#2035: Imperial Jumptrooper

IMPERIAL JUMPTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An elite squadron within the Imperial ranks, jump troopers (also known as rocket troopers) were outfitted with jetpacks and utilized in tight spaces.  They were trained to act in unison, often swarming and overwhelming their targets.”

Since the standard Imperial Stormtroopers first graced the screen back in 1977, we’ve been getting a steady stream of variants on the concept, be they Sandtroopers, Snowtroopers, Scout Troopers, etc.  There have been a few recurring concepts among the non-movie variants.  A popular one is the Jumptrooper, which has found its way into comics, video games, and, most recently, Star Wars: Rebels.  And now, it’s gotten a new figure, courtesy of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Jumptrooper is a GameStop-exclusive offering from the Black Series line, released in the last couple of months.  The Jumptrooper is based on his Rebels appearance, specifically the commanding officer of the squad, as denoted by the colored shoulderpad.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  The Jumptrooper re-uses a lot of parts from the standard Stormtrooper figure, which is pretty sensible, given that the designs are pretty similar.  It’s also a pretty solid sculpt in its own right, and certainly a nice starting point.  He has a new helmet, backpack, and shoulder pads, which match well with the pre-existing parts, and also match up well with his design from the show (albeit modified for a more real-world appearance).  Most importantly, though, they set him nicely apart from the standard trooper.  I really dig the changes they’ve made, because he’s just a super sleek looking figure.  The colorwork on the Jumptrooper is subtle, but pretty impressive.  The glossier finish of the armor looks nicer than the matte finish of the original, as do the additional accenting details that the original lacked on the belt and boots.  Throw in a little extra splash of color, and you’ve got a figure that pops nicely on the shelf.  The Jumptrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster and a brand-new style of display stand.  The stand’s not quite as conventional as I’d hoped for, but it can make for some decent running poses once you get it properly seated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As soon as the Jumptrooper was unveiled, I knew I wanted one.  Something about the design just immediately jumped out at me (heh), so when I found out he was a GameStop exclusive, it was Super Awesome Fiancee to the rescue!  She was kind enough to pre-order this guy through her work for me, thereby making his acquisition fairly painless.  I’m very happy with the final figure.  He’s definitely one of my favorite troopers.

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#1974: Leonardo

LEONARDO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Okay, so at this point, you can’t really be surprised by the subject of today’s review.  I looked at the other three, obviously I was going to round out the full set of Turtles and look at brother number four, Leonardo, the leader of the team.  I don’t really have a ton to say about Leo as a character, but I will say that the order of this week’s reviews correspond with my rankings of the for Turtles, so make of that what you will.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Leonardo is the fourth of the GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA.  He too is based on his appearance in the first TMNT film.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has, you guessed it, 21 points of articulation.  Leo is once again a scaling down of the 1/4-scale release from last year, and just like that figure, he shares most of his parts with his three brothers.  Hey, if you’re gonna commit to it, commit to it, right?  He gets a new head, showcasing Leo’s more reserved and disciplined nature.  Perhaps it’s not the most exciting expression, but it’s certainly true to the character and versatile as well.  He also gets a new belt/shoulder-strap, which, like Donatello’s, sits a little higher than I’d like.  Of course, it’s not quite as high as Donnie’s, and it’s still film accurate, so I can’t complain too much.  I mean, I *can*; it’s my site and all; but I won’t.  The new straps have sheaths for Leo’s katanas, and it’s definitely the most easily utilized storage of the bunch.  Leo’s paintwork is pretty much the same song and dance as it was for his brothers, but obviously with blue for his mask, what with it being his main color and all.  Leo is packed with his twin katana, two sets of hands (gripping and relaxed), two styles of ties for his mask, and another slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

If you’ve read the other three reviews, then you know that Leonardo, like the rest of the set, was gotten for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, who put a lot of effort into securing me a complete set of these figures.  The larger scale figures weren’t my thing, but I always appreciated the work put into them.  These smaller releases are pretty great, and I hope they aren’t too hard to get in the long-run.

#1973: Michelangelo

MICHELANGELO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Hey, did you dig yesterday’s one-armed review?  Okay, before you answer that, I’m gonna need you to clarify if you dig my two-armed reviews as well.  You know, for a more controlled study and what not.  So, what am I getting at here?  Well, I’m writing another one-armed review.  So, you know, there it is.  Please enjoy it to level you would a two-armed review.  For a controlled study and what not.

Today, I’m looking at the next piece of the Turtles puzzle, Michelangelo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Michelangelo is the third turtle in NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures, available exclusively at GameStop…until they inevitably unload the excess stock on some other retailer…because they’re GameStop.  Anyway, the figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  Like Donnie and Raph, he’s a scaled-down version of the 1/4-scale figure from 2017.  As with that figure, this one uses the same body as his brothers, along with a new head sculpt.  Mikey’s expression is much lighter and more jovial than his brothers, with a wide-eyed expression and a light-hearted grin.  His expression is definitely my favorite of all the figures in this line-up, and is certainly a spot-on look for the character.  Mikey is also sporting his own unique belt, which, like Raph’s, is a simple across the waist affair.  It’s a nice enough piece, and while it doesn’t have specific storage for his nunchucks, there’s enough give that they can be wedged in there as they were in the film.  His paintwork matches the other two, aside, of course, from the color on his mask.  Mikey is packed with his nunchucks (which get my vote for least impressive weapons in the set.  It’s not really NECA’s fault, though; the nunchucks are always hard to adapt to toys), two sets of hands (gripping and thumbs up; I particularly love the thumbs up ones), two styles of mask ties, and a slice of pizza.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Mikey is once again a gift given to me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, just like the rest of the set.  Despite Donnie being my favorite Turtle, I think Mikey’s my favorite individual figure, because he just so clearly captures the look and spirit of the character in the movie.  And boom: two one-handed reviews.

#1972: Raphael

RAPHAEL

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

C’mon, c’mon, I’ll review ya with one arm tied behind my back!  Or, tied to my front.  Restrained, is what I’m getting at here.  Confused?  Totally fair.  Allow me to sum up:  thanks to one of my shoulders taking on the properties of a chunk of rock, and thereby rendering me down a hand for this review.  Obviously, things had just gotten too easy for me, so I had to take things up a notch.  Because stress certainly isn’t an issue.  Why would you say that?  So, without further ado, here’s this Raphael figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Raphael is the second of the four GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures from NECA.  Like Donatello, he’s based on the first live action TMNT film (and, by extension, the second as well), and is a down-scaling of NECA’s 1/4-scale figure from back in 2017.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  As with the larger figures, most of Raphael’s sculpt is shared with his brother Donatello.  Fortunately, it’s a really solid sculpt, so it works out really well.  Raph gets a new headsculpt.  He’s more intense than Donnie, with his Brow furrowed and his teeth bared.  It’s definitely appropriate for Raph as a character, and matches his depiction for most of the movies.  Also unique to this figure is the belt.  It’s just across the waist this time, and actually sits far more naturally.  Also, the storage for his weapons is way easier to use than on Donatello.  Raph’s paint is pretty much the same as Donatello’s, swapping out red for the purple on the bandana.  Raph is packed with his sai, two sets of hands (in gripping and relaxed poses), two styles of ties for his mask, and a slice of pizza (the same one included with Donnie).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with his brother, Raphael was given to me by my Super Awesome Fiancee, along with the rest of the set.  Raphael has all of the pluses of Donatello, without the one main drawback of ill-designed weapon storage, which is a definite plus in my book.  And look at that, I’ve written this whole review one-handed.  How about that?

#1971: Donatello

DONATELLO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE MOVIE (NECA)

Despite being a licensed property, rather than an in-house brand, the main license for Ninja Turtles has been held by Playmates Toys since the franchise arrived on the scene in the ‘80s, meaning that other companies have had rather little chance to give the characters their own stab.  Perhaps the only exception to this rule would be NECA, who first got into the TMNT-thing with a set of comics-based figures back in 2007, while the franchise was between re-boots.  Since the brand was bought by Nickelodeon in 2011, Playmates has had more of a strangle-hold on the main figure scales, but NECA again got their foot in the door by offering up some 1/4-scale figures based on the 1990 film.  Those were a rousing success, and through some loop-holer-y, NECA was able to parlay that success into a line of more conventionally scaled figures.  I’ll be looking at my personal favorite Turtle, Donatello, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello is the first of the four GameStop-exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie figures, which started arriving at stores in the late-January/early-February time frame.  Based on his appearance in the first (and second, since they were the same suits) TMNT movie from 1990, the figure stands 6 inches tall and has 21 points of articulation.  All of the figures in this set are scaled-down versions of the 1/4-scale figure.  This means that the sculpt on Donnie has a ton of detail work, since he was originally 12 inches taller.  It’s a very sharp sculpt, and quite nicely recreates the suit from the movie, albeit in a slightly idealized fashion (because, let’s be honest, nobody really wants a straight re-creation; it would look pretty darn terrible).  The majority of the body is shared with Donnie’s brothers, but he has a few parts to keep him unique.  Obviously, he’s got his own unique head sculpt, which follows the more reserved and calm take on the character that we usually see, and works nicely for a number of poses.  The other unique piece is his belt/shoulder strap.  I’m admittedly not a huge piece, for two reasons.  The first isn’t really NECA’s fault, but I just don’t like how high on his chest the belt sits.  This is accurate to the movie, but it’s a design element that’s always bugged me.  Still, it’s accurate, so that one I can’t hold against NECA.  The second issue’s more on them, though.  See, the design of the back of the strap, where the Bo is meant to be stowed, isn’t so great.  They’ve just used cloth straps, which are tied in place.  The trouble is that they came untied almost immediately after I took him out of the box, they aren’t very easy to re-tie, and even when you do re-tie them, they don’t hold for very long.  Getting them to stay in place for the photos was no small feat.  I don’t foresee myself leaving the Bo on his back much anyway, but it’s a little frustrating not really being able to use this facet of the figure.  Donatello’s paintwork is a pretty solid offering.  There’s a lot going on, with tons of small subtle detail work all throughout, again mimicking the suit from the film very well.  Donatello’s accessory complement isn’t quite as extensive as his larger counterpart, but he’s still pretty well-packed.  He has his Bo, plus two sets of hands (in gripping and open gesture poses, two styles of ties for his mask (relaxed and dynamic), and a slice of pizza.  Not a bad assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There have been some definite horror stories from collectors trying to track down a full set of these figures, stemming largely from the problems inherent to giving a highly demanded item as an exclusive item to a retail chain that’s not had a particularly great history with this sort of product.  Fortunately for me, I have someone on the inside: Super Awesome Fiancee.  She was able to be assertive enough with her co-workers to net me a complete set, meaning I had no real troubles!  Donatello has some slight flaws, but is generally a very strong figure, living up the standards NECA has set for themselves.

#1876: Supreme Leader Snoke – Throne Room

SUPREME LEADER SNOKE — THRONE ROOM

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Shadowy commander of the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke prefers to operate from a distance, looming over his underlings in the form of an immense hologram.  As the First Order rallies, this master of the Dark Side emerges from the shadows to seize victory.”

Hey, you guys wanna talk about something that’s not at all divisive in the slightest?  Well, than I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place, because not only am I looking at a Last Jedi figure, but I’m looking at one of the most divisive characters in the movie, one Supreme Leader Snoke.  I long for the days when I was just reviewing Captain Phasma figures…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supreme Leader Snoke was a GameStop-exclusive Black Series offering…well, this specific release was, anyway.  The actual Snoke figure, sans the big throne, was released as part of the main Black Series line-up as well.  More on that later.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him because, quite frankly, who else would you use it for?  The head and hands are the best parts to be sure, matching up pretty nicely with Snoke’s actual look from the movie.  The details are sharp and well-defined, and he definitely looks unique.  The majority of his sculpt isn’t actually meant to be seen, because like yesterday’s Zuckuss figure, Snoke is a mixed media affair.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out quite as well for him as it did for the Zuckster.  Snoke looks like an old guy in a worn out bathrobe.  Not exactly the most imposing look, and certainly on the goofier side when compared even to his on-screen counterpart.  There’s just something about the way the bone sits, and the way the stitching is frayed, and how it’s fitted to him, that just makes him look like something of a lumpy mess.  I understand the need for the cloth robe, especially with the throne and everything, but the execution just isn’t there.  His paintwork is at least respectable.  His exposed skin has a nice variety of coloring and detailing to it, which accents the best parts of the sculpt.  The main line’s version of Snoke was without accessories, but the big selling point of this release was his thone.  It’s a sizable piece, with some really sharp detail work.  And, even if you don’t like Snoke, it’s a generic enough design to work for all sorts of crazed fictional despots.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I honestly don’t have any attachment to Snoke as a character.  That extends back to his appearance in TFA.  So, his appearance in TLJ didn’t exactly excite me into a toy-buying frenzy.  But you’ve read the review, and you know I bought this sucker already.  You may ask me “how did you get here?”  And you may ask me “my god, what have you done?”  Well, the answer to both of those Talking Heads-esque questions lies in Hasbro’s poor line management.  The nature of Snoke’s role in TLJ was, of course, kept rather in the dark, but given how TFA ended, they undoubtedly thought he was going to be very prominent, so they released him two different ways: with and without the throne.  Presumably, they thought this would be necessary to meet all of that crazy Smoke demand out there.  And then the movie came out, and there were two widely available releases of the same basic figure, based on a character that most people didn’t have a whole lot of reason to buy, so neither release moved particularly well.  This one specifically lingered, what with the higher price tag and the whole “shipping in cases of himself”, and perhaps the fact that the corresponding Kylo exclusive didn’t show up for another couple of months.  Anyway, the point is, Snoke ended up on super clearance at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, so I ended up getting him for just a few dollars.  Snoke himself is okay, but not terribly impressive.  The throne, on the other hand, is actually pretty darn cool, and it’s potential for outside use makes it really worth the purchase.

#1853: Spider-Man

SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS GAMERVERSE (HASBRO)

“Now a seasoned Super Hero, Peter Parker has been busy keeping crime off the streets as Spider-Man.  Just as he’s ready to focus on life as Peter, a new villain threatens New York City.  Faced with overwhelming odds and higher stakes, Spider-Man must rise up and be greater.”

I had originally planned to continue the Star Wars thing today, but with the passing of comics-legend Stan Lee yesterday afternoon, I’ve decided to shift focus for the purposes of today’s entry.  I never met Stan Lee, but for 23 of my 26 years, he managed to influence every day of my life, be it directly through his introductory segments during the Marvel Action Hour in the ‘90s and his numerous cameos in all of the Marvel films since, or indirectly through the universe he helped to create, and all the characters he created to populate it, and all of the important messages that he would use them to tell.  The man influenced the lives of a great many people he never even met, and taught a lot of us how to be the best versions of ourselves, while at the same time reminding us that nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay too.  Stan had great power, and he did his very best to use it responsibly.  The creation Stan was always the proudest of was Spider-Man, and so I feel it’s only fitting that in his honor, I take a look at a Spider-Man figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Spider-Man is the inaugural release in the Marvel Legends Gamerverse line, which, as you may have gathered from the name, is a line devoted to the current crop of Marvel video games.  Spidey here is based on his appearance in the recent PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game, which hit just a few months ago.  The figure was initially supposed to hit closer to the game, then was pushed back to December, and then was moved up again.  The important thing is that he actually made it out.  So, yay.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s built entirely from re-used parts, but Hasbro’s got a substantial enough library that it’s a reasonable way of handling certain figures, this one included.  He’s built on the 2099 body, and makes use of the head from Spider-UK.  Interestingly, this means we have a Peter Parker figure that’s not built from any Peter Parker parts.  The end result is a figure that actually has something of a John Romita Sr-styling to him (I’d love to see this same combo done up in a classic deco), which definitely works for the game’s version of our favorite wall-crawler.  The paintwork for this figure is, of course, its main selling point, since that’s what truly signifies it as a video game Spidey.  The design is nice and distinctive, and the paint is crisply applied and a solid match for the in-game appearance, all while still maintaining the currently running Legends aesthetic. Spidey is packed with two different sets of hands in thwipping poses and fists, as well as a two of the new webline piece we first saw with the House of M Spidey.  It’s a nice selection of extras, especially in light of some of the recent Spidey variants lacking the extra hands and such.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve liked the PS4 Spidey design since it was first shown off, and was definitely hoping for a figure of some sort, so when this guy was announced, I knew I’d want to get one.  Super Awesome Fiancee was nice enough to pre-order him for me through her store, which proved an especially helpful move, since this guy’s proved rather scarce since his release.  Despite being made up totally of re-used parts, this is one of my favorite Spider-Men of recent years.  He’s just an entertaining figure all-around, and a good fit for today’s theme.

Excelsior!

#1655: Guardians of Evil

SENATE GUARD, IMPERIAL ROYAL GUARD, EMPEROR’S SHADOW GUARD, & ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Hey, it’s May the 4th!  You guys know what that means…it’s the original Infinity War release date!  Nah, just kidding.  It’s obviously Star Wars Day.  In honor of the day, I’ll be taking a look at a Star Wars-themed item.  I have a few of those lying around here, I think. <Checks the mountains of un-reviewed figures>  Yeah, I think I can manage that.  So, let’s have a look at the “Guardians of Evil” boxed set!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Senate, Imperial Royal, Emperor’s Shadow, and Elite Praetrorian Guards were released as part of the Star Wars: The Black Series line, as the GameStop-exclusive “Guardians of Evil” boxed set, which hit just after last year’s Force Friday II event.

SENATE GUARD

“For centuries, the Senate Guards kept the galaxy’s legislators from harm while they went about the Republic’s business on the capital world of Coruscant.  With the decline of the Republic, the blue guards were phased out by the Imperial stormtrooper patrols and the red guard in the Emperor’s service.”

Though largely forgettable, the Senate Guards appear in both Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and were technically in Revenge of the Sith, I guess.  Their best showcase, however, came via the Clone Wars cartoon, where, admittedly, they had a slightly tweaked design.  Of course, the film design is essentially the same as the Royal Guard, thereby allowing for some serious parts re-use.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  The Senate Guard’s sculpt is a mixed-media affair.  The bulk of it is sculpted, though it’s largely hidden by a cloth cape.  A cape, which, by the way, is a lot better tailored than a lot of the cloth parts from this particular line.  Under the cape, there’s a fully detailed, fully armored body.  This armor design first showed up in toy form back during the Revenge of the Sith days, shared by the Senate and Royal Guards from that line.  The sculpt is top-notch, and the armor is nice and sharp.  The arms are just a touch on the long side, but that makes them look a bit better when the cape is pulled down.  The Senate Guard’s helmet is actually one of my favorite designs from the prequels.  It’s got this cool futuristic Spartan warrior flair to it, which is quite fun.  The paint work on the Senate Guard is quite subtle, with lots of variations of blue.  The armor is appropriately shiny, which looks nice.  The blue on the cape matches pretty well with the paint and molded plastic, which is definitely a plus.  The Senate Guard is packed with a blaster rifle, which he can hold in his hands, or sling over his shoulder, as well as a small blaster to keep in his hip holster.

IMPERIAL ROYAL GUARD

“Resplendent in crimson robes and armor, the Imperial Royal Guard protected the Emperor.  Secrecy shrouded the Guard, with rumors abounding about the sentinels’ backgrounds and combat capabilities.”

By far the best known of the four designs seen in this set.  The Royal Guard never does much in Jedi, but they sure look cool, and they’re one of the Empire’s most distinctive designs.  This figure’s actually a pretty straight re-release of the single-released Royal Guard from last year.  Of course, that one was pretty scarce, so the re-release was more than warranted.  Apart from the head, this figure’s sculpt is identical to the Senate Guard.  He had it first, so it’s fair.  The helmet is a pretty perfect recreation of the simplistic design from the movie, and sits perfectly on the body.  The paint work on this guy is the same as the Senate Guard’s but with shades of red instead of blue.  The differences between the reds are a bit more pronounced, though, which I think looks a little bit better.  The Royal Guard includes a staff, and the  same blaster pistol as the Senate Guard.

EMPEROR’S SHADOW GUARD

“Each one of these elite guards is specially chosen by Palpatine for his exceptional loyalty to the Empire, and for his ability to use the Force. Each of the Shadow Guard carries a pike that can be ignited to use as a lightsaber-like blade.”

The Royal Guard has taken the black!  Okay, I’m not actually familiar with this one.  My extensive research (read: I googled “Emperor’s Shadow Guard” and skimmed the link) tells me the concept comes from The Force Unleashed.  That makes this another video game-based figure, which is pretty cool, I guess.  Structurally, the figure’s 100% the same as the Royal Guard, which seems sensible, since they’re essentially the same design.  The main difference is that this one’s been done up in black, so he looks super edgy.  And also super slim, right?  Has he lost weight?  No, it’s just the black.  The Shadow Guard includes a new staff, with a removable laser blade, as well as the blaster pistol from the other two.

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

Last up, we’ve got the most recent, and most unique of the designs in the set, the Praetorian Guard.  I’ve already looked at one Black Series Praetorian Guard.  This one’s got a new hat different helmet.  Hasbro released all three styles of helmet in both scales; this one is the “hat-wearing” helmet that we also saw in the two-pack with Rey.  Probably my least favorite of the three designs, but a solid one nevertheless.  Anyway, this figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s largely the same figure as the other Praetorian Guard.  The big change is obviously the helmet, which it just as nicely detailed here as it was on the smaller figure.  The other, more subtle change is the skirt, which is now a cloth piece instead of sculpted.  It matches better with the rest of this set, but it means he’s not consistent with the other two Praetorian Guards, which is rather frustrating.  Also, while it improves posability, I don’t find it looks quite as good.  The Praetorian Guard is packed with his axes that snap together into a bladed staff, just like the smaller figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been eying this set up for a while, but it’s got a hefty price tag, so I was biding my time.  As luck would have it, the set went on clearance at Super Awesome Girlfriend’s GameStop, and she was nice enough to buy it for me.  I’m glad I was able to finally get my hands on a basic Royal Guard, and I’m actually thrilled to have the Senate Guard, since it’s one of my favorite designs.  Another Praetorian is never a bad thing either, and the Shadow Guard is fun in his own right.  Overall, quite a fun set, especially since I didn’t have to pay full price for it.