#1828: Guardians of the Galaxy

STARLORD, DRAX THE DESTROYER, & ROCKET RACCOON

MARVEL UNIVERSE (HASBRO)

“In the wake of the devastation left by the Annihilation War, the galaxy was unprotected. In a forgotten place at the edge of the universe, a group of heroes came together, determined to fill that void. From their base in deep space, the Guardians of the Galaxy protect the cosmos from threats both large and small.”

The year is 2011.  The world’s just getting comfortable with Thor and Captain America as major motion pictures.  The Avengers hasn’t shown up and blow the lid off of Super Hero movies.  Nobody knows who The Guardians of the Galaxy are, and yet, this is the year they get their first toys.  Groovy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as one of the two debut team packs from Hasbro’s then fledging Marvel Universe.  They had done multi-packs of varying numbers up to this point, but this was when they really started to explore offering new characters and new sculpts in these sets.  The Guardians marked the debut figures for all three characters included.

STARLORD

Probably the most obscure of the characters included when this set was released, Starlord is never the less front and center, sporting his fully-covered appearance from when he first started leading the team.  It’s pretty far removed from what we connect with the character now, but was really just a slight re-design of his classic appearance.  The figure stands 4 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Starlord was built on the AIM/Ghost Rider body, which I’ve actually reviewed once before, way back at the start of the site, when it was used for Longshot.  It’s a decent body, and was certainly one of MU’s best offerings.  It works very well for Starlord’s design (to the point that Hasbro repeated this same shared body sequence for the Legends releases as well), and its all-around just a nice sculpt.  The legs can be a little finicky when you’re posing him, but other then that, the posability was really solid.  He gets a new head and belt, completing his transition into Starlord.  The head in particular is a very nice sculpt, showcasing a level of detail that a lot of figures from this line hadn’t gotten at this point.  Starlord’s paintwork is solidly handled.  The base work is pretty clean, and he gets some pretty great accenting on the bodysuit.  Not something we see a lot of anymore, but it certainly adds something to the figure.  Starlord is packed with a pair of identical guns, which he holds well in his hands.

DRAX THE DESTROYER

Drax is probably the most prominent of the Guardians, prior to their move to the big screen (which is likely why he was the one who got the Legends release the next year), and had just seen something of a revamp right before joining up with the team, so he’s sporting his then-current look for this figure.  Not necessarily a favorite of mine, as he ends up looking a touch generic, but it served to inspire the movie, which made it less so.  The figure is just over 4 inches tall, with 20 points of articulation.  Drax shares his body with the previously released Luke Cage figure.  Given their similar wardrobe choices at the time, it certainly made a lot of sense.  It’s an okay body, but definitely a lot more restricted than Starlord’s, and certainly lighter on the detailing.  He gets a new head and belt piece.  The head is fairly standard, and it’s actually a little bit surprising that it didn’t see a bunch of re-use.  The belt is a belt.  It’s decent, but hardly anything to get excited over.  Drax’s paintwork is fairy standard.  Base application is clean, and there’s some nice accenting on the upper half of the figure.  He’s not quite as eye-catching as Starlord, but that’s true to the design.  Drax is packed with a pair of knifes, which can be placed, somewhat awkwardly, in the sheath on the back of his belt.

ROCKET RACCOON

Original envisioned as something of a one-off character, Rocket Raccoon’s biggest claim to fame before the movies was earning a spot in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, which is actually a pretty darn prestigious affair.  It certainly elevated his public profile, anyway.  This figure was a wholly new offering, as you might expect, since there’s not really much you can re-use for a raccoon, right?  The figure stands 2 inches tall and has articulation as his neck and tail.  No arm articulation for this guy.  That’s a little disappointing, but he makes out better than other similarly styled figures from MU.  His sculpt is pretty solid work.  It’s dynamic, to be sure, which is certainly a plus.  He’s a bit more stylized than the other two in this set, but the folds on his uniform are close enough to those on Starlord’s that the two don’t look too out of place with each other.  Rocket’s paint work is probably the most complex of the bunch, what with all the fur detailing and the like.  He looks good, and once again matches well with the similarly uniformed Starlord.  Rocket includes a large gun, which is certainly in character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pack was actually my first introduction to the modern Guardians.  I was familiar with Drax, but not the other two, as I was never much of a fan of Abnett and Lanning’s writing style.  Because of that, I didn’t really have any interest in this set at the time of its release, and ended up passing on it, even while in the midst of a pretty heavy bout of Marvel Universe collecting.  It’s actually too bad I did, because its a good set, and might have gotten me interested in the characters a little sooner.  It’s even better now that Gamora and a full-scale Groot finally surfaced last year.

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.

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#1730: Rocket Raccoon & Groot

ROCKET RACCOON &  GROOT

MARVEL MINIMATES

To wrap up this three-day Infinity War thing I’ve got going here, I’ve got one more set of Minimates to look at.  Ever.  Well, no, not ever.  I still have a ton of Minimates to review.  There’s over 1000 of those suckers in my collection.  No, just the last set from this little sub-set…or something.  Anyway, I’ve looked at the more Avengers-themed guys, now I’m going into full cross-over mode, with a pair of Guardians.  Let’s have a look at yet another Rocket Raccoon and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rocket Raccoon and Groot were originally supposed to be the Toys R Us-exclusive set for the first Infinity War assortment of Marvel Minimates.  Then they went out of business and messed that all up.  But, before they went out of business, this set and it’s accompanying series were moved over to specialty.  What’s intriguing about this particular pairing is that, while it’s totally a natural choice to pack just the two of them together, thanks to use of micro-figures and such, it’s actually the first time we’ve gotten a straight Rocket & Groot two-pack.

ROCKET RACCOON

After being relegated to being an unarticulated pack-in for his first two releases, we finally got a proper Rocket Raccoon Minimate in Series 71 for Guardians Vol. 2.  At first glance, this figure might seem like a straight re-release of that one, but he’s actually a little bit different.  He’s still about 2 inches tall and has a reduced 8 points of articulation.  He uses the same head, shortened arms, and belt/tail piece.  He gets a new set of legs, more divergent from the standard Minimate legs than the last ones, and also swaps out the normal Minimate torso of the last one for the comparatively smaller torso from NBX’s Sally.  Both of these are minor changes, easily missed by a quick glance at the figure, but they result in a figure that actually looks a fair bit better than the last release.  Rocket’s paintwork is not that much different than the Series 71 release.  It’s mostly just amended to fit the newer pieces.  Rocket is packed with a rather large rifle (the same one included with all of the other IW Rockets), which is kind of comically huge (larger than the Legends version, even), and pretty much impossible for Rocket to hold.

GROOT

Groot has a much more divergent design in Infinity War than his pack-mate, so he is fittingly a more unique figure.  He uses the standard body as a starting point, but really only keeps the arms and pelvis.  The head is a unique piece, which replicates Groot’s noggin pretty well.  Likewise, the hands and feet are new, and do a respectable job of translating Groot’s tree-like appendages.  He also uses the smaller torso that we saw on Rocket, and swaps out the usual legs for another set of arms.  This results in an overall quite slender look, which helps to differentiate him pretty well from the original Groot.  His paintwork is pretty standard for this character.  Lots of brown, and some decent work on the detail lines.  I do appreciate that the arms and legs have different detailing from each other.  Groot is packed with a clear display stand…and that’s it.  Shame we couldn’t get his portable game or anything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got this set at the same time as Spider-Man and Hulk, via Cosmic Comix.  I wasn’t totally sold on this set at first, but after realizing how much better the changes to Rocket made the figure, and already being sold on Groot, I decided to grab it.  Is it the most thrilling set of all time?  Probably not, but it’s a pretty essential version of Groot, and it’s by far the best version of Rocket we’ve gotten.

#1661: Thor, Rocket, & Teen Groot

THOR, ROCKET, & GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When a blaster-toting raccoon, a teenage tree, and a Asgardian god get together, the journey is sure to be out of this world.”

You thought I’d slip, didn’t you?  You thought I’d forget about my new favorite running gag!  That I’d review a Thor figure on a day other that Thursday!  Well….I actually almost did.  Yep, had this one queued up for tomorrow.  Like an idiot.  It’s okay, I got better.  It’s been a week since I wrapped up my first round of Infinity War-themed Legends reviews.  Now I’m coming back to it for another multi-pack.  This one’s got the aforementioned Thor, as well as one-third of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor, Rocket, and Groot are another displaced Toys R Us-exclusive.  They were meant to be the follow-up to Vision and Scarlet Witch, and were only confirmed to exist just before TRU announced they were going under.  It’s not known how many of them actually made it to TRU, but it’s certainly less than Vision and Scarlet Witch.  As with the other displaced exclusives, it’ll be available over the summer via Entertainment Earth.

THOR

After taking a bit of a back seat for Age of Ultron, Thor’s right back in the forefront for Infinity War.  Of the many characters included in the film, he’s the first to have a variant confirmed.  This one uses his early-in-the-film appearance, picking up from the end of Ragnarok.  If you haven’t seen that film, his eye-patch-wearing head’s going to be a bit of a spoiler.  It’s a major selling point for this set, though, being the only version of the character available right now with the eye patch.  He’s also sans cape, which is a first for the MCU Thor figures.  I like it.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  At first glance, I’d kind of expected this figure to make use of a lot of Gladiator Thor’s pieces, but there doesn’t actually appear to be anything shared between them.  I think that’s ultimately for the best, as I felt there were some minor issues with the last one.  This one has a really solid, hefty construction, and his posablity is actually really great given how bulky he is.  The head looks to be about the same as the un-helmeted Ragnarok sculpt, but with the eyepatch, of course.  It’s a pretty decent likeness of Hemsworth, so I can’t complain.  What I can complain about?  The paint.  It’s perhaps the only thing I don’t like about this figure.  I mean, the basics are fine.  The detailing on the hair works.  But, what I really don’t like is the lightning effects.  The details on the torso in particular look rather cheesy.  I don’t hate the effects on the eye; if it were an extra head, I’d probably find it really cool.  As the only eye-patched Thor head out there?  It’s a little annoying.  Like the Ragnarok two-pack release, he’s packed with Heimdall’s sword.  He still doesn’t use it in this movie, and I still want an actual Heimdall, but it’s better than nothing.

ROCKET

Any Rocket figure is going to have the rather difficult task of surpassing the Mantis Series release.  Hasbro has acknowledged this fact, and pretty much just given us a straight re-release of that figure.  There are some minor paint differences between the two, with the accents being a darker grey this time.  He also only gets the calm head, but he does still get both of his blasters (sadly lacking the cool painted details) as well as his brand-new gun that’s been packed with all of the Infinity War Rockets.

GROOT

I’d say Groot’s the biggest draw of this set, since we’ve not yet gotten this version of the character in Legends form (though we did get a surprisingly good version of him from the basic Infinity War line).  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Articulation is the main differentiating thing between the two teen Groot figures, with this one being not only far more posable, but also having the articulation better worked into the overall sculpt.  This figure also gets a little more detailing, especially on the smaller details, such as the little twig growing from the top of his head.  His head seems to be a little more accurate to Groot’s Infinity War design than the basic figure (in the basic figure’s defense, he seems to have been based on our brief glimpse of Teen Groot from Guardians Vol. 2), with a rounder face, and an even poutier expression.  He’s not a perfect recreation of Teen Groot; I think his chin’s a bit too pronounced; but he’s still pretty close.  The paint is kind of sparse on this figure, which is a little surprising given the accent work that the basic figure got.  The browns are just left flat, which is a little disappointing.  On the plus side, there’s some slight green representing vegetation, which keeps him from being too monotonous, and his eyes are nice and sharp as well.  Groot includes his gamepad…or *a* gamepad, because I don’t think this is the one he had in the movie.  It’s still a nice touch, though, and I’m glad he got *something*

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found this set at one of the two slowly dying Toys R Us’s near me.  I thought Vision and Scarlet Witch were just a stroke of luck, but this set popped up about a week after.  Honestly, it’s a set I was uncertain about when it was first shown off, since there’s not a *ton* of new stuff here.  Rocket’s essentially identical.  If you missed his first release, it’s great that there’s a second opportunity, but if you didn’t, he’s extraneous.  I quite like Thor, like to a surprising level, but he’s got a few flaws, and if you aren’t big on lots of variants of the same character, he too can feel a bit extraneous, especially with the fully equipped version from the Cull Obsidian assortment on its way.  A lot of this set’s selling power is resting on Groot.  He’s a good figure, but I can’t say he’s enough of an improvement on the basic series figure to warrant 5 times the price to get him.  Of course, I got my set for 20%, since I got it from TRU, but I can see it being a tricky sell at full retail.  I’m certainly happy I have it, but not everyone’s as willing to drop tons of money on toys as I am!

*Miss this at TRU and still want a set of your own?  It’s currently in stock with our sponsors over at All Time Toys!  Check it out here!

#1638: Rocket & Teen Groot

ROCKET & TEEN GROOT

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (HASBRO)

Remember last week when I looked at Star-Lord, and I did the whole thing about the Guardians of the Galaxy being part of the line?  Well, here’s the follow-up, Rocket and Groot, the inseparable pair, who make up the token Guardians slot of the deluxe assortment.  So, let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair makes up the second half of the first deluxe series of Avengers: Infinity War figures.  Unlike Hulk, it’s not that either of them is really larger than a standard figure, but more the two-pack aspect that makes them deluxe.

ROCKET

Rocket’s look is essentially unchanged from his Guardians Vol. 2 look (which was itself pretty much the same as his look from the end of the first film).  The figure stands about 3 inches tall and the has 7 points of articulation.  The sizing of this figure is much smaller, so it made more sense to do the two-pack thing for him.  His sculpt is decent enough.  Obviously, not quite as impressive as the recent Legends figure, but certainly superior to the Vol. 1 version.  No elbow joints, but at least this one can actually move his legs.  That’s certainly a plus in my book.  The level of detailing could perhaps be a touch sharper, and it’s hard to make out any sort of expression on his face, but for the style of the line, it’s a pretty solid sculpt.  His paintwork is probably the most nuanced of the figures I’ve looked at so far from the line, especially on the face, which features a number of variations in the coloring of his fur.  The work on his jumpsuit and armor plates is a little fuzzy around the edges, but it isn’t terrible.  Rocket is packed with a rather large gun, which, unfortunately, he can’t really hold that well.  He also has the Power Stone, which is the first repeated stone we’ve gotten (having been also included with Black Widow).

TEEN GROOT

Groot is possibly one of the most changed characters for Infinity War, having aged to adolescence over the course of the Vol. 2 stinger scenes.  This is our first Teen Groot figure.  The figure is 5 1/2 inches tall and has the same 11 points of articulation as most of the other figures in this line.  His sculpt is once again all-new, and it’s probably my favorite of the sculpts from the basic line.  What I really like about it is how well it can slip in with a set-up of Legends figures, should you be so inclined.  The level of detail is still a little simpler, but it’s really not that far off.  He definitely has some similarities to the Build-A-Figure Groot, which was one of my favorite sculpts of the time.  I quite like Teen Groots sulky expression, which perfectly encapsulates what we’ve seen of him so far.  Like Rocket, Groot’s paintwork is more nuanced than the others in the line.  There’s some darker accent work, as well as a little bit of green, since he’s a plant and all.  It’s perhaps not as subtle as I’d like, but it’s still much better than just getting a straight brown.  Teen Groot has no accessories of his own, but with Rocket and all of his extras, it’s not like this pack is particularly light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set, along with Widow, is what really sold me on the whole line.  Sure, there’s a Legends set with these two in the pipeline, but without them being available right now, and with Groot being the only of the Guardians to be notably different, this set certainly has quite a bit of appeal.

#1519: Gamora & Rocket (w/ Groot)

GAMORA & ROCKET (W/ GROOT)

MARVEL MINIMATES

Who would think that a raccoon and a giant radioactive turtle would make such a great pairing?  What what?  Not the turtle?  Oh, with the “o.”  That makes more sense.  You can understand my confusion.  Man, how cool would it be if Rocket just came packed with Gamera?  I mean, Gamora’s still, cool, I guess, but now I’ve got Gamera on my mind.  I’ve set myself up for disappointment now, haven’t I?  Well, better just review these figures, then.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Gamora and Rocket are the second of the two shared sets between Marvel Minimates Series 71 and the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 TRU-themed assortment.  Unlike the first film, TRU actually had the whole team in their assortment this time around, which I’m certain was done in part due to DST wanting to avoid any ill-informed parent anger like what happened for the first movie.  It seems to have paid off in that regard.

GAMORA

Gamora inadvertently ended up in the hardest to procure of the two-packs from the original Guardians assortments, so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see her included in a shared pack.  She’s sporting her slightly fancier Vol. 2 design, which I’m quite a fan of.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  She’s got add-ons for her hair and the bottom section of her jacket.  Both are re-used, with the hair being the same piece as the Series 57 Gamora, and the jacket being from the Civil War Scarlet Witch.  Both pieces work well here, and recreate her onscreen design pretty nicely.  I even find the jacket’s crossing across the waist far less distracting here than I did on Scarlet Witch, which is certainly a plus.  The paintwork on Gamora is overall pretty solid.  The detail work in particular, especially on the face, is really strong, and as a whole she just looks really clean and well put together.  My only real complaint is the way the hair has been handled; the change from brown to purple is a bit too jarring for my taste.  Gamora’s packed with her sword (the same one seen with the Series 57 version) and a clear display stand.

ROCKET

There have been two “minimate” Rockets in the past, but they were both completely static pack-in figures.  This one switches things up, and gives us an actual ‘mate, with articulation and everything.  Less articulation than the average ‘mate, of course, since he’s using the shortened limbs to keep him smaller.  He’s still got 8 points, which is a definite step up from “none at all.”  Construction-wise, Rocket gets a new head, the shorted arms, new shortened legs, and a belt featuring his tail.  The head’s definitely my favorite piece, and it looks pretty awesome, but the rest of the pieces make for a decent enough take on Rocket, albeit a slightly large one.  The paint on Rocket is decent enough.  Some of the base work is a little sloppy, but not unreasonably so, and the detail work on the torso is nice and sharp.  In addition to a clear display stand, Rocket includes his companion Groot, now in his baby form.  Like the prior Rockets, Groot is unarticulated, but given his smaller size, that’s pretty reasonable.  Rocket also includes a larger gun, the origin of which I’m not entirely certain.  Initially, I thought it was actually supposed to be the huge gun Gamora used to attack Nebula, but that looked different, and it would leave Rocket with no guns, which would just be odd.  

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gamora was one of my favorites of the Series 57 ‘mates, so this one had a pretty high bar to clear.  I’m happy to say she’s certainly stepped things up.  Rocket’s no contest, of course, since this one’s an actual figure, rather than just a statue.  I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but it really did.  Sure, he could use some guns, but Baby Groot is a fun extra, too!

#1433: Rocket Raccoon & Groot

ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS

“A genetically engineered raccoon and a regenerating, tree-like humanoid, Rocket and Groot make for a one of a kind duo -– not sure what kind, but definitely one of a kind.”

I didn’t get much chance to mention it, but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was one of my favorite movies of this past year.  I very much enjoyed the first one, so I was expecting to like the sequel, but I was actually a little surprised by just how much I liked it.  It’s possibly my favorite MCU film yet, and that’s a pretty big thing for me to say.  Despite my immense enjoyment of the film, up until recently, I had very little in the way of toys from it.  Why?  Because of poor distribution, that’s why.  But it’s sort of getting better now.  Without further ado, here’s everyone’s favorite space-fairing smuggling duo since Han Solo and Chewbacca, Rocket and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Rocket Raccoon and Groot are “figure” 1 in the Mantis Series of Marvel Legends, which is the second Guardians-themed assortment of 2017, following January’s Titus Series. Though both characters are billed in a way that might suggest this is a two-pack, this is really a Rocket figure that includes a small Groot figurine as an accessory.  So, with that in mind, I’ll be reviewing them that way.  Rocket stands about 3 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  Rocket is an all-new sculpt, re-using no pieces from the prior version of the character.  That’s definitely for the best; while I never hated the older figure, there’s no denying that it was by far the weakest of the original set. The articulation is definitely much improved over the prior figure; this guy actually can move his legs, which is a definite *step* up.  Get it?  …Yeah.  The articulated legs mean that this Rocket figure can actually stand a bit better than the last figure, and he’s just a lot less clunky in general.  He also largely improves the film accuracy of Rocket.  The texture on the hair is definitely of a higher detail and the overall proportions seem a bit more balanced and consistent with Rocket’s CG model.  The figure as a whole is a fair bit smaller than the last one, which is definitely a plus, since that one was a bit on the large side.  While the body certainly has a lot of improvements, the greatest leaps are definitely on the head, or should I say heads?  There are two of them around, offering us two different expressions for Rocket.  There’s a slightly more calm one, and then there’s one that’s looks like he’s going ballistic.  Both heads sport a lot more character than the prior head, which looked more like a generic raccoon.  I really like how well they’ve captured Rocket’s expressions here, and the level of detail on both heads is truly amazing.  Hasbro’s really been improving on paint, and Rocket definitely falls in line with that.  His head uses the new matrix printing stuff they’ve been trying out recently, which allows for more variation to the shades of his fur.  It’s still a bit more jarring than it would be in real life, but it’s great for the scale and price point.  The rest of the paint is respectable work all around; the application is pretty clean and it all matches up nicely with the film.  Rocket is packed with a pair of blasters (fun fact: the one in his right hand is actually patterned on the Nerf Nitefinder IX-3; thanks Tim!), as well as the torso of Mantis.  There’s also the previously mentioned Groot figurine.  This little guy’s about 3/4 of an inch tall.  He’s got no articulation, but that’s excusable at this scale.  I do wish he could stand a little better; you have to sort of bend his legs out and set him in place.  He’s depicted here in his Ravager jumpsuit, which is well rendered, and the sculpt is general is quite nice and accurate to Groot’s on-screen counterpart.  Some of the details are a little soft, but again, at this scale, I’ll forgive some of that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was a bit let down by the last Rocket, so I was eager to get the new one.  Since he’s the double packed character from this series, I’ve actually seen him a few times, but held off on grabbing him until I was certain I could find the whole series.  I stopped at a TRU on the way home from work with the hopes of finding some Black Series figures, and while I had no luck with those, I did find the whole Mantis Series, so I was able to grab a Rocket finally.  I remember feeling that the Vol. 1 Rocket wasn’t really worth the $20 price tag, given his lower quality and small stature.  I feel with this one the price is far more warranted.  The extra posablilty is awesome, and he’s leaps and bounds ahead of his predecessor.  I mean, I thought Star-Lord was a huge improvement, but this one makes the old Rocket look like a sad trash panda.

#0747: Star-Lord & Groot (& Rocket)

STAR-LORD & GROOT (& ROCKET)

MARVEL MINIMATES

StarLordGroot1

Okay, let’s do this animated thing one more time! With the unexpectedly huge success of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, it’s not exactly a big surprise that Disney fast tracked a cartoon series focusing on the team. It’s also not all that shocking that a few members of the show’s cast made their way into the new animated sub-set of Marvel Minimates. So, let’s have a look at Star-Lord and Groot (and Rocket Raccoon)!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These guys are another set from the first series of Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. They’re based on their designs from the cartoon, which are, in turn, heavily influenced by the designs from the movie.

STAR-LORD

StarLordGroot2As the central figure of both the Guardians movie and the cartoon, it makes sense for Star-Lord to find himself in the first set of figures. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. Star-Lord’s design on the show is more or less directly lifted from the movie, but, while almost all the movie merchandise (including the Minimate) was based on his long-jacketed look from the first few minutes of the film, the cartoon and its associated Minimate both depict him in the short-jacketed look he has for the majority of the film. So, it’s actually a new, valid variant of the character. Yay! Star-Lord gets add-ons for his hair/mask, coat, and wrist guard. The mask and wrist piece are both from the last Star-Lord, and the coat has been taken from Knight Rider’s Michael Knight. The coat and wrist thingy are fine, but the helmet still feels a bit too bulky. Maybe it would look better if the hair stood up a bit? The paint on Star-Lord is very nicely handled. The colors are nice and bold, and the line work is really clean. The finer details on the belt and boots are also pretty great, and the muscle detailing on the torso keeps him from being too boring. The mask is much better painted than the movie version, which ends up making it look quite a bit better. Under the mask is a fully detailed face, which fortunately didn’t suffer from the same paint mix-up as the movie version, so his eyebrows are the correct color. He’s definitely the animated Star-Lord, but he can pass for Chris Pratt in a pinch. Star-Lord is packed with a spare hairpiece (still re-used from Tomb Raider’s Roth, but it fits the animated design an bit better), one of his blasters, and a clear display stand. A second blaster would have been cool, but this is a pretty decent allotment overall!

GROOT (& ROCKET)

StarLordGroot3Star-Lord may be the central member of the team, but these two are definitely the fan favorites, so they definitely earned their slot here. Also, they were probably helped by the fact that they are identical to their movie counterparts tooling-wise. As with those figures, only one of these two, Groot, is actually a full-fleged figure. He’s got a specially sculpted head, hands, and feet, all re-used from the movie version, as well as a torso extender piece. The pieces were well done on the first Groot and they’re still well done here. I’m still not sold on the tabs on the back of Groot’s head to stand Rocket on, but they aren’t too noticeable, as long as you aren’t looking right at them. Groot’s paintwork is a lot more simplistic than his movie counterpart, which is much more in keeping with his animated design. He does a good job of capturing that look, though it’s nowhere near as interesting to look at. Still, his paint is nice and clean, so that’s good. Rocket is really just Groot’s accessory here. He’s the exact same unarticulated figure that was included with the movie Groot, with a very (and I mean veeeery) slight paint change. Instead of being yellow and black, he’s orange and black. That’s cool, I guess. The paint’s a little sloppier this time around, but not enormously so.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Now, this is the set I was looking forward to when the sets were first announced. The movie Star-Lord was easily the biggest disappointment of that series, so it’s great that we got another shot at him, especially with this look. Groot and Rocket may be somewhat redundant, but Groot’s the most stylized of the animated ‘mates, so at least he’s a little different.

#0304: Drax, Groot & Rocket Raccoon

DRAX, GROOT & ROCKET RACOON

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Hey, you know how Guardians of the Galaxy was an awesome movie? Were you aware that, being a Marvel movie, it’s guaranteed to get its own assortment of Minimates? Did you know I love Minimates?

Yes, I love Minimates, and I also loved Guardians of the Galaxy. Put those together, and you’ve got a product I just can’t resist. The Minimates for the movie are just starting to hit, and I’ve already begun to pick them up. Today, we’ll be starting off with Drax, Groot & Rocket Raccoon. Wait a second… three minimates? Not two or four? How is this possible? Read and find out…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Drax, Groot & Rocket are one of the overlap sets from Daimond’s two assortments of Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates. They’re included in both the Toys R Us assortment and Marvel Minimates Series 57, which ships to comicbook stores and specialty shops. My set comes from TRU, as the specialty sets haven’t been released just yet.

DRAX

GrootRocketDrax2Amazingly, this isn’t the first Drax Minimate I’ve reviewed here. Way back in review #0162, I took a look at the classic comic version of the character released in the Infinity Gauntlet set. It’s safe to say that was a fairly different take on the character. This version of Drax is based on the movie version, which is in turn based on the character’s more recent design. Drax is more specifically meant to represent Drax from the middle point of the film, after they escape from the Kyln, but before they get matching uniforms. Drax stands about 2 ½ inches tall and features 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the standard Minimate body, and features 4 sculpted add-ons: a bulked up torso, a waist cover, and a pair of big stompy boots. The torso has previously been used on figures such as the Best-Of version of Venom and the waist piece has been used on more figures than I can count. The waist piece works, as Drax is definitely meant to be a thick guy, but I’m not sure about the chest piece. On its own, it’s alright, but coupled with the really skinny arms, it looks very out of place. As far as I can tell, the big stompy boots are new. They’re well sculpted, so that’s good. Drax’s paint work is good from a technical stand point. Everything is clean and there’s no real slop or bleed over. I do wish that his skin were a brighter green and the tattoos were a bit bolder, just so he wasn’t quite so muddled, but it doesn’t look bad, per say, just a bit drab. I guess he’s a Drab Drax… heh heh. Drax comes armed with twin knives and a clear display stand.

GROOT & ROCKET RACCOON

GrootRocketDrax3If there’s one thing everyone can agree on about Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s that these two stole the whole movie. I think Groot in particular surprised a lot of audiences. So, you’re probably thinking “Why are you reviewing both Groot and Rocket at the same time?” Quite simply, it’s because only one of them’s a Minimate. I’ll start with Groot, because he’s actually the figure here. Groot is a little over 2 ½ inches tall and has 14 pointes of articulation. Like Drax, he uses the basic Minimate body, with unique pieces for his head, hands, and feet, as well as a torso extender add-on that’s seen use a few times. The new pieces are all pretty great. My only complaint is that the head has two tabs on the back to allow for Rocket to be propped on Groot’s shoulder. It’s an okay idea in theory, but it’s difficult to get Rocket to stay in place, and it leaves Groot with two rather noticeable tabs sticking out of his head. The paintwork on Groot is really great, and superbly detailed. His bark detailing even continues around the sides of his torso, which is certainly impressive. Groot comes with a clear display stand and Rocket. Rocket is about 1 ½ inches tall and is unarticulated. He has been sculpted to appear as though he has the same 14 points as the typical Minimate. He is sculpted holding a gun in one hand, with his arm outstretched. He’s well sculpted, and his paint isn’t too sloppy. It’d be nice if he could move, but I guess it’s good to have him at least.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These three were purchased at a TRU not too far from the hotel I was staying at for a local convention. They capped off a pretty awesome night hanging with a few of my friends and Super Awesome Girlfriend. On our drive to dinner, my buddy Tim and I saw the TRU and insisted on going in. I found this set, as well as the exclusive Yondu & Sakaar Trooper and Star Lord & Ronan. I left Star Lord & Ronan there, as it’s a shared set, but I gave in to my impatience on these three. I just had to have Rocket and Groot! All three figures in this set are pretty impressive, even if there are a few small issues. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the main Guardians turn out!

#0297: Groot, Rocket Raccoon & Nova Corps Officer

GROOT, ROCKET RACCOON & NOVA CORPS OFFICER

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

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Guardians of the Galaxy was a truly awesome movie. I haven’t had a chance to mention that here, so there it is. If you haven’t seen Guardians do yourself a favor and do so as soon as possible. It’s one of those rare films that truly has something for everyone. Captain America may still be my favorite movie of the year, but Guardians is the most fun.

Hasbro’s offering the film’s cast in a few different scales. I’ve already taken a look at the 6 inch scale figures, which offer the most detailed takes on the characters. Sadly, that line is just the main Guardians. If you want to get a larger selection, you need to turn to the 2 ½ inch line. I made my first venture into the line with Groot, Rocket, and a Nova Corps Officer. Let’s see how they turned out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This trio was released as part of the first, and so far only, series of 2 ½ inch figures. Most of the sets are two packs, but this one is a three-pack due to Rocket’s smaller stature.

GROOT

GrootRocket&NovaWilson1He is Groot. Oh boy is he. Groot is the tallest of the set, at almost 3 inches in height. He also sports 5 points of articulation, which is basic, though not surprising at this scale. There are actually two Groots in this line, with the difference being paint. I think this one’s the less “default” one, for reasons I’ll get to shortly. The sculpt of the figure is pretty good. It’s certainly not as detailed as the larger Marvel Legends Groot, but it does an admirable job with the scale. Groot’s design, being a bit more alien probably lends itself a bit more to the smaller scale. The paint work on Groot is my only real issue with the figure. For the most part, there isn’t much paint. He’s molded in the appropriate brown, with some paint for his eyes. My issue is the thing that makes him a less than standard Groot. For some reason, they’ve thrown some green paint on his right arm, the upper right section of his torso, and the right half of his face. I think it’s meant to represent when he gets a bit more plant-like at certain pints of the movie, but it ends up just looking like lots of green paint.

ROCKET RACCOON

GrootRocket&NovaWilson2Rocket’s kind of an accessory to Groot, I think. He’s the shortest figure (though not quite as short as he should be) at a little over 2 inches and he features no articulation.  Like Groot, there are actually two versions of Rocket in the line. However, the two Rocket figures provide two unique sculpts. This Rocket is the “relaxed” Rocket sculpt. He’s in a neutral standing position, and he features no weapon. He does have an open hand, so I guess he could hold one if you so desired. His sculpt is pretty good for a solid chunk of plastic. He’s got a fair bit of character too him, and he looks overall accurate to the source material. The paint work on Rocket is more intricate than that of Groot. They’ve also avoided taking any strange liberties with the paint, so that’s good, I suppose.

NOVA CORPS OFFICER

GrootRocket&NovaWilson3The army builder of the set is the Nova Corps Officer here. He’s also the first of the figures I’ve looked at so far to be unique to the smaller scale line, and hence, the reason I picked up the set. He’s average height at roughly 2 ½ inches and he features 5 points f articulation. His waist is a separate piece from his torso, but there’s no movement there. NCO (his full name’s hard to type) features an all new sculpt, which is actually quite detailed for the scale. The small area of face that’s visible seems a bit blank, but aside from that, he’s got some amazing sculpted work. NCO is molded in a basic blue, with paint for all the other colors. The torso has some nice work, and the arms aren’t too bad. Sadly, the head has some pretty obvious bleed over around the exposed area of skin, which is a bit distracting. Still, given the scale, it’s forgivable. One thing that is less forgivable is the total lack of any sort of paint on the legs. He clearly has sculpted parts meant to be painted a different color, but they’ve just been left the basic blue.

I should point out that this set included a giant missile launcher (hey, it’s Hasbro’s trademark. They can’t leave it out.) and an accessory-tree of random parts. I’m pretty sure these are all meant to go with NCO, but I can’t tell for sure. Heck, I can’t even totally identify what some of them are…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

While walking through Toys R Us on my birthday, I came across a rather large Guardians display, and the 2 ½ inch figures were among them. I did NOT buy this set there, because TRU is charging a full $4 more per set than everyone else. Instead, I went to the Target across the street. They only had this one set, but it was actually the one I wanted the most anyway. I like Rocket and Groot, and I definitely wanted a Nova guy, who is so far only available in this line (the minimate is out sometime next month). This set was definitely a trial set for the line, and I must say I’m impressed. For $6 you get three pretty nifty figures in a fun little scale. If you’re willing to splurge a bit, you can even get a few of the vehicles, which seem to be the line’s main purpose.

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#0275: Rocket Raccoon

ROCKET RACCOON

MARVEL LEGENDS INFINITE SERIES

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Welcome to part three of my reviews of Hasbro’s Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends Infinite Series. So far, I’ve looked at Star Lord, who I was really impressed with, and Gamora, who ended up being better than I had expected. Today, I’ll be looking at the most up and coming member of the team, Rocket Raccoon. If you’re unfamiliar with Rocket, allow me to explain him. He’s a talking space raccoon with a big gun. It’s a real tough concept to grasp, I know.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rocket Raccoon is part of the Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends Infinite Series. He’s about 3 ½ inches tall and features 13 points of articulation. The figure’s small stature means that he’s left with a limited selection of movement, particularly in the legs, which are pretty much immobile. While it’s understandable that they wanted to make him a bit sturdier, it still sucks that he’s unable to do anything with his legs. Rocket features a brand new sculpt, which is decent, though nothing amazing. The head seems to lack any of Rocket’s character, and his neck is just a bit odd looking. It’s also almost impossible to get him to look anywhere but upward, which limits the figure’s display possibilities. The torso, arms and legs all look pretty decent, and seem to be accurate to Rocket’s design in the movie. Rocket’s tail seems the slightest bit stiff, but this is likely meant to aid the figure in standing. The figure’s paint is okay, but not great. Some of the detail, particularly on the face, looks pretty great, but the uniform shows some serious slop, and he’s even got some spots of paint missing entirely. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly a lot worse than the rest of the figures in the series. Rocket includes a large gun, some sort of torso cannon, and the head and torso of Groot. The gun is a bit tricky to get Rocket to hold properly, but it looks good once it’s in position. The cannon is actually meant to go with Star Lord, and was presumably given to Rocket due to Star Lord already being overloaded with accessories. This, coupled with the largest and most key piece of Groot, seems to be an attempt to make up for Rocket’s smaller stature. It works fine if you’re buying the whole series, but I can’t see it being too intriguing to someone only interested in Rocket himself.

RocketRaccoon2 RocketRaccoonWilson RocketRaccoon3

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Rocket was purchased online via Amazon, same as Star Lord and Gamora. I was actually looking forward to this figure overall, being excited in general by the prospect of Rocket Raccoon being in a movie and getting a toy from said movie. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit let down by this figure. His small stature, lack of articulation and poor paint all adds up to a figure that doesn’t fill me with loads of joy. Still, he’s far from the worst figure I’ve ever bought, and he does still look pretty darn cool when placed with the rest of the team. If you’re only looking for a Rocket by himself, this one’s not the one for you. There’s a few other versions out there that would probably have more to offer. However, If you’re looking for a full set of the team, this guy’s essential.