#2412: Space Marine Drake

SPACE MARINE DRAKE

ALIENS (NECA)

Specialty: Never defeated in hand to hand combat

Home Planet:  Detention Planet 27, Requist System

Background: Born in captivity, he fought his way out to join the Space Marines at 21

Quote:  ‘Stay Frosty, Marines…and LET IT ROCK!'”

Hey, look at that! It’s another new item, even!  Man, this is just going off the chain with the new stuff, isn’t it?  Three new things?  I better slow down!  In the midst of all this pandemic stuff, I kinda missed Alien Day.  I knew it was coming up, but I honestly didn’t have anything on-hand to review, so I just let it slip by without saying anything.  It’s been just over a month, but I’m finally coming back around, with one of the items that NECA dropped right around the celebratory day, Space Marine Drake.  We’re now four Space Marines deep in the Kenner-inspired Aliens sub-line, and much like last year’s addition of Apone, Drake’s another character whose movie incarnation we have yet to see, so this figure pulls a touch of double duty, until such time that we might actually get a proper movie figure.  Does he do alright?  Let’s find out.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

While Apone was part of a larger series, Drake seems to fall back on the pattern Ripley and Vasquez followed, being his own separate release.  However, rather than being an exclusive like those two, Drake is still available through most retailers.  I know, a non-exclusive NECA figure.  What a novel concept.  Drake stands 7 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  At his core, Drake has a great majority of his pieces in common with NECA’s Jungle Patrol Dutch figure from their Predator line.  It’s a solid starting point, and one of the better base bodies.  It also looks fairly close to what Kenner’s version of Drake was wearing, so it’s sensible in that regard.  The one major downside is that it’s articulation scheme wasn’t really designed with holding the smartgun in mind, meaning he has a little difficulty on that front.  Drake gets a new head, hands, and webgear to complete his conversion into his Kenner appearance.  The head’s a nice piece, doing a solid job of adapting Kenner’s radically different Drake likeness into a realistic design.  Unlike Apone, though, I don’t feel there’s any way to pass this off as Mark Rolston.  This is definitely a much more divergent look.  It’s still a solid sculpt, though.  The webgear’s a little loose, and floats a little more at the waist than I like, but it looks pretty decent, and is again a solid recreation of the old design.  It adds up to a pretty cohesive design.  The paintwork is again a nice recreation of the Kenner paint scheme, just with a little bit more real world flair thrown in so that he isn’t wildly out of place with the movie-based figures.  Honestly, he more than the other Kenner figures can slot in without too much trouble, given his far more reserved color scheme.  As a smartgunner, Drake gets a re-use of the same smartgun included with Vasquez, though if my figure is anything to go by, it’d not quite as sturdy, as one of the handles broke off in the midst of taking the photos.  That’s not great.  There are a few attachments to make the gun a little more Kenner accurate.  The bayonet is removable like on the original figure, and can even be stored on his shoulder, which is kinda fun.  They’ve also changed up how the arm of the smartgun connects to the figure, and it’s…well, I think it wasn’t assembled right?  There’s a new piece that connects to his web gear, and there’s the part that connects to the gun, but the ends of the two parts don’t connect, and in fact appear to be the same piece.  They’re both glued in place, and neither can be removed.  The stock photos don’t show both of these end segments in place, so I think maybe the one at the end of the arm wasn’t supposed to be there?  Whatever the case, there’s no real easy fix for this, and it means the arm just kind of hangs there.  It kind of ruins the coolness of the actual articulated arm as it was on the Vasquez figure, and kind of makes posing him a bit of a pain, because it just flops around, and it also means that the broken handle is even more of an issue, because there’s not that extra support.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Drake’s been a notable missing character in the NECA Aliens set-up, and once NECA put out the Kenner Apone, I was expecting to see him show up this way first.  I was excited for him when he was announced, I was excited when he showed up, but ultimately I don’t know if I feel like he really paid off that excitement.  He’s not awful, but the breakage and that issue with the arm on the gun is annoying, and I don’t love the Dutch body as much here as I usually do.  Ultimately, he’s a passable figure, but I think he’s a bit of a step down after last year’s Apone.  I hope NECA can some day get us a movie version.  And I also really hope Kenner Hicks is next year’s figure.

I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys, who have been helping me keep my sanity with some new toys.   If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2408: Crowd Control Stormtrooper

CROWD CONTROL STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Feared throughout the galaxy, Stormtroopers are elite shock troops deployed in support of both ground forces and the Imperial fleet. They are responsible for policing Imperial outposts and territories, accountable for sustaining Imperial control in even the most dangerous sectors. This can be a challenging and often deadly assignment for the most reliable shock troop squadrons. Tough port cities such as Mos Eisley have high populations of outlaws, criminals, smugglers and other anti-Imperial types who create a typically chaotic atmosphere.”

Before making use of the sub-line to get out some larger figures and accessories seen in the film, Kenner’s first approach to the “Deluxe” offshoot of Power of the Force was…well, it was certainly more at home in a ’90s toyline.  The first three offerings (as well as one of the two offerings that followed) in the line were all slight re-workings of previously released heavy hitters, but this time with some big gimmicky gizmo included.  On the positive side, it did give collectors a second chance at a little bit of army building in the form of today’s figure, the Crowd Control Stormtrooper.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Crowd Control Stormtrooper was released in 1996, alongside Han Solo w/ Smuggler Flight Pack and Luke Skywalker w/ Desert Sport Skiff.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  The core figure to this set is effectively the same sculpt as the standard Imperial Stormtrooper figure.  Certainly, that’s hardly Kenner’s finest attempt at a Stormtrooper sculpt, but it was the standard one of the time, being only a year old.  It’s still got all the goofy quirks of that particular release, meaning he’s rather muscle bound and also lacks both a neck and the ability to stand for long periods of time unassisted.  The one change this release makes to the sculpt is adding a port to his back so that he can make use of his big gimmicky gizmo.  The other change is a paint change, rather than a sculpt change.  This guy has the same basic paint elements as the regular release, but with a bunch of flecks of dirt all over the body now.  I guess this guy’s been a little worn-in.  Or maybe he’s a really early preview of a Remnant Trooper!  That’d be something!  Whatever the case, he kind of reminds me of cookies and cream ice cream.  The supposed main selling point of this set is not the figure, of course, but rather the Crowd Control pack he includes.  It’s big, and it plugs into is back, and it has some moving parts.  I’m not entirely sure how this monstrosity is meant to aid in crowd control, but this is the Empire we’re talking about here; they tend to go for the crazier, mad-genius-style solutions to things.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, these deluxe figures always baffled me a little bit.  I wasn’t really alone on that front, I suppose.  Now that I’m an adult, though, and I’ve really gotten into appreciating PotF2 for what it was, they’re kind of key to that appreciation, because what else sells the true ’90s-ness of the early line better than these guys?  This guy also benefits from really being the only one in the first set that makes any sort of internal sense; a Stormtrooper with an extra gimmick really isn’t that far out there.

This guy came from my friends at All Time Toys. They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2401: Sandtrooper

SANDTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Their remote location makes the spaceports of Tatooine havens for the varied masses from across the galaxy. At the seedy Mos Eisley spaceport, this variety is more than evident at the main hangout, Chalmun’s Cantina. The most loathsome of Mos Eisley’s population can regularly be found there, including imperial sandtroopers, who are deployed by the Empire to quell outbursts with brutal efficiency. In the days before the Galactic Empire, the spaceport of Mos Espa hosted a similar reputation as a “wretched hive of scum and villainy.” From the outdoor markets to the junk shops – overseen by the gambling crimelords, the Hutts – Mos Espa was a place where a nine-year old boy could learn the ways of the universe.”

Hey, remember how I’ve got all these Power of the Force figures I can review?  Great, I don’t have to remind you why I’m doing this review, then.  I’ve looked at all manner of Stormtrooper variants, many of them from this very line, but today I’m kind of doubling back and looking at a variant of a variant.  Oh man, how crazy is that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Sandtrooper was released in 1998, accompanying a 3D display diorama of the Mos Eisley Cantina.  He was the actual figure used to sell a bunch of cardboard, wrapped in cardboard.  Neat trick, I suppose.  We had gotten a standard, run of the mill Sandtrooper in the main line, but this one aimed to be different enough to make collector’s buy.  Guess it worked.  According to expanded universe materials, this guy actually has a name.  He’s Davin Felth, the trooper who says “Look sir, droids!” while they’re searching on Tatooine.  And now you know that.  Don’t you feel like your life has meaning now?  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He uses the same head, torso, and pelvis as the single-carded Sandtrooper, but gets a new set of arms and legs.  It’s still the super goofy PotF2 trooper build, but by this time things were starting to be a little bit more toned down.  Those arms and legs are definitely less bulked up compared to prior troopers.  His pose is also a more neutral one, but, in an interesting turn of events, he’s not really able to do anything but hold that one neutral pose.  He looks like he’s standing guard (which makes sense for the playset he came with), meaning he’s designed to hold his weapon in a non-battle stance.  He can’t actually hold it by the handle, due to the relative posing of his arms.  The paint on this guy is also toned down from the prior Sandtrooper.  He’s still got a little bit of weathering, but it’s nowhere near as intense.  His pauldron has changed colors to mark a change in rank, with it being white instead of orange.  For some reason, the black section has also changed to a light grey, which is an odd choice.  Moving further down, the figure has also lost the black detailing at the elbows that prior troopers had, which does look a little weird.  The Sandtrooper was packed with a blaster rifle and a patrol droid (missing from mine) which plugged into his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As part of my goal of getting all the figures from the PotF2 line, I’m having to track down some of the more odd-ball releases as well, which includes this guy.  I ended up getting ahold of one from a loose collection that was traded into All Time, though he was missing the droid piece.  He’s not a bad figure.  I actually like him quite a bit, certainly more than I was expecting to.

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2399: Green Arrow

GREEN ARROW

TOTAL JUSTICE (KENNER)

“Expertly trained in archery and martial arts, young Connor Hawke now fights as the Green Arrow, taking the place of father, Oliver Queen, who died in battle after a lifetime of crimefighting. Armed with his enhanced action/reaction Fractal Techgear mega longbow, the new Green Arrow slings fear into the hearts of criminals everywhere!”

Over the years, there have been a few attempts to capture the lightning that was Kenner’s Super Powers line in a bottle.  The first was a pretty blatant knock off from Toy Biz, under the heading DC Super Heroes.  The second, Total Justice, came after the return of the license to Kenner themselves. As much as Super Powers was a rather timeless collection of evergreen looks, Total Justice is a hardcore product of its time.  One such product was the character line-up.  While there were lots of consistent names, many of the characters presented were new versions.  That includes today’s figure, the Green Arrow of the ’90s, Connor Hawke, the long-lost son of Oliver Queen, who’s now so lost that he doesn’t even exist.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Arrow was release in the third and final series of the Total Justice line, alongside Black Lightning, Parallax, and Huntress.  Truly, it was the line’s most exciting line-up for collectors, but I guess it’s not hard to see why the line didn’t have much traction after this.  The figure stands a little over 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The Total Justice line was privy to all manner of pre-posing, and Green Arrow was no exception.  In fact, Green Arrow is probably one of the most prominent examples, because, though he might have articulation, there’s pretty much only one single pose this guy’s ever going to be in.  At least in his case, it’s actually a pretty sensible one, since he’s holding his bow, arrow drawn, as if he’s aiming at some baddy.  Heck, he’s one of the few Green Arrow figures out there that can actually do this pose, so more power to Kenner on that.  Generally speaking, his sculpt is just one of the nicer ones to come out of the line.  The proportions aren’t quite as whack, the detailing is pretty crisp, and the expression on his face isn’t nearly as “x-treme” as a lot of the others from the line.  He’s just a solid recreation of the design of the character as seen in the comics at the time.  In terms of paint, the figure definitely takes some slight liberties, giving us a color palette that’s far more primary than what Connor tended to sport in the comics, and ultimately giving him a color scheme that looks more like his dad’s first costume.  It hits okay in a broad strokes sort of sense, but it definitely feels ever so slightly off, and is even missing some paint for certain sculpted details, most notably the straps on his chest.  Fortunately, Connor’s mold would get a re-use in Hasbro’s JLA line, where he wound up with a more comic-accurate color scheme, which had all the proper details painted.  The only slight downside to this later release is that his skin-tone got noticeably lightened, reflecting the tendency of colorists in the comics to forget Connor’s mixed heritage from time to time.  Both releases of the figure had the bow and arrow piece included.  The JLA release also got a display stand, while the TJ release got some of that sweet fractal armor that all the kids were clamoring for.  It’s pretty hellishly goofy, but it wasn’t as wonky as some of the other figures from the line.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got the JLA release of this figure first, and it actually kick-started my JLA collection.  See, when Hasbro released the JLA figures, they offered them up both as singles and as two larger boxed sets (available only through specialty stores).  The mall that my grandmother used to take me to had a KB Toys and a comic book store called Another Universe right across from each other, and I usually hit up both to find something I wanted when we’d visit.  On this particular visit, I spotted the JLA set that included Green Arrow, but I really just wanted him.  The very helpful guy behind the counter told us he had just seen the single Green Arrow at the KB, so we ran over, but alas, none to be found.  Since he’d been so helpful, my grandmother decided to just buy me the whole boxed set, thereby taking my JLA collection from 0 to 5, and getting me this dude.  He’s been with me since, and I finally got his Total Justice counterpart last fall from a trip to the country’s largest antique mall.  I still like my JLA figure the most, of course, but they’re both cool in their own right.

#2394: Garindan – Long Snoot

GARINDAN — LONG SNOOT

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Garindan, a Kubaz informant, works only for the highest bidders – usually the Empire or Jabba the Hutt. Garindan followed the young Skywalker and his mentor Ben Kenobi through the alleys of Mos Eisley.”

You know what I’ve got a pretty darn sizable backlog of?  Power of the Force.  It would probably be a good idea to use this time to cut through some of that backlog.  So, uh, I guess I’ll do that.  Let’s have a look at Long Snoot, officially named “Garindan.” Fun fact: through the miracle of stock audio and heavy audio processing, Garindan was actually voiced by legendary actor John Wayne, in what would officially be his final “role” in a film before his death.  That’s right, this is a John Wayne figure….yeah, it’s still probably not enough to make anyone care about a Garindan figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Garindan was released in the 1997 assortment of Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  This was Garindan’s first time as a figure, which is not a huge surprise, what with him being a pretty darn minor character and all.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has the usual 6 points of articulation, though it’s worth noting that the articulation is all pretty restricted by the plastic cloak.  This early in the line, the figures were all still kinda bulky and roidy, so Garindan is definitely not an exact match for what we see of him on screen.  By virtue of so much of the sculpt being hidden under the cloak, he doesn’t look terrible, but he’s certainly not going to fit in with anything outside of this particular line.  This cape piece is suitably dramatic looking, so I can almost forgive how much it restricts the figure.  Other than the cape, the one piece that really defines this guy is the head; Garindan had a fairly distinctive look to his noggin, and the figure does an alright job of recreating that.  It does make it look a bit more like a straight alien face than a mask, as it appeared to be in the film, but in Kenner’s defense on this one, there were hardly the same resources available for checking the screen accuracy of a very minor character in 1997 as there are now.  There’s another pretty cool touch to this figure, which is almost hidden under the cloak.  Rather than giving this guy the usual dual grip hands, his right hand actually has his communicator sculpted into it.  Usually, I’m not a fan of sculpting accessories into hands permanently, but it actually works pretty alright for this guy.  Garindan’s paint is pretty simple, and pretty drab, truth be told, but it gets the job done.  Garindan was packed with a blaster pistol, and, depending on which version you got of him, a Freeze Frame slide.  Mine doesn’t have the slide, so I guess I’ll just deal with only having the pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have Garindan as a kid, but my cousin Rusty did, actually as a “this is close enough” replacement for Darth Vader, who was a little hard to find.  I myself was never too impressed with this charade, but I was lucky enough to have the real deal, so I guess I was a little biased.  I ended up getting this one from a small collection that got traded into All Time last fall.  He’s alright; nothing terribly exciting, but honestly there are some features I had forgotten, so it was cool getting to look at him up close again.

As I noted above,  I got this guy from my friends at All Time Toys.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2380: Luke Skywalker with Blast Shield Helmet

LUKE SKYWALKER w/ BLAST SHIELD HELMET

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Aboard the Milllennium Falcon, Luke Skywalker is instructed by Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the art of lightsaber battle and the ways of the Force.”

At the end of 1997, Kenner reworked their standard Luke Skywalker head for their Power of the Force line, in an attempt to bring him more in line with, you know, a real person, and not some sort of He-Man knock off.  The following year, they got to work making this new version of Luke the new standard, which included going back and updating their take on “Farmboy” Luke.  Apparently they really liked this updated Farmboy Luke.  In fact, they seemed to like him so much that they just kept releasing minor tweaks to the mold, just all over the place.  Lets, uh, look at another one of those, I guess?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker with Blast Shield Helmet was released in 1998 as part of the Power of the Force line.  This figure is designed to replicate Luke’s appearance while on the Millenium Falcon before they get brought in by the Death Star.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, this figure is more or less identical to the Luke included with the Purchase of the Droids set.  The only real difference between them is the belt piece.  While the Droids set version has a pair of binoculars on his belt, this one removes them.  Yay?  It’s different?  Technically it’s less?  Honestly, though, it’s not a bad sculpt, and a definite improvement on the original ANH Luke from the line, and this was the first single-carded release, so it was a valiant idea.  The figure’s paint does change things up a bit as well.  He’s decidedly got a cooler-toned color scheme.  I’m not sure if that was an intentional thing, but it fits with him being on the Falcon as opposed to on Tatooine.  Luke is packed with his father’s lightsaber and the blast shield helmet he uses while training.  It’s too bad they couldn’t also throw in the training drone, but I suppose this isn’t a bad little assortment.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure as a kid (Gunner Station Luke was my on-hand version of this mold), and I can’t really say I had much of an undying need to get one, but as I’m trying to make my way to a complete run of Power of the Force figures, I have to pick up these guys at some point, right?  This one came in with a bunch of others at All Time last summer, and I used some trade credit to pick him up.  He’s not a bad figure, but it’s not easy to get particularly excited.  Just wait til I get to all of the other versions of this mold…

#2373: Iceboard Robin

ICEBOARD ROBIN

BATMAN & ROBIN (KENNER)

“Gotham City becomes a very cold place when Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane triple team to plot the icy demise of Batman and Robin. The crimefighters respond immediately by using the Batcomputer deep within the Batcave to develop an array of cutting-edge weapons that can be used in their battle against this multitude of fiendish foes. Discover the Secrets of the Batcave! – secret technology that gives Batman , Robin and Batgirl the ultimate ability to save Gotham City!”

After the box office success of Batman Forever (I know, I’m surprised, too), Warner Brothers decided to fast track its follow-up, Batman & Robin, with its entire production process coming in at under two years, which, when you’re dealing with a block-buster of this caliber, isn’t a lot of time.  The end result was less than stellar.  Batman & Robin holds the lowest earnings of any Batman film to date, and is still regarded as one of the worst comic book films ever made.  With all that said, it did succeed on one front: it was a pretty excellent toy commercial.  The toyline that accompanied the film was easily the best part of the whole thing.  Amazingly, though I dove into the Batman Forever line, I have as of yet not looked at any Batman & Robin figures.  I’ll be changing that today, with Iceboard Robin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iceboard Robin was released in the first basic series of Kenner’s Batman & Robin line, which hit shelves in 1997, alongside the film.  The first series had two Robins included, with this one being the “standard” movie Robin.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  Robin sported an all-new sculpt.  Robin is actually the most fortunate of the film’s main characters, as he was the only one whose design didn’t change during the production process, meaning his was the only standard figure that was actually film accurate.  Additionally, Robin’s design, which was a pretty nifty merging of more classic Robin characteristics with the then current Nightwing costume from the comics, is really one of the nicest of the film’s designs in general, if you can get past the general Chris O’Donnel-ness of the head.  The sculpt does a nice job of capturing the look from the movie, and is generally a lot sturdier and more sharply detailed than the Forever figures were.  Pre-posing on this figure is at a minimum, but he’s a little better than the straight standing poses of prior figures.  There’s a more natural stance here, and it’s actually pretty darn nice.  The cape is a plastic piece, as were most of the capes on this round of figures, and it plugs into his back fairly securely.  Robin’s paintwork is pretty basic, which the majority of stuff being molded plastic.  However, the red detailing of the uniform is pretty cool, and has a slick metallic finish to it.  Iceboard Robin was, stay with me on this, packed with an iceboard, which is really just a big, goofy stand.  He also included a missile launcher, but mine is missing that piece.  Oh no, whatever will I do?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was too young to see Batman Forever in theaters (though I sure got in on those toys), but Batman & Robin hit at the perfect time for me to be all about it.  I was very excited prior to the film’s release (and even after, if I’m honest, because I loved it.  In my defense, I was 5), and this guy was part of the hype.  At the time, Toys R Us was running a promotion where you got reprints of Robin, Batgirl, and Mr. Freeze’s first appearances if you bought one of the toys from the tie-in line, and my mom was awesome enough to take me over one day after work.  Unsurprisingly, given my more recent collecting habits, I opted for Robin to be my qualifying figure purchase.  Quality of the film and of the actor playing Robin aside, this figure holds up well, and is just a genuinely fun offering.

#2366: Jabba the Hutt (w/ Han Solo)

JABBA THE HUTT (w/ HAN SOLO)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

For the (first) Special Edition release of A New Hope, one of the primary new features was the re-insertion of a cut scene from the original film, which would have introduced viewers to the gangster Jabba the Hutt two films earlier.  In the scene as it was shot, instead of the huge slug we’d all come to know, Jabba was portrayed by actor Declan Mulholland, who was pretty much just a guy in a lot of furs.  For a number of reasons, the scene was excised, and its important bits were retooled into Han’s confrontation with Greedo, leaving Jabba as an ominous figure not fully realized for two more films.  When the scene was added back in, a Jabba more in line with the creature seen in Jedi was digitally added in to replace Mulholland (something Lucas has maintained was always his plan, though Lucas isn’t exactly the most trustworthy source on such things, since he frequently claims that whatever the current final product may be was always his plan).  Ultimately, thanks to the Greedo scene still being there, the scene’s kinda redundant, slows down the movie, and removes a chunk of Jabba’s menace, and to top it all off, the Jabba CGI model is just nowhere near as convincing as the puppet was.  And that’s not even touching on that magical CGI leap that Han has to take in order to jump over Jabba’s tail… Where was I?  Right, the toys.  They made some toys of this absolute masterpiece of a scene, and I’m taking a look at them today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Jabba and Han were released as one of the Power of the Force II line’s creature sets in 1997, in order to coincide with the release of the Special Editions in theaters, alongside the similarly Special Edition-inspired Ronto with Jawa and Dewback with Sandtrooper.

JABBA THE HUTT

The main focus of this set to be sure, this Jabba was the only release of the character in the PotF2 line, and is notable for being the only one to be directly based on the CGI model of the Special Edition.  Small victory there; it wasn’t allowed to spread any further.  The figure is about 4 inches tall by about 7 inches long.  His only really reliable movement is at the shoulders; there’s joints at the mid-section and in the tail, but they’re all linked together in a mechanism-driven movement, which doesn’t really have much motion, truth be told.  I think some more straight-forward joints there would have been better served.  As it stands, he actually can’t even properly get into his basic RotJ sitting pose, which is a bummer if you want to make use of him in the Jabba’s Palace playset.  The sculpt on this guy is clearly tailored after that previously mentioned CGI model, which is evident from Jabba’s slightly skinnier proportions, especially in the head, and his larger eyes.  The texturing on his skin also has that same sort of droopy, almost melted quality of the early CG model.  I guess you can’t really fault Kenner on that; he’s possibly a little better looking than the source material, truth be told.  Jabba’s paint work also draws a bit more from the updated design.  While the original Jabba model had the sort of two-toned thing we see going on here, it was far more subtle.  For the CGI look, it became more pronounced, and that was further emphasized on this guy.  It’s not *awful* but it becomes even more noticeable when compared to his vintage counterpart, which didn’t go for the two-toned thing at all.

HAN SOLO

The creature sets liked to throw at least one standard figure into the mix, and I guess you could do a lot worse than a standard Han Solo.  That’s what this is: a pretty standard Han.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation (no waist joint for this guy).  His sculpt comes from the same basic lineage as the standard ANH Han from the beginning of the line, but he’s a lot like the Gunner Station Han, in that he tones down a lot of the previous Han’s wonky proportions and pre-posing.  Honestly, where it not for the leaps and bounds made by the Cantina Han two years later, this would easily be the best ANH Han in the PotF2 line.  As it stands, he’s at least in that nice mid-ground spot.  Honestly, it’s kind of a shame he only came packed in this set, because I’m certain it led to him getting far more overlooked than he should have.  I certainly did.  His paint work is probably his weakest point.  For some reason, he’s awfully pale, and my figure also has a stray mark of brown across his cheek, which is more than a little distracting.  Han included a unique version of his blaster, which was in a dark blue this time instead of the usual black.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this set when it was, new, but even as a kid, I wasn’t much of a fan of the updated Jabba, so I never did get one.  That said, I’ve been filling in my PotF2 collection a lot recently, and ended up with the Jabba’s Palace 3D playset, but no Jabba to go with it.  Luckily for me, All Time got one of these traded in, and so I’ve finally added it to my collection.  There’s not really much to write home about on either of these figures, but they do have sort of this quaint “wow, we didn’t know how far the edits would eventually go” quality about them.

#2356: Transforming Bruce Wayne

TRANSFORMING BRUCE WAYNE

BATMAN FOREVER (1995)

Today I’m making a return to the line that started these wacky-tacky reviews.  It’s more Batman Forever, but like another variant of that main guy.  Dig it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tansforming Bruce Wayne is another Batman Forever figure.  He’s batman but when he’s not Batman.  Also he’s Val Kilmer because it was the ’90s, but not the early ’90s when he was Michael Keaton or the late ’90s when he was George Clooney (yuck, don’t make me think about it, dudes).  He could transform into Batman with armor, most of which is still present, because instead of loosing the armor, silly child Ethan lost the whole darn figure.  Silly child Ethan.  Such a child.  I got another one but I gotta wait til the next section for that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It all started when I was born.  As a child of the ’90s I became a part of a society that fully embraced Val Kilmer and we made him Batman.  We did that, people.  Think of it and weep.  As the constructs of walking and talking and collecting formed in my mind, Kilmer rang out, jumping from the shelf of that service merchandise, calling to me.  Buy me Val Kilmer said, and I was sore afraid.  So I bought him.  Well, my parents did.  And I saw that it was great.  But no it wasn’t great.  It was Val Kilmer.  And so silly child Ethan FLUNG him to the far corners of the Earth, never to be found again.  That showed him.  But then he came back.  Oh dear.  Here he is.  Being reviewed.  That’s pretty much it…

(Oh gosh, did we leap through some sort of time warp, because it’s feeling real 2013 up in here…nah, it’s just April Fool’s Day.  Got ya?)

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#2239: Stormtrooper

STORMTROOPER

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Within the Death Star, a group of Imperial stormtroopers are in hot pursuit of Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca, as they attempt to return to the impounded Millennium Falcon. But the heroic escapees blast away before the shock troops have a chance to return fire.”

Throughout the entirety of the vintage Star Wars line, we got exactly one basic Stormtrooper.  Just one take on a design that was present across all three of the original films (in the line’s defense, the same can be said of Darth Vader and Chewbacca; if the design didn’t drastically change, Kenner didn’t do a new figure.  Only R2 and 3PO got by, largely do to new gimmicks introduced in the later films).  For Power of the Force II, the same was almost true.  We got the standard Stormtrooper in ’95, and that steroid abusing fiend was it for four years.  But, just as the line was winding down, we managed to get an honest to god update, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Stormtrooper was released in 1999 as part of the Power of the Force II Commlink assortment which was at stores alongside the Phantom Menace product.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  Yes, you read that articulation count correctly; this guy’s probably the most articulated standard release figure that the PotF2 line ever put out.  Not only does this guy get actual, proper knees, he also gets cut joints at the elbows, and even a universal joint on his neck.  He can look up!  It’s a long way from the vintage Stormtroopers and their complete lack of neck articulation, I’ll tell you that much.  This sculpt would end up re-used more than a few times going forward, including for the Marvel Comics-styled trooper I looked at a little while back.  While I was a little down on that figure (due largely to it being released 7 years after this one), in the context of the line that spawned it, it’s actually quite a nice sculpt, and it’s understandable why Hasbro clung to it for so long.  The paintwork for the figure is pretty solid, and like the sculpt is generally an improvement over the Stormtrooper that preceded it.  It’s also an early example of Hasbro experimenting with thermodynamic paint, allowing the figure to take some damage to his armor when dipped in cold water.  The Stormtrooper is packed with a long blaster (which, like the Marvel-styled figure, he can’t quite hold right) and a weapons rack to store it on as well.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The last assortment of PotF2 figures wasn’t one I recall seeing much of (although I did get the Han figure as a kid), so this guy isn’t one I had growing up.  He was added to my collection during one of my big buying sprees of PotF2 figures in late 2018.  He’s sort of an odd figure for the line, because he’s objectively one of the best, but on the flip side, it means that when later versions replaced him, he didn’t have that same nostalgic bend to fall back on.  That being said, he’s still a cool figure.