#1495: Simon & Ellen

SIMON & ELLEN

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINIMATES

When Minimates first really branched beyond Marvel Minimates (well, in the smaller style, at least) there were some interesting choices in terms of licenses.  Namely, there were a lot of choices that didn’t necessarily make for the most exciting toys.  Case in point?  Battlestar Galactica Minimates.  The BSG relaunch was an undeniable success for the Sci Fi Network, and they were looking for merchandise.  DST picked up the license and offered some 7 inch figures, but presumably wanted the ability to offer a greater range of characters than that style would allow.  Enter the Minimates.  Today, I’ll be looking at Cylons Simon and (very old spoiler) Ellen.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Simon and Ellen were released in the second TRU-exclusive series of Battlestar Galactica Minimates, a series comprised entirely of Cyclons

SIMON

“Pragmatic and unemotional, the Number Four model was also known as Simon and spent many hours researching the possibility of biological Cylon reproduction. His cold and calculating human experiments were stopped with Starbuck’s destruction of his main facility on Caprica.”

Simon was originally slated for the fifth series of the line when it was at specialty, but like all of the figures in Series 5 and 6, he had his original assortment cancelled.  It was really in Simon’s favor in this case, since he was originally meant to be the short-packed figure.  He’s seen here in his fancy suit that he wore from time to time.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the standard body, with an add-on piece for his jacket/shirt.  Said piece was re-used from 24’s Tony Almeida, and it’s a well sculpted piece that matches up pretty decently with the sorts of things Simon was known to wear on the show.  The paint on Simon is passable.  The likeness on the face is a good match for actor Rick Worthy, and the details are pretty sharp.  The rest of it’s…well, it’s rather bland.  Lotta grey.  Woooooo.  Simon had no accessories, lest they make him more exciting.

ELLEN

“The rumors of her death greatly exaggerated, Ellen Tigh rejoined her husband Saul aboard the Battlestar Galactica and played a crucial role in the war against Cavil’s forces by revealing her knowledge of the Final Five’s true history.”

Ellen’s original slot marked a bit of genius from DST.  Series 5 and 6 were slated to hit after the mid-Season 4 premiere which revealed her as the final Cylon.  Since they had to be solicited about six months out and Ellen would have been dead for over a season at this point, her presence in the main line-up would have been rather a large spoiler.  So, instead, they came up with “New Caprica” boxed set, which would have included her, her husband Saul, Starbuck, and Leoben.  Then the set was cancelled, and the show was over by the time TRU picked them back up, so she could be safely added to a main assortment.  Given the original figure’s planned release, Ellen is seen here in her garb from her time on New Caprica.  Like Simon, she’s on the standard base body, with a new hair piece and a skirt re-used from Spider-Man 3’s Gwen Stacy.  It adds up to her look quite nicely.  The rest is all paint.  The likeness of Kate Vernon is pretty solid, and the details on her blouse look decent.  Unfortunately, like Simon, her palette is quite drab, being mostly greys.  She also includes no accessories, though I can’t say I know what you could give her.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set at the same time as the rest of TRU, back when they were new.  I then grabbed at least one more later down the line on clearance, because they were hardly fast sellers.  It was nice to get them to complete the 12 Cylons, but this is a set that’s hardly exciting, especially without the show’s finale propelling them.

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#1493: Iron Giant Minimates

IRON GIANT & HOGARTH HUGHES

THE IRON GIANT MINIMATES

“Arriving on Earth from an unknown point of origin, the Iron Giant explores his new environment and befriends a young Hogarth Hughes But as aggressive actions are taken against him by the military, he must battle his violent programming to be who he chooses to be.”

Back in the day, before you could have just about any movie you wanted instantly streamed to the nearest screen, it was a pretty big deal getting to see a movie you cared about aired on TV.  Networks would pay for the right to air the movie, and then they’d air the crap out of it, because they darn well paid money for it, and they were going to take advantage of that.  While big successful movies used to be a big ticket item for networks, some movies actually end up finding an audience they never had in theaters via successful TV runs.  Movies that were flops in their original run are a cheap way for networks to fill time, especially on holidays when they know that people will only be tuning in sparsely.  It’s A Wonderful Life is perhaps the most successful example of this, a Christmas classic that’s really only a Christmas classic because some network needed to fill two hours and it’s set at the holidays.  A less well-known but still prominent example of this is The Iron Giant, which became inexplicably linked to the Thanksgiving holiday for an entire generation thanks to someone at Cartoon Network deciding for several years straight that the best way to fill their holiday schedule was to air 24 straight hours of the Iron Giant, over and over again.  And, in the spirit of that insane decision, I’m going to review some Iron Giant toys today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Giant and Hogarth Hughes were released as a stand-alone two pack of Iron Giant Minimates last month.  It would appear these two are the only ‘mates we’re getting.  While I would never say no to ‘mates of Manning, Dean, or Annie Hughes, I can hardly fault DST for going one-and-done on these.

IRON GIANT

Obviously, it’d be weird to release this set without the title character, so here he is.  What’s still weird?  The size.  Minimates have long dealt with size restrictions, so it’s nothing new, but it’s still a little goofy to have a character with “Giant” in his name be so small, even if his ‘mate marks the fifth time such an occurrence has happened with a Minimate. Fear not, if you’re looking for a more properly scaled Giant, there are other options available.  This guy stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  His starting point is the basic ‘mate body, but he gets his own unique head, hands, and feet, plus an add-on for his torso and an extender at the waist for extra height.  In lieu of the usual legs, the giant actually uses a set of arms. It’s a really good idea in theory, since the Giant’s arms and legs in the film are clearly of similar sizes.  However, in practice, it just feels a bit off to me.  I think a lot of it’s got to do with the Vinimate being modeled with the standard legs, and perhaps throwing off my expectations.  Still, it’s not like the legs ruin the figure.  The new head matches pretty well with the larger Vinimate piece, which was itself a very nice translation of the film’s design.  It’s still missing his small dent in his forehead, but that’s minor.  The details on the torso piece are notably sharper than you tend to see on such pieces, which was a pleasant surprise, and makes for a good looking figure.  Similarly, the hands, feet, and torso extender all fit well and do a nice job of translating the Giant into this smaller form.  His paintwork is okay.  Compared to the Vinimate, I found it a little bit lacking.  My biggest complaint is the consistency of the application.  The lighter grey is very thick and lumpy in a few spots and it makes him look a little bit unfinished.  He’s packed with a clear display stand, which is his only accessory.

HOGARTH HUGHES

Interestingly, though he’s the focal point of the movie, Hogarth Hughes is actually quite a minor player in the original book.  For me, ol’ Hogarth here is this set’s real star.  He makes much more sense as a regularly scaled ‘mate, and even makes for a good accent to the previously mentioned Vinimate.  Like the Giant, Hogarth is built on the base body, at least in theory.  He uses the standard head, upper arms, pelvis, and upper legs, but gets the shortened forearms and shins, as well as the smaller torso piece introduced in the NBX line.  He also gets a unique hair piece, which does an awesome job of capturing Hogarth’s distinctive hair style from the film.  As far as paint goes, Hogarth’s is really clean.  The head has a really amazing rendition of his face, grinning and excited.  The body features a bunch of bold and clean color work, and he just really pops.  As with the Giant, Hogarth’s only accessory is his display stand, which is a slight letdown.  It’d have been nice to get his camera or the chunk of metal he uses to lure the Giant, but even an extra head with a different expression would have been appreciated.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up from the House of Fun last weekend, while at Philcon.  I’d been meaning to pick it up the set for a while, and they had it there, and it was the last one, so I figured it was meant to be.  The Giant is okay, but sort of in a weird area of scaling and quality.  Had I not gotten the Vinimate first, perhaps I’d be happier with him.  Hogarth’s super awesome, though, and the set’s more than worth it just for him.  He looks fantastic with the Vinimate Giant!

#1479: Skurge & Grandmaster

SKURGE & GRANDMASTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Thor Ragnarok hit the big screen last week.  After being more than a little underwhelmed by Thor’s last solo cinematic adventure, I was definitely hoping this one would be a marked improvement.  Having seen it, I’d say it most definitely succeeded on that front.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was still very, very good.  There were a quite a few new characters introduced in the movie, and several of them were real standouts.  Two of my favorites are the two I’m covering today, Skurge and Grandmaster!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Surge and Grandmaster are one of the Walgreens-exclusive sets for the Thor Ragnarok tie-in series of Marvel Minimates.  They’re something of an odd pairing, truth be told, seeing as the two don’t ever once interact or even participate in the same segments of the plot line.  That said, I’m hardly going to complain, since I like both characters.

SKURGE

In the comics, Skurge was at first simply known as “The Executioner.”  He was the right-hand-man to the Enchantress, and a key piece of the original Masters of Evil.  Definitely an important player, so his inclusion in the film was definitely something I was very much looking forward to.  Throw in that he was played by Karl Urban, a personal favorite, and you’ve got a real winner.  His design in the film isn’t too far removed from his comics incarnation, which means this figure can pretty well serve as either version.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for his chest cap and bracers.  The add-ons are new to Skurge, and are pretty decent overall.  The torso piece could probably be a little tighter to the body, but it looks decent enough.  His paintwork is decent enough.  It’s not super vibrant, but that’s true of the movie design, and it’s in keeping with what we’ve seen of the Asgardians in the MCU so far.  The details are all pretty crisp and clean, and his face looks passably like Karl Urban.  Accessories are easily this figure’s biggest failing.  He gets a clear display stand and nothing else.  Not his axe, not even his twin M-16s, which DST already had the molds for.  It’s more than a little disappointing.

GRANDMASTER

Grandmaster of the comics is one of the Marvel universe’s Elders, and he’s actually a little bit on the boring side.  In the movie, he’s Jeff Goldbloom, essentially playing himself.  That works out pretty well for…well, everybody.  He too is built on the standard base body, with a unique upper left arm (taken from the TMNT Foot Ninja), as well as add ons for his hair and jacket.  The pieces are decently handled, and look pretty sharp.  They translate the film design pretty well, which is pretty great.  His paint work is nice and colorful; the Grandmaster has one of the more vivid designs in the film, and that comes through here.  The likeness of Goldbloom is pretty spot-on as well, which is a definite plus.  Like Skurge, Grandmaster’s only accessory is his clear display stand, but that’s a bit less annoying in his case, since there’s not as much in the way of obvious extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this pair at the same time as the last two sets I reviewed.  By-and-large, I was holding off on the Ragnarok merch until after the film’s release, but these two in particular called to me.  As they ended up being two of my favorite parts of the movie, it’s safe to say I don’t regret my purchase.  Sure, it’s annoying that they don’t really have any accessories, but the ‘mates themselves are pretty solid.

#1478: Vision & Abomination

VISION & ABOMINATION

MARVEL MINIMATES

Yesterday, I reviewed some Minimates.  How about some more Minimates?  That sound okay to you guys?  Ah, it doesn’t really matter; I’m reviewing the Minimates whether you like it or not.  What are you gonna do, stop reading?  Wait, wait, please don’t stop reading!  I didn’t mean it!  …I mean I sort of did…I’m still reviewing the Minimates, but genuinely hoping that doesn’t upset anyone…or something.  Without any further weirdness, here’s Vision and Abomination!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vision and Abomination are from the sixth Walgreens-exclusive series of animated Marvel Minimates.  They join yesterday’s Black Bolt and Medusa in making up the Avengers Assemble portion of the series.

VISION

An artificial person designed by Ultron, the Vision draws his power from an Infinity Stone, and can adjust his mass from intangible to super-dense.”

This is far from the first time I’ve looked at a Vision Minimate.  In fact, of the 8 Vision Minimates out there, I’ve reviewed 7.  This one is rather similar to both the Age of Ultron and Civil War ‘mates, since the cartoon is really just using the same design as the movies.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation.  Like the last two costumed Vision ‘mates, this guy’s just the standard ‘mate body, topped off with the DC Minimates Series 1 Superman cape.  Pretty standard stuff all-around.  The real difference here is the paintwork.  His line work is much simpler, cleaner, and a bit bolder, matching the show’s more streamlined design.  The colors are also a bit brighter, and in a rare instance for an animated ‘mate, they’re a little bit more exciting than the colors seen on the last two ‘mates.  Vision includes both the standard display stand and a flight stand, for those that want choices.

ABOMINATION

“Emil Blonsky wanted the power of the Hulk, so he subjected himself to massive gamma radiation bursts, becoming a super-strong monster.”

While Vision’s just been swimming in Minimates in the last few years, poor Emil here hasn’t been quite so lucky.  He got two ‘mates back in 2008, but nothing since.  And one of those was based on his movie appearance, which is pretty far removed from the typical Abomination design.  He was definitely in need of an update.  From DST’s perspective, this guy’s great because he’s also all re-used parts, taken mostly from the Ultimate Spider-Man incarnation of Green Goblin.  In their defense, all of the pieces work pretty amazingly well for Abomination.  In fact I like them more for Abomination than their original use, but that’s more a personal preference of design thing.  The paint work on Abomination is pretty solid work.  The colors feel a bit warmer than usual for this sub-line, which is certainly a plus in my book.  Abomination’s only extra is a display stand, which feels a little light, but I’m not sure what else he could have been given.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this pair at the same time as Black Bolt and Medusa.  It was a bit of an impulse buy, truth be told.  I probably didn’t need this set.  Abomination’s never been a must-have for me, and I’ve got two Visions that look almost identical to this one.  But it was another Vision, and I’m all about Vision, no matter how minority different he may be.  And Abomination actually looked pretty cool.  And I was feeling kind of generous, so I got them.  It’s actually not a bad set.  Not the most exciting ever, but I liked it more than I’d initially expected to.

#1477: Black Bolt & Medusa

BLACK BOLT & MEDUSA

MARVEL MINIMATES

The Inhumans have come into a bit of notoriety recently, thanks at least in part to their currently running live-action mini-series on ABC.  It’s gotten mixed reviews, but I’ve been generally enjoying it.  The characters have been getting a push in most media for a little while now, including cartoons, such as Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.  Cartoon appearances in turn lead to Minimates, which the Inhumans really seem to have been left out of.  Today, I’ll be looking at the heads of the Inhuman Royal Family, Black Bolt and Medusa!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Bolt and Medusa were released in the sixth Walgreens-exclusive series of animated Marvel Minimates.  Both figures included are based on their appearance in Avengers Assemble, where they sport slightly tweaked designs from the usual comics garb.

BLACK BOLT

“Blackagar Boltagon is the King of the Inhumans, granted abilities by the Terrigen Mists.  Even the merest whisper from his lips is a highly destructive force.”

Blackagar.  Boltagon.  Man, is that a stupid name.  That’s a very high contender for stupidest name in comics, and there are a lot of stupid names in comics.  Blackagar Boltagon’s on a whole other level, though.  There’s dumb, and then there’s Blackagar Boltagon dumb.  Yikes.  This is ol’ Blackagar’s second time as a Minimate, though it’s his first in a good long while.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Black Bolt is built on the standard ‘mate body, which unique upper arms, which add his little glider wings.  The pieces are decent, and they work well enough for what they are, but they do restrict movement of the arms a little bit.  Everything else on this guy is handled via paint, which is decent enough.  I do like the choice to go for the mask painted on the standard head, which I find looks a bit better than the sculpted piece from the last one.  That being said, I’m not a huge fan of his overall colorscheme; there’s a lot of grey, and not a lot of actual black.  I pretty much always prefer black areas of costumes to be done in actual black, with highlights, rather than lightening the whole scheme.  As it is, he looks a little washed out.  Black Bolt includes an extra head with a screaming expression, a sound wave effects piece, and a clear display stand.

MEDUSA

“The Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa was given long, prehensile hair, which can obey her commands and even carry her from place to place.”

This marks Medusa’s first time as a Minimate, which is a little bit surprising, since she’s usually one of the better known members, and certainly the one with the most appearances under her belt.  She uses the same basic construction as Black Bolt, but gets a new hair piece, recreating her prehensile mane in all it’s lengthy glory.  The piece is designed to hold her aloft, as she’s frequently depicted in the comics.  It’s a nice piece; obviously animated in style, but very cool.  The paint on Medusa’s pretty decent.  She’s more colorful than Black Bolt.  I miss her usual mask, but Medusa’s look has always been more subject to change than Black Bolt, so it seems less weird to get her in a non-classic design.  Her only accessory is a clear display stand, which feels a little light, but the hair piece sort of makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been out of Minimates for a little while, but I stopped in Walgreens recently, and I saw this set sitting there, and I just had a hard time turning it down.  The Black Bolt isn’t quite as much of an improvement over the last version as I’d hoped, but I do prefer him slightly, and he’s certainly  a solid take on the character.  Medusa’s actually pretty fun, and it’s nice to have her at long last.  Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait quite as long to get the rest of the Royal Family.

#1450: Scarlet Witch & Vision

SCARLET WITCH & VISION – SUITED

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey there FiQ-fans!  Rather than continuing the Voltron love with a Keith review, today I will instead be turning back to one of my old faithfuls, Marvel Minimates.  It’s been a fair while since I’ve looked at anything from this line, so let’s make up for that, and take a look see at Scarlet Witch and Vision!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Scarlet Witch and Vision were released in the summer of 2016 as a SDCC-exclusive two-pack.  Both figures are based (theoretically) on their appearances in Captain America: Civil War.

SCARLET WITCH

“A product of secret HYDRA experiments, Wanda Maximoff once believed the Avengers to be her enemies. However, after fighting beside them to protect her homeland in the battle of Sokovia, she realized that her one-time foes were in fact a force for good. As the Scarlet Witch, Wanda must learn to control her uncanny powers in order to aid humanity alongside her new allies.”

Wanda was the source of much contention when the Civil War ‘mates were first being unveiled.  Despite being a central figure in the film’s plot, she wasn’t available in any of the retail sets.  Fortunately, she turned up here.  Yaaaaaaaay.  The ‘mate sports her spiffy red jacketed look, which is certainly a nice design.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. She’s built on the standard ‘mate base body, with add-ons for her hair and the bottom segment of her jacket.  The hair is the same piece used for the AoU Scarlet Witch (which was itself a re-use from Series 50’s Songbird), which does at the very least sit a little better on this figure than it did the last one.  That’s a plus, I suppose.  The jacket appears to be new to this figure, and it looks decent enough.  I do wish the segment between the torso and the pelvis wasn’t quite as obvious, but that’s fairly minor.  The paintwork on Wanda is fairly solid work.  It’s all pretty clean and the line work is nice and sharp.  Once again, I do wish the center of the jacket piece were painted to match the two bits of torso on either side.  Also, I’m not sold on the likeness on the face, but it’s at least still a nice looking face.  Wanda includes a pair of spell-casting hands (borrowed from her comic book counterpart) and a clear display stand.

VISION – SUITED

“The Vision is a sentient artificial intelligence housed in a highly advanced synthetic body. Since joining the Avengers, Vision has endeavored to further understand humans and his place among them. Though he has yet to come to a definitive conclusion, Vision knows it is his responsibility to use his incredible powers to protect the world in which he now lives.”

There was already one Vision ‘mate from Civil War, which depicted him in his standard garb.  One of the cool things Civil War did was put Vision is civilian clothing, which made for rather an interesting visual.  This ‘mate captures that, but not in the most movie accurate way, strictly speaking.  See, in the movie, he’s wearing sweaters and khakis and stuff; kind of a Cary Grant sort of thing.  This ‘mate instead presents him in a fairly standard suit and tie, which we never see him wearing.  He was supposed to wear it during Peggy’s funeral, but his scenes there were cut, making this ‘mate largely irrelevant.  And it means we don’t get Vision in that sweet sweater get-up.  For shame.  Not really DST’s fault, though.  This ‘mate gets add-ons for his jacket and tie, which are the same ones that have been the standards since the Senate Hearing Tony from Iron Man 2.  Not a bad standard suit and tie.  The paint is mostly limited to the head, which is the exact same piece we saw on the TRU-exclusive Vision from earlier last year.  I preferred that one to the AoU release, and I do still really like it here.  Vision’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I meant to get these guys way sooner than I did.  I mean, I loved Civil War and everything, and I have a bunch of the ‘mates.  But then the shipments containing these guys and the Punisher/DD set were super delayed after SDCC, and they just fell under my radar.  My brother Christian ended up getting them for me over the summer, after he found them at GameStop for a sizable discount.  I like both of the ‘mates here, but I can’t really say either of them is incredibly exciting.  Vision’s not actually a design from the final film, and while Wanda’s new look is nice, she’s not so different from the last version.  Still, not a bad set.

#1440: The Expendables

BARNEY ROSS, TRENCH, BOOKER, & MR. CHURCH

THE EXPENDABLES 2 MINIMATES

“Barney Ross is the leader of the Expendables, and elite team of mercenaries hired to handle difficult international situations. When a job for the enigmatic Mr. Church goes off the rails, Ross must partner with his rival Trench and fellow operative Booker to make things right.”

You know, I haven’t reviewed any Minimates in what feels like forever.  And I haven’t reviewed anything Expendables related in actually forever.  Mostly because I just have the one set, but that does not negate the point. My Stallone quota is way down.  Gotta fix that.  So, without further ado, here are some Expendables Minimates.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This set was released as part of the greater Expendables Minimates line, which was comprised of four boxed-sets, two released at specialty, and two at Toys R Us.  This is one of the TRU sets, and it’s also one of the two sets based on Expendables 2.  It covers the film’s “heavy hitters,” albeit it’s mostly covering the glorified cameos from the film’s big climactic battle.  Still, it was enough to reel me in, so that’s a plus.

BARNEY ROSS

Barney Ross, aka Sylvester Stallone, is the central character of the Expendables films.  As such, he was one of three characters to get two ‘mates, one from each of the first two films.  This one’s shirtless.  …Okay.  That’s different, I guess.  This was actually Stallone’s seventh Minimate, counting all the Rocky ‘mates.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Barney uses the standard ‘mate body, with four different add-on pieces for his hair, belt, and thigh holsters.  All of the add-ons were re-used (the Expendables Minimates were entirely re-use, in fact).  The hair is from Marvel Series 21’s Tony Stark, the belt is from DC Series 4’s Jay Garrick, and the holsters are from Marvel Series 27’s Nick Fury.  The pieces make for a decent enough recreation of Barney’s look from the movies.  The paintwork on this ‘mate is pretty awesome, truth be told.  The Stallone likeness is pretty spot-on, and the tattoos on the torso and shoulders are really fantastically detailed.  Definitely adds some extra pop to what could have been a slightly bland ‘mate.  Barney is packed with a knife, two HK USPs, and an M4 with a grenade launcher and a suppressor.

TRENCH

Joining his buddy Stallone is Arnold Schwarzenegger, or as he’s known in the film “Trench.”  Like Barney, Trench was one of the characters to get a second ‘mate in the Expendables Minimates line, which was a little weirder, given his more minor role in the first film.  But hey, Schwarzenegger’s Schwarzenegger; dude sells toys. This was Arnold’s eighth time as a ‘mate, though unlike Stallone, this wouldn’t be his last.  This ‘mate, like Barney, is built on the standard base body, with add-ons for his hair, jacket, and bandolier.  Both the hair and bandolier come from a prior Schwarzenegger ‘mate, namely the TRU exclusive Assault Gear T-800.  I actually like the hair piece better on the older Schwarzenegger than the one from T2, so that’s a plus.  The jacket comes from Marvel Series 46’s Peter Parker.  It works perfectly fine, but it does still have the peg hole meant for Peter’s backpack, which is a minor annoyance.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty solid.  The Schwarzenegger likeness is fairly decent, and better than some earlier ‘mates.  Under the jacket, there’s actually a fully detailed Hawaiian shirt, which is pretty cool.  It’s too bad he didn’t have any extra arms or anything to help show it off, but it’s a fun little detail nonetheless.  Trench is packed with a Remington 870 shotgun, an AA12 shotgun (in theory), and a Colt 1911.

BOOKER

This guy’s Chuck Norris.  That’s all you really need to know about him.  Booker was unique to this set, which is sensible, given he’s essentially just a cameo in the second film, and that’s it.  Still, good excuse for a Norris ‘mate, right?  To date, this is his only ‘mate, so make it count.  He has five add-on pieces for his hair, vest, sleeves, and belt/holster.  The hair is from Terminator 2‘s Kyle Reese, and it’s the biggest point of contention with this figure.  It’s perfectly reasonable for Norris, but Booker is never seen in the film without his baseball cap.  Since these were all based on re-use, they couldn’t create a new piece for him, but it’s still a bit of a let-down.  The vest comes from another T2 ‘mate, Miles Dyson, who was himself taking the piece from the cancelled BSG New Caprica Col. Tigh.  The sleeves come from The Spirit line, and the holster is courtesy of Blondie.  All in all, not a terrible assemblage of parts, moving past the issue of the hat.  The paint on this guy is on par with the others, presenting a solid likeness of Norris, and doing a nice job detailing his outfit from the film.  He lacks some of the more interesting little details of the other two, but that’s more to do with the character’s design in the film than anything else.  Booker is packed with an HK94A3, an M4, and a Colt 1911.

MR. CHURCH

And here’s Mr. Church, better known as Bruce Willis. Because he’s just Bruce Willis playing Bruce Willis.  Because that’s just what he does.  Church joins Barney and Trench, getting his second ‘mate in this set.  His first one was wearing a suit.  This one’s wearing…a safari suit? Or something.  I don’t know.  It’s a little goofy.  Church only gets one add-on piece, which his jacket.  It’s re-used from the Punisher: Warzone’s Frank Castle, and it’s a fairly nice piece.  Decent choice of re-use.  The rest of the details are paint, and it’s pretty top-notch.  The Willis likeness is certainly spot-on, and the details on the costume, specifically the scarf, are pretty sharply handled.  It’s a lot of tan, which isn’t the most exciting scheme ever, but it’s accurate.  Church is packed with an M4, and two silver Colt 1911s.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked this set up from TRU when it was first released.  It was actually before I’d seen any of the movies; I was mostly grabbing it for the Willis and Norris ‘mates.  It’s a solid set, no doubt.  The Expendables Minimates were some of DST’s more inspired work, offering highly detailed ‘mates, with a ton of awesome accessories.  Honestly, I sort of wish I’d grabbed more of them when they were new.  This was a set that was more fun than it deserved to be, and that’s coming from someone who sort of enjoyed Expendables 2.

#1402: Rorschach & Dr. Manhattan

RORSCHACH & DR. MANHATTAN

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“ERNIE KOVACS has a troubled mind, and will go to great lengths to protect the innocent as RORSCHACH.  When someone kills an old colleague, his investigation into the death brings mysteries to light and puts him back in touch with the world’s only known super-powered human – DR. MANHATTAN.”

On the plus side, this bio does at least do a better job of working in both characters than yesterday’s set did.  Unfortunately, Rorschach’s name is WALTER Kovacs.  Ernie Kovacs would be this guy.  And, while it’s still up for debate as to whether or not Ernie had a troubled mind, he most definitely wasn’t going around as a costumed vigilante…I think…

Right, the actual review.  I should get to that!  Here’s some more Watchmen Minimates!  As noted by the bio, it’s Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan.  Alright!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Like yesterday’s set, Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan are one of the “shared” pairs of Watchmen Minimates, available in both the specialty four pack and as a two pack in the Toys R Us’s assortment. Mine are the two-pack version, but they’re functionally the same.

RORSCHACH

Rorschach is the closest the story gets to a main character, and is probably the most popular character contained there-in.  He was originally intended to be The Question, and is honestly the least changed character in that respect.  Rorschach’s design in the movie was completely unchanged from the comics, resulting in a ‘mate that can easily work for either version of the character.  The figure stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic body, with add-ons for his hat and coat.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and they work pretty well.  The coat’s a little on the bulky side, but it’s decent enough, and the hat’s one of the better takes on a fedora in this style.  Rorschach’s paint is about on par with the pair I looked at yesterday.  It’s pretty decent overall, but there’s some slight sloppiness on some of the base paint.  The detail lines are also minimal on this guy, so it’s a bit less of what DST’s good at, but what’s there is pretty solid.  Rorschach is packed with his grappling hook (a standard Rorschach accessory), as well as an unmasked head and hair, and a clear display stand.  The extra head is definitely cool, and my favorite extra.  The grapple is okay, but I can’t say I get why every Rorschach has it; I find it to be a rather minor piece.  I would have much rather had the aerosol can he uses to escape the cops, or his journal.  Also, the lack of extra heads with differing expressions is a little annoying.  Still, not a bad selection.

DR. MANHATTAN

Dr. Manhattan is the story’s one true super human, originally planned to be Captain Atom.  Visually, Manhattan is one of the story’s most memorable characters, and as such, his design remained essentially the same when they adapted the comic to film.  Structurally, Manhattan is just a plain Minimate, with additional parts or anything.  It’s certainly well suited to the character.  It does mean that all of the heavy lifting is handled by his paint work.  He’s done in a semi-transparent blue plastic, which, fun fact, is also glow-in-the-dark.  It’s surprisingly powerful, provided you give it a little time to charge up.  The detail paint on this guy is phenomenal.  All of his parts have detailed musculature, and his face is a spot-on recreation of how he looks in the film.  It should also be noted that this is the first Dr. Manhattan figure to forego the usual black shorts seen on all the merchandise.  I mean, they still Ken-Doll-ed him; he’s still got to be decent and all, since he’s being sold at retail.  Should you want him to be more modest, though, he does include an extra pelvis piece, molded in dark blue, thus replicating the shorts.  In addition, he’s also got the standard display stand, as well as a flight stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I picked this pair up from Toys R Us on my birthday.  This pack is more comic-compatible than the last one, which is pretty cool.  Manhattan’s just plain awesome, especially for being a ‘mate that could have been super simple and boring.  Rorschach’s overall pretty decent, though I’m not sure he translated quite as well to the style.  Still, not a bad set, especially if you’re a fan of the source material.

#1401: The Comedian & Nite Owl

THE COMEDIAN & NITE OWL

WATCHMEN MINIMATES

“Secretly the vigilante known as THE COMEDIAN, EDWARD BLAKE continued to work for the government after his crimefighting career, performing various classified and unpleasant tasks.  When the highly dangerous killer is himself killed, his old colleagues NITE OWL and RORSCHACH are driven to investigate.”

Sometimes, I like to remember back when I didn’t totally hate everything Zack Snyder touched.  His adaptation of Watchmen was just as divisive as anything else he’s done, but I was actually on his side of that one.  Anyway, a whole eight years after its release, the film’s gotten a set of Minimates.  I’m taking a look at the first pair, The Comedian and Nite Owl, today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Comedian and Nite Owl are one of the “shared” pairs of figures for Watchmen Minimates.  They were available both in the specialty four pack and as a two pack in the Toys R Us-exclusive assortment.  Obviously, mine are the TRU versions, but there aren’t any real differences between the actual figures.

THE COMEDIAN

Though he may be dead at the story’s start, the Comedian is perhaps Watchmen‘s most central figure.  He was originally supposed be the Charlton Comics character “Peace Maker,” before DC forced the change.  Shame, since it would have been perhaps the only noteworthy thing ever attached to the character.  Oh well.  Comedian’s look was largely unchanged when going from book to movie, so this guy will work pretty well as either version of the character.  The figure stands roughly 2 1/4 inches tall and has the standard 14 points of articulation. In addition to the standard base body, Comedian has add-ons for his hair, shoulder pads/suspenders/belt, and the holsters.  The holsters are the same basic pieces that have been in service since the Avengers Black Widow ‘mate, but the other two pieces are new to this figure.  The new pieces are generally pretty solid additions.  They could possibly have been a little sharper in terms of detail, but the work here is still pretty great.  In terms of paint, Comedian is pretty decent overall.  The best work is on the detail lines.  The face capture’s not only Jeffery Dean Morgan’s likeness, but also his cocky Comedian personality, which is pretty cool.  This is obviously a slightly older Comedian, though he does seem to be using any hint of his facial scar.  I guess it was pretty downplayed in the movie.  The base paintwork is a little sloppier than the line work, but still fairly decent.  The biggest issue with the paint is actually something that was beyond DST’s control.  He lacks Comedian’s signature smiley face button, due to rights issues associated with that particular image.  DST has opted to drop the button entirely, rather than giving us just the blank yellow circle that other companies have gone with.  I think I might like it better when it’s just not there; less distracting.  Comedian is packed with a pair of silver handguns and a clear display stand.  It’s a shame he didn’t get a few more weapons, and possibly an extra head and hair piece for a younger look, but what’s included is fair.

NITE OWL

Nite Owl is my favorite character out of the main Crimebusters in Watchmen (though, it’s actually his predecessor Hollis Mason that is my overall favorite character in the story), and it’s actually Patrick Wilson’s portrayal of him in the movie that helped me form that opinion.  I find his book counterpart to be a little bland, but Wilson added a nice sort of lost everyman aspect to him that was endearing.  Nite Owl was originally intended to be the Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle, another favorite character of mine.  The movie design for Nite Owl was one of the more drastic changes, largely due to the simplicity of the original design; that sort of thing doesn’t tend to work so well on a large screen.  Like Comedian, Nite Owl is built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his mask and cape.  Both pieces are new to this figure, and are likely to stay unique to him, since I can’t really see them being of much use for any other characters.  They’re both pretty decent pieces, though, like with Comedian, I think the details could stand to be a little sharper.  The paint work on Nite Owl is pretty great.  The work is all pretty sharp, and unlike Comedian, he’s not missing any essential details.  The mask is removable, and reveals a fully detailed Dan Drieber head, glasses and all.  I can’t say it’s a fantastic likeness of Patrick Wilson, but it doesn’t look unlike him.  I guess he’s just got one of those faces that doesn’t translate well to the style.  In addition to the usual display stand, Dan includes a spare hair piece for unmasked display.  I think the piece is a little too suave for Dan, to be honest, especially if this is meant to be a “present” day Dan; it should be a little longer and more comb-over-y.  It’s not awful, though.  I do wish he included an extra mask with the goggles up, since he has that look several times during the movie.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Watchmen Minimates snuck up on me.  At the time of the movie’s release, I was all over the idea of Watchmen ‘mates (in fact, I even made a custom set for myself, albeit a comic based one), but by the time they actually happened, I had largely moved past Watchmen.  When the boxed set hit, I wasn’t sure about getting the ‘mates at all.  But, I was out on my birthday, and I stopped at Toys R Us, and they had a full set, so I went for it.  Getting the ‘mates even got me to sit down and watch the movie again for the first time in several years, and I enjoyed that quite a bit.  This is my favorite pair of the ‘mates, and while there are certainly improvement that could be made, I’m very happy with them both.

#1368: Ms. Marvel & Kang

MS. MARVEL & KANG

MARVEL MINIMATES

Hey-ho there readers!  So, today’s gonna be another Marvel review, because, like 95% of what I’ve bought recently is Marvel.  On the plus side, I’m actually looking at a relatively new item for a change.  That’s cool, right?  I’ll be heading back over to the Minimates corner of my collection, and taking a look at one of my favorite new additions to the Marvel Universe, Kamala Khan, alongside long-time Avengers for Kang the Conqueror!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ms. Marvel and Kang were released in the fifth Walgreens-exclusive series of Marvel Minimates.  Both are based on their appearances in the Avengers Assemble cartoon, but in both cases, this translates to a look that’s essentially identical to their comics counterparts.

MS. MARVEL

“Exposed to the Terrigin Mists, Inhuman high-schooler Kamala Khan gains the ability to shape-shift, and decides to become one of the super-heroes she idolizes.”

It’s been a good year for Kamala!  First she got a Marvel Legend, and now she’s got a Minimate too!  Not too shabby for a character that’s only been around since 2014.  Ms. Marvel makes her Minimate debut here, and is based upon her appearance in the episode “The Inhuman Condition.”  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her hair, scarf, and skirt.  The skirt appears to be a fairly standard piece, but the scarf and hair are both new.  They’re decent enough pieces, I suppose.  Obviously, they’re a bit more on the simplistic side, as is the case with most of the animation-based mates.  It’s really only noticeable on the hair, which you can easily replace if you really want a more realistic look.  That being said, the pieces mimic her design from the show pretty well, and fit the character nicely.  The paint work on her is generally pretty solid; the colors are still a little more washed out than I’d like, but she generally looks like she does in the comics, and the colors have more “pop” than some of the others.  I’m not the biggest fan of the rather bland expression on the face, though; Kamala’s usually depicted as rather jovial, so a smile or grin would have been more true to the character in my opinion.  Ms. Marvel is packed with a spare right hand and left arm (borrowed from Mr. Fantastic), simulating her stretchy powers, as well as the usual clear display stand.

KANG

“Kang is a time-traveling warlord from the 30th century who finds himself repeatedly embroiled in conflict with the 21st century Avengers.”

Wow, another Kang?  Man, it was such a big deal to get him the first time, but I think I might have burned out all of the excitement.  Of course, that ‘mate was only in an exclusive 4-pack, which not everyone got, so I suppose a new one makes sense.  Like Ms. Marvel, he’s built on the standard body, and has the usual articulation.  He has add-ons for his head-piece, shoulder bit, and skirt.  The shoulder thing is re-used from the last Kang ‘mate (rather sensible), and the other two parts appear to be new.  They’re decently sculpted, though I’m not 100% sold on the head piece.  It’s an odd looking thing in the comics, and neither attempt at translating it into ‘mate form is particularly right.  This one’s not terrible.  This figure uses the standard upper-arms, which is one change I’m in favor of, since I was never much of a fan of the puffy sleeves from the last one.  As far as paint goes, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the paint on this guy; the colors just aren’t vibrant enough for my taste.  The green in particular just feels really dull and boring.  I’m also not a big fan of the reduced detail work, since the things like the wrinkles of the shirt and the lines on his mask were some of my favorite parts of the last Kang.  In terms of accessories, he only includes a display stand.  I feel like there has to be something else he could have gotten.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found these two while looking for Marvel Legends at Walgreens.  I’ve largely fallen out of collecting Minimates hardcore, in part because of the difficulty of finding the Walgreens releases, so these two sort of snuck up on me, and I was really surprised to find them as quickly as I did.  Ms. Marvel’s the real draw of the set for me, and aside from the slight disappointment with the expression, I’m really happy with her.  Kang is kind of meh.  Rather drab and un-interesting to me.  Perhaps it’d be different if I didn’t have the first one.  Still, it’s a pretty decent set all in all.