#2789: Xialing

XIALING

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When her estranged brother Shang-Chi suddenly shows up in her life, Xialing must choose between the solitary life she’s created for herself or join her brother in the fight against the Ten Rings.”

Shang-Chi himself is not the most prominent character in the Marvel arsenal, yet at least, so by extension, he’s not got a ton of associated characters, and certainly none of major note.  Making matters worse is that whole “not licensing the Fu Manchu” thing, which hinders that character, as well as some of the peripheral characters.  Originally, Dr. Fu Manchu had a daughter, Fah Lo Suee, who was renamed to Zheng Bao Yu when Fu Manchu became Zheng Zu in the mid-00s.  More recently, another daughter of Zheng Zu, Esme, has been introduced.  It would appear elements of both have been combined for the purposes of the upcoming film, resulting in Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister, and Wenwu’s other child.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Xialing is figure 3 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends.  She’s the third of the four movie-based figures included, and is also the first figure with no direct comics counterpart.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Like Wenwu, Xialing’s articulation scheme feels a little more refined than Shang-Chi’s was.  She’s aided somewhat by the fact that, like most female Legends figures, she doesn’t have the double elbows, meaning she doesn’t have to worry about the exposed pins on the joints anyway.  The range of motion on this one’s pretty strong, and she’s got a lot of really good posing potential, which I certainly dig.  Xialing’s sculpt is an all-new offering, based on what I presume is her main look in the movie.  So far, we haven’t seen a whole lot of her, but she’s been sporting this look the whole time, so it tracks.  It’s a decent design, and matches up pretty well with her brother’s design, so the thematics are definitely there.  The texture work and intricate detailing on her tunic is quite sharply rendered, the proportions are nicely balanced, and she’s got a pretty decent likeness of actress Meng’er Zhang.  In terms of paint work, Xialing is fairly monochromatic, but it works.  The slightly pearlescent finish on her tunic is a nice look, and the black accenting is quite cleanly and sharply applied.  I also found the face printing on this figure to be the most lifelike of the three unmasked MCU figures included.  Xialing is packed with seven hands (R/L fists, R/L flat, R/L crane pose, & R gripping), a rope dart, and the torso for the Mr Hyde Build-A-Figure.  The hands are again a fantastic addition, and I do get a real kick out of her also getting fists, when poor Shang-Chi did not.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I know nothing of Xialing, and next to nothing of the various characters she’s based on, so I had very little to go on with this figure initially.  Pretty much it was just a general feeling of “hey, she looks pretty cool.”  After messing with this whole set of figures, she doesn’t just look pretty cool, she *is* pretty cool.  She’s probably my favorite of the movie figures in this set.  I definitely like how this one turned out.  Now, to see if I feel the same way about the character in the movie!

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

#2788: Wenwu

WENWU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu is the feared leader of the Ten Rings Organization, which has lurked in the shadows of the MCU since the very beginning.”

Originally, in the comics, Shang-Chi’s father was not a Marvel creation, but was, instead, the evil Dr. Fu Manchu, an early 20th century villain that Marvel was licensing at the time.  After the license lapsed, Marvel kept Shang-Chi, but was vague with any mentions of his father, due in part to the whole licensing, and also in part due to the Fu Manchu’s place as an unfortunately caricature-ized and stereotyped yellow peril foe.  Marvel’s own in-house character, The Mandarin, faced similar issues in a modern setting, and so, when adapting him to film in Iron Man 3, they opted to make him a false figurehead sort of character, entirely concocted by another villain entirely, and designed to play into those stereotypes on purpose.  While I thought it was a well-executed twist, some fans were let down by the lack of a true Mandarin in the MCU.  With the Shang-Chi film, there was obviously no way that they were going to be able to work in the Fu Manchu as the title character’s father, so they decided to combine a few elements, and introduce the true Mandarin as Shang-Chi’s father, Wenwu.  Let’s look at the toy!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wenwu is figure 2 in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, and is the second of the four movie-tie-in figures included in the set.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Wenwu’s articulation structure is a lot less archaic than Shang-Chi’s.  While he’s still got the exposed pins on his elbow joints (though, again, they’re not present at the knees), the actual mobility and layout to the articulation is a lot more fluid, and in general he’s a lot easier to pose, especially when it comes to the torso.  The hips are a little bit restricted by the skirt piece, but otherwise, it’s all pretty unimpeded.  What we’ve seen in the trailers shows us a few different looks for Wenwu, but the figure goes for his blue/black cleaned up appearance.  While it’s not quite as classically Mandarin as the other main look we saw, this one looks like it’s going to be his primary design within the film.  It’s different, and perhaps not as distinctive, but it also walks him further away from being stereotypical, so I can get it.  Also, Mandarin’s comics design’s always been all over the place, anyway, so it’s not like this is radically different ground for him.  I will say, upgrading the rings to arm bands is an interesting change, but one that I honestly don’t hate.  I’m curious to see if they’ll still be going for the dragon-tie for their origin, as that might explain the larger size.  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design element.  Wenwu’s sculpt is a very impressive piece of work.  The outfit is intricately detailed, and even more involved than Shang-Chi’s.  There are a lot of layers, and it looks quite sharp.  The head actually has a pretty respectable likeness of Wenwu’s actor Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, and is certainly a marked improvement over the Shang-Chi likeness.  Wenwu’s paint work is generally pretty decent.  The application’s all clean, and the colors seem to match up with what we’re going to be seeing on screen.  The blue still takes a little getting used to for me, but I don’t dislike it.  It’s just definitely a slight change of pace for the Mandarin.  Wenwu is packed with three sets of hands (gripping, open gesture, and fists), a hook sword, and the right arm and cane for the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.  Yay for actually getting fists with this one!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I got into on yesterday’s review, this whole set sort of just showed up, before we had much background.  I was initially confused about who the heck Wenwu even was, but then the back of the box filled me in, and I was suddenly pretty excited about owning a proper MCU Mandarin.  Shang-Chi was an okay figure, held back by some design issues.  Wenwu is just a generally better figure, and I really find myself liking him a lot.  I look forward to seeing Tony Chiu0Wai Leung in the role, and seeing how this second attempt at Mandarin works out on film!

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

#2787: Shang-Chi

SHANG-CHI

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Trained since childhood by the mysterious Ten Rings Organization, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn back into his father’s web.”

Back before the world decided to be just the worst for a while, the MCU was planning to introduce its first Asian-American-led film, based on the Master of Kung-Fu himself, Shang-Chi.  The film was originally on the docket for an early release this year, but then 2020 happened, and everything got pushed around.  Of all the films, Shang-Chi is probably the least majorly affected, since it’s still getting out in its intended year, just in September, instead of the spring, like originally intended.  Hasbro did their best to time the toys to a release date that did not yet exist when they were in production, and they’re only a few months early, which is pretty good, considering the Black Widow stuff hit over a year ago at this point, and that movie’s still not out.  I’ve managed to get my hands on the Legends component of the tie-ins, and I’m starting my look at them with the main guy, one Shang-Chi!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shang-Chi is the first figure in the Mr. Hyde Series of Marvel Legends, which is the assortment that serves as his movie’s tie-in.  He’s one of the four movie-based figures in this particular set, as well as being one of the five overall movie figures we already know about.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  With all of these recent movie-based figures, it gets a little tricky to piece together just how long they’ve been in production, but Shang-Chi’s sculpt points to “a while.”  The biggest giveaway is the presence of exposed pins on the elbow joints (though, curiously, the knees are hidden like more recent figures), but in general, the articulation scheme on this guy does feel a little bit on the archaic side.  It’s not so much an issue of range, fortunately, but more of fluidity of motion.  The torso joints in particular are pretty simple in terms of design.  Articulation implementation aside, how’s the actual sculpt?  It’s an all-new piece, and he’s sporting what I assume is his primary attire from the film.  It’s nothing too fancy, but it does seem to capture the general spirit of the character’s looks over the years.  The design is pretty well replicated here, and there’s a lot of work going into the texturing and patterning on his tunic, which certainly helps to keep him from looking too bland.  The head’s likeness to Simu Liu isn’t quite as spot-on as other, more recent MCU likenesses.  Like, it doesn’t look entirely unlike him, but there’s definitely enough differences to make you feel like something’s off.  The head just feels too wide to me, and the hair’s a little too tidy, as well as parted on the wrong side, at least from what we’ve seen so far.  It’s far from terrible, though, and certainly nothing like Hasbro’s first attempts at some of the other big MCU actors.  Shang-Chi’s paint work is generally pretty cleanly handled.  There are no obvious missing details, application is fairly consistent, and the face printing is fairly lifelike.  In terms of accessories, Shang-Chi is packed with three sets of hands (gripping and two different styles of gesture; curiously no fists), a staff, and the right leg of the Mr. Hyde Build-A-Figure.  While the lack of fists is weird, I’m otherwise happy to see them keep up with the extra hands that the last Shang-Chi got.  Extra hands are always extra cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This whole assortment was quite an odd-ball situation.  Given all the delays to everything surrounding the MCU, Hasbro opted to keep this one close to the vest, so the official announcement came after people were already starting to find them at retail, and the exact details were still fuzzy.  All Time actually got notification that the cases were on their way before we had any knowledge of what was actually in the cases, especially since we didn’t even yet have a trailer.  It was weird having my first knowledge of anything pertaining to the movie coming from the toys.  It’s been a while since that’s been the case for anything.  Shang-Chi’s a decent figure, if maybe not a groundbreaking one.  He’s got some cool extras, though, and given how hard the comic version was to find, it’s at least nice that there’s another version of the character out there.

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

#2786: Dani Moonstar

DANI MOONSTAR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part of a group of young mutants, Dani Moonstar has the ability to conjure illusions based on her enemy’s deepest fears.”

Debuting in 1982, the New Mutants were an attempt to go back to the “troubled youngsters” angle of the original X-Men pitch, which had been since lost in the main book.  Included in the team’s five-member founding line-up was Dani Moonstar, who initially went by the alias of “Psyche”, before switching over to “Mirage”, and then ultimately just going by her own name, because if you’ve got a name as cool as “Dani Moonstar” maybe you don’t need to try to make it cooler.  Dani was ultimately written out of the book before it’s conclusion (though she was at least lucky enough not to be killed on her way out, which was more than could be said for poor Cypher and Karma), and that meant she wasn’t folded into X-Force, so she didn’t take off quite the same way that Canonball, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane.  However, she’s still got some things going for her, such as a Marvel Legends figure.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dani Moonstar was released in late 2019/early 2020, as part of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  She was initially a Walgreens-exclusive figure, and followed in the store’s trend of getting female X-characters as their exclusives.  Earlier this year, she was offered up for a fan channel release as well, making her generally more accessible.  Yay!  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, with newly sculpted parts for her head, forearms, and boots.  Dani is based on her mid-00s team suit design, from after they’d relaunched the New Mutants in light of most of them not being dead anymore.  It’s an update on their original black and yellow costumes, in turn based on the original X-Men designs.  It’s a pretty basic design, but not a bad one from a team stand-point.  Technically, there should be a few more character specific elements for it to be properly customized to Dani’s look from the comics, but there’s a decent reason it’s not: because this figure’s designed to be more than just Dani.  She includes two extra heads, as well as two extra sets of hands, which allow her to be displayed as her team-mates Karma and Wolfsbane, also in their mid-00s team suits.  The heads are pretty nice pieces themselves, and the overall appearance works out way more convincingly than, say, the Lilandra head included with Mystique, so there’s more out of the box value here.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s overall pretty basic. The work on the suit is nice and clean, and the individual heads all feel sufficiently distinct from each other in terms of how they handle the palette and themes of the characters.  In addition to the whole extra set of head and hands for the two separate characters, Dani does also get a couple of accessories of her own, namely a bow and a single arrow, which both appear to be new pieces, as near as I can tell.  She has a little trouble holding the arrow, but it’s still a good look overall.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally not a huge New Mutants fan (though I’m all about Cypher and Warlock), so I wasn’t in a hurry to get this particular release.  That was probably for the best, because it was never all that numerous around these parts.  I think I saw it once, while driving between locations for work, and I just wasn’t feeling it enough to grab it at the time.  That being said, when she was just at All Time, and I was already grabbing a handful of other figures that came in that day, Dani was harder to pass up.  She’s a decent figure, if perhaps not quite as impressive as more uniquely designed figures.  Still, it’s a cool concept, and her being a 3-in-1 is certainly a nifty prospect.

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

#2783: Rey – Dark Side Vision

REY — DARK SIDE VISION

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“While searching for the Sith wayfinder, Rey envisions her turn to the dark side. Wielding a double-bladed Lightsaber, her rage and immense power is frightening.”

While I enjoyed the film a lot more than other people, I’m willing to admit that Rise of Skywalker is a film that has a lot of half-formed, unfinished, and unexplored ideas jammed into it.  Though featured in the trailers and taunted as a major turning point, the Dark Side-influenced version of Rey wound up as essentially just an easter egg, with no real plot-bearing, and effectively nothing that wasn’t already in the trailer, apart from the context of it just being a vision, and not a legitimate fall for Rey.  While I wasn’t as married to the dark Rey idea as some people, I’ll admit the concept could have at least gotten some more screen time, even if it were still as a vision of a potential future.  But, hey, it got a figure.  That’s cool, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dark Side Vision Rey is part of Phase IV of Star Wars: The Black Series, and was included in the line’s third assortment, alongside the three Mandalorian-inspired figures I looked at earlier in the week.  She’s figure 01 in the Rise sub-set of the line, which is, so far, made up only of this figure.  Sure, we can get a second Rey, but a proper Rise version of Poe?  That’s just too much to ask for, right?  Totally ridiculous! …Okay, sorry, I’m not bitter or anything.  I promise.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation…in theory.  Unfortunately, most of the figure’s leg articulation ends up more or less useless, due to the nature of how the figure’s skirt piece is designed.  For some reason, they opted to go for a more solid rubber construction for that piece, while using a cloth piece for her cape.  Why? Not a clue.  Personally, I’d have probably swapped those two.  But I’m not a toy designer, so maybe there are factors I’m not privy to.  Dark Rey’s sculpt is generally okay, but not really anything amazing.  The head’s got a strong Daisy Ridley likeness, and might be a re-use of the standard Rise version, but it’s hard to tell.  It’s good piece regardless.  The hood that sits on top of it’s not so great.  I mean, I guess the hood itself isn’t awful.  The shaping and the texturing are certainly nice.  However, much like the Rise Kylo, the hood floats above the head, which looks goofy.  It’s not as bad as Kylo, mind you, and changing the posing on her head can help, but generally it would look much better if it sat just a touch lower.  The rest of the sculpt isn’t bad.  Her proportions match with the standard Rey, and the texturing on the robes is consistent with the strong work on the hood.  Rey’s paint isn’t very involved, since it’s mostly just black plastic here.  The face printing does a nice job with the shadows on the eyes, so that’s cool.  The hair line’s not so great on my figure, but it’s at least harder to see that due to the hood.  Dark Rey’s only accessory is at least a good one: she gets the distinctive hinged double-bladed saber from the sequence.  It’s an odd piece, and she never really looks natural holding it, because the whole design is kind of awkward.  However, it’s certainly unique, and it’s about the only thing I can think of that it would make sense to give her, so kudos to Hasbro there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rise has been the red-headed stepchild of the franchise when it comes to toys, so I’m always happy to see at least something more coming out of the movie, but I’d be lying a bit if I said I wasn’t disappointed with this being the first thing from the movie to be included in the Phase IV line-up.  It’s made even worse by the total lack of follow-up to her at this point.  Whatever the case, I guess it’s not really this figure’s fault that it’s not a different character, so it’s a little unfair to judge it by those standards.  On it’s own merits, it’s alright.  Not amazing or anything, but it could be worse.  Hopefully, she’ll be joined by some more figures from the movie, so that Rey and Rey aren’t the center piece of the display.

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

#2782: Moff Gideon

MOFF GIDEON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Imperial Moff Gideon is fiercely determined to capture a specific quarry. Clever and formidable, Gideon values power and knowledge.”

Werner Hertzog’s un-named and mysterious “Client” serves as the main underlying antagonist of The Mandalorian‘s first season, but is dispatched in a rather spectacular fashion just before the season finale by the character who becomes the main antagonist moving forward, Giancarlo Esposito’s Moff Gideon.  Esposito does a pretty great job of playing a compelling villain, and he’s definitely been at the top of people’s want lists for the toys since the end of the first season.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s gotten around to delivering on that front, giving us a Gideon in each of their three styles, in rather close succession.  Today, I’m looking at his Black Series offering.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moff Gideon is part of the Mandalorian sub-set of Black Series‘ Phase IV incarnation, where he’s figure 08.  He’s the last of the Mando figures in the third assortment since the relaunch.  Gideon is presented here in his custom Imperial attire, which has thus far been the only look he’s had.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  So, here’s my thing on this figure: he’s too tiny.  Like, not just too short, but actually too tiny.  Esposito isn’t the tallest guy, but his costume for Gideon has him wearing lifts, which the figure’s design includes.  It seems to me that somewhere along the line, the used Esposito’s listed height as the basis for the figure, not factoring in the costume design, and ultimately resulting in him just being actually too small all around.  It’s not super noticeable with a helmeted character like Mando, fortunately, but next to Kuiil and Karga, who he’s in the same assortment with, mind you, he looks a little bit like he’s supposed to be from a different line.  These size issues are most annoying for one major reason: the sculpt’s otherwise really good.  The likeness on the face is strong, the expression’s perfect for the character, and the detailing on his uniform is sharply handled.  It all looks really good.  They’ve even done well getting the cape to hang convincingly.  All in all, just a really nicely rendered sculpt.  Gideon’s paint work is nicely handled as well.  The printing on the face is nice and lifelike, and the variations in the various blacks of his uniform.  The red accenting is appropriately eye-catching, and the smaller details on his chest armor are cleanly applied.  Gideon is packed with two accessories: a small blaster and the Dark Saber.  The blaster’s standard, and can be kept in his holster.  The Dark Saber’s a great piece, and a large plot point in the show, making it a great extra.  Ultimately, I still think he feels a little light, but he’s in a better spot than the others so far.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Moff Gideon’s certainly a memorable, and definitely important character for the show, so I was definitely down for adding him to my collection.  He’s not a bad figure.  Honestly, he’s a pretty darn good figure.  But he’s also too small, and that just kinda bugs me.  I guess I’ll just stick him next to IG-11 all the time, so that it’s not so noticeable?

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

#2781: Kuiil

KUIIL

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Kuiil came to seek peace in an out-of-the way world. He has worked a lifetime to be free of servitude and offers valuable skills for those willing to meet his price.”

One of the things The Mandalorian has excelled at is taking pieces of Star Wars left kind of unexplored (in mainstream media, anyway) and actually putting a decent amount of time and energy into making audiences care about those things.  Take, for instance, the Ugnaughts, the race of small, pig-faced, troll-men, who served as background filler for the Bespin scenes in Empire.  Did anyone really care about them?  Really?  Then The Mandalorian comes along and gives us Kuiil, and all of the sudden we’re sad when an Ugnaugh dies.  Feelings about Ugnaughts?  That doesn’t seem right.  Damn you, Nick Nolte-naught and your lovable speech quirks!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Kuiil is a Phase IV Black Series release, as figure 07 in the Mandalorian sub-set of the line.  He’s part of the third assortment of this phase, alongside yesterday’s Greef Karga figure.  He too is based on his Season 1 appearance, because he kind of has to be, doesn’t he?  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Despite his slightly smaller stature, Kuiil is still more or less on par with most Black Series releases in terms of posability.  About the only area I might say could use some improvement is the elbows, which are a little restricted, thanks to how the sculpt works out.  Thry aren’t terrible, just not quite up to the latest standards, especially given the recent trooper updates.  Kuiil’s sculpt is generally a rather impressive one, and certainly a benefit of him not getting a figure for over a year past his original debut.  By far the most impressive part of the sculpt is the head, which is just the spitting image of his in-show design, and also features a impressively designed and scaled aviator’s cap and goggles.  I honestly wasn’t expecting them to be removable at first glance, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find out they were.  The rest of the sculpt does a quite nice job of capturing Kuiil’s attire from the show, varying up the textures for the various different pieces of clothing, and adding some nice depth to the sculpt where possible.  Kuiil’s paint work is, for the most part, pretty basic.  The head again gets the best work, with the face printing working well with the sculpted elements to really nail that likeness to the prosthetics.  The rest of him is really on the straight forward side, with just solid colors.  I do feel he might benefit from some more accenting, to really sell that used universe look, but at least the sculpt does its part to keep things going.  Kuiil’s only accessory is his rifle.  It’s a nicely detailed piece, which fits well in his hands, but, like Greef, it winds up feeling pretty light for the price.  I might have liked to get maybe some of his tools, or even a tea set to go along with our IG-11 figure.  Just something extra to sweeten the pot a little bit.  But, again, he does at least get bare minimum.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve pretty much been wanting a Kuiil figure since episode 1 of the show (before I even knew his name, mind you), because I really dug the character.  I had been sort of crossing my fingers for maybe a deluxe release packed in with a Blerg, but getting him on his own isn’t so bad either.  Lack of extras aside, there’s a lot I like about this figure, and at his core he’s just really solidly done.  He’s honestly my favorite figure from this assortment.  I have spoken.

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

#2780: Greef Karga

GREEF KARGA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“As an agent of the Bounty Hunters Guild, Greef Karga secures bounty hunters in pursuit of valuable and rare quarries in the galaxy.”

Carl Weathers’ Greef Karga begins The Mandalorian as a rather unassuming sort of character, just a guy that hands out the jobs to the bounty hunters.  He’s clearly a bit disreputable, but he doesn’t seem overly complex.  When Mando turns on him later in the season, he does the rather expected thing, and turns right back.  However, his return after that is what really changes things up, taking him from sci-fi middle-management to a character that’s actually got a pretty good hold on how to spin things to his advantage as they happen.  He becomes a man with a grasp on the bigger picture, and suddenly he’s very intriguing, and a definite highlight of the show.  It’s only fair that he get a Black Series release out of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Greef Karga is part of Phase IV of The Black Series, a piece of the Mandalorian sub-set of the line, where he’s figure 06.  He’s part of the third post-relaunch assortment, which is generally pretty Mandalorian heavy in its character selection.  Greef is based on his Season 1 appearance (in contrast to the Season 2 appearance of his Vintage Collection and Retro Collection figures), which fits with most of the Mando stuff we’ve gotten so far.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Karga isn’t quite as agile as some of the line’s more recent releases, but he’s still got plenty of movement to him, and it’s certainly enough to cover the way the character is portrayed in the show.  His sculpt is an all-new piece of work, and it’s a pretty respectable one at that.  The head’s got a pretty solid likeness of Weathers from the first season, and his outfit does a respectable job of capturing the texturing and detailing on the various pieces of his outfit.  The coat/cape is a separate piece; it’s not designed to be removable, but can be with a little work if you are so inclined.  I wasn’t, personally.  Greef’s paint work is pretty heavy on the browns, as is appropriate for the character.  It matches pretty decently with what we see on screen, and the printing on the face is appropriately life-like.  Greef is packed with his two blaster pistols, which can be stowed in his holsters.  They’re nice pieces, but he does wind up feeling a little bit on the light side.  Maybe throwing in a few of the pucks, or even a piece of Beskar would have helped to alleviate it somewhat.  He’s got the basics, but that’s really it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was surprised by how much I liked Greef in the first season of the show, as I think a lot of people were.  I was definitely down for some toy treatment, and was pleased when he was shown off for the line.  He’s the sort of figure that doesn’t quite have the fancy flair of the other characters from the show, so I think he may wind up getting overlooked by a lot of collectors, but I see him definitely picking up in the long run.  It helps that he’s honestly a pretty solid figure, and a nice addition to the cast.

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

#2779: Boba Fett

BOBA FETT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“During Luke Skywalker’s daring rescue of Han Solo above the Sarlacc, Boba Fett was sent careening into the side of Jabba’s sail barge before tumbling into the man-eating pit.”

Oh, man, Ethan’s reviewing a Boba Fett figure.  There’s always bound to be trouble with these posts.  Probably because I do like occasionally poking the bear that is Boba Fett fans.  I mean, it’s just so much fun.  Almost as much fun as making fun of Boba Fett, and how ineffective he is.  Okay, I actually have to retract that: Boba Fett is no longer useless, because after 40 years of existence, Boba finally got stuff the do in The Mandalorian last year.  And good for him.  I’m sure his fans are all universally happy about him actually getting to be a bad-ass, right on the screen and everything.  Oh?  They’re still conflicted and angry?  Sounds about right, I guess.  Well, whatever the case, I’m looking at another Boba Fett figure, and I feel like I should just get down to business on it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Boba Fett is a deluxe-sized offering, as part of Phase IV of Hasbro’s Black Series.  After seven years of re-releases of the Series 2 figure’s Empire-based sculpt, we have officially moved on, and are now, finally, getting Fett based on his adjusted appearance from Return of the Jedi.  I’m okay with this, because I actually kind of like the Jedi armor a little bit more than the Empire look.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  One of the biggest change-ups between this figure and the last (beyond just the differing source material, of course) is how the articulation works.  Hasbro’s gotten a fair bit better at implementing the articulation on their Black Series offerings, and Boba showcases this, in much the same way as the recent updated troopers we’ve gotten.  His range of motion on his elbows, knees, and neck is much improved, while also being better worked into the sculpt aesthetically.  Additionally, there have been some adjustments made to how some of the armor and hook ups work, so, for instance, his arm tubes are now far less at risk for breakage from regular posing.  Lastly, he also addresses the one notably missing joint from the last release: the range finder.  It can now be adjusted for proper use the way he never really does in the movies, but you always wished he would.  In terms of actual sculpt quality, this release is pretty top-notch.  Like the recent Troopers, his helmet is a separate piece, placed atop an actual sculpted head under neath.  Said head is unpainted, but fully detailed.  Likely future-proofing for the inevitable Mandalorian variant of the character.  The helmet came out of the box looking a touch misshapen, but after a few days, it’s taken its proper shape all on its own.  The torso armor is also a separately sculpted element, distinct from the underlying torso, again likely as part of a plan to re-use elsewhere.  This also helps to give Boba a little more depth to the detailing on the sculpt, which works in his favor.  While the last Boba had a cloth half-cape thing, this one’s got a sculpted done.  It’s a little stubborn, but does wind up looking a little bit better, at least comparing my two figures.  Boba’s paint work is up to modern Black Series standards, which is to say a bit better than the original.  The work on the silver weathering looks well-lived-in, and his small little insignias also look nice and crisp.  In order to justify him being a deluxe, Boba has been given a decent helping of accessories.  He gets his rocket-pack, now with a removable top-rocket, as well as articulated thrusters on the bottom.  He also gets two versions of his blaster rifle, standard, and split from after Luke slashes it with his lightsaber, as well as a flamethrower effect piece, two thrust effects for his rocket pack,  and a clip-on grapple line.  Ultimately, the grapple piece is a little goofy, and is limited in its application, but the rest of the parts are all definitely fun extras, and help to make him feel more worth the heftier price point.  It gets more back to Black Series’s original one-and-done philosophy on these designs.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Joking about the character aside, I do like me a good Boba Fett toy, and as much as I like the original Black Series release of the character, I definitely was starting to see the sculpt’s flaws more and more, especially as other main characters got properly updated releases as the line progressed.  Fortunately, we had this secondary design in the pocket, making him an easy addition to the line.  I definitely liked how this one looked in the renders, and was eager to get it in hand.  My initial reaction was a little bit let-down, but after I opened him up and actually started messing around with him, I really found myself liking the figure.  Definitely Hasbro’s best take on the character, and I look forward to seeing them tackle his Mandalorian look.

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

#2776: Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America

ULTIMATE MECH SUIT CAPTAIN AMERICA

AVENGERS: MECH STRIKE (HASBRO)

“Captain America gears up in a massive, high-powered mech strike suit combat the evil Thanos!”

With a lack of actual Avengers movies to tie into at the moment, as well as a general lack of other Avengers things to really go for (since the game didn’t exactly do the business that they were hoping for), this year, the Avengers are getting a more specifically toy-geared push, with the Mech Strike branding.  It’s a pretty simple concept, really: the Avengers are all getting big robo-suits.  I know.  It’s a real high-art concept, to be sure.  I like the Avengers, and I also like big robo-suits, so I don’t hate the idea.  I’m looking at one of the resulting toys today, with Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultimate Mech Suit Captain America is part of Hasbro’s wider-range Avengers: Mech Strike line, which starting showing up at retail in the last month or so.  There are a few different price points for the figures, with Cap and the corresponding Iron Man both being at the mid-range $20 price point.  These figures are a whole figure and mech-suit set-up, which really gives the whole intended experience, I feel.  The core Captain America figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s a pretty basic Captain America, following the general look of the “house style Cap” we’ve been seeing since the MCU took off.  It’s pretty decently designed, and there are a lot of smaller details on the uniform that make him pretty fun.  He’s also pretty posable.  Obviously, he’s not quite Legends material or anything, but all of the basics are covered.  The only thing I could really drag him on is the lack of waist joint, but that’s fairly minor.  There are a few ports worked into the sculpt, as well, which are mainly used for giving him spots to attach the included shield.  They’re not too jarring, and generally fit well with the overall aesthetic of the core design.  His paint’s on the rather basic side, but it’s enough to get the job done.  The basic red, white, and blue is all there, and the application’s mostly pretty clean.  The reds are a little sloppier, but it’s admittedly a more difficult color to get consistent.  There are definitely some sculpted details that get left unpainted, especially on the blue sections, but this is kind of expected, what with the style and price point.  This core figure’s primary function, of course, isn’t really to be seen.  Instead, he’s supposed to be the pilot of the aforementioned “Ultimate Mech Suit.”  The fully suited up figure stands about 7 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation, all of which are contained in the arms.  It’s not exceedingly posable, largely due to it being more or less a shell that folds over the main Cap figure.  The arms are, at least, able to get some movement, but he’s otherwise a rather static, and also rather chunk boi.  The design’s honestly pretty appealing, at least to me.  It’s a big, bulky, and appropriately spangle-y mecha, with very clean line-work.  It feels a little bit Ultra Magnus-y to me, but that may be me filling in some things I want to see.  Wouldn’t mind him getting some killer shoulder pylons, though.  The only slight trouble to how the design of the thing works is that there’s nothing to be done with Cap’s arms once he’s in the mecha; they just kind of hang there, which looks a little silly.  Fortunately, they do blend in alright with the sides of the mecha’s torso, if you just wrap them around.  Still, it would have been nice to see them come up with something a little bit more clever.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had only a passing familiarity with this line when I got a text from Max a few weeks ago, informing me that he had been in a Captain America mood, which had led him to pick this figure up.  It certainly looked nifty, but I wasn’t in a major rush to get one of my own.  Upon talking to Max a little more about it, it turned out he wasn’t really feeling it as much as he’d hoped to, so he asked if I wanted it for a good deal.  I had just put together a whole shelf of my Captain America stuff, so I had a place to put it, which I guess was as good a reason as any to take it off Max’s hands.  Ultimately, it’s still not something I think I would have picked up for myself, largely due to not really being in the main target market for this line.  That being said, I do like it now that I have it, and I can’t really knock it’s cool factor.  And how many times are we going to get a cool Captain America Mecha?  Okay, probably a lot going forward, but this one’s still cool.