#1573: Iron Man, Hawkeye, Thor, & Grim Reaper

IRON MAN, HAWKEYE, THOR, & GRIM REAPER

MARVEL MINIMATES

“Iron Man, Thor and Hawkeye are just three of the Heroes who make up the super-team known as the Avengers. Together, they can neutralize any threat, even the manipulations of the evil Grim Reaper!”

I just mentioned Minimates passingly in yesterday’s Palz review, so I suppose it’s fitting that today I give them a whole focus of their own.  Because, as we all know, Minimates neeeever show up in my review schedule, right?  …Anyway, getting back to the Minimates, Disney’s acquisition of Marvel in 2009 left a little bit of uncertainty about the future of Marvel Minimates and whether DST would be allowed to continue as a licensee.  Disney assuaged fears by turning around a couple of Disney Store exclusives, sort of out of nowhere one day.  I’m looking at one of those exclusives today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released in May of 2012 as one of two Disney Store-exclusive boxed sets meant to tie-in with the release of the first Avengers movie (I already took a look at the other one here).  Iron Man and Thor are both the same figures as their Marvel Minimates Series 44 counterparts, while Hawkeye and Grim Reaper were exclusive to this set.

IRON MAN

The mid ‘90s marked a bit of a resurgence for Tony Stark as Iron Man (albeit nowhere near as big as the one he got in ’08), with fan favorite Kurt Busiek handling the character both in his solo book and in the pages of the re-launched Avengers title.  This figure represents the design he was wearing at that time, and it’s a favorite of mine. The figure is 2 1/2 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for his helmet, breast plate/shoulder pads, gloves, belt, and boots.  All of these were new to this figure, and they all are pretty fantastic.  There’s a ton of sculpted detail on each piece, but he maintains the ‘mate aesthetic very well.  As far as paint goes, this Iron Man is generally pretty solid, but is definitely an example of DST’s learning curve with metallic paints.  While the reds are really great looking, the gold is still that very dark, very dull shade they were using for a while, and it’s also worth noting that it’s a paint that doesn’t hold up to time.  It’s not as bad as the Avengers #1 set’s version of Tony, but it’s pretty frustrating.  Even more frustrating is DST’s decision to package Tony’s helmet on him.  For most Iron Man ‘mates (at least leading up to this), the helmet would be packed off to the side.  The reason for this is simple: if the paint hasn’t fully dried when the figure is packaged and you stick the helmet on there, it’s likely not coming off.  That’s what happened with my figure.  Seriously, six years I’ve owned this guy, and I’ve yet to get that helmet off him.  It’s a little sad.  Guess it’s a good thing I like the fully armored look.  Iron Man was packed with a rocket trail flying stand, done in a nice pale blue.

HAWKEYE

Before this figure, there had been only one other standard Clint Barton Hawkeye (reviewed here), four years prior.  That figure had some notable issues, and really looked out of place with all of the other advancements going on.  So, he was due for an update, and the extra notoriety given to him by the first Avengers movie granted him that chance.  Plus, as a pivotal player in Busiek’s Avengers re-launch, his inclusion alongside the otherwise very clearly Heroes Return-branded ‘mates in this set and Series 44 made a lot of sense.  I’ve actually looked at a lot of this figure before, via the Best Of Marvel Minimates Series 3 release, which took it’s add-ons from this guy.  I liked the pieces there, and I liked them here first.  The only real difference between the two is paint.  And paint’s kind of what breaks this figure for me.  It’s not terrible.  It’s actually pretty decent, even.  That being said, if the Series 20 Hawkeye was too subdued, this one went too far the other way, making him way too bright.  It’s the blue in particular that throws him off.  It should definitely be a deeper tone (which the later release definitely fixed).  Another thing I’ve never much liked about this figure is his facial expression. I’m glad they got the face to line up correctly (since the first Hawkeye did not), but the angry, gritted teeth look just doesn’t feel right for Barton.  Hawkeye included his bow, three pointed arrows, two sonic arrows, and a hairpiece for his unmasked look.  The arrows were nice, and can even be placed in his quiver.  The bow, which was a new sculpt, was okay at the time, but was definitely on the small side, and a little hard for him to hold properly.

THOR

Though he was the most glaring omission from the line for its first 15 series, by the time of this Thor’s release, we were kind of suffering from a glut of Thors, with this one being the ninth Thor in the space of a year.  Like Iron Man, this Thor was definitely patterned on the Heroes Return look, which is really just the classic design plus a beard.  Thor was built using add-ons for his helmet/hair, cape, wrist bands, belt, and boots.  The wrist bands were from the very first Thor in Series 16, the cape and boots came from the TRU-exclusive First Appearance Thor from 2011, and the belt was just a generic piece.  The helmet was new, though you’d be forgiven for not realizing.  Overall, a solid set of parts, though the cape does make it a little hard to keep him standing.  The rest of the look is achieved via paint.  I think it’s pretty good overall, though there’s some slight slop here and there, especially noticeable on the helmet and the cape.  He used the same gold paint as Iron Man, which isn’t super, but there’s less of it on Thor.  Thor included his hammer Mjonir, in both standard AND spinning configurations.  I quite like the spinning version.  He also had an extra head sans-beard, which, despite using the exact same facial features as the bearded head, ends up looking a bit too mean for Thor.  There’s also a spare hairpiece for a look without the helmet, I suppose to offer people who only knew the movie Thor a more familiar look.  Lastly, he included a clear display stand to help him stay standing with the spinning Mjolnir.  It’s important to note that these still weren’t a standard inclusion yet.

GRIM REAPER

Last up, the set’s one new character, Grim Reaper!  Reaper has been a long-recurring Avengers villain, and he was revived during the Busiek/Perez run, so he’s a perfect fit…well, apart from the total lack of Vision or Wonder Man in the set, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.  They went with the classic Reaper design (classic, not original, because no body really wants the technicolor dreamcoat monstrosity that was his first costume), which is sensible enough.  I’m still partial to his re-animated look from the ‘80s, but this works too.  The figure makes use of add-ons for his mask, cape, and scythe attachment.  The mask and scythe were new to this figure (and remain unique to this figure six years later), and were fantastic renditions of his look from the comics.  The cape is the standard cape from the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman.  It’s not a perfect fit (since Reaper’s really supposed to have the collar), but it’s close enough that it works.  In terms of paint, Reaper is certainly subdued, but very well-rendered.  The colors are suitably dark, but there’s still plenty of room for detailing.  I love the dynamic shading on the bodysuit and mask.  I also really love that crazed expression they gave him.  Reaper included no accessories, but I don’t really know what you’d give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as its companion set, ordering them both from Disney’s online store (since none of my local Disney Stores ever carried Minimates).  Reaper’s always been a favorite of mine, so his inclusion definitely excited me, but I was also pretty happy to get another Hawkeye.  While Hawkeye didn’t end up being quit what I wanted, I was still pretty happy with the other three in this set.  In fact, this was my preferred of the two Disney sets.

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#1570: Bodhi Rook

BODHI ROOK

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“A former Imperial Pilot, Bodhi has strong piloting and technical skills that he will put to use for the Rebellion.  Ever practical, but highly anxious, Bodhi must gather his courage to bring the battle to the Empire.”

More than Cassian, if there’s a Rogue One character who drew the short straw in terms of merchandising, it’s Bodhi Rook.  He was the last of the team to get released in the 3 3/4 inch line (in a rather under-shipped assortment to boot), his Pop! Vinyl figure was an SDCC exclusive, and as of this day, 14 months after his film’s release, there’s been no talk of him getting a Black Series figure.  Seems rather unlucky if you ask me.  What he did get, however, was a die cast figure from Disney, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bodhi was another of the eight figures in the one and only Rogue One themed series of Star Wars: Elite Series.  He was the first Bodhi figure released and remained so for quite a while.  The figure stands just under 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  Height’s kind of more important on this guy than the others, since he had no Black Series counterpart, and I was admittedly hoping to fit him in with them.  While he’s definitely a little on the tall side, I think an argument could be made that he should look alright, provided you put him in the back, hanging out with K-2.  Bodhi is sporting the same style of construction as the other Elite Series figures I’ve looked at, meaning his head, hands, and feet are plastic, and his main body is metal.  He’s also got a plastic vest and backpack.  Like Jyn and Cassian, the vest piece on Bodhi is made from a harder plastic, and doesn’t fit him as well as I’d like.  I’d also like if it were a bit easier to remove the back pack.  I attempted to take it off of mine, but was worried I’d damage the figure.  Beyond those extras, the sculpt of the figure is decent enough.  It’s nothing amazing or anything, but I think it’s respectable, and a little better than Cassian.  They captured the ill-fitting jumpsuit pretty well, and the extra length on the sleeves even hides the hands a bit, thus averting the dreaded inflated glove syndrome.  The head has a respectable likeness of Riz Ahmed; probably better than Hasbro’s version, truth be told.  The goggles are removable this time around, which I do certainly prefer, especially since they stay in place so well.  The paint on this guy is passable.  The colors are probably more accurate here than they were on the Hasbro figure, but I will admit that the duller colors don’t exactly excite me.  I do appreciate the accent work that was put in on his various gear, and the washes and the like certainly help keep him from looking too bland.  His face is a little messy, especially around the beard, but it’s not awful.  I’m not quite sure what’s going on with his lips, but I don’t think the color was particularly well chosen, given his skin color.  It looks worse in the photos than in real life, but it’s still more noticeable than it should be.  While the goggles are removable this time around, they are still totally opaque, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.  They look fine, but it does somewhat ruin the realism of the figure to see those stark white goggles on his head.  In addition to the previously mentioned goggles and backpack, Bodhi is also packed with the standard display stand.  No weapons this time around, but that’s not terrible, since he never really uses them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve read my Jyn and Cassian reviews from the last two days, you can probably guess where this guy came from.  Yep, he’s another clearance purchase.  He was actually the figure that got me to notice the deep discount pricing.  Since there’s no Black Series release in the foreseeable future, and I do really like the character, I thought I might grab this version.  Upon seeing how far down he’d been marked, I decided to get the other two as well.  Bodhi’s not a fantastic figure or anything, and I’m certainly still holding out hope for Hasbro to finally get around to him, but in the mean time, this one will hold me over.

#1569: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“An Alliance Intelligence Officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire.”

Behold!  The one toyline where Cassian *didn’t* get the short straw!  Yes, despite Hasbro holding the standard brown jacketed Cassian look hostage for all manner of deluxe offerings, Disney was kind enough to put their standard Cassian right up there, alongside all of their other Rogue One stuff.  And I’ll be looking at that figure today.  Let’s get on with it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like yesterday’s Jyn Erso, Cassian was offered as one of the eight Rogue One figures, part of Disney’s Star Wars: Elite Series.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  His construction is the same as other figures from this line: plastic head, hands, feet, and jacket, with die cast metal for the rest of him.  As with Jyn, his jacket is a harder plastic, which is a bit restricting and sits rather awkwardly.  In general, this figure’s a lot closer to the first Poe when it comes to possibility and construction.  The sculpt on areas such as the pelvis and his shoulders are rather rudimentary, and he’s got the weird inflated glove thing going on with his left hand.  Even the details seem a lot softer on this guy.  Just comparing him to the Jyn figure from yesterday, he feels like a slight step down.  It’s not terrible, though.  The likeness on the head sculpt is actually pretty respectable, and I’d say that Disney delivered a better portrait of Luna than any of Hasbro’s attempts.  They did also try for Luna’s more slight build, which was another thing Hasbro missed on most of their figures.  If the articulation had been worked in better, I think this Cassian’s sculpt might have topped Hasbro’s output.  Paint on Cassian is about what you’d expect from this line.  It’s rather thickly applied,and mostly limited to solid colors, which doesn’t do a whole lot to offset his generally soft sculpt.  On the plus side, his head is once again the strongest bit of work, as Disney was able to do a much better job with Cassian’s facial hair than Hasbro.  That’s much better stubble than we saw before.  Cassian is packed with his small blaster pistol and a display stand.  Since Jyn got her fully assembled rifle configuration, it’s a shame the same wasn’t done for Cassian, especially since his was the one we actually saw in use in the film.  Alas, I’ll just have to be happy with the Hasbro equivalent.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Jyn, I had passed on Cassian initially, but was swayed into buying him for a deeply discounted price.  Amusingly, when I bought him, I didn’t yet have the Hasbro Black Series version of this look, but, well, you can see from the comparison picture that this changed.  This figure’s the weakest of the three I’ve looked at in this round, but I don’t think he’s awful.  It just seems like Cassian proved a difficult character to pull off well in plastic form.  This one’s just another case of a figure that’s good despite its flaws.

#1568: Sgt Jyn Erso

SGT JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“A highly skilled soldier in the Rebel Alliance, Jyn Erso is an impetuous, defiant warrior eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Jyn has little patience for debate within Alliance high command, enough so that she takes matters into her own hands.”

More Elite Series?  Isn’t there supposed to be a several month waiting period in between these reviews?  That’s certainly how it’s been in the past.  Well, sorry hypothetical reader, I’m changing things up on you!  And I’m doing another impromptu week of Star Wars reviews!  So, how about that?  For today (and the next two days after, in fact), I’ll be returning to last year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  I certainly covered a lot of product from this movie, but there’s still plenty I never got around to, which includes today’s focus, which is another figure of main character Jyn Erso.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn was one of the eight Rogue One-themed Star Wars: Elite Series figures put out during the 2016 “Rogue Friday” event.  There weren’t any staggered releases, I guess since it wasn’t a saga movie.  Jyn here is seen in the same attire the smaller Black Series figure had, which is what she was wearing during the film’s big climactic final battle.  It’s essentially the same look used on most of Hasbro’s offerings, but it lacks the green jacket.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 16 points of articulation.  She’s of course largely constructed from die cast metal, keeping with the same plastic-to-metal ratio as the last several figures I’ve looked at.  Metal for the main body and plastic for the head, hands, feet, and vest.  While the jacket piece on Poe was a nice softer plastic, Jyn’s vest is made from pretty much the same plastic as the rest of the plastic pieces, so it’s very stiff and a bit restricting, as well as sitting a little oddly on her frame.  Her articulation is a bit restricted overall, which is a setback, but as a figure that predates Poe, I’m not that upset.  Jyn’s sculpt is reasonable enough.  Some parts of it are a little rudimentary, especially around the waist.  Her hands look like hands, though, which is always a plus in this line, and I find her head to be pretty much equivalent to the Hasbro versions in terms of quality.  I’m not getting a really strong Felicity Jones likeness from it, but the same could be said of at least half of Hasbro’s offerings.  Jyn’s paint is generally pretty decent.  The colors are nice, and, while she’s not quite as good as Poe, her paint is certainly less thick than earlier offerings.  Jyn is packed with her standard blaster pistol.  Like the smaller Black Series release, she also has the extended blaster configuration not seen in the movie, though this time around it’s an entirely separate blaster, rather than being clip-on pieces.  Also included is her baton, which, unlike the Hasbro version, is actually extended here, and the same display stand that’s included with all of the Elite Series figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With all of Hasbro’s various offerings, I really thought I had all of the Jyns I would ever need (and perhaps even a few more than that).  And wasn’t I just saying in yesterday’s Poe review how I only tend to buy Elite Series figures of characters I really, really like?  So really, why Jyn?  Simple: she was cheap.  After grabbing the Poe figure, I happened past a large pile of the Rogue One figures.  I didn’t think much about them, but I spotted they’d been marked down to $2.99.  At that price, I bought one of each because I’m a sucker fro a cheap action figure.  Jyn’s actually not bad.  I can’t say I’d have paid full price for her, but she’s better than I was expecting.

#1567: Poe Dameron

POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: ELITE SERIES (DISNEY)

“It takes defiant courage to stare down the threat of the First Order, and while Captain Poe Dameron is eager to fight, he worries that some of the Resistance leadership don’t have what it takes.”

Disney’s die-cast Star Wars: Elite Series is one of those lines that has a tendency to slip under my radar.  It’s not that it’s a bad line or anything, it’s more that it’s a line that’s exclusively available at Disney Stores, and those aren’t the sort of thing I tend to visit with much regularity.  As it stands, my collection of figures from this line is mostly confined to just my very favorite characters, which includes today’s focus, Poe Dameron!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Poe is part of Disney’s Last Jedi-themed assortment of Star Wars: The Elite Series.  He wasn’t in the initial assortment of figures, but was instead one of the seven figures released solo after the fact.  Poe hit stores on November 7th of last year.  Like most of his other figures from the movie, this Poe is based on his jacketed look from TLJ.  As his most prominent look by far, it makes sense, especially since his pilot look was already covered for TFA.  Poe stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 18 points of articulation.  As with prior Elite Series figures, the vast majority of this guy is made from die cast metal.  His head, hands, feet, and jacket are plastic, but that’s it.  I was impressed to discover that Disney’s made some improvements to how they construct these figures since the last Poe.  This one isn’t nearly as stiff and restricted as the last one when it comes to posablity.  In addition, the overall quality of the sculpt seems to have improved.  The details are much sharper, especially on the plastic parts, but on the metal parts as well.  He’s still slightly less detailed than the average Hasbro figure, but he’s certainly a step-up from the last figure.  It’s the little things, like his hands actually looking like hands, or the assembly screws on his back actually having mostly inconspicuous caps on them.  Then there’s the head.  I’m not 100% sure if the head sculpt on this figure is new or not.  Given how different it looks, I initially assumed it was all-new, but after comparing the two side by side, I’m starting to think this might just be a better pressing of the mold, coupled with some much, much better paint.  Regardless, it’s the best likeness of Oscar Isaac we’ve seen so far, out pacing even the recent Black Series offering, which I thought was pretty good in its own right.  Poe’s paint work also marks a definite step up for this line.  It’s a lot less thickly applied here than on prior figures, and there’s far less slop.  He’s also got some very clean work on his face, and I was certainly happy to get a Poe figure in a larger scale that doesn’t try to slather on a bunch of grayish paint in the hopes of replicating scruff.  Poe includes his blaster pistol and a display stand (same as the other figures).  It’s sad he couldn’t came with something else, especially since the last Poe had the helmet, but I suppose it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m always looking for an excuse to buy a new Poe figure, and the Elite Series Poe from TFA was actually one of his better figures, so I was definitely on board for picking up this guy.  The only trouble was actually finding him, since none of the stores near me got him when he was first released.  A few weeks ago, I was killing some time at the local mall, and remembered I hadn’t yet found this guy, so I swung by the Disney Store there, and they had finally gotten him in.  Upon purchasing him, I realized he’s actually the first figure from this line I’ve paid full price for.  Of course, he’s by far the nicest figure I’ve gotten from this line as well, so I don’t feel that bad in that regard.  Now I’m tempted to check out some of the other TLJ figures, since Poe seems like such a step up.

#1481: Dash

DASH

THE INCREDIBLES (DISNEY)

Next June will see the release of the highly anticipated sequel to Pixar’s smash-hit super hero movie The Incredibles, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  The original is hands down my favorite Pixar offering, and I can’t wait to see more of that.  I’m also hoping this means more toys, because, while the first film got a few at the time of its release, most of them were rather lacking.  I’ve always felt that Disney’s in-house offerings were the best of the bunch, offering not only the best selection of characters from the film, but also the best overall action figures.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at the Dash figure from that line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like his father, who I reviewed just a few months back, Dash was one of the six figures in the first assortment of Disney Store-exclusive The Incredibles figures.  He’s seen here in his standard super-hero-ing attire, which he’s sporting for most of the film’s important action sequences.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Slightly less articulation than his dad (and he’s not really going to be pulling off any running poses), but on the flip-side he has a much easier time standing, and that’s certainly a plus. The scaling on Dash is a little off. He’s way too large when compared to the rest of the line’s figures.  Like, he’s just a good inch too big.  But, on top of that, he’s not even particularly consistent *internally* either.  His head’s probably about twice the size it should be.  Sure, he’s got a big head, but not that big.  Beyond that, his sculpt is actually a pretty solid recreation of his design from the film.  The head has a great recreation of his constant grin from the movie, and they’ve done a great job actually making the hair work.  His paintwork is on par with his dad’s; the costume is mostly just basic work, but there’s some rather nice accenting on the face and hair.  I did have a rather annoying issue with his gloves chipping, which was rather odd, since his boots never suffered from the same issue.  Dash also has the light-up feature on his insignia, which throws off the color scheme of that section a slight bit, and is an odd design choice all around.  But hey, at least it’s consistent, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being clued into the existence of these figures by my friend Cindy Woods (back when they were still new, of course), Dash was actually the very first one of them that I got.  My parents made a special trip to the mall just to get him for me, and everything.  He’s perhaps not one of the greatest figures ever, and he’s got some definite flaws, but he’s also still the best version of Dash on the market, and that’s certainly worth something.

#1398: Sword Fighting Hercules

SWORD FIGHTING HERCULES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“He’s the greatest sword fighter of all time! Whether he’s fighting the terrifying Hydra, or battling the dangerous Nessus, Hercules fights the bravest of battles with his mighty sword and shield!”

You may have noticed a slight theme to the last few Sundays here at the Figure in Question.  That theme is Disney’s Hercules.  Today, I’m continuing that theme, though I can’t make any promises for keeping it going past this week.  I’ve looked at a variant of Herc, as well as his main foe Hades, but I’ve yet to just look at the standard Hercules.  That changes today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sword Fighting Hercules is another entry in the Basic Assortment of Disney’s Hercules figures from Mattel.  As noted in the intro, this was the line’s take on Herc’s standard hero togs he sports for the majority of the film’s run-time.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  In a change from the last two figures I’ve looked at from this line, this guy actually gets some elbow movement, which is cool, but it’s at the cost of all of his leg movement.  You win some, you lose some.  It does cause him to be a touch harder to keep standing than the Hydra Slaying variant, but he’s mostly pretty manageable.  The elbows are a little loose, presumably to aid in the use of action features, but still rather useful.  Also: neck articulation! That sure is nice.  Being able to look side to side and all.  Like the other two, this figure’s sculpt diverges somewhat from his film counterpart.  This one is probably the most faithful of the three I have; most of the changes come from simply translating him into three dimensions.  There are a few slight oddities to his proportions.  His neck’s rather long, as are the arms. Still, not a bad sculpt overall.  Like his Hydra Slaying counterpart, Sword Fighting Herc has a removable cloth cape.  The same cape, in fact (exactly the same in my case; this guy’s borrowing his).  If you want to get technical, it should be a little brighter to be accurate to the film, but it works nonetheless.  The paintwork on this guy is generally pretty decent.  The colors are a little bit more washed out than in the film, but they aren’t far off, and the overall look is quite nice.  Herc is packed with his sword (obviously), as well as his shield.  My figure is missing the shield, but that’s really the less essential piece, so I’m not losing sleep over it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding Hydra Slaying Herc and Hades, I was figuring that would be it for my whole Hercules collection, especially since this guy in particular had a rather high after market price.  Then I found this guy at Yesterday’s Fun over the summer, sans cape.  Since I already had the cape from the Hyda Herc, I was able to put together a mostly complete figure for a fraction of his going rate.  As with the Hydra variant, this figure was a pretty pleasant surprise, and I’m very happy to have found him.

#1391: Fireball Shooting Hades

FIREBALL SHOOTING HADES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“Fast talking, slicker than slick, Hades is ruler of the Underworld.  When he shoots his deadly fireballs, he causes ultimate destruction.  Only the heroic HERCULES can put an end to this fiery villain’s evil plan!”

Poor Hades gets bum deal when it comes to popular culture.  In just about any adaptation of mythology, he’s perpetually cast as some sort of ultimate villain, when in the actual myths he’s actually one of the more level-headed and reasonable gods.  Compared to the likes of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hera, he’s really not that bad.  Disney’s Hercules is one of the prime offenders when it comes to reworking things to make Hades the villain.  The actual villain of most of Hercules’s stories in mythology is Hera, who resented Herc for being one of Zeus’s many bastard children.  Herc and Hades barely even interacted.  But, I guess having Hera constantly trying to kill Hercules out of a constant anger caused by Zeus’s sexual escapades wouldn’t have made for a very good kids movie, would it?  So, they went with the more obvious “god of death = evil” bit.  At least it was entertaining, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fireball Shooting Hades was released in the basic series of the Disney’s Hercules tie-in line from Mattel.  While Herc got all sorts of variants and the like, this was the only Hades figure in the line.  I’m not sure what other variants you could really do, but hey, I wouldn’t have though of Hydra Slaying Hercules either.    The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation.  Bit of a step down from Herc on the movement front.  Obviously, he lost some articulation to his designs lack of legs, which is understandable.  It’s a shame they couldn’t at least put some extra movement in the arms.  At least his head can turn, though.  Hades’s sculpt was unique to him, and it’s okay, I suppose.  It’s more faithful than the Hercules figure I looked at, which is good.  However, it also means that the focus is on trying to be faithful to a 2D character, rather than making just a good looking toy.  The body works out all right.  It’s pretty clean and it follows the line work of the movie.  The smoke at his feet is a little blocky, but it’s not terrible.  You just need to find the right angle for him.  The left arm is a little impeded by the figure’s action feature, but I’ll touch on that a little later.  The biggest issues come from the head.  They’re pretty much entirely related to the fluidity of Hades’s face in the movie.  He’s very expressive and all over the place, which makes capturing him in one single sculpt rather difficult.  He’s the sort of character that would likely be better served with a few interchangeable heads, but the toy industry wasn’t quite there in ’97.  So, we have to settle with a single expression.  Mattel went with a scary, scowly, wide-eyed grimace.  It’s not a great look.  I mean, yeah, he looks a little frightening, but it’s more in that uncanny valley sort of way, where his eyes just seem too human.  Parts of the sculpt look fine, but it doesn’t add-up to a really great piece.  It’s not terrible, but it could be a lot better.  Moving onto the paintwork, Hades is pretty decent.  Nothing crazy stand-out or anything, but the application is pretty clean and the details are pretty sharp.  In particular, I like the way the flames behind Hades’s head have been handled.  I sort of which his actual hair had been done in a similar fashion, but the solid paint isn’t awful.  Hades has two different “action features.”  The first is the titular “fireball shooting.”  There’s a missile launcher in his left arm.  Load up the fireball and press the button.  There it goes.  Wooooooo.  The second feature is even less involved; move the slide on his back up and down, and the flames behind his head will rise and fall.  Fun times.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hades here from Lost in Time Toys, at the same time as Hydra Slaying Herc.  It was actually finding Hades that got me to grab the pair.  Hercules was pretty fun, but Hades has a few more flaws that hold him back.  Ultimately, he’s fine if you want to stick him on a shelf or a desk or something, but his actual playability is kind of low.

#1384: Hydra Slaying Hercules

HYDRA SLAYING HERCULES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“In his most courageous battle of all, HERCULES must save Thebes by destroying the terrifying Hydra.  Each time he slays a head, the mighty HERCULES throws it back at the ferocious beast.”

To quote the muses: “Honey, you mean Hunk-ules!”  Actually, no, to paraphrase the muses, “Honey, you mean Heracles.”  Cuz, you know, if you’re gonna do Greek Mythology, maybe you should use the lead’s Greek name?   

While I do look at a lot of Disney owned properties on this site, courtesy of Marvel and Star Wars, I haven’t looked at a whole ton of their in-house stuff.  My two favorite Disney movies are Hercules and Aladdin.  Aladdin’s never been much of an action figure property, but Disney actually gave quite a go at making Hercules one.  Which makes sense, since what’s more action-y than Greek Mythology?  So, there was a whole line of Hercules figures, and I’m taking a look at one of them today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Hydra Slaying Hercules was released in the basic assortment of the Disney’s Hercules line from Mattel, which hit to coincide with the movie’s release in 1997.  This is one of the line’s many variants of the main character.  As the name suggests, this one’s (loosely) based on his battle with the Hydra at around the film’s mid-point.  Of course, in the movie, he was wearing the same hero garb he’s got on for the rest of the action, but the figure’s opted to change things up a bit and give hims a slightly more unique design.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  There’s not a ton of motion in the joints, especially the legs, and he’s rather hindered by the lack of any neck movement, but he’s not the worst thing ever, especially for the time.  The sculpt was initially unique to this figure, but did see a fair bit of re-use in multi-packs and such.  It’s not an incredibly faithful take on him.  I mean, you can see elements that identify him as being the Disney Hercules, but he’s definitely been given an element of He-Man styling, which isn’t incredibly surprising, given the company that produced him.  He’s also got the slightly tweaked outfit, which is far more ornate than Herc’s standard look.  The torso is wearing a more defined breastplate, and there’s even sleeves with fringing and stuff.  The wrappings on the arms and legs are also a bit more detailed, and he’s got an extra strap going across his chest.  I’m not entirely sure what the genesis of the design was, but I can’t say I don’t like it.  It’s actually pretty snazzy.  His cape is a separate cloth piece.  It’s got this nice embroidered pattern on the edges, which is cool.  In terms of paint, this guy also tweaks the usual colors a bit, going for a more cool palette of blues and purples, I guess to match up better with the Hydra?  Once again, I can’t say it’s a bad choice at all.  Different from the standard, but definitely quite eye-catching.  Herc is packed with both a club and an axe, one of which can be held in his right hand, as well as the disembodied head of the Hydra.  Which is slightly morbid, but pretty cool.  The head can be balanced on his left hand, and when you push the button on his back, the arm swipes downward, throwing the head.  It doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s moderately amusing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have any of the proper Hercules figures growing up, but I found this guy at Lost In Time Toys when I stopped by for the opening day of their new location.  This was the only version  of Herc they had, but he’s cool enough that I don’t mind just having the variant.  That’s right, I just wrote an overwhelmingly positive review of a Mattel product.  This is weird.

#1353: Wasabi No-Ginger – Stealth

WASABI NO-GINGER – STEALTH

BIG HERO 6 (BANDAI)

Hey, you guys, guess what?  It’s been two weeks since my last Big Hero 6 review.  I guess it’s time for another.  This one’s my final review from the series (at least for the time being), and so I figured I might as well go back to the very beginning.  My first BH6 review was a Wasabi figure, and so’s my last one.  Let’s have a look, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasabi was released in the third series of Bandai’s Big Hero 6 line, which was the “stealth” series.  Big surprise, that means that Wasabi is a stealth variant.  Also big surprise, he’s the same mold as the standard Wasabi.  By extension, he too is about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  The sculpt’s the same, for better and for worse.  It has the same ups and downs, which means he’s still got one of the best sculpts of the line.  The main changes to the figure are the paint, which has been made more subdued…mostly.  The green’s a lot darker, and there’s more black interspersed (which, by the way, has the added side-bonus of making him look a bit like a Green Lantern, which I’m definitely okay with), but there are also a few more bright spots mixed in as well. Still, he’s definitely darker as a whole.  The work is clean, and seems to be even cleaner than the original Wasabi, which is certainly a plus.  Like his predecessor, this guy includes his energy blade attachments.  I still think translucent plastic would look cooler, but the neon green looks cool.  Wasabi doesn’t have the coat included with the original, but upon looking through the other Wasabi’s on hand when I got this guy, it would appear that later shipments of the original figure were missing the coat as well.  He didn’t have it in the movie, anyway, so it’s not a huge loss, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Have you read all of my other Big Hero 6 reviews?  No?  Go read them.  Good, now you can probably guess where this guy came from.  Yep, he’s another Ollie’s purchase.  I wasn’t initially going to get him, but Super Awesome Girlfriend and I were collectively getting the rest of the team, and I felt weird not getting a Wasabi, especially since he’s my favorite and all.  There’s not a whole lot that’s different here, but he’s still a pretty entertaining figure, and I think he’s the best of the stealth figures, at least going by what I’ve seen.