#1793: Lucas

LUCAS

STRANGER THINGS (MCFARLANE)

Things have died down ever so slightly for Stranger Things in the hiatus between seasons 2 and 3.  I mean, I guess that’s pretty normal for such a show, but man was the merchandizing crazy during the Season 2 launch.  Anyway, while we all wait for Season 3’s arrival, there are still a number of figures out there just ripe for reviewing, including today’s offering, Lucas Sinclair!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lucas, alongside Dustin, makes up one half of the second series of McFarlane’s Stranger Things line.  Admittedly, it seems a little odd to me that Lucas and Dustin jumped ahead of Mike and Will for the Series 2 line-up.  Mike and Will are both far more plot-important, and I do slightly worry with McFarlane’s track record that they may not get made.  Time will tell, I suppose.  In the mean time, let’s focus on the positive:  Lucas figure!  Lucas is sporting his Season 1 appearance, camo-headband and all,  meaning he matches up with the rest of the figures so far.  This figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Lucas’ articulation style is essentially the same as Series 1’s Hopper, but he doesn’t quite suffer from the wonky-looking integration of articulation that Hopper did; it’s much more naturally placed for Lucas.  Lucas’s sculpt is definitely a strong one, perhaps the strongest of three figures I have from the line so far.  While the likeness on the face isn’t quite as spot-on as I felt Hopper’s was, there’s still definitely a lot of Caleb McLaughlin in there, and I think it’s enough to help clearly identify him.  The work on his clothing is definitely very strong, from the corduroy texturing on the pants, to the sharp detailing on the seems of his jacket, as well as the rather natural way the clothes have been sculpted to hang.  Lucas’ paintwork is definitely the best I’ve see so far from the line.  It’s clean, accurate to the source, and downright eye-catching, which is certainly a nice change of pace after the last two.  Lucas is quite nicely accessorized, including his backpack, a flashlight, his slingshot, a radio (with an extra hand for holding it), and a display stand.  The backpack is definitely the coolest of the bunch; I really dig the weathering on it.  On the opposite end is the slingshot, which is hard for him to hold, unpainted, and nondescript enough that I didn’t know what it was at first.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up Eleven and Hopper back in February, I was definitely interested in getting more of these figures, but other lines took precedence, so I kind of fell behind.  Lucas was grabbed during TRU’s liquidation process, because why not?  And then, like so many of the figures bought during the summer, he just sat unopened for a good few months.  He’s actually been on the review schedule three times, and I just kept having to bump him because he hadn’t even been opened yet.  I’m actually a little annoyed with myself about that, because he’s a pretty solid figure, and I wish I’d figured that out a bit sooner.  Guess I’ll need to be tracking down Dustin now.

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#1582: Chief Hopper

CHIEF HOPPER

STRANGER THINGS (McFARLANE)

The central characters of Stranger Things are really the kids, who do a lot of the important things and generally end up moving the plot forward all on their own.  However, they’re still just kids, and they do occasionally need some adult supervision, which frequently comes in the form of the town sheriff, Chief Jim Hopper.  In a world full of stange things, Hopper’s the one who stands back and goes “hey, that thing over there seems a little strange.”  What’s *not* strange is that Hopper got an action figure, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chief Hopper is the second of the two basic figures in the first series of McFarlane Toys’ Stranger Things line.  Where Eleven was very season specific, Hopper (by virtue of being an adult actor who doesn’t change much from season to season) is more of a catch-all sort of a figure.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation (though the waist on my figure was fused when he came out of the packaging, so he spent a lot of time at 23).  Hopper’s articulation is definitely an improvement over Eleven and even the Borderlands 2 Jack.  The hips here use the later Walking Dead styled joints, which allow for a lot more mobility.  It is a bit funny, though, that in the last week I’ve looked at three McFarlance figures that are ostensibly in the same style and each of them’s had a completely different hip articulation scheme.  Obviously, you have to tailor a bit to design, but this does seem a little goofy.  The improved mobility of this figure is certainly a plus, but I must admit, the hip joints aren’t exactly easy on the eyes, especially when moved out of their “default” position. If they want to use this style of joint (which I don’t think is a terrible idea), they need to refine it a bit.  The rest of the articulation is a bit better worked in, so they didn’t totally blow it.  I think hips just confuse them a bit.  Hopper’s sculpt is definitely a solid piece of work.  Apart from the hip issue, it’s a very well crafted sculpt.  The detailing on his sheriff’s uniform is quite sharp, and the head’s likeness of actor David Harbour is spot-on.  There’s no confusing who this guy is.  The paint on Hopper isn’t super exciting or anything, but, like the sculpt, it’s pretty decent.  The best work is on the face, which looks pretty lifelike (though it doesn’t photograph the best).  The rest of it’s just pretty standard stuff, but it’s rather cleanly applied, and everything matches up with the show pretty well.  Hopper’s not quite as well accessorized as El, but I’d guess that has to do with his larger stature.  He still gets his revolver, a coffee mug (hey, pair this with the waffle included with Eleven and we’re slowly getting a balanced breakfast!), and a display stand.  His solicits mention his hat being removable, but it’s not, nor does he get the extra un-hatted head that the original packaging renders showed.  That’s a bit of a bummer, as I’d have liked the option to display him without the hat.  I’m guessing McFarlane might be saving that head for a later release.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with yesterday’s Eleven, this figure was purchased based on a request by FiQ-Fan Hubert from Poland.  Hopper actually proved to be what pushed me over into McFarlane’s camp on these offerings.  As cool as Funko’s set was, I really wanted a figure of Hopper.  Initially, I was only going to grab him, but I am weak, and I ended up with both figures.  I really like this figure a lot.  Issues with lessened accessories aside, Hopper’s really the stronger of the two figures.  Here’s to hoping the rest of the line follows his example.

#1581: Eleven

ELEVEN

STRANGER THINGS (McFARLANE)

As far as Netflix original product goes, I think Stranger Things caught a lot of people by surprise.  Most caught by surprise?  Toy makers, who had no idea that this little online show would gather such a demand for product.  Funko were the first on the scene, by virtue of picking up every license under the sun, but McFarlane Toys has been pretty quick with their follow up.  They’re moving at a slightly slower pace than Funko, but producing a slightly higher-end product.  I’ll be taking a look at their first version of central character Eleven today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Eleven is one of the two figures (three of you count the deluxe Demogorgon) in the first series of McFarlane’s Stranger Things line.  This is a Season 1 Eleven, specifically depicting her after she’s taken in by the boys.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 18 points of articulation.  The articulation on Eleven is a bit more restricted than Handsome Jack, mostly in regards to the hips, which are just swivel cuts here.  It makes her a little hard to keep standing, but ultimately she’s still pretty mobile.  Eleven’s sculpt is generally pretty solid.  The body has fairly realistic proportions, and the texture work and depth on her clothing is decent.  I particularly like the work on the shoes, right down to the slight disheveled nature of the laces.  I think some areas, the skirt of her dress in particular, do end up a touch soft, but it’s not awful.  I’d also prefer if said skirt piece had been made from a softer material, as well, since the thick hard plastic sort of looks off.  There’s even a clear cut at the waist where the new material could have been swapped in.  Her head sports an okay likeness of Millie Bobby Brown, but not quite a spot-on one.  There’s just something slightly odd about it.  I think her face may be too wide.  It certainly looks better from some angles than from others, though, and if you can get the head into a good downward tilted death-glare sort of look, I think the likeness greatly improves.  In terms of paintwork, this figure definitely has its plusses and minuses.  The face is pretty decent, especially the eyes and mouth, which are pretty lifelike.  However, the decision to go for the bloodied nose look seems a little strange, especially if there’s no alternate head or anything.  As far as the clothing, the wash on the jacket and the shoes looks good, and adds some necessary wear to them.  That said, the same effect doesn’t work so well on the skirt, which just looks like someone smeared spaghetti sauce along the bottom of it.  I think a cleaner look for that particular article of clothing probably would have looked better.  Eleven is packed with a wig, an Eggo waffle, a radio (with an extra hand to hold it), and a display stand.  Not a bad assortment of extras at all.  The wig sits a lot better than I’d expected it to, though it just makes the issue of the permanent stream of blood from the nose even more prominent.  The waffle is fun, but I don’t know that we ever see her with just a single waffle; I think the box would have hold the idea a bit better.  The radio’s an important piece, and I’m glad that got included.  The stand is also important, since, as noted above, she can have a little difficulty standing on her own.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Eleven marks my first reader requested review.  Hubert, a FiQ-fan from over in Poland, contacted me a little while back asking if I might be taking a look at any of these guys.  I like the show and knew I’d pick up some of the figures at some point, but I hadn’t made up my mind as to whether I wanted to try Funko or McFarlane’s line.  After picking up Handsome Jack and being a real fan of that figure, I ended up coming across both Eleven and Hopper at Target, so I figured I’d be a nice reviewer and give them a chance.  There are some definite flaws with Eleven, but I generally like her, and I’m happy I grabbed her.  Thanks for the suggestion Hubert!

#1553: Keith

KEITH

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

“An orphan, Keith is driven by an insatiable curiosity of where he came from – which sometimes conflicts with the goals of the team.  The most talented pilot of his generation, Keith refuses to live by other people’s rules and instead carves out his own path.”

Remember waaaaaaay back, like four months ago, when I took a look at two of the Paladin’s from the new Voltron line?  And remember how there was a third that I just never got around to? No?  That’s fair.  I remembered, though.  I always remember.  It was eating at me.  So, today, I’m finally finishing out the set.  Admittedly, it’s an incomplete set to begin with, but I’m completing that incomplete set nonetheless.  What I’m really trying to say here is let’s check out the Keith figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Keith is part of the second series of basic Voltron: Legendary Defender figures from Playmates.  This figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has  19 points of articulation.  I’ve actually looked at most of this figure before; from the neck down, Keith is the exact same figure as Lance.  Given how close the two of them are in build, and the fact that the uniforms are meant to be the same, it’s pretty reasonable.  Mattel did the same thing for their Paladins, so there’s precedent.  I liked the sculpt when it was used for Lance, and I still like it here.  I still think the articulation could be implemented a little bit better, but it’s far from terrible.  Keith does get a new head sculpt, which is reasonable enough.  I think it falls in-between the other two in terms of quality.  It’s stronger than Shiro’s, but not quite as on the mark as Lance’s.  I will admit, the paint on this one makes it rather difficult to rate the quality of the sculpt.  Speaking of paint, it does feel like a slight downgrade on this figure.  The overall application is fine, but there are a lot of fuzzy edges and his face in particular suffers from quite a bit of bleed over, masking what is a passable sculpt.  I think if the eyes were better placed at the very least, it would look a fair bit better.  Most frustratingly, the red from his wrist guards has ended up staining the white plastic of the forearms.  It looks rather sloppy, and hurts the overall appearance of the figure.  Like the other two figures, Keith is packed with a removable helmet and a shield, as well as his bayard in sword form.  The helmet’s still really bulky, but it works for what it is.  The shield is exactly the same as the other two.  Nothing new there.  The bayard is nice; he has a little trouble holding it, but once you get it secure it stays put alright.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I stumbled across this series at my local Walmart four months back, they only had one of each Paladin, and the Keith figure’s face looked like someone had stepped on it repeatedly, so he got left behind until I could find another one.  The problem was, I didn’t see anymore of this assortment for four months.  Somehow, this one Walmart was the only store to get these guys in stock, and just the one set at that.  Every so often, I stop by that Walmart, and I’d spot a Keith, and get all excited, only to discover it was that same messed up figure, every time.  It was discouraging to say the least, and I eventually just sort of gave up.  Just a week and a half ago, I was at Target looking for something completely unrelated, when I spotted this Keith…and no one else from the assortment.  It was weird, but I certainly wasn’t passing him up.  This figure certainly has its flaws, but I do enjoy him overall.  I eagerly await the release of the other two Paladins.

Incidentally, the messed up Keith figure was still there as of the day before this review was published.  I’m starting to feel a little sorry for the poor guy…

#1399: Daredevil

DAREDEVIL

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Blinded as a young boy and imbued with extraordinary senses, Matt Murdock fights injustice by day as a lawyer and by night as the Super Hero ‘Daredevil’”

This past Friday saw the release of The Defenders, Marvel’s big team-up series formed out of their four Netflix TV series.  It’s an event several years in the making, so it’s pretty cool to see it finally hit.  No doubt in an effort to tie-in with the show’s release, Hasbro has just put out their first series of Marvel Legends based around the four shows.  Earlier today, Super Awesome Girlfriend took a look at Punisher from that line, and I’ll be having a look at my personal favorite of the Defenders, Daredevil!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil is figure 1 in the “Man-Thing Series” of Marvel Legends. The series takes its cues from the “Marvel Knights” banner which has served as the basis of the shows so far.  The set’s made up of four show-based figures and two comic-based, with a comic-based Build-A-Figure.  Obviously, DD is one of the four show-based.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s got an all-new sculpt, based on Matt’s costume from the end of Daredevil Season 1/very beginning of Season 2 (the mask is the giveaway; it’s the original, more angular design).  The sculpt is 100% new to this figure, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see a lot of it turn up again in some capacity, should Hasbro decide to do a Season 2 version.  The sculpt is, surprisingly, a little bit of a mixed bag for me.  Given Hasbro’s recent track record, I was expecting them to knock this one out of the park, but they haven’t quite managed that.  As a whole, I’m happy with the work that’s been done.  The surface details are all great. The detail work on the costume is awesome; the texturing is top notch, and the details look to have been lifted right from the on-screen costume.  It’s the proportions of the figure that throw things off.  My biggest issue is with the shoulders, which just seem too far set out from the rest of the body, giving him this odd sort of tortilla chip thing.  They just always seem to be sitting slightly the wrong way.  The torso’s also a little flat, but my other main issue is with the head.  As with the rest of the body, the surface details are great, and he even has a decent resemblance to Charlie Cox…if Charlie Cox were a bit wider than he is in real life.  Not heftier, or fatter; just wider.  It honestly looks like the head got slightly squished.  Which is a shame, because if it were just a little slimmer, it’d be a spot-on sculpt.  As far as the paint work goes, DD is pretty decent overall.  The Netflix figures have the same printed faces seen with Ragnarok Loki.  For Matt, this is really just limited to the lower half of his face.  The printing on mine is actually slightly skewed to the left of his face, which makes him look just a tiny bit off.  It’s not terrible, but I did notice it upon close examination.  On a figure with more proper placement, I’m sure the details look great, though.  The rest of the figure is the traditional paint methods, which are fairly cleanly applied.  They did miss applying the black details to the front of his mask, around his eyes.  It’s not super awful looking (since the design of the cowl means that part of the mask catches shade naturally), but it does make me wonder if they were maybe working from the Season 2 design for the colors?  [EDIT: after looking through some images of the costume, it looks like the front of the mask was left unshaded in Season 1, and the black was added at the start of Season 2, making this figure definitively a Season 1 DD]  Matt is packed with his signature billy clubs (which are finally a new mold; thank you show accuracy!), as well as a pair of fists, and the head of the BAF Man-Thing.  I’m a little surprised by the lack of an extra head, either unmasked or Season 2, but I guess that might have been a bit much for a figure that was 100% new sculpt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been anxiously waiting for this figure pretty much since I finished Daredevil Season 1 back in 2015.  When he was finally announced, I was ecstatic.  While still on the look out for the freaking Homecoming Series (which I finally finished finding just yesterday), I ended up finding this guy and Punisher at Power Comics in Myrtle Beach.  He’s not perfect.  I was a little bummed about that, truth be told.  But, over the course of writing this review, I messed around with him some more, and I’m content with him.  Of course, now I’m tempted by the DST version coming later this year, to see if that one’s better…

#1189: Daredevil Season 1

MATT MURDOCK, FOGGY NELSON, WILSON FISK, & CLAIRE TEMPLE

MARVEL MINIMATES

ddseasonone1

For day 22 of my post-Christmas reviews, I’m heading back over to the world of Marvel Minimates.  Said Minimates are my first venture into the merchandising for Marvel’s widely successful Netflix shows.  The first (and in my opinion, the best) of those shows is based on Marvel’s resident Man Without Fear, Daredevil.  His show’s success took a lot of people by surprise, especially merchandisers, including DST, who had no plans for any Minimates from the show until well after it started streaming.  Fortunately, they picked up the license for the Netflix stuff last year, and have gotten to work offering some boxed sets, each based on one season of one of the shows.  Up first were Daredevil and Jessica Jones, the former of which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Matt, Foggy, Fisk, and Claire are all based on their Season 1 appearances on Daredevil. The set was released in November of last year.

MATT MURDOCK

ddseasonone3Up first, the show’s titular character.  Of course, the box only refers to him by his real identity of Matt Murdock.  It’s fitting, since this is his Season 1 prototype costume, and he hadn’t yet fully embraced the name until a ways into the season.  The costume is a departure from the usual red togs from the comics (or even his red and yellow first appearance costume, of which I am a huge fan), but it’s not without its roots in DD history, being inspired by both his prototype costume from Frank Miller’s Man Without Fear and his costume from his first live-action appearance in “The Trial of the Incredible Hulk” back in the ‘80s.  Matt is built on the usual Minimate body, with add-ons for his mask, belt, and leg holster.  All three add-on pieces are reused, with the mask coming from Iron Fist, the belt being a standard piece, and the holster being introduced with the Series 43 Daredevil.  All of the parts are good fits for his ddseasonone2on-screen design, and the costume translates to Minimate form exceptionally well.  While the paintwork is mostly just flat back, he does have a fully detailed torso, with subtle highlighting to show off his musculature, as well as the tiny bit of red piping on the shoulders.  Under the mask, there’s also a fully detailed Matt Murdock face, with a pretty solid likeness of Charlie Cox.  For his base look, DD includes his wooden eskrima sticks, given to him by…Stick, as well as the usual clear display stand.  He also includes a spare head, hair, torso, tie, suit jacket, hands, and walking stick, allowing you to turn him into a civilian version of Matt.  Supply your own arms and legs, and you’ve got yourself a whole second figure!

FOGGY NELSON

ddseasonone5Matt’s nothing without his law partner Franklin P. Nelson, better known as Foggy.  Foggy’s a pretty major part of Season 1 and the DD mythos as a whole, so his presence here isn’t a huge surprise. The ‘mate’s really just another guy in a suit, but that’s true to the character, so you can hardly blame DST there.  Foggy uses the same basic pieces as Matt’s alt look, as well as the hair from Series 39’s Thor, which is actually a better fit for Foggy than it was for Thor, if I’m honest.  The pieces add up to a decent enough Foggy, so that’s good.  Foggy’s paintwork is once again pretty basic, but the colors are rather unique, and everything is pretty cleanly done.  He’s packed with a briefcase and a tan messenger bag, as well as a clear display stand.  It might have been nice to get some extra shirt sleeves for him, since the pink is rather unique, but it’s not like he comes with nothing.

WILSON FISK

ddseasonone4Season 1 is as much an origin story for Wilson Fisk (better known in the comics as the Kingpin) as it is for Daredevil.  He’s the main antagonist for the whole season, and it would be silly to leave him out.  That being said…he’s really just another guy in a suit.  An important guy in a suit, but still.  He uses two add-ons: his coat/shirt and a waist riser piece to make him a bit taller.  He’s still lacks some of his show counterpart’s intimidation factor, but there’s only so much you can do, right?  The coat is re-used from 24’s Tony Almeida, and its a good fit for the types of suits he wore on the show.  Paint’s once again a lot of black, but he has a slight splash of dark blue for the shirt, as well as a pretty decent likeness of Vincent D’Onofrio as Fisk.  Fisk includes a clear display stand, and that’s it.

CLAIRE TEMPLE

ddseasonone6Effectively the Coulson of the Netflix shows (being the connective tissue that holds them all together), Claire Temple started out in the comics as a Luke Cage supporting character, which made her turning up in the first season of DD a slight surprise.  Her being in this set of Minimates is also a *slight* surprise, since there are a number of characters more prominent than her in the first season (Karen was held back for the Season 2 set, which is fine, but Ben’s another pivotal character still missing.  Of course, he would have been another guy in a suit, so…).  Of course, releasing her here frees up some space in the other sets, so I guess that’s good.  She’s seen here in her “Night Nurse” garb that she’s wearing when she and Matt interrogate a thug on the rooftop.  It’s probably the most visually interesting of her looks, so it’s a good choice.  In her basic layout, she has Lady Sif’s hair, which is a reasonably close match to Rosario Dawson’s hair in the show, and Amy’s hoody.  Her paintwork is a bit more exciting than the others, with like five whole colors.  The application’s all pretty clean, which is always good.  The likeness on the face is a passable Dawson likeness.  It’s maybe sits a tad too high on the headblock, but that’s my only real complaint.  She includes a knife and a clear display stand, as well as a pulled up hood, and an extra head and hands, so as to complete her disguised look from when she was interrogating the guy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was another Christmas present from my parents.  It’s a set I’ve been patiently waiting for, since I really loved DD Season 1.  I know I ragged on this set a bit for being guys in suits, but that’s more because guys in suits aren’t the most exciting things to review.  The actual figures are really a lot of fun, and this set is really worth it just for DD alone.  That guy’s definitely one of my new favorite ‘mates!