#1942: Alpha Flight Boxed Set #2

SASQUATCH, SNOWBIRD, AURORA, & SHAMAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

The United States doesn’t hold a total monopoly on North American super hero teams!  No, no, Canada also gets in on the fun, with their own psuedo-Avengers-equivalent, Alpha Flight!  First appearing in the pages of Uncanny X-Men in 1979, the team eventually moved to their own series, and they’ve maintained something of a cult following ever since.  In 2012, that following was prominent enough to warrant a pair of boxed sets, which gave us a rather sizable line-up for the team.  The second, NYCC-exclusive pack is the focus of today’s review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These four made up the second of the two Alpha Flight boxed sets, released in 2012.  The first was at SDCC, and this one followed up at NYCC as mentioned above.  Though, neither set was a gangbuster, so they were available from a number of retailers after the fact.

SASQUATCH

More than just an urban legend, Sasquatch is Walter Langowski, who has the ability, via either magical or radioactive means depending on your preference, to transform into this hulking creature.  He’s definitely up there in terms of recognition, falling behind Guardian and maybe Puck for best known team member.  Sasquatch takes quite a departure from the standard ‘mate body, getting add-ons for his head/chestcap, hands, upper legs, and feet.  Apart from the upper legs, which are standard bulk-up pieces, everything was new to this figure.  While the pieces work reasonably well, the design of them definitely proves rather on the limiting side in terms of playablity.  The head can’t turn, the arms only barely move, and he falls apart at the waist a lot.  So, really, anything beyond a basic standing pose isn’t happening.  He looks decent enough, though.  The paintwork on Sasquatch is fairly scarce.  He’s mostly just the same orange all around, which is accurate, but maybe not super exciting.  The face is definitely nice, and is a solid recreation of Byrne’s artwork.  Sasquatch has no accessories, since the clear display stands hadn’t *quite* become standard issue.

SNOWBIRD

An Inuit goddess, initially limited to the Canadian borders, Snowbird is one of Byrne’s earliest Alpha Flight creations, predating his professional work in comics.  She makes use of two add-on pieces, one for her hair/head-piece, and the other for her cape.  Both pieces were new to this figure, and they work reasonably well.  The cape lacks the grandeur with which Snowbird’s design was usually shown, but that does mean she’s a less restricted and top-heavy figure, so I can totally understand DST’s call on that one.  Snowbird’s paintwork is pretty decent.  The application is clean, and the colors match up well with her comics design. She’s slightly washed out looking, but that’s true to the character.  The face is accurate to her design, but seems…off.  It’s just not particularly appealing to look at, truth be told.  I guess she just doesn’t look quite right on a cylinder.  For accessories, Snowbird just gets a flight stand.  One of her alternate forms would have been cool, but given the two new add-ons she got, not necessary.

AURORA

Though she’s a little lesser known than her brother Northstar, Aurora is still pretty well known, even if it’s largely in connection to her brother.  Splitting the two up between these sets was actually pretty clever. Aurora uses one add-on piece for her hair.  It’s borrowed from Thor‘s Jane foster.  It’s not the most luxurious piece, but it gets the job done, and is a respectable choice. The majority of Aurora’s design is done with paint.  Her white and black combo is quite eye-catching, and really works well in this style.  Due to the very stylized fashion of coloring Northstar and Aurora’s hair, there’s some confusion over what’s the proper coloring.  To ease this issue, Aurora includes the same hairpiece painted both white and black.  She comes wearing the white, but the overall appearance is more or less the same either way.  In addition to the extra hair piece, Aurora also includes a flight stand, as well as an alternate hand, which allows her to hold hands with the Northstar figure from the other set.

SHAMAN

Shaman is exactly what it says on the tin…more or less.  He’s also the least fortunate of the founding members when it comes to toys, as this figure was his very first, and to date, only.  The figure uses add-ons for his hair, belt, and boots.  The boots are the DCD Flash boots (rather than the Invaders Cap boots we tend to see in the Marvel line), and the other two pieces are brand new.  The hair and the belt are quite nicely rendered pieces, with the small detail work on the belt in particular being quite impressive.  The paintwork on Shaman is the nicest in the set.  His face is a good fit for the stalwart Shaman, and the details on his costume are crisp, clean and quite bold.  While I might have liked to see some fringe detailing on the boots, I can’t really fault DST for not attempting it. Shaman included two energy effects pieces, both molded in the same translucent blue.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set from my favorite minimate retailer, Luke’s Toy Store.  The set’s a bit more of a mixed bag than the first one.  Sasquatch is passable at best.  Nothing really stands out as exemplary, and he’s certainly got his flaws.  But, this is kind of the same assortment of problems that every larger character runs into.  Snowbird represents a solid attempt from DST, but is sadly another miss, I think largely due to the design not really translating all that well to the style.  Aurora may be a fair standard-issue offering, but she really works in this style, and pairs nicely with her brother.  By far the star of the set, Shaman is a surprisingly good figure, from start to finish.

#1697: Sasquatch

SASQUATCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Huzzah!  Another Build-A-Figure is complete.  And, like last year’s Titus, this one was sort of by accident.  It’s not that I *don’t* like Sasquatch, and I certainly know more about him than I did the cyborg Tony the Tiger, but Deadpool-themed assortment with an Alpha Flight-themed Build-A-Figure doesn’t immediately jump out at me.  However, here we are, so I might as well review this thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sasquatch is the Build-A-Figure for the somewhat predictably named Sasquatch Series of Marvel Legends, which is also the first of 2018’s two Deadpool-centric series.  His connection to Deadpool’s tenuous at best, but they *are* both Canadian, so I guess there’s that.  I’d also point out that this and the next assortment feel more like extensions of the X-Men subline more than anything, and that’s definitely a theme Sasquatch fits right into.  This is Sasquatch’s second time as a Marvel Legend; the last one was back during the Toy Biz days, when it was still cost effective to do such a large figure as a single-packed figure, rather than splitting him up.  This figure stands 8 1/4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Despite some claims to the contrary, he’s an all-new sculpt.  Nothing on him is shared with last year’s Man-Thing BaF.  They may share some common ancestry somewhere along the way, but the final products aren’t the same at all.  Sasquatch’s sculpt is definitely bulkier than his last figure, and overall does a pretty great job of capturing a non-artist specific version of the character.  I quite like the calmer facial expression they’ve gone with here; it’s a nice change of pace from what we’ve seen in the past.  One thing I did notice about Sasquatch that I’ve been seeing crop up with more recent BaFs is how easily he pops back apart.  I don’t want quite go back to the days of no disassembly that we had going for a little while there, but my Sasquatch has a tendency to fall apart during fairly routine posing, which is more than a little annoying.  Sasquatch’s paint work is decent, but it runs into a problem we’ve seen before on BaFs like this.  What are meant to be subtle changes in the shading of his fur are made less subtle by the slight variations from piece to piece clashing on the fully assembled product.  It’s not terrible, but you can definitely see some rather jarring jumps on my figure.  With that said, I do prefer this to a shadingless lump of orange.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, like I mentioned it the intro, I really didn’t mean to finish this guy.  I got Deathlok and X-23 back in February, and I kind of thought that was the end of it.  Then I got Cable because I like the animated series, and I thought I might regret missing out on him.  Then I got Domino and Paladin because of coupon deals.  And then, all of the sudden, I had this headless Sasquatch sitting on my desk, and that seemed a little silly, so X-Force Deadpool was purchased and here we are.  This whole assortment is something of a sleeper hit for me.  I expected nothing from it, but I’m honestly pretty happy with it as a whole, and there are some definite pleasant surprises, Sasquatch included.

#1551: Sasquatch & Vindicator

SASQUATCH & VINDICATOR

ALPHA FLIGHT (TOY BIZ)

“Dr. Walter Langkowski was content with his quiet, fairly normal life as a college physics professor. That was before his insatiable curiosity regarding the effects of gamma radiation upon the human body led him to accidentally transform himself into the mighty Sasquatch! Standing at nearly ten feet tall, covered with orange fur and able to lift nearly 70 tons, Sasquatch is a physical powerhouse of superhuman strength. Led by electromagnetically charged Vindicator, Sasquatch serves Canada as a member of its foremost group of super heroes: Alpha Flight. Together, Alpha Flight fights to protect Canada and the world from the forces of evil.”

Okay, so there’s a bio for one of the two figures in the set, with like a passing mention for the other one.  Kind of an odd choice.  The combined bio thing worked better for Northstar and Aurora.  Here it feels awkward, right? Also, it’s worth noting that the use of just the “Vindicator” name with no pronouns or anything means it could technically be referring to either James or Heather.  Perhaps Toy Biz hadn’t decided which of the Vindicators was going to be included yet when the text was written?  Come to think of it, Vindicator’s not even in the illustration on the top of the box like all the others are.  It’s just Sasquatch.  Weird.  Well, I’m still gonna review them both.  Here we go.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Sasquatch and Vindicator were one of the three two-packs that made up the first (and only) series of Toy Biz’s Alpha Flight line from 1998.

SASQUATCH

Gonna be honest, I didn’t actually know all that much about Sasquatch until that bio up there.  He’s one of the most prominent members of the team in terms of toy representation, with this figure, a Minimate, and TWO Marvel Legends.  He’s rivaled only by Puck in terms of representation.  That’s not bad for what essentially translates to Canadian Hulk.  This figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 13 points of articulation.  He’s a little smaller than Sasquatch tends to be depicted in the comics (where he frequently falls into the 8-10 ft range), but he’s still noticeably taller than the rest of his teammates, which is really the important thing in all of this.  Though his head is a separate piece from the torso, the nature of the neck and hair design is such that there’s no actual motion, an issue that would crop up on most of Sasquatch’s future figures.  Sasquatch’s sculpt was new to him (though it would be re-used for the Dark Side line’s Man-Thing figure not too long after), and it’s not a bad piece of work.  It matches pretty well with depictions of him over the years.  There’s some pretty great work  on the texturing, showing Toy Biz’z slow improvement over time that would eventually lead to the likes of Marvel Legends.  In terms of paint, Sasquatch is actually a bit better than you might expect.  TB could have gone the easy route and just done straight orange, but instead they’ve actually done quite a bit of accenting on the musculature and such, which looks pretty great.  Sasquatch has no accessories, though if you want to get technical, the way the packaging is laid out I suppose you could consider Vindicator his accessory…but that makes me uncomfortable.

VINDICATOR

This is actually the second time I’ve looked at a figure of Heather Hudson as Vindicator, in the same costume no less!  After this, I’ll have reviewed 100% of the Heather Hudson figures ever made.  Yay?  Like the Minimate, this figure depicts Heather wearing her (then) deceased husband Mac’s Guardian/Vindicator costume.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 12 points of articulation.  Vindicator premiered this particular body, but it went on to serve as the basis of a number of other female figures, including the previously reviewed Bloodstorm figure.  It was a decent enough body for Heather, though it has a little bit of difficulty staying standing.  Her head is re-used from the Marvel Collector Editions Jean Grey figure, which isn’t the best sculpt Toy Biz ever put out, but at the same time, the head’s hardly the worst part of the original figure.  Plus, there’s a visor added to it, which helps to mask some of the weirder parts of the original piece.  The hair is still rooted, which isn’t super ideal in this scale, but it could be worse.  The paint work on this figure isn’t quite as interesting as with Sasquatch, but it gets the job done.  The edges are a bit fuzzy, but  for the time not bad.  Like Sasquatch, she includes no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Unlike the previously reviewed Northstar and Aurora, I didn’t get this pair new.  I saw them many times at retail, but wasn’t familiar enough with the characters to really be drawn in.  I ended up picking up over this past summer, loose, from Yesterday’s Fun.  Vindicator’s just okay.  Not anything really special or anything.  Sasquatch on the other hand, is actually pretty awesome, and I’m glad I finally got one.  Now, I’ll just need to find Puck and Snowbird.