#2118: Captain Rex – Jet Propulsion Pack

CAPTAIN REX — JET PROPULSION PACK

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Captain Rex takes the battle to new heights. When the clone captain needs to reach high elevations, he boosts his rocket pack with a space combat propulsion pack. With this additional gear, Rex can take on battle droids even in space, increasing his chances of stopping even more of the droid army.”

Star Wars: The Clone Wars had the good fortune of hitting pretty much at the height of the 3 3/4 inch line’s quality and popularity, but even with a strong start, Hasbro wasn’t content to sit back and just tread water.  This meant that there were improvements to how they were making the figures with each successive year of the line.  In order to keep things relatively balanced, the show’s main characters all found themselves getting an update every so often.  Given “Clone” was in the title, it’s no surprise that the series’ main clone, Captain Rex, found himself with some of the most figures of any one in the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jet Propulsion Pack Rex was released in 2011, as figure 62 in that year’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars Basic Series line-up.  He was the line’s third version of the character, following the initial release and his cold-weather variant.  This one used a fancy new accessory as an excuse to give us an all-new take on the character’s already in the toyline design, lest he be the only main character not to get an update following the Season 3 model changes.  Rex’s model didn’t change, but the upgrades to the way the figures were made meant his 2008 figure looked a bit out of place with Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka’s new figures.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 20 points of articulation.  Despite most of the clones being built from a common pool of parts, Rex was instead an all-new sculpt.  With that all-new sculpt was a new articulation scheme, which has a bit of give and take.  While he lost the hinges at the wrists, as well as the entire joint at the ankles and mid-torso, the figure gains a set of ball-jointed hips, which were quite a bit deal.  For the longest time, it didn’t matter how well-articulated a Star Wars figure may be, they’d always be saddled with a t-crotch.  This line’s ARF Trooper had experimented in a slightly different style of hips, which had some side to side, but again there was some give and take, and a definite learning curve on how those joints worked.  This Rex just had pretty straight forward ball-jointed hips, giving him the best possible range of movement.  It’s too bad that other joints had to be cut to facilitate this, but I think they managed a reasonable balance given the circumstances.  Rex’s sculpt is certainly the most show-accurate version of the character we got in the line, and probably one of the most show-accurate clone sculpts that the line produced period.  The armor’s details are for the most part very crisp, the removeable helmet manages to retain its accuracy even when being made from a softer plastic, and the underlying unmasked head isn’t as undersized as others in the line.  It also doesn’t have that issue of looking far older than it should, which a lot of the earlier clones (including the prior Rex) did.  His kama is cloth this time, aiding in the articulation, and also more appropriately simulating the improved movement among the show’s models from the same time.  Lastly, it’s a minor thing, but this Rex has both of his hands sculpted with trigger fingers, meaning for one of the very few times, he is able to properly dual wield.  That’s kind of amazing.  Rex’s paintwork is pretty solid.  The line went back and forth on if they wanted to do weathering on the clones, and Rex sort of catches some of that.  He lacks the dark wash of his earliest figures, but still has wavy edges to the colored sections of his armor, showing that he painted those sections on himself, and that they’re starting to wear a bit.  About the only thing that really bugs me on this guy’s paint is that his viewfinder was left all-white, but that’s pretty minor.  Rex has a pretty extensive selection of extras.  There’s the removable helmet, of course, as well as his dual blaster pistols, so that you can have a proper basic Rex.  On top of that, he also gets a larger blaster pistol and the titular Jet Propulsion pack.  The pack has a little removable Mandolorian-styled jetpack attached to the back as well, which can be directly plugged into Rex’s back.  Rex was seen sporting just the smaller pack from time to time on the show, so it’s nice that they included that option.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure was released, I was still very much collecting this line, but I was sort of in and out on it.  I don’t know if I saw this guy in the wild, but I may have assumed he wasn’t all that different from the original release, which I was pretty happy with.  It wasn’t until years later that I actually found out how different he was, and at that point tracking one down was more of an endeavor.  My chance at getting one arrived a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of All Time Toys, who just got in a Clone Wars collection.  While piecing them together, I picked out a few for myself, which did *not* include Rex here.  However, in addition to yesterday’s Minimate set, Max had also given me $20 in store credit, which was just enough to net me this guy.  For the record?  That makes this his fault again.

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#2117: Mutagen Leonardo & Foot Soldier

MUTAGEN LEONARDO & FOOT SOLDIER

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES MINIMATES

Well, the line has wrapped, but there was a time when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Minimates were some pretty hot stuff.  They were also some slightly confusing stuff, since depending on where you were purchasing them, the product was a bit different.  While the whole line was originally supposed to be blind-bagged, Toys R Us ended up not being so interested in that dynamic, and instead got theirs as two-packs, largely made up of the same basic figures showing up everywhere else, but now paired off and with one exclusive offering.  Today, I’m looking at that one, Mutagen Leonardo and his pack-mate the Foot Soldier.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Mutagen Leonardo and the Foot Soldier were released in TRU’s first series of TMNT Minimates two-packs.  The Foot Ninja was packed with the regular Leonardo as well, with Mutagen Leo swapping out for the regular in the one per case chase set.

MUTAGEN LEONARDO

Each of the primary retailers for this line got one Mutagen Turtle variant.  Mikey was at Kmart, Raphael at specialty, and Leo went to TRU (yes, they really did just the three of them at the start; Donatello had to wait for Series 2).  All of them were the same basic concept: take the standard release, mold him in translucent green plastic, and paint up just the bandanna in the proper color.  It’s not a bad look, and has the benefit of having the strong starting point with all the sculpted add-ons.  The lack of paint actually highlighted how nice the sculpts were on these guys, and the blank white eyes on the mask gave a nice change-up from the regular release.  Mutagen Leo was packed with the same accessories as his regular counterpart, so two katanas (in green to match him), a display stand painted like a manhole cover, and a keychain attachment to go around his neck.

FOOT SOLDIER

The Foot Soldier was available through all three venues, and I actually looked at his single-bagged release from Kmart back when these were new.  It’s the same figure, and I certainly don’t mind at all, since it and the Footbot were my favorites from the original line-up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t in a huge hurry to pick this up when it was new, and never got around to tracking it down.  One was traded into All Time a couple of weekends ago, and I had initially surrendered this set to Max.  However, he ended up buying it for me for my birthday instead, which was quite nice of him.  Of course, it does make this his fault, but it’s a lighter sort of “this is your fault” this time around.

#2106: Autobot Springer

AUTOBOT SPRINGER

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Hey, who’s up for watching me further dive into the depths of all this crazy Transformers stuff?  Yeah, I figured as much.  So, as I’ve been trekking through all of the various Transfromers concepts, there’s one I haven’t looked at.  While I’ve looked at figures with multiple alt-modes, but I’ve not yet looked at a proper triple-changer.  The best known triple-changers are Decepticons, but the Autobots weren’t without their own, including today’s focus and Transformers: The Movie star, Springer!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Springer is the new portion of the third Voyager Class assortment of Siege figures, alongside a re-issue of the Starscream figure from Series 2.  He’s only our second Voyager Class Autobot, and going by the upcoming announcements, it appears he might be the last one for the rest of the Siege branding.  In his robot mode, Springer stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 22 workable points of articulation.  Springer’s sculpt goes back to his vintage design that, to be fair, he never really strayed too far from in the first place.  Like a number of other figures in the line, he’s more clearly modeled on his animated counterpart, specifically his appearance in Transformers: The Movie.  Springer is on the blockier side of things, but like the Voyager Optimus, there’s a very clean sort of construction to him.  He’s definitely lighter on the “greebles” than some of the other figures in the line-up, which I suppose makes sense given his slightly newer nature in the canon.  He cuts a nice silhouette, and definitely holds his figure form well.  His articulation is a little more restricted than some of the others in the line, but it’s hardly bad.  The most of the restriction’s in the upper arms, which can be slightly tricky to work with those big honking shoulders.  Additionally, though the mobility on the ankles is decent, the stability isn’t the greatest, meaning Springer has a tendency to fall over if you don’t get him posed just right.  It’s not as bad as I was expecting given some of the reports I’d heard, but it’s enough to be a little bit annoying.  The first of Springer’s two alt-modes is a sci-fi car, following in the footsteps of his original figure.  It’s a decent enough design, and believe me, I’m always happy to see an alt mode that doesn’t translate to “brick with stuff stuck on it”, but the transformation process was rather difficult.  Even in the shots here I only felt like I was getting it “close enough,” not actually properly clicking things into place.  His second alt-mode is a helicopter, and again I found getting him through the transformation quite difficult.  I don’t know if I was doing something wrong on these, but this was probably the most frustrating transformation experience I’ve run into since jumping on-board with the line.  Springer is packed with 2 “W-10 Airslice Chopper Blades” (swords),  a “JF-10 Warp Blaster” (gun #1), and a  “C-10 EM Void Blast Capacitor” (gun #2), which can be used in robot mode or serve as accents to the two vehicle modes.  While the swords are certainly fun, I actually found myself liking the two blasters the most.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s Max’s fault again.  He’s been getting off the hook a lot recently, but I’m pulling him back in.  See, when Springer was first shown off, I was still very new to the whole Transformers thing, and therefore had nothing to go on for the character, and had no reason to pay any mind to the figure.  Max, however, just *had* to show me the photos and point out how cool this figure looked, and even showed me Transformers: The Movie to boot.  This guy very quickly made his way onto my list of most anticipated releases, so I was pretty pumped when he finally came in.  Truth be told, I wasn’t quite as wowed by this figure as I’d expected to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I love his robot mode; it’s a solid figure.  It’s the other two modes and the very frustrating process of getting to them that holds him back.  Fortunately, I’m more a robot guy than I am a vehicle guy, so it only holds him back so much.

Springer came 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.

#2064: Infamous Iron Man

INFAMOUS IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Once one of the world’s most evil villains, Infamous Iron Man Victor Von Doom has a change of allegience and assumes a new identity as the tech-powered hero, Iron Man.”

Victor Von Doom (not to be confused with Victor *con* Doom, which is Victor with Doom, and is what my computer wanted to put there), better known as Doctor Doom, is perhaps the Marvel Universe’s greatest villain.  And, of course, being the top villain means also getting a story evry so often where you stop being a villain and try to be a hero.  Doctor Doom’s actually been there a couple of times, but was there most recently after the fallout of 2015’s Secret Wars, which eventually led to him taking over the role of Iron Man for a bit.  That’s the source of Doom’s latest figure, dubbed the “Infamous Iron Man.”

THE FIGURE ITESELF

Infamous Iron Man is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and he started hitting stores in early May.  As a Doctor Doom-variant, he’s well at home with the Fantastic Four-theme that’s persisted through the last few years of Walgreens exclusives.  Like his team of nemeses, Victor’s been away from Legends for a little while, with this being his first figure in seven years.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  In the comics, Victor’s Infamous Iron Man suit was a re-working of Tony’s most recent ANAD armor, and the figure follows true to that, re-using the molds of the Okoye Series Iron Man.  It’s honestly my favorite Iron Man sculpt in recent years, so I don’t mind seeing it crop up again, especially since it’s accurate to the source material.  The base figure is mostly identical between the two of them, with only the head getting a slight tweak to the back to allow for the hood to be attached.  Speaking of the hood, both it and the cape are new parts.  The appearance is nice, and I certainly dig the sculpted texture, but I don’t know how crazy I am about the implementation.  The hood is permanently affixed to the head, but the cape isn’t actually attached in any way; it just rests there.  And while the hood can hold it in place in most poses, it still slides off more often than I’d like.  The paint on Victor is the main change-up, since it transitions him into his more classic “Doom” colors, being predominately grey and silver.  The application’s mostly pretty good, but there’s something about the outlining on the face plate that looks a little goofy to me.  Doom is packed with two repulsor blast hands, and matching repulsor blasts, as well as the lightning effects in a matching purple, and an unmasked Victor Von Doom head.  The unmasked head is definitely my favorite piece, and I only wish it was easier to use it in conjunction with the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This one is technically Max’s fault, but he gets a bit of a pass, since it’s mostly circumstantial.  I fully intended to buy this figure on my own, but he happened to find one before me, and was nice enough to pick it up for me.  There are a few notable issues with this figure, however they mostly get a pass from this guy being undeniably a placeholder for the inevitable classic Doom figure down the road.  As it stands, he’s more fun than frustration, which I can get behind.

#2031: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

Now, I don’t want you guys to be getting the impression that just because I’m done reviewing the Wave 2 Deluxe class figures means that I’m done with this here week of Transformers.  No no, I’ve still got plenty of transformers up my sleeves.  Or maybe they *are* my sleeves…hard to tell with Transformers.  Has there ever been a sleeve Transformer?  Probably not, but with Bot Bots, anything’s possible these days…  Sorry, I’m getting distracted.  And this is the worst Transformers review to get distracted from, because it’s a pretty big one.  I mean, it’s another Soundwave.  How often do I review one of those?  What’s that?  Two this year already?  Well, if that’s the case, one more certainly couldn’t hurt.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is one of the two figures in the second Voyager Class wave of the War For Cybertron: Siege line.  Soundwave is only the second Decepticon I’ve looked at from this line, after the confusingly similarly named Shockwave, who will join this figure in forever baffling all of my Transformers novice family and friends over which one is which.  In robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 practical points of articulation.  Like pretty much everyone else in this line, Soundwave’s design calls back to his original G1 look, but updated a bit to more modern toy standards.  Soundwave had the coolest look of all the G1 Transformers (I may be slightly biased), and I think that comes across pretty darn well here.  He maintains all of the basic design cues of his classic counterpart (including adopting some of the old figure’s alt-mode elements that no longer contribute to the alt-mode), while adding quite a few smaller details to keep things sharp and interesting.  It also way ups the posablility, which is always a plus in my book.  I’m also really digging the left hand’s extended index finger, allowing for interaction with the latch for his “tape deck”.  It’s not all perfect, mind you.  There are a few things that do bug me.  Primarily, it’s the forearms.  They’re hollow on the insides, which bugs me far more than the hollow backing on Ironhide.  It’s not helped by the fact that he’s got some weird kibble going on on the backs of the forearms as well, which means two sides of the arms are compromised.  It’s not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s definitely annoying.  I’m also not the biggest fan of the back kibble, but that’s at least a more aesthetically pleasing solution.  Soundwave’s typical alt-mode, a cassette player, is outmoded by today’s world.  There’s been a number of attempts at giving him a replacement alt-mode, and this one is yet another.  He turns into a sort of a…drop ship thing?  I’m not big on it.  I mean, the concept’s okay, and, admittedly, I do like how it looks more in person than I’d expected to.  But something about the design just feels…I don’t know…half-formed?  More than a lot of the vehicles in this line, he looks like a brick with stuck on it, but unlike with Ironhide, I don’t really dig it.  It’s also not nearly as easy a transformation as some of the others, meaning the whole thing isn’t really ideal, and I really don’t see myself switching him back and forth at all.  If you don’t like the drop ship, Hasbro’s got a semi-official secondary alt-mode, which turns Soundwave into the lamppost he disguises himself as in the first episode of the ’84 cartoon.  Again, I don’t really feel the transformation myself, but I appreciate what Hasbro’s trying.  What’s that?  Neither of those alt-modes does it for you?  Have no fear, because the fan community is on it, resulting in a fairly widely-accepted third alt-mode, which has a sort of a speaker/boombox appearance.  It’s actually not too difficult to configure, and is by far my favorite potential alt-mode.  The only shame is that the cassette player buttons on his pelvis aren’t visible in this mode, but it’s a minor flaw.  Soundwave is packed with a HI-KEP Concussion Blaster, LR-HD Sonic Cannon, and EMTX Blitz Charge Blaster, all of which can also combine (rather awkwardly) into the “USW HF Sonic Compression Mega-Blaster,” which is really more of a staff sort of thing.  I do like how the charge blaster unfolds into a staff, which will certainly prove useful with other figures in the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you ready for this?  This figure?  Max’s fault.  So Max’s fault.  Because I wasn’t doing Transformers, you see?  But then Max was all “check out this cool Soundwave figure.”  And that turned into “you should get a few other figures to try out this line.”  And now I’ve got a whole darn collection.  Great.  On the plus side, slight issues aside, this Soundwave is a very, very good figure.  I’m super happy to have gotten him, and he’s my favorite in the line, mostly by virtue of being Soundwave.  I dig it.  I dig it a lot.

Soundwave, like all of my other Siege figures, came from All Time Toys, and can be purchased here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2030: Autobot Sixgun

AUTOBOT SIXGUN

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

While the Transformers brand as a whole is, admittedly, based on a gimmick from the start, Hasbro likes to introduce additional gimmicks as the line continues.  Each entry in the Prime Wars Trilogy had a gimmick, be it Combiners, Titan Masters, or Prime Cores.  This new War For Cybertron trilogy is starting up with a slightly more relaxed gimmick of accross the board compatibility of parts.  While a lot of this is tied in with effects parts and more accessories, there is also a subset of figures, dubbed “Weaponizers,” designed with interchangeability and cross compatibility in mind.  I’m looking at my first of those, Sixgun, today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Sixgun is the last figure in the second deluxe wave of the War for Cybertron: Siege line.  He’s the second Weaponizer in the line, following Autobot Cog from the first assortment.  Like Cog, Sixgun also began his life as an accessory to a large-scale Transformer, in this case Metroplex.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 20 points of articulation.  Sixgun’s original figure was rather rudimentary in his bot-mode, so this one starts with that and builds it into something a little more worthy of a proper figure release.  For instance, now he has actual hands! Sixgun’s design is notably more robotic than his assortment-mates, and generally feels a little more inhuman than we tend to see with an Autobot, but it’s a cool design nonetheless.  He’s also got a sturdy build, and lacks any real hollowness like we saw on some of the others in this set. Sixgun’s alt-mode is listed as a tank, but looks a bit more like an aircraft of some sort.  It’s a rather different design than the other alt-modes I’ve looked at, partly because you arrive at it in a rather different fashion.  Instead of a solid transition from one form to the other, Sixgun’s transformation is reliant on actually breaking him down into a number of smaller parts, and then re-assembling them in his vehicle mode.   It’s more akin to building a Lego set than to actually transforming.  It does mean that there’s a lot less guessing and skill to transforming him than the average Transformer, but on the flip side, it means he’s not one that you’ll want to swap back and forth so much, since every transformation is another chance to potentially lose pieces.  As a weaponizer, Sixgun’s sculpt is also pulling triple duty, since he’s not just a robot that transforms into a vehicle, he’s also meant to accent and augment the other figures in the line.  Via the same disassembly process that comes into play for his main transformation, Sixgun can be reconfigured into assorted armor set-ups for his fellow Autobots.  By far, my favorite set-up is the one that results in a giant fighting fist, but hey, I’m easy to please like that.  And, while the colors aren’t exact matches for each other I personally found Sixgun to pair best with his assortment-mate Ironhide.  He actually transitions well to an assortment of accessories for something that works as well as he does as a figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While I didn’t quite get pulled in by Cog, something about Sixgun just really spoke to me, especially when I found out about that giant hand configuration (from Max, so this one’s his fault again). He’s definitely a different style of figure than the rest of the assortment, but he’s still very fun.  Now I just have to decide if I want to keep him as a robot or as an accessory.

I picked up Sixgun from All Time Toys, where he is still currently in stock, here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2029: Prowl

PROWL

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

When I say “horrific,” you say “death!”  Ah, yes, what better way to start out a Prowl review than by putting all of the potential Prowl fans reading up in arms immediately?  You know, by reminding them of the horrifying, fire out of the eye-sockets, death that befalls him in Transformers: The Movie‘s opening minutes?  Man, didn’t that suck?  It’s okay, I think people may have gotten over it.  They’ve had 33 years.  Well, I mean, I haven’t.  I’ve had a few months, because that’s when I finally saw the movie.  Of course, since the movie is also my only real exposure to Prowl in media, I guess it’s a bit of a wash.  Whatever the case, I’m reviewing a Prowl figure today.  So there.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Prowl is the third figure in the second deluxe wave of War for Cybertron: Siege figures, joining fellow ’84-er Ironhide.  Prowl is another classically inspired design, though he does sport the most signs of Cybertronian design work peeking through.  In robot mode, Prowl stands 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 22 practical points of articulation.  When I initially saw photos of Prowl’s robot mode, I thought it looked a little bit lacking.  Something about it seemed a little slapdash and unfinished, especially those lower legs.  Certainly he seemed like he’d be a step down from his comrades.  Well, hang on there guys, because I was actually quite wrong.  Prowl’s sculpt is definitely one of those that needs to be seen in motion to truly appreciate.  It’s actually  pretty clean, sleek design, that holds together nicely.  Sure, the legs do seem a little hollow, and if you catch the torso at the wrong angle, it’s not going to look so great, but when this guy is posed well, he looks really, really nice. And speaking of posing?  Yeah, for my money, Prowl is rivaled only by the Voyager Optimus in terms of range of motion.  There’s a lot of poses to be had with Prowl, and they only help to further improve the look of his sculpt.  Prowl’s traditional alt-mode is a police car, and this figure experiments with that.  Like Sideswipe, Prow has to somewhat tweak things and get a more sci-fi influenced version of his classic alt-mode, something that maintains the spirit of his original design, but doesn’t feel out of place with the new setting.  I actually really dig the alt-mode here, and I think it’s really one of the ones to best capture the Cybertronian feel. I particularly dig those translucent wheels! Also, this marks the easiest transformation I’ve dealt with on these guys.  I didn’t need to consult the instructions at all, and it feels nice and smooth the whole way.  He’s definitely one I can see myself swapping back and forth pretty frequently.  Prowl is packed with a W-45 Acid Pellet Strikeblaster…which is a gun with the light bar from his alt-mode strapped to it.  It’s goofy as hell, but a fun piece nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, Max got off the hook yesterday, but he most certainly does *not* today.  See, I was on the fence with Prowl, because of the slightly odd look in the promo shots.  But then Max got his early, and let me mess around with the figure a for a little bit.  It was really, really nice, and I absolutely couldn’t turn him down when I finally had my chance to get one.  I gotta say, I don’t have a huge attachment to the character, nor was I expecting much out of this figure, but he’s kind of my favorite figure from this assortment.  He’s just so much fun.

Prowl came from All Time Toys, where he is still currently in stock, here.  If you’re looking for Transformers, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1982: Ultraman – B Type

ULTRAMAN — B TYPE

ULTRAMAN FIGURE-RISE (BANDAI)

Hey, how about a look into two things I haven’t looked at in a long time?  It’s been over a year since I reviewed anything Ultraman related (the end of Ultra-Act and subsequent transition into Figuarts has been a rather major contributor to that), and three whole years since I’ve reviewed any model kits, but now I’m just throwing caution to the wind and looking at an Ultraman model.  I know, crazy stuff for me, right?  Just stepping way outside my comfort zone for this?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultraman (B Type) is the first in Bandai’s newly launched line of Ultraman-themed Figure-Rise kits.  They’ve previously offered kits for Dragon Ball Z and Kamen Rider, and it’s not a huge shock to see them move onto another immensely popular license.  So far, it appears this line will be taking its cues from the currently running Ultraman manga, which sequelizes the original show, while working in elements of its successors in a new timeline.  This figure is the main Ultraman from the series, Shinjiro Hayata, son of the original Ultraman, wearing his second set of powered armor (as noted by the “B Type” at the end of the name).  The kit is billed as 1/12 scale, so the final figure stands a little over 6 inches tall, meaning he scales pretty decently with the Figuarts stuff.  He’s got 31 points of articulation, so he’s not quite on the same posability level as most of those figures, but he’s not terribly far off either.  Of all the models I’ve built, Ultraman is definitely the most intense.  As in “took multiple sessions to complete him” intense.  He’s made up of a lot of small, little pieces, that all click together very carefully.  While this may be a little stressful on the assembly side, it pays off on the appearance front.  This is definitely a sharp looking figures. Details are well-defined, and he’s a good match for the source material’s very machined appearance.  If I have one complaint, it’s that the figure’s not quite as sturdy as I might have liked.  I’ve had no breakage issues, of course, but the torso assembly pops apart with regular handling (mostly by design, to be fair).  He’s more a pose and set figure than a mess around with him figure.  Paint’s a no-go on these sorts of sets, so there are a few different ways to handle variations of color.  For the most part, this guy goes with the “mold it in the right color” method, meaning there’s a lot of very precise part assembly.  However, there are also some pretty extensive decal applications mixed in with that.  Again, they can get a little stressful, but the end result pays off, and you’d be hard pressed to discern these decals from actual paintwork.  Of course, time will tell as to their longterm hold-up.  Ultraman is pretty well accessorized for a thing I built myself.  He’s got five interchangeable hands (fists, open, and a trigger finger for his right side), a Specium Ray effect, two Specium Slash effects, alternate forearm guards for use with the Specium Ray, alternate guards with Specium Blades deployed, the MARS-133 rifle, and a display stand.  Pretty much, he’s on par with a Figuarts or Ultra-Act release.  He has one more feature: he lights up.  There’s a battery pack with LEDs attached that’s installed in the torso (hence how easily it comes back apart).  Using the included tool, you can turn it on and off.  It illuminates his eyes and color timer, and with a push of the button you can even switch the color timer from blue to red, which is fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Is it allowed to be Max’s fault two days in a row?  This one’s a borderline example at the very least.  He wanted one of his own, and they come in cases of two, so he needed another buyer.  Well, hey, I like Ultraman, right?  Admittedly, I was looking to get back into the model building anyway, and I didn’t yet have a Manga-style Ultraman, so why not give it a try?  He’s an intense build, but I do really enjoy the final product, and I think he’ll slot in pretty well with the rest of my Ultras.

I picked up this set via All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1981: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Alright, I’m gonna level with your guys: you might want to get comfortable with the Transformers reviews.  Because there’s probably going to be a substantial uptick in them going forward. Read them at your own peril.  It’s okay, though, because I’m going to ease everyone into them, you see.  I’m not just jumping into Transformers willy-nilly. I’m going to be placing a lot of focus on the one Transformer that’s not odd to see around these parts: Soundwave!  Yes, he’s without a doubt my favorite Transformer, and as with all of my favorite characters, I’d like perhaps to own every version of him.  A man can dream.  And chipping away at that dream is today’s figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is part of the overarching Transformers: Bumblebee line that came out of December’s Bumblebee film, in which Soundwave made a brief appearance.  He’s from the Energon Ignighters Power Plus Series‘ third wave, which just started showing up in the last month or so.  It features this guy here, alongside Autobot Ironhide.  He’s ostensibly based on Soundwave’s look in the film, but it’s a much looser interpretation than others.  I’ll touch on that in a moment.  Unlike most of the Transformers I’ve looked at on this site, where it’s a robot figure that turns into a vehicle, this one is kind of an inversion.  The vehicle mode is the real focus, with the robot mode there as more of a gimmick.  In the film, Soundwave doesn’t have a vehicle mode (that we know of), so this one makes one up for him, settling on a van that’s actually a pretty sensible choice if you don’t want to go for the classic cassette player, since it still kind of keeps that music theme going.  It fits the overall retro feel of the rest of the Bumblebee stuff, to be sure.  In van mode, Soundwave measures 4 1/2 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 2 inches tall.  All four wheels are actual, working wheels, and the back doors of the van are designed to spring open when the top of the van is pressed down, revealing some impressive looking speakers.  Paint on the van-mode is mostly pretty sparse, but he does have a decal in particular that I love: the mural on the side.  It features a cheesy ’70s-esque painting of a jaguar and a bird, homaging Soundwave’s usual companions, Ravage and Laserbeak, which I just think is the coolest thing.  Soundwave includes an “Energon Ignighter” piece, which is the gimmick for the whole line.  It drops into place through the roof of the van, activating the spring-loaded doors and allowing for a motorized pull and release movement.  Fitting with the overall theme of this release, the ignighter is shaped like a boombox, which is another fun touch.  Soundwave’s transition from van to robot is a fairly simple process, largely consisting of turning him over so that you can see the hidden robot that was under the van.  His appearance is certainly inspired by the classic Soundwave look, just like the movie, but I can’t really say the two designs are all that close.  If I had to guess, I’d say he was probably patterned after early designs for the character.  Whatever the case, he’s still pretty recognizeable as Soundwave, which is the important thing.  He’s not particularly poseable; you can pretty much only move him at the elbows, though there’s some slight shifting to be had in the shoulders as well.  Like I said, the robot’s not really the main focus of this release; he’s more a gimmick than anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: this is Max’s fault.  No, really, I swear it is.  See, he preordered one of these for himself on Amazon, but then found one in-store, and decided to grab that, but was unable to cancel his order.  So, boom: extra Soundwave.  Shame he doesn’t know anyone who would want a Soundwave… In actuality, I had actually wanted to track one of these down, because I dug that sweet van art.  It’s gimmicky, and not going to be anyone’s #1 version or anything, but for a Soundwave fan like me, he’s a fun addition to the collection.