#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.

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#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.

myzax3

#1218: Lion Attack Voltron

LION ATTACK VOLTRON

VOLTRON: LEGENDARY DEFENDER (PLAYMATES)

voltronld1

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.

#1211: Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

LT. CMDR. GEORDI LaFORGE

STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (PLAYMATES)

geordifc1

While I’ve been exposed to Star Trek pretty much my whole life, my only real solid memories of the franchise from my childhood are seeing Star Trek: First Contact in the theatre when it was released (and subsequently getting it on Laserdisc when it came to home video.  For over a decade, that was literally the only way we owned it.  I’d have to fire up the laserdisc player anytime I wanted to watch it.  I’m not joking).  By extension, my first real memories of Star Trek toys are the figures from that movie, which are still some of my favorites.  Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s version of  Enterprise-E’s chief engineer Geordi LaForge!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

geordifc2Geordi was released as part of Playmates’ Star Trek: First Contact line, which hit shelves in early 1996.  The line was noteworthy at the time for abandoning the scale used by all of the prior Playmates Trek figures, opting instead for a larger size.  As such, the figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall.  He sports 14 points of articulation; he and all the other main crew members were given additional thigh swivels, which greatly improved their ability to sit. Of course, the larger scale meant they weren’t compatible with any of the prior vehicles or playsets, so he doesn’t actually have anywhere to sit, but that’s neither here nor there.  Movement is movement.  Prior Trek lines had done their best to give each crew member their own unique body sculpt, but the First Contact figures went for the more obvious shared body idea.  Geordi shares his body with both Data and Picard.  It’s a decent enough sculpt.  The details of the uniform are rather on the simplified side, and they’ve cut down on some things, such as the number of ridges on the grey part, and the seam at the front of the collar.  All of the key details are there, which is good I guess.  Honestly, it’s not that much of a departure from the smaller figures, so I guess the consistency is good.  The build on the body works well enough for Burton (and the other three actors mentioned).  The head sculpt is really big, definitely a bit out of scale with the body.  I don’t think its really any more out of scale than any of the smaller figures, but it’s definitely more noticeable here.  There’s a passable likeness in there, but I can’t say its one of their best (which is kind of a shame, because the First Contact figures overall had some of the best likenesses Playmates produced).  Still, it’s not a bad sculpt, and has some decent texture work, which Playmates didn’t always put on their figures.  The paintwork on Geordi is serviceable.  The body is fairly basic, but it’s clean and the colors are right, so that’s good.  The head has some more in-depth work, and the eyes in particular look really good (Playmates was really good at eyes).  Geordi was packed with an assortment of various gadgets, all molded in black, as well as a display stand shaped like a communicator badge.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Geordi was my second figure from First Contact.  I got him on a day out with my dad, who took me to Toys R Us to get him (and then I think we got lunch and he read me some Norse mythology.  It was a cool day).  I know I specifically requested this figure, because my cousin Noah had one and I really wanted my own.  I remember being surprised that he didn’t include his visor (despite having already seen the movie and knowing he didn’t have it anymore).  He’s not the most thrilling figure, but I have fond memories of getting him, and that certainly goes a long way!

#1196: Dr Z – Rubin Zellar

“DR. Z” — RUBIN ZELLAR

SEAQUEST DSV (PLAYMATES)

drz1

Okay, I went slightly ‘90s with yesterday’s Cannonball and Domino review.  I went a little more ‘90s with the Superman Red review.  Today, I’m going full ‘90s.  Yes, today I tackle SeaQuest DSV. SeaQuest, to those of you that don’t know, was a sci-fi series from the early ‘90s set in the futuristic world of 2018, aboard the naval submarine SeaQuest DSV 4600.  It was a little like classic Trek, but in the water.  Its first season was very strong, and heavy on the actual science (each episode ended with Dr. Robert Ballard explaining the science of that week’s plot), and featuring a diverse and fun cast of characters.  There were two seasons after that, but it’s generally in everyone’s best interest not to talk about them.  The series was fortunate enough to get a short-lived line of toys by Playmates (the then current holders of the Trek license, no less), which covered most of the main crew, plus two of the show’s antagonists.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the antagonists, Biochemical Terrorist Rubin “Dr. Z” Zellar from the episode “Games.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

drz2Dr. Z was released in 1993 as part of the first and only series of Playmates’ SeaQuest DSV line.  He’s based on his early appearance from “Games,” when he’s first picked up by the SeaQuest and is masquerading as a prison warden.  He probably spends a greater portion of the episode wearing a borrowed SeaQuest science staff uniform, but that might have proved slightly confusing in the toyline, since it would have made him look like an actual member of the crew.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall (putting him in the same scale as Playmates’ Trek line) and has 14 points of articulation.  While the Trek figures all got saddled with those wonky v-hips, the SeaQuest figures actually got pretty traditional t-hips, and also got thigh swivels too.  Odd that the unproven show got the better treatment.  The sculpt is pretty similar to the Trek stuff in style, which is to say it’s not super ultra realistic, but it’s still a halfway decent recreation of Zellar’s look from the show.  The head sports a passable likeness of Zellar’s actor Alan Scarfe, and the general proportions are actually a little better than the Trek stuff I’ve looked at.  The standout bit of this figure is definitely the fur coat, which is surprisingly well detailed for a figure of this era and scale.  Zellar’s paintwork is pretty solid; it’s not the most exciting work, but what’s there is nice and clean, and the once again the jacket stands out with some detail work to keep it from being too drab.  Zellar was packed with a number of cool accessories, including a pick axe, a display stand, and a ….weird gun thing.  The coolest piece is the T5-6000 Cryo-Chamber, originally meant to carry Zellar, but in actuality carrying the prison warden he replaced.  It’s just a simple plastic shell with a cardboard illustration on top, but I really like it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Zellar from Yesterday’s Fun this past summer, as he was one of the two SeaQuest figures I didn’t yet have.  There’s no denying he’s a well done figure, but he’s also one of the most frustrating figures from the line.  SeaQuest was hardly defined by its antagonists, so the fact that we got two of them in place of the three missing members of the Season 1 crew, is really annoying.  “Games” is certainly a memorable episode, and Zellar’s a compelling villain, but the success of the episode hinges more on its focus on Dr. Kristin Westphalen, who was absent from the toyline (interestingly enough, she was the only of the three unreleased crew members to get a prototype, but was left unreleased for whatever reason).  Zellar’s presence in the line seems to have come at the expense of the character that would give him an actual reason to be in the line at all, which just feels rather backwards.

#1062: Flash Gordon – Flight Suit

FLASH GORDON – FLIGHT SUIT

FLASH GORDON (PLAYMATES)

flashspace1

When your name is the same name as the toyline that you’re a part of, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll get at least one more figure than everybody else.  Especially in the ‘90s.  This was the case with Alex “Flash” Gordon of…Flash Gordon.  Yep, in a series of eight total figures, he still managed to get two of them.  He was a whole quarter of the figures released!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

flashspace2Flash is the final figure from the basic assortment of the Playmates’ Flash Gordon line.  He’s the only duplicated character in the set (though, plans were drawn up for a corresponding Dale figure).  Where the last Flash was based on the character’s rather decade-specific main design from the show, this one’s based on his Flight Suit look, which was a bit more, shall we say timeless?  The figure is a little over 5 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Amazingly enough, this figure’s sculpt is 100% unique, sharing no parts with the prior Flash.  Even the head, which looks more or less the same, has a slightly different expression.  I actually prefer this head to the other, just because he looks a little less slack-jawed.  The rest of the body is, obviously, new.  It’s noticeably less pre-posed than the regular Flash, which is both a blessing and a curse.  While the more standard pose is a bit more versatile, when coupled with the articulation, it makes him a bit stiffer looking.  It’s not horrible, but if he could have at least gotten the articulation we saw on Ming, I think he could have been far superior.  The actual design is pretty fun, and it translates well two action figure form.  It’s still a little less detailed than I’d like, but it’s not bad, and at the very least he fits in with the rest of the line.  The paintwork on Flash is pretty good.  As with the Playmates Trek figures, the face stands out from the rest by featuring a surprising amount of detail, especially on the eyes.  The body’s far more basic, but the colors are at the very least pretty exciting.  There’s some bleed over here and there, but nothing truly atrocious.  He’s still really shiny, but doesn’t look quite as glazed as some of the others in the series.  Flash included a helmet, a TriBlaster, a communicator, and an AirSled (in a slightly darker red than the normal Flash’s).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was my third figure from this line.  I got him from Ageless Heroes’ legendary going-out-of-bustiness sale, around the same time as Ming.  I think it was shortly after I got Ming, truth be told, and I know for a fact it was on a school night, as a reward for finishing up my homework early or something like that (I also got a Black Widow figure at the same time.  Score!).  I got a second of this figure in the set of eight that I picked up last summer.  Ultimately, despite some tiny flaws, I think this is the better of the two Flash’s released in this line.  The design is just better overall, and the final execution just barely nudges past the regular version.  All-in-all, the ‘90s Flash Gordon line is kind of an oddity.  It’s based on a cartoon that almost no one remembers, and the figures are at best a mediocre attempt at translating some of the designs.  The thing the line has going for it is that it’s probably the cheapest way to put together a Flash Gordon set-up.  Ultimately, I’m happy to have them all, but I’ll always wish they were just a bit better.

#1061: Kobalt the Mercenary

KOBALT THE MERCENARY

FLASH GORDON (PLAYMATES)

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Flash Gordon is, in many ways, the quintessential space opera.  The characters contained therein pretty much all fit the standard archetypes for such a story. As such, when introducing new characters to the franchise, if you don’t want them to stick out like sore thumbs, they kind of need to fit an archetype too.  Today’s focus, Kobalt, is no exception to that line of thought.  He’s very much the standard villainous gun for hire, sent to chase down the heroes, much in same vein as the likes of Boba Fett and Jubal Early.  So, let’s see how his figure turned out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

kobalt2Kobalt is yet another of the basic Flash Gordon figures from Playmates.  Also worth noting: he’s the last of the three  villains the line produced.  Yeah, for some strange reason, they didn’t go for the obvious 50/50 split.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s one of the few figures in the line not to get the stupid v-hips, which is always a good thing.  Kobalt’s sculpt is decent enough, though nothing particularly amazing.  He’s about on par with Flash and Dale.  The proportions are fine, and he looks like his cartoon counterpart.  That said, the details are all on the more basic side, which makes him look a little less impressive than the likes of Ming and General Lynch.  As it stands he’s accurate to the show, but feels lacking as a figure.  Kobalt’s paintwork is fairly decent, and certainly on par with the rest of the series.  His colors match up with those from the show, and the overall application is pretty clean.  He’s still exceptionally shiny, but at this point, at least he’s consistent.  Kobalt was packed with a Transrupter (whatever that is), an Imperial TranScanner, and an AirSled in a dark red color.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kobalt is yet another figure from the lot of 8 I picked up at a convention last summer.  Like Lynch, he’s not really a character that jumped out at me.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t really remember this guy until I picked up the set of figures.  This figure’s alright, but not anything particularly impressive.   He’s fairly run of the mill for the line.

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