#2640: The Mandalorian w/ Speeder Bike

THE MANDALORIAN w/ SPEEDER BIKE

STAR WARS: MISSION FLEET (HASRBO)

Alright, are you guys ready to get cyclical?  I sure hope so, because we’re going to be rounding up this year’s post-Christmas reviews by circling back to where we kicked them off, namely Star Wars, or more specifically, The Mandalorian.  Before the dumpster fire that was last year had really kicked into high gear, Hasbro was looking to experiment a little bit with their Star Wars output.  Obviously, The Black Series and The Vintage Collection have the collector’s side covered, but that leaves a bit of a lack of stuff for a younger audience, or indeed someone who just likes a good, fun toy.  Their first attempt at slight more all ages fare was Galaxy of Adventures, which I covered as they were released in 2019, and which was *supposed* to have more product added in 2020 but…didn’t.  The other line, shown off at Toy Fair last year, was Mission Fleet, a stylized line with a heavier focus on vehicles.  The line started showing up at retail last fall, and it’s been a fun little experiment.  Today, I’m taking a look at its first set based on The Mandalorian.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The Mandalorian with Speeder Bike is part of the launch wave of Mission Fleet product, in a set officially dubbed “Battle For The Bounty.”  They have a few different sizes and price points for the sets, and this one is part of the Expedition Class set up, which covers more proper vehicles of the smaller persuasion.

The core figure gives us Mando in his full Beskar armament, and was in fact the first toy from Hasbro to do so, having beaten both the Black Series and Vintage Collection versions to market by a little bit.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Despite the small stature, he does still get a ball-jointed neck and universal joints on the shoulders, so he’s got an alright range of motion.  His sculpt is a pretty respectable little offering.  He’s definitely rather stylized, with a slightly enlarged head, hands, and feet.  He’s not quite as far removed as, say, a PlaySkool offering, but definitely not a hyper realistic recreation of the live action stuff by any stretch.  I think it works pretty well for him, and gets all of the important details for the character, while making him perhaps a touch more kid-friendly.  His paint work is pretty on the basic side, but all of the important details are again present.  Application is clean, and he matches the show depiction pretty well.  Mando is packed with both his cape and jetpack, though, like the Black Series figure, you have to choose one or the other.  He also includes both his rifle and pistol.  The only downside to the two weapons is a lack of storage for them while he’s on the vehicle, an unfortunately recurring issue with the line.

Though not quite as much of a figure proper as the Mando, this set also includes the *other* major player in The Mandalorian, the Child, who was still unnamed at the time of this figure’s release, so he sticks with just being “The Child.”  In an effort to be kind to people who aren’t entirely current on the show, I’ll just stick with that here.  He’s about an inch tall and is articulated only at his neck, which is honestly more articulation than I’d been expecting, really.  He’s definitely way too large to be in proper scale with the Mando or any other normal sized characters from this line, but for proper scaling, he’d be incredibly minuscule, and even more easily lost than he already is.  He’s sculpted holding the control knob from the Razor Crest, and is caricature-ized, much like the Mando.  His paint work’s not quite as clean as Mando’s, but it’s still not too bad.  Again, all of the important details are there.  The Child includes his floating pram from the first few episodes.  Like the Child itself, the pram is quite up-scaled compared to the rest of the line, but it’s a cool piece.  I do wish it was a little easier to get him sitting up in it, though.

The main vehicle component for this set is the speeder bike the Mando uses while on Tatooine in the episodes “The Gunslinger” and “The Marshall.”  It’s a pretty basic speeder bike layout, and it’s certainly a more economical vehicle choice for the character than going the Razor Crest route, so I can dig it.  It’s about 6 inches long, so its scale relative to the Mando is pretty decent.  The detail work is more on the basic side, focusing on the more broad stroke details to sell it.  It works well with the style they’ve gone for with the figure.  There are some slightly obtrusive ports on the sides, two of which are for the included cannon, and the other two don’t seem to match up to anything.  I’m guessing they’re for something in the future, maybe?  There’s also a spot on the back allowing the pram to be hooked up, making this whole thing one larger piece.  Also included with the vehicle is a rather large missile launcher, with included missile.  Obviously, it’s not based on anything from the actual show, but it’s a cool extra, more toyetic thing to throw in, and you can mount it in a few different spots on the bike.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty interested in Mission Fleet when it was shown off at Toy Fair, and when it hit, I enlisted some help from Cheyenne in tracking down a few of the sets.  She obliged on a handful of them, and requested that I maybe, possibly, not buy any for myself, so that she’d have an easier time getting me gifts and the like.  So, I held off, and then I honestly forgot, truth be told, until she presented me with this bad boy just a few days after Christmas.  This is a fun line, and one that I honestly put off actually reviewing for far longer than I should have.  This set in particular is a nice little contained package of all the major Mandalorian elements, but the whole line is just great.  Maybe I should review those other ones I’ve got sitting around at some point, huh?

#2639: Cyborg

CYBORG

DC MULTIVERSE (MCFARLANE)

“Half robot, Vic Stone is a high-tech genius and valued member of Robin’s Teen Titans team. Cyborg not only designs and engineers T-vehicles and excels at video games, he’s also a great cook–specializing in spaghetti and burgers!”

At the beginning of the entire decade of time that made up the year 2020, the DC Comics license passed from Mattel into the hands of both Spin Master and McFarlane Toys.  Spin Master’s been sticking more to the “toys” side of things, and have generally wound up resonating far more with me, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t attempted to give McFarlane’s more “collector” oriented line its fair shot as well.  One of the problems I’ve been having with the McFarlane stuff is how Batman-centric its been, so I’ve been trying to keep my eye out for cool not-Batman stuff.  The most recent assortment of figures has a little bit of that, including today’s focus figure, Cyborg!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyborg is part of McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  As far as wave/series/assortment, I’d honestly be hard-pressed to tell you, because there hasn’t really been any clear delineation, and releases have been hitting all over the place.  He’s not from Series 1, and that’s the best I can hone in on.  So far, the DC Multiverse stuff has all been drawn from specific source material, and in the case of Cyborg, he’s based on the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon.  He’s the first figure based on the show, and so far the only one to be solicited.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  With the McFarlane stuff, there’s been a bit of an issue on the articulation front; there are plenty of points of movement, but range isn’t always the best.  Cyborg improves a bit over the prior Multiverse figures I’ve had, but I did find the arms to still be rather restricted, especially at the elbows.  Also, while the shoulders have decent range, they’re a little bit on the loose side for my figure.  They can hold poses fine right now, but I’m a bit concerned about the long-term integrity of the joints.  Cyborg’s sculpt is an all-new affair, and compared to the animated sculpts of the first assortment, it’s actually a marked improvement.  I don’t know if it’s just the change in style between the shows, but they’ve managed to get a much closer recreation of Cyborg’s cartoon design than any of the other three animated figures.  It’s still not really in scale with anything (though he does look okay with some of the larger Bandai figures), as has been a recurring issue with the McFarlane stuff, but internally, it’s at least got solid proportions and does an okay job replicating the design.  I quite like the way they’ve handled the blue sections of the cybernetics, being white plastic with the detailing sculpted in, and then a clear blue plastic shell over top.  It works very well, and solves a problem that other animated Cyborgs have never quite gotten down.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty basic.  There are a few errant marks on the white sections, but for the most part it look okay.  It’s appropriately bright, and refrains from McFarlane’s tendency to go a little murkier, so it’s not bad.  Cyborg is packed with an extra hand in sonic cannon configuration, plus one of the small black disc stands, and a card.  The cannon piece is definitely the coolest part, and swaps out for the hand without much trouble.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve not really been picking up any of the McFarlane figures, because I really just wasn’t that impressed by the three I had already gotten.  I did like the look of this guy when his prototype was shown off, but was planning to refrain from getting him largely because I honestly don’t trust Todd and company to actually get the whole team line-up out.  At most I’m expecting to get a Robin and *maybe* a Beast Boy, but I can’t see anything beyond that, which does make the prospect of this figure weird to say the least.  I wound up getting this one from Cheyenne and her parents, and it’s honestly a pretty strong figure, and one I’m pretty glad I ultimately got.  Hopefully, I’m proved wrong on the team line-up, but for now, he does look pretty nice with my Bandai Speedy figure.

#2638: Bistan & Shoretrooper Captain

BISTAN & SHORETROOPER CAPTAIN

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (HASBRO)

“Relishing the thrill of action, Bistan fights to ensure the freedom of fellow Iakaru, taking on enemies like Imperial stormtroopers. Specialist stormtroopers stationed at the top secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, Shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.”

Alright, let’s get ready to jump back in time!  I mean, not a lot, to be honest.  And in fact, it’s not even as much as I frequently jump back, given that over the weekend I jumped back 15 and 35 years respectively.  This time, it’s just a little three year jump, back to the day’s of Rogue One, before Star Wars officially ended for the, what was it, fourth time?  Man, that thing keeps meeting its end, huh?  I actually looked at a fairly large portion of the Rogue One line while it was coming out, but there were a few pieces that I missed.  One in particular was today’s offering, covering one of the Rebel aliens and another variant of one of my favorite Trooper variants, the Shoretroopers.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bistan and the Shoretrooper Captain were originally slated for release in the third wave of Battle Packs for the Rogue One line, which was to hit retail in early 2017.  Unfortunately, retail support for the line fell-out on the back end, and this pack wound up without a home for its release.  Fortunately, Entertainment Earth picked it up as an exclusive at the end of 2017, alongside the similarly orphaned Fenn Rau.

BISTAN

Bistan is one of the more minor Rebels from Rogue One, only showing up during the run on Scarif at the climax of the film, and not even getting a name or any on-screen dialogue.  He’s most memorable as being seen hanging out of one the U-Wings that arrives with the reinforcements, manning a rather large gun.  He was one of the aliens shown off somewhat prominently in the marketing despite his smaller role, so his inclusion as a toy made a lot of sense.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Obviously, we’re going back into the basic line here, so the articulation’s pretty limited by design, but this guy actually does manage to be impressive within that context.  The neck joint has a really nice range on it, and makes for some expressive posing, to some degree at least.  The detailing on the sculpt is pretty top-notch.  There’s a lot going on here, and he replicates the design of the creature from the movie quite nicely, as well as having some impressive detailing on his jumpsuit and gear.  The paint work on Bistan is on the drab side, fitting with the rest of the movie’s cast, really, but the application’s all pretty clean, and he again looks the part of the character from the film.  Bistan is packed with a big ol’ missile launcher thing to mount on his shoulder, with two missiles to shoot as well, and a smaller, more film accurate blaster.  I don’t know that I really missed those launchers, but I had certainly forgotten how prominent they were.

SHORETROOPER CAPTAIN

The Shoretroopers or Scarif Troopers, or whatever the official branding is going with today, were one of my very favorite parts of Rogue One.  The film sports three notable rankings of them, and we got both the standard trooper and the squad commander in both the basic line and Black Series, but the Captain, the rank above those two, got substantially less toy love.  This one here marked its only domestic release.  It’s extra sad for me, because it was honestly my favorite of the three variants.  This figure is a little over 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the exact same figure as the basic Shoretrooper, which is sensible, since the two are wearing the same armor.  It was also just a pretty solid sculpt, so a re-use is really an alright thing by me.  The big change-up occurs with the paint, as the Captains have a slightly more involved color scheme than the rank and file guys.  There’s a whole lot more blue on this guy, with far more detailing on the chest and left arm.  It’s a good, eye-catching look, and one that translates well.  Additionally, the application on this figure seems a little sharper than other Rogue One troopers, which I certainly was happy to see.  The Captain is packed with the same E-22 heavy blaster rifle as the other two Shoretroopers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was pretty closely following the Rogue One line when it was hitting stores, and I was definitely excited for this set, but after it got shelved and then moved, I honestly just lost track of it.  It’s one of those items I kept meaning to track down for myself, but I just never got around to it.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to!  This pair was another gift from Cheyenne and her parents, who decided to be far too kind to me this year and give me a nice little handful of gifts.  I’ve wanted this set for a while, and maybe it’s not the most showy or technically impressive pairing, but they’re certainly fun, and I’m just glad to finally have them.

#2637: Samurai

SAMURAI

SUPER POWERS (KENNER)

“Japanese history professor Toshio Eto was teaching class one day when suddenly a mystical bolt of energy hit him. The bolt of energy had been sent from emissaries of the New Gods who were in need of super heroes. The strange energy enveloped Eto and released the latent energy in his body, transforming him into the Samurai. Using his newfound powers of the hurricane and wielding an energy sword, the Samurai mistakenly caused havoc until the transformation was explained to him and he decided to be a force for good.”

You know, I really haven’t reviewed enough Super Powers figures on this site.  I mean, at this point, I’m essentially only reviewing them once a year, which means it would take me almost 40 years to actually get through them all.  That’s not a great metric for me.  I should probably work on that.  Fortunately, I’m getting some help on that front, with a new one to kick-start things a little bit.  Super Powers started with a focus on DC’s core characters, but as the line continued it shifted its focus, and by its final year, it was largely made up of rather minor characters, and in fact a good number of characters not even from the comics originally.  Though not a total fabrication for the line, Samurai began his life outside of the comics medium, as one of four heroes created for Challenge of the Super Friends in order to diversify the Justice League’s line-up.  Ultimately, he and the rest of these new heroes fell into some pretty heavy stereotyping, but hey, it was the ’70s.  Samurai was the only of these characters to be carried over into Super Powers, but it’s worth noting that both El Dorado and Black Vulcan would have joined him had the line continued (El Dorado even made it to the prototype stage).

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Samurai was released in 1987, as part of the third and final assortment of Kenner’s Super Powers.  He was Samurai’s first figure, and would remain his only figure for a good three decades.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  Samurai had one more joint than most figures in the line, with movement at his waist.  It’s largely just there to facilitate the figure’s action feature, but it’s still possible to use it as a point of articulation as well, so hey, extra movement.  Samurai’s sculpt is actually not bad.  He had the benefit of only really having one source to draw from in terms of design, and he ultimately does an okay job of capturing that design in three dimensions.  It’s not the greatest design, admittedly, but I guess it could have been worse.  It’s also worth noting that they didn’t feel the need to redesign him the way they did a handful of characters from later in the line, so, again, this works out pretty well.  Samurai’s design relies on some cloth goods for his vest piece.  It’s a piece very commonly missing from the figure, and it’s worth noting that the one sported by my figure is, in fact, a reproduction.  It’s not a bad repro, though, all things considered, and regardless of repro or original, the cloth piece works well for this part of the figure.  Makes him very difficult to get complete, but cool nevertheless.  Samurai’s paint work is pretty basic stuff.  Not a ton of crazy work going on, but the face is pretty sharp, and the colors are bright.  I can definitely get behind it.  Samurai was originally packed with a small sword, which, like the vest, is very commonly missing from the figure.  As you can see, my figure does not have it.  Some day.  In addition to the sword, he also had an action feature, “Gale Force Spin.”  When you squeezed his right arm, his lower torso would spin.  And mine still works, even.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Of the four added characters from Super Friends, Samurai has always kind of been my least favorite, which makes the fact that he was the only one to get a figure here a little sad.  That, coupled with his rarity, has meant I’ve never really rushed out to get this guy.  However, my dad, who has been getting me Super Powers figures as Christmas gifts since I was 7, got me this guy as a Christmas gift this year, albeit an ever so slightly late one, thanks to the mess that is the current state of the United States Postal Service.  Hey, at least I managed to get him before the new year.  That was a miracle in and of itself.  Samurai isn’t the most impressive character, but the figure is kind of fun, and is a major step forward with my Super Powers collection.  Just 7 more to go!

#2636: Captain America & Motorcycle

CAPTAIN AMERICA & MOTORCYCLE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When Steve Rogers joins the secret Super Soldier program during World War II, he emerges as the incredibly strong and fiercely patriotic hero, Captain America.”

Ah, here we go, something very familiar: Marvel Legends.  These gifts are really hitting that comfortable territory for me now.  I mean, slightly more comfortable, I suppose.  At this point, “action figures” is comfortable territory for me, so it’s not like anything has really thrown for a loop so far.  Whatever the case, I’m certainly alright with a touch of normality, and perhaps even more of a return to it than you might expect.  I have previously discussed the “Legendary Riders” sub-line of Hasbro’s Legends, and its sort of up-and-down relationship with the reality of the characters and their described rides.  Some of the pairings do end up a bit better than others, and I suppose today’s is one of those slightly more sensible ones, given just how often Captain America has been seen riding a bike from one place to another.  Bonus points if it really plays up those World War II overtones, which this one most certainly does.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Captain America is the headline offering in the fourth Legendary Riders assortment of Marvel Legends.  To date, all of the line’s even-numbered assortments have had just one new pack, which ships alongside the short-pack from the prior assortment.  In Cap’s case, he shipped alongside a re-pack of the ’90s Professor X, supposedly hitting at the end of last year.  That wasn’t really the case, unless you were one of the very fortunate souls who actually got one of these during it’s very scarce run at retail.  But I’ll get more into that later.  For this figure, Cap is sporting his WWII-era uniform from The Ultimates.  I’m really not keen on the Ultimates incarnation of Cap, but I’ll admit that this particular design has still always resonated with me.  Definitely one of Bryan Hitch’s stronger design pieces.  The design has been done once before in Legends form, as part of the two-packs that wrapped up Hasbro’s first run on the line in 2009.  A decade seems like a good enough wait for an update.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, the vast majority of this figure is the same as the Rescue Cap from the “80 Years of Marvel” set.  It was a solid offering the first time around, and it’s still a solid offering here, aided by the fact that the two designs are rather similar in the first place.  To complete the set-up, he gets a new head and upper and lower torso.  This gives him the goggles and aviator cap from the comics, as well as giving him the slightly more personalized front to his jacket.  They mesh well with the re-used parts, and honestly, I think they look even a little better as a whole than the Rescue Cap figure did.  Topping things off is a slightly tweaked version of the Rescue Cap helmet, this time without the goggles in place.  It’s otherwise the same piece, and works just as well.  Something I missed on my review of Rescue Cap, however, was the inclusion of details on the interior of the helmet, right were no one’s ever going to see them.  That’s quite a commitment to detailing.  The coloring on this guy is accurate to the source material, doing up Cap’s traditional patriotic colors in a slightly desaturated fashion.  The application’s all pretty clean, and fairly basic.  They’ve opted for opaque lenses on the aviator’s cap, which is less technically involved.  Ultimately, I actually like the design a little bit more this way, so I’m alright with it.  Cap’s accessory selection’s pretty solid, with his trusty shield, a 1911 Colt .45 pistol, a Thompson submachine gun, and a knife.  They’re all the same pieces that came in the 80th set (although the Thompson went to Peggy there), and they work just as well here as they did previously.

Also included here is the part that makes this thing a “Riders” set, Cap’s ride!  As I noted in the intro, Cap’s been seen on Motorcycles since early in his career, and it’s been prominently featured in most of his movie appearances.  It’s definitely a Harley Davidson-inspired ride, which is consistent with both the movies and the comics, though it bears no official branding, as that would undoubtedly require an extra license.  As it stands, it’s close enough to be recognizable, while still different enough to not really be infringing on any licensing.  It’s a lot of the same parts as the bike that came with Punisher (and by extension, Wolverine), which is a perfectly suitable point of re-use.  It was a good bike when I looked at it the first time, and it’s honestly just better here, thanks to the new updated parts that have been added, as well as the WWII military-style paint scheme.  It’s also got a few extra add-on pieces to differentiate it a bit, including two side bags, a holster for his machine gun, and an ammo box on one side.  Kinda crazy that Cap’s bike has more weapon storage than the Punisher’s, but I’m certainly not complaining on this front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was very eager to get this set when it was shown off last year, which made all the more frustrating when All Time (and most retailers, for that matter) wound up getting shorted on this particular round, there by making him a very hard to acquire.  I’ve been doing my best to be patient and wait for one to actually show up for me, but it was certainly getting a little disheartening.  So, I was quite excited when I unwrapped this guy on Christmas, courtesy of Cheyenne (of Jess and Chey’s Ultimate Toy review, in case you’d forgotten) and her very kind parents.  I’m super thrilled to finally have this guy, and boy is he a lot of fun!

#2635: Ultraman Suit Ver. 7 – Animation

ULTRAMAN SUIT VER. 7 — ANIMATION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

It’s been over a year since I last reviewed anything Ultraman, so I suppose I’m right on schedule to get something else in here so that I can go another year and change before getting something else.  Gosh, remember when these things were more prevalent?  I sure do.  And Pepperridge Farm does as well, because remembering’s the one thing they’ve got left.  Okay, that’s not true.  They’ve got Goldfish and Milanos.  They can ride those into oblivion.  Where was I?  Japan, I think.  There was something going on with Ultraman.  New toy.  Yes, very good.  Let’s look at the new toy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman Suit Version 7 is a fairly recent addition to Bandai’s SH Figuarts line-up, hitting roughly at the beginning of the year.  He’s specifically patterned on the appearance of Dan Moroboshi’s Version 7 suit from Netflix’s animated Ultraman, which of course also means he’s patterned on the Version 7.2 Suit from the manga of the same name.  The manga version got a release back in 2016 under the SH Figuarts X Ultra Act banner, and this one is essentially the same mold, with a few tweaks, and, of course, the dropping of the Ultra Act banner entirely.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  Compared to the Ace Suit, Ver. 7 is in some ways a stiffer figure, and in other ways not.  I found the legs a little trickier to work with, but the arms, especially at the shoulders, did showcase a slightly greater range of motion.  Obviously, a lot of the restriction is coming from the design of the suit, and not from how the figure is made, to Bandai’s credit.  He can get into a number of impressive poses, and can most notably get into the unsheathing the sword pose that is so commonly associated with this design.  The figure’s sculpt is certainly a more complex one than the Ace suit was, again due to the source material, which has the Version 7 suit being a far more intricate and detail-heavy suit.  It contrasts well with Ace’s boxier design, as something that’s far sleeker and pointier.  Certainly appropriate given the sword wielding aspect. It also carries the most memorable elements of the classic Ultra Seven suit forward, but keeps in line with the more mechanized takes of the rest of the series’ Ultra suits.  Paint work marks one slight change for this figure, contrasting with the original 7.2 release.  This one makes the red sections a bit brighter and gives them a flatter finish than the original release.  It’s a look that works very well for the sculpt and the design, and further hammers home those classic Ultraman vibes.  The application’s all pretty clean.  There’s a little bit of variation between the reds, but nothing too major, and the segmented nature of the armor helps break it up and keep it from being too obvious.  The Version 7 suit includes his Specium Sword and its corresponding sheath, a separate attachment piece for the sheath, a throwing dagger (modeled after the original Ultra Seven’s head fin), a slash effect with a stand, and 8 swappable hands (in fists, gripping, and open flat combos, as well as two variations on gripping for the left hand).  It’s not a bad accessory set at all, although it’s too bad there isn’t an unmasked head for Dan like there was for Seiji in the Ace set.  Still, I can certainly live with this set-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My new Ultraman purchases have really slowed to a crawl, which is too bad, honestly.  I’m not the only one who feels that way, it seems.  Prior to the holiday season, Super Awesome Wife asked if I had a list of the Ultraman stuff I owned, which I did, and she took that and decided to get me this guy to keep things going.  I have the Figurise model kit, so I didn’t jump on this one when he was released, but in hand I do really appreciate the differences between the two.  There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here, and now I feel like I need a proper Shinjiro to round out my cast.

#2634: Iron Giant

IRON GIANT

RIOBOT (1000TOYS)

Robots sure were a somewhat common theme amongst the gifts I received this year for Christmas, and when it comes to robots, a fairly early one in my personal lexicon is The Iron Giant, Brad Bird’s lovely ’50s period-piece animated film from 1999.  I saw it in the theatre, I had the poster up on my wall, and I’ve had a small little collection of the admittedly small selection of merchandise to come out of the film.  There’s been a bit of of an uptick in stuff from the movie in recent years, including some offerings on both the lower and higher end.  I’ve covered a couple of the lower-tier items on the site previously, but now I’m jumping into the higher end, with an offering from my rather recent discovery, 1000Toys!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Iron Giant was released by 1000Toys as part of the Riobot imprint, where he’s figure #019.  This is the standard version of the Giant, but there’s also a Battle Mode Giant from the film’s climax.  But the standard’s really where it’s at, and that’s where I’m at too.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The Giant continues the trend of the 1000Toys figures I’ve had of being very nicely articulated.  This one’s not so much about the quantity as much as it is the quality of those joints.  The most impressive piece of design work is the neck and jaw, which are technically one joint, but a very smartly designed one.  It’s a ball joint, which the jaw piece clips onto first, thereby allowing the mouth the much more fluid range of motion the Giant’s jaw demonstrates in the film.  It’s key to getting some of his more notable expressions, and I particularly enjoy the ability to give him that lopsided look that he uses when he is confused.  It’s a subtle thing, but it really works well.  One area I was initially disappointed by was the elbow movement, which I at first found to be very surprisingly limited.  Like, not even getting past 45 degrees levels of disappointing.  What, did Mattel design this figure?  Not to worry, though.  It turned out I’d just not fully loosened up all of the joints, specifically the sliding component on the forearms, which allows them to move further down and get the elbows a much deeper bend.  It’s another clever design, and one that again adds a lot of potential to the figure’s range of motion.  Additionally, the tolerancing on all of the joints is nice and smooth, while still being tight enough to hold the poses.  In order to give the Giant that proper sort of heft, a good portion of the figure is made from die cast parts.  Some of the smaller parts, such as the head and lower arms, are plastic, so as to prevent any issues with wear or breakage.  The sculpt itself is quite a nice piece of work.  It takes the animation model and does a very solid job of replicating it in proper figure form.  It’s clean, sharp, and properly geometric, and the proportions are all pretty much spot on.  The layers to the sculpt are well rendered, and it’s just a nice and slick looking figure.  The Giant’s color scheme isn’t exactly the most complicated thing, being pretty much just variants on grey.  The figure sticks to that, of course, but does a pretty bang up job of making it not totally bland or too basic.  There’s quite a bit of variance in the types of grey, and the application is all really sharp and clean.  The Giant has a pretty impressive selection of parts.  Obviously, they split all of the specific Battle Mode stuff into a separate figure, but this guy still gets four different heads with slight variations on how his eyes are configured (fully open, fully closed, angry, and concerned), two different jaw pieces (with and without his lower teeth), a set of upper teeth to clip onto the heads, three sets of hands (in fists, open gesture, and flat), and the “S” sign he uses when playing “Superman” with Hogarth.  There’s again a lot of subtlety to some of these parts, especially the heads, but there’s also a lot of variation possible, making for some very fun posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Iron Giant is a movie I fondly remember seeing in the theatre with my parents, and one of those instances of me wanting to immediately run out from theatre and buy a toy of the Giant, which I in fact did.  Over the years, I lost the hands to that one (because they didn’t ever really stay in securely), and I’ve been really looking for a real proper upgraded Giant figure for a little while now.  I’ve been really liking everything I’ve gotten from 1000Toys, and I’d been eyeing this guy for a little bit.  My parents were nice enough to get him for me for Christmas this year.  He’s really an awesome offering, and just so much fun.  I’m definitely glad to have this guy in my collection.

#2633: Ultra Magnus Merchandise

ULTRA MAGNUS PULSATING LIGHT AM RADIO & ELECTRONIC VOICE SYNTHESIZER

TRANSFORMERS: POWER TRONIC (NASTA)

As we come into the second day of the Post-Christmas reviews, I’m heading into some slightly uncharted territory.  Firstly, I’m looking at something Transformers related which, while not completely a first for Christmas gifts for me, is still sort of new and fresh, seeing as I’ve only recently really gotten into it.  And secondly, and in fact most differently, I’m not actually looking at action figures at all, but rather some action figure adjacent product.  It’s not explicitly a first for me, I guess.  I mean, I did review a stapler that one time, and that’s not even action figure adjacent.  That’s just oddball is what that is.  What am I getting at here?  Well, more or less that I’m not really reviewing action figures for the day.  Hopefully this will be just as good…or at least up to whatever the quality of my usual output is, anyway.  Whatever the outcome, I guess we should look at this Ultra Magnus Merch I got, huh?

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The two toys in question are the Ultra Magnus Pulsating Light AM Radio and the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, both of which were produced in 1986 by Nastra under their Power Tronic brand.  They were both released to coincide with Transformers: The Movie arriving in theaters that same year, and to capitalize on Ultra Magnus’s role therein.  I can dig it.  Let’s first discuss the “Pulsating Light AM Radio,” a somewhat perplexing item.  I mean, if you’re going to make a Transformers-themed radio, wouldn’t it make sense to at least pick one of the characters who actually turns into sound equipment?  Or am I talking the crazy talk.  Given that I’m arguing against there being another Ultra Magnus thing, I may very well be talking the crazy talk.  The actual item’s not that crazy, I suppose.  It measures 7 1/2 inches tall, and is pretty much just a scaled up replica of the G1 Ultra Magnus’s armored head.  It’s not quite as human-esque as later Magnuses, of course, but I think that works somewhat to this item’s favor, because it looks a little bit more artistic, and less like someone’s just decapitated Ultra Magnus.  It’s molded in the same shade of blue as the figure, and uses silver paint for the appropriate details, which honestly looks pretty good.  The radio runs on four AA batteries, which are loaded into the Magnus’s “antenna” on the sides of his head.  There are dials on the back of the head for turning on and adjusting the volume, as well as tuning the station.  I was quite happy to find that the radio function on mine still works, however the pulsating light function sadly is no more.  Oh well.

The second item featured here is the Electronic Voice Synthesizer, which is clearly Ultra Magnus, but is not actually named as such on the item’s packaging.  The item allows the owner to “talk like a robot” by mouthing words into the plastic straw that pops out of the figure’s back, and is essentially a simplified version of an electrolarynx device.  They were somewhat common amongst licensed products in the ’80s, so Transformers getting in on the game is perhaps not the biggest shock.  The item stands 4 1/2 inches tall and actually does have articulation, with joints at both shoulders, and some slight movement on the neck.  Much like the radio, this item is clearly patterned on the G1 toy’s mold, just scaled way down this time.  It’s rather crude and rudimentary, and has a distinct lack of Magnus’s shoulder towers, but is overall an okay piece.  Rather than apply any paint to this one, he’s instead just molded in three different colors of plastic, meaning he’s more an approximation of Magnus’s color scheme than an accurate depiction.  The Voice Synthesizer runs on a 9-Volt battery, which goes in the base of the feet.  I haven’t tested mine because I just don’t really want to put my mouth on it, so, you know, there it is, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ultra Magnus is really becoming my main man when it comes to Transformers stuff, and I’ve picked up quite a healthy helping of Magnus-related stuff in the last year.  The stuff in the column of “what I don’t have” is becoming a bit more on the obscure side, and included these two, neither of which I expected to add to my collection quite this quickly.  I did add them to my collection quite this quickly, however, thanks to Jason from All Time Toys, who gave them both to me this year for Christmas.  They’re not standard action figure fare, but they are still a ton of fun, goofy fun, but fun to be sure!

#2632: IG-11

IG-11

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“One of a series of dangerous assassin droids largely outlawed in the galaxy, IG-11 is a hired gun programmed to follow Bounty Hunters Guild protocols to the letter.  This distinctive collection features premium deco applications inspired by the end credit images from The Mandalorian, plus a collectible Imperial Credit accessory”

Usually, around the holidays, I’m out of town for the week surrounding Christmas, meaning that, pretty much since I began the site, I’ve been jumping into my Post-Christmas reviews as the new year begins.  2020 was having none of that, so I was still at home this year, allowing me to just turn these reviews right around.  Don’t you guys feel so lucky?  For the first few years I was running the site, I kicked off these sets of reviews with an Alien Queen, but in recent years, that’s shifted to Star Wars, something that will stick this year, as I kick things off with a variant of IG-11!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

IG-11 is part of the “Credit Collection” sub-set of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.  These guys hit right around the launch of The Mandalorian‘s second season, and were effectively this year’s equivalent to the Carbonized figures from last year.  Theset was split up as exclusives amongst a few different retailers, with IG-11 being available through GameStop.  Structurally, this figure is the same as last year’s standard IG-11.  That means he too stands about 7 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  It also means that he too is based on the IG-88 figure, and is therefore a little bit inaccurate for IG-11.  That said, it’s not like anyone was really expecting a new mold for this release.  He’s designed to be a quick repaint, and that’s exactly what he is.  At least the IG-88 mold is still a pretty fun toy mold.  The differences on this guy come down to two things, the first being the paint.  He, and the rest of the figures in this set, are based on the illustrations seen in the show’s closing credits, which showcase some of the early art for the show.  IG-11 is illustrated in these images with a much warmer, and more colorful palette than is seen in the show, and that’s replicated well here.  I really dig how they’ve captured the sort of graininess of the illustrations, as well as the really divergently bright colors used.  These two definitely won’t get mistaken for each other.  The second change to the figure are the accessories.  He gets the same two blasters as the prior release, but also gains one of the credit pieces that the bio talks about.  It’s a pretty basic piece, and obviously not meant to go with the actual figure, but it’s a cool little extra nevertheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve got all of the standard color versions of the figures chosen for “The Credit Collection”, so I wasn’t in a rush to pick any of them up, especially given their exclusive status.  I did kind of want the IG-11, because I just really like the IGs.  I wasn’t going to buy it from Gamestop for myself, though.  It’s okay, because I didn’t!  Max and I were discussing the figures when they were shown off, and I said I’d hold off, so he went ahead and ordered an extra IG for me for Christmas.  I’m glad to have this guy.  He’s not my primary version or anything, but he’s a fun alternate deco, and goes well with my other IG-related stuff.

#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.