#3184: Alisha Hawthorne & Buzz Lightyear

ALISHA HAWTHORNE & BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

LIGHTYEAR: ALPHA CLASS (MATTEL)

For their summer offering this year, Pixar went back to the well that is Toy Story, but, having acknowledged that you can only wrap up the franchise’s loose ends so many times before you start to really see diminishing returns, they went a little bit different with things.  In the early 2000s, we got Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, a Saturday morning cartoon that was meant to be the in-universe Saturday morning cartoon that went with the Buzz Lightyear toy from the movies.  In 2022, Pixar asked the question: “what if the cartoon and the toy were both actually based on a movie?”  And then they went ahead and made that movie.  And there was much rejoicing.  No, the other thing.  There was a lot of complaining, actually.  Mostly by people who didn’t, you know, actually see the movie.  But, that’s just our culture at the moment, I guess.  I liked it.  I also bought some toys, because, well, that’s who I am.  And I enjoy the recursiveness of the toys based on a movie based on the toy from a movie, which was in-universe based on a movie.  It’s mind-boggling in just the best possible way.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Alisha Hawthorne and Buzz Lightyear are a Target-exclusive two-pack release, courtesy of Mattel’s Lightyear: Alpha Class line.  There are a handful of different scales in play for the tie-ins, with the Alpha Class stuff being on par with Mattel’s other collector-geared lines, though they’re still definitely toys.

ALISHA HAWTHORNE

Buzz’s partner at the beginning of the film, Alisha winds up getting a small but very integral to the plot role in the movie.  Over the course of about 20 minutes of the film, we see her live out pretty much her entire life as Buzz checks in with her between his light speed jumps.  This figure is based on her look from about the mid-point of things, when she’s established herself as the commanding officer of their station, and gets the fancy dress uniform to go along with that.  Barring the classic Space Ranger attire, it’s her most distinctive look, and it is very snazzy.  The figure stands just shy of 6 1/2 inches tall and she has 32 points of articulation.  Her movement is about the same as Mattel’s other collector lines, which is to say it’s actually pretty good.  They’re using pinless construction on the elbows and knees, so everything looks pretty slick.  The actual sculpt is unique to this release, and does a fairly respectable job of capturing Alisha’s design from the movie.  I quite like the way the hair turned out, and the uniform is nice and sharp.  Alisha’s paint work is pretty decently handled.  The base work is all very cleanly applied, and there’s some great small detail work on all of her ribbons and medals.  The eyes are perhaps a touch crazy looking, but I think that’s more an adaptation thing, just being one of those design elements that looks fine on screen but ever so slightly off on an actual physical object.  Alisha technically doesn’t really get any accessories, but, it’s honestly hard to say that with absolute certainty.  The stuff included all feels like it *should* go with the other figure, but there’s no reason you can’t share the load.  Product shots showed her with the knife, so I gave her that for the Wilson photo, just so she had something more to do.

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR

As the titular character of the film, Buzz gets a lot of looks over the course of the movie, and pretty much all of those got toys.  Obviously, they’re not going to stick his main Space Ranger gear in an exclusive two-pack, so that’s not what this one gets.  Instead, this one is sporting the suit he does his last jump in, which is what sends him into the film’s “current” time.  It’s kind of an interesting choice, since it means he doesn’t really match up with Alisha, who is out of the story by the time he dawns this gear.  That said, it’s the one he spends the second most time in, so it’s at least a pretty prominent one.  The figure stands just shy of 7 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme is very similar to Alisha’s, though he also gets a ball-jointed waist, which adds just a little more range to his posing.  The sculpt appears to be unique to this release.  It’s the only way thus far to get Buzz with the flight cap, so that’s cool and unique.  The detailing on the sculpt is generally pretty solid.  He’s definitely a good recreation of the animation model, and this particular look has a lot of cool intricate details to work with.  Some areas, notably the arms and legs, are a little softer on the detail work, but the overall look is pretty great.  Buzz’s paint work is fairly strong.  The base work is nice and clean, and the level of work on the small printing and insignias is particularly impressive.  Buzz is packed with his removable helmet, a rifle, the warp crystal in its case, an upgraded version of the IVAN autopilot, his portable computer (with closing lid), and a laser knife.  It’s a great selection of extras, and none of them feel phoned in at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Toy Story was my first movie in the theatre, so I definitely have more than a small attachment to the franchise.  As faithful readers will have no doubt picked up from the Matty’s Corner entry about some of the basic figures, I took my son Matthew to see the movie when it was released.  He, unsurprisingly, wanted toys, so I took him to pick out a few.  At the same time, I saw this set, and it really spoke to me.  It was also on sale.  Win-win.  It’s a really great set.  Both figures are really strong, but honestly, the Buzz just really steals the show for me.  The detailing, both in terms of sculpt and paint, as well as the accessories, just really put the whole thing over the top.

Matty’s Corner #0001: Space Ranger Alpha Buzz Lightyear & Jr Zap Patrol Mo Morrison

SPACE RANGER ALPA BUZZ LIGHTYEAR & JR ZAP PATROL MO MORRISON

LIGHTYEAR (MATTEL)

Hi, Ethan here!  Welcome to Matthew’s Corner, where I’m collecting the mad ramblings of my 6 year old Matthew, who also likes to talk about action figures.  What can I say, I’m sympathetic to his need to ramble about action figures.  So, I’m just gonna let him take it away…though, for what it’s worth, I’m still transcribing for him.

Hello.  It’s Matthew again!  Just a reminder: this is not my website.  This is Ethan’s website.  My dad owns this website.  I don’t know what to say now.  Chonkuta kun chot.  [At this point he broke down into mad laughter–Ethan].  I love the Buzz Lightyear movie.  Whoa.  I can always engage with my mouse protocol.  Lifeforms detected.  Meow Meow Meow Meow. [He’s just quoting his talking Sox toy at this point]  Sorry, I’m back to normal.  I was just doing something that the movie said.  I have a stuffed animal.  His name is Sox.  If you see Lightyear, you would see Sox.  He’s a cat.  But I want to talk about the action figures.  I have Buzz Lightyear and Mo!  If you know who they are, then you may have watched the movie.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

I’m gonna talk everything about Mo.  Mo is the guy with a blue hat.  He is a weird guy and he thinks sandwiches go “Meat, bread, meat.”  Mo has 20 joints of articulation total.  I like Mo a little bit.  I like that the figure actually comes with the hat.  I usually put it on him often in most of the poses I do.  I like the paint, I like the sculpt, I like the pieces.  I don’t like how his face looks.  It just looks weird.  He feels good.  Moving on!

To Buzz Lightyear!  Woo! Woo! Woo!  My figure can glow in the dark.  He’s a really cool figure.  He has 20 total joints of articulation.  I like Buzz Lightyear.  I like the figure.  It feels good.  I like the paint.  I like the sculpting.  He comes with a gun and his hat.  And he likes Mo.  They are best friends.  I like that they made the action figure smile.  It’s really cool that he’s looking like he’s happy.

THE MATTHEW HALF OF THE EQUATION

My best friend Ethan got my figures for me.  He’s my best buddy ever.  He picked these two out for me.  The characters I liked almost the best in the movie.  I like Sox the best of all, but they didn’t have Sox at the store.  I got the figures from Target.  I like the figures overall.  There are more.  Maybe I can review them next time.  I don’t know.  Please don’t be shy.  Look at this website.  Talk back.  Do everything you can to see the website.  Good bye!  Have a good day!

#1481: Dash

DASH

THE INCREDIBLES (DISNEY)

Next June will see the release of the highly anticipated sequel to Pixar’s smash-hit super hero movie The Incredibles, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  The original is hands down my favorite Pixar offering, and I can’t wait to see more of that.  I’m also hoping this means more toys, because, while the first film got a few at the time of its release, most of them were rather lacking.  I’ve always felt that Disney’s in-house offerings were the best of the bunch, offering not only the best selection of characters from the film, but also the best overall action figures.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at the Dash figure from that line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like his father, who I reviewed just a few months back, Dash was one of the six figures in the first assortment of Disney Store-exclusive The Incredibles figures.  He’s seen here in his standard super-hero-ing attire, which he’s sporting for most of the film’s important action sequences.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  Slightly less articulation than his dad (and he’s not really going to be pulling off any running poses), but on the flip-side he has a much easier time standing, and that’s certainly a plus. The scaling on Dash is a little off. He’s way too large when compared to the rest of the line’s figures.  Like, he’s just a good inch too big.  But, on top of that, he’s not even particularly consistent *internally* either.  His head’s probably about twice the size it should be.  Sure, he’s got a big head, but not that big.  Beyond that, his sculpt is actually a pretty solid recreation of his design from the film.  The head has a great recreation of his constant grin from the movie, and they’ve done a great job actually making the hair work.  His paintwork is on par with his dad’s; the costume is mostly just basic work, but there’s some rather nice accenting on the face and hair.  I did have a rather annoying issue with his gloves chipping, which was rather odd, since his boots never suffered from the same issue.  Dash also has the light-up feature on his insignia, which throws off the color scheme of that section a slight bit, and is an odd design choice all around.  But hey, at least it’s consistent, I guess.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being clued into the existence of these figures by my friend Cindy Woods (back when they were still new, of course), Dash was actually the very first one of them that I got.  My parents made a special trip to the mall just to get him for me, and everything.  He’s perhaps not one of the greatest figures ever, and he’s got some definite flaws, but he’s also still the best version of Dash on the market, and that’s certainly worth something.

#1321: Mr. Incredible

MR. INCREDIBLE

THE INCREDIBLES (DISNEY)

The Fantastic Four were once Marvel’s premier property, but for some reason, after four feature films (one un-released), Hollywood still can’t figure out how to make them work on the big screen.  Why am I mentioning this at the head of a non-Fantastic Four review?  Because there’s actually a pretty awesome Fantastic Four movie out there, it’s just named The Incredibles.  Why Fox didn’t look at that movie and immediately tap Brad Bird to helm their first FF film is beyond me.  Incredibles had a mass-market line of action figures from Hasbro which were, well, let’s be charitable and say “underwhelming.”  The real cool stuff came from the House of Mouse themselves.  I’ll be looking at one of those figures today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr. Incredible was one of the six figures offered in the initial assortment of the Disney Store-exclusive The Incredibles line.  This figure depicts Bob in his “modern” costume, which is the one that matches up with the rest of the family (and also looks the most like the classic FF costumes as well).  The figure stands about 7 1/2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  There aren’t a ton of poses you can get out of him, but he’s certainly more posable than the mass-release equivalent, and you can get a few decent poses out of him.  The real trick is finding a pose where he stays balanced; he falls over a lot, thanks to this tiny little feet.  In the figure’s defense, though, that’s true to the movie’s design.  Any figure that faithfully recreates it’s gonna have this issue.  The sculpt is a really good recreation of the animation models from the movie; there are a few compromises here and there to add articulation and such, but it stays pretty true.  In particular, the head is really spot-on, and even captures his confident, ever so slight grin he sported during many of the film’s action pieces, as well as his slightly receding hairline.  The paint work is pretty solid for the era; it’s mostly pretty basic work, but there’s a some slight accenting on the face, and I really like the super glossy boots and gloves.  The only slight inaccuracy is on the coloring of the insignia, which should really match the belt.  It is instead a dark transparent yellow, in order to facilitate the figure’s one main action feature. When pressed, the insignia lights up.  While part of the insignia lights up in the film when Bob is being tracked, it’s totally different than how it’s handled here.  Not really sure why they went that way, but fair enough.  The figure was packed with a weird Incredibles right, not intended for the actual figure, of course.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After seeing The Incredibles, I was fully intending to pick up the Hasbro offerings, as lackluster as they may have been.  Fortunately, my friend Cindy Woods clued me in on the Disney Exclusive offerings and how much better they were.  Mr. Incredible himself was a Christmas gift from my parents (along with several other figures from the line).  He’s actually a pretty awesome figure, and still holds up pretty decently, even after all this time!

#1285: Water Patrol Woody

WATER PATROL WOODY

TOY STORY 2 (MATTEL)

As a action figure collector that grew up in the ‘90s, it was nigh impossible that I would run this site and not ever touch on Toy Story.  What’s a bit surprising is just how long it took for me to get here.  Moreover, I’m kind of starting at an odd point.  The toys for the first film in the franchise sort of came and went.  It was the ‘90s, so every movie was getting toys.  This one was no exception, obviously.  But, aside from some serious scarcity of a few choice items, it was a fairly standard line.  When it came time for the sequel, things got a little weirder.  Which is admittedly a bit of a surprise, since the first film hit in the mid ‘90s, when action figures were at probably their weirdest, while the second film hit in ’99, when things were cooling down.  The first film’s toys were done by the relatively unknown Thinkway Toys (who actually have the license again), but for the second movie, Disney partnered up with Mattel to secure Barbie for the film.  Part of the deal was that Mattel got to make the action figures.  They released some fairly straightforward versions of most of the main characters, but after the main movie stuff was mostly through, they launched a few sub-lines, showcasing non-film variants of the main characters.  I’ll be looking at one of the variants of Woody today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Water Patrol Woody was released in the “Aqua Action” sub-line of Mattel’s Toy Story 2 tie-in.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and has…movement.  I don’t know that I’d classify the movement as “articulation.”  Thanks to the non-removable head dome, there’s no movement at the neck, and his arms and legs are just a rubber mold over a wire.  So, he’s posable in theory, I guess. The figure sports a totally made-up design, just like all the other figures in this particular series.  It’s supposed to be a dive suit, I guess.  I personally always thought it looked more like a space suit, but I guess there’s an old dive suit quality about it.  It’s not a bad design.  It keeps the important elements of Woody’s main design (the hat, belt/holster, and boots), but also crafts a pretty solid protective suit for him.  The head’s a little odd; Mattel’s Woody likeness was never quite as good as others, and the hat had to she shrunk to fit inside the helmet.  I personally would think it would make sense for him to lose the hat all together, but I’ve been told in the past that I’m not good with “brand identity” so what do I know?  At the end of the day, the head’s close enough that you should be able to pick up on who this is supposed to be.  It’s worth noting that despite being clearly engineered for water play, Woody’s helmet was far from air-tight; more than once, this figure ended up with a full helmet of water, followed by a day or two with a fogged up helmet while the condensation cleared.  It was rather frustrating to 8-year old me.  In terms of paint, this guy’s pretty decent from a technical standpoint, but I can’t help but feel that Mattel chose the dullest possible color scheme for him.  Ooooh, varying shades of brown.  Such fun!  Couldn’t we have at least gotten some of Woody’s regular colors worked in here and there?  A little blue and yellow would have gone a long way.  Woody’s one accessory was a “Quick Draw Squirter” which sounds a little bit…off.  I’m also not sure what constitutes it being “Quick Draw.”  He just stands on it.  Wait, it’s always out.  The quickest draw of them all!  That’s it!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Water Patrol was a gift I got for my eighth birthday.  I’m not 100% sure who gave him to me, but if I had to guess, I’d say it was either my Nana or my cousin Rusty.  It feels like a “mom’s side of the family” gift.  While that was the year of me being largely obsessed with the then recent X-Men Movie figures, I know that Woody was a figure I had specifically requested.  I was on a Buzz Lightyear of Star Command kick at the time, and I wanted this Woody figure because he looked like he was in a space suit, and therefore made sense with all of my Star Command figures.  Even as a kid, I didn’t really buy him as a Water figure.  He’s not the most exciting figure of all time, but he amused me as a kid, and that’s the most important thing, really.