#2272: Multiple Man & Archangel

MULTIPLE MAN & ARCHANGEL

MARVEL MINIMATES

The last two sets of Minimates I looked at each paired off one member of X-Factor’s first incarnation with one from the second.  The first was the team leaders, Scott and Alex Summers, the similarly powered leaders of their respective teams.  The second was Jean Grey and Lorna Dane, the again fairly similarly powered love-interests of the team leaders.  For the third set, the connective tissue appears to be choice in head gear…*

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Multiple Man and Archangel are another set in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates, a whole assortment based around X-Factor.  Multiple Man is also available in a Luke’s Toy Store-exclusive two-pack with a duplicate of himself, allowing for quicker army building.  Also included with this pair is the head of the assortment’s Build-A-Mate, Strong-Guy.

MULTIPLE MAN

“Jamie Madrox has possessed the mutant ability to form duplicates from birth. He has been a member and the leader of X-Factor.”

Multiple Man’s first minimate was based on his 2000s X-Factor Investigations appearance, and pretty much since then a more classic version of the character has been fairly heavily requested.  Like a lot of this assortment, Multiple Man treads down the same roads as his recent Legends release; at least they know there’s a market, right?  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the modern ‘mate body, with an add-on piece for his jacket.  The jacket’s actually a new piece, which is a little surprising, but nice to see nevertheless.  The rest of his design is conveyed via paint work, which is a pretty impressive affair.  The shading on the uniform works really well, and I dig the green trench coat that more closely replicates the comics art.  Multiple Man’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is a slight let down.  It’s too bad we couldn’t get some alternate arms for a sans jacket look, or maybe an extra head with a different expression like the Legends release had.

ARCHANGEL

“Warren Worthington III lost his feathered wings in battle, but was given new, metal wings by the mutant Apocalypse.”

Archangel marks this assortment’s first straight remake of an earlier ‘mate.  His Death design was first released back in Series 19 of the line, and hasn’t been updated since.  This one is different, but I don’t know that it’s inherently better.  He gets an add-on for his wings, which are a different piece than the previous Archangels, another surprise.  While these seem to capture the earlier stylings of the wings a bit better, it’s at the cost of the cool ball joints of the old ones; these wings only have the one possible pose.  That’s a bit of a letdown.  His paint work is at least pretty good.  I like the general color scheme of this one a little more than the prior release, and I think the face is more Warren Worthington-esque than the earlier version.  Archangel gets a flight stand and a regular display stand.  Cutting the death mask from this release is another letdown.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got these two from the same source as the last two packs: Super Awesome Wife!  As I noted yesterday, I mostly wanted the first set, and the rest were along for the ride.  That said, this set’s probably number two for me.  Both figures are decent, but I can’t help but wish there were some more extras included, and there’s no denying that Archangel suffers a bit from change fro the sake of change.  Multiple Man’s pretty cool, though.

*Interestingly, as odd-ball as this pair may be, this is not the first time Madrox and Worthington have been paired up in this line; Madrox’s more modern appearance from Series 31 was packed with two different versions of Angel.