#2463: Luke Skywalker – Bespin

LUKE SKYWALKER — BESPIN

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke battles Darth Vader on a narrow platform in Cloud City and rejects Vader’s urging to turn to the Dark Side and rule the galaxy with him.”

40 years and some change ago, in this galaxy, right here, the second Star Wars movie, The Empire Strikes Back, hit theaters.  As Hasbro likes to use pretty much every five-year milestone as grounds for celebration, that means that this year we’re getting a bunch of throw-back Empire stuff in toy form.  Things kicked off with the Probe Droid, and, following in A New Hope‘s footsteps, there’s also a vintage-style-carded line of Black Series figures.  The first assortment was mostly re-hash, but I’m taking a look at the most unique of the bunch today with another go at Bespin Luke!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker (Bespin) is one of the five figures that makes up the first series of the Empire Strikes Back 40th Anniversary sub-line of Black Series figures.  The other four, Bespin Han, Hoth Leia, Yoda, and the AT-AT Driver are all straight re-cards of prior releases, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the case with Luke as well.  He’s a lot of re-use, to be fair, with everything below the neck being re-used from the very first Black Series Bespin Luke.  Like that figure, this one stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Black Series articulation hadn’t really gotten to be what it is now in 2014, when this mold first hit, so he’s admittedly a little bit archaic in terms of movement.  The elbows sit a little low on the arms, the range on the hips is quite restricted, and he’s got the up/down joint on both of his wrists, which is a little odd for posing.  All that said, it’s still a pretty nice looking sculpt, so I can’t totally dis the re-use.  He gets an all-new head, which updates him to the more modern style of separate pieces for the face and hair.  The original Bespin head was probably the weakest of the initial Luke head sculpts in terms of a Hamill likeness, so another go at it isn’t the worst.  This new sculpt is…different?  I hesitate to say better, but I also wouldn’t say worse.  In some ways, it’s a better match, but in others it’s more off, and in particular it seems a bit too large proportionally.  The new head is matched by a new paint scheme, which uses the face printing, thereby making him a little more lifelike.  I definitely like that, but I’m not quite as down for how stripped down the paint on his fatigues has become.  The wash on the original was one of the best parts of the figure, but this one loses a lot of that, and the details on the outfit subsequently become easier to miss.  This figure is packed with the same extras as the last version: a lightsaber and a blaster pistol.  They’re as good here as anywhere else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

A re-issue of this guy’s been pretty much inevitable, given how hard to find the original had become, as well as the original hitting during one of the weakest periods of the line.  There were definitely improvements to be made, and while this figure makes some of them (namely the better paint on the face/hair), it’s really a trade-off.  This should have been an actual improvement, but it’s instead more or less an equivalent product.  It’s a shame, because I was kind of hoping we might get a more deluxe update on this guy, with extra parts to replicate more of the beating he takes during his Bespin duel.  Perhaps such a release could still happen later.

Luke was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2458: Terror Dog

TERROR DOG

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

Ranking probably in the third spot on the list of most memorable Ghostbusters ghosts, the Terror Dogs serve as Gozer’s precursors in the first film, eventually transitioning to full-fledged hench-dogs by the film’s climax.  Like Gozer, the Terror Dogs were a notable absence from Mattel’s 6-inch Ghostbusters line, though they did get some toy love from both NECA and DST.  Now, Hasbro’s jumping in on the game with at least one of the two.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Terror Dog is the Build-A-Figure for the first assortment of Ghostbusters: The Plasma Series.  Honestly, this feels like a more natural choice of BaF than the wonky Logo Ghost that we got from Mattel’s one retail line, so I can definitely get behind it.  There are two Terror Dogs in the movie, Zuul and Vinz Clortho.  Since we technically already got a Zuul in this set (in the form of the Dana Barrett figure), this guy pretty wisely goes with the Vinz Clortho option, as showcased by the slightly longer horns on the head.  The figure measures 5 inches tall and 6 inches long in its standard standing position, and it has 25 points of articulation.  The articulation is pretty good…on the front half.  Not so much on the back.  Seriously, the neck joint, moving jaw, and front legs all work well, but the total lack of any sort of mid-body joint, the odd decision to only do cut joints for the back hips, and the lack of a proper knee joint on the hind legs makes the back half of the figure surprisingly stiff.  I was a little let down by the lack of mobility there.  Also, make sure to not be a total idiot like me, and get those hind legs on the correct sides the first time around, because that will only further make issue of posing the figure.  On the plus side, moving past the slightly disappointing articulation, the sculpt is actually pretty nice.  There are a few spots where its a little soft on the details, but it’s a far more accurate recreation of the film design than the DST and NECA versions, at least to my eye, and fits in very nicely with the rest of the line in terms of styling.  The paint work on this figure is pretty solid as well, with a nice bit of accent work going on with the silver airbrushing.  It brings out more of the sculpted elements, and also gives the figure a cool sort of otherworldly feel, which is appropriate for the character.  The Terror Dog doesn’t include any accessories.  Being an accessory itself, it’s not unexpected or unreasonable, but I do think it’s too bad we couldn’t also get a second Zuul head to give collectors the option of which dog they want to display.  Of course, the only way to get a second body is to buy the whole set again, which might not be a ton of fun, so maybe Hasbro’s got something else up their sleeves on this one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Terror Dog has never been the star attraction of any Ghostbusters merch for me, so I was really buying this set for the individual figures, and not this guy.  I was, however, intrigued by the figure, and certainly curious to get it assembled.  Ultimately, I’m not the biggest fan of some of the choices Hasbro made, but at the end of the day, it’s a good accent piece to an otherwise truly impressive assortment of figures.

#2457: Gozer

GOZER

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“When ghastly ghouls and spooky specters come looking to paint the town dead, the Ghostbusters are ready to answer the call! But are they prepared to save New York City (and the world) from the ancient evil known as (among other things) Gozer?”

The ultimate big bad of the first Ghostbusters is Gozer the Gozerian (or the Traveler,  or Destructor, depending on your preferred subtitle), is a god who takes a couple of forms in the film.  The one that most people remember is the 50-foot-tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but the first physical manifestation of the character is a humanoid female, portrayed by model Slavitza Jovan in the film.  It’s a distinctive look to be sure, but not one that crops up in toy form quite as often.  Notably, it got skipped by Mattel for their 6-inch line, meaning Hasbro gets to be first to this particular scale.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gozer is the final single-carded figure in Series 1 of The Plasma Series.  As noted above, this is Gozer’s first physical manifestation, but I’m sure Hasbro’s already got the second one in the works.  Of course, this is definitely the one that works a bit better as a standard single figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation is pretty much the same set-up as Dana’s, but with less limitations courtesy of the sculpt, giving her a better overall range.  She’s still slightly limited on the elbows, but otherwise things work pretty well.  Fortunately, on the sculpting front, she’s a bit of a step up from Dana, thanks to slightly easier to translate costume.  I really dig how they worked in all the various textures and such all throughout her body suit.  The likeness on the head, while not as spot on as some of the ‘busters, is still a pretty solid rendition of Jovan, and to my eye looks a bit closer than NECA or DST’s attempts.  The one area where I think this figure could stand to be just a little better is on the paint.  She’s certainly not bad; all of the basics are there and everything.  That said, I wish the detailing on the face was a little more extensive, so as to better replicate the rather elaborate make-up Jovan was sporting for the role.  Additionally, while the pearlescent finish of the plastic for the body suit does okay on its own, the sculpt would be better served by a touch of accent work, just to help things pop.  Gozer is packed with a spare set of hands sporting some wicked lightning effects, perfect for “Then Die!!!!”-ing the Ghostbusters.  She also includes the head to the Terror Dog Build-A-Figure, which I’ll be reviewing in full tomorrow.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The main ‘busters were definitely my main focus from this set, but I was more than willing to have an antagonist for them, and Gozer’s a pretty respectable one.  She’s not quite up to their quality, but I think she turned out a little better than Dana, and certainly a little better than I had been expecting.  She rounds out this first set pretty well.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2456: Dana Barrett

DANA BARRETT

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“When ghastly ghouls and spooky specters come looking to paint the town dead, the Ghostbusters are ready to answer the call — but not before Dana Barrett is possessed by Zuul, ready to unleash Gozer’s wrath on New York City!”

Though not a member of the titular team, Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett is a pretty pivotal piece of both of the original Ghostbusters films.  Despite this, she’s received a whole lot less toy coverage over the years, thanks in part to her character being dropped from spin-off material such as The Real Ghostbusters, and in part to Sigourney’s general lack of interest in letting her likeness be used on toys.  If the notable quantities of Ellen Ripley figures that have hit retail in the last five years are anything to go by, she’s laxed up a little bit on such things.  Back when Mattel had the Ghostbusters license, the only Dana we got wasn’t a figure at all, but a statue that was in scale with the other figures.  That always felt like a bit of a rip-off.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s finally giving Dana her due, and have included her in their first assortment of figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dana is figure 5 in the first assortment of Plasma Series figures.  Like most Dana figures, she’s based on her appearance while possessed by Zuul, which is a sensible enough choice as far as memorable looks go.  It’s perhaps not the easiest to translate into toy form, but we’ll discuss that more in a moment.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Dana’s articulation isn’t quite as practical or useful as that on the ‘busters.  The skirt does a lot of limiting on the legs, and the elbow joints in particular don’t have much range at all.  These are, of course, the symptoms of adapting such a design into plastic, since her rather flowy and lightweight dress doesn’t really translate into plastic all that well.  And really, that’s kind of the overwhelming thing that you run into when dealing with this figure: it’s translating a design that just doesn’t translate so well.  There are parts of the figure, particularly on the torso and arms, where they’ve made some design compromises so as to not impede articulation quite as much, and it doesn’t really work.  I mean, I like that the arms are separate pieces, thereby allowing actual movement, but ultimately they’re separate pieces, and very obviously separate ones at that, which don’t look like the single piece of clothing from the film.  Instead, she kind of looks like she’s wearing separate sleeves or something.  Moving away from the hard to translate flowy dress, let’s talk about the hard to translate poofy hair.  Sigourney Weaver’s hair later in the film is…well, there’s a lot to it, and it behaves in ways that really only hair can do.  When you try to make that into a solid piece of plastic, changes have to happen.  And that they did here.  The actual face does sport a solid likeness of Weaver, but the hair around it seems strange.  She’s definitely got some helmet hair going on here, and it doesn’t really look right from any angle.  I can see what they were going for, but it just ends up looking strange, and just off.  It’s the weakest part of the figure, because it just never looks right, no matter how you pose her. One area where the figure actually does pretty well consistently is the paint.  The face uses the printing, which works quite well for her heavy make up, and I quite dig the metallic sheen on her dress.  I would have liked for her sash to have a little more accenting or something going on, but it’s not atrocious as is.  Dana’s only accessory isn’t really anything for her, but is instead the torso of the Terror Dog Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Going into this set, I was expecting Dana to be the weakest of the bunch.  I don’t feel I was wrong on that front.  However, she’s actually a fair bit better than I was expecting her to be, and honestly Hasbro deserves some pretty major kudos for actually attempting to make her a real figure, rather than just the accent piece that Mattel saddled us with.  This figure definitely has her flaws, but is still far from terrible, given how tricky to adapt this particular look is.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2453: Winston Zeddemore

WINSTON ZEDDEMORE

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the voice of reason of the Ghostbusters team, Winston can calm things down when the world gets a little crazy.”

Hey, it’s Winston!  The Ghostbuster that doesn’t get the credit he–wait, I’ve been this way before, and I’m sure to be this way again.  What?  Was that a Neil Diamond reference?  That’s…well, that’s really odd and doesn’t seem to fit the general aesthetic, does it?  Also, really diverts the attention away from poor Wintson, who, as I’ve mentioned before, really doesn’t get the credit he deserves.  Man, I’m falling into the same trap everyone else does, aren’t I?  Well, the only way I can see fit to properly make it up is to review this figure of Ernie Hudson, Ghostbuster!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Winston is figure 4 in the first assortment of Plasma Series figures, and wrapping up the ‘busters team.  Like Egon, he’s just a single-pack, but I can’t say that’s terribly surprising, given the aforementioned lack of credit for pretty much anything having to do with Winston.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  From the neck down, Winston’s the same figure as Egon, which is a fairly sensible choice, given the similar builds and usual state of their uniforms.  Anything else really would have just been change for the sake of change.  He does get a new head sculpt, and it’s another really strong one.  I’m not sure if it’s quite as good as Egon, but it’s definitely got a very clear Ernie Hudson likeness, and doesn’t overly genericize or go too far into caricature like the DST, Mezco, or Mattel versions.  I was initially a little iffy on the slightly open mouth for the sculpt, because such expressions can always have a lot of room for error, but I think it ultimately looks really good, and I was impressed by how well the likeness held up from various different angles.  In terms of paint, Winston is pretty similar to the other three ‘busters, which is to say he looks pretty good.  The face printing is again really good at highlighting the likeness on the sculpt, and really giving him a life-like feel.  Winston of course gets the same removable proton pack as the other three, but gets probably the coolest additional part of the main ‘busters:  a proton blast effect.  It’s really well done, and it’s kind of a shame we didn’t get the piece for all four team members.  Winston also includes the final leg to the Terror Dog Build-A-Figure, which I’ll be taking a closer look at next week.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The kind of iffy nature of the likenesses on both the Mattel and DST Winstons was a decent part of why I didn’t jump into either of those lines, so I was pretty happy to see how well this particular version had turned out, and was definitely very happy with him once I saw him in person.  Of the four, I’d rank him just after Egon in terms of my favorite figure in the set.  He turned out very well, and hopefully he too will be getting a repack down the line so that he’s not too hard to find.  In general, these four are really just the best bang for your buck when it comes to movie-styled ‘busters, and I’m looking forward to what sorts of variants and such Hasbro has in mind.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2452: Ray Stanz

RAY STANZ

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“As the heart of the team, Ray Stantz is always eager to get down to bustin’ business!”

Okay, let’s do this intro thing.  Yeah, right, intro…Umm, so one time I took a “which Ghostbuster are you?” quiz and I got Ray.  And it kind of baffled me a little bit, because Ray’s my least favorite–let me rephrase–Ray’s my fourth favorite Ghostbuster.  Like, I mean, I don’t *dislike* the guy, but he fades into the background a bit for me. So, you know, there it is.  Well, best review the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ray is figure 2 in the first assortment of Plasma Series figures.  Like Venkman, he’s one of the double packs in the set, and if I’m honest, that seems a little surprising to me.  I’m guessing Egon and Winston will be getting repacks down the line, but it does feel weird for Ray to be twice as common as them.  But he’s my least fourth favorite Ghostbuster, so what do I know?  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He still shares a number of parts with the other two figures, but gets his own head and torso.  The torso gives Ray a slightly pudgier build than the rest of the team, which is appropriate, and certainly better looking than how Mattel handled it.  It does make it a little trickier to get the proton pack in place on this particular figure, but I was able to get it properly attached without too much extra effort.  The head sculpt is a pretty strong piece, pretty much on par with the Egon sculpt in terms of likeness.  Again, this is another area where this figure really out paces the Mattel offering, as I always found their Ackroyd likeness to be their worst of the bunch.  This one, on the other hand, is pretty much the spitting image, goofy expression and all.   Ray’s paintwork is pretty darn solid, with the basics more or less matching the other two.  Like Egon, the face print works very well here, and really just lends even more to how good that likeness is.  In addition to getting the same proton pack as the other two, Ray is also packed with his goggles he’s seen sporting early in the movie, as well as one of the left legs to the Terror Dog.  The goggles in particular are a really strong piece, sitting snuggly on his head, and managing to not look too bulky, while still not requiring his hair to be too matted down in order for them to look okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ray’s not ever really going to be my first choice when it comes to the Ghostbusters and toys, but I won’t deny that this figure did jump out at me when I saw the initial photos, and again when I saw the figures in hand.  Hasbro definitely put a lot of effort into getting him right, and the end result is another really strong figure.  He doesn’t quite beat out Egon, but personal preference may factor into that ever so slightly.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2451: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

GHOSTBUSTERS: PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“The mouth of the Ghostbusters team, Peter Venkman could probably talk a ghost into trapping itself if he tried.”

Alright, let’s dive headlong into this new Ghostbusters set, shall we?  I haven’t reviewed a ton of Ghostbusters stuff on the site, but I’ve reviewed enough to have run out of compelling things to say here in these intros.  I mean, really, how many times can you break down the role that each of the Ghostbuster plays?  Hasbro did a serviceable job breaking it down in the bio up there, so let’s just jump into reviewing the team’s mouth, Dr. Peter Venkman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is figure 1 in the first assortment of the Plasma Series.  He’s one of the assortment’s two double-packs, which makes some sense, seeing as he’s kind of the front man of the whole thing.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Venkman has several parts in common with yesterday’s Egon figure, but does get a new head, as well as new shins, showcasing Venkman’s more lax approach to wearing his jumpsuit and boots.  The body sculpt being the same between these two isn’t too unreasonable, and it means that it’s still a pretty solid sculpt in its own right.  The new shins work well with the other pieces, and do a respectable job of recreating that slightly unique appearance.  His new head sculpt is, of course, the main piece of interest here.  It’s definitely not as nice as the Egon sculpt.  I think there’s definitely a lot of Bill Murray in the sculpt, certainly more than some attempts we’ve seen, but it’s not quite on the mark.  There are some angles where the likeness really peeks through (especially when viewed from the left), and others where he looks far more like Bing Crosby.  In general, I think it’s a little bit cartoony.  Given the cartooniness of Mattel’s take as well, I have to wonder if that might actually be something coming from Murray himself; I know some actors can be weird about likenesses being too close to their actual appearance.  Venkman’s paint work is pretty close to Egon’s, albeit with the expected changes to the head and legs, as well as the new name on the name tag.  I did find that the face application wasn’t quite as strong on Venkman, which may be contributing somewhat to the issues with the likeness.  Venkman is packed with the same removable proton pack as Egon, as well as a ghost trap, and one of the Terror Dog’s right legs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Venkman always seems to draw the short straw, no matter who’s handling the line.  Neither Mattel, nor DST had much luck with him either, and he’s definitely the weakest of Hasbro’s set.  That being said, they managed to land it a bit better on their first attempt than others, and I think he really only sticks out as the worst because of how high the bar is with the others.  He’s not a bad figure by any stretch of the imagination, and he certainly could have been much worse.  And, hey, at least he’s not permanently slimed, or weirdly replaced by a Walter Peck figure.  That would be weird, wouldn’t it?

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2450: Egon Spengler

EGON SPENGLER

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE PLASMA SERIES (HASBRO)

“When ghastly ghouls and spooky specters come looking to paint the town dead, the Ghostbusters are ready to answer the call! Egon Spengler’s like a proton: he always stays positive!”

We went 25 years without any proper toy coverage of the first Ghostbusters, but since hitting that 25th marker, we haven’t exactly had a shortage, especially in terms of collector-oriented lines.  Mattel got in on the scene in 2009, with a line of articulated six-inch figures, which ran for a couple of years through their Matty Collector site.  Diamond Select Toys initially picked up the license for Minimates, but eventually expanded that to their 7-inch Select format.  Even Mezco got into the game, with a set of the main team as part of their One:12 Collective last year.  At the start of this year, Hasbro announced that they were the latest holders of the Ghostbusters master license.  So, are we treading on the same ground again, or will Hasbro well and truly make it their own?  Well, to help answer that question, I’m going to be doing things here ever so slightly differently, and making a rather direct comparison between two versions of my man Egon, one being Hasbro’s new one, and the other being Mattel’s old offering (originally given its own review here).  Let’s jump right on in.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Egon is figure 3 in Hasbro’s first series of Ghostbusters: The Plasma Series…he was also figure 3 from Mattel, so I guess he’s just always the third one.  Unlike Mattel’s offerings, these Ghostbusters aren’t exclusive to anywhere, although they’re still a little tricky to find at mass retail at the moment.  Egon’s based on his appearance in the first film, which is so far the source of the whole line’s appearances so far.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Height-wise, he and his Mattel counterpart have negligible differences.  The first real differences come into play with the articulation.  Not only does the Hasbro Egon have more articulation, what he’s got is also just plain has a better range on it.  Hasbro’s been steadily improving their articulation scheme throughout LegendsBlack Series, and Lightning Collection, and Egon represents the best of those kind of getting rolled into one.  Not only does he get double joints at both the elbows and knees (an amazing improvement on the Mattel version, which couldn’t even get a full 90 degrees out of either joint), but he also gets a ball-jointed waist and even butterfly joints for the shoulders, which really helps with proper proton wand posing.  The joints are also a fair bit better worked into the sculpt on the Hasbro figure than on the Mattel equivalent (which, to be fair, is using a sculpt that is mostly over a decade old at this point), meaning he looks a little more pleasing from that standpoint as well.  While the Mattel Egon likeness didn’t look *unlike* Harold Ramis, it was always a somewhat weak offering.  Hasbro’s stab at it is really, really good, and is a pretty much pitch-perfect Ramis likeness.  In particular, I think they way they’ve done the glasses, more just suggesting their presence than actually putting a small pair of glasses on top of the face, works a lot better at this scale and style.  The Mattel Egon shared everything below the neck with his fellow ‘busters. which was a little bit to his detriment.  Hasbro’s Egon still shares a fair number of his parts with Peter and Winston, but not with Ray, who was kind of the odd-man out in terms of build, and ultimately the one whose build really through off the rest of the team on the Mattel side.  The Mattel jumpsuit really didn’t hang very realistically, but Hasbro’s actually looks like someone wearing a baggy jumpsuit.  Moving onto the gear, like the later Mattel figures, this Egon has a removable proton pack, though its a fair bit more detailed, and looks to be better scaled to the figure.  He can also more properly stow his neutrino wand on his back (it doesn’t have to go at a weird angle), and the pack sports all the proper straps, including the ones that were missing from Mattel’s.  In terms of paint work, Hasbro’s really got things down resulting in more consistent, more lifelike final product than what Mattel gave us, thanks largely to Hasbro’s face printing tech, which really does the sculpt a lot of favors.   In addition to the previously mentioned removable proton pack, Egon is also packed with his PKE meter, which can be hung from his belt, as well as one of the left legs to the Terrordog Build-A-Figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back when the Mattel stuff was first starting to hit, I really wanted to get into it, but Matty Collector and its insane pricing structure and ordering process wasn’t anything I wanted to be messing with.  By the time the far easier to acquire Walmart set was put out, I was kind of burned on the whole thing, and Egon was the only one I could really justify purchasing.  The Hasbro announcement had me cautiously optimistic, and I think it may have well paid off, because this Egon is by far the best version of the character out there, and undoubtedly blows the Mattel version out of the water.  Hopefully, he won’t prove too hard to find in the long run.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure.  They’re currently sold out of their initial shipment of the line, but should be getting more soon.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2449: Zeo Blue Ranger

ZEO BLUE RANGER

POWER RANGERS: LIGHTING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

When it originally started over in the States, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was adapting footage from Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger.  That was all well and good for the first season, since there was a whole season of equivalent footage to use.  However, when Season 2 came along, Saban opted not to adapt the follow-up, Dairanger, quite as directly, largely due to wanting to keep the Rangers with a consistent look for US audiences.  By the next season, Kakuranger, they came up with a story relevant reason for the new looks (being tied to the Alien Rangers, who replaced the de-aged Rangers).  When it came time for the next follow-up, they had thoroughly exhausted any and all Zyuranger footage, and even burned through the extra footage they’d commissioned, so for their fourth season, they gave up the ghost and decided to fully revamp the show for Power Rangers Zeo, which adapted the 19th Super Sentai series, Chouriki Sentai Ohranger.  Zeo is finally making its way into Hasbro’s Lightning Collection line proper, kicking things off with Rocky Desantos, the Blue Zeo Ranger!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zeo Blue is one of the four figures in Series 4 of The Lightning Collection.  Technically, he’s the second Zeo figure in the line, if you count the SDCC Zeo Gold from last year, but he’s the first at standard retail (a proper retail release of the Gold Ranger will be joining him in Series 5).  He’s also our second Blue Ranger in the line.  I’m always a fan of getting more Blue Rangers!  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  A surprising amount of this figure’s sculpt is new, if you can believe it.  I mean, I’m certain that, like, 90% of it’s going to get re-used for the other two male Zeo Rangers, but given how few new parts there were on Galaxy Red.  I was expecting to see a touch more re-use here.  As it stands, it looks like it’s just the upper arms, hands, and feet are shared with prior figures.  Everything else is new, and looks pretty spot-on to the show design.  As usual, the helmet’s really where the best work shows up, but I must admit, I was quite impressed by how ornate the detailing on the gold sections of the costume was.  It really gives the sculpt that extra pop, that I kinda felt was missing from, say, Galaxy Red. The paintwork on my Zeo Blue is pretty decent, but as with prior entries in this line, I had to check against a few different versions to check for the best paint.  As a whole, though, it does look like this assortment has less issues than prior releases.  Zeo Blue is packed with two sets of hands (in fists and gripping), his pod sword (with an energy effect), laser pistol, and an unmasked Rocky head.  While I’d love to see a little more variety in the weapon configurations, such as a collapsed version of the pod sword, or even a combined advanced Zeo Laser, this is a decent basic layout.  I’m still definitely a fan of getting the unmasked heads, and Rocky’s is sporting a pretty decent likeness as well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve discussed previously how In Space is “my Power Rangers”, but Zeo‘s kind of the one that actually got me into it, and was the show I had the most toys from.  Zeo Blue was actually my second Power Ranger, and I at the time still believed it was Billy under the helmet, before then erroneously believing it was Jason, because I knew it was the “former Red Ranger” and my mind hadn’t quite wrapped its head around Rocky as a character.  I was actually pretty happy to see him show up as the first regular retail Zeo release, so he was a day one figure for me.  I’m very happy with the final product, and look forward to getting the rest of the team in this style, hopefully sooner than later.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for Lightning Collection, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2445: Abomination

ABOMINATION

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Emil Blonsky wanted the power of the Hulk, so he subjected himself to massive gamma radiation bursts, becoming a super-strong monster.”

Remember that “Brains vs Brawn” dynamic I was talking about in my Leader review?  Well, sometimes it gets dropped in favor of the slightly more parallel “Brawn vs Brawn.”  That’s really the dynamic of Banner’s second best known foe, the Abomination.  While not quite as much of the dumb bruiser of the original green Hulk, Blonsky’s still more brawn than brains, meaning his face offs tend to turn into more straight forward slug fests.  It does make him a solid opponent from the angle of selling toys, though, which is probably why he’s had more toys than the Leader.  He just got one more, and I’m taking a look at it today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Abomination is the titular Build-A-Figure for Abomination Series of Marvel Legends.  Fitting the Gamerverse-theme of the set, he’s based on the character’s appearance in the upcoming Avengers game.  It’s a slight merging of his classic comics design and his film appearance, which is a pretty sensible choice, and probably works out a little better here than on some of the core team.  I’m still not entirely sold on the head design myself, but I’ve certainly seen worse (and, as a fun bonus, the prior, more comic styled Abomination BaF head looks pretty decent swapped onto this body).  I at the very least prefer this look to a full-on MCU adaptation.  The figure’s a pretty sizable guy, standing a little over 8 inches tall.  He’s got 30 points of articulation, which is pretty impressive for such a hefty build.  Essentially, he uses the same articulation scheme as the 80th Hulk, which was a pretty solid, very useful set-up, and it means that these two have an easy time facing off.  While initially I thought Abomination was making use of some of the prior BaF’s parts, there don’t appear to be any pieces shared between the two figures in the final product.  The sculpt is a pretty strong one overall.  It seems to stick pretty close to the game design, at least from the limited shots we’ve seen so far.  The head is at the very least accurate, and the body is designed to match it well.  I like some of the smaller touches, such as the unbuckled belt on what remains of his pants.  The articulation is well implemented, and not nearly as restricted as prior Abomination Legends releases, but without breaking up the flow of things too terribly.  The paintwork on this guy is decent, though not quite as cool as some of the singles in the series.  I like how the subtle changes in coloring on the skin turned out, but there are a lot of sculpted details that go unpainted, which is a real shame.  Abomination doesn’t get any accessories, but given the sheer size of this guy, that’s really okay.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Leader, I don’t have an overwhelming attachment to Abomination as a character.  I mean, I like him maybe a *little* more, because he makes for a little more of an exciting figure most of the time.  The prior BaF hit at a time when I wasn’t really financial viable enough to be buying full assortments for the BaFs.  I was hoping to get another stab at it, and this figure gave me a nice chance at that.  While it’s maybe not my 100% preferred version of the character, the ability to use the prior head really makes this figure work for me.

As a whole, this will probably end up as this year’s most middling line-up of Legends.  While some of the figures contained within it aren’t the most exciting, nothing here is particularly bad, either.  Mar-Vell and Mach-I rank as my personal favorites, but the rest of the bunch is at the very least serviceable, and there are some decent toys throughout.