#2281: Major Vonreg

MAJOR VONREG

STAR WARS RESISTANCE (HASBRO)

“A vicious, daring man of few words, Major Vonreg is known for his custom crimson TIE fighter and his lightning fast strikes against anyone who dares intrude into First Order territory.”

For my last day of Post-Christmas reviews for this year, I’m taking a look at another figure from Star Wars Resistance.  Yesterday’s figure, Kaz, was part of the show’s titular resistance, but today’s figure hails from the other side of the war, the First Order.  While the majority of the First Order we’ve seen have been their ground troops, Resistance‘s focus on pilots translated to both sides.  Kylo took the part of star pilot of the First Order in the films, but the show introduced its own villainous lean pilot, Major Vonreg.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Major Vonreg is another basic figure from the first (and only) assortment of Star Wars Resistance figures.  He was one of three villains available present in the line-up.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, based on one of the show’s more distinctive designs.  Clearly, he’s got the standard First Order TIE pilot as a starting point, which is fine by me.  He’s a little more armored, and he’s got an all-new helmet design, which calls back to the Clone Pilots and is definitely one of the coolest First Order designs.  It’s sleek, it’s imposing, and it makes him pretty distinctive.  Of the three Resistance figures I’ve looked at so far, Vonreg is the only one to be fully armored up.  This makes the stylization from the show a little less evident, meaning this figure actually doesn’t look too out of place with the standard movie fare.  That makes him even more versatile, and I’m all about it.  The sculpt sports some decent detail work, especially on that underlying jumpsuit.  Despite not actually having a face, he’s actually one of the more detailed figures from the line.  The paintwork on Vonreg is a fairly distinctive look…or at least it was before we had a whole sub-division of all red troops.  Of course, I guess he could double as a Sith Trooper Pilot if you were so inclined.  Whatever the case, the all red look is a good look, and the variations of shades help him from being too bland.  Vonreg is packed with a small blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Between yesterday’s review and today’s, I’ve managed to watch a few episodes of the show, so hey, I’m not a total novice.  Not that the first couple of episodes have much of Vonreg here, but at least I’ve got some background.  Like yesterday’s figure, Vonreg was given to me by Cheyenne, who was determined to get me at least a few figures I didn’t have.  Vonreg is another pretty fun figure, aided further by his ability to fit in not just with figures from this line, but also from the main movie line.  He’s a solid trooper figure, even if he is technically a named character.

#2280: Kaz Xiono

KAZ XIONO

STAR WARS RESISTANCE (HASBRO)

“Confident and skilled when piloting a New Republic X-wing fighter, Kaz now feels out of his element having been assigned to be a spy for the Resistance.”

The Post-Christmas reviews are finally starting to wrap up here, and for the last two days, I’ll be looking at a pair of items with a common theme.  In addition to keeping with my whole “back to the beginning” thing by bookending this year’s reviews with another set of Star Wars reviews, the two final figure reviews hail from Disney’s Star Wars Resistance, their two-season Sequel-era cartoon that launched in 2018.  In addition to a few returning faces (including my dude Poe), the show also introduced a sizable cast of new characters.  Today, I’m taking a look at the show’s main character Kaz Xiono!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kaz Xiono was released in the six figure basic figure assortment for Star Wars Resistance‘s launch assortment…of course the launch was all we ended up getting, so there’s that.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 5 points of articulation.  He and the rest of his companions would of course end up being the last new 5POA figures we would receive, at least as of right now.  Kaz is based on his standard look from the show, with an all-new sculpt that is an impressive recreation of his animated design.  Though he’s little more than a basic civilian in appearance, the design is still quite sharply rendered, with even a separate jacket piece to help add some more depth to the design.  He’s a very clean looking figure.  He’s also a very playable figure; though he’s only got those basic joints, they’re all unimpeded by the sculpt, making this a figure that’s perfect for use in vehicles.  Shame there weren’t any to go with the line, but alas, no sense crying over that now.  The paintwork, like the sculpt is clean and basic.  The green is cool, since that’s a rarer color with your typical Star Wars character, making Kaz something of a standout amongst his peers.  Kaz is packed with a removable helmet and a blaster pistol.  The pistol is the same one included with Poe, but the helmet’s all-new, and another very nicely done piece, as it goes on and off without any trouble.  It’s also got a pretty fun pattern printed on it, continuing the trend of having him stand out a bit from other such figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I have to admit, I’ve still yet to see a single episode of Resistance.  I didn’t have cable when it started airing.  Now I’ve got Disney+, so there’s really no excuse, but I still haven’t made the time to sit down and watch it.  That means I’m not actually familiar with Kaz here.  That said, the lack of a 5POA line for Rise of Skywalker made me really want something new of that style, and here was this pretty nifty line of figures I never actually bought.  Cheyenne (of Chey and Jess’ fun time reviews) was nice enough to get me Kaz here as a Christmas gift, and I gotta say, he’s just a really nifty little figure.  I’m happy to have him, and really feel like I should watch the show now.

#2279: Alpha Flight

VINDICATOR, PUCK, NORTHSTAR, AURORA, SHAMAN, & SNOWBIRD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Remember when I reviewed Guardian back in September, and I mentioned that Hasbro had thrown out the concept of trying to release all of the Alpha Flight team-members one at a time in favor of dropping them all at once in one fell swoop as an Amazon-exclusive set?  Well, here we are.  Just about a whole team in one go.  It’s just how they do.  Introduced in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #120 as part of Wolverine’s backstory, they eventually got a book of their own, which ran for over a decade.  Since that original run, though, they’ve had a little trouble keeping in the public eye, which has made their toy prospects a little tricky, especially since they’ve got a rather sizable line-up.  One big drop is pretty much the only way any company has ever been able to get them out to market, and that’s exactly what Hasbro did here.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This six figure set is an Amazon-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, which was first listed for pre-order last fall, and started shipping about a month or two ago.   It’s designed to augment the Guardian and Sasquatch figures recently released in the main line, as well as giving fans a second chance at the incredibly hard to complete Puck build-a-figure from the last series of Return of Marvel Legends.

VINDICATOR

Heather McNeill Hudson, Calgary, Alberta”

In an effort to keep up with my claims of having reviewed 100% of the Heather Hudson figures in existence (it’s easy when there’s only three of them), here’s the latest one of those.  Whoooo.   Like the other two, this one is Heather in her version of the Vidicator costume, which she started wearing after her husband Mac’s (first) death.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which works reasonably well for Heather (and confirms that Wolverine’s got something of a type…that type being red heads of a certain build who are married).  She fortunately swaps out the high heels for a pair of flat soles, and ditches one of the open hands for a first.  She also gets an all-new head sculpt, which is quite a nice piece.  It’s fairly basic, but it’s clean and it sits well on the body.  It’s also got a posable ponytail, which is handy for different flight based poses. Heather’s paint work is okay, but not without a few issues.  The biggest is the change in red from James‘ suit to this one.  The figures were close enough in production time, that the two of them really should have been sporting the same colors.  As it is, they are’t terribly far off, but it’s enough of a difference to be grating when they’re displayed together.  Additionally, the maple leaf emblem has really lost the maple-leaf-ness this time around, looking far more like a bunch of random jagged lines.  My last complaint is more of personal preference, but the opaque coloring on the visor is a little bit of a bummer, especially since both of her prior figures have managed to do translucent.

PUCK

Eugene Judd, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan”

Puck is the one figure who’s had a Legends release before, as the Build-A-Figure in the self-entitled “Puck Series,” an assortment put together to tie-in with The Wolverine‘s release that ended up dumped on Diamond Distrubutors and then wound up being incredibly hard to find.  That all resulted in Puck having a rather inflated after market price and being something of a barrier to entry for any prospective Alpha Flight fans.  Hasbro is throwing fans a bone here with an almost straight re-release of that figure.  He stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Apart from a missing waist joint, he’s otherwise very nicely articulated for a figure of his size and stature.  His sculpt is the same as his Build-A-Figure counterpart, aside from his head, which is an all-new, better scaled to the body, and just generally superior head sculpt.  Though I never owned the BaF, I did have the Marvel Universe Puck, which is actually quite similar stylistically to this one, apart from being about 2/3rds the size.  I liked that sculpt a lot, and I like this sculpt a lot.  Puck’s paintwork is alright; it’s a bit sloppy on his logo, but otherwise things look pretty decent.

NORTHSTAR

Jean-Paul Beaubier, Montreal, Quebec”

Northstar’s never had a Legends figure before, but he *was* part of Hasbro’s 2007 poll run by ToyFare, alongside his sister Aurora.  Why they decided to run tow halves of a pair in a fan poll that was only going to produce a single figure is anyone’s guess, but hey, at least he finally made it.  First Appearance Storm has as of yet not been quite so lucky.  Though the character has had a few looks over the years, this figure goes for the same one as all of his other figures, which is his first appearance suit.  To be fair, it’s his best look by far, so I’m not complaining at all.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Northstar is built on the ANAD 2099 body, which is a decent enough choice for the character given how he’s usually drawn in the comics.  His head’s better scaled to the body than Quicksilver, the last character to use the body, so he’s off to a decent start.  Said head is the figure’s one new piece, and it’s a respectable offering, doing a solid job of marrying Byrne’s depictions of the character with the general Legends aesthetic.  He’s certainly looks suitably pompous and stuck on himself, which is really what you need for the character.  Unfortunately, he misses out on the one other thing the character could really benefit from: an open hand.  Both of his are fists, meaning he can’t hold hands with his sister, which is a major bummer, what with that being a whole part of their power set and all.  His paintwork is also a little iffy, due to the transitions between black and white being rather fuzzy, and their also being a few errant marks of the opposing color on both sections.  The pearlescent white is pretty nice, though.

AURORA

Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, Montreal, Quebec”

As noted above, Aurora appeared alongside her brother in the 2007 fan poll, but was likewise not the winning figure, thus giving her the lengthy 12 year wait for a proper figure, which this set finally brought to an end.  Like her brother, Aurora is sporting her original design, which is again the cleanest and most dynamic of her various designs.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Aurora is built on the Psylocke body, which is a solid choice for the character, though suffers from some issues with the plastic that the original release didn’t.  The primary issue is with the elbows, which have had reports of major issues with breakage.  While I’ve not experienced this with either of my figure’s arms, I will say that the joints are a little tighter than I’d like, which has made me very cautious when posing her.  Beyond the re-used body, she also gets one of the may open gesture hands in place of Psylocke’s grip (making Northstar’s fists even more egregious), as well as a brand new headsculpt.  Like her brother’s, the sculpt does a respectable job of marrying Byrne’s style with the general Legends aesthetic.  Her paintwork is very similar to Northstar’s, meaning it’s a little iffy on the costume, but overall an okay offering.  It’s a little bit cleaner on her than on her brother.

SHAMAN

Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen, Calgary, Alberta”

Perhaps the most straight-forwardly-named member of the team, Shaman is also the least fortunate member when it comes to toys, having only a Minimate release to date, in contrast to the rest of the team having at least a couple releases under their belts.  Why he gets left out is anyone’s guess, but at least he wasn’t left out this time.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Shaman is built on the Bucky Cap body, a mold which seems be starting to wear out, because Shaman doesn’t feel anywhere near as solid as earlier figures on the body.  I don’t dislike it’s continued use, but it’s a bit of an issue when it’s quality starts to fall as it has here.  I suppose to make up for it slightly, Shaman gets the most new pieces of all the figures in the set, with a new head, plus add-ons for his belt/loincloth and wrist bracers.  The parts are all nice enough; the head’s a little devoid of personality, but then that’s kind of Shaman, isn’t it?  The paint on Shaman is unfortunately the worst in the set.  Typically, he’s depicted in green and orange, but this figure has yellow instead, which just doesn’t look quite as good.  Additionally, the application is really sloppy, especially on the torso, which makes the whole thing look kind of messy.

SNOWBIRD

Narya, Resolute Bay, Northwest Territories”

Snowbird as a character was one of Byrne’s earliest creations, actually pre-dating his comics work, and being refitted into Alpha Flight in their first appearance.  It’s kind of a shame he never took the time to, you know, actually make her a full character.  Sorry, is my dislike of Snowbird showing?  I’ll do my best to keep that under wraps.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  I’m gonna be real here guys, I don’t actually recognize the parts Snowbird is built from.  They have to be re-use, because every thing else in this set is, but I’m at a loss myself.  The head and cape are both new to be sure, though.  They do their job of recreating her design alright.  The cape’s maybe a little smaller than usually shown in the comics, but that comes with trying to make it more manageable and not have the figure falling over all of the time.  Snowbird’s paintwork is decent enough.  There’s a slight mismatch between the shades of white on various parts of her costume, but it’s not too noticeable in person, and the metallic blue is certainly very nice looking.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With Sasquatch and Guardian already in my collection, I was certainly intrigued by the prospect of slowly building an Alpha Flight line-up.  I didn’t really expect to do it all at once, but that’s how it happened.  I ended up getting this set from my parents for Christmas.  The set’s really more spectacle than anything, sold on the novelty of completing the team in one go.  Removed from that novelty, most of the figure’s are kind of middle of the road, which I guess is only fair, since so are most of the characters.  Puck marks an improvement on the impossible to find Build-A-Figure, so he’s the star of the set for me.  The rest are okay, but virtually all of them are held back by some small production issue, which makes the set feel…underwhelming?  At least when looking at the figures individually.  As a unit, paired with the other figures?  They are pretty cool.

#2278: Chewbacca & C-3PO

CHEWBACCA & C-3PO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Encountering a Stormtrooper in Cloud City, C-3PO was blasted at point blank range and his limbs were scattered.  Chewbacca gathered the parts of the protocol droid and partially reassembled him.”

Remember when I was talking about C-3PO’s late entry into The Black Series, just three days ago?  Well, lucky him, he’s gotten not one, but two exclusive figure releases right on top of each other.  I suppose he’s just finally getting the due he deserves.  While the last figure was based on 3PO’s most recent appearance, this one goes back to the original trilogy, and gives us a dedicated Empire Strikes Back 3PO.  You can’t really have an Empire 3PO without a proper Empire/Jedi Chewy to carry him around.  So, one-two-boom, here they are, in one convenient Amazon-exclusive package!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Chewbacca and C-3PO are, as noted in the intro, are an Amazon-exclusive pairing, which was listed for pre-order shortly after Force Friday and started shipping in November.  The two are packaged in a box that’s similar in size to the deluxe-size package used for Grievous, which is a lot smaller than previous two-pack boxes.  It makes this feel a little less like a two-pack, and more like a deluxe Chewbacca that includes 3PO as an accessory.

CHEWBACCA

For his first (and previously only OT-based) Black Series figure, we got Chewy based on A New Hope.  While his look is more or less the same in all of the original films, there were some slight changes in his look from A New Hope to Empire, mostly to do with how the hair on his head sat.  For the later movies Chewy was all about “bangs” game.  We got our first taste of a Chewy with bangs on the Target-exclusive Solo-based figure, but those weren’t *quite* right for a vintage Chewy, and he had the wrong bandolier.  This one aims to be the definitive secondary Chewbacca.  He stands just shy of 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Like the last Chewbacca, this one borrows heavily from the first Black Series Chewbacca.  This one gets yet another new head and upper torso, but keeps the standard bandolier that the Solo version ditched (hence the need for a new upper torso with only one bandolier imprint, rather the the v-shape of the Solo release).  While I had some issues with the mold when it debuted, at the very least, the mold quality has improved, and so now the parts sit better together, making for a better looking figure overall.  The new head’s the main focus of the figure, of course, with the slightly looser hair on his head, as well as a more relaxed expression, which feels more in line with Chewy’s more reserved status as the trilogy progressed.  I liked the improvements of the Solo sculpt a lot, but this does even better, and makes for the most cohesive Chewbacca sculpt to date.  The paintwork on this figure largely a match for the Solo version, which is a plus, since that was a solid paint-app.  The transitions are much more subtle, and the eyes are more lifelike than the original Chewbacca, resulting in a much more natural-looking take on the character.  As a late-in-the-movie version of the character, this Chewy is after he’s lost his bowcaster.  So, instead of that, he’s got a stolen Imperial blaster, borrowed from one of the proper Stormtroopers.

C-3PO

Ho boy, it’s another C-3PO.  It’s been days.  Days, I tell you.  As noted in the intro, this guy is based on 3PO’s appearance in Empire.  It’s not really much different from his appearance in the previous film (which is what the first Black Series figure was based on).  The color of the foot changes, and he’s a little messier.  In terms of construction, he’s using the same combined 3PO/4-LOM set-up as the 3PO I looked at three days ago, but this time around he gets the relaxed 3PO hands, instead of the posed 4-LOM hands.  It’s still a good sculpt, so I’ve got no complaints.  The paintwork follows the Target-exclusive’s lead, going for a slightly duller gold, which looks a bit more movie accurate.  In contrast to the very clean 3POs we’ve gotten previously, this one’s also got some serious dirt and grime, no doubt gotten when he got all blasted apart.  The main gimmick to this guy is the ability to pop his arms and legs off, simulating the major damage 3PO takes while in Cloud City.  In order to complete this look, he also has wire attachments that connect to each of his joints to replace the missing limbs.  They don’t really stay in place, but they do the job, and they look convincing.  He also has a net bag for Chewy to carry him in, completing the whole look.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always dug this particular set-up for these two characters, with the Star Wars Saga release being my go-to Chewbacca for years, and the Applause plastic statue thing being literally the only one of those things I ever owned.  I’ve also been jonesing for a proper Empire/Jedi Chewy, since we had the rest of the main cast from Empire.  Needless to say, I was on board for this set when it was first shown, and I was definitely happy to get this pair from my parents for Christmas.  I’m very happy with both figures included, and they’re my default versions of both characters.

#2277: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

A decade removed from the Star Wars prequels, they don’t seem quite as bad as they once did.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still major issues and my recent re-watch of Attack of the Clones certainly reminded me of why it’s the worst movie in the franchise, but even when we all thought they were universally trash, there were always some redeeming elements.  For Revenge of the Sith, my favorite bit was always General Grievous, a character I had latched onto before the movie even opened, and whom I would continue to enjoy when he became a major player in the second Clone Wars cartoon.  Though his characterization may have been a little two-dimensional, and his name is just silly (it’s just an adjective!  That’s not a name), he certainly had one of the coolest designs to come out of the prequels.  Even when I had my strict “no prequels” rule for The Black Series, I could always see myself possibly breaking that rule for a good Grievous figure.  Here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Grievous is the first figure in the Deluxe subdivision of The Black Series, numbered “D1.”  So far, he’s the only deluxe size figure to be available through all retailers…well, all the ones that were willing to carry him, which didn’t end up including the likes of Walmart or Target.  He started hitting around the second quarter of last year.  Grievous only has one film appearance, so this figure rather sensibly draws from that.  I want to state at the top of this review that this is a very good figure, but he, like every Grievous figure ever created, is also a flawed figure.  It’s a design that has a degree of necessary cheating to work on the screen.  In person, on a fixed item, that cheating isn’t possible, and concessions have to be made…but I’ll get to that.  At full height, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, as you might expect, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that.  It manages to fairly accurately recreate his design as seen in the movie, and, in contrast to most Grievous figures, most of the joints in the design are joints on this figure.  Not all, of course.  Some concessions have to be made for the hands and feet, given the scale of the figure, and there are one or two other spots (notably the wrists), where there should be movement but isn’t.  I do really like how tight all of the joints are on this figure; far too many Grievous figures wound up with really floppy joints.  The design of the sculpt also allows this Grievous figure to have a feature that most forego: actual combining arms.  We’ve seen them before but typically only on less articulated figures.  More often then not, they’ll just release him with his arms one way or the other, or, in the case of the first 3D Clone Wars figure, they’ll give him extra arms.  The combining arms end up being the feature that causes this figure the most trouble.  The four separate arms are nicely articulated on their own.  When you go to combine them, it’s a little tricky, because even a slight warp will make them not a perfect fit.  And once they’re together?  Well, you’re certainly not getting full movement out of the joints once the arms are combined, which proves rather restricting.  As nifty an idea as the combining arms may be, I can’t help but feel that swappable arms might have worked a bit better in this regard.  At the end of the day, I can’t really blame them for trying, and this is certainly the best go at it we’ve seen.  The paintwork on Grievous is some of the most impressive work we’ve gotten from the line; the weathering alone really sells the figure, as it gives him a much more realistic appearance, which is rather amusing for a completely CGI creation.  Grievous is a rather well accessorized figure, including his DT-57 blaster, his four stolen lightsabers (which, according to Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force formerly belonged to Pablo-Jill, Eeth Koth, Roron Corobb, and Shaak Ti), and a cape.  The blaster and sabers are pretty standard fair.  The cape is a bit of a let down, if I’m honest.  The decision to use cloth is definitely understandable, and I do really dig the inclusion of the spot to store Grievous’ collection of sabers, but the cape’s totally wrong at the shoulders, with a big, obvious join, as opposed to the proper flowing under his collar plate look.  The grey and red parts also aren’t hemmed together at the bottom, which looks a bit sloppy.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s bad enough that I don’t see myself using the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for a Grievous Black Series figure for a while, and was happy to see him announced…but I was never happy about that cape, and it honestly held me back from picking him up, as silly as that may be.  Fortunately, my in-laws had my back on this one, and got me Grievous for Christmas.  After opening him up, the cape still frustrates me, but the rest of the figure is just so well-engineered that I really don’t care all that much.  This is definitely the best Grievous figure out there.

#2266: Omega Supreme

OMEGA SUPREME

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

For Day 2 of the post-Christmas reviews, I transition from very familiar territory to very unfamiliar territory.  For one thing, I got into this whole Transformers thing after Christmas last year, so this is the first time I’m reviewing one under this whole giftly heading.  Secondly, this particular Transformer marks my first experience with a scale I have as of yet left untouched: Titan Class.  They’re the big boys of the Transformers ‘verse and today I’m looking at Omega Supreme, a Titan Class offering with a name that sounds not unlike something you’d order from a pizza place.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Omega Supreme is the Titan Class offering for Siege, hitting shelves in the fall of 2019.  Omega was previously one of the possible options for the Power of The Primes Titan, but he and Scorponok were beaten out by Trypticon in the fan poll.  Omega is the sixth unique Titan Class figure since the scale was introduced with Metroplex in 2013.  Much like Jetfire, Omega’s vintage figures is one of the non-Takara based molds, instead being based on a toy made by the company Toybox.  This resulted in his classic toy and his animation model being more divergent than others, since Takara was involved in production of the cartoon and wasn’t interested in promoting another company’s toy.  That being said, his changes weren’t quite as drastic as Jetfire’s.  Whatever the case, this figure follows the general Siege trend of sticking pretty closely to the G1 animation models.  In his robot mode, this Omega Supreme stands 24 inches tall, roughly twice the size of his vintage counterpart, though in keeping with the rough size as he was portrayed in the cartoon…sometimes.  His size was variable.  If Jetfire was a big, solid figure, then Omega is his bigger, solider cousin.  Admittedly, he’s not quite as heavy as I was expecting given the size, but he’s still got some very serious heft to him.  His movement is somewhat impeded by this, as the joints need some pretty hefty ratcheting in order to hold up this pretty hefty boy.  He’s still fairly mobile, given the size and all, but you’re really only getting standing poses out of him in his robot mode.  Very sturdy standing poses, but standing poses nevertheless.  Omega’s sculpt is certainly impressive.  It’s unique to him, and is really a whole different beast than the sculpts on the smaller figures, just because there’s so much to him.  His head’s probably the standout part, thanks to the nifty looking face beneath the visor.  It’s a really solid look, following the animation model in a way that the vintage figure didn’t…you know, what with the vintage figure not having a face and all.  The rest of the body maintains the line’s general attention to the smaller “real world” details, while still maintaining an overall clean look like the animation.

Omega’s alt-mode is actually a multi-part thing.  He turns into a city, a tank, and a rocket.  Like the figure himself, Omega’s transformation is quite an involved endeavor.  It’s not overly complicated (in fact it’s actually rather straight forward), but the sheer size of him means that you really need to sit down in a nice open space and devote some time to completing the transformation.  The arms pop out and turn into the rocket, the front of the torso and the head become the tank, and the rest of the body becomes the city.  Of note: the tracks of the city are actually meant to go all the way around, but there was no way to fit the whole build in my photo set-up.  So, you’ll just have to imagine it goes all the way around there.  I know, shame on me.  As noted, the transformation works pretty well, and he’s a solid addition in base mode.

Like Jetfire, Omega includes a sizeable effects piece, which can actually separate into four individual effects, allowing for a bunch of different set ups.  Also included with Omega is his little micromaster buddy, Autobot Countdown.  Countdown is pretty much like all the other micromasters in terms of construction, and can alternate between robot and moon rover modes.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Have you ever felt really good about gift-giving, only to be totally outclassed?  Because I have, and it’s all centered on Omega here.  See, I had done the nice thing, and picked out some gifts for Jason and Max at All Time, which I was pretty darn proud of.  They both opened them, and they both liked them, and boy did I feel good about the gift giving.  Then I got outclassed, because Jason then asked me: “Do you want an Omega”?  So, now I have an Omega, having passed on him when he was new.  Ultimately, I wasn’t planning to pick him up, and I stand by that after getting one of my own.  However, he’s very definitely one of those things that I don’t mind owning in the slightest, even if I might not have gotten one for myself.  Now I have to figure out where the heck I’m putting him.

#2263: Dragonshield Black Ranger

DRAGON SHIELD BLACK RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is no stranger to toy coverage, and they’ve had action figures in all shapes and sizes.  For the purposes of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection, the Mighty Morphin’ characters have had similar coverage in a similar style in the form of the Legacy Collection and Figuarts, making the Morphin’ characters an interesting proposition for the line, should Hasbro want to avoid making die hards double dip on the characters too soon.  They’re doing a respectable job of it so far, mixing them in one per assortment, with a few exclusive offerings to bridge the gap of releases.  These exclusives have all followed something of a common theme: the Dragon Shield, the distinctive armor worn by the Green Ranger.  There are a few instances of the shield being passed to other Rangers, so the Red Ranger got his version in a SDCC two-pack, and now the Black Ranger is getting his due courtesy of a Walgreens exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dragon Shield Black Ranger is the first Walgreens-exclusive for The Lightning Collection.  Given Hasbro’s current relationship with Walgreens, it seems unlikely that it will be the last.  The figure is based on Zack’s time wearing the Dragon Shield from the episode “An Oyster Stew”.  It’s notable because this concept is one of the ones introduced by the “Zyu2” footage, which was the additional suit footage commissioned exclusively for Mighty Morphin’, and not present in the original Zyuranger series.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has  34 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, he shares a good deal of his parts with both the Red and Green Rangers, sensible given how close the designs all are.  It follows the established style of the Lightning Collection so far, being ever so slightly bulkier than the Figuarts stuff, but generally more relalistic than anything Bandai America put out.  Zack gets a new helmet and, rather surprisingly, a new belt.  The helmet is as nice a recreation of the show design as any of the helmets so far from the line.  The belt is a real shock, because it’s definitely an area where they could have just gone with a painted emblem to differentiate the rangers, but they instead have sculpted in the proper emblem.  That’s actually pretty impressive.  The paintwork on the figure is about par for the course.  It gets all the basics done, and generally looks pretty solid on my figure.  Zack is packed with his Power Blaster, Power Axe, an extra set of hands, a blast effect, and an unmasked head, which sports a pretty decent likeness of Walter Jones, though it’s perhaps not as spot on as some of the modern rangers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been mostly avoiding the main Morphin‘ Rangers from this line, since I’ve already got the Figuarts line-up, so I was initially planning to skip this one.  However, I swung by Walgreens while looking for the Clone Wars Obi-Wan and saw this guy and he proved too hard to resist.  It helps that he’s not just the standard Black Ranger, so I don’t feel quite as bad about double-dipping.  This is a pretty solid release, and a pretty smart choice not just for an exclusive, but also for Zack’s first inclusion in the line, since it’s more likely to be picked up even by those that have Zack in another form.

#2260: Action Sailor

ACTION SAILOR

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Since joining the Joes, I’ve held the record for personally sinking more enemy ships than the entire 3rd fleet, and that’s on a bad day!  I’ve torpedoed so many hulls, I’m surprised the ocean hasn’t overflowed with scrap iron!  On dry land, I’m a fish out of water.  I’d rather be on my sea sled than in a tank or jet fighter; luckily I have plenty of courageous teammates to handle those jobs. Making the seas safe from criminal scum is my life’s work, and I can’t think of a better way to do it than as a member of G.I. Joe!”

In 1994, it was the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand as a whole, but perhaps not the best spot for the brand’s 3 3/4 inch scale, which had ruled the market for 12 years.  In its last gasp of breath before going on a hiatus, the line merged styles with its 12-inch predecessors for a line of commemorative 3 3/4-inch figures based on the original Joes.  Each of the major branches of the military was covered with one figure based on the original packaging illustrations.  In the case of the “Action Sailor” that meant a pretty sick looking wet suit!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Action Sailor was released in 1994 as part of the final year of the Real American Hero branding’s vintage run.  He and the other four 30th figures were sold as deluxe boxed items in packaging that replicated the original box.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  While the original Action Sailor was in a more standard uniform, this figure instead gives us the sailor in his Navy Frogman outfit, by far the most distinctive look for this branch.  His mold was brand new to him, but a slightly altered version was used by Fun 4 All later in the ’90s when they put out their Keychains.  As I noted in that review, I find this and the Action Pilot to be the best of the 30th sculpts.  It’s a lot more organic than the soldier and marine were, and gets to add in the details of a fully kitted out design.  This version of the mold is also a lot sharper than the keychain recreation, allowing the details to more clearly be made out, making it all the more impressive.  Also, the better quality plastic means that he’s not as easily broken, allowing me to finally have a diver without the broken pelvis.  Yay!   His paintwork is a fairly basic set-up; the black is just molded plastic, with some silver and flesh toned details mixed in throughout.  The Action Sailor included his sea sled, a scuba tank, two flippers, a harpoon gun, a flashlight, and a hose.  My figure’s missing the gun, flashlight, and hose, but even so, he makes out alright on the accessory front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Action Sailor is important me because the Keychain release is actually what got me into small-scale G.I. Joe.  That one was never quite as impressive as a proper Joe, but I hung onto him for a good while.  It wasn’t until much later that I even knew that non-keychain releases existed, nor did I know of the difference in quality.  This guy came from a small collection of Joes that All Time got in about a month before the huge collection.  He got a little overshadowed, but I was still pretty happy to have the proper Hasbro release after all these years.  He’s not majorly different, but it’s different enough that I felt he was worth the purchase.

#2256: Deadpool

DEADPOOL

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

Boy howdy am I running out of compelling ways to start Deadpool-themed reviews.  To say he’s overdone may be something of an understatement.  There’s *only* been three figures of him this year for Marvel Legends though, so I guess that represents Hasbro backing things off a little bit.  Lucky us.  I’ve managed to pick up all of them so far, so why stop now, I guess.  So, here’s one more Deadpool.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Deadpool is a standalone Marvel Legends release, done up in the retro style cardback packaging.  Like the Grey Hulk I reviewed earlier this month, he was originally slated to be a con-exclusive release, before being moved to the fan channel.  This Deadpool is designed to be an earlier in his career Deadpool, specifically patterned after the ’90s Toy Biz figure whose packaging this one mimics.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation. Sculpturally, he’s essentially identical to the classic Deadpool figure released in the Sasquatch Series last year.  The only difference between the two is that this one adds a second strap of pouches to the left leg so as to better mimic the old figure.  He’s using the 2099 body, which is a solid starting point, especially for a character like Deadpool.  He then has add-ons for his webgear/belt, the pouches on his legs, and his neck, wrist, and ankle straps.  He’s also got the classic Deadpool head, which fits the body a lot better than the Juggernaut Series one did for the X-uniform Deadpool.  Ultimately, it results in a pretty solid figure, especially if you missed the Classic Deadpool like me.  The figure’s paint mixes things up a little bit as well.  This is in part to more closely match the old toy, so things like the belt and torso gear have been left red like on that figure.  However, they’ve also changed the black parts of the costume to a dark metallic blue, which is honestly a pretty cool look, and really feels like it hearkens back to those early ’90s appearances of the character.  The application is all very clean, and the colors really pop off of each other.  Deadpool is actually pretty decently accessorized for a vintage-packed release, with two swords, two small machine guns, a pistol, and a larger assault rifle.  Given that the Classic Deadpool only included the swords, that’s actually kind of surprising, and I’m definitely glad they went the extra mile.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Much like Hulk, when this was still planned for a con release, I paid very little attention to it.  I passed on the Sasquatch Series release numerous times, and this one, while certainly a neat look, didn’t feel any more essential than that one.  The shift to Fan Channel meant that he more or less arrived in my lap, and going in with no expectations, he’s another figure I ended up liking quite a bit.  Honestly, that’s kind of been the case with all of this year’s Deadpool figures, so maybe I should just stop complaining about them.

#2253: First Order Stormtrooper

FIRST ORDER STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

The backbone of the First Order and Imperial forces, and really the Star Wars universe as a whole, the Stormtroopers are a prominent fixture of the toys from the galaxy far, far away.  That being said, given their general unchanging appearance within each trilogy, keeping them fresh can be a little difficult.  We got our first standard First Order Stormtrooper in The Black Series back with the Force Awakens product launch, with a few exclusive derivations since then.  The Trooper is returning to the main line for the trilogy’s conclusion Rise of Skywalker.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The First Order Stormtrooper is figure 97 in the Black Series line-up, the final of the Force Friday launch figures numerically.  Given the grouping of the other three Rise tie-in figures, plus his general level of repeat, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he was a late addition to the line-up to fill out the case.  The figure is a little over 6 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  The majority of this figure’s sculpt is re-used.  He shares all but the had and arms with the initial First Order Trooper from 2015.  The parts that are kept are actually the best parts of that release, being not only accurate to the source material, but also quite nicely articulated, especially at the mid-torso and the ankles.  The head was first introduced on the two Last Jedi troopers, representing the slightly more angular trooper helmet that was used in the second film.  It’s different from the original helmet, but I can’t really say that one of them is better than the other.  The arms are the new parts for this figure, and they’re notable for fixing the one major flaw of the original release: the poor range of motion on the elbows.  For the first time, a FO Trooper can get more than 90 degrees of motion, meaning he’s also the first Trooper that can properly hold a blaster rifle.  That’s gonna be fun to talk about in a moment.  The paint work on this figure follows the trend of all of the FO troopers I’ve grabbed, in that he’s okay, but not without a few noticeable flaws.  My figure has some slop on the helmet, but just in general the change overs from black to white are kind of fuzzy.  This release of the FO Trooper is packed with the riot trooper gear, meaning he’s got the shield, the improved TLJ version of the baton, and a small blaster pistol.  What’s not listed there?  That’s right, a blaster rifle.  Yep, the first FO Trooper that can properly hold a rifle doesn’t have one.  Irony of ironies.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the standard and riot troopers during the TFA run, so I haven’t really felt the need to pick up any of the subsequent figures.  I didn’t think much of this figure, but I’d already decided to pick up the whole assortment when he was announced, so he was along for the ride.  After Kylo, he’s a pleasant surprise.  Sure, it’s frustrating and almost baffling that there’s no rifle included, but the core figure is a solid improvement on the prior releases, making this the best version of the design out there.