#1643: Admiral Kirk & Duty Uniform Scotty

ADMIRAL KIRK & DUTY UNIFORM SCOTTY

STAR TREK MINIMATES

The first three series of Star Trek Minimates were entirely based on The Original Series’ three season run.  While that was quite alright for the first two, there was no denying that by the time of Series 3, they were starting to run of fumes.  As such, DST expanded the reach of the line, turning it to focus more on the other shows and films.  Today’s set comes from one of the movies, funnily enough, one of the ones starring the original crew.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Admiral Kirk and Duty Uniform Scotty were released in Series 4 of Star Trek Minimates.  This pair were supposed to come from The Wrath of Khan, considered by pretty much everyone to be the best of the Trek films.  Given that these were the only TWOK-based figures in the line, the pairing does seem slightly…odd.  There was a variant version of this set, which featured Scotty in his maroon dress uniform.

ADMIRAL KIRK

This is the second time I’ve looked at a movie Kirk Minimate, but chronologically the first of the two.  His later ‘mate was based on his jacketed away team look from later in the film, while this one is based on his standard uniformed look.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, and as such stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-on pieces for his hair and jacket, both of which were new to this particular figure (though the hair has seen subsequent re-use).  The jacket works quite nicely.  The details are pretty sharp, and it matches up well to the movie.  The hair is less impressive.  Admittedly, Shatner’s hair from this period has always been slightly difficult to pin down, but this one just seems to miss it.  Kirk’s paint is reasonable enough.  The uniform in particular captures the scheme seen in the movie, and the application is mostly pretty clean.  The face doesn’t have much Shatner to it, I’m afraid.  I think the later attempt had it down a bit better.  Also, the tampo of the face seems a bit too high on the head block as well.  Kirk was packed with a movie-styled phaser.

DUTY UNIFORM SCOTTY

Scotty’s place in this set is definitely weird.  I mean, the guy’s important in the movie, but producing him over Khan, or even Spock, McCoy, or David Marcus, all of whom are more pivotal to the film, seems sort of strange.  I guess maybe they wanted a variety of uniforms?  But, of course, even then, with the variant set, that excuse was lost.  I’m back to no idea again.  This is the standard release of Scotty, which is in his slightly more exciting Engineering uniform, which is what he spends most of the movie wearing.  Also, since these were one of the few designs to stick around from The Motion Picture, he’ll also fit in with Series 5’s Decker and Illia, so that’s cool.  He’s got sculpted add-ons for his hair and chest piece.  Both of them are definitely well handled pieces.  Scotty’s hair in particular is a much better match for Jimmy Doohan’s style from the movie.  The paintwork on Scotty is pretty solid, apart from one slight issue.  See that slight pink discoloration on his forehead?  Well, that’s *supposed* to be blood from an injury, but it seems the wrong color was used, making it look more like there’s just a slight flaw in the plastic.  Beyond that, it’s actually pretty decent work, though, with the details of his uniform being quite well-defined.  The burn damage to his suit is also pretty awesomely done, and keeps him from looking too boring.  Scotty is packed with a pair of engineering gloves to swap for the standard hands.  Shame we never got Spock to steal them from him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was always a little behind on collecting this line, so I didn’t get this set new.  Instead, I picked it up a little after the fact from the Record & Tape Traders in the town where my family vacations.  They’d been marked down, so I ended up with a full Series 4 set, this pair included.  They’re both okay Minimates, but neither’s really much to write home about.

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#1629: Ultimate Spider-Woman & Vault Guard

ULTIMATE SPIDER-WOMAN & VAULT GUARD

MARVEL MINIMATES

Minimates are great, because they give you a wide swath of characters, but there’s also a little side bit of amusement, drawn from their multi-pack nature.  While there are plenty of totally natural pairings of characters, every so often, you just get a couple of left-overs, who deserved to be made, but had not hard-set compatriots.  Today’s pairing is notable in that, not only have the two characters never met, they aren’t even from the same universe!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ultimate Spider-Woman and the Vault Guard were released in Series 30 of Marvel Minimates.  Spider-Woman was the one-per-case variant, swapping out for the more heavily-packed May Parker Spider-Girl.  The Vault Guard was packed in both versions of the set.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-WOMAN

“The result of genetic experimentation by Dr. Otto Octavius, Ultimate Spider-Woman actually shares a majority of her DNA and memories with Peter Parker. Choosing to abandon her previous life, she takes the name Jessica Drew and continues fighting crime.”

At the time of this figure’s release, Ultimate Spider-Woman was a relatively recent and still quite relevant member of the Ultimate Spider-Man supporting cast, though she did come after the Ultimate line had mostly disappeared from Marvel Minimates (Series 27’s Ultimates line-up notwithstanding).  Her placement likely had a lot to do with the character having one of the better designs to come out of the Ulitmate line in later years.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the usual body, with an add-on for her hair.  The piece was originally designed for “Natalie” Six from the BSG line, but since that figure never made it to release, I believe this was its first appearance.  It’s a decent piece, though slightly restricting to the articulation on the neck.  The rest of the costume is handled via paint, which turned out relatively well.  The metallic red gives her a more unique look, and the creative use of shading, especially on the face, capture’s Bagely’s depictions of the character quite nicely.  The black on her face ends a little bit earlier than I’d like, but it’s not terrible.  Spider-Woman didn’t include any accessories, which always struck me as a bit of a waste.  The lack of an extra unmasked head is somewhat forgivable, since they weren’t yet a common item, but not even giving her a webline or something seems a bit weak.

VAULT GUARD

“Tasked with monitoring and protecting the maximum security super-villain prison known as the Vault, the Guardsmen utilized a variation of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor to create their super-powered battle suits and weaponry.”

The fifth figure in the army building venture was one of the armored Guardsmen from super villain prison The Vault.  Thanks to some shared designs, he can also sort of double as a non-army builder as well, representing either Kevin or Michael O’Brien.  This is quite the versatile figure!  He’s built on the same standard body, with add-ons for his helmet, chest plate, gloves, and boots.  All these pieces are re-used, with the helmet being a standard mask piece, the chest plate coming from the Mark I War Machine, and the gloves and boots coming from the DC Series 1 Lex Luthor.  It all adds up to a Guardsman that’s a little bit of a departure from the sleeker design of the comics.  Why would they do this?  Simple, it’s emulating the Toy Biz Techno Wars Vault Guardsman figure from the 90s, which is actually a pretty nice little nod.  As designed, he was even supposed to have all of the detailing for a proper classic Guardsman painted under the extra armor bits.  For the final product, he ended up losing the proper detailing on the wrists and shins for boots and gloves, but still has the classic torso detailing (as well as a bonus face under the helmet).  If I have one complaint beyond those small missing details, it’s that his palette’s a bit more monochromatic than it should be.  He’s classically been all green, but the greens tended to be a little more divergent.  They aren’t awful as it is, though.  Guardsman included a spare set of standard green hands and feet, as well as a pair of mini-gun attachments for his shoulder armor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these guys up the day they were released from my usual haunt Cosmic Comix.  I’ve always been a big fan of the Guardsman, so I was thrilled about the inclusion here.  That said, I wasn’t super into either of his pack-mates.  I ended up going with the one whose design I most liked.  In the end, both figures have some minor nits, but they’re overall really cool additions to the collection.  Even if the pairing is still totally whack.

#1623: Black Panther & 90s Storm

BLACK PANTHER & 90s STORM

MARVEL MINIMATES

The subjects of today’s review, Black Panther and Storm, have actually been on my review docket since February, believe it or not.  For one reason or another, they’ve been on the chopping block no less than five times since they went on the schedule.  Fortunately for them, the original item I planned to review today has itself been bumped.  Gotta love that, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther and 90s Storm were released in the 29th Series of Marvel Minimates.  At the time of their release, Panther and Storm were still married, so I guess this pairing made some sense, though the choice of costumes was sort of incompatible.

BLACK PANTHER

“The leader and defender of his native Wakanda, T’Challa became the Black Panther afther his father’s demise at the hands of the villainous Klaw. His blend of physical prowess, mental discipline and scientific study makes him a truly formidable opponent in any setting.”

This wasn’t Black Panther’s first Minimate, but it was the first complete one, since the Marvel Zombies variant that preceded it was missing an arm and a leg.  He’s based on his at the time current design from the comics, which was certainly a sensible choice.  The figure uses the standard ‘mate body, with the standard 14 points of articulation and an approximate height of 2 1/4 inches tall.  Panther came from a time in the line when the necks had gotten kind of short and the feet had become shallower, which isn’t 100% ideal, but not the end of the world.  He has add-on pieces for his mask, cape, belt, and wrist bands.  The mask was re-used from the Zombies variant, and it’s an okay piece, but in conjunction with the shorter neck, and shallow feet, it kind of makes him look a little bobble-headed.  Fortunately, it’s masked (heh) a bit by the cape piece, which was new to this particular figure, and is a pretty decent piece.  The only problem it has is how top-heavy it made the figure, so it can be a little difficult to keep him standing.    As far as paint work goes, Panther was ambitious in idea, but ultimately rather flawed in execution.  There’s a lot of detail work on the mask and torso, which would look really great if it were actually visible, but the shades are just too close together.  Similarly, there is detailing on the shins and wrists, which is meant to capture the striped gloves of Panther’s classic costume, if you take off all of the add-ons.  But, as with the other details,  these are essentially lost on the final figure.  T’Challa included a hairpiece, allowing for an unmasked look.

90s STORM

“The leader of the X-Men’s Gold Team, Ororo Munroe’s weather-altering abilities are powered by an innate control over nearly all forms of energy – limited only by her emotions and fears.”

This marked Storm’s fourth time as a Minimate, and also the fourth ‘mate in the ‘90s X-Men sub-set that ran for a few years.  This depicts her white Jim Lee-styled costume, which has a fair bit of notoriety, being on the cartoon and everything.  She has add-ons for her hair and cape/shoulder pads, and she was the fist ‘mate to have the unique puffy sleeved upper arms.  All of the pieces were pretty well sculpted, airing heavier on the detailed side of things.  She’s a bit on the bulky side, and a little hard to pose (those upper arms don’t stay in place quite as well as the standard ones), but a decent recreation of the design from the comics.  The paint work on Storm is a bit better than T’Challa’s, by virtue of not having all those issues with contrast.  The pearlescent white is pretty great looking, and the details are pretty sharp.  The shading on the torso was an interesting experiment.  It was a style they were trying in this series, but it was pretty quickly abandoned.  Also, like the rest of the ‘mates in this assortment, the color palette is a little washed out.  I’d have at least liked a more yellow-y gold.  Storm was packed with a pair of electricity effect pieces, which are a little tricky to get in place, but pretty neat nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with most ‘mates of this era, this pair was picked up brand-new, on the day of release from Cosmic Comix.  I was excited for them when they were announced, given how much I like Black Panther, and my at the time lack of a Storm Minimate.  With that said, I’ve never been as happy with these two as I’d hoped to be.  In retrospect, they’re better than I remember, but they both have some notable flaws.

#1618: Agent John Colby

AGENT JOHN COLBY

COMIC BOOK HEROES MINIMATES

“Tony Chu’s partner John Colby was badly injured and given cybernetic implants. Now able to talk to machines, he was partnered with the ferocious fighting rooster Poyo at the USDA.”

Twice now, DST has tried their hand at independent comics-based Minimates.  Neither time has been notably successful, but most recent was at least a bit more expansive and well-thought out.  This time around, they did four two-packs, each one based on a particular book.  Amongst the allotment of titles was Chew, John Layman and Rob Guillory’s food-based series from Image Comics.  Today, I’m looking at half of that particular set, Agent John Colby.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

John Colby was originally packed with his partner Tony Chu, as part of the one and only series of Comic Book Heroes Minimates.  He’s based on Colby’s post-cyborg appearance, which is by far the most exciting look.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation, being based on the standard Minimate body and all.  He’s also got add-ons for his hair and jacket.  Both are re-used, with the hair coming from DC Series 7’s Nightwing and the jacket coming from Marvel Series 52’s Street Fight Wolverine.  They make for a pretty solid match for Colby’s comics appearance, and are just solid pieces all around to boot.  The paintwork on John is pretty sharp work.  Guillory’s lifework translates pretty well to the Minimate aesthetic, and makes for a very nice looking ‘mate.  The colors are bright and bold, and the cybernetic section of his face is well detailed as well.  He’s got a friendly sort of a smile, which seems to suit the character.  Colby includes a pistol, a display stand, and the ferocious fighting rooster Poyo, who is also in his post-cyborg form.  Actually a pretty awesome selection there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got John during Luke’s Toy Store’s Black Friday sale last year.  He was just being sold on his own, without his partner.  I must admit, I bought the first trade of Chew many years back and never actually fished reading it, so I’m only marginally familiar with the character.  Never the less, I found this ‘mate pretty darn cool looking, and I’d actually been eyeing him up for a little while now.  Not a bad ‘mate at all.

#1606: Tactical Killmonger & Casino T’Challa

TACTICAL KILLMONGER & CASINO T’CHALLA

MARVEL MINIMATES

Movie merchandise is always a tricky thing, especially with “top secret” movies like the Marvel Studios stuff.  It can often prove difficult to determine which characters, and more specifically, which designs for those characters, are going to end up with the most prominence in the final product.  For Black Panther, while it was a pretty safe bet which look would be T’Challa’s main costume, his primary antagonist Killmonger proved a different story all together.  His rogue Black Panther look ended up on all of the merch, and while that was prominent, it was actually his more unique tactical gear that most people were drawn to.  Unfortunately, if you want a properly articulated version of this design, Minimates are your only way to go.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tactical Killmonger and Casino T’Challa are the second Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-pack.  Though they don’t quite interact with these particular looks, Killmonger’s rescue of Klaue happens just after the Casino sequence, so they fit together reasonably well in the timeline of the film.

TACTICAL KILLMONGER

Obviously, this figure is the draw of this set.  Erik’s tactical design doesn’t really have direct comics counterpart (though it does share a few elements with some of his looks over the years), but it offers him a more unique design than the basic Panther-riff.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, so he stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Killmonger has a single add-on piece, but it’s a good one.  It’s the tribal mask he steals during his museum heist with Klaue, which he then uses to obscure his face later on.  It’s only worn in one scene in the film, but it certainly has a lasting impact.  For this figure, it’s an all-new piece, which does a pretty respectable job of recreating the mask and simplifying it enough to look proper on the ‘mate.  The rest of Killmonger’s design is handled via paintwork.  The armor plating on the torso is definitely impressive, as is the camo and all of the stitched elements on his pants.  The likeness under the mask is also quite good; it depicts a slightly calmer Killmonger than is seen on the first ‘mate, which makes for nice variety.  There are a few spots of white on his face, but otherwise all of the paint is quite clean, and the colors are nice and vibrant.  Killmonger is packed with the same hairpiece as the last figure, allowing for the much needed unmasked look, as well as a pair of blades (the same stylings as were included in with the Legends figure), and a clear display stand.

CASINO T’CHALLA

Not quite a “civilian” take on the character, but very close, Casino T’Challa depicts T’Challa as he is seen when he goes undercover in South Korea while on the hunt for Klaue.  I would guess this look was chosen over T’Challa’s other “civilian” look in the film because this one could be made with all pre-existing parts.  And made with pre-existing parts he is!  The hair is the same piece used for the unmasked look on both of the prior Black Panthers from this line, and the jacket is re-used from all the way back on the very first George McFly Minimate.  That one’s gotten some milage.  The paint does the hard work here, selling this guy as “all-new.”  The likeness on the face gives us yet another T’Challa expression.  This one’s somewhere between the other two in terms of intensity, but certainly still looks like the same guy.  The jacket and arms get extra detailing, depicting the texturing of his jacket from the film, and preventing this figure from being dressed in just flat black.  Casino T’Challa’s only accessory is a clear display stand.  A little light, but I think Killmonger makes up for it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was the set I went to Walgreens to get, the others were all just along for the ride.  Of the two Killmonger designs, this one was definitely my preferred, and this being only way to really get it right now, makes this guy top priority.  Fortunately, he’s one of the best ‘mates from the whole assortment.  Casino T’Challa’s not anything to write home about, being essentially just a guy in casual clothes, but he’s still a solid figure overall, and I certainly don’t mind that we got him.

#1605: Powered Up Black Panther & Everett Ross

POWERED UP BLACK PANTHER & EVERETT ROSS

MARVEL MINIMATES

For Black Panther, we had a few returning players.  In addition to T’Challa and Ulysses Klaue, there was another, more minor return in Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross.  It’s not a shock, since Ross began his comics carrier as a Black Panther supporting player, and all.  I have to say, after getting virtually no impression from the character at all in Civil War, I was actually quite pleased by his reappearance.  Suffice to say, I was happy to find he was one of the many Minimates offered for the film, alongside a variant of its main character.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Powered Up Black Panther and Everett Ross are the first of the two Walgreens-exclusive Black Panther two-packs.  It’s not actually a terrible pairing, since Ross first appears during the sequence that also introduces Panther’s new uniform’s kinetic deflection abilities.

POWERED UP BLACK PANTHER

Our first proper Black Panther variant.  Very cool.  This is, of course, the same suit as the last one, just fully charged up with kinetic energy.  So, the construction is identical between the two.  He’s still 2 1/4 inches tall with 14 points of articulation, and he still has the mask add-on and clawed hands.  Everything works just as well here as it did on the first ‘mate, and the consistency is certainly sensible.  The main changes are obviously to the paint.  It’s the same basic starting point, but with some additional metallic blue details added to indicate his energy build-up.  It’s a subtle difference, but a cool one, and I actually find myself overall liking the look of this one a little more.  Under the mask, we get a second expression for T’Challa.  This one’s angrier, which makes sense for this particular look.  He’s packed with an extra hair piece and a clear display stand.

EVERETT ROSS

This is Everett Ross’s first ever figure, but won’t be his last (or, shouldn’t, anyway.  His Legends figure was set to be a TRU-exclusive.  It’s future’s a bit up in the air at the moment).  For a normal guy in a suit, that’s not terrible.  Ross is seen here in his suit and tie from the Casino sequence. It’s probably the best overall look for the guy, and it’s the same look he had in Civil War, so there’s crossover appeal.  He has add-ons for his hair, jacket, and tie.  All of these are re-used from elsewhere, though I don’t know 100% where the hair first showed up.  I just know it’s been used on others.  The pieces are all perfectly fine for Ross.  Generic, but that’s rather true to the character.  His paintwork is fairly straightforward stuff.  Lots of greys, which don’t excite all that much, but the Freeman likeness is quite good, so that’s a plus.  Ross is packed with a display stand.  It would have been nice for him to get a gun or something.  He just feels a bit light otherwise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this pair as the same time as Panther/M’Baku and Killmonger/Klaue, during Walgreens’ recent sale on Minimates.  I was impressed by Ross in the film, and liked how the powered up effect looked in action, so I was definitely on board.  Sure, there’s not a whole lot of new going on here, but they’re both still pretty solid ‘mates.

#1604: Dora Milaje Nakia & Dora Milaje Okoye

DORA MILAJE NAKIA & DORA MILAJE OKOYE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Prior to seeing Black Panther, I was largely unfamiliar with both Nakia and Okoye.  Fortunately, the movie fixed that for me, and in fact I found both characters to be immensely entertaining and a great addition to the MCU.  Sure, they weren’t M’Baku or Shuri, but they were still solid supporting cast members.  Seeing as the two of them essentially never leave T’Challa’s side, they’ve found their way into just about every format of figure, including the Minimates, where they’re even packed together.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Nakia and Okoye are the Toys R Us-exclusive pair from the Black Panther assortment of Marvel Minimates.  They shipped alongside the non-exclusive Black Panther/M’Baku and Killmonger/Klaue sets.

DORA MILAJE NAKIA

Okay, so, right off the bat, this figure’s a bit of a misnomer.  Nakia is not a part of the Dora Milaje.  She *is* wearing one of their uniforms (since it was what was available in the few moments before she charged into battle), but that hardly makes her one of them.  In fact, it’s kind of an important plot point that she’s not bound to their oaths.  So, yeah.  Nakia is based on the standard ‘mate body, so she’s roughly 2 1/4 inches tall and she has the usual 14 points of articulation.  The figure has four add-on pieces for her hair, belt/skirt, and wrist bands.  All of these are new to Nakia, and they work pretty well for her.  I think the shaping of the hair is a little off; it should be more top heavy than it is.  The paintwork is pretty solid.  The likeness is sort of generic, but it’s not awful.  The details on the uniform are sharp and cleanly applied, and she’s quite on the colorful side, which is always a plus.  Nakia is packed with her pair of hoop blades, as well as a clear display stand.

DORA MILAJE OKOYE

Okay, so Okoye *is* one of the Dora Milaje.  In fact, she’s the leader of the Dora Milaje, so the title here is definitely appropriate.  Structurally, Okoye is essentially identical to Nakia.  Same belt/skirt, same wrist bands.  The only actual difference is her lack of hair.  Seeing as it’s a uniform, the shared pieces are certainly acceptable.  The difference between these two is just paint.  Okoye’s paint is still somewhat similar, of course.  The details are sharp on her uniform, and her likeness is actually pretty darn spot-on.  The slight change in her color denotes her higher rank as well, and, like Nakia, she’s quite colorful.  Okoye includes her staff and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is ultimately the main reason I ended getting the whole assortment of Black Panther ‘mates.  After seeing the movie, Super Awesome Girlfriend wanted Pop!s of Nakia, Shuri, and Okoye.  Unfortunately, Okoye isn’t available at regular retail.  So, this set is another joint custody item, purchased so that SAGF could have some version of Okoye.

#1603: Killmonger & Klaue

KILLMONGER & ULYSSES KLAUE

MARVEL MINIMATES

Black Panther’s impressive supporting cast did the film a lot of favors.  While my personal favorites were amongst his allies, there’s no denying that the antagonistic side was pretty strong, too.  We not only got the returning ball of fun that was Klaue, but also one of the most fully-crafted of the MCU’s villains in Erik Killmonger.  What luck that the Minimates went and paired those two!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Killmonger and Klaue are the other shared two-pack in the Black Panther assortment of Marvel Minimates, though, unlike yesterday’s set, these two are only available in two-pack form, either from Toys R Us or Walgreens.  There’s a close but slightly different Killmonger in the specialty-exclusive four-pack.

KILLMONGER

This Killmonger uses the Black Panther-styled design that most of the figures are going with.  It wasn’t his main design, but it’s the one he wears during the final battle, and the one with all the parallels to T’Challa, so I suppose it makes sense.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, Killmonger’s got the same exact set-up as Panther, with an add-on for the mask and the clawed hands.  The suits are meant to be very similar, so this is definitely a sensible re-use.  The main tweak here is the paint, which is slightly more involved than T’Challa’s was, thanks to all the leopard print and everything.  It looks pretty solid all-around, though I do feel I should note that my figure’s face is printed off-set to the right on the mask.  Under the mask, there’s another face, depicting a pretty solid (and somewhat angry) Michael B Jordan.  Killmonger includes a new hairpiece to show off this unmasked look, as well as the usual clear display stand.

ULYSSES KLAUE

Klaue was fortunate enough to have already gotten an MCU-‘mate, thanks to his Age of Ultron appearance.  But, that was back when he had two real arms, and a Klaue with two real arms is hardly Klaue.  The figure gets add-ons for his hair, vest, and sleeve cuffs, as well as a brand-new left forearm.  The hair and vest both look to be new to this particular figure (though the vest is already slated for re-use with the Series 75 Luke Cage) and both do an okay job capturing Klaue’s look.  The hair does seem a little hat-like, but it’s not awful.  The sleeves are the same pieces that have been in use since The Spirit, and they work just as well here as anywhere.  The new left arm is definitely awesome, and adds a nice bit of unique flair to what could have been a bland guy in a suit.  Klaue’s paint is reasonable enough, though not terribly exciting.  The Serkis likeness here is about on par with the last one, just with a more excited expression, which certainly befits the character.  There’s some slight slop around the mouth, making it look like Klaue’s just had a glass of milk or something, but he’s otherwise fairly clean.  Klaue is packed with an alternate left arm with his hand in compact form and a clear display stand.

THE  ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with yesterday’s set, I grabbed these guys while taking advantage of Walgreens’ sale on Minimates.  I had initially just planned to grab the two exclusive sets, but I liked the look of these two in person.  While neither of them is really my favorite from the assortment, or even necessarily  my favorite version of either character, both are definitely strong figures.

#1602: Black Panther & M’Baku

BLACK PANTHER & M’BAKU

MARVEL MINIMATES

Black Panther was not at all hurting for merchandise, which is certainly a good thing, since it was a pretty darn awesome movie.  And I like having action figures from awesome movies, so that all works out pretty well for me.  Minimates are usually the best way to get the largest cross-section of characters from any given property, and that’s definitely the case here.  So, without further ado, I present the first in a week of Black Panther Minimates reviews, starting off with Black Panther and M’Baku!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is one of the shared sets for this whole assortment.  They’re available in two-pack form from both Toys R Us and Walgreens, and also in the specialty-exclusive four-pack.  For the sake of posterity, this particular set came from Walgreens.

BLACK PANTHER

T’Challa’s actually not as frequent a Minimate as you might think, though this movie has certainly changed that.  This particular version marks his fourth time in the format, and, unsurprisingly, it’s based on his updated suit from Black Panther.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  For his non-basic parts, he’s got an add-on for his mask, as well as Cheetah’s clawed hands.  The claws are definitely a welcome addition, as their absence from the Series 66 version was really my only major complaint.  The paint on Panther is pretty solid work.  Detail lines do a nice job of capturing all of the intricate details of the costume from the movie.  I like the use of the dark blue for the base body so that the details stand out.  Under the mask, there’s a new Chadwick Boseman likeness, and it’s a marked improvement from the Civil War version.  The expression is fairly neutral, but avoids being too bland.  Panther is packed with an extra hair piece to display his unmasked look, as well as the standard clear display stand.

M’BAKU

M’Baku was perhaps my favorite character in the film, thanks in no small part to Winston Duke injecting a lot of life into what could have been a rather two-dimensional character.  His absence from most of the figure lines is understandable (I mean, he’s only got, what, 15 minutes of screen time?), but still somewhat disappointing.  The Minimate is currently the only figure version available, and he’s based on his garb from the film’s climax, which is a sensible choice (though a challenge two-pack of him and T’Challa might be a fun exclusive).  He’s got add-on pieces for his hair, torso armor, and skirt piece.  All three of these are new to this figure, and they’re decent enough.  The armor’s a little bit on the restrictive side, but not a bad piece overall.  M’Baku’s paintwork is solid, if maybe not super exciting.  Nevertheless, the likeness on the face is definitely a good match, and the more intricate work on the wrist bracers and the shins is really awesome.  M’Baku is packed with his staff and the usual display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been debating whether or not to pick up this pair.  Obviously, I wanted both of them (M’Baku in particular), but I was initially going to holdout for the four-pack, but then Walgreens was running a buy-one-get-one-50%-off sale, and I’d otherwise have ended up with an odd number of sets.  Both figures here are pretty solid additions to the line.  And, hey, where else are you going to find an M’Baku figure?

#1597: Poncho & Cloaked Unmasked Predator

PONCHO & CLOAKED UNMASKED PREDATOR

PREDATOR MINIMATES

One of the best things about the original Predator was Arnold “Dutch” Schwarzenegger’s mercenary team.  They’re sort of like the uber macho man equivalent to the Colonial Marines from Aliens, a memorable pack of characters whose sole purpose is to make the alien look scary and tough when it kills them all.  Unfortunately, since Predator’s still mostly a Schwarzenegger vehicle, most of the merchandise tends to focus on him.  Thankfully, we have Minimates to swoop in and save the day, though, and it’s through that channel that we’ve been able to almost complete the team.  Today, I’m looking at my personal favorite member of the squad, Poncho, as well as another Predator variant.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Poncho and the Cloaked Unmasked Predator were released as part of the specialty assortment of Series 4 of Predator Minimates.  The Cloaked Unmasked Predator was packed with both Poncho and Anna, Poncho being the 3-per-case heavy packed figure, and Anna being the 1-per-case chase.

PONCHO

“Jorge ‘Poncho’ Ramirez was a member of Dutch Shaefer’s rescue team, and was able to speak fluent Spanish with prisoner Anna.”

Poncho is kind of a big deal, because he’s the last main member of Dutch’s squad to make into ‘mate format.  It’s fitting, really, since he’s <SPOILERS!> also the last member of his squad to get picked off in the movie.  Though not as bombastic as some of his squad-mates, Poncho’s always been my favorite because of his dry wit and slightly reserved nature.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic ‘mate body, with add-ons for his hat/hair, tactical vest, belt, holster, and sheath.  Poncho’s add-on pieces are completely re-used parts, with the hat coming from Series 1’s Dillon, the belt being shared with his fellow mercs, the vast coming from Marvel Series 55’s Batroc, and his holster and sheath being standard parts.  Apart from his hair texture not quite matching with the movie (a very minor flaw, mind you), the re-used parts work very well, and do a solid job of replicating his design from the film.  Poncho’s paintwork is pretty solid as well.  The likeness of Richard Chaves is definitely there on the face, and the general work is all quite clean and sharp.  Poncho is packed with his HK94A3, Desert Eagle, knife, and a clear display stand.  It’s a little sad that the “explosives expert” doesn’t actually come with any explosives, but it’s a decent selection nonetheless.

CLOAKED UNMASKED PREDATOR

“A standard piece of equipment for any Yautja hunter is a full-body cloaking device, which renders the Predator all but invisible to human eyes.”

Remember when I reviewed the standard Jungle Hunter?  And his battle-damaged counterpart?  Well, this guy is the same as those two, just molded in clear plastic.  Woo.  In all honesty, he’s really not a bad ‘mate.  They actually printed all of his detail lines in white, which is certainly a nice touch.  As with the other Jungle Predators, his only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these two up during Luke’s Toy Store’s Black Friday sale.  I kept meaning to pick this one up, what with Poncho being my favorite and all.  He’s pretty cool, no doubt about that.  I can’t say I’m super thrilled about the Predator variant I had to purchase to get him, but at least I didn’t have to contend with the blind bags.  Now I kind of want the rest of the team.