#1827: Donatello

DONATELLO

RISE OF THE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (PLAYMATES)

Donatello is the coolest tech wiz ever!  Being a soft-shell turtle may be a drawback in the ninja world, but with his series of battle shells and transforming bo staffs, Donnie can take on any foe!”

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are in a near constant state of reboot, and have been pretty much since they began.  Their ‘80s cartoon served to retool the comics, and was itself followed closely by the movies, which were then followed by The Next Mutation.  The less said about that the better.  With all that in mind, there’s traditionally at least some form of grace period between incarnations.  The latest reboot, dubbed Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, broke that pattern, being announced six months before its predecessor had even finished airing.  It’s still being met with some mixed reception because of that, but time will tell how it’s ultimately received.  The toys have just started hitting retail, and, like always, I’ve picked up the newest Donatello.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Donatello is part of the first basic series of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures.  He’s based on Donatello’s brand-new look from the new show.  It seems to take a little bit of influence from the recent movie designs, as well as keeping up with the 2012 show’s skinnier Donnie design.  While I’m still not 100% sold on the new designs in the actual show, I must admit, they seem to translate pretty darn well into toys.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  He’s definitely the most posable Turtle I’ve ever gotten from Playmates, rivaling the NECA releases in that regard.  He’s still got a few areas where they could improve, but at this price point, joint layout is definitely a pleasant surprise.  The sculpt is clean, sharply detailed, and about as faithful as you’re going to get in the transition from 2D to 3D.  The shell and belt are separate pieces from the main body, as has become the common practice on the more recent turtles.  He’s also got his removable exo-shell, which slots well into place.  Like the sculpt, Donnie’s paint is clean and sharp.  There’s not a ton of detail, but what’s there looks nice, and he’s certainly bright and eye-catching, especially when compared to the 2012 and movie figures.  He’s got pupils in his eyes, which is accurate to the cartoon, of course, but also notable because the first round of Turtles from any given incarnation are usually pupilless.  Not sure what changed this time.  While I’m topically not a fan of the pupils, they actually don’t bug me as much here as I thought they might.  For accessories, Don is packed with two different versions of his new and improved Tech-Bo, a pair of throwing stars, and a backpack piece, which is apparently Donnie’s battle drone Sheldon.  That’s adorable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the 2012 series launched, I went all-in on the initial figures, and really enjoyed them.  And I enjoyed the first season of the show quite a bit too.  Then I fell out of watching it, and just sort of forgot about the whole thing.  When the reboot was announced, I wasn’t really sold, but then, I’m really only a minor TMNT fan anyway.  With the new toys hitting, I figured I’d at least pick up Donnie, since he’s always been my favorite, and I did want to give the new line its fair shake.  I have to say, this figure really surprised me.  He’s very nicely done, and I can see myself possibly tracking down some of the others.  I hope Playmates keeps the momentum going.

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#1809: Radioactive Man & Fallout Boy

RADIOACTIVE MAN & FALLOUT BOY (w/ LUNAR BASE)

WORLD OF SPRINGFIELD (PLAYMATES)

Though their main claims to fame may be Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Star Trek, I think Playmates’ most impressive success story comes in the form of their Simpsons toys.  Sure, the show was at the top of pretty much everyone’s lists back in the mid-90s, but it’s a series about “normal” people, and it runs on like 90% pop culture references, which can be a real licensing nightmare.  Nevertheless, Playmates made a real impression on the toy market, producing over 200 figures and more than 20 playsets to go with them.  Today, I look at one of the playsets, though certainly one on the smaller side, with Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy, packed with the Lunar Base!

THE SET ITSELF

The Lunar Base with Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy was released in October of 2001, as an Electronics Boutique-exclusive offering from Playmates’ World of Springfield line. 

Where most such sets had the primary focus on the actual playset part of the thing, the Lunar Base is far more low key.  It’s really just a small chunk of Moon, with a transparent green banner that says “RADIOACTIVE MAN.”  Unlike other sets, which were designed to interact with other figures, this one’s really just designed for its two included figures, and subsequently it only has two spots, as opposed to the usual three.  The sculpted details on the set are actually pretty great, as are the painted accents; they really make it look like a chunk of rock.  The set included a flag, a script, and a bottle of acid (though only the flag is seen here).  Compared to other playsets, the talking feature is much less of a selling point for this one.  It’s only got seven available lines of dialogue between the two included figures, and isn’t compatible with the rest of the line.

RADIOACTIVE MAN

Not to be confused with the Marvel supervillain, this guy’s the real selling point of the set.  Radioactive Man is a fairly recurrent fixture in The Simpsons, and is seen here as portrayed by Rainier Wolfcastle in the eponymous “Radioactive Man” episode.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has the same 4 points of articulation that every other figure in the line had.  His rigid stature means he’s not really built for much outside of a standing pose, though that was kind of true for most of the line.  The sculpt is reasonably close to his animated counterpart, though I think Wolfcastle is one of those characters who has a little bit of trouble making the jump to three dimensions.  Radioactive Man’s paintwork is bright and clean, which are definitely the two most important things for the character.  His eyes are just the slightest bit off-center, though.  Don’t know if that’s just limited to this figure, or if it was a line-wide thing.  Overall, a pretty solid offering, though.

FALLOUT BOY

Not to be confused with the musical group,  Fallout Boy is the Robin to Radioactive Man’s Batman.  And, like in the episode “Radioactive Man,” he’s portrayed here by series regular Millhouse.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 4 points of articulation.  Like Bart before him, Fallout Boy isn’t really properly scaled to the adults in the line, due to the need to work in the talking feature, resulting in a slight upscaling.  The original Millhouse release was the same way, so its not really a surprise he was done in this same fashion for this figure.  Like Radioactive Man, he’s really only good for a basic standing pose.  Perhaps something more action oriented might have been cool to mix up this set a little bit, but the basic standing thing was definitely the line’s style, and you wouldn’t want to break from it too much.  Millhouse seems to be more accurate to the source material than Radioactive Man.  He may be helped slightly by the larger size, but I’d guess he’s also helped by Millhouse’s comparatively more cartoony design.  Like the standard Millhouse, this figure’s glasses are a separate piece, glued in place; you can even make out his eyes squinting beneath the lenses, which is a cool touch.  Fallout Boy’s paintwork is bright and clean, just like Radioactive Man’s.  The blue and green is a nice combo, and contrasts well with the red of Radioactive Man.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted back when I reviewed Bart’s Treehouse, despite its heavy presence at retail around me back when it was new, I never really got into the World of Springfield line, due mostly to me not being super into The Simpsons.  I vividly remember seeing every assortment pop-up in ToyFare, however, and I remember eyeing this set up.  What can I say, I’m an easy mark when it comes to super heroes.  Though it doesn’t have the surprise wow factor of the Treehouse, I do think this set makes for a pretty nifty display piece, if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for.

This set was loaned to me for review by All Time Toys, and is available for purchase via their eBay store.  If you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#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…

#1513: Rowen

ROWEN

RONIN WARRIORS (PLAYMATES)

Hey, remember when I was talkin’ ‘bout Ronin Warriors?  That was pretty cool, right?  Well, guess what!  I gonna talk about them again!  Alright!  Last time, I looked at Cye, the Ronin Warrior of trust, who was a blue guy.  Today, I’ll be looking at Rowen, the Warrior of Life Force, who’s…another blue guy.  Aw man, they got the same color, this is so embarrassing…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like Cye, Rowen was part the basic assortment of Ronin Warriors figures, which were available and in steady production for a good part of the ‘90s.  The figure’s roughly 6 inches in height and has 14 points of articulation.  From the neck down, Rowen’s sculpt is completely identical to that of Cye, for good and for bad.  This means he’s got the same slightly odd articulation scheme, and the same very bulky construction, which is a little off from how the characters were depicted on the show.  That being said, they were all depicted as being roughly the same size on the show, so at least the line was internally consistent.  Rowen gets a unique head sculpt, which is a pretty decent piece.  It’s stylistically very similar to Cye’s, which I suppose is a good thing.  I will say his hair ends up noticeably less matted to the sides, and in general the head looks less tiny in comparison to the overall body, both of which are minor improvements over Cye.  Rowen had 11 snap-on armor pieces, which are unique to him, but still in keeping stylistically with the rest of the line.  They do add some more bulk to the body, which perhaps isn’t the best direction for the already overly bulked up figure, but it could certainly be worse.  My figure is missing a couple of his armor pieces, most noticeably his helmet, which is a little sad, but he’s still got most of it.  The paintwork on Rowen is decent enough to be passable.  There’s not any particularly stand-out work or anything, but everything seems pretty clean and all.  Like the rest of the Ronin Warriors, Rowen was originally packed with a whole tree of weapons with which to arm him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had a handful of Ronin Warriors as a kid, but Rowen was actually not one of them.  When I picked up my replacement Cye from Collector’s Corner a few months back, I spotted this figure, but ended up passing on him at that time.  Cye was a pleasant trip down memory lane, so when I was in the area next, I went back for Rowen.  I’m glad I did.  He’s another fun little addition to my collection, and I’m happy to have him.

#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.

#1446: Captain Kirk & Spock – Dress Uniform

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK & MR. SPOCK – DRESS UNIFORM

STAR TREK (PLAYMATES)

“Teamwork has always been an important aspect of  Federation policy.  In that tradition, collected here together, for the first time ever, are the finest examples of Starfleet collaboration.”

There’s a new Star Trek show running.  It’s getting a lot of praise, which I suppose is good.  Personally?  I couldn’t get into it.  It contributes to this long-running theory I have about how I’m not a real Trek fan because I like the wrong half of the franchise.  I like TOS and four of it’s associated movies (I, II, II, and VI, if you’re curious), and I actually don’t mind Enterprise (though I acknowledge its flaws).  Next Gen mostly puts me to sleep (though First Contact is one of my favorite movies ever), I couldn’t make it through more than the first hour of Voyager, and I tapped out of DS9 about 20 minutes in.  And worst of all?  I enjoyed all of the JJ Abrams-reboot Trek films.  That’s points for disqualification alone, right?  Anyway, to remind myself that I actually *do* like some Star Trek, I’ve been watching through TOS, which is the show I’ll be focusing on today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Kirk and Spock were released by Playmates in 1994, as part of their over-arching Star Trek line.  They were part of the “Starfleet Officers Collectors Set,” which offered the captains and first officers from the three Trek shows in existence at the time.  As noted above, I don’t have much attachment to Next Gen or DS9, so all I have are these two.

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK

Kirk was absolutely no stranger to Playmates’ Trek line, but this figure was, at the very least, a valid variant of the character.  Kirk is seen here in his dress uniform from the show, as seen in episodes such as “Court Martial” and “The Menagerie.”  The captain’s dress uniform was actually a bit further removed from the others, since it dispensed with the usual yellow tunic color and instead went with green, similar to his casual attire.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  Once again, we’ve got those goofy, essentially useless v-hips, but it’s not like they were ever going to change.  Structurally, this Kirk is very similar to the standard Kirk from the Bridge Set.  The head and legs are the same pieces, which is good from a consistency stand point, I guess.  Still not the best likeness of Shatner, but it could be worse.  The torso and arms are new, and do a nice job of capturing his slightly more ornate dress design.  The paint on this figure is fairly decent.  The colors match alright with the show, and the application is all pretty clean.  He’s not quite as glossy as the standard Kirk either, which certainly helps him look a bit more lifelike.  Kirk was packed with a phaser and communicator, which mine doesn’t have.  It’s just as well, since he wasn’t exactly going on missions dressed like this.

MR. SPOCK

What good is Kirk without Spock, right?  Spock was also no stranger to Playmates’ line, second only to his captain in that respect.  Like Kirk, this figure is sporting his dress uniform, which is slightly less distinctively different from his standard look.  Nevertheless, it’s a fairly prominent look for Spock, especially since it’s what he’s wearing during most of the “present day” sequences in “The Menagerie.”  He’s the same basic height as Kirk (a touch taller), and has the same articulation scheme.  It’s not amazing, but it works.  Like Kirk, Spock gets the same head and legs as his Bridge Crew counterpart, which is reasonable.  The torso and arms are new again, and are unique from the ones used on Kirk.  The details match up pretty well with Kirk’s, but he’s got the same build as the prior Spock.  He loses the unique Vulcan salute hand, which is a bit of a letdown, but not the worst thing ever.  Spock’s paint is okay; there’s a little more slop here than I’ve seen on other Playmates Trek offerings, but it’s also a bit flatter, which I quite like.  It really helps the likeness on the head, and makes it a little sad that we didn’t see more of these guys with this finish.  It might have really aided the sculpts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Dad had a fairly complete set of TOS figures from Playmates back in the day, but never got these two, largely due to the fact that they were only available as part of the larger set.  I found them over the summer, in a bin of loose figures at Lost In Time Toys.  They’re not essential figures, but they’re solid offerings, and a nice addition to the overall collection.  Now I need a McCoy to go with them.

#1361: Cye

CYE

RONIN WARRIORS (PLAYMATES)

In the wake of the success of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, quite a number of Japanese action-adventure shows were imported to the US, with the hopes of finding the next big thing.  None of them succeeded in that venture, of course, but some were certainly better than others.  Ronin Warriors was one of the better shows of the era, but, like so many, it’s faded into relative obscurity.  It had a toyline, courtesy of Playmates, which was decent enough.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the main team members, Cye Mouri, Ronin Warrior of Trust!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cye was released in the basic assortment of Playmates’ Ronin Warriors line, which was in pretty much consistent production for a good chunk of the ‘90s.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The articulation is very different than any other line I’ve collected; the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees are all done via springs.  There aren’t any hinges, just cut-joints and springs.  It’s a little weird.  Not sure why this was the way they handled things, but it’s not awful; just different.  All of the figures were built on the same standard body, with unique heads and armor.  The base body is rather on the bulky side, especially when compared to the models from the show.  The hands and feet are particularly sizable, but he’s really just over bulky in general.  The body is also really geometric and inorganic, making him look more robotic than human.  It’s an odd choice, but it kind of reminds me of Micronauts/Microman, so I sort of dig it.  The head sculpt is decent enough; the hair is a little more matted to the head than in the show, but that’s to facilitate the helmet, I suppose.  Beyond that, it’s a fairly faithful sculpt.  He’s also got 11 armor pieces, which can snap into place on the body.  I’m not the biggest fan of the armor, since it just further bulks up the body. At the very least, it’s a decent recreation of his armor from the show, more or less, so that’s good.  The paint work on Cye is pretty clean.  It’s not really complex or anything, and there are a number of paint apps shown on the prototype that were cut from the final product.  The application is clean and sharp, and the colors are pretty vibrant, so he looks pretty decent overall.  In addition to the armor pieces, Cye included a tree of various weapons from the show.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cye is an interesting development in my toy collecting habits: he’s the very first action figure I bought without being familiar with the source material.  I was at KB Toys with my grandmother, and I thought he was cool, so she bought him for me.  It was only years later that I finally discovered the show on Toonami, and actually enjoyed it a fair bit.  Sadly, the figure went missing over the years, and the costs on the aftermarket made getting a replacement infeasible.  But, as luck would have it, my brother asked to stop at Collector’s Corner two weekends ago and they happened to have this figure for $10, which was more than worth it for me.  He’s goofy and a little weird, but I still really love this figure, and he just makes me happy.

#1219: Myzax

MYZAX

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

myzax1

A giant fighting robot is only as good as the giant foes he giant fights.  Giantly.  As much as Voltron is defined by its title character and the five Paladins who pilot him, it’s also very much defined by the Robeasts with which the Defender of the Universe did battle in just about every episode.  The Robeasts are just as much a part of the new series as they were the old.   Playmates line of figures based on the new show includes the Robeasts, starting things off with the show’s premiere RoBeast

THE FIGURE ITSELF

myzax2Myzax is part of the first series of Voltron: Legendary Defender figures.  He’s the only non-Voltron in the lot, and from the looks of things, he’s not as heavily packed as the others.  The figure is just under 5 inches tall and he has 17 points of articulation.  He’s a lot more posable than the Lion Attack Voltron, which is definitely a point in his favor.  He’s still missing the elbow articulation on one arm, but he’s got bicep and thigh swivels, which makes for a lot more posing options than we saw with yesterday’s figure.  Myzax was one of my favorite designs from the new show, and the figure does a pretty respectable job of translating that design into three dimensions.  The arms and legs should probably be a little longer, and his right arm’s a little too thick, but aside from that, most of the details are pretty accurate.  The level of detail could probably be sharper, but he’s about on par with the work seen on Voltron, which is certainly reasonable.   Even the action feature is better worked in than it was on Voltron.  He’s still got the missile launching gimmick, but the actual missile isn’t an integral part of the figure’s design (meaning it’s totally fine to display him without it), and the feature actually half-way replicates his special attack from the show.  Plus, it’s button activated, so it’s less likely to break over time.  The paintwork on the figure is passable, but it could definitely be a bit better.  All there really is to it is the most basic colors.  The application is clean, but he’s missing a lot of the smaller details from the show.  As it stands, he looks alright, but I can’t help but feel he’d look even cooler with a top-notch paint job.  As far as accessories, his only real extra is the missile for the launcher gimmick.  It replicates the energy ball weapon that’s built into his arm in the show.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Myzax at the same time as Voltron.  He’s really the figure that sold me on the whole line.  I’d picked up the Voltron and wasn’t sure I wanted him, but I spotted this guy on the back of the card, and he happened to be hidden back behind several Voltrons.  Myzax is my favorite of the Robeasts from the new show so far, so I’m pretty psyched about his inclusion so early in the line.  On top of that, he’s actually a pretty fun figure, and a good indicator of how good this line can be if Playmates puts in the effort.

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#1218: Lion Attack Voltron

LION ATTACK VOLTRON

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

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Back in late January, Netflix dropped the second season of their reboot of Voltron, which proved to be just as good as, if not better than, the show’s first season.  The first season’s release was woefully devoid of accompanying toys, but between the first and second season, Playmates picked up the license and released a selection of action figures about a week before the second season’s premier.  There are a couple of different options for those that want a basic Voltron.  I opted for one of the two smaller versions, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

voltronld2Lion Attack Voltron is part of the first series of Playmates’ Voltron: Legendary Defender line.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  Hardly the most posable figure ever. At the very least, I would have liked some bicep swivels and elbow movement for *both* arms, but I guess what this guy’s got is workable.  There’s certainly worse out there.  This Voltron figure is based on the modern Voltron design, which is really just a sleeker, more rounded out version of the classic design.  The sculpt does a reasonable job of recreating the show look.  He’s a bit stiffer, and some elements (the neck in particular) are rather on the boxy side.  All the details are pretty well defined; some of them are a little on the soft side, but it’s generally pretty solid work.  The wings are removable pieces, but don’t combine into the shield like on the show.  It might be nice to have gotten some alternate extended wings, but maybe those will show up on another figure down the line.  The biggest deviation from his established look is in order to facilitate the action feature.  The head of the Green Lion is actually mounted to a projectile, which juts out of the back of the elbow about an inch.   The actual sculpt has some tweaks to allow the missile to go through more smoothly, which means there’s some odd extra plastic in a few spots.  Fortunately, it’s not too hard to hide these inaccuracies with some careful posing, but it’s still a bit annoying.  Even more annoying is the way the missile launcher works; there’s no actual lock and release button, it’s a more simple tension hold.  The problem with this design when dealing with softer materials like plastic is that it will eventually warp, and eventually the notch that holds the missile in place isn’t strong enough to resist the tension of the spring.  How do I know this will happen?  Because it *already* happened to my figure; after a few days, the hand simply wouldn’t stay in place.  I had to deepen the notch to keep it from firing, and I’ll likely have to keep doing it every so often.  Not something I want to have to do to a mass-produced figure.  Voltron’s paintwork is decent enough.  It’s fairly basic color work, but everything is nice and clean, and colors are bold.  Voltron includes no accessories, but with the missile feature and removable wings, the box doesn’t feel too empty.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The new Voltron toys were actually an in-store surprise for me.  I had heard Playmates had the license, but hadn’t seen any prototypes.  I stumbled upon them while running some errands at Target.  There are two different smaller Voltrons available, and I went with this one because he looked to be the more articulated of the two.  He’s nothing amazing, and I really would have preferred they’d dropped the missile launcher feature in favor of just properly articulating that arm (since mine’s already broken).  Still, he’s not awful, and he’s certainly got some promise.  If Playmates is willing to try and learn from their mistakes, this like could be really fun.