#1398: Sword Fighting Hercules

SWORD FIGHTING HERCULES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“He’s the greatest sword fighter of all time! Whether he’s fighting the terrifying Hydra, or battling the dangerous Nessus, Hercules fights the bravest of battles with his mighty sword and shield!”

You may have noticed a slight theme to the last few Sundays here at the Figure in Question.  That theme is Disney’s Hercules.  Today, I’m continuing that theme, though I can’t make any promises for keeping it going past this week.  I’ve looked at a variant of Herc, as well as his main foe Hades, but I’ve yet to just look at the standard Hercules.  That changes today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sword Fighting Hercules is another entry in the Basic Assortment of Disney’s Hercules figures from Mattel.  As noted in the intro, this was the line’s take on Herc’s standard hero togs he sports for the majority of the film’s run-time.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  In a change from the last two figures I’ve looked at from this line, this guy actually gets some elbow movement, which is cool, but it’s at the cost of all of his leg movement.  You win some, you lose some.  It does cause him to be a touch harder to keep standing than the Hydra Slaying variant, but he’s mostly pretty manageable.  The elbows are a little loose, presumably to aid in the use of action features, but still rather useful.  Also: neck articulation! That sure is nice.  Being able to look side to side and all.  Like the other two, this figure’s sculpt diverges somewhat from his film counterpart.  This one is probably the most faithful of the three I have; most of the changes come from simply translating him into three dimensions.  There are a few slight oddities to his proportions.  His neck’s rather long, as are the arms. Still, not a bad sculpt overall.  Like his Hydra Slaying counterpart, Sword Fighting Herc has a removable cloth cape.  The same cape, in fact (exactly the same in my case; this guy’s borrowing his).  If you want to get technical, it should be a little brighter to be accurate to the film, but it works nonetheless.  The paintwork on this guy is generally pretty decent.  The colors are a little bit more washed out than in the film, but they aren’t far off, and the overall look is quite nice.  Herc is packed with his sword (obviously), as well as his shield.  My figure is missing the shield, but that’s really the less essential piece, so I’m not losing sleep over it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After finding Hydra Slaying Herc and Hades, I was figuring that would be it for my whole Hercules collection, especially since this guy in particular had a rather high after market price.  Then I found this guy at Yesterday’s Fun over the summer, sans cape.  Since I already had the cape from the Hyda Herc, I was able to put together a mostly complete figure for a fraction of his going rate.  As with the Hydra variant, this figure was a pretty pleasant surprise, and I’m very happy to have found him.

Advertisements

#1391: Fireball Shooting Hades

FIREBALL SHOOTING HADES

DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)

“Fast talking, slicker than slick, Hades is ruler of the Underworld.  When he shoots his deadly fireballs, he causes ultimate destruction.  Only the heroic HERCULES can put an end to this fiery villain’s evil plan!”

Poor Hades gets bum deal when it comes to popular culture.  In just about any adaptation of mythology, he’s perpetually cast as some sort of ultimate villain, when in the actual myths he’s actually one of the more level-headed and reasonable gods.  Compared to the likes of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hera, he’s really not that bad.  Disney’s Hercules is one of the prime offenders when it comes to reworking things to make Hades the villain.  The actual villain of most of Hercules’s stories in mythology is Hera, who resented Herc for being one of Zeus’s many bastard children.  Herc and Hades barely even interacted.  But, I guess having Hera constantly trying to kill Hercules out of a constant anger caused by Zeus’s sexual escapades wouldn’t have made for a very good kids movie, would it?  So, they went with the more obvious “god of death = evil” bit.  At least it was entertaining, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Fireball Shooting Hades was released in the basic series of the Disney’s Hercules tie-in line from Mattel.  While Herc got all sorts of variants and the like, this was the only Hades figure in the line.  I’m not sure what other variants you could really do, but hey, I wouldn’t have though of Hydra Slaying Hercules either.    The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 3 points of articulation.  Bit of a step down from Herc on the movement front.  Obviously, he lost some articulation to his designs lack of legs, which is understandable.  It’s a shame they couldn’t at least put some extra movement in the arms.  At least his head can turn, though.  Hades’s sculpt was unique to him, and it’s okay, I suppose.  It’s more faithful than the Hercules figure I looked at, which is good.  However, it also means that the focus is on trying to be faithful to a 2D character, rather than making just a good looking toy.  The body works out all right.  It’s pretty clean and it follows the line work of the movie.  The smoke at his feet is a little blocky, but it’s not terrible.  You just need to find the right angle for him.  The left arm is a little impeded by the figure’s action feature, but I’ll touch on that a little later.  The biggest issues come from the head.  They’re pretty much entirely related to the fluidity of Hades’s face in the movie.  He’s very expressive and all over the place, which makes capturing him in one single sculpt rather difficult.  He’s the sort of character that would likely be better served with a few interchangeable heads, but the toy industry wasn’t quite there in ’97.  So, we have to settle with a single expression.  Mattel went with a scary, scowly, wide-eyed grimace.  It’s not a great look.  I mean, yeah, he looks a little frightening, but it’s more in that uncanny valley sort of way, where his eyes just seem too human.  Parts of the sculpt look fine, but it doesn’t add-up to a really great piece.  It’s not terrible, but it could be a lot better.  Moving onto the paintwork, Hades is pretty decent.  Nothing crazy stand-out or anything, but the application is pretty clean and the details are pretty sharp.  In particular, I like the way the flames behind Hades’s head have been handled.  I sort of which his actual hair had been done in a similar fashion, but the solid paint isn’t awful.  Hades has two different “action features.”  The first is the titular “fireball shooting.”  There’s a missile launcher in his left arm.  Load up the fireball and press the button.  There it goes.  Wooooooo.  The second feature is even less involved; move the slide on his back up and down, and the flames behind his head will rise and fall.  Fun times.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Hades here from Lost in Time Toys, at the same time as Hydra Slaying Herc.  It was actually finding Hades that got me to grab the pair.  Hercules was pretty fun, but Hades has a few more flaws that hold him back.  Ultimately, he’s fine if you want to stick him on a shelf or a desk or something, but his actual playability is kind of low.

#0954: Vitruvian Hacks Pt 2

ATHENIAN WARRIOR, UNDERWORLD WARRIOR, AMAZON WARRIOR, COLUBRIDA GUARD, STONEFIST, & SKELETON WARRIOR

VITRUVIAN H.A.C.K.S.

BossHacksP2a

Some things are worth the wait. On the list of things I would classify as “worth the wait” are Boss Fight Studios’ Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. line. In mid-2014, they ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to cover the startup costs for the line. Unfortunately, a few production snags cropped up, causing a number of delays for the line, and pushing the estimated release date back about a year. The first wave of figures (reviewed here) made its way to backers back in March, with the promise that the subsequent three waves would be arriving shortly. Those waves are making their way out to Kickstarter backers now. Today, I’ll be looking at a random assortment of those figures: the Athenian Warrior, Underworld Warrior, Amazon Warrior, Colubrida Guard, Stonefist, and Skeleton Warrior.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

BossHacksP2PackagingOkay, let’s break this down. These figures are all from the first series of Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. The Athenian Warrior and Underworld Warrior are from Wave 2, and the Amazon Warrior, Colubrida Guard, and Stonefist are from Wave 4. The Skeleton Warrior is a special extra figure, given to backers to make up for the delay in production on the figures. With the exception of the skeleton, all of these figures were stretch-goals from the Kickstarter campaign.

ATHENIAN WARRIOR – DEFENDER OF ATHENS

BossHacksP2cIn my last Boss Fight review, I made it a point to give each of the army builder characters an actual name. So, what the heck, why not continue the trend? I’m gonna call this guy Burt. Burt’s an Athenian Warrior, which would technically make him an enemy of Lenny the Spartan Warrior from Wave 1. However, the backstory of the line has the forces joining together to fight the Gorgon army. So, they’re all buddies now! The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation. Burt uses the same basic male body we saw on the Spartan and Cursed Spartan from Wave 1. Burt uses the bald, bearless head (same as the Cursed Spartan), which works pretty decently. He has new armor pieces, which are different from the Spartan pieces, but similar enough that they believably share a common ancestry. The Athenian armor is much more ornate than the utilitarian Spartan armor, and it has a BossHacksP2llot of really great little details, and even a spot on his back to store a sword or spear. There’s also far more texturing this time, which adds some more depth to the design. The main Athenian helmet is similar to the Spartan design, but the Mohawk is going the opposite direction, and it is once again a bit more ornate. There’s also a second helmet, which is far more simplistic and sleek, and offers a bit of variety, should you want to army build. The paint on Burt is decent, but probably the weakest of the figures I’ve gotten. The colors are all pretty vibrant, and there’s lots of really cool detail work. The main issue with my figure is the eyes, which are just off enough to make him look slightly weird. Burt includes a sword, spear, shield, sheath, a spare set of hands, and a display stand.

UNDERWORLD WARRIOR – HADES ARMY

BossHacksP2eAfter covering the real world armies of Athens and Sparta, Boss Fight decided to also get into some of the armies of some of the gods. Hades, god of the Underworld, apparently decided he wanted to get in on the fight with the Gorgons and created his own Underworld-dwelling army. Iggy here (props to Super Awesome Girlfriend for the name) is a member of said army. Now, you might have noticed some similarities to Wave 1’s Cursed Spartan. This is actually intentional. According to the backstory presented on the package, Iggy started his life as a Cursed Spartan, who was imbued with additional powers by Hades, in exchange for his service. BossHacksP2iStructurally, this figure is identical to the Cursed Spartan. I loved that figure’s sculpt, and I still love it here. To change things up, Iggy gets a new paint job, which adds a molten rock motif. The detailing is simple, but quite effective. The bright orange and yellow is surprisingly convincing as cracking molten rock. Iggy includes two swords (long and short), a sheath, a spear, a shield, an extra pair of hands, and a display stand.

AMAZON WARRIOR – ARES ARMY

BossHacksP2dAmazon’s are a pretty common occurrence in mythology and fiction in general, so it’s not a huge shock to see the concept appear in this line.  Apparently, they’re working for Ares. I mean, I guess that works. Not the God I would have placed them with, but I can’t really complain. The Amazon (who I’ve decided to name Linda) stands just shy of 4 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation. This marks the first time we’ve seen the full female body, legs and all. It feels pretty comparable to the male body, though it’s worth noting that the ankle articulation is a different design. It’s similar to some of Hasbro’s more recent Marvel Legends articulation. I honestly can’t say which layout I prefer. Linda has a new head, which has BossHacksP2jshort hair. It works pretty well, and it looks convincingly tough. The Amazonian armor is fairly similar to the Spartan armor in terms of design. The figure re-uses the Spartan Warrior’s helmet, as well as the Coral Gorgon’s chest armor and wrist bracers. She gets a new skirt piece and shin guards, which are rather similar to the Spartan pieces. The skirt has a small loop, which can hold one of her weapons. The paint on Linda is pretty impressive. The armor more or less matches up with the Spartan colors, though the gold appears to be a little brighter. The tribal tattoos on the arms and legs are quite nicely detailed, and add an awesome uniqueness to the design, and they even continue onto her shoulders, under the armor. Linda includes long and short swords, a spear, a shield (which is by far my favorite shield design in the set), a spare set of hands, and a display stand.

COLUBRIDA GUARD – GORGON HORDE

BossHacksP2bRemember how the Underworld Warrior was pretty much a straight re-use of the Cursed Spartan? Well, the Colubrida Guard is structurally the same as Wave 1’s Coral Gorgon. Once again, there’s a good explanation: the Colubrida Guard are the lieutenants of the Gorgon army, and are supposed to be similar to the other Gorgons in design. The main difference between the two figures is the paint. The Colubrida Guard trades in the more subdued red of the Coral Gorgon for a near neon-orange shade. Seriously, this thing practically glows! It’s a fantastic shade, BossHacksP2mand it makes the figure pop right to the front of any set up. Contrasting the immensely bright coloring of the actual Gorgon, the armor has been changed from gold to an almost black shade of metallic grey. The Colubrida Guard includes two swords, a sheath, a shield, extra hands, and a display stand. The swords and sheath are done up to match the Cursed Spartan, indicating that the Guards have been stealing their weapons from Medusa’s victims. That’s a pretty awesome touch!

STONEFIST –GORGON HUNTER

BossHacksP2nHere’s one figure I don’t have to name, because he’s already got one! He’s STONEFIST! THE GORGON HUNTER! This dude’s a badass, let me tell you. He’s an Athenian Warrior who came face to face with Medusa and survived the ordeal but slicing out his own eyes. This resulted in his left arm being turned to unbreakable stone and also gave him super-human senses. This guy’s pretty much the Greek Myth version of Daredevil. Stonefist is the same as the Athenian Warrior in terms of construction, though he only gets the less ornate helmet. Also, worth noting: my figure ended up with two left shoulders. It’s a rather minor difference, and not enough to ruin the figure, but it’s slightly noticeable. Stonefist’s color scheme has been tweaked ever so slightly from the basic Athenian look. Obviously, BossHacksP2kthere’s the “stone fist,” which is achieved by painting his left arm up like one of the Cursed Spartans. He’s also fairly pale, and has noticeable scaring over his eyes. The color scheme of his armor has also been changed a bit: they’ve added a bit of blue, which, when interacting with the red, makes him look a little like a super hero. The gold is all slightly tarnished, and he’s done a bit of tweaking to his helmet, adding some graffiti to the front, sort of like a WWII fighter plane. Stonefist includes three swords (one of each type we’ve seen so far), a spear, a sheath, a shield (same design as the Athenian’s, but with the eyes scratched out. Nice touch), extra hands, and a display stand.

SKELETON WARRIOR – PINK

BossHacksP2fLast up, it’s the figure I wasn’t expecting, the Skeleton Warrior. Not to be confused with the Skeleton Warriors (danananuhnuuuu)!  So, Freleng here is just a basic skeleton, but he’s been done in pink. Why he’s pink is anyone’s guess; maybe he’s made of bubble gum. The figure is about 4 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation (including BossHacksp2han articulated jaw!). The sculpt of the figure is a fairly realistic take on a skeleton, and it’s appropriately sized to fit within the basic male body. The parts aren’t quite cross compatible, but I imagine you could do some swapping with minor customization. Freleng includes a basic display stand, done up in the same shade of pink as him. He also has a set of 6 clear add-on pieces. Two of them attach to the feet and are used to secure him to the stand. The other four can be attached to the arms and legs, to allow him to wear the armor off of one of the basic male bodies. Undead army FTW!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Amazon and Underworld Warrior were the remaining two figures from my Kickstarter pledge, but I actually got the other three main release figures via Boss Fight’s online store. As cool as the Wave 1 figures were, these were the ones I was really looking forward to. My favorite of the bunch is probably Stonefist, just because I really like the concept. The Amazon is no slouch, though. The Colubrida Guard and Underworld Warrior aren’t much different from the Coral Gorgon and the Cursed Spartan, but the changes make both figures a bit more exciting. The Athenian isn’t super exciting, but I think a lot of that has to do with how similar he is to Stonefist. The real surprise star for me, though, is the Skeleton. He’s just the freebie figure, but he’s surprisingly mobile, and just a whole lot of fun to mess with. All-in-all, this is yet another fantastic set of figures. I can’t wait to get more from Boss Fight!

BossHacksP2o