#1937: Batman Beyond

BATMAN BEYOND

DC SUPER FRIENDS (IMAGINEXT)

“How can Batman protect the future of Gotham City?
He passes down his crime-fighting skills to a younger generation.  This younger Batman has even cooler gadgets too, like this motorcycle that transforms into a glider AND launches disks.”

Though it may be aimed at a younger audience than my usual faire, I keep finding myself called back to Imaginext.  It’s one of the more expansive styles out there.  Above all, they have easily one of the best collections of DC characters on the market right now, covering all sorts of different eras and corners of the universe.  One of the more recent additions is a fairly popular character who doesn’t have quite the toy coverage you might expect, Terry McGuinness, aka Batman Beyond!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Batman Beyond is one of the “figure and vehicle” offerings from Imaginext’s DC Super Friends line, and he started arriving at retail late last year.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation (with the legs moving as one, just like they always do).  Terry is built on the basic Batman body for this line, which isn’t perhaps the most accurate, but Imaginext is known to tweak some designs ever so slightly.  All it really means is that he’s got some more piping and texturing on his costume than he usual does, and given Terry’s future-setting, it’s not an unreasonable look.  Plus, this way, he still has the glove scallops and utility belt.  The rest of the work is paint, or lack there of.  He’s molded in all black, which is sensible, and helps to downplay all that extra sculpted detailing.  The white and red sections are well-handled and pretty clean looking.  The expression on the final figure is slightly changed from what was shown on the proto, which was using a teeth gritted expression that looked lifted pretty straight from the animation.  On the final release, he’s got this sort of side-leaning grin, which certainly looks goofier, and I suppose a bit friendlier, which was probably the main point.  BB is packed with a bat-styled motorcycle.  It seems a little more conventional in design than the vehicles from the show, but it’s not a bad design, and the choice to give him a cycle is a pretty sensible one for Terry.  The wings are spring-loaded, and can be popped down by a button on the back, which is pretty fun, and, of course, there’s the aforementioned disk launching device, which, while rudimentary, certainly has its value.  There are also three disks provided for it to launch.  Perhaps the only thing not included that I’d have liked to see is a pair of wings, but it’s not the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike a lot of my Imaginext purchases, Batman Beyond was actually not a spur of the moment pick-up.  I had heard about the set from Max, and I was actually keeping my eye out for it.  I ended up finding it just before Christmas, while picking up some last minute Christmas supplies at K-Mart of all places.  Yeah, I’m as surprised as you.  I was quite happy to find him, and, as I’d anticipated, he’s just a fun toy.

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#1747: Red Tornado

RED TORNADO

DC SUPERHEROES (IMAGINEXT)

Sometimes, it’s nice to remember when toys were just plain fun, and not necessarily aimed at pleasing only adult collectors.  One of the best lines out there for doing such things is Fisher Price’s Imaginext subset.  They’re definitely kid-oriented, but they’ve got some pretty amazing licenses, and the coverage of characters therein is nothing short of astounding.  They’re DC line in particular has made its way around to so many corners of the DCU, including more minor characters, such as today’s focus, the Red Tornado!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Tornado was introduced into the DC Superheroes Imaginext line in 2018.  He’s sold as deluxe single figure, meaning it’s just him and a larger accessory, in a similar fashion to the previously reviewed Brainiac.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation (as with all Imaginext offerings, his legs move as one).  Red Tornado has had a few distinct looks over the years; this figure goes for his more robotic, more stylized appearance from when he was working as Young Justice’s official Justice League-er sponsor.  It’s actually one of my favorite looks for the character, so I was pretty happy about this.  His sculpt is fairly standard stuff for this product spread, with highly stylized proportions and the like.  The blank portions of the sculpt are actually even more sensible with this particular figure than they were on other characters, given the robotic design.  Interestingly, the body gets a few more robotic details that aren’t traditionally seen on this particular design for the character, though I’m really not complaining about that.  Red Tornado’s cape is a combination of sculpted and cloth elements; the collar is plastic and the actual cape cloth, which is the best possible combo.  Tornado’s paintwork is fairly basic stuff, since he’s mostly just molded in the proper colors.  There’s some slop on his collar, but he’s otherwise pretty sharp, and he’s certainly bright and eye-catching.  The extra large accessory included with this guy is a pretty sensible one; it’s a tornado effect, demonstrating his powers.  When you wheel it along the ground, it will spin the figure, which is pretty fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In the midst of Toys R Us closing, I was spending a lot of time at my closest store, and by extension, I was also spending a lot of time at the Target across the street.  They began their clearance process for their big reset a few months ago, and a bunch of Imaginext stuff was included.  Imaginext is already pretty reasonably priced to start with, so on clearance it’s an absolute steal.  It was hard to say no to Reddy at that point.  I quite like this guy, and I’m quite happy to have him.

#1645: Hiding Scooby-Doo & Funland Robot

HIDING SCOOBY-DOO & FUNLAND ROBOT

SCOOBY-DOO! (IMAGINEXT)

“Why is Scooby-Doo hiding in a trash can?  Because everything in the theme park is mysteriously running by itself!  But that’s not all that sends Scooby running—a mysterious robot is chasing him!”

I don’t have a huge collection of Scooby-Doo figures (though it’s actually increased by 400% in the last two years, if you’re keeping track).  For the longest time, my entire collection was made up of two figures.  One of them was Fred, my favorite member of the Scooby Gang.  The other was Charlie, the Funland Robot, by far my favorite “monster” (though it’s a loose use of the term).  I know, what a shock; Ethan likes the robot.  Crazy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is one of three two-packs in the 2018 assortment of the Imaginext Scooby-Doo! line.  Each two-pack is one member of the gang and one monster.  This one’s a solid pairing, giving us the Funland Robot alongside a hiding Scooby-Doo seen in the Funland Robot’s episode “Foul Play in Funland.” (okay, technically Scooby’s hiding in a barrel, not a trash can, in that episode, but it’s close enough).

HIDING SCOOBY-DOO

Admittedly, this Scooby variant is less of a figure in its own right and more a glorified accessory to the other figure.  But, it’s billed as a separate figure on the package, so I’ll count it the way they want me to.  I’m nice like that.  The figure stands just shy of 3 1/2 inches tall.  He’s got no actual articulation, but he does have a spring-loaded action feature that pops his head and feet out of the trash can.  It’s pretty nifty, I suppose.  Scooby’s sculpt is unique, rather unsurprisingly.  The trash can is basic in details, but has a few more in-depth areas of dents and dings.  The button that activates the action feature is rather obvious, but it’s small enough not to ruin the whole effect.  The lid and top of the can are slightly bent, so that when the head is fully retracted, you can still see Scooby’s eyes peering through.  The actual Scooby parts are fairly standard, rather un-stylized for the line, truth be told.  He lines up pretty well with the standard Scooby figure I looked at earlier this year.  Paint is largely minimal on this particular figure; it’s just on the eyes and nose.  Everything else is just done up in the proper colors.  The grey on the trash can is a little bland, but it’s not terrible.

FUNLAND ROBOT

The main star here is definitely this guy.  The Funland Robot’s a distinctive looking character from the show, who’s sadly lacking in toys when you really get down to it.  The figure stands 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  His movement is the same basic set-up as the other Imaginext figures I’ve  looked at.  It’s pretty solid for the size and style.  His sculpt is unique to him, and it does a good job of capturing his in-show design and translating it into the style of the toyline.  He’s a design that certainly works quite well in this particular style, and I appreciate the small touches, such as the small wrinkles at the base of his pants legs.  Like Scooby, the Funland Robot’s paint is fairly minimal.  The majority of the colors are molded plastic, and tend to work pretty well.  Like the older figure I looked at, his torso is a pink color, rather than the indigo shade from the show.  I’d say it’s a licensing thing.  The actual paint on the face is pretty clean, and captures the character’s likeness, with a fun bit of stylization thrown in for good measure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Imaginext purchases are rather sparse.  My Scooby-Doo purchases are also pretty sparse.  So, how did I come upon this set?  Well, I’ve been frequenting my closest TRU on a rather frequent basis, keeping an eye out for all the new stuff coming in from the warehouses.  My TRU has become a bit of a war zone, if I’m honest, with stuff just strewn all over the place.  I found this set sitting in the Marvel aisle of all places.  I didn’t know it existed, but I couldn’t bring myself to turn down a Funland Robot figure.

#0674: The Putties

PUTTIES

IMAGINEXT POWER RANGERS

Putties1

Minions. Minions are what make the world go ‘round. No, not the little yellow guys in overalls (though they do seem to have infiltrated every facet of our lives…), just minions in general. All the best villains have a legion of near identical followers, who can do their bidding and serve as cannon fodder for our charming heroes. Darth Vader has the Stormtroopers; Shredder has the Foot Clan; Dr. Doom has the Doombots. Almost every iteration of Power Rangers has had its own set of faceless minions, starting way back in Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, with the clay warriors The Putties.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Putties2The Putties were released in a pack of three figures as part of the first assortment of Imaginext Power Rangers figure packs. The pack is made up of three identical Putty figures. They’re based on the Putties’ Season 1 appearance, before they were retooled by Lord Zedd. The design is a little more streamlined than future designs would be, and it’s when the characters were the most prominent. The figures each stand 3 inches tall and feature 8 points of articulation. The sculpt is fairly basic, which is fitting for the Putties. The body sculpt is pretty standard; the proportions are on par with the rest of the Imaginext line, and the basic parts are nice and cleanly sculpted. The heads are more detail filled than the body; on the show, the putties faces were a bit slap-dash, so replicating them can be a bit of an issue. Imaginext has opted to refine them a bit, which looks decent enough. I only wish they’d done up their hands to match, as they did in the show. The paintwork on the figures is pretty simple, but done well enough. The figures are molded in a slightly metallic grey, which replicates the spandex costumes from the show pretty decently. They’ve got painted details for their belts and eyes, as well as the black marks on their chests. The paint is pretty clean overall, though there’s some variance to the chest markings between the three. The Putty pack includes no accessories, but three Putties cost the same as two Rangers, so I guess, in theory, one of the Putties is an accessory to the other two.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Putties are really what sold me on the Imaginext Power Rangers. The Figuarts versions of the Rangers are the be-all-end-all versions of the heroes, but Bandai has yet to make any movies toward Putties in that scale. So, for someone who wants a few Putties to bat around, there aren’t many options. Add in the rather low price-point of the Imaginext stuff and I’m definitely sold, at least on a few of the figures.

Putties3

#0673: Green Ranger & Pink Ranger

GREEN RANGER & PINK RANGER

IMAGINEXT POWER RANGERS

PinK&Green1

Man, I really didn’t think Power Rangers was a thing I’d ever get back into. Then all these toy companies had to go and start making all these cool Power Rangers toys, and I had to go and have no self-control when it comes to cool toys. What are you gonna do, right? I can definitely tell you that a few years ago I would have never imagined that I’d be buying Imaginext stuff. They’ve really stepped up their game, and, more importantly, they’ve started making a lot of things I want to buy. Like Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. They’ve just released a bunch of Rangers merchandise, including several of the Rangers’ individual Zords, a really cool combined Megazord, and several smaller figure packs, for those who aren’t quite ready to dive all in. I just picked up Green and Pink Rangers, so let’s see how they turned out.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Green and Pink were released as a two-pack in the first assortment of Imaginext Power Rangers figure packs. They’re probably the most sensible pairing of the bunch (given that they were a couple in the show), and it looks like they’re both currently exclusive to this particular pack, though Kimberly’s already been slated for a release with her Zord, and I’m sure Tommy won’t be far behind.

GREEN RANGER

Pink&Green2The Green Ranger is the first identity of Tommy Oliver, the original Sixth Ranger, who would take on another four Ranger identities over the course of the various Ranger series. He was also portrayed by Jason David Frank, an actor of near legendary status in the Power Rangers community. So, the Green Ranger’s kind of a big deal. The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 8 points of articulation. Aside from the legs both being on the same joint (which still kinda baffles me) the movement is all pretty good, especially for a figure of this size and style. Tommy’s technically based on his appearance in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, but there are a few changes, aside from the obvious stylistic ones. The Rangers in this set all appear to be an amalgam of sorts of their show and movie designs, taking the general design cues from the show, but also possessing the movie’s armored bodysuits and more detailed gloves and boots. It’s an interesting choice, doubly so on the Green Ranger, who was not in the movie. Also, there’s one glaring thing missing from this guy: his Dragon Shield! Yeah, he doesn’t have the extra armored bit that set him apart from the others, which is, admittedly, a bit odd. Sculpturally, Tommy uses the same body shared by all of the male Rangers in the line (so far, anyway). The proportions are slightly tweaked, so as to bring him in line with the rest of the Imaginext figures. The body has a lot more fine detail work than what I’ve seen before from Imaginext, and it’s certainly very impressive. Tommy also gets a unique head sculpt, which is a pretty good translation of his dragon-styled helmet, with the same level of detail as the body. The mouth is painted, rather than sculpted, but that keeps him more or less in line with the un-helmeted characters. As far as paint goes, the Green Ranger is handled pretty well, though he does make a few more deviations from the source material. For one thing, the gloves and boots are just straight white, as is the belt. One presumes this was done as a way of simplifying the designs just a bit. Interestingly, the other big change is not a simplification. For whatever reason, they’ve painted the ridges on the top of the helmet grey, presumably to set them apart from the rest of the helmet. However, on the show, that part of the helmet was just straight green. I’m not sure why they changed that particular thing, but it certainly doesn’t look bad, so I can’t really complain. The Green Ranger includes his Dragon Dagger, up-scaled a fair bit to meet safety standards. It’s nicely sculpted and pretty well painted, though it’s worth noting that the details on the blade are sculpted on the opposite side of the one they were painted onto, which is kinda funny.

PINK RANGER

Pink&Green3The Pink Ranger was actually one of the set’s main draws, at least initially, since it’s the only way to get her in the initial product release, and she is one of the original five, after all. Unlike Tommy, Kimberly would only be the Pink Ranger for one incarnation of the show, but she’s still the original, and that’s kind of important. The figure is a little under 3 inches tall and has the same 8 points of articulation as Tommy. She too is an amalgam of her show and movie designs, keeping the basic layout and the skirt from the show design, but still adding the stitching and armoring of the movie design. Due to the presence of the skirt (which the Yellow Ranger does not have), the Pink Ranger gets a mostly unique sculpt, apart from a re-used set of arms. Once again, the proportions have been slightly tweaked, so as to make her fit stylistically with the rest of the Imaginext line. I must admit, it’s refreshing to see one of these “kid-ified” lines not horribly under-sizing the female characters. It’s especially great when it comes to the Power Rangers, who should all be similarly sized. I’m not 100% sold on the head sculpt. It’s not bad, but it seems her helmet just didn’t translate as well to the style as the others. She kinda looks like one of those stereotypical aliens. Kimberly’s paintwork isn’t all that different from Tommy’s; it still lacks some of the extra details on the gloves, boots, and belt. She’s also missing the patch of white on the back of her helmet, which might actually be what’s throwing her head sculpt off for me. Also, the mouth on this one is mis-aligned, which makes her look a little wonky. She includes her Power Bow, which is once again up-scaled a bit for safety. She can’t really hold it, but it’s decently sculpted, and it includes clips so that you can assemble the Power Blaster if you get the other Rangers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw the various Imaginext Power Rangers stuff a few times before picking this set up, mostly due to this seemingly being the most difficult to obtain set. I wound up finding at a Target near a convention I was attending, and these two just really drew me in. The Green Ranger’s definitely the star here, even with his handful of inaccuracies, but both of these figures are just a lot of fun!

Pink&Green4

#0440: Brainiac

BRAINIAC

DC SUPER FRIENDS (IMAGINEXT)

And now for Christmas Reviews Part Three!

In the current, extremely adult collector driven action figure climate, it can be easy for toy companies to overlook kids, their original target audience. As figures have become more detailed, they have also become more fragile. And that’s to say nothing of the virtually impossible task of getting certain figures. Fortunately, toy companies are starting to catch on, at least a little bit. It’s no secret that I have my issues with Mattel, especially their handling of the DC license, but they aren’t always the worst people on the planet (just most of the time). One of the few places they don’t suck is their Fisher Price division, which handles their Imaginext brand. Imaginext offers a variety of different figures, meant to stand up to younger kids. In recent years, they’ve had a rather nice selection of DC heroes and villains, all offered in the line’s streamlined style. Today, I’ll be looking at the line’s take on Superman foe Brainiac.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Imaginext doesn’t use the usual “Series” structure of most toylines; instead they have a variety of figures of differing price points and sizes, and they add a few new figures at a time as the line progresses.  Figures are usually sold either in two-packs with other figures or packed in with vehicles. However, Brainiac breaks from this tradition, being released by himself, as something of a deluxe figure. He was introduced into the line in 2014. The figure stands about 3 inches tall and he sports 8 points of articulation (the legs move as one, so just one point there). Brainiac is clearly inspired by his appearance in the DC Animated Universe shows, with a couple of small tweaks; they’ve given him bare arms and his skin is a much greener color. While I still have a soft spot for the classic short-shorts and white go-go boots combo of the 60s, I can’t argue with the choice of design. The DCAU look is definitely a strong one, and it’s probably the most prominent of the character’s appearances in recent years. I’m no expert on Imaginext figures, but Brainac appears to be an all-new sculpt. The figure offers a nice translation of the animated design, and the sculpt is definitely some solid work. Certain details, such as the figures face (apart from the nose), have been left blank on the sculpt. The paint has then been used to bridge the gaps. There are a few areas of slop, but the paint work is generally clean. The best work is definitely on the face, which is nice and clean, and very nicely depicts Brainiac’s cold, calculating mug. Accessories are a rarity among the Imaginext figures, but as a deluxe figure, Brainiac gets a set of robot tendrils, which can be clipped onto his back. While they seem a bit more Doctor Octopus than Brainiac, the character has sported such attachments before, and I certainly won’t complain about extra accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Brainiac was another gift from my parents, and he shows how much attention they pay to my never-ceasing ramblings about toys. While walking through Target a few months ago, I saw the figure and off-handedly mentioned that he was rather cool, and boom, here he is. He’s not the first Imaginext figure I’ve owned (I have a few of the Green Lantern-related ones), but, for whatever reason, he’s the first of them to interest me enough to actually open him up and play around with him. Brainiac is a really fun little figure, and he’s the kind of toy that there should be more of.