#2657: Bumblebee

BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

Despite his prominent placement in the franchise as a whole and in the tie-in media for the War For Cybertron Trilogy, mainstay Autobot Bumblebee has been completely absent from the main line for the first two parts of said trilogy.  It’s been a weird, almost gnawing omission, since we got Cliffjumper and a handful of other Bee-esque molds throughout the year, and he’s also had a fairly sizable role in Netflix’s tie-in animation.  Eventually, he surfaced, but rather than being a mainline release, he’s instead part of the previously repaints-only Walmart tie-in line for the animation.  Oh joy, another Walmart exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Bumblebee is part of the second round of Walmart’s War For Cybertron Trilogy line, and is part of the five piece deluxe-class assortment, alongside three repaints, and the similarly new offering of Elita-1.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands 4 inches tall and has 22 workable points of articulation.  In theory, he’s based on the cartoon, but…well, he’s not.  Bumblebee had no Siege figure, so while many of the characters featured in the cartoon used direct copies of the original CAD files, Bumblebee was an all new model created for the cartoon.  These two designs are certainly drawing from the same source (G1 Animation Bumblebee), but a spitting image of his cartoon counterpart, he is not.  Structurally, this figure is, as expected a re-tool of the Cliffjumper mold from early last year.  It was probably my favorite mold to come out of Earthrise, so it’s definitely a good starting point.  He gets a different head (shared with Bug Bite, but obviously designed for Bee), as well as new parts for his mid-section and feet.  Why the new parts for the mid-section and feet?  That’s because…

…he also gets a new alt-mode!  While Bug Bite and Hubcap both shared Cliffjumper’s generic sports car alt-mode, Bumblebee gets his exterior pieces replaced, allowing him to transform into an authentic, fully-licensed Volkswagon Beetle.  The general transformation sequence is the same as all prior uses of the CJ mold, so there’s still that little touch of parts-forming required with the back of the car, but I still really don’t mind.  It’s a decent transformation sequence, and ultimately it results in quite a nice alt-mode for the figure.  It’s clean, it holds together well, and it’s undeniably a Beetle.  It also means that Bee stands out a bit from the other uses of this mold, which feels appropriate for him.  Bumblebee gets the same accessory selection as all prior uses of the mold: the modular cannon thing.  It’s in the same colors as Cliffjumper’s.  It’s a fun piece, and adds a lot of variety to the figure, so I don’t mind getting it again.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, I, like a lot of people, have been waiting for a proper Bumblebee in this line since Siege launched.  Simply put, it’s stupid that they opted to make him a Walmart-exclusive, because it guarantees that he’s going the be hard to find and go for stupid amounts of money on the aftermarket.  They really need to stop making core looks exclusives, especially to Walmart.  Hopefully, the plethora of fiascos revolving around these exclusives in the last year will get Hasbro to ease up on them a bit moving forward.  As I’ve said on a lot of these exclusives, I hope that Hasbro finds a way to make these more readily available so that more people can get them, because Bumblebee is a very nice figure, and goes very well with the rest of the standard line.  Also, a shout out to Max for setting me up with this figure, so that I could, actually, you know, have him.  That was super dope.

#2628: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

Oh man, was my last Soundwave review on the site really Bayverse?  Yikes, I can’t let that stick.  I mean, at least he wasn’t some stupid sports car or something, but still.  Okay, let’s got extra, primo classic with this one then, I guess.

This summer, Netflix dropped a new Transformers cartoon, based on Hasbro’s currently running War For Cybertron trilogy of toy lines.  Hasbro corresponded with a set of Walmart-exclusive re-decos of some of their figures, making them a bit more show accurate.  With the show’s second part, Earthrise, upon us, Hasbro’s doing something a little different, and actually using this exclusive line to do some slightly reworked sculpts.  In the case of today’s Soundwave, that means he actually gets an earth mode this time.  Gee, I wonder what it might be?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is part of the second assortment of Walmart’s War For Cybertron Trilogy line.  He’s one of two Voyager class offerings this round, with the other being Optimus Prime.  In his robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 niches tall and he has 25 workable points of articulation.  As I touched on in the intro, some of the second assortment figures got some new tooling, and Soundwave is included there.  He’s got quite a few parts in common with his Siege counterpart, including the head, forearms, hands, feet, and parts of his pelvis.  I was a little bummed that the forearms were kept the same, since they were one of my only complaints about the original, but I guess they had to draw the line somewhere.  Additionally, much of the inner workings of this figure, notably the articulation, are shared between the two.  Siege Soundwave is a very nice figure in his own right, and very strong recreation of his G1 bot mode, so keeping a lot of the parts is fine by me.  The new pieces are largely just about changing up some surface level details.  Some of the more greebly bits are removed from the arms and legs, and he’s generally just made cleaner and sleeker, bringing him a little closer to his original design.  The biggest changes occur on the torso, which is a little wider hand has a slightly different construction at a few spots, as well as removing a number of the moving parts from the Siege mold.  The reasoning behind this change comes more into play in the next section.

Boom, here we are in the next section, where we discuss the figure’s alt-mode.  Since the ‘80s, Soundwave figures have had to deal with the question of what to do for an alt-mode for a guy who turns into out of date tech.  The Siege figure gave him a weird sort of dropship mode, which I didn’t hate, but I also didn’t love.  This release just decides to not even try and come up with a more up-to-date mode, so he once again turns into a cassette player.  The new torso has been designed to help facilitate this change more fully, and ultimately his transformation scheme isn’t too far removed from the vintage figure.  There are a few more moving parts, and the end product’s a touch more fiddly, but it’s overall a set-up that works.  In addition to the new alt-mode, Soundwave also gets a new, much cleaner and bolder paint scheme than the Siege release.  No silver paint this time, or at least no silver paint where his basic design doesn’t call for it.  He’s got all the silver paint he’s *supposed* to have.  Soundwave is packed with the shoulder and hand cannons that were included with the Siege release, as well as is gun that folds into a staff.  Additionally, he comes with Laserbeak and Ravage packed right in this time, instead of them being separate releases.  Both figures get new decos to make them look a bit more like actual tapes (with Ravage’s being the one that really sells it), and Laserbeak also gets a new more Earth-y bird head, which I really like.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like so many Transformers before him, this figure is Max’s fault.  Well, okay, it’s mostly Hasbro’s fault, since they, you know, made it.  But Max showed me the original leaked photos, and let me know it was a Walmart exclusive, and ultimately hooked me up with this one I’m reviewing here.  I love the Siege figure, but I didn’t love his alt-mode.  This figure fixes that, and also just makes for a slightly cleaner robot mode.  I like that a lot.  I don’t know that I’d say he’s definitively better than the Siege release, but I do really like the adjustments made here.  He’s definitely a good Soundwave.

#2068: Daredevil – Vigilante Edition

DAREDEVIL — VIGILANTE EDITION

ONE:12 COLLECTIVE (MEZCO)

Of the assortment of Netflix-original Marvel series, there’s always been a clear winner for me: Daredevil.  While I’ll admit there was a slight stumble in the back half of the show’s second season, season three was a very strong finish, resulting in a very solid all-around show, and one that was far more even than everything else from the Marvel-Netflix partnership.  Merchandise was a little sparse for all of the shows, but Daredevil made out the best, with at least one figure from all of the main holders of the Marvel license.  This included Mezco, who actually put together two different variants of the main character.  I’ll be looking at his Season 1 garb today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Daredevil — Vigilante Edition was available as a Mezco Store-exclusive, as part of their over-arching One:12 Collective line, and starting heading to collectors in tandem with his main release counterpart at the beginning of the month.  As I touched on in the intro, this figure is based on Matt’s prototype costume from the first season of the show, and is in a roundabout way fairly similar to his Season 3 attire as well (though not a pitch-perfect match).  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has over 30 points of articulation.

As with most One:12 figures, Daredevil is packed with two different heads.  The one he comes wearing is pretty standard, masked and with a fairly neutral expression.  It does a respectable job of capturing Charlie Cox’s likeness for what we can see of the face, and the mask is sculpted with texture to match the real thing (especially important on a figure such as this, where it’s mixed media).  The joint is at the base of the neck, which means its essentially hidden.  It’s a decent choice from an aesthetic standpoint, though I did find it to be slightly limiting on the posing front.  Not terribly so, of course, and there’s still a lot of natural-looking poses you can get him into without issues.  The paintwork on the head is a decent piece of work.  The mask is just a straight black, but there’s some quite subtle, quite lifelike work on the lower half of the face.  The second head is quite similar to the first, still being masked, but this time Matt’s just a little bit worse for wear.  His expression is a little more pained, with his mouth open and his teeth exposed, as if he’s grimacing to hold back some of that paint.  To match the more beaten expression, the paint also adds in a little bit of blood.  While I was a little bummed there was no fully unmasked head featured (or possibly even the mask with the white lining from Season 3), Matt get’s the snot beaten out of him frequently enough in Season 1 that this is a sensible choice of extra.  I just wish there were some way to showcase the battle damage on the rest of the figure.

Speaking about the rest of the figure, let’s talk about that now, shall we?  Daredevil is built on a body that’s smaller than any of the other figure’s I’ve looked at, which makes sense, since Charlie Cox isn’t a huge guy.  It’s definitely a good fit, it’s well-articulated, and it looks suitably realistic under the costume.  Said costume is made up of his shirt and pants (actually a jumpsuit type thing masquerading as two separate garments), a plastic belt, holster for his eskrima sticks, and a pair of sculpted boots.  It’s a good match for his hastily thrown together appearance from Season 1, and I do appreciate that they remembered details like the red piping on his shoulders and the slight bit of extra padding on his lower arms.  The only thing that bugged me a bit was the printed white line on each side of the pants, clearly meant to represent a zippered pocket.  Obviously, a zipper’s virtually impossible to get right at this scale, but I honestly think I’d have preferred they’d just left the detail off entirely.  As it is, it kind of takes me out of the figure a little bit.

Daredevil includes a decent selection of extras, but definitely one that’s scaled back a bit from other offerings.  He has three pairs of hands (relaxed, gripping, and fists), his eskrima sticks, and a display stand with the Daredevil logo on it. It covers the basics, but not much else.  The hands are certainly useful, but I would have liked some more display options, such as the wrapped hands from later in the season, or some parts to turn him into a Season 3 DD.

It’s not often that I touch on the packaging for my figures, but I like DD’s enough to give it a mention.  It’s a little smaller than the average One:12 box, and in place of the usual product images on the back, there’s a rather nice illustration, based on Season 3 of the show.  It makes for a very nice backdrop for the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I love Daredevil, especially the first season, and the prototype costume is definitely a favorite look of mine.  I was a little bummed that both DST and Hasbro passed over it, and I was less than thrilled by their final figures, so I was definitely looking for something else to be my TV Daredevil.  When this figure was show off, I really wanted one, but I missed out on him on the Mezco store.  I jumped on the waitlist, but honestly wasn’t expecting much.  I was quite happy when it coverted, and even happier when he shipped.  I like a lot about this figure, and he’s definitely my favorite version of the show’s take on the character.  I do feel he was a little pricey for what you get, and were he any other character, I’d probably have passed.  Still, he’s a very nice figure, and a very nice addition to my collection.

#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.

#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…

#1446: Shiro

SHIRO

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

“Captured by the Galra, Shiro was experimented upon before he was able to escape to Earth.  He returned with vital information to lead Team Voltron against his former captors.  Calm, thoughtful and wise beyond his 25 years, it takes more than a fleet of Galra cruisers to get a rise out of Shiro.”

Hey, more Voltron!  Alrighty then!  So, in the original Voltron and most off-shoots, the main five pilots are Keith, Lance, Hunk, Pidge, and Allura.  Allura, of course, is actually a replacement for the Blue Lion’s original pilot, Sven.  For the reboot, they’ve decided to mix things up a bit, changing Sven’s name back to Shiro (as it was in the original Go-Lion) and placing him as the team’s leader….at least at the start.  It’s complicated.  As Sven, he’s only had one figure before, and I missed that one, so this one’s actually a pretty big deal.  So, let’s have a look at the latest figure of Shiro, the Black Paladin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Shiro is another figure from the second series of basic Voltron: Legendary Defender figures, as Paladin two of three.  The figure stands a little taller than Lance at 4 3/4 inches tall and he’s got 20 points of articulation.  Shiro is sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s totally unique from Lance, but definitely shares a common ancestry.  It looks about the same, just at a larger scale.  He’s got a totally different head, of course.  It’s okay, but I don’t think I like it quite as much as Lance’s.  It’s not entirely Playmates’ fault, though; Shiro’s design is more subtle and less exaggerated than Lance’s, which means it takes less flaws to throw off the whole look.  It’s also not helped by the really thin neck on the torso, which just sort of throws things off.  Still, it’s not an awful attempt.  Shiro’s paintwork isn’t that much different from Lance’s, just swapping in black for the blue.  This makes it a little less vibrant than Lance, and by extension a little less exciting.  He’s got a touch more slop, with an especially notable blob of flesh tone on the back of his hair.  I’m also not 100% sold on how the eyes and eyebrows have been placed; they don’t quite look like they line up with the sculpt.  Shiro includes his helmet and shield, which are the same as the ones included with Lance.  The shield is fine, but the helmet doesn’t sit quite as well as it does on Lance’s head, so it’s not getting much use from me.  Since the Black Paladin Bayard wasn’t available to Shiro, he instead gets a swappable right hand, showcasing his bionic hand’s energy ability.  I would have liked the hand to be transparent, but it’s still cool enough.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Shiro came from the same trip to Walmart that got me Lance.  I had high hopes for this figure, since I missed out on the Mattel Sven figure.  He was the first figure I opened, and I will admit, I was a tad disappointed with him.  He just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  That being said, after messing around with him and Lance for a week or so, my opinion of both figures definitely improved.  Sure, they could be a bit better, but I’m still very happy with these figures.

#1448: Lance

LANCE

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

“Lance is all about having fun, even a million miles away from Earth’s comforts and distractions.  Full of confidence and even more full of himself, Lance thinks he’s everyone’s best friend, especially if they’re cute and female.  And while his cockiness often gets the better of him, he always comes through a fire fight.”

Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender has steadily become one of my favorite shows to watch.  Its third season dropped a month or so back, and was rather brief, but contained some of my favorite moments from the show to date.  Season 4 is supposed to hit at the end of this month, and I’m pretty excited to sit down and watch it.  Playmates picked up the license to Voltron back at the beginning of the year, and they’re finally get around to releasing the show’s five main Paladin heroes…well, some of them anyway.  Today, I’m taking a look at Lance, the Blue Paladin!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Lance is part of the second series of basic Voltron: Legendary Defender figures.  He’s the first of the three Paladins offered this time around.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 19 points of articulation.  As far as scaling, these guys certainly won’t be fitting in with any of the prior Voltron lines, but I can’t say I mind the size.  They should look okay with stuff like Playmates’ TMNT line and similarly scaled items.  The sculpt is all-new to this figure, and it’s a fairly decent one.  The articulation could perhaps stand to be worked in a little bit better, but it’s far from the most archaic configuration I’ve seen on a modern day figure.  Lance’s design has been tweaked ever so slightly to make it work a little bit better in three dimensions.  The head maintains the most accuracy, and does a fairly respectable job of capturing Lance’s likeness.  The body is decent enough. The major details are all there and pretty accurate.  It’s mostly the proportions that are different; they’re a little on the clunkier side than in the show.  Still, it’s a solid piece of work, and definitely shows improvement over the Series 1 figures.  In terms of paint, Lance is overall pretty decent.  There’s some slight slop here and there, and the whites of his eyes in particular seem to be a lot bigger than they really should be going by the sculpt.  That being said, all of the colors are rather vibrant, and he looks quite spiffy.  Lance is packed with his bayard in blaster form, his energy shield, and his helmet.  Both the blaster and shield are nice pieces, and he hand hold them well enough.  The helmet sits alright, but is definitely too bulky; I feel an alternate head might have been the better way of handling it.  Still, it’s better than I’d expected.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been patiently waiting for the Paladins ever since Series 1 hit back in January.  They’ve sure taken their sweet time getting here.  I ended up coming across Lance, Shiro, and Keith almost entirely by accident at my local Walmart.  They only had one of each, and Keith’s face was all messed up, so only Lance and Shiro got brought home.  I’m quite happy with this figure.  Sure, there are a few things they could probably change, but for $10, this is a solid toy.

#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…