#0769: Cable & Stryfe




The X-Men were so popular in the 90s that they not only had two books of their own, but also a whopping three spin-off titles. Two of those, Excalibur and X-Factor, had been launched in the 80s, and the other, X-Force, was a rebranding of the New Mutants in order to make them more “extreme.” This included adding Cable, a dude who’s mutant power was apparently being a big dude with a gun, aka being the personification of 90s comics. Cable had a twin/clone, called Stryfe. Let’s look at some figures of those two today!


This pair was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s X-Men: Steel Mutants line, because apparently the X-Men just weren’t 90s enough.


CableStryfe2Oh man, here’s Cable. Why’s he called Cable? God only knows. Maybe he used to work for Comcast. That would certainly explain his surly nature. The figure stands 2 ½ inches tall and he has 4 points of articulation. Cable had quite a few figures in the 5 inch X-Force line, and this one uses Series 2’s Rapid Rocket Firing Cable as sort of a reference point. I don’t know if it’s based on a specific look, but it does present a slightly more subdued look for the character than usual. He doesn’t even have shoulder pads! His sculpt is generally pretty well handled. He’s got a good amount of detail, and his build does set him apart from the other figures in the line. Plus, I do dig that assymetry. His pose is pretty straight forward, with no real outlandish poising or anything, and he’s decently balanced, so there are no issues with getting him to stand. Cable’s paint is pretty much on par with the rest of the Steel Mutants. There’s a fair degree of bleed over around the edges, but he doesn’t look atrocious. The colors are pretty well chosen, and he looks pretty sharp.


CableStryfe3Yes, you read that name right. He’s named Stryfe. And it’s spelled with a “y.” Because 90s. Strule also stands roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has those same 4 points of articulation. Stryfe is presented here in full 90s glory. Check out that head gear. Seriously, that helmet looks like Liefeld deliberately set out to out-Wolverine Wolverine. I suppose they succeeded in that effort. Doesn’t make it look any less stupid, but more power to him. He appears to be inspired by the Stryfe figure in the 5-inch line, though he’s lost most of that figure’s interesting armor detailing, which has the unintended side effect of drawing more attention to just how goofy the main design of the character is. It doesn’t help matters that his sculpt is just markedly inferior to that of his pack mate. Cable is nicely sized, full of detail, and not in a super goofy pose. Stryfe is the opposite of those things. The size is particularly egregious, since he’s a clone of Cable, and should therefore be about the same size. That coupled with the long monkey arms, the strange lunging pose of the legs, and the ill-fitting cape makes for a really rough looking figure. The paint doesn’t really do him any favors either. He’s mostly a somewhat drab silver, which only further highlights the blandness of the sculpt. It is, at the very least, clean, which I suppose is a plus.


This pair was purchased for me from Yesterday’s Fun, alongside the previously reviewed Cyclops and Mr. Sinister set, courtesy of my Super Awesome Girlfriend. Unlike the other set, I never had either of these guys growing up. In fact, this set represents the first, and to date only, Stryfe figure in my collection. So, there’s that. Cable is a pretty solid figure, but Stryfe is easily one of the weakest figures this line had to offer, resulting in an oddly balanced set.

#0756: Cyclops & Mr. Sinister




Last month, I took a look at one of Toy Biz’s many experiments with the Marvel license from the 90s, ­X-Men: Steel Mutants. They were a line of small scale versions of the X-Men, which featured a heavy dose of die-cast metal parts, hence the “Steel” part of the name. Toy Biz actually offered a pretty good selection of the X-Men in this line, including not one, but two versions of founding member Cyclops. Today, we’ll be looking at one of those, along with his pack-mate Mr. Sinister.


Cyclops and Mr. Sinister were released in the second series of X-Men: Steel Mutants. Like all the others in the line, they work both as comic and cartoon versions of the characters.


SinisterCyclops2This is the second of the two Cyclopses released in this line. While Wolverine got three totally different looks for his three figures, Cyclops just gets a new pose. As opposed to the straight standing look, this one’s got a bit of a running start sort of a thing going. I guess that’s new and exciting. The figure stands roughly 2 ½ inches tall and has 4 points of articulation. Cyclops’s head and arms are plastic, and the torso and legs are metal, like all the other figures in the line. He uses the same head, torso, and left arm as the first Cyclops, along with a new right arm and legs, showing off that deep lunging thing he’s got going on. His sculpt, like that of the first Cyclops, is really a scaling down of the 5 inch Cyclops II figure. That was Toy Biz’s standard Cyclops, and it was a pretty good summation of the character, so it works. The torso’s a bit on the large side for Scott, but hey, it was the 90s, everybody was juicing. All in all, the figure’s pretty well detailed, and not terrible on the proportions, for the time at least. Cyclops’s deep stance makes him a little bit more difficult to keep standing than, say, Gambit, but not as much as you might think. Toy Biz clearly put a lot of effort into making sure these guys were properly balanced, which is good on their part. Cyclops’s paint work is decent for the scale, though there’s some noticeable slop on the changes from yellow to blue, which is slightly annoying. But, smaller details, such as the “X”s on his belt and chest harness are surprisingly clean, and the figure as a whole looks pretty good when viewed from a far.


SinisterCyclops3Mr. Sinister is a pretty natural choice for this line, given his prominence in the cartoon, and he certainly makes sense packed with Cyclops, since they interacted a lot in both the comics and the cartoon. And, unlike Cyclops, this figure doesn’t feel redundant to anyone who had the first series of the line. Sinister was a new sculpt for the Steel Mutants line, though he was more or less just a scaled down version of the 5 inch Sinister from the main line, with the articulation scheme changed. Like that figure, this one feels a little on the small side for Sinister, who was usually depicted as being at least a little bigger than the average person. Aside from that, though, he does a pretty good job of capturing the character’s design. The cape is a separate, removable piece, made from plastic. It clips around the figure’s neck, and doesn’t quite sit right, but it’s close enough not to look too off at this scale. As far as paint goes, Sinister’s mostly painted in the same shade of dark blue, which seems to be a little thickly applied. The rest of the paint is pretty good, though he’s totally lacking Sinister’s usual facial hair. The prototype shows him sporting a full goatee, which is still not correct. Maybe the factory could only do goatee or clean shaven, with no in between? I suppose this would be the preferable choice in that case. There was actually a later single release of this figure that had the goatee, but never one with the character’s actual beard.


Cyclops and Sinister were purchased for me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, when we visited Yesterday’s Fun this past summer. She recognized them as being from the same line as Gambit and Bishop and insisted on buying them for me. I actually had the later single releases of both of these figures, though I can’t say I know where they ended up. All in all, these are another fun little addition, and I’m happy to have them!

#0727: Gambit & Bishop




The 90s were a fantastic time for toy collecting. Admittedly, I’m a little biased, having begun my collection during that decade, but even without the bias, it was a pretty good time to get into things. Star Wars toys came back, virtually every cartoon got at least some sort of tie-in, and super heroes found themselves with a consistent presence on toy shelves. Toy Biz had the Marvel license (it was still just a license then. They hadn’t yet become a sub-division of Marvel), and they were offering the Marvel characters in just about every scale imaginable, with lots of different mediums, presumably to see what stuck. One of their more short-lived experiments were smaller scale, metal figures. They offered figures from several Marvel properties, but the X-Men definitely got the main focus, with their line of Steel Mutants. Now, let’s take a look at Gambit and Bishop, two characters who are very, very 90s.


Gambit and Bishop were part of the second series of X-Men: Steel Mutants. While they function fine as figures from the comics of the time, they were definitely meant to be based on the cartoon of the time.


BishopGambit3Hey! It’s everyone’s favorite sleezy, disreputable mutant, Gambit! Or is it Channing Tatum? Well, turns out they’re kind of the same thing now. Yay. Gambit is presented here in his 80s/90s costume, which is definitely his most Gambit-y costume to date. Also the only one he’d had at the time this figure was made, so not a shock. It’s a totally hideous design, but I love it so much. The figure stands 2 ½ inches tall and has 4-ish points of articulation. I say “ish” because the waist and neck are both fairly limited by the design of the costume. It should be noted that Gambit, like all of the Steel Mutants, is not totally metal. His torso and legs are diecast, but the arms and head are plastic. Metal isn’t the easiest thing to get fine detailing into, especially at a smaller scale, so the torso and legs are a little more simplified in terms of sculpt, really only getting the most basic details. He doesn’t even have the rippling chest muscles that were a signature of all the other X-Men of the time. Guy really needs to get back to his bowflex! Gambit is posed in a mid-step sort of thing (prevalent to this line) which looks like it should make him impossible to stand, but he actually is incredibly well-balanced, so kudos to Toy Biz there. The plastic parts have a bit more detailing, though not so much as to make them look out of place with the metal parts. He’s sculpted holding a charged card, which is permanently affixed to his hand. The paint work on Gambit is thickly applied, in pretty basic colors. There’s a fair bit of bleed over, but that’s more forgivable at this scale. The colors are, at the very least, nice and vibrant, which is a definite plus.


BishopGambit2Bishop. Because the X-Men just weren’t content with only one overly muscled, big gun toting, anti-hero from the future. We totally needed more of those. Bishop is also presented here in his 90s costume. Once again, not a huge surprise. It’s a less hideous design than Gambit’s I suppose, but I have less of a nostalgic tie to it. Bishop is roughly the same height as Gambit and has the same articulation. He’s got a bit more movement in the waist, but the neck is even more limited, due to the hair. The metal to plastic ratio is the same here as well. The metal parts seem a little more detailed here, though, and he definitely makes up for those rippling muscles Gambit lacked. He’s in an even deeper stance than Gambit, with looks a little dopey, but he’s still well-balanced, so I can’t really complain. The details on the head and arms are definitely a lot more involved on this guy, which certainly fits how the character was always portrayed. Paint-wise, he does seem to get better application that Gambit, overall. There’s noticeably less bleed over this time around. The colors are still nice and vibrant, as well. While Gambit had no extras, Bishop actually does get an accessory: a big gun. He’d hardly be complete without it, so it’s a good inclusion. As an added plus, he can even hold in either hand. Yay for ambidextrousness!


This set’s actually been on the review docket for a while, just waiting for a good spot. I got it back in May, while at Balticon. I had spotted it at the table of a dealer whom I bought quite a few other things from, but decided to pass at the moment. Super Awesome Girlfriend (who could just as easily be called Super Attentive Girlfriend) took note of this and while I was doing a performance on stage she ran up and bought the set for me to present me with after the show.

Growing up, I only actually had a few of the Toy Biz Metal figures, mostly from the non-X-Men lines. My dad, however, had a nearly complete set of the X-Men ones, which he let me play with. Gambit was always one of my favorites, so I’m happy to have one of my own! Bishop’s not a bad figure, but I’m just not much of a fan of the character. Anyway, these are definitely a weird little item, but they possess a lot of charm.