#1965: Talos

TALOS

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Talos, perhaps the most cunning spy in all of the Skrull Empire, is a master of shape-shifting and international espionage.  An integral leader in the bitter Kree-Skrull war, the fearsome Talos will do whatever it takes to protect his own.”

Back in late 2011/early 2012, when we were eagerly trying to squeeze out ever possible detail we could about the upcoming Avengers film, the identity of Loki’s then-unconfirmed army (referred to in promotional materials as simply “REDACTED”) was one of the biggest sources of fan theorizing.  A very common guess were the Skrull, a well-established alien race in the Marvel comics, who were just coming off of a pretty big popularity boost thanks to 2008’s “Secret Invasion” cross over.  When the identity of the army was revealed as the Chitauri, the Ultimate Universe’s equivalent to the Skrull, it was confirmed that they were chosen due to the Skrull being tied up in the Fantastic Four licensing, and that the MCU wouldn’t be seeing their own Skrull Empire any time soon.  What a difference seven years makes.  Now, we’re not only getting our first taste of the MCU Skrull in Captain Marvel, but also getting toy coverage, courtesy of the film’s villain Talos, who I’m looking at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Talos is numbered figure 2 in the Kree Sentry Series of Marvel Legends, and is yet another Captain Marvel film-based figure for the assortment.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  Talos is kind of the antithesis of the Nick Fury figure from yesterday in that, while he looks all-new at first glance, there’s actually a sizable chunk of re-use going on.  His torso, pelvis, and legs are all re-used from the Ragnarok version of Loki.  While the two designs aren’t exactly matches for each other in the films, the use of a new overlay piece on the torso, plus a new head and arms means that the only exposed similarities between the two are the legs, and they’re honestly close enough to the movie design that it works out okay.  The new pieces are pretty nicely rendered, with the head really being the star piece of work.  It seems like it’s a pretty solid match for Ben Mendelsohn’s Talos make-up, and the details are nice and sharp.  The jacket overlay piece is a little on the bulky side, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen at this scale, and is nowhere near a limiting as similar pieces have proved.  It’s also removable, should you want to mix up his look, or possibly have a few non-Talos Skrull soldiers.  The paintwork on Talos isn’t anything super involved, but it’s still pretty nice looking.  The subtle purple lining the uniform works quite well, and there’s a nice lifelike quality to the way the face has been handled.  Talos includes no specific accessories of his own, but does still have the leg of the Kree Sentry BaF.  It’s a shame we couldn’t get anything character-specific, especially given the re-use on this particular figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Skrull have a very distinctive design, but it’s one I’d yet to get as a Legends figure, so when this guy first surfaced, I was certainly intrigued.  Talos presents a nice update to the classic look, and the figure represents a decent repurposing of parts, and is another nice and unique figure for this assortment.

Like the last two figures, Talos was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

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#1964: Nick Fury

NICK FURY

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

In the years following the Cold War, Nick Fury wrestles with his sense of purpose within SHIELD.  When Nick crosses paths with Captain Marvel, they become Earth’s only hope of stopping a Skull invasion.”

Digital de-aging for movies sure has come a long way in the last few years.  It feels like just yesterday that it turned out really odd and rubbery versions of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen for the opening scene of the equally odd and rubbery X-Men 3, but now it’s advanced enough that we can have a major character de-aged for the whole runtime of a film, as is the case for Samuel L Jackson in the upcoming Captain Marvel.  And he doesn’t even look half bad!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Nick Fury is first officially numbered figure in the Kree Sentry Series of Marvel Legends (since the basic Captain Marvel didn’t include a BaF piece), and is based upon his ’90s-era appearance from the film.  It would appear that SHIELD’s standard of dress hasn’t changed all that much since the ’90s, as he’s wearing the same Men in Black get-up we’ve been seeing since Iron Man.  Of course, that’s kind of a new look for Fury, who tends to aim more for the trench coats and the like.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation. Despite how things may look at first glance, Fury is *not* just a new head on the Coulson body.  He makes use of some parts from it, to be sure, but the torso and legs are definitely new.  Similar to the originals, but new nevertheless.  They actually work a lot better with the pre-existing parts, and result in a figure with much better overall proportions.  Were it not for the loosened tie, I’d say I’d expect this body to be the new standard, though pulling back the jacket also reveals a shoulder holster that would make that a little difficult as well.  The holster’s definitely a fun touch, though, and even makes me a little sad that there isn’t a spare set of arms without the jacket sleeves.  Still, it’s cool that they through that little touch in there.  There’s also a new head, which sports the best Jackson likeness we’ve gotten from Hasbro’s Fury figures, which is kind of funny given it’s non-standard nature.  The paintwork on Fury is okay, apart from one notable exception, that being the collar-line of his shirt.  The paint mask is way too high, so the white bleeds onto his actual neck, which looks weird.  Other than that, he’s okay, I guess, though not terribly exciting perhaps.  Fury is packed with a fairly standard handgun, as well as Carol’s cat Goose in a possibly spoilerific-state, and the right arm of the Kree Sentry.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, this is a figure I was a little bit dreading when it was first shown off, since it looked like he was just going to be on that same suited body we keep getting.  Upon getting him in hand and realizing he was mostly new, I was a lot happier with this guy.  The weird paint mask thing is still a little annoying, and it’s a shame he couldn’t have come with a ’90s Coulson head to go on the old boxed set figure, but I ended up liking this guy quite a bit.

Nick was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and he’s still available here.  And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1963: Captain Marvel

CAPTAIN MARVEL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes, Captain Marvel, when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.”

Hey, did you guys know there’s going to be a Captain Marvel movie released at the end of this week?  It kicks off our Marvel movie season for the year, and is notable for being Marvel’s first female-led solo film.  Pretty cool, huh?  Yep.  That’s all I got to say about that.

As with all the MCU films as of late, we’re getting a whole assortment of Marvel Legends to go alongside it, which I’ll be reviewing this week.  I’m starting with the title character, Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel herself!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain Marvel is part of the Kree Sentry Series of Marvel Legends, and is one of two Captain Marvels in the line-up (well, three if you count Genis).  This one is the more standard take on the character, based on Carol’s updated costume from when she took over the Captain-ship back in 2012.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s sporting an all-new sculpt, based on her design from the movie.  The general sculpt is decent enough; the detail work is pretty sharp and features some solid recreation of the costume from the movie.  The build on the body is a little thinner than Larson, but it’s not terribly far off; certainly closer than some sculpts we’ve seen.  Captain Marvel has two heads included.  The one she’s wearing in the packaging is the helmeted version.  It’s a decent recreation of what we’ve seen from the trailers so far, though it’s hard to tell how much she’ll be wearing it in the movie.  If it’s anything like the comics, probably not much.  She’s not going to be wearing it much on my shelf either, since, like the comics, it’s not a design I’m all that into.  But, it’s nice that it was included.  There’s also the unmasked head, which is an okay piece, but I don’t think it’s got a spot-on Larson likeness.  I think the hair lies a little close to the face, and makes it look a little wider than it should.  She also got a rather bland expression, though this can be hidden a little by changing up the pose.  The paint work on Captain Marvel is pretty decent.  I dig the metallic colors on the uniform, and the printed face works okay despite the issues with the sculpt.  In addition to the two heads, Captain Marvel includes two sets of hands in fists and flat-handed poses.  The flat hands seem almost comically flattened, but they’re workable, and it’s certainly better than not having the options at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been keeping up with the MCU Legends pretty much as they’ve been hitting, so I wasn’t planning to skip Carol, obviously.  Honestly, this figure’s a “I’m getting the rest of the set anyway” sort of purchase.  She’s not a perfect figure, and I think she may be the weak point of this particular set.  That being said, she’s still a pretty decent offering, and if you just want a basic Captain Marvel, you could do a lot worse.

Captain Marvel was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and she’s still available here.  And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1961: Shockwave

SHOCKWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE

You didn’t think I was done with the Transformers reviews, did you?  Of course not, that would be preposterous.  The Transformers are my new life.  They give, they take, and I am merely their humble servant…wait, no that doesn’t quite sound right, does it?  Joking aside, Transformers sure do have a way of forcing themselves into a collection.  They’re a little like potato chips: you can’t have just one (unless you’re me and you don’t actually like potato chips all that much.  I’m weird).  Fortunately, for all of us who feel an undying need for multitudes of Transformers, Hasbro has a tendency to release multiples of them, all at the same time.  Crazy, I know.  I’m mixing things up a bit today and taking a look at a prominent Decpticon fixture, Shockwave!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shockwave is the second of the two figures in the first Leader Class wave of the War For Cybertron: Siege line. The line is very definitely G1-inspired, and so is Shockwave…after a fashion.  I’ll get to that in a moment.  Right out of the box, in his fully-kitted robot mode, Shockwave stands just shy of 7 inches tall from his feet to the top of his head, and he has 30 points of practical articulation.  Shockwave’s out of the box design takes his G1 appearance and sort of amplifies it.  He gets a lot pointier, and of course gets the extra arms as well.  It’s a decent, rather menacing sort of look, and further adds the that inhuman charm of Shockwave.  As we saw with Ultra Magnus, Shockwave is full of a lot of small detail work, which makes him a little more kibbly than the very clean Optimus figure, though it certainly works for Shockwave.  Shockwave may lack the traditional face, but that doesn’t mean Hasbro skimped on the detailing on the head.  It’s chock full of details, and, most impressively, features lightpiping to keep that single eye constantly bright.  So, where does the G1-inspiration hit?  Well, like Magnus, Shockwave is at his core a Voyager-sized figure, with extra attachments meant to bump him up to the Leader size.  While Magnus’ armor transforms him into an almost completely different figure, Shockwave’s extra parts just enhance the base figure.  You can remove the shoulers/extra arms, the backpack, and the “shoes”, and you’re left with a figure that’s a rather spot-on recreation of the original Shockwave.  The resultant figure is a lot more basic, and will slot right in with Voyager-sized figures such as Optimus.  The extra armored parts can then be re-formatted into a goblin glider-looking thing, so they aren’t just sitting in a pile in a corner, like Magnus’ are when he’s stripped down.  Because of this, I find myself most drawn to this configuration for the character.  Of course, the distinction between these two modes is far less drastic than it was on Magnus, meaning switching between them is also a far simpler process.

From his stripped down robot mode, you can transform Shockwave into his next alt-mode.  Like his leader Megatron, Shockwave’s G1 toy transformed into a gun.  With current safety standards, this is less feasible in a modern market, and would result in detrimental changes to the entire figure.  So, Shockwave does *not* turn into a gun, but is rather a Cybertronian battle cruiser of some sort.  In his stripped down form, this cruiser looks vaguely like a submarine, I suppose.  Oh drat, I seem to have left it flipped over for my photo.  Well, would you look at that, it seems to look vaguely gun-shaped when flipped over.  That’s crazy.  Certainly, this is just a coincidence, since Shockwave *doesn’t* turn into a gun.  If, by chance, someone were to try and use this as a gun, I would note that the handle does seem kind of small for the average collector’s hands.  But they definitely wouldn’t be using it as a gun.  Because it’s not.  It’s a submarine–no, sorry, Cybertronian battle cruiser.  For his next mode, you can add the various armor pieces into the mix, which gives the build some wings, thrusters, and more pronounced front end, all of which make for a more distinctly battle cruiser-looking shape.  It’s actually a pretty cool design in its own right, and of the three I’ve looked at so far, this one does seem to have the alt-mode that most fully embraces the Cybertronian vehicle aesthetic.  Shockwave lacks any addition weaponry, but given the ability of the armor to go into the drone/glider configuration, he still feels decently armed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This one is once again Max’s fault, but I’m willing to give him a little more of a pass.  After I agreed to pick up his Ultra Magnus, he also found Shockwave elsewhere.  In this particular instance, he said he was prepared to take the second Shockwave, but I was, at this point, starting to feel a little more committed to the idea of grabbing a Shockwave of my own.  I don’t have quite the connection to Shockwave that I do to Magnus, and of the two, Magnus is undoubtedly my favorite.  I feel like he warrants the Leader Class treatment a bit more than Shockwave.  Shockwave definitely feels more like a more basic figure with some extras thrown in than a full-fledged higher tier offering.  That being said, there’s still a lot more to this figure than there would be at the Voyager price-point, and I don’t feel like he was overpriced.  He may be my third favorite of the three I have from this line, but that’s not a shot at him in the slightest.

I picked up Shockwave from my friends All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1960: Ultra Magnus

ULTRA MAGNUS

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE

Well, I started this month off with a Transformers review; might as well finish it with one.  I know, another Transformers review, and so soon after the last one.  I’m blowing your minds, aren’t I?  Okay, probably not, because I’m a little bit predictable, and I very clearly spelled out at the end of my Optimus Prime review that I really wanted a bunch more.  Getting a bunch more was kind of inevitable.  At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.  Today, I’m looking at the inevitable counterpart to any Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus.  A prominent fixture of the brand since the G1 days, Magnus has many times been an easy way to get extra milage out of Optimus Prime/Convoy molds (and has, on one occasion, actually been related to Optimus in continuity).  And now, he’s my newest Transformer.  Yay!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultra Magnus is one of the two figures in the first Leader Class wave of War For Cybertron: Siege.  As with the others in this line, he’s very much G1 inspired, at least in his robot mode.  Said robot mode has Magnus standing 7 1/4 inches tall and gives him 20 practical points of articulation.  He may not be quite as mobile as Prime, but he sure is chunkier.  I mean, like a lot chunkier.  Magnus’s gimmick back in the G1 days was that his main look was the result of a bunch of armor pieces that all assembled over the much smaller inner-bot, a gimmick that this figure brings back, for the first time since the original, in fact.  The fully assembled look is what gives Magnus his more distinctive character, and clips in place and holds together like it were just a fixed part of the figure.  It’s also designed to attach in such a way that it doesn’t really hinder the figure’s movement all too much when he’s all kitted out.  Obviously, the sheer bulk causes a slight limiting factor, but he’s still quite posable.  Where Optimus’s main look was made up of lots of clean lines, Magnus is a little more complicated and fractured, which is ultimately pretty true to the two respective characters.  There’s plenty of small detail work going on here, and I particularly dig all of the little intricacies of the armored parts.  The armored-up look results in a very chunky silhouette, especially when viewing Magnus from the side, but this feels pretty true to the character.  It’s at the very least a consistent bulk, so there’s no random bits of his vehicle mode just jutting out of the back.

When it comes to alt-modes, Magnus has not one, not two, but three.  The first one (which you’ll need to transform him into in order get to the other two) strips him of his distinctive Ultra Magnus armor, revealing an almost all-white Optimus Prime-looking figure, with some blue accents, just like Magnus’ original figure.  It’s *not* the a re-use of the Voyager Class Optimus, which is somewhat surprising, and actually kind of cool.  How often does Magnus get to be the original?  The mold has already been tagged for a Leader Class Optimus, set to be released over the summer, but Magnus gets to be unique until then.  It’s a solid sculpt of its own.  I really appreciate the differences between this and the Voyager Optimus.  There are a few oddities I’m iffy about, like the front wheels just sticking off of the back, and there being a few rather obvious screws, but it’s still a pretty well-crafted figure.  Ultimately, I can’t see myself displaying him this way anyway, so it’s not like it’s a big deal.  Switching between armored and unarmored is pretty easy, and even a relative novice like me didn’t have any real trouble.

Ultra Magnus’ next mode is his primary vehicle mode, which, it should be noted, is the one bit of this figure that’s *not* G1-inspired.  He still turns into a truck cab, but this one is very clearly modeled on Magnus’ vehicle design from the 2001 Robots in Disguise cartoon.  Seeing as that cartoon was my introduction to Magnus, I can definitely dig it.  Magnus’ transformation into truck felt a lot easier to me than Optimus’, though I’d imagine that’s to prep you for what comes next.

After removing his armor and transforming him into a truck, the third alt-mode has you add the armor back on, this time in the form of the truck’s trailer.  This set-up also follows the RiD model, though it keeps the colors of the G1, obviously.  I found this portion of the transformation to be the most difficult, as there are a lot of bits that all need to clip together, and they had a tendency to fight me and not want to go where they were supposed to.  Fortunately, they come back apart without too much trouble.  Magnus is armed with three different styles of weapon.  He’s got his RT-15 Stethoscopic Detector (the rifle), a pair of C-30 Magnetic Inducer Launchers (the smaller guns), and a pair of W-HV-1000 Simulacrum Blasters (the rockets on his shoulders).  They’re all using the 5mm ports, so they can be held or plugged in various places, and they are also compatible with the effects included with the battle masters.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This is Max’s fault again.  At first it was less Max’s fault, because how was he to know that I’ve always had a soft spot for Magnus, and specifically a soft spot for RiD Magnus, and that mentioning the RiD-inspired truck would lead me to want this figure.  Then it became more Max’s fault when he decided to buy his Magnus early from another store, and volunteered me to buy the one on order for him from All Time “since I was planning on grabbing one anyway.” I mean, yeah, I was, but is that really the point?  …Okay, yes it is, but, still.  Whatever the circumstances that led to me getting Magnus, I’m very happy to have him in my collection, and I even more look forward to getting more of these guys.

So, as you may have guessed, I picked up Magnus from All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1957: Han Solo

HAN SOLO — THE SCOUNDREL

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

“A smuggler and a scoundrel, Han Solo proves that he can also be a hero when he rescues his friends and helps in the Rebellion against the Galactic Empire.”

Accessibility is always a major concern with long-running brands, and Star Wars has always wrestled with the best way to keep their most prominent players consistently represented and available to an all-new audience.  Pretty much in tandem with that, Disney is working to keep the Star Wars universe fresh and on-going while still giving new fans a chance to get up to speed.  Put them together and you have Galaxy of Adventures, animated re-tellings of old-school Star Wars stories, with a toyline of heavy hitters to match.  Today, I’m diving into the line with a look at “The Scoundrel”, Han Solo!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Han was released as part of the second round of Galaxy of Adventures figures, which started hitting stores just after the new year.  All of the figures in this line are reissues of prior offerings, most of them pretty recent.  Han mixes things up ever so slightly, not by being a new figure, but by being a slightly older one than most of his pack-mates.  Rather than the post-Force Awakens product of most of the line’s sculpts, this one is a Saga Legends release from 2015.  Somewhat surprising, since we got a Bespin Han figure from the Last Jedi line, but that one wasn’t a great sculpt, and this one was always a little difficult to find so yay, I guess.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  His sculpt predates the move to ball-jointed necks for the heads, so just a cut-joint on this guy.  It hurts his posability a little bit, but on this style of figure, it’s not a huge impact. The sculpt is actually a pretty nice one.  Of the lowered-articulation figures, this is definitely the best younger Han Solo.  The likeness on the head isn’t a spot-on Ford likeness, but it’s still one of Hasbro’s better attempts.  The figure also has a very easy time staying on his feet, which is always a definite plus for a Star Wars figures.  On a whole, despite being a slightly older sculpt, it’s a much better offering than the TLJ Bespin Han sculpt.  The paint work on this figure is pretty basic, but pretty decently applied, and a good match for his colors from the film.  Han is packed with his signature blaster, which can be held in his hand or stowed in his holster.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t collecting Star Wars figures regularly when the Saga Legends version of this guy hit, and he was kind of rare, so I never saw one.  I did my best to make due with the Last Jedi release, but it wasn’t as good a figure as I’d hoped.  While the Galaxy of Adventures stuff hasn’t largely been up my alley, I was definitely happy to see this guy crop back up.  He’s a nice figure, and will definitely be my default Han on the shelf for the time being.

The Blaster In Question #0077: Scout Mk. II

BlasterInQuestion1

SCOUT MK.II

N-STRIKE ELITE

scout1You know how sometimes in the design process, if something has a series of iterative improvements, those iterations are labeled “Mark [number]?”  I’m not entirely sure Hasbro really gets that concept. We’ve seen the Recon Mk.II which was certainly an iteration of the Recon platform, but I don’t think many would say it really fixed any problems. Now we have the Scout Mk.II, daughter of Atticus Mk.II. So is this an improvement over the last model? I mean, I guess kinda, that is to say, it would be if it was in any way related to the prior Scout. But let’s not discuss that here, onto the review. 

THE BLASTER ITSELF

scout2The Scout Mk.II was released in 2019 as part of the N-Strike Elite series. It features a 4-round revolving cylinder and a prime bar sticking out the back. Actually, it’s mechanically identical to the Quadrant from the Accustrike line, just in a more triangular shell. I’m hesitant to call it “sleeker” because, while the lines do flow a little better than on the Quadrant, it adds a big section as a sort of angled fore-grip, if that made any kind of sense on a pistol. This, paired with the enclosed finger guard means that going for a tactical two-hand grip pretty much forces you to use the angled front section which again, just feels weird on a pistol. I suppose all of this isn’t a problem if you’re shooting one-handed like a true gentleman and officer, but that kind of scout3went out of style after Crimea. The shell of the blaster does have an attachment rail, and a front sight sort of, but not really any rear sight. You know what they say, foresight is a blessing, but hindsight is just straight-up missing.  The performance is ok, but it’s a pretty small blaster so you’re not gonna get a giant air chamber or a hard spring. It shoots fine, just don’t expect to kill any mockingbirds with it. What you absolutely can do is take shots at your younger siblings from across the room, and because it’s the same mechanically as the Quadrant, you can use the loud clack from priming the blaster as sort of psychological warfare. And as long as they’re an armed combatant, the Geneva Convention has nothing to say about it, so you’re good to go. The Scout Mk.II comes packaged with 4 Elite darts. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I’ve fooled you. All of you. You thought I was just idly referencing the classic of American literature, To Kill A Mockingbird, but I’ve never actually read it, so ha. Joke’s on you? Anyway, books and international treaties aside, the Scout Mk.II is another entry into the ever-growing “it’s fine, if you want it, get it but you’re not really missing anything if you don’t” group or blasters. Who knows, maybe you like weird angled fore-grips on small pistols, in which case go right ahead and hold it that way while spewing hatred for the Deploy or whatever else people who are weird and wrong do these days. 

#1956: Firefly

FIREFLY

G.I. JOE: SIGMA 6

“FIREFLY is an expert in the art of sabotage and specializes in explosive devices that disable electronic systems. He worked in covert ops on missions involving computer espionage and was brought onto the SIGMA 6 Team to destroy a sophisticated computer virus created by COBRA to destabilize the world economy. He infiltrated the evil organization and blew up the base’s central electronics core, stopping the virus from being transmitted and ending all computerized COBRA activity for over a year. He became a permanent member of the SIGMA 6 Team to provide his expertise in fighting the COBRA B.A.T. troops. His Innovative Devices have provided the team with powerful weapons to deplete the ranks of these dangerous robots.”

G.I. Joe is a franchise of change.  Well, it was, anyway.  Beginning in the late ’60s, when it became unfashionable to be selling war toys, and the line had to be rebranded as “Adventure Team,” the brand became rather comfortable with re-formatting itself to suit the times.  In the early ’00s, after a decent run with a relaunch of the ARAH line, it was time to re-brand again.  In an effort to fit in more with the anime-influenced, sci-fi-heavy market of the time, Hasbro created Sigma 6, perhaps one of the most divisive incarnations of the brand in existence.  Either you love it, or you despise it, with very little room between.  Some of the changes to beloved characters drew this divisiveness out even more, and today’s focus, Firefly, was at the center of some of that conflict.  Rather than the clear cut Cobra saboteur of the ’80s, he was a member of the Joe team, with a character arc that amounted to more than the line “Cobra saboteur.”  How could this be?  They were killing the line!… You know, apart from the whole running for another year and a half after this figure’s release, and giving Hasbro the liquidity to launch the 25th Anniversary line and get the movie financed.  But yeah, it killed the line.  Let’s look at this awful thing that killed the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firefly was released in the second Soldier Wave for the 2006 line-up of Sigma 6 figures, as the assortment’s one debut character.  Like most of the line, he’s based on the character’s appearance in the corresponding cartoon, albeit filtered through a slightly different stylization.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Firefly’s sculpt was all-new to him, though it definitely shared more than a few stylistic elements with the various other Sigma Suit-sporting characters from the line.  Stylized as he may be, there are still a lot of really fun sculpted elements mixed in throughout this guy’s sculpt.  I love the differing textures on the various parts of the suit, as well as the fact that Firefly’s been given a distinct build when compared to the rest of the team.  I’m also still a fan of the cool little flip-up communicator that every team member had built-in; it was such a fun little touch.  Firefly also has one of my favorite headsculpts from this whole line; that evil smirk of his just exudes so much character, and is just so on point for him.  The modular nature of Sigma 6 was a pretty big selling point for the line, and most of the early figures have pretty involved costume pieces.  As a Soldier release (meaning he was at a lower price-point), Firefly had less pieces than some, but he was still pretty jam-packed.  He had a mask, web-gear (missing from my figure), belt, elbow and knee pads, and a set of dog tags, all of which add-up to a very unique looking figure.  By far, my favorite part is the mask, which has a very distinct flair to it, and sits so perfectly on his head.  In addition to the accents to his uniform, Firefly was armed with a nifty looking sub-machine gun (with a removable magazine and everything), plus two lightsaber-inspired torches, and a land-mine/trap gizmo.  The trap is kind of goofy and hard to use, but the gun is awesome, and the torches can be inter-locked with it for a different configuration, or the flame effects can also be removed and attached to the gun’s barrel.  There are a lot of play options here, to say the least.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Sigma 6 was a concept I loved so much, but one I never was able to actively collect when it was new.  Firefly is a figure I admired from a far for quite some time before finally being able to add a mostly complete sample to my collection late last year, courtesy of House of Fun.  There’s so much I love about this figure, and he perfectly encapsulates everything that was so great about this line.  He’s a fun re-vamp, a fun design, and just a generally fun toy.  And he most decidedly did *not* kill the brand.  That came later.  Whatever the case, I’m glad to finally have one of my own, and he really is pushing me to get more of these figures.

#1955: M’Baku

M’BAKU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

As good a reputation as the Marvel films have, some of them (Phase 2 in particular) have had a recurring issue of less than stellar antagonists.  Black Panther was a fantastic example of the Phase 3 drive for better crafted foes, and it delivered in spades.  Both the tortured and extreme Killmonger and the manic and excitable Klaue were excellent additions, but one of my favorite parts of the film was the bombastic M’Baku.  One of the earliest Black Panther foes, M’Baku (originally known as Man-Ape, a name that hasn’t aged so well) was reimagined a bit for the movie.  Most of the basic characterization is the same, but he’s no longer a strict antagonist, but is instead an unlikely ally.  It was a turn I very much liked, and so did quite a few other audience members.  Certainly enough to warrant him getting a figure at the very least.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

M’Baku is, unsurprisingly, the Build-A-Figure for the “M’Baku Series” of Marvel Legends.  He’s quite obviously based on Winston Duke’s portrayal of the character, specifically from the end of Black Panther, as well as Infinity War.  The point is, he’s a final battle sort of an M’Baku.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  M’Baku is sporting an all-new sculpt, which is definitely for the best.  It’s a very strong, very solid offering.  No, really, it’s very solid.  Like, in a heft sort of a sense.  I’ve grown accustomed to BaFs featuring hollow parts and the like, but M’Baku’s construction is mostly solid pieces, which gives him a surprising weight.  I’m definitely not complaining.  The sculpt is a really nice piece of work; the detailing is sharp and accurate to the movie.  The head sports a decent likeness of Duke.  It’s not as strong as, say, the Andy Serkis likeness for Klaue, but it’s still very good.  The body sculpt has a ton of layering to it, and I particularly like how well all of the fur turned out.  There’s always room for things to go very bad in such areas, but that wasn’t the case here.  M’Baku’s paintwork is an impressive selection of work.  It’s a fair bit more involved than we tend to see from Hasbro these days, with quite a bit of accenting and weathering.  Not all of it’s perfect, but it’s still quite good, and the sculpt is well accented by the subtler work.  M’Baku’s essentially an accessory himself, so accessories aren’t expected, but he does still get one.  It’s his staff, which seems a rather sensible choice.  I’m glad it didn’t get overlooked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When Black Panther was released, I walked out of the theatre wanting an M’Baku figure.  Duke’s portrayal of the character really worked for me, and I was disappointed that he wasn’t among any of Hasbro’s offerings.  When news that they were going for a second dip broke, I was hoping to see him turn up, and I wasn’t disappointed.  This is a very good figure, and makes good use of being a Build-A-Figure, since it allows his sculpt to be a bit more intricate than it might be otherwise.

This assortment is a lot more cut and dry than the Kingpin assortment, mostly because it’s so very focussed.  If you’re after a full line-up of Black Panther movie characters, it’s pretty perfect.  Fortunately, that’s what I wanted, so it works out well for me.  M’Baku was a good anchor for the assortment, and there’s no denying that I bought some figures I wouldn’t have otherwise in order to complete him.  He feels worth it.  Of the singles, Klaue is the definite star, but the Dora Milaje and Killmonger aren’t far behind him.  Even the Panther variants all seem decent in their own right.  I see this being a well-performing assortment.

#1954: Dora Milaje

DORA MILAJE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

The Dora Milaje are an all-female special forces group prepared to defend the Black Panther and the people of Wakanda at all costs.”

What good is a toyline without some army builders?  You know, it’s usually the bad guys that get the army building fun, but every so often the good guys get the chance to get in on the game too.  Not super frequently.  Though prominent players in Black Panther, we didn’t get very much toy coverage at all of the Dora Milaje, Panther’s squad of body guards.  We got their general, Okoye, as a Build-A-Figure, and Nakia in one of their uniforms, but that was really it.  Fortunately, it’s Hasbro’s aim to fix that issue in spades.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dora Milaje is figure 6 in the M’Baku Series of Marvel Legends, and I do believe has the notoriety of being our first proper MCU army builder in this scale (unless we’re counting the Hydra heads that came with Red Skull).  The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Like the CW Black Panther in this assortment, the Dora Milaje is heavy on the parts re-use; from the neck down, this figure’s sculpt is identical to the Nakia figure from last year.  Given a) it’s the same suit, and b) that was a pretty fantastic sculpt, you’ll hear no complaints from me on that front.  The body is still one of the best bodies out there in terms of posability, and I’m still very impressed by what Hasbro was able to pull off with it.  In order to keep things fresh, and further facilitate the whole “army building” thing, the Dora Milaje includes not one, not two, but three all-new head sculpts.  The first sculpt (seen in the photo at the top of this review) is particularly notable, because it’s actually a named character.  Yep, that’s Ayo, the head of T’Challa’s security, and the Dora Milaje with the most appearances under her belt, showing up in Civil WarBlack Panther, and Infinity War.  The head sports a solid likeness of actress Florence Kasumba, and seems to really get that stern expression of hers down.  The other two heads don’t appear to be any particular members (at least not ones I could spot when I re-watched the film in anticipation of these reviews), but are rather meant to check a few different boxes, in order to fill up the ranks a bit more quickly.  I really like the calmer of the two; there’s a very lifelike quality to it, which helps it fit in very well with the rest of the more recent MCU stuff.  The teeth-baring one, I’m a little bit less of a fan of, because I think it just looks too cartoony when compared to the other two sculpts.  Still, it’s certainly not a bad offering.  Though the Dora Milaje figure may be using the same body as Nakia, the paintwork on it has been greatly improved.  There’s far more detailing, especially on the red sections of the uniform, and, as a whole, the figure just looks more finished. Nakia wasn’t bad, but this is better.  In addition to the two extra heads mentioned above, the Dora Milaje includes a spear, Nakai’s hoop blade weapons, and a smaller bladed weapon, as well as the last piece of M’Baku.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With all of the other figures shown off for this line-up, the Dora Milaje was one that kind of slipped under my radar.  I already had Nakia and Okoye, so I had my bases covered, I thought.  But, I wanted M’Baku, so why not give this figure a shot, I thought.  Well, I’m very glad I did, because this figure takes everything I loved about Nakia and builds on it, making for a downright awesome figure.  And, we got an Ayo figure out of it to boot.  Pretty nifty if you ask me!

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