#1876: Supreme Leader Snoke – Throne Room

SUPREME LEADER SNOKE — THRONE ROOM

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Shadowy commander of the First Order, Supreme Leader Snoke prefers to operate from a distance, looming over his underlings in the form of an immense hologram.  As the First Order rallies, this master of the Dark Side emerges from the shadows to seize victory.”

Hey, you guys wanna talk about something that’s not at all divisive in the slightest?  Well, than I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place, because not only am I looking at a Last Jedi figure, but I’m looking at one of the most divisive characters in the movie, one Supreme Leader Snoke.  I long for the days when I was just reviewing Captain Phasma figures…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Supreme Leader Snoke was a GameStop-exclusive Black Series offering…well, this specific release was, anyway.  The actual Snoke figure, sans the big throne, was released as part of the main Black Series line-up as well.  More on that later.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  His sculpt is unique to him because, quite frankly, who else would you use it for?  The head and hands are the best parts to be sure, matching up pretty nicely with Snoke’s actual look from the movie.  The details are sharp and well-defined, and he definitely looks unique.  The majority of his sculpt isn’t actually meant to be seen, because like yesterday’s Zuckuss figure, Snoke is a mixed media affair.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out quite as well for him as it did for the Zuckster.  Snoke looks like an old guy in a worn out bathrobe.  Not exactly the most imposing look, and certainly on the goofier side when compared even to his on-screen counterpart.  There’s just something about the way the bone sits, and the way the stitching is frayed, and how it’s fitted to him, that just makes him look like something of a lumpy mess.  I understand the need for the cloth robe, especially with the throne and everything, but the execution just isn’t there.  His paintwork is at least respectable.  His exposed skin has a nice variety of coloring and detailing to it, which accents the best parts of the sculpt.  The main line’s version of Snoke was without accessories, but the big selling point of this release was his thone.  It’s a sizable piece, with some really sharp detail work.  And, even if you don’t like Snoke, it’s a generic enough design to work for all sorts of crazed fictional despots.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I honestly don’t have any attachment to Snoke as a character.  That extends back to his appearance in TFA.  So, his appearance in TLJ didn’t exactly excite me into a toy-buying frenzy.  But you’ve read the review, and you know I bought this sucker already.  You may ask me “how did you get here?”  And you may ask me “my god, what have you done?”  Well, the answer to both of those Talking Heads-esque questions lies in Hasbro’s poor line management.  The nature of Snoke’s role in TLJ was, of course, kept rather in the dark, but given how TFA ended, they undoubtedly thought he was going to be very prominent, so they released him two different ways: with and without the throne.  Presumably, they thought this would be necessary to meet all of that crazy Smoke demand out there.  And then the movie came out, and there were two widely available releases of the same basic figure, based on a character that most people didn’t have a whole lot of reason to buy, so neither release moved particularly well.  This one specifically lingered, what with the higher price tag and the whole “shipping in cases of himself”, and perhaps the fact that the corresponding Kylo exclusive didn’t show up for another couple of months.  Anyway, the point is, Snoke ended up on super clearance at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, so I ended up getting him for just a few dollars.  Snoke himself is okay, but not terribly impressive.  The throne, on the other hand, is actually pretty darn cool, and it’s potential for outside use makes it really worth the purchase.

Advertisements

#1867: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“With the sleekness of the jungle cat whose name he bears, T’Challa — King of Wakanda — stalks both the concrete city and the underground of the Veldt”

At the beginning of this year, in conjunction with the release of his movie, Walmart offered up an exclusive variant of Black Panther.  It was kind of a curious offering, being a fully powered-up, energy-effect ridden version of a costume we hadn’t yet received a standard release of.  And, unlike most instances of such variants, there was no confirmation of a standard version anywhere in the pipeline.  That is, until Panther’s name cropped up on the list of rumored Series 2 Vintage figures.  Since we’d *just* gotten a re-release of the classic Panther, could this possibly be the missing All New, All Different Panther?  Why yes, yes it could!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is the second figure in Series 2 of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage sub-line.  He uses the aforementioned “All New, All Different” design, which is a pretty solid one.  It takes the classic Panther look and just sort of streamlines it.  I’m still partial to the classic look, but I can see the appeal of this one.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the same basic construction as the Walmart-exclusive release, with a few minor change-ups.  He’s still built on the Spider-UK body, which I still like a lot for T’Challa.  He has the same streamlined head sculpt and necklace add-on.  He swaps out the last figure’s Rocket Raccoon Series Panther hands for the Civil War Panther hands.  I’m not entirely sure why Hasbro keeps switching back and forth between them, but there’s at least some variety.  He also adds a basic belt piece (borrowed from Prowler), to break things up, I guess?  Hey, I can’t complain about an extra piece.  The main selling point here is, of course, the paint.  Since the last one had all the pink tron-lines, this one goes fully powered down.  Though, rather than the straight black I think we’d all been expecting, he’s actually an iridescent dark blue, which works quite well, and ends up a bit more striking than if he’d just been pure black.  Panther gets the same accessory set-up as the powered-up version, minus the extra head (not really a big loss, there): a spare set of hands, and two energy pieces for the hands, this time in an etherial white.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being pleasantly surprised by the Powered Up Panther, I was somewhat intrigued by this release.  When he showed up alongside Scarlet Spider at Super Awesome Fiancee’s store, she was kind enough to pick him up for me.  Ultimately, he hasn’t displaced my classic Panther on the shelf, and doesn’t quite have the pop of the prior figure, but he’s still entertaining in his own right.

#1866: Scarlet Spider

SCARLET SPIDER

MARVEL LEGENDS VINTAGE (HASBRO)

“The clone of Peter Parker left New York and wandered the country returning years later calling himself Ben Reilly.  He became the superhero known as the Scarlet Spider!”

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was reviewing a Legends Scarlet Spider, but I assure you, this one’s totally different and distinct from that one.  Now, of course, you might recall that I reviewed *another* Legends Scarlet Spider a few years ago.  Well, I assure you, this one’s…more or less the same as that one.  But that one has a super hefty aftermarket price, so hey, re-release time, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Scarlet Spider headlines the second series of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Vintage line.  For the second round of figures, Hasbro’s really taken the Black Widow thread to heart, and tried to give us more than straight re-issues of prior figures…well, except for this guy.  This Scarlet Spider is by design supposed to be very similar to the Rhino Series figure from 2015.  Apart from one small change, the sculpt is the same between the two figures.  That means he’s 6 1/4 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation, and is build on the Pizza Spidey body.  I was very happy with this sculpt the first time around, and I still really like it three years later.  The small change has to do with his web-shooters, which are now the more rounded capsules we saw with Spider-Girl and Black Widow.  They’re a bit more accurate than the more squared off versions we saw before (which were usually more associated with Ben’s Spider-Man costume).  Apart from that, the biggest changes between the two figures are in the paint department.  His blue hoodie has remained more or less the same, but his red body suit is now far less orange, and his eyes no longer have the black outline.  The brown of his accent pieces is also more of a tan this tome around.  Honestly, I don’t know which version I prefer.  They’re certainly different, but neither really jumps out as “better.”  This release of Scarlet Spider drops the Rhino heads from the last release, obviously, but also loses the open gesture hands from the last one, which I was a little saddened by, especially with the reds not matching.  On the plus side, he does get an unmasked Ben Reilly head, which we’ve not gotten before.  Sure, it’s just a repaint of the unmasked Peter Parker from the Spidey/MJ two-pack, but given how scarce that set was, it’s new to me. Also, he’s a clone, so I guess re-use makes sense.  That’s probably the better rationale, isn’t it?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t initially planning to get this figure.  I’m happy with the prior release, and while I did like this one’s unmasked appearance, I wasn’t sure that would really warrant the purchase.  But, Super Awesome Fiancee’s store got him in, and she sent me a picture, and I liked how he looked in person, so I kind of caved.  There’s not a lot of new going on here, and I don’t really see this guy replacing the prior release, but I do like the extra head, and I think he’s distinct enough to be worth my time.  And, for someone who missed the first release, he’ll be awesome, which is really the main point.

#1860: Iron Man – Mark VII

IRON MAN — MARK VII

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

“Equipped with a mighty Vibranium arc reactor and enhanced flight capacities, the Mark VII is a Fully-Loaded Rapid Deployment suit built for heavy combat.”

Despite the movie’s immense financial success, the tie-in action figures for Avengers were rather understated.  The poor sales of toys for Captain America and Thor, as well as the general lingering of Iron Man 2’s later assortments, meant that retailers weren’t really jumping all-in for line-ups featuring many of those same characters.  Mass retail only wanted smaller-assortment, smaller-scale figures, but Hasbro was able to sell Walmart on an exclusive run of Legends scale figures for the movie.  Of course, this exclusive run meant there were some cutbacks, such as everyone’s favorite armored avenger being stuck with a re-pack of his Mark VI armor from Iron Man 2, rather than the Mark VII armor that more appropriately fit the line-up.  Fortunately, Hasbro took the tenth anniversary of the MCU to amend this issue.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mark VII Iron Man is entry 3 in Hasbro’s Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  He is the final of the three single-packed offerings from the line, following the previously reviewed Red Skull and Ronan the Accuser.  This is, of course, Tony’s Mark VII armor, which he sports during the proper assemblage of the Avengers during the film’s big climactic battle.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 37 points of articulation.  Not only does this figure have the most articulation of any of the movie Iron Men, it’s also implemented in the most workable fashion here, meaning that the Mark VII is hands down the most posable MCU incarnation of Iron Man in the Legends line-up.  Though it takes a little bit of cheating, you can also get his signature three-point landing out of this figure, which ended up being one of its selling points for me.  What’s more, you can even move all of the flaps on his back, and his head can almost look straight up.  We saw a lot of improvements in this direction fro both the Mark 46 and Mark 50 releases, but this guy really seems to take everything they’ve learned and even further build on that.  Obviously, with all of this improved articulation, you kind of need an all-new sculpt, and this one’s a very good one.  Thanks to a much-delayed release, Hasbro was able to actually make the figure as faithful to the film as possible, and they’ve generally succeeded.  There are still a few little details here and there, but he’s very, very close.  The biggest plus for me is that, unlike the IM2/IM3 armors, this one is actually properly scaled with the rest of the MCU Legends, and can conceivably be an actual guy in a suit of armor.  The paint work for the Mark VII is solid, and again, one of the strongest entries we’ve seen for an MCU Tony.  The metallic red plastic works very well, being neither too bright or too dark, and the rest of the application is pretty clean.  There’s a slight scuff on my figure’s right leg, but he’s otherwise pretty good.  The Mark VII is packed with a second set of hands, this time in the repulser blast pose (which, sadly, continue the tend of not having the same articulation as the fists), as well as the now-standard blast-effect pieces, this time in a transparent yellow.  I was a little saddened that there was no unmasked head this time, which is about the only major complaint I can lobby against this figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My disappointment with the Mark 50, combined with my prioritizing of the other figures in the Marvel Studios set, meant that I passed this figure up a great many times.  I guess I just didn’t think too much of him.  It was actually Super Awesome Fiancee who brought him home for me from her work, at which point I was able to re-examine him in-hand, and realize I’d been totally wrong about this guy.  There’s a lot to like here.  He’s the best MCU Iron Man on the market, and the easiest one to find at that.  I whole-heartedly recommend him!

#1766: Storm

STORM

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An affinity for the magical elements make Ororo Munroe the mistress of weather manipulation Storm.”

….”affinity for the magical elements”?  That…that doesn’t seem quite right for Storm.  Her powers aren’t “magical.”  Darn it, Ethan, there you go critiquing bios again.  Knock it off!

Though one of the most prominent X-Men by far, Storm’s had rather a storied history when it comes to action figures, especially Marvel Legends.  In the whole run of the line, she’s only had two prior figures, one during Toy Biz’s tenure, and one during Hasbro’s.  Hasbro’s pulling a head of the game, though, and bringing their number up to a whopping two!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Storm is figure 5 in the Apocalypse Series of Marvel Legends.  Her last Hasbro release was based on her then-current Marvel Now appearance.  This one goes more classic (though exactly how classic the design is has been slightly up for debate), giving us Storm’s punk look from the late ’80s.  The Now figure also had a mohawk, giving us a slight taste of this design, but this one goes full-on.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall to from her feet to the top of her head (the mohawk adds another half an inch) and she has 27 points of articulation.  Storm’s starting point is the casual-wear jeans and a t-shirt body introduced last year for Mary Jane and Jessica Jones.  On top of that, she gets the jacket and glove cuffs from Rogue, as well as a new head, upper torso, boots, and belt.  The base body is a fairly decent starting point for this particular Storm design.  I suppose an argument could be made that Storm should have a slightly larger stature, but I don’t think she’s too far off.  Certainly not as bad as prior Storm offerings.  The borrowed Rogue pieces, though not perfect matches for Storm’s garb from the comics, are close enough to warrant the re-use.  That just leaves the newly sculpted pieces, which are quite nicely rendered.  I was actually a little surprised that the head was an all-new piece, as I’d somewhat expected it to be a re-use from the prior Storm figure.  I was glad to find it was a new piece, as this one takes the decent starting point of the prior sculpt, and adds an additional layer of character, to both the facial expression and the slight tussled nature of the hair.  It’s a good match for her rye personality from the comics at the time she was sporting this look.  To be completely accurate to the comics, she should really have gotten a band on her arm, but that’s a relatively minor detail.  Storm’s paintwork is on par with the usual work we’ve been seeing lately.  The application is all clean, and the all-black costume is quite slick looking.  Oddly, she’s actually gotten a painted detail she didn’t need.  They’ve painted an exposed midriff on her torso, when it should technically be a full shirt, and thereby just be black like the rest of the shirt.  I can’t say I mind the change, though, and it doesn’t seem all that out of place with this particular look.  Storm is packed with a pair of lightning effects (the same ones included with Magneto and Thor; now we’ve got them in a whole array of colors), which technically she wouldn’t have with this costume, what with having lost her powers and all, but it would seem odd to get a Storm figure without them.  She also includes the torso of the Build-A-Figure Apocalypse.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Neither of the last two Storm Legends were particularly easy to get.  I fully intended to grab the last Hasbro figure but, well, that didn’t happen.  I’ve been hoping for another shot at Storm since then.  Storm was another birthday gift from my Super Awesome Fiancee (I guess there was a mohawk theme going on).  While this look isn’t my first choice (I’m still hoping for that First Appearance figure we were teased with back in 2007), I’m happy to have gotten any look at all, really.  She’s a solid figure to be sure.

#1758: Captain America & Crossbones

CAPTAIN AMERICA & CROSSBONES

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Although the Avengers survive a strike by Crossbones on Lagos, dozens of civilians are killed in the altercation. As a result, the team is presented with the Sokovia Accords – an agreement designed to keep the heroes in check – and must individually choose which side of the law they stand with.”

Like Guardians of the GalaxyCaptain America: Civil War was fortunate to come late enough in the MCU game that Hasbro was finally comfortable actually doing a pretty decent line-up of tie-in Legends.  However, while it got greater coverage than prior entries, it also had a far larger roster of characters in need of figures.  While Hasbro did their best to include everyone they could (and then to follow up and fill some of the gaps using Infinity War), the heroes really ate up all of the slots.  If nothing else, this Marvel Studios anthology line has really been about the bad guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Cap and Crossbones are entry 9 in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Both figures are based on the characters as they appear in Civil War‘s opening battle.

CAPTAIN AMERICA

America’s first super soldier, Captain America must decide if he stands by his government in the aftermath of a disastrous strike on Lagos, Nigeria.”

Now, before we get to the new hotness, let’s review the old busted.  Okay, perhaps “busted” isn’t a completely fair assessment of things here.  While Cap wasn’t without a figure from Civil War (he got two, in fact; helps to have your name in the title), there’s no denying that the figure we received had some issues. This one is meant to amend….some of those issues.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Pretty standard stuff there.  Now, the good news is that Cap has received not one, but two different new head sculpts.  He’s got both helmeted and un-helmeted.  Both heads are very good sculpts.  The helmeted head has a decent likeness of Evans (or at least what you can see of him), and via its use of a separate piece for the helmet, has a great sense of depth to his look that prior MCU Caps have not.  The un-helmeted head edges out the other one just a bit, in no small part due to the absolutely spot-on likeness of Chris Evans.  After years of “close but not quite,” this guy gets it down nearly perfect.  Alright, I’ve raved about the good.  Ready for the bad?  You know those two amazing head sculpts that Hasbro produced, that can finally replace the two sub-par ones we’d been dealing with since Winter Soldier?  Well, they went and slapped them on the slight variation of that body from Age of Ultron.  I was already frustrated by its re-use for the original Civil War release, given the inaccuracies of the costume details, as well as the somewhat scrawny nature of the limbs.  It’s made even more egregious by the fact that Hasbro created an entirely unique mold for the Infinity War Cap, which is, canonically, wearing the same uniform as this figure.  With a handful of new pieces, that mold would have made for a far more accurate body for this figure.  Instead, for the third time, we get a Civil War Captain America whose costume is just incorrect.  That’s a real shame.  On the plus side, he does get new paint to match those new parts.  The body isn’t far removed from the prior release, but both heads are now sporting the face-print tech, which makes a world of difference in terms of making him look like a real person.  In addition to the new unmasked head, Cap also has his shield, which is another new sculpt.  I like this one better than prior releases, though I can’t really say it’s too noticeably different.

CROSSBONES

“A Hydra agent and former double-agent at SHIELD, Crossbones makes it his mission to take out Captain America, no matter the loss of life at stake.”

And here we have the new hotness.  Crossbones may not be in Civil War for super long, but he had a very important roll to play, and, more importantly when it comes to toys, he had a pretty sweet design.  At the time of the movie’s release, he got a Minimate and one of those Microverse figures, but that was all.  Obviously, that means this figure is a very welcome addition.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Unlike his pack-mate, his sculpt is completely new.  It’s quite an impressive piece of work, with lots of separately sculpted pieces that just give the whole figure a ton of depth.  I love the helmet, especially the way they’ve handled the eyes; they’re a separate piece from the actual mask, so it looks like there’s really a whole face under there.  The vest and his “fighting fists” are likewise separate pieces, although in this case they’re removable.  The vest isn’t really meant to be removed, though, so the underlying torso’s a little off.  The figure’s legs also end up looking a little bit wonky, but that’s about the only complaint I can come up with, and even that’s a rather minor one.  Crossbones’ paintwork is fairly decent.  A lot of it’s very subtle, with just some slight variations of black and dark brown.  The white parts stand out quite well, though, and I love how the eyes turned out.  Crossbones is packed with an extra un-masked head, depicting his scarred visage from the film.  It’s actually a little bit toned down from the movie, but close enough to get the point across.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Cap and Crossbones are actually the last of these figures that I got, though they were still picked up for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  They arrived at her work about a week after the others.  This set was second on my list, after Ronan.  Crossbones was just a really cool design that I really wanted a good figure of, and I was hopeful that the second try at the Civil War Cap would be much better.  Crossbones lives up to my expectations, no denying that.  Cap?  Well, like the last several MCU Caps I’ve gotten from Hasbro, he’s frustrating.  Sure, the new heads are awesome, but saddling him with the same old body is super weak, and prevents him from being the definitive Cap I was really hoping for.  I guess there’s always Avengers 4

#1756: Red Skull

RED SKULL

MARVEL LEGENDS — MARVEL STUDIOS: THE FIRST TEN YEARS

Obsessed with the power of the Tesseract, Johann Schmidt teams up with Dr. Arnim Zola to create a super-charged arms force that will change the fate of World War II…and the world.

Hydra leader Johann Schmidt creates Tesseract-powered weapons to destroy American cities, but doesn’t anticipate interference from newly-dubbed hero, Captain America.  In their first meeting, Schmidt removes his mask to reveal crimson skin, a signature that has earned him the name ‘Red Skull.'”

The MCU has run through an interesting period when it comes to tie-in toys.  Iron Man kicked things off with some Legends-esqe figures, which were a decent hit with the fanbase.  By the time of IM2, Hasbro was in the midst of their push for 3 3/4 inch figures, so it, and all of the movies up to Captain America: Winter Soldier would be in that smaller scale, with only a few choice offerings at the larger scale.  The recent shift has been completely to the Legends scale, but thanks to the rapid pace at which the MCU films hit, there are more than a few prominent characters missing from the line-up.  In honor of the MCU’s tenth anniversary, Hasbro’s put together a special sub-line of Marvel Legends, devoted to celebrating those prior films.  I’m kicking things off today with a look at one of the most prominent missing villains, the Red Skull!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Skull is entry 2 in the Marvel Legends — Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years sub-line of figures.  He’s one of the three standard single-packed figures in the line-up, alongside the Mark VII Iron Man and Ronan the Accuser.  This figure gives us Red Skull in his more basic Hydra uniform, as he’s seen inside the Hydra base during several sequences of the film (there’s also a long-coated variant, which was offered at SDCC this year). Perhaps not his coolest look, but there’s a good reason for this choice.  He stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s sporting a brand-new sculpt, which is a pretty solid recreation of Skull’s look from the movie.  The head has a teeth-gritting expression, which is always a nice throw-back to the Skull’s earlier comics design.  Thanks to it being released 7 years after the fact, it’s also able to be far more accurate to the film’s Skull face than it would have at the time of the movie, so hey, bonus!  The body captures his uniform pretty well, though the articulation is perhaps not as worked into the sculpt as I might like. It’s especially noticeable at the mid torso joint; I feel an ab-crunch might have worked a little better there.  That said, it’s hardly the worst implementation of articulation I’ve seen.  He’s still got decent mobility, and the sculpt isn’t too terribly broken because of it.  The paintwork on this guy is pretty usual fare for an MCU release.  It’s pretty cleanly applied, and matches well to the movie.  The head actually gets some pretty subtle accent work all throughout, so that it’s not just a big chunk of bright red plastic with some eyes.  Speaking of eyes, the ones on this figure are using the printed technique, which doesn’t have quite the same impact here that it does on more human looking figures, but it does still make at least some difference.  Remember up at the top, when I said there was a good reason for this figure’s costume choice?  Well, the accessories are where that comes into play.  Skull doesn’t get anything character specific, but he does get three extra heads, a tactical harness, a Hydra gun, and an extra hand, allowing him to be turned into a few different configurations of the Hydra Soldier.  Sure, the uniforms aren’t quite an exact match, but they’re close enough to work in a pinch, and it’s really the thought that counts.  As an added bonus, if you’ve got any of the Black Series FO Officer bodies laying around, with a tiny bit of modification, they work pretty well for quickly building an army.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Skull was purchased for me by my Super Awesome Fiancee.  She got a few of the Marvel Studios sets in at her work, and was kind enough to grab them for me.  First Avenger was my favorite of the Phase 1 films, so I was always rather saddened that it seemed to draw the short straw when it came to toys.  I’m glad that Hasbro’s been able to go back and retroactively amend that.  Red Skull isn’t a perfect figure, but I’d say he’s a fair bit better than he would have been had he been released at the time of the movie.  The added Hydra Soldiers pieces are just icing on the cake.  Now I’m resisting the urge to buy multiples…

#1751: Clone Commander Wolffe

CLONE COMMANDER WOLFFE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Clone Commander Wolffe (clone designation CC-3636) served in the Clne Wars as commander of the tight-knit unit known as the Wolfpack. A seasoned and battered combatant, Wolffe has witnessed some of the worst the war has to offer. Despite tragedy, he fights on bravely, proudly brandishing his battle scars and instilling loyalty among his men.”

I swore to myself I wasn’t going to do this.  I swore I wasn’t going to get roped into all these 6-inch clone troopers.  I stood there, Commander Cody in my hand and said “no.”  I broke the rule for Commander Gree, but come on, he’s Gree.  I can’t not buy Gree.  Except now, I’ve got this thing, where every time the subject of another Clone Commander comes up, there’s this little voice in the back of my head that says “he’d look pretty cool standing next to that Gree figure you have.”  Guess I’m just admitting defeat on this one.  Well, here’s Clone Commander Wolffe.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Wolffe is an exclusive item from Hasbro’s The Black Series, who sort of stretches the whole “exclusive” label, being available at GameStop, Barnes & Noble, EB Games, and Disney Parks locations.  Feels a bit like they decided his exclusive status by throwing darts at the wall there.  At least this way, he should be pretty easy to track down.  Wolffe had quite a few designs over the course of Clone Wars, beginning his journey as just a uniformed officer, before eventually armoring up.  This figure represents him from nearer the end of the show, after the clones had switched over to their Phase II armor like we saw in RotS.  It’s Wolffe’s most unique look, and it also means he matches the other Clone Commanders we’ve gotten so far.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  As with Gree, Wolffe shares a lot of his pieces with the Clone Sergeant I reviewed a ways back.  It’s certainly a serviceable body, but just the tiniest bit frustrating, since an improved version was introduced with Captain Rex.  This one is beginning to show it’s age, especially when it comes to posablility; those shoulders are quite restricted.  In addition, it means he’s still using the exact same hands as the other Clones, which are configured for holding a rifle two-handed.  As such, he lacks a proper trigger finger on his left hand, preventing him from holding both of his pistols correctly.  It’s a quick modification to separate the index finger, of course, but it’s still the sort of thing Hasbro probably wants to invest in going forward.  Wolffe gets a new head, and left shoulder pad, as well as borrowing the belt from Rex.  The head gives us a look at Wolffe’s scarred unmasked face, which is a pretty fun sculpt, though I’m not sure I’m seeing much Temuera Morrison in the sculpt.  Still, that scar over his eye is quite impressive.  He gets helmet to go over the head, of course; Wolffe’s helmet is a more unique one, with a different visor set up, as well as the common rangefinder addition.  It goes pretty well over the head, and you probably wouldn’t guess it was removable if you didn’t already know.  The belt piece is a simple variation on the basic clone belt, but with two holsters and a cloth kama attached to it.  I do wish the kama were just a touch longer, but that’s a fairly minor complaint.  Wolffe’s paintwork is pretty decent.  All of his character-specific armor detailing has been gotten down, especially on the helmet.  He’s got a few bits of weathering, though they aren’t quite as convincing as some of the other troopers.  His head gets the face printing, which helps him look more lifelike.  In addition to the removable helmet, Wolffe also gets the previously mentioned blaster pistols.  It’s a shame he couldn’t also get one of the rifles, but the helmet and two guns are enough to keep him from feeling too light.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Having missed out on Rex, I was as bit more committed to getting this guy.  Fortunately for me, Super Awesome Fiancee works at GameStop, so I was able to enlist her help in getting one.  He’s not Rex or Gree, but Wolffe is still a pretty darn cool looking guy, and minor flaws aside, he translated well into this Black Series release.

#1688: Tuskador

TUSKADOR

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Mighty Tusked Galactic Warrior”

Tuskador!  It’s Tuskador!  ….Who’s Tuskador?  Boy, is that a good question.  Well, he’s from the New Adventures of He-Man, an iteration of the franchise I have no direct interaction with.  I’ve never seen a single episode of the cartoon, and I own none of the toys.  Or, at least I didn’t, until now that is.  Tuskador was one of the heroic characters, and seems to have followed somewhat in the vein of Ram-Man from the original series.  So, uh, here he is?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Tuskador was released during the 2016 year of Mattel’s online-exclusive Masters of the Universe Classics line.  He was one of the line’s oversized figures, and was also a Collector’s Choice item.  He was also the final figure to ship from the Matty Collector-run version of the line, so there you go.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 21 points of articulation.  Structurally, Tuskador uses the same starting point as Ram-Man, which I’d say is most of the reason he got made in the first place, since Mattel is all about re-use potential.  Direct re-use is limited to the arms and torso, with the rest of the parts on this figure being modeled on older parts but technically new.  In order to facilitate the re-use, Tuskador has been bulked up a bit more from his prior appearances, at least from what I can find of him online. The new pieces fit the more cybernetically-advanced design aesthetic of the New Adventures characters, which helps to keep him well-separated from Ram-Man.  He’s definitely a hefty figure, and his armored elements are well-sculpted, with lots of sharp detail work.  His helmet can be removed, which causes it to sit a little funny.  On the plus side, the underlying head is one of my favorite aspects of the figure.  His astronaut-inspired cap is a fun touch, and there’s something undeniably cool about his grizzled and wrinkled face.  Tuskador’s color scheme is heavy on the blues, which works pretty well, as does the gold.  The application is all pretty clean; paint on these items was at the very least superior to Mattel’s various retail offerings.  Tuskador is packed with his titular tusks, of course.  There are two lengths included, with a more modest pair and a more ridiculous pair.  Both are fun, and you can store the pair not in use on his back if you so choose.  He also includes a big blaster, which can be held or kept on his belt.  It’s annoying that he doesn’t have a trigger finger on his right hand, but if it were perfect, it wouldn’t be Mattel.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

By 2016, I’d completely bailed on MOTUC.  For the most part, the characters I’d wanted had been done, and Matty Collector was just too much of a hassle.  When the line ended, I really paid it no mind, and I moved on to other things.  So, why do I have this figure?  Super Awesome Girlfriend.  The Gamestop where she works got this guy in, she saw the logo on the box and knew I liked Masters of the Universe, so she bought him for me.  I’ve got no prior attachment to the character, nor can I say his design compelled me to track him down on my own.  With that said, he’s actually a pretty fun figure, and a nice counterpart to Ram-Man, who’s one of my favorite figures in the line.

#1641: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL MIGHTY MUGGS (HASBRO)

While I have come to tolerate Funko’s Pop! line in recent years, and even put together a sizable collection, there’s no denying that they’ll always be my second choice for pseudo designer vinyl media tie-in figures.  Number one will always go to Hasbro’s sadly under-appreciated Mighty Muggs.  Fortunately for lovers of the Muggs, they’ve made a comeback this year.  I’ve looked at one of the Star Wars ones, but Hasbro’s also launched a Marvel line alongside them, and I’ll be looking at my first of those today with Black Panther!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther is figure 07, the second figure numerically in the second assortment of Marvel Mighty Muggs.  Panther’s design is based on his appearance from Captain America: Civil War.  A movie design allows Hasbro the chance to offer some more detailing, and of the two film designs, I’m still pretty partial to the original design.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and has articulation at each shoulder.  Panther uses the same standard body used for Luke, with a different head piece depicting Panther’s mask.  Only the actual “face” of the mask is left uncovered.  It works with the natural lines and breaks of the mask, so the changeover from the sculpted headpiece to the painted face is fairly subtle, and doesn’t look to jarring.  The sculpted details of the headpiece are simple enough to fit the style, but still plentiful enough to add some nice depth to the overall design.  As I discussed in my review of Luke, the new Mighty Muggs all feature an action feature, allowing for changing facial expressions.  As a masked character, his expressions have to be a bit more inventive than Luke’s, I suppose.  It all comes down to the eyes.  There’s wide-eyed, squinty-eyed, and a mix of the two.  There’s a lot of variety offered by those different eyes, and it’s an impressive handling on Hasbro’s part.  I think the basic wide-eyed is my personal favorite, but all three are a lot of fun.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being so impressed by the Luke figure, I was definitely on the lookout for some of the others.  Panther certainly looked cool, and Super Awesome Girlfriend ended up picking him up for me one day while she was at work.  My excitement for this line has not subsided at all; Panther is just as well handled as Luke, and I’m definitely on board with both currently running Mighty Muggs lines.