#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.

Advertisements

#1875: Zuckuss

ZUCKUSS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A Gand bounty hunter, Zuckuss heeded the Empire’s call for mercenaries to locate the Millennium Falcon and bring her fugitive crew to justice, receiving his orders on the bridge of Darth Vader’s Super Star Destroyer.”

I’ve established a loose ranking of Empire Strikes Back’s bounty hunters throughout my various Black Series reviews of them, and if you’ve been following those, you’ll know that my top three slots (IG-88, Bossk, and 4-LOM) have already been covered.  So, where does that leave today’s entry, Zuckus?  I’d probably stick him in the number 4 slot, though it’s largely due to his pairing with 4-LOM.  It just feels odd to break those two up.  And, it would seem that Hasbro agrees, since they always release them in close proximity to each other.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Zuckuss is a Disney Store-exclusive Star Wars: The Black Series offering, who started showing up within the last month.  He is one of three exclusives for the line that all hit at the same time, and he’s another displaced TRU-exclusive, though there was evidently enough time to at least remove the sticker from him.  The figure is 5 1/2 inches tall (Zuckuss was the shortest of the Bounty Hunters) and he has 26 points of articulation.  Zuckuss is a brand-new sculpt, and he falls back a bit more on the earlier Black Series tendency for mixed media affairs.  He’s got an underlying sculpt, with a cloth robe over top, and an overlay piece holding it all together.  It’s all *technically* removable, but it’s gonna be a pain to get it off and back on, and he underlying body isn’t really designed to be seen, so I elected to leave mine in place.  while some of the earlier mixed-media offerings from this line were a bit iffy in execution, I think it works out a lot better with this figure.  The cloth sections are definitely better tailored on this figure than prior figures, and the additional overlay piece helps to keep everything more properly shaped.  As far as visible sculpted pieces, the head and hands definitely show some very strong work; the texturing on the gloves is quite realistic, and the head matches nicely not only with his on-screen appearance, but also pairs well with the prior 4-LOM figure.  The bulk of the paintwork on Zuckuss is on the head, which has a dark wash to help bring out its details.  After so many figures without any such detailing, it’s nice to see Hasbro returning to it.  Zuckuss’s only accessory is his distinctive blaster, which fits nicely in his hand.  It’s a little bit on the smaller side, but given all of the other work that’s been put into this figure, it’s acceptable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since picking up 4-LOM, I’ve been anxiously awaiting Zuckuss’s release.  After a particularly bad day at work, Super Awesome Fiancee was looking to cheer me up, so she took me to the closest Disney Store, where I had no trouble finding him.  He’s a fun figure, and he brings us one step closer to a complete line-up of the Executor Bounty Hunters!

#1874: Boba Fett – Prototype Armor

BOBA FETT — PROTOTYPE ARMOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Before he put on the familiar Mandalorian armor from the Star Wars saga, this notorious bounty hunter was initially envisioned as a “Super Trooper” in all-white armor. This special figure captures the beginning of a character that has become a legend who is both respected and feared across the galaxy…Boba Fett”

Yesterday, I looked at a rather new Black Series release.  Today, I’m jumping back to rather close to the line’s beginning, with a look at one of its earliest exclusive offerings.  Both of the line’s first two exclusives were of the Boba Fett variety.  While the initial figure was really just an exclusive accessory, the follow-up was a little more unique…provided your definition of unique is “common repaint of a popular character that crops up just about every time he gets a new mold.”  Eh, close enough.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prototype Armor Boba Fett was the very first Walgreens-exclusive Black Series figure, first arriving on shelves in the fall of 2014, alongside the non-exclusive Darth Vader,  Jedi Luke, and Chewbacca.  He’s just a straight repaint of the SDCC/Series 2 Boba Fett mold, as is to be expected.  As such, he stands 6 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  It remains a strong sculpt, on par with more recent offerings (which is probably why Hasbro’s going to be doing a straight re-issue of the standard figure later this year).  If you want to get really finicky, the helmet shouldn’t have a dent in it, and his rocket pack should have barbs at the tip of it, but it’s close enough to warrant the cheaper repaint.  Another slight point of change is the cloth cape piece, but this one’s a little more warranted.  The actual prototype suit made use of a Star Wars-branded towel, which I suppose wouldn’t fit with the overall serious aesthetic of the figure.  So, instead, it’s white with a grey stripe.  The paint is where the important work is at, and he’s actually more than a Fett figure molded in straight white, which is certainly a nice surprise.  He’s got a slightly darker toned jumpsuit (as the real prototype suit had), and a few smaller details assorted throughout.  Boba is packed with the same pairing of guns as his standard release, in a straight black.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure hit, I was being far more picky about which Black Series figures I would be picking up, so I was more interested in Boba’s assortment-mates than he himself.  But I’ve subsequently had a change of heart about such things, so when I came upon this guy for only a little higher than his original retail at 2nd Chance Toyz, I was an easy mark.  Is he the greatest figure ever?  No, but he’s got all of the pluses of the original release, and that means he makes for a fun toy.

#1873: Tobias Beckett

TOBIAS BECKETT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Beckett is a survivor, always quietly working out angles to come out ahead. He’s assembled a team of specialized scoundrels to carry out risky but profitable heists.”

In a lot of ways, Solo doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.  Fortunately for fans of the movie, The Black Series is one place it does get its proper due…or at least is going to in the very near future.  We’ve already gotten the young versions of Han, Chewbacca, and Lando, as well as Qi’ra and the Range Trooper.  Following those up, is Han’s mentor, Mal Reynolds knowledge and generally Woody Harrelson-esque dude, Tobias Beckett!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tobias Beckett is figure 68 in Hasbro’s The Black Series line-up.  He shipped in the early fall assortment of the line, alongside Bespin Han and the Rebel Fleet Trooper.  Beckett is seen here in his standard heist gear, which he wears from the train heist onward.  While I was definitely a fan of his Imperial disguise look, this is his main appearance, and is definitely the best choice for this figure.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Beckett’s sculpt is unique to this figure.  It’s a pretty decent offering, though I think when compared to the really strong offerings we’ve gotten so far from the Solo stuff, he’s maybe a little more rudimentary.  It’s mostly how the articulation is worked into it; the mid-torso joint in particular is a little jarring, as are the hips.  In addition, the double holsters are rather restricting to the hip movement, making the awkward joints seem even more unnecessary.  On the plus side, his long coat hides a lot of this, and is one of my favorite parts of the sculpt.  His likeness is a decent match for Harrelson.  The hair, which is a separate piece, is a little bulky, but it’s still a respectable handling of his somewhat scraggly hair from the movie, especially at this scale.  The paintwork on Becket is pretty decent, but again, seems like a very slight step down from the other Solo figures.  He’s got a printed face, but it seems a little blurrier than other figures.  It’s still pretty solid, though, and his general color scheme matches up well with his on-screen appearance.  Beckett is packed with his pair of revolver-style blasters, which can either be held or stowed in his holsters.  They’re some of the best detailed weapons from this line, continuing the upward trend of the weapons in this line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beckett was a little bit illusive, mostly due to a general lingering of the preceding assortment at retail.  But, I was fortunate enough to find him at a somewhat less-travelled Walmart, so ah-ha!  I liked Beckett a lot, so I’m glad to finally have him in figure form.  He’s the weakest of the Solo figures so far, but seeing as the Solo figures have been consistently my favorite Black Series figures of late, that doesn’t really hinder him. I look forward to getting the rest of his crew!

The Blaster In Question #0072: Thunderblast

BlasterInQuestion1

THUNDERBLAST

N-STRIKE 

thunderb1I’m sure quite a few if not most of you are familiar with the KISS acronym meaning “keep it simple, stupid” or some derivation of that. Well this week’s blaster deals with the slightly lesser known KISBJUOOTFBDYEHS acronym. And if any blaster can demonstrate keeping it simple by just updating one of the first blaster designs you ever had, stupid, it’s the Thunderblast.  So let’s have a look. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

thunderb2The Thunderblast was released in 2015 as part of the N-Strike line. I know it’s got the Elite style blue and white color scheme, but the box just says N-Strike, no Elite here. It uses possibly one of the simplest firing mechanisms ever used in a Nerf blaster, a system referred to as a HAMP or hand-actuated manual pump, I think. In essence, you load one of the rockets onto the spindle, push the fore-grip forward and slam it back as hard as you can. The harder you slam, the more power behind the rocket. Of course, the act of vigorously slamming back a fore-grip will do terrible things to your accuracy, but we’re talking about Nerf here, how accurate can you possibly be?  This system, albeit in a very different form factor, is virtually identical to the system in the very first Nerf blaster I ever owned, the NB-1 from 1992 back when Nerf was made by Kenner, and even then, the design was used on earlier toys like a foam Batarang launcher. Bet you weren’t expecting a Batman name-drop in this Nerf rocket launcher review. Coming back to the Thunderblast, while the mechanics on the inside haven’t changed much, I am glad they changed the ergonomics. While the NB-1 will always have a special place in my heart, if I’m honest, the grips on that thing are small and blocky in contrast to the TB’s large contoured grips, even allowing for vertical or horizontal fore-grips. The TB also has a stock, something it has over the NB. Granted it’s not the best stock, but it’s fine. There’s a curved section on the underside that’s meant to allow you to seat the blaster up on top of your shoulder like a proper rocket launcher, but what this does is reduce the length of pull so much that your dominant arm ends up sticking out to the side like an awkward chicken wing. The thought is still appreciated. You can shoulder the blaster like a rifle, but the way the extra rockets are stored means you’re basically shooting from the hip from your shoulder… kind of. I’m trying to say they block any kind of aiming you might attempt. Performance is all over the place, given that the power behind each shot is fully dependent on the user, but overall, if you’re at least of teenage years with average upper body strength, you should be able to launch rockets pretty far. Interestingly, because the rockets are so wide, even a jacked up shot from the tuberculosis doesn’t hurt as much as a standard shot from an Elite blaster, but it your younger siblings don’t know that, just the presence that a rocket launcher has can be quite effective for intimidation. And that’s something the New Balance didn’t have. The consumption comes packaged with 2 rockets. I know in my pictures it has 3 but I think it looks better with 3. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I fully accept that at this point, a blaster like the Thunderblast isn’t exactly practical, but the homage to older designs does appeal to me. That and the fact that it’s a rocket launcher. It did kind of bum me out initially when I saw it didn’t have a trigger, but if we’ve learned anything from the Modulus Mediator barrel, it’s that Nerf still knows how to do pressurized air blasters, so who knows? Maybe we’ll see a revamp of the Titan one day. 

#1872: G.I. Joe Hawk

G.I. JOE HAWK

G.I. JOE: 25TH ANNIVERSARY (HASBRO)

“G.I. JOE HAWK was the original field commander of the G.I. Joe team before he got his General’s star and was booted upstairs to honcho the entire G.I. Joe operation.  He’s a West Point graduate and has a list of special education credits as long as his arm, but her still managed to get the main body of his experience out where it counts — on the battlefield.”

When the Real American Hero incarnation of G.I. Joe rolled out it 1982, the team’s blonde-haired commanding officer wasn’t Duke, but was instead Hawk, the Pike to Duke’s Kirk.  Duke stepped into the spotlight in 1983, taking the spot of field commander, so when Hawk resurfaced in 1986, he was given his own distinct design, and the rank of General, which has gone on to be a defining trait of the character.  Another defining trait seems to be how hard it is for him to keep a consistent name.  He began as “Hawk” in ’82, which remained for his ’86 figure, before the “General” rank was added to his name in ’91.  When the line returned in ’02, he was “General Tomahawk” for a period, before dropping the code name altogether in ’04 and just going by “General Abernathy.”  By the time of the 25th Anniversary, he had changed again, now under the title of “G.I. Joe Hawk,” which doesn’t quite roll of the tongue, but there it is.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

G.I. Joe Hawk was released in the fifth wave of G.I. Joe: 25th Anniversary’s 2008 assortment.  He’s patterned on Hawk’s ’86 figure, which, for most people is his most distinctive appearance.  I’m definitely amongst those people.  The figure stands just shy of 4 inches tall and he has 22 points of articulation.  Hawk’s sculpt was new to him, and was definitely one of the most faithful translations in the line.  He’s pretty much just a detail for detail recreation of the ’86 figure, but updated to the newer stylings of this particular line.  Apart from some rather restricted elbow joints (an issue that plagued quite a few of the line’s earlier figures), it’s a really strong offering, and perhaps my favorite from this iteration of the line.  The head does a nice job of melding Hawk’s various looks over the years into one cohesive design, and I particularly like the details on his bomber jacket.  The fur collar is a separate piece, glued in place, but it has his shoulder harness weaved through it.  It could have all been one solid sculpted piece, but instead it’s actually separated out, like it really would be, which gives the whole thing a nice feeling of depth.  Hawk’s paintwork is again quite strong.  The base application is clean, and matches well with his prior figure.  There are tons of small little details littered through the jacket, such as his various medals, or his “ABERNATHY” name tag, and he’s even got a little wisp of grey in his hair to make him look a little more distinguished.  Hawk included the same basic assortment of pieces as his ’86 figure: a helmet, a pistol, and a back pack.  The helmet fits snugly on the head, the pack plugs securely into his back, and his pistol can be properly stashed in his belt holster, making for a well put-together figure.  He also included a display stand with his name printed on the front, like the rest of the line, for those that value such things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kind of falling into the same line of logic that has me liking Pike more than Kirk, I’ve always been much more of a Hawk fan than a Duke fan.  The ’86 figure was one of the first vintage figures I went to the trouble of tracking down as a kid.  So, when I finally got on board with the whole 25th Anniversary thing, he was one of the first I wanted.  I actually got him as sort of a “get well soon” gift from my Dad and my brother after having my wisdom teeth out; I was on a steady diet of soft foods and the G.I. Joe cartoon at the time, and this guy (and Sgt Flash) made his way home from a trip to the comic book store for me.  Even after jumping pretty far into the 25th line, Hawk still remains a favorite.

#1870: A.I.M. Scientist & Trooper

A.I.M. SCIENTIST & A.I.M. TROOPER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A.I.M., or Advanced Idea Mechanics, is a scientific organization bent on designing the technology that can take over the world.  Combined with the brute force of the Shock Trooper, the A.I.M. scientists innovate international design in the pursuit of world domination.”

Though in many ways the Legends brand was revitalized from the time Hasbro slapped “Infinite Series” on the box, there was still a little bit of a learning curve in those earlier days of the line.  In particular, swap figures, something they’d introduced during the Return of Marvel Legends era, which replaced one figure in early assortments with another for refreshment cases, still persisted throughout Infinite Series’ first year (and the shared names would continue for a few more after that).  One of the earliest Infinite Series offerings, the Captain America-themed Mandroid Series, was perhaps most affected.  Though both versions of the Agents of Hydra (Red Skull and a Hydra Agent) and the Soldiers of A.I.M. (Zemo and an A.I.M. Soldier) shipped side by side in early cases, the revision cases that hit a few months later strangely chose to repack only the non-army builder versions, leaving the army builders with a rather hefty after market value.  Hasbro first tackled this issue with the TRU exclusive “Agents of Hydra” two-pack from last year, which offered up one of the two army builders.  It was initially scarce, due to TRU’s spotty distribution, but with them out of the way, it’s actually become quite easy to get.  Hasbro has wisely chosen to follow that set up with a complimentary A.I.M. two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Soldiers of A.I.M. two-pack is an Entertainment Earth “exclusive” (meaning it’s available to all of the retail establishments that order through EE).  EE has picked up most of the former TRU-exclusives (including unsold stock of the Hydra pack), so It’s not hard to imagine this pair were originally slated for a TRU release.

A.I.M. SCIENTIST

Pairing off with the Hydra Agent from the other pack is the A.I.M. Scientist.  He’s more or less a reissue of the A.I.M. Soldier from the Mandroid series.  That being said, there the Hydra Agent’s differences were really limited to just the accessories, the Scientist’s changes go a little further.  Basic construction is the same.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He uses the jumpsuit-ed body from the original, which works just as well now as it did the first time.  The only notable tweak is that his head seems to sit a little lower on the neck, which is a definite improvement.  Of course, it’s possible that my original was just slightly mis-molded.  The paint work has had some changes as well.  He’s the same basic yellow as the last one (so they’ll match up fine for army builders), but his visor and gloves are now black, and the “skirt” of his belt piece is molded yellow rather than painted, so it actually matches this time.  While I was initially a little bummed by the switch to black for the visor, I actually find myself preferring how it looks overall.  Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff: the accessories!  Now, it’s worth noting that this set’s accessories are a lot less figure specific than the Hydra set’s were, so I’ve tried to group them as best I could.  Like the prior release, this figure includes a bandolier, a large blaster, and a small blaster.  These are all the same as before (apart from a little extra detailing on the bandolier), and are still fun additions.  I particularly like “A.I.M.” being printed on the sides of the guns.  He also includes a shoulder harness molded in brown, and a second head (repainted from Paladin).  The head could just as easily go with the other figure (especially since it was on the other body in its original release, but I think it really works here, in a Bill, Agent of A.I.M. sort of way.

A.I.M. TROOPER

The second figure is sort of a counterpart to the Hydra Enforcer, dubbed a Shock Trooper by the back of the packaging.  He’s not your standard A.I.M. guy, that’s for sure.  He too is complete re-use, but is a rather crafty selection of parts.  He’s built on Paladin’s body (which was itself re-worked from Blade, who was in turn re-worked from ASM2 Electro), with Scourge’s head thrown on it (sort of pairing off with the Taskmaster head from the Hydra set), all done up in A.I.M.’s signature black and yellow.  A new coat of paint makes these parts look surprisingly new.  And while he’s still got a very distinct look about him, he also lends himself far more to being a troop builder than I felt the Enforcer did.  This guy comes packed with a knife and pistol, done up in colors to match him, as well as one of Deadpools rifles, again colored to match.  For variety’s sake, the Trooper also includes another shoulder harness (this time in a grey/blue), Deathlok’s backpack in yellow, and another standard issue A.I.M. beekeeper’s mask.  The last piece looks a little goofy on this guy, but I appreciate the option to further A.I.M.-ize him, and I even more appreciate the ability to make my prior A.I.M. Soldiers properly match up with this new set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I actually found an A.I.M. Soldier, there wasn’t as much of a dire need to get this set as there was with the Hydra pack, so when they were shown off, I knew I’d want one, but I was kind of ambivalent to the whole thing.  Then I saw it in person, and my mind changed.  And then I opened it up and my mind changed even more.  The Hydra set may have been more essential to me, but this one’s more fun.  The improvements to the standard A.I.M. guy are enough to make him the superior offering when compared to the original release, and I find myself really, really liking the Trooper, far more than I did the Enforcer, and far more than I’d expected to.  Hasbro’s inventiveness is really well showcased here.

I grabbed this pair from my friends at All Time Toys.  As of this writing, this pack is still in-stock, so if you’re interested in this, or any other Marvel Legends figures, or are looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#1869: Wasp

WASP

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Despite being a character for whom “constantly changing look” is a defining trait, poor Janet Van Dyne’s figures all seem to gravitate between the same two costumes.  Either she’s in first appearance mode, or she’s wearing the dreaded black and gold number.  There’s no in-betweens.  Well, not until now, at least!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wasp is the fourth figure from the second series of the Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  Like yesterday’s Vision figure, she switches things up and gives us a predominately new offering.  Rather than one of the two Wasp costumes we have oh-so-many of already, this figure instead gives us one of Jan’s Perez-designed costumes from his run during the late ‘90s/early ‘00s.  It’s not just some random choice on Hasbro’s part, either, because this is the exact same costume that was supposed to serve as one of the two variants for Toy Biz’s first Legends Wasp back in the day.  It never went to full production, leaving a very small handful of samples out there, and thereby making it one of the rarest Legends pieces (alongside the admittedly less-demanded silver shirted Luke Cage).  So this figure’s more than a decade in the making.  All I can say is “finally!”  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 33 points of articulation.  From the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the prior figure.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Wasp’s head is a different one, though it’s not a new one.  It’s actually a rather clever re-use, borrowed from the Sasquatch Series’ Domino figure.  Since her head was done up with a very unique paint scheme, it looks quite a bit different here, and matches up well with Jan’s style at the time of this costume to boot.  Wasp’s paintwork is clean and bold, which are my favorite things in a Legends paint job.  The white is slightly pearlescent, which gives it a nice, polished look, and I definitely this new color scheme for the wings.  Far more appealing than the ones on the last figure, that’s for sure.  Wasp is packed with a miniature version of her husband Hank in his Ant-Man form.  It’s a piece we’ve seen a good number of times before, but it continues to be a solid inclusion, and makes a lot of sense here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ever since being let-down by Toy Biz’s standard release Wasp, I’ve been waiting for this look, never to have it arrive.  She and Ant-Man ended up being the first of these figures we actually saw, and I knew immediately that I’d definitely be tracking her down.  She popped up at the same time as Vision, which certainly made me happy, as I was able to get my two top wants in one fell swoop.  I was content with the last Wasp figure from Hasbro, but hoped for more.  I’m happy to finally be able to replace that black and gold monstrosity, let me tell you.  Now, is it too much to ask for her asymmetrical, jazzercise-looking white and blue number from the ‘80s? 

#1868: Vision

VISION

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The Vision is an android who mimics virtually every organic function of a human being, including independent thought!”

In a stark change from the last two days, it’s actually been a little while since I’ve looked at a Vision figure.  The last one was his movie-inspired Legends figure from Infinity War, and that was all the way back in April.  Given how much I like Vision, I think it’s time to change that!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Vision is another figure from Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line, he marks the assortment’s turn into decidedly “new” territory.  We’ve had three Visions in the main Legends line since the Infinite Series-switch-over, but they’ve all been later costume designs, and all of them have had some issues plaguing them.  This one returns him back to his classic roots, for the first time in a decade.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  The three prior Visions were all built on the Bucky Cap body, but this one changes that up, moving him to the 2099 body.  Like Silver Surfer, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this.  I understand the desire to move away from the Bucky Cap, and I was never super attached to it for Vision anyway.  That said, I tend to see Vision as having a larger stature.  In a perfect world, I’d like to see him built on the Spider-UK body.  All that said, I don’t mind this one.  He appears to use the same head sculpt as the Hulkbuster Series Vision, though with less molding issues this time around.  He actually gets a brand-new piece for his cape; that actually surprised me, but it was really necessity to do this the right way.  It’s very similar to the Marvel Universe cape, which I rather liked, and it’s very appropriate for a classic Vision.  Prior Visions have really fallen down when it comes to paint work.  This one, on the other hand, truly excels in this area.  The application is very clean, and the metallic green is really, really slick looking.  Something about the cleaner nature of the paint actually makes the head sculpt look a lot better than it did the first time around.  Vision’s one accessory is the head from the first Hasbro Legends Ultron, calling back to a frequent state for Ultron, especially in Vision’s earliest appearances.  It’s a nice accessory, although I really would have liked to get an extra pair of hands in an open gesture.  Or at least just one of them, so that he can match the illustration on his packaging.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a big Vision fan, I’m always in the market for a good figure of him.  Unfortunately, Hasbro’s last three attempts each seemed to just miss the mark.  When this guy was shown off, he quickly climbed to the top of my list (alongside figure I’ll be looking at tomorrow).  There are still some minor issues (I’m really going to need to find him some more expressive hands), but I gotta say, I really, really like this guy.  Definitely the best version of the character on the market.

#1867: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“With the sleekness of the jungle cat whose name he bears, T’Challa — King of Wakanda — stalks both the concrete city and the underground of the Veldt”

At the beginning of this year, in conjunction with the release of his movie, Walmart offered up an exclusive variant of Black Panther.  It was kind of a curious offering, being a fully powered-up, energy-effect ridden version of a costume we hadn’t yet received a standard release of.  And, unlike most instances of such variants, there was no confirmation of a standard version anywhere in the pipeline.  That is, until Panther’s name cropped up on the list of rumored Series 2 Vintage figures.  Since we’d *just* gotten a re-release of the classic Panther, could this possibly be the missing All New, All Different Panther?  Why yes, yes it could!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is the second figure in Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  He uses the aforementioned “All New, All Different” design, which is a pretty solid one.  It takes the classic Panther look and just sort of streamlines it.  I’m still partial to the classic look, but I can see the appeal of this one.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the same basic construction as the Walmart-exclusive release, with a few minor change-ups.  He’s still built on the Spider-UK body, which I still like a lot for T’Challa.  He has the same streamlined head sculpt and necklace add-on.  He swaps out the last figure’s Rocket Raccoon Series Panther hands for the Civil War Panther hands.  I’m not entirely sure why Hasbro keeps switching back and forth between them, but there’s at least some variety.  He also adds a basic belt piece (borrowed from Prowler), to break things up, I guess?  Hey, I can’t complain about an extra piece.  The main selling point here is, of course, the paint.  Since the last one had all the pink tron-lines, this one goes fully powered down.  Though, rather than the straight black I think we’d all been expecting, he’s actually an iridescent dark blue, which works quite well, and ends up a bit more striking than if he’d just been pure black.  Panther gets the same accessory set-up as the powered-up version, minus the extra head (not really a big loss, there): a spare set of hands, and two energy pieces for the hands, this time in an etherial white.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being pleasantly surprised by the Powered Up Panther, I was somewhat intrigued by this release.  When he showed up alongside Scarlet Spider at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, she was kind enough to pick him up for me.  Ultimately, he hasn’t displaced my classic Panther on the shelf, and doesn’t quite have the pop of the prior figure, but he’s still entertaining in his own right.