#1880: Cliff Clavin

CLIFF CLAVIN

CHEERS (MEGO)

“It’s a little-known fact that the tan became popular in what is known as the Bronze Age.”

Cheers’ know-it-all barfly Cliff Clavin was not originally meant to be in the show.  His actor, John Ratzenberger, originally auditioned for the part that would eventually become Norm Peterson.  When that part went to George Wendt, Ratzenberger suggested to the show’s producers the addition of a know-it-all character, and thus, Cliff Clavin was born, becoming one of the show’s most distinctive characters.  Now, he’s even got an action figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cliff is the sophomore offering in the Cheers sub-set of Mego’s TV Classics line-up.  He’s part of the line’s second wave of figures, which started trickling out to Targets in November.  Cliff is built on the re-engineered Type 2 Mego body, so he stands about 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Cliff is sporting a brand-new head sculpt, which is another really long likeness for the Cheers line.  I don’t know if it’s quite topped Norm, but it’s certainly a very close second.  There’s a surprising level of detail there.  The accompanying paint is likewise very strong, with clean, sharp application, and some top-notch accent work.  The slight bit of grey at his temples, as well as the very faintly different coloring to the lips certainly ad a lot of life to the sculpt.  Cliff is seen here in his Postman’s uniform, which is made up of a jacket, slacks, shirt, and shoes.  The shirt is once again a full shirt, deviating from the original Mego style, though the overall tailoring of the uniform is very much the same.  There are some silk-screened elements as well, which detail all of the uniforms most important details. Most impressive for me was the patch on his left arm; that’s a very nice attention to detail.  Cliff is packed with a mug of beer.  It’s the same one included with Norm, and I like it just as much here as I did there.  I imagine we’ll have quite a few of these by the time Mego’s done.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I picked up Norm, I couldn’t very well pass up his drinking buddy Cliff, now could I?  Of course, the spottier showing of Wave 2 of the line meant that I didn’t have quite as much luck finding Cliff as I did the Wave 1 figures.  Fortunately, I was able to draft the help of the biggest Mego fan I know, my dad, who helped me  track this guy down.  I was very impressed by the Norm figure, and Cliff continues the trend that he started.  I really hope that Mego is finding their audience with these figures, because there’s no denying that they’re putting in the effort to make them as solid as possible.

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#1859: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES (MEGO)

Back in the day, Mego were the first company to really offer up substantial action figure product for either the Marvel or DC super heroes.  Sure, Ideal Toys had briefly touched on them for their Captain Action line, but that was more as an augment to an established thing, not their own thing outright.  Mego gave them the treatment they deserved, and because of that, they’ve both become tentpole properties within the toy market.  Of course, now that Mego is back around, DC and Marvel are both tied up with a multitude of other manufacturers.  DC in particular has been getting consistent Mego-style coverage from Figures Toy Company, but there was still some room in the market for the the over 12” and under 18” market.  It’s a pretty specific niche, but Mego was there, offering up a rather classic selection of DC characters, including, for the first time ever as an official Mego product, Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the second series of Mego’s DC Super Heroes line, alongside Superman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy.  Hal is sporting his classic ‘70s appearance, which is the correct era for a genuine vintage GL, had Mego released one back in the day.  The figure stands 14 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  All of these figures appear to be patterned after the body of the Mego-designed and Denys Fisher-released “Power Action” Superman figure from the late ‘70s.  It’s a respectable starting point.  It’s similar to the standard Mego body, but with slightly tweaked proportions, giving it a generally more heroic stature, which works nicely for the likes of the DC Super Heroes.  It’s also got some extra articulation in the knees, which is fun.  GL gets an all-new head sculpt, which is actually quite nice and surprisingly detailed.  I’d love to see it shrunk down for an 8-inch body.  GL also gets a unique right hand, sporting his lantern ring, as has become the standard practice for such figures.  His costume is a three piece affair, made up a spandex jumpsuit and a pair of plastic boots.  The body suit is fairly well tailored to the body; I appreciate the use of different materials stitched together, rather than just silk-screening.  It makes it look a lot cleaner.  Hal’s paintwork is mostly confined to the head, which is nicely applied, sharp, and sporting some quite subtle accent work.  GL is packed with his power battery, which is another fairly standard thing for him.  He can’t really hold it, but it’s nicely sculpted, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the first series of DC Super Heroes due to not really having an undying need for any of the characters offered.  Of course, Green Lantern’s my boy, so when he was shown off for Series 2, I knew I’d be tracking one down.  Okay…well, maybe not personally, because it was actually my dad that tracked him down for me.  He’s goofy, he’s really big, and he’s kinda awesome.  I don’t know if I’ll be really investing in this whole line, but I’m certainly very happy with GL.

#1838: Action Jackson

ACTION JACKSON

ACTION JACKSON (MEGO)

How about a little history lesson?  So, after pioneering the whole action figure thing in 1964, Hasbro ran into a bit of troublesome territory after the fallout of the Vietnam War changed the public perception on war and the military.  Their up to that point very military-driven line was now out of vogue, necessitating a change.  In 1970, they introduced Adventure Team, an pulpy-action-adventure-inspired toyline that would breath another six years of life into the line.  Around the same time, Mego was looking to get into the newly-established action figure world, and aimed just a bit shorter than Hasbro’s market.  4 inches shorter, to be exact.  Action Jackson offered a cheaper alternative to what G.I. Joe was doing, a base figure for whom you could purchase sets of accessories, at a scale 4 inches smaller.  Unfortunately, Action Jackson was largely a commercial failure, but in a much more fortunate turn of fate, it was Mego’s desire to make use of the Action Jackson body molds that lead to the creation of their World’s Greatest Super Heroes line, and their eventual path to being one of the biggest toy companies in the market for the better part of the decade.  Now that Mego’s returned to store shelves, they’ve paid homage to the little guy that started it all, giving us a brand new Action Jackson.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Action Jackson is another of the 11 single-packed figures from Mego’s first wave of their TV Classics line-up, though he doesn’t quite as much fit that descriptor.  I guess he’s just sort of along for the ride.  I’m not complaining if you aren’t.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He uses the same re-tooling of the Type 2 body that Fonzie was using, which is quite amusing to the toy nerd in me, since the original Jacksons were all on the Type 1 body.  Jackson uses a re-tooling of the original clean-shaven caucasian Jackson head, which was the most common variant originally.  This newer version is a much cleaner and polished sculpt than the original, thus allowing for Jackson to look more at home with his compatriots.  The paintwork is on-par with the Fonz, though I don’t think it’s quite as strong as Norm’s was.  Still, it’s certainly a passable piece of work.  Jackson’s costume is made up of four different pieces.  He’s got his jumpsuit, his belt, and his boots.  They’re more-or-less the same pieces as the vintage counterpart, slightly tweaked to better fit the Type 2-style body, and to remove the metal snaps and replace them with velcro.  The original Action Jackson was sold sans accessories, in order to encourage buyers to get one of the accessory sets, but the new Jackson is packed with a handgun, which, thanks to the newer-syle hands, he can still hold halfway decently.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There were the remnants of an Action Jackson amongst my dad’s Megos I played with growing up, which introduced me to the concept fairly early on.  However, being born 20 years after they were on store shelves, find a vintage one was never really an easy prospect.  I will admit that I when Mego sent me a review sample, I was secretly hoping it would be Jackson.  Since that wasn’t the case, I tracked one down from a near by Target a few weeks back.  Like the other two, he’s a solid, fun figure, and I’m quite glad to have him.  Now, here’s hoping for the other two head variants down the line!

#1791: Norm Peterson

NORM PETERSON

CHEERS (MEGO)

NOOOOOOOOORM!!!”

—Everyone but Norm

And now it’s time for another sort of oddball appearance for this site: Cheers.  A show about a bunch of Boston-natives hanging out in a bar may not seem like the most natural fit for an action figure line, but “doesn’t seem like a natural fit for an action figure line” made up most of Mego’s business back in the day, and their relaunched selves seem to be dialing into a lot of those same philosophies.  In that respect, Cheers feels pretty well at home with Mego’s modern offerings.  They’ve decided to launch their little Cheers line not with Sam or Diane, but instead with the bar’s most frequent patron, announced by name every time he enters, Hillary Norman Peterson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Norm is one of the 11 single-packed figures in the first wave of Mego’s TV Classics line-up.  He’s going to be followed by Cliff and Woody in subsequent waves.  As of right now, all of the new Mego offerings are available exclusively through Target.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s built on a slightly different body than the previously reviewed Fonzie.  This body features a different, more rounded piece for the torso, befitting Norm’s paunchier physique.  In vintage times, this body was used for the likes of Boss Hogg and the Penguin, and it’s a pretty decent fit for Norm.  While Fonzie was built on a tweaked body with a slightly studier built to it, Norm’s body seems to be closer to its vintage counterpart, meaning he’s a little looser on some of those joints.  I’m not 100% sure if he’s still using the band construction, but if he is, I’ll be curious to see how well he holds up over time.  Norm has a brand new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty spot-on likeness of George Wendt.  I think this is one of the best likenesses in the first assortment, and it’s definitely a step-up from the classic figures.  The detail work, especially on the hair, is quite sharp, which is impressive on a rotocast item.  Additionally, the paint is quite cleanly applied and gives him quite a lifelike quality.  Norm is seen here in his standard post-work attire of a suit and tie.  It’s decently tailored for the style, and like Fonzie, he uses velcro in place of snaps, so they should hold up a bit better.  Under the jacket is a fully sleeved shirt, which is a nice change from the vintage Mego style.  The tie, rather than being a fully separate piece, like we saw on the DST Captain America and Daredevil, is actually affixed at the front of the shirt, and the band is just a part of the shirt, so it separates at the velcro just the same.  This is definitely a far better way of handling such a design.  Norm is packed with what is hands down the best possible accessory for the character, a mug of beer.  It’s actually quite a nicely handled piece, and the mug even has the Cheers logo engraved on one side, which is certainly a nifty touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting the review sample Fonzie from Mego, I was definitely been interested in looking at a few more of these figures.  I’ve just recently been on a binge watch of Cheers, so Norm was at the top of my want list from the first set.  I’m the slightest bit let down that his body doesn’t have the same level of improvements as the standard body, but apart from that, I really like this figure.  The likeness is awesome, and the beer is a really nice touch.  I very much look forward to the rest of the Cheers offerings from this line, and I’m hopeful we might even get to see Frasier or Wings figures as well down the line.

#1749: Fonzie

FONZIE

HAPPY DAYS (MEGO)

“Aaayyyy!”

–Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli

Happy Days.  Now there’s something of a change in direction for this site, which tends to be more sci-fi and comics heavy (with the occasional guest appearance from Freddie Mercury).  Well, believe it or not, it’s not the biggest stretch.  Back in the ’70s, Happy Days was one of the many properties offered by Mego, and I’ve been a pretty big Mego fan since I was very small (which was, admitedly, about 20 years after their heyday).  In the last decade, there have been a few attempts at reviving the Mego-style, to varying degrees of success, under a number of different names.  The latest relaunch, however reclaims not just Mego Corp’s name, but also brings in its former co-founder and CEO, Marty Abrams, as well as a spot at mass retail.  There are plethora of licenses being offered up, including Star TrekI Dream of Jeanie, Cheers, Charlie’s AngelsMarried…with Children, Charmed, The Brady Bunch, The Facts of Life, and the previously mentioned Happy Days.  I’ll be looking at Happy Day’s break-away hit character Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fonzie is one of the 11 figures single-packed in the first wave of the new Mego product launch.  He will be followed in subsequent waves by Richie and Joanie Cunningham.  As of the first of this month, he and his compatriots are available exclusively at Target.  Time will tell if other retailers get on-board.  Fonzie is seen here in his classic leather jacket, just like on his original Mego figure.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Fonzie is built on the re-engineered Mego Type 2 Body, first seen on DST’s Retro Marvel figures.  It maintains the aesthetic of the classic body, while affording the figures a more sturdy build, and less chance to break in the long-run.  It also adds a fair bit of heft to the figure, for what it’s worth.  Fonzie uses a re-tooled version of the original head, which is a pretty good match.  It’s got a decent likeness of Henry Winkler as the Fonz, which is really the most important thing.  The paintwork on the head is fairly cleanly applied; the eyes are perhaps a touch high on the sculpt, but not terribly so, and they certainly aren’t any worse off than a vintage release.  Otherwise the application is quite sharply handled.  I feel at this point I should touch on the color disparity between the skin tone on the figure’s head and hands.  While it’s quite noticeable in the photos, it’s actually almost impossible to tell in person.  Just one of those camera lens vs human eye things.  Fonzie’s outfit is made up of five pieces, for his jacket, t-shirt, jeans, and boots.  They’ve been changed up a little bit from how the original figure handled them.  The boots, which are molded plastic, are actually about the same.  They fit over the feet just fine, and they have extra detailing for the laces and such.  The jacket is made of a slightly thicker material than before, no doubt to help it last a bit longer.  It also uses velcro in place of the button that kept the original closed, once again, for better durability.  The shirt is actually a t-shirt this time, sleeves and all, which is certainly a nice change from the original.  The jeans are the closest match, but they’re definitely a case of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Fonzie lacks the thumbs-up feature of the original figure, but makes up for it by adding a hair comb, which is a very Fonzie sort of accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Full disclosure: the Fonzie figure I’ve looked at here was sent over to me for review by Mego Corp, in order to help promote their new line.  I didn’t get to choose which figure I was getting, but I can’t really complain about the end result.

I’m a long time Mego fan, and I’ve always tried to do my best to support all of the various ventures that have attempted to revive the style.  This one really seems to have the polish and up front work to go the distance, so here’s hoping.  Fonzie himself is a decent recreation of the original figure, with enough changes to help update him and make for a longer lasting figure.  I definitely look forward to tracking down more of the first wave, and seeing what Mego has in store going forward.

FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5 #0001: Top 5 Batman Figures

What’s this?  Another feature?  Again?  Okay, Ethan, this is getting a bit ridiculous, don’t you think?  Why yes, I do think that hypothetical reader.  I think that very much.  Today’s feature, however, is not entirely my fault.  Like the addition of Wilson-4 (which necessitated taking an extra photo for every review I do), this one came from a friend of mine, who suggested this as an addition to the site.  While I certainly wasn’t looking to pick up more work for myself, I certainly couldn’t deny it was an intriguing idea.  So, what’s the idea?  Top five lists, covering my personal favorites of a given sub-genre of figures.  To keep myself sane, I’ll be limiting these to just the last Friday of each month.  Without further ado, I present the inaugural FiQ Friday Fab Five at 5, where I’ll be taking a look at one of the most toyetic characters of all time, Batman!  Now, there’s way too many Batmen for just one list, so today’s list is going straight for the standard, basic Batmen.  We’ll cover those wacky variants at a later date!

#5:     Batman – Darwyn Cooke DC Designer Series (DC Collectibles)

Darwyn Cooke is quite possibly my favorite Batman illustrator ever (heck, that could probably be extended to “favorite DC illustrator ever”), so action figures based on his work kind of seem like a shoo-in.  Unfortunately, DC Direct’s attempt in the New Frontier line left something to be desire.  Their successors at DC Collectibles took another stab, though, and released an awesome figure.  The only draw back of this figure is his reduced posablity, but if you’re just in it for the cool look, this one’s hard to beat.

#4:     Batman – Batman ’66 (NECA)

NECA’s annual “loophole abuse” figures in conjunction with Warner Brothers have been a ton of fun, and few moreso than their Adam West Batman.  After being let-down by Mattel’s lukewarm offerings, this was exactly the pick-up I needed.  And, thanks to how close the old show stayed in design, this is a figure that can also work as an awesome standard Batman.  The only thing holding this figure back are some minor QC issues that plagued his wrist joints, and I suppose the fact that he’s not a “true” Batman.

#3:     Batman – Super Powers (Kenner)

Kenner set the standard for a large chunk of the DCU with Super Powers, and in a lot of cases have yet to really be beat.  In the case of Batman, I have to admit, he’s not quite as all-conquering and victorious as his other SP-brethren, but he’s still a very solid addition to the line, and a huge piece in Batman’s toy history.  You gotta remember your roots.

#2:     “Last Rites” Batman – DC Icons (DC Collectibles)

It’s sort of amusing, right?  Seeing a figure whose review got the dreaded “Mistakes were made” tag on this site ending up in the #2 spot?  Truth be told, this is actually a really great figure, held back only slightly from greatness by his odd scaling issues.  Were he better scaled to the rest of his line, he’d have won top spot with little issue.  As it stands, he’s a fun figure who is sort of all alone.  But, if you’re just looking for a standard Batman on his own, this is a great one.

#1:     Batman – World’s Greatest Super Heroes (Mego)

Remember what I said about the Super Powers figure?  Remembering your roots and all that?  Yeah, that’s really where this guy comes into it.  He’s kind of goofy and he’s got those oven mitt gloves, but whether his mask is sculpted on or removable, there’s just something about Mego’s take on the Caped Crusader that just can’t be beat.

[Photo Credit: Mego Museum, since I don’t actually own this one]

 

#1533: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

LEGENDARY MARVEL SUPER HEROES (DST)

For my second day of post-Christmas reviews, I get to look back on things I’ve forgotten.  Namely, the line today’s figure came from, Legendary Marvel Super Heroes.  The line is Diamond Select Toys’ continuation of the Mego-stylings seen in the World’s Greatest Super Heroes toy line of the 1970s, launched back in 2015.  I looked that the first two figures, Spider-Man and Captain America, back when they were new, and I was quite supportive of the line, and very much looking forward to its future offerings.  And then…I sort of forgot about it.  I feel a bit bad about that.  I blame Hasbro releasing 3 million Marvel Legends that I have to buy every year.  It takes up a lot of my time.  Anyway, today, I’m finally returning to Legendary Marvel Super Heroes, with a look at a character who never got a proper Mego back in the day, Daredevil!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil was the sixth figure in DST’s Legendary Marvel Super Heroes, released in mid-2016, between Deadpool and Punisher.  As with the rest of the figures in this line, he was built on the same standard body, which a slight re-fitting of Mego’s Type II body, with minor adjustments by Paul “Dr. Mego” Clarke.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like the other figures in this line, Daredevil is essentially three figures in one, with only the base body shared between the three.  If you have any standard Mego bodies lying around, or even prior figures from this line, you can display all three looks as separate figures.  For the purposes of my review, I’ve supplied two extras from my own collection.

The first of the three included looks is DD’s “vintage” design.  This is the one that’s meant to come as close to a legit Mego figure as possible.  The difference between DD and the last two I looked at is that, as a character with no actual vintage counterpart, DST and crew have had to come up with a figure that mimics the stylings of the old figures, a task at which they’ve very much succeeded.  By far the best part of this look is the head sculpt, which captures the classic DD design perfectly, while also preserving that Mego charm.  By modern standards, he looks a bit dated, but that’s sort of the idea, now isn’t it?  This is a head that will look completely at home next to the likes of Cap and Spidey.  The paint on the head is fairly simple, but it’s bold and the application is very clean, which looks pretty fantastic.  DD has a red bodysuit, which has been tailored to match the classic Mego one piece suits.  It’s got some pleather cuffs for the gloves, which feels appropriately vintage.  My only real complaint here is about the logo, which is very hard to see.  A higher contrast would have looked nicer, I think.  There’s a separate pair of red shorts overtop, which are definitely goofy, but also totally true to the ’70s version of the character.  As far as molded pieces go, he’s got a fairly standard set of red boots, as well as belt with a pleather holder for his billy club.  Said billy club is molded in bright red and can be popped apart at the middle.  He also includes an extra right hand with a more formed grip.  It’s nice to have the option, but it sort of doesn’t feel right to me, since it goes against the vintage Mego look where they all had the same hands.

The second costumed look for both Cap and Spidey was an updated version of the classic costume, but for DD they’ve opted to go for a totally different look, since just another version of the red costume might be a little bit drab.  So, instead, he gets a slightly modernized take on his original yellow costume.  As an unabashed fan of the Yellow Daredevil design, I’m definitely happy this costume made it into the set.  Where both Cap and Spidey got an all-new masked head for their second costume, DD’s is the same head, just painted in the appropriate colors.  The sculpt is strong enough that I don’t mind, and in fact I think it’d just be frustrating if they gave us a different head sculpt here, since the two would then never match.  This costume also gets the same belt and holster as the first one, just in a darker brown this time.  The actual costume is far more involved.  There’s a yellow body suit, which is slightly tighter to the body and also includes more of a collar to better hide the underlying body at the neck.  There’s an additional pleather unitard that goes overtop, which is also tightly tailored to the body, and features a much more obvious insignia.  He gets a set of far more detailed boots, modeled after those worn by a boxer (fitting, given his background) as well as new hands in fists.  He also gets the gripping right hand, as well as a billy club in brown.

The last look in the set is Daredevil’s alter-ego, Matt Murdock.  He gets an unmasked head sculpt, which looks to use the same starting point as the masked heads.  It’s okay, but I’m not sure it works quite as well as just the basic masked head.  It’s got some very clean paintwork, so that’s nice.  Matt’s seen here wearing a suit, which was patterned off the classic Mego suits seen on Clark Kent and the like.  It’s rather baggy and more than a little goofy, but it fits the style and, if nothing else, it’s easy to get on the body.  He also includes a set of sunglasses (which stay on much better than the glasses included in the Spider-Man set), as well as standard flesh tone hands, an extra gripping right hand, his briefcase, and his cane.

Also included in this set is a booklet detailing the process of getting this figure made, as well as giving a detailed account of DD’s history in both toys and comics.  It was certainly an entertaining read, just like the other two I’ve gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Daredevil was given to me by my parents as a Christmas gift this year.  He’s a figure I kept meaning to get, but I just kept getting side-tracked.  When playing with my Dad’s Mego collection as a kid, Daredevil’s absence definitely bugged me, so getting this figure definitely feels nice.  The standard look is definitely my favorite of the three, but I like them all.  Given his uniqueness, I think this set offers a bit more value than the last two I looked at, but I’m still a little bit frustrated that only one body is included, especially since one of my spares broke while I was shooting the photos for this set.  Nevertheless, this is a fun set for sure, and essential for any Mego fan’s collection.

#1273: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

SUPER FRIENDS (FIGURES TOY COMPANY)

Okay, I just had eight solid days of Marvel, how about something else?  It seems only fair to give DC a shot at a review, right?  DC doesn’t really show up here as often as Marvel.  It’s not that I don’t like DC; in fact, I used to be more of a DC guy than a Marvel guy, largely due to DC’s far superior animation presence.  Back in the day, my very favorite super hero was Green Lantern—Hal Jordan, specifically.  And, if I wanted to see him in animation, my only real option was Challenge of the Superfriends.  Not exactly high art, but it still influenced everything that came after (and I’ll take it over the DCEU any day).  While Super Friends got no direct tie-in toys when the show was still on the air, the old Mego figures were a pretty good substitute.  More recently, someone had the absolutely brilliant idea of tying those two styles together officially, offering some of the show’s characters that never got official Mego figures.  A few months ago, I looked at show-original characters the Wonder Twins, and today I’ll be looking at my main man Hal today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern was released in Series 4 of Figures Toy Company’s Super Friends line, alongside the Super Friends versions of Cheetah, Bizarro, and Toyman.  As with the previously reviewed Wonder Twins, Hal is a merging of his Super Friends design and the ‘70s Mego aesthetic.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Type 2 male body, with modified arms to allow for the attachment of gloved hands.  The quality of this body is more or less the same as Zan’s, but with less issues on the shoulder movement, which is a plus.  Hal makes use of a unique head and hands.  The head isn’t quite as accurate as the ones on Zan and Jayna, but it’s still pretty good.  The face is actually pretty accurate; it’s mostly the hair that throws it off.  It seems a little too close to the head; Super Friends Hal’s hair was pretty bouncy.  That being said, it fits in quite nicely with the old Mego stuff, which is really the point.  The hands are very similar to the ones seen on Zan, albeit with the gestures swapped.  They’re not technically the right style of gloves, but they’re close enough to work.  And, they’re very nicely sculpted, and that’s the important thing.  They also stay on better than Zan’s did, a definite plus.  Hal’s costume is made up of a cloth jumpsuit and a pair of rubber boots.  The tailoring on the costume is quite nice, and the velcro is a lot better than it usually is at this scale.  The boots are a little clunky, but not horribly so; it’s mostly just at the tops.   The figure’s got some paintwork on the head, which is pretty decent overall.  There’s a bit of slight bleed over, especially on the edges of the mask, however it’s mostly pretty minor.  Also, it’s not exclusively paint, but the color scheme on this figure is a really good match for Hal’s colors on the show; one of the problems with DC Direct’s (otherwise pretty cool) Super Friends figures was that they largely just painted the figures like their normal comics counterparts.  FTC has given Hal the proper slightly greyed-out green he always had on the show.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I used to play with my Dad’s old Mego figures when I would spend the day at my grandparents’ house.  It gave me an appreciation of the style that most collectors my age wouldn’t have.  However, the one big hole in the collection for me (and every other DC fan) was Green Lantern.  Back before the whole return of Mego craze, I actually assembled my own custom GL Mego using report parts.  I also picked up Mattel’s Retro Action figure when he was released.  I like both of them, but they’re sort of their own thing, removed from the actual Megos.  My parents picked this guy up for me from Midtown Comics while they were there for a trip a couple of months ago.  He feels a lot more like an authentic Mego than the prior figures, which I really dig.  He’s definitely aimed at a very particular demographic, but if that’s you, this is a pretty nifty figure!

#1168: Wonder Twins

ZAN, JAYNA, & GLEEK

SUPER FRIENDS (FIGURES TOY COMPANY)

wondertwins1

Wonder Twin powers activate!  Form of: an action figure review!

Hey guys, so here we are on day two of the post-Christmas reviews.  As I noted in the intro, this review is based around the Wonder Twins, that wacky duo (and their pet space monkey) who were sort of haphazardly shoved into the Justice League membership during the second season of Super Friends.  Of all the Super Friends-original characters, the Wonder Twins are probably the most enduring, likely due to being the only ones who didn’t feel like a pretty direct rip-off of something else (okay, yes, they were just Wendy & Marvin with powers, but lets not talk about that too much).  The duo were originally slated to get action figures during Kenner’s DC Super Powers line in the ‘80s, but the line ended before they could get past the drawing board.  They did eventually make it into plastic form as an exclusive two-pack in Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line, but, well, that was Mattel, so you can probably guess the whole thing didn’t go particularly smoothly.  Most recently, they’ve gotten another shot at action figure glory courtesy of Figures Toy Company.  I’ll be taking a look at those figures today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Zan, Jayna, and their pet monkey Gleek were released as a special three-pack in Figures Toy Company’s Super Friends line.  The line as a whole is patterned after Mego’s figures from the ‘70s, but with some of the more specific design elements coming straight from the Super Friends model sheets.

ZAN

wondertwins2Form of: Zan!  The male Wonder Twin is built on the standard Mego Type 2 style body.  Unlike the Dr. Mego bodies used by DST and Biff Bang Pow or the Big Jim-styled bodies from Mattel, Figures Toy Company’s version of the body doesn’t have any changes or improvements; the body is pretty much the same quality as the old ‘70s bodies.  This is okay from a consistency standpoint (since they’ll fit right in with the vintage figures), but means that the quality is that of a $4 action figure from the mid-70s, rather than a $20-30 figure from the last year, which can be slightly frustrating.  Moving past that, Zan stands about 8 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  As far as the body sculpt, he’s got a unique head and hands.  The head is a pretty decent summation of his animated design (certainly closer than Mattel’s attempt), and also fits pretty well with existing Mego figures.  The hands are a bit of a departure from the usual Mego style; they’re certainly nicely enough in terms of sculpt, but they’re made of a rather rubbery material, which makes they pop off the wrists at the slightest touch, and are rather difficult to get back in place.  In terms of costume, Zan has a jumpsuit with a pleather collar, a belt, and a pair of boots. The pieces mostly fit well enough; the collar could probably be a little better shaping wise, but it fits the style, and you can mess with it to make it look a little more presentable.  The one weird thing about the costume is the belt.  Clearly, they wanted Zan, Jayna, and Gleek to all be able to wear the same belt, so it’s sort of this one-size-fits-all thing, resulting in all three belts having an extra length running from the back, almost like an oddly placed tail.  One last thing: I feel I should note that the colors of the boots, gloves, and belt do all match in person, despite what it may look like on the photos.

JAYNA

wondertwins3Shape of: Jayna!  Jayne here is built on the standard female body, which seems rather oddly shaped if I’m honest.  It’s not awful, but not quite as solid as the male version.  It seems Jayna’s body is just a bit to tightly strung in the middle as well, which permanently leaves her with this sort of hunch.  It’s a bit odd.  Jayne is assembled pretty much exactly the same as her brother; sculpted head and hands, cloth costume with pleather collar, and rubber belt and boots.  The head is another pretty good piece, and looks well enough like Jayna.  The hands seem to be a slight improvement over Zan’s, as I had no issues with them falling off on her.  The issue with the belt, however, is even more noticeable with Jayna, thanks to her even smaller waist.  Her costume also seems to bunch up a bit more than Zan’s, but that’s an issue prevalent with Mego figures in general.  Not a whole lot more to say here, since she’s so similar to her brother.

GLEEK

wondertwins4Gleek doesn’t have a part of the catchphrase, so no witty intro there.  He does break from the trend in this set by not using one of the Mego bodies; instead, he gets an all-new body, designed to fit his more simian appearance.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation and a bendable tail.  Glenn’s sculpt is pretty solid, and actually does a very good job of capturing his design from he show.  The head in particular is quite spot on.  His little booties are sculpted onto the body, but the rest of the costume is tailored, so as to match with the twins.  He’s got a jumpsuit, a cape, and the same belt as the other two (albeit slightly differently colored).  The costume is on the baggy side, but it doesn’t look terrible. On the plus side, the cape is good for hiding the excess length of belt, thus eliminating the main problem with the other two figures’ costumes.  None of the figures in this set include any extras, but I feel Gleek is hit the hardest by this, since the bucket he always had on hand to carry Zan in his water form seems like a pretty obvious missing piece.  Guess I’ll have to find my own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, these guys were a Christmas gift from my Grandmother.  It’s actually quite fitting, since the whole reason I’m familiar with Megos at all is because I played with my dad’s old figures when I would stay at her house, frequently watching taped episodes of cartoons such as Super Friends.  Interestingly enough, while a lot of people hated the Wonder Twins, I actually always liked them and was quite frustrated by how the Mattel versions were handled.  I was quite happy to actually get the duo and Gleek in figure form.  I won’t lie, these figures aren’t without their sets of issues.  If you aren’t firmly a Mego fan, these won’t be for you.  That being said, this is a very prominent example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts.  These figures didn’t disappoint me.

#1121: Interstellar Figures

COOPER & BRAND

INTERSTELLAR (NECA)

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You know those movies where you go in with absolutely no expectations, and they still totally disappoint you?  Yeah, I had a couple of those this year.  On a rare few occasions, I’ll go into a movie with no expectations and come out of it thinking that was one of the best movies I’ve seen in some time.  Such was the case with Interstellar.  I, like just about everyone else, mostly know Nolan from his work on the Dark Knight trilogy, which I enjoyed, but was never particularly enamored by.  I did really like his work on Inception, but I still didn’t really expect a whole lot going into Interstellar (Matthew McConaughey in the lead role didn’t really boost my confidence either).  I didn’t get around to seeing it until this summer, but I was very much impressed.  It’s the sort of movie you don’t see much of these days, a send up to the hard science fiction movies of the ‘70s, and in many ways a spiritual successor to 2001: A Space Odyssey. It was a lot of fun.  And, even better, it had toys!  In the words of Matthew McConaughey: “Alright, alright, alright!”

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

In 2014, NECA released Cooper and Brand as a two-pack within their 8-inch retro cloth line.  The figures are kind of like slightly higher end Megos, so it’s an appropriate style for a movie that was a love letter to movies of that same time period.

COOPER

interstellar3Joseph “Coop” Cooper is Interstellar’s central figure, not only as the story’s lead and focus character, but also as the heart of the emotional core that makes the movie as gripping as it is.  Though this may be a grand space epic, at it’s core, Interstellar is the story of a father-daughter bond.  Coop’s entire motivation for taking on his mission is to give his daughter Murphy a chance to live, which is a pretty compelling reason to root for the guy.  His figure stands about 8 1/2 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation (I think.  It’s hard to tell, because the space suit isn’t removable).

interstellar5Coop includes two heads: with and without his helmet.  The helmeted head isn’t what he’s wearing in the package, but it’s kind of the default and really the only one I can see most people displaying.  The actual head is a separate piece from the helmet (but glued in place), which presents a fairly decent McConaughey likeness.  The paint’s a little messy in some spots, but is generally pretty good looking.  The actual helmet is very nicely sculpted, and looks quite accurate to the source material.  It even has a hinged visor, which is pretty spiffy!  The unhelmeted head is a bit of a step down.  The likeness feels rather off here (despite the two heads sharing the same face).  His head just seems like it’s too deep.  Also, the paint’s pretty rough, with the five o’clock shadow being much heavier, the lips standing out much more, and the eyes being just completely misaligned.  Seriously, it’s hard to take the head seriously with those eyes.

interstellar4I’m pretty sure Coop uses the same basic body as all of NECA’s male retro cloth figures.  This is the first time I’ve encountered it, but it seems pretty solid, especially when compared to the old Mego bodies (which were, admittedly, rather flimsy).  Coop’s space suit is made up of a cloth shirt and pants, as well as sculpted pieces for the gloves, boots, breastplate/backpack, neck guard, elbow boosters, and the straps around his ankles.  In terms of accuracy, the overall appearance definitely evokes the designs seen on screen, but there are a few minor differences here and there.  That being said, they do appear to be conscious deviations, put in place to fit the “retro” feel just a bit better.  That I can certainly get behind.  The tailoring on the cloth parts is a bit rudimentary, but certainly not bad (and once again, fitting the whole retro thing).  The sculpted parts are actually very strong pieces, and really match up well.  The only issue I have is the neck guard, which is just the slightest bit too tall, thereby making it rather difficult to get the helmeted head placed properly.  The paint on the sculpted bits is decent.  It’s not amazing, but there are some nice touches, especially on the NASA logo.

BRAND

interstellar2Amelia Brand sort of ends up taking a backseat to Coop and Murph, but she’s far from an unimportant character.  In fact, her relationship with her own father, left on earth with Murphy, plays out as an interesting reflection of Coop and Murph, offering an interesting sort of “what if”scenario of how things could have played out differently.  Her figure stands about a half an inch shorter than Coop, and has 22 points of articulation (having lost the bicep swivels present on Coop).

interstellar6Like Coop, Brand has two head sculpts, one helmeted, one not.  The helmeted sculpt is very similar to Coop’s, with the actual helmet being the same piece.  The face is new, and is a pretty decent Anne Hathaway.  She doesn’t have the most distinctive features, so it’s a little generic, but still pretty good.  The paint is a lot cleaner here than on Coop, which is certainly nice.  Her unhelmeted head is, on a whole, better than the one included with Coop, offering a much closer likeness, and a bit less weirdness with the proportions.  However, the paint brings this one down too.  The eyes in particular feel rather lifeless and a little creepy.  Also, for some reason her nostrils have been painted, despite this detail not being present on the helmeted head.  It’s not a good change, I can tell you that.

interstellar7Brand is built on the female equivalent of the body Coop was built on.  If I’m recalling correctly, she was the first officially released figure to use this body (Broomhilda from Django Unchained would have used it, but only a scant few of her made it out before those figures were cancelled).  It’s okay, but it’s not quite as solidly constructed as the male body, and I miss the extra articulation.  Her suit is pretty much the same as Coop’s, just with the cloth bits tailored to fit the different body.  The sculpted parts are all the same, with the exception of the boots, which are a bit smaller on Brand.  The paint on Brand is actually a bit better on my figure, though I would imagine this varies from set to set.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I watched Interstellar with my Dad, who has long been a fan films such as 2001.  He was very enamored with the film, so we ended up picking up this set for him on Father’s Day this year.  I was quite impressed with the figures myself, and was keeping an eye on the set still in stock at the then-closing Movie Stop, waiting to get a good deal.  Sadly, I missed it.  Oh well.  I still ended up getting a pretty good deal, though, since I found it on clearance at a Suncoast (yes, there are apparently still some of those around.  I was shocked too).  I’m pretty happy to have these figures.  They both have some flaws, and the unmasked heads are kind of a waste, but I do really like these two.  I just wish I had a TARS to go with them.  And a CASE.  And Doyle and Romilly.  Heck, I’d even buy Topher Grace’s character.