#2498: Captain America – Final Battle Edition

CAPTAIN AMERICA — FINAL BATTLE EDITION

S.H. FIGUARTS (BANDAI)

Bandai Japan’s S.H. Figuarts is a toyline that I’ve looked at a handful of times previously on the site, but the very vast majority of the items I’ve looked at from the line have been, rather predictably, I suppose, based on Japanese properties (well, excepting of course Freddie and K-2, but they were sort of stand outs).  They’ve been dabbling in plenty of American properties over the years, but up until now, I’ve been totally content to stick with the domestic options on those.  As of late, they’ve been really getting into the MCU side of things, with Infinity War and Endgame both getting a noticeable focus.  Today, I’m taking a look at their latest take on Captain America, specifically in his Endgame attire.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Final Battle Edition Captain America started showing most places in the last month or so, right alongside the similarly Final Battle-themed Iron Man from the movie.  This marks our second Endgame Cap in the Figuarts line; the first one hit closer to the film’s theatrical release, and featured a much more paired down accessory selection, largely to avoid spoilers and the like.  Even as a basic release, it sold out pretty quickly, so Bandai was fairly quick to get another version out there.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  He’s on the taller side of the Figuarts spectrum (due to Chris Evans being generally a pretty tall guy), but he’s still going to be a little small to scale with Legends.  Obviously, that’s kind of expected.  This release of Endgame Cap appears to be using the same core sculpt as the prior release.  The articulation is a little bit on the obvious side, falling back in line with what I’m used to from Figurarts.  There’s a pretty amazing range of motion, though some of the joints on mine, particularly his left elbow, are a little looser than I’d like.  I do wish the tolerance were just a touch better there.  As with any Figuarts sculpt, it’s definitely got a little bit of a stylization to it, to bring him in line with the rest of the figures.  It works pretty well for Cap, though, and gives him even more heroic proportions than usual. It also looks astoundingly svelte when compared to the Hasbro version, which was itself a bit beefy, I suppose.  It’s not a bad match for Evans’ build in the film, though, albeit in a slightly caricaturized way.  It does manage to get the costume details down a bit more accurately, I think, than the Legends release.  There are three separate heads included with this figure: masked with calm expression, masked with battle expression, and fully unmasked (which also gets its own separate neck post, since there’s a little bit of the helmet visible on the standard neck).  Of the three, I the neutral masked is probably the weakest.  The likeness just isn’t quite there, and he looks a little void of personality.  I really like the other two heads, though.  The intense expression is great for battle poses, and the unmasked head has a pretty fantastic Evans likeness on it.  The paint work on this figure marks a difference from the original release, which gave us a slightly more pristine Cap.  This one takes the “Final Battle” title and runs with it a bit, so he’s got a bit of grime and dirt.  It’s not enough to make him look “damaged”, but it gives him a little extra flavor.  All three heads have printed faces, which look a little wonky from up close, but great at a distance.  The gold color used on the hair of the unmasked head looks a little weird, but after having him in hand for a bit, I don’t actually hate it.  The major selling point of this guy is his accessory complement.  In addition to the three heads mentioned above, Cap also includes five pairs of hands (fists, relaxed, hammer gripping, flat, and with the shield strap in hand), his shield in both regular and broken forms, with interchangeable straps to go along, and Mjolnir with interchangeable energy effects.  The hands offer up some fun posing variety, and the flat palmed ones even have a tab to allow the corresponding strap with hanger on it to be attached, letting Cap actually hold his shield by its edge.  The shield’s straps also allow for use on either arm, one-handed hold, or mounting on his back, again really giving posing options.  Both shields are great pieces, and it’s awesome to finally have the destroyed one in toy form.  Mjolnir practically steals the show here, though, as the swap out panels with the energy effects are pretty amazingly dynamic for posing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I don’t typically jump into the Figuarts realm for stuff that has other 6-inch lines, but I’ve been kicking myself for passing up the chance to grab the AoU Cap at a good price, and I was a little bummed when I missed the first release on Endgame Cap.  Fortunately, the updated version came along, and he’s even better, so it works out well.  When All Time got these figures in stock, I came very close to grabbing this guy right away, but ultimately held off.  However, Super Awesome Wife was nice enough to work with Jason to get me one for my birthday, and I really couldn’t be happier.  He’s a really fun figure, and goes great with the rest of my ever-growing Captain America collection.

If you’d like a Cap of your own (or the Iron Man that goes with him, perhaps), he’s still in-stock at AllTimeToys.com. And, if you’re looking for other cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

Guest Review #0051: Mola Mola

MOLA MOLA

HALFTOYS OCEAN SERIES (HALFTOYS)

Mola mola, otherwise known as ocean sunfish, are the heaviest bony fish in the ocean, but are ten times smaller than whale sharks, the largest cartilaginous fish. One Mola mola was recorded to weigh 2.5 tons, which is comparable to an SUV! And do you know what they eat? Planktonic organisms and jellyfish!

Wait, why am I talking about ocean sunfish? This is an outrage! This is a blog about action figures, not fish and the ocean.

You’re right; this is outrageous because this goofy looking fish head with modified fins got an action figure! Well, technically it’s more toy than action figure because it doesn’t have any moving joints…

Ethan said I could review him, and so review him I shall!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mola is the second figure in the HALFTOYS Ocean Series. If you remember, they were the company that launched with their Half-Dinos, the cute little dinosaur toys made of hard plastic and magnets.

Mola mola measure at about 14 feet from head to end and 10 feet from the tip to tip of its modified fins. The Mola figure measures at about 2.5 inches long and 3.25 inches tall—significantly smaller than its real world counterpart!

This figure has no points of articulation. Mola is comprised of five pieces, three bone pieces and then the two that make up the skin. The skeleton is very easy to put together, the pieces just slide into place and fit rather snuggly. The skeleton isn’t quite accurate, but it’s a simplistic representation of what someone can find in a Mola mola. Then the outer covering snaps over the skeleton and is held together by magnets that line the edge of the skin.

Fun fact: Mola mola don’t have scales like other fish do.

There’s no paint job for the Mola, the hard plastic is all one color. The skeleton is all white, obviously, and the skin is a nice shade of sky blue.

Now, let’s talk accessories.

Mola comes with a build-it-yourself diorama with 31 cardboard pieces, including the stage and the stand for Mola. Luckily, this guy also comes with a manual that shows you how to put it together using pictures and numbers. The diorama was honestly really fun to construct, and it’s really easy to pop the pieces out of their cardboard holders. The diorama includes sea rocks, three brightly colored sea anemones, what I believe is some kind of coral, and three schools of smaller fish. The schools of fish can be positioned wherever you want them to go, to make your diorama slightly different from everyone else!

I will warn you that while the cardboard is pretty sturdy, it can still bend or tear if you’re not careful with it. I recommend someone with steady fingers to construct the diorama and to not take it apart once you put it together.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really enjoy the Mola and its diorama! It’s a clever way to get kids into ocean life and science. The color job on the diorama is great. The sea anemones are brightly colored as they should be. Mola mola don’t really hang out around coral reefs where you would find the flashier fish, so the simple blue and yellow fish in this diorama make perfect sense and match beautifully. The platform, or stage, is colored in blues and greens, giving the suggestion of seagrass. And the coral-like structure is a nice shade of orange that is striking while also going along perfectly with the rest of the set up.

My super awesome husband, Ethan, got the Mola and the rest of the ocean series for me as a surprise. I had wanted to get them, but couldn’t justify the cost at the time. So one day, a package came in the mail addressed to him and he told me I could open it. The amount of squealing that followed I swear alarmed the neighbor’s dog! This is a great gift for children and ocean fans alike. I highly recommend it for everyone.

And if you’d like to read more about the goofy fish that is the Mola mola you can read all about them on my blog, A Siren’s Call to Sea! It’s a daily blog about marine science and all things related to the ocean!

#2335: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS

Tonight’s drunk review is brought to you by watching Paprika, the acid dream trip of an anime movie, you can only view this movie while extremely inebriated. AND ETHAN HAS PROMISED ME THAT HE WON’T EDIT THIS POST, EVEN TO MAKE IT READABLE. If he edits this review before it publishes then he won’t be getting any action figures for a month. I’m not drunk enough for this limp noodle asparagus. Apparently I don’t write “coherent enough reviews”, well I’ll show ya coherent!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This is some Iron Man from some Hasbro Marvel Legends line. Oh! Oh! I got it! He’s unpainted robot Iron Man before he does the red/gold color scheme from the 365th Marvel Legends line. Just kidding, I pulled that out of my derrière. I’m really craving Jade Hibachi now, that cheap hibachi place across the street from Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. I miss them… 😦

Look at that Punisher though! FRANKIE!!!! MY GUN TOTTING CINNAMON ROLL!!!! He’s got his murder face on–GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHH! And look, he’s right next to the Iron Punishmenter. Then there’s robo Iron Man next to acid green Spidey. Then there’s jacked up white space football Spidey. And the crew is rounded off with horse rancher Wolverine, who retires to a horse farm after losing Jean for the 34th time. If you can’t see the picture I’m talking about, it’s I’m assuming all the figures from the line all…lined up. Pffft.

Anyways, Im going off the books. Is there every really a script for these reviews, at least the ones that I write? This robot looking Iron Man, loo i know they all look like robits, but this one especially with the cold grey color scheme, has like 54 points of articulation. He’s about the size of my hand, about some 6 inches and some change.

This review is painful and it doesn’t help.  No, that’s the Egg. Anyways, this figure is a repaint of some other Iron Man figure, which is why i get to review him. Apparently, it’s a repaint of Invincible Iron Man. Did he have a better looking butt though? I don’t like his spine, it’s weird and makes me uncomfortable. Like dude, seriously, put that spiny boi away. No one wants to see that! I don’t know how I feel about this figure. He doesn’t have a distinguishable mouth. WHERE DOES HE BREATHE?!?!?!? Anyways, this boi is painted grey, like steel metal grey that reminds you of cold heartless metal. Yes, metal can have heart, just look at the Iron Giant. This Iron Man is a cool grey with subtle vibrant (those words don’t really go together do they?) blue that outlines and accents things, like his face and spine. Maybe that’s why I don’t like his spine, because it’s all bumpy and super detailed. The blue accenting while cool in some places looks really sloppy in others, like spray paint without the drip lines and super blotches. Maybe the blue is supposed to be like spray paint, which in that case it looks convincing, but if not it makes the figure look sloppy. Also my nails are really long and are making typing kinda hard. This Iron Man’s butt is kinda disappointing, like leagues under America’s Butt, though the plastic does look like he’s got dimples on his metal cheeks. Male action figure butts are always disappointing and flat. Like female figures and statues have nice bubble butts, but most males look like deflated flabby balloons and it makes me sad. This Iron Man’s spine has more definition than his butt does.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This isn’t my favorite Iron Man. I don’t actually know if I do have a favorite one, but this one would definitely be at the bottom of the list. He looks too much like a cold heartless robot that Ultron could take over and use to kill people. I like the color combo of blue and grey, but the blue on this figure looks sloppy and incomplete in some places. His spine really creeps me out and i don’t know why exactly. Overall, this isn’t one of my favorite figures. I can’t remember where Ethan got this figure, but I’m like 98% sure that it wasn’t from Walmart or Toy-R-Us [it was from my friends at All Time Toys –Ethan]. The former he doesn’t shop much in and the later died a slow agonizing death, but not as slow as K-Mart, gods bless their journeys’ to the afterlife. And now I’m just typing even more nonsense so that the review doesn’t stop on a six hundred and six after sixty word count. That’s the mark of the devil, and while I’m not super religious, our roommate has had the worst luck and I want to be cautious!

There, I’m done. Your regular review reading program will come back tomorrow–don’t worry!

#2294: Vision

VISION

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeellooooo ladies and gents. Tis me, Ethan’s wonderful, beautiful, talented, and absolutely awesome wifu, Jess. Usually, I write my drunk reviews on repainted transformers. BUT MY TIME HAS COME! I can now review figures like this McDiddyDude, slightly see through Vision. I hereby swear that this isn’t serious and that I can’t promise good content.

PS I’m sorry. x)

THE FIGURE ITSELF

So Ethan isn’t reviewing this guy because he already reviewed the first movie Vision, which he’ll maybe link to this one if you want to read a more serious review of the figure (that would be here). Seriously, McDiddyDude (MDD) is just a see through version of serious Vision, who came in some two pack that Ethan hasn’t told me much about. So if you want to actually know about the figure and all the bits and details just read about the first one, the only dif is that the newer one is kinda see through.

McDiddyDude is from the Endgame line, though the character design is from Civil QAR but shhhhhhehehhhshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshshhshshshshshsh!

Anyways, this figure is about the size of my hand, which apparently is about 6 inches and some change. He has ten thousand points of articulation. JK I don’t chucking know how many joints he’s got. Go read Ethan’s review of normal Viz to get all the accurate info on this figure. They look pretty identical. in fact, i have to continually hold the two up to the glow of the computer to identify which one I’m reviewing. BT-dubbs, i’m reviewing the one that the light kinda shine through. which is pretty cool cuz you can see a nice outline of the figure pieces and and the bits and bobs really stick out against the light. if you notice how this post is getting worse as it goes it’s because I’m writing this late in a drinking game with White Russian. There’s so many red lines on the screeen and a face at the bottom of my glass, I think it’s Snoke’s face. crap this is a review about an MCU charcter, not Star Wars though Disney does own the souls of both. I’m spiralling again. i haven’t talked about the figure in several lines.

Apparently, McTiidyDude is green, at least his skin tight suit (wait, does vision have SKIN, like SKIN SKIN?????????) is, though that’s what Ethan and Tim says, but i dob’t believe them. personally, I think he’s a kinda a bluish green with this see though version, but I’m not a artsy fartsy major I got my degree in sea science blaeh. His face, and presumably body, is a pink/magenta color, which is replicated in his gloves and boots, which it’s nice that his accessory matches his skin. His face has silver accents for like a weird head gear thingy, but it’s like the only sliver on the figure which is weird against the gold coloring which is the third prominent color of the figure.  DON’T MIX YOUR METALS, as my freshy roomie used to tell me. I miss you Alex! Anyways, speaking of gold, he has gold detailing on his gloves and boots. This guy even has sliver on his neck! the cape though is like a milky, faded gold that sat too long in the sun with streaks of equally faded pink. THE TEXTURE OF THE FIGURE IS PRETTY NEAT. CRAP i was in caps. the texture of the cape is pretty cool. it looks like a cool metal-digital-halo themed cap. the pattern is up for debate. i personally think it looks like someone jabbed a toothpick into his body frequently and methodically like medieval torture in the inquisition. Ethan argues that it’s hexagonal because that’s what ITS SUPPOSED TO BE. Tim, the only one actually grad of arts and graphic design says it’s more like a brick pattern. who’s right? Anyone’s guess really. anyway, texture is pretty cool. though the coolest is the kinda see thru plastic. i enjoy sticking up to the light and seeing his insides, though not vision’s actual insides like computer/human guts but McTiddyDude’s action figure guts which is joints and thingies. Weird tangent on the boots though. i don’t like his boots. they’re kinda bland and uninspiring. would not rank them high on my list of men’s boots. Oh goat turds, hes got subtle detailing on his face too! that’s pretty dope.

I think that’s everything. Height. Articulation. Paint (ish?). Detailing. nuggets, can’t really think of anything else. not really. i like the see through, but I’m easily amused/entertained/whatever. Vision as a character runs hot and cold with me. don’t really think he got enough in the films, can”t wait for the show though. hwhqehiqrhuifqbfqbjkfqbfrbjfw i don’t really know what else to say. TY[ING TYPIMG TYPIMG. okay your hell is over for the day.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I have no real attachment to this figure. Ethan thought it would be entertaining if i reviewed this figure since he reviewed the original movie vision figure like 8 forevers agos. BUT HE’S MISSING OUT BECAUSE THIS IS OBVIOUSLY THE SUPERIOR FIGURE BECAUSE OF IT’S SEE THROUGH CAPACITY. Vision is a cool character, but I got like nothing to say abut him. Cool figure though, at least in my drunken state. anyways, end transmission. your day’s torment is over. hope you enjoyed my interlude, dumpster fire talking of a figure. My face feels funny. CHOOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Peace out, I’m done, end transmission.

#2277: General Grievous

GENERAL GRIEVOUS

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“General Grievous was a brilliant Separatist military strategist and a feared Jedi hunter, known for his ruthlessness and hacking cough. His body itself was a weapon, allowing him lightning quick strikes and devastating blows. But he was also quick to run from a fight, a tactic that worked until one final meeting with Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

A decade removed from the Star Wars prequels, they don’t seem quite as bad as they once did.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are still major issues and my recent re-watch of Attack of the Clones certainly reminded me of why it’s the worst movie in the franchise, but even when we all thought they were universally trash, there were always some redeeming elements.  For Revenge of the Sith, my favorite bit was always General Grievous, a character I had latched onto before the movie even opened, and whom I would continue to enjoy when he became a major player in the second Clone Wars cartoon.  Though his characterization may have been a little two-dimensional, and his name is just silly (it’s just an adjective!  That’s not a name), he certainly had one of the coolest designs to come out of the prequels.  Even when I had my strict “no prequels” rule for The Black Series, I could always see myself possibly breaking that rule for a good Grievous figure.  Here we are.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

General Grievous is the first figure in the Deluxe subdivision of The Black Series, numbered “D1.”  So far, he’s the only deluxe size figure to be available through all retailers…well, all the ones that were willing to carry him, which didn’t end up including the likes of Walmart or Target.  He started hitting around the second quarter of last year.  Grievous only has one film appearance, so this figure rather sensibly draws from that.  I want to state at the top of this review that this is a very good figure, but he, like every Grievous figure ever created, is also a flawed figure.  It’s a design that has a degree of necessary cheating to work on the screen.  In person, on a fixed item, that cheating isn’t possible, and concessions have to be made…but I’ll get to that.  At full height, the figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  He’s an all-new sculpt, as you might expect, and it’s a pretty darn good one at that.  It manages to fairly accurately recreate his design as seen in the movie, and, in contrast to most Grievous figures, most of the joints in the design are joints on this figure.  Not all, of course.  Some concessions have to be made for the hands and feet, given the scale of the figure, and there are one or two other spots (notably the wrists), where there should be movement but isn’t.  I do really like how tight all of the joints are on this figure; far too many Grievous figures wound up with really floppy joints.  The design of the sculpt also allows this Grievous figure to have a feature that most forego: actual combining arms.  We’ve seen them before but typically only on less articulated figures.  More often then not, they’ll just release him with his arms one way or the other, or, in the case of the first 3D Clone Wars figure, they’ll give him extra arms.  The combining arms end up being the feature that causes this figure the most trouble.  The four separate arms are nicely articulated on their own.  When you go to combine them, it’s a little tricky, because even a slight warp will make them not a perfect fit.  And once they’re together?  Well, you’re certainly not getting full movement out of the joints once the arms are combined, which proves rather restricting.  As nifty an idea as the combining arms may be, I can’t help but feel that swappable arms might have worked a bit better in this regard.  At the end of the day, I can’t really blame them for trying, and this is certainly the best go at it we’ve seen.  The paintwork on Grievous is some of the most impressive work we’ve gotten from the line; the weathering alone really sells the figure, as it gives him a much more realistic appearance, which is rather amusing for a completely CGI creation.  Grievous is a rather well accessorized figure, including his DT-57 blaster, his four stolen lightsabers (which, according to Star Wars Lightsabers: A Guide to Weapons of the Force formerly belonged to Pablo-Jill, Eeth Koth, Roron Corobb, and Shaak Ti), and a cape.  The blaster and sabers are pretty standard fair.  The cape is a bit of a let down, if I’m honest.  The decision to use cloth is definitely understandable, and I do really dig the inclusion of the spot to store Grievous’ collection of sabers, but the cape’s totally wrong at the shoulders, with a big, obvious join, as opposed to the proper flowing under his collar plate look.  The grey and red parts also aren’t hemmed together at the bottom, which looks a bit sloppy.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s bad enough that I don’t see myself using the cape.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been hoping for a Grievous Black Series figure for a while, and was happy to see him announced…but I was never happy about that cape, and it honestly held me back from picking him up, as silly as that may be.  Fortunately, my in-laws had my back on this one, and got me Grievous for Christmas.  After opening him up, the cape still frustrates me, but the rest of the figure is just so well-engineered that I really don’t care all that much.  This is definitely the best Grievous figure out there.

#2275: C-3PO & Babu Frik

C-3PO & BABU FRIK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

C-3PO longs for more peaceful times, but his continued service to the Resistance keeps him on the frontiers of galactic conflict.

A tiny, well-regarded droidsmith, Babu Frik can modify virtually any droid, regardless of the security measure protecting its systems.”

Since his later than others entry into the line, C-3PO has been steadily racking up quite an assortment of Black Series figures for himself.  Though his look may not change all that drastically throughout the majority of the films, Hasbro has nevertheless seen fit to give us as many of the character’s minor tweaks as they can.  He wound up getting at least one figure for all three of the sequel trilogy films (though the Last Jedi figure was only available through Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge park expansion), with his appearance in Rise of Skywalker providing his latest offering, alongside the minuscule droidsmith Babu Frik.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

C-3PO and Babu Frik are a Target-exclusive Black Series offering, which started hitting about a week or two before the movie arrived in theaters last year.  The set depicts 3PO as we saw him in much of the promotional material before the film, carrying Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, and sporting red eyes, as opposed to his usual gold tones.  These two things don’t happen at the same time in the final film, but then again, the figure doesn’t require him to be doing everything at once either, making his more of an all-encompassing Rise of Skywalker 3PO.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 23 points of articulation.  This 3PO is a combination of the first 3PO and the improved protocol droid arms from 4-LOM, meaning he can bend his arms.  This same change was also seen on 000 and the Galaxy’s Edge 3PO, so it was really just expected here.  He gets a new head, sporting a removable backing, allowing for his internals to be revealed, just like in the movie.  I’m always skeptical of features like this, lest they not fit properly when popped back into place, but 3PO’s head remains together fairly securely, and I must admit the feature looks pretty darn cool.  Beyond that, the construction on 3PO is the same as the first figure, which means it’s a very nice looking sculpt, and was very posable even before the addition of the improved arms.  The paintwork on 3PO is pretty decent all around.  He is again a flat gold, rather than vac metalized, which I still don’t mind all that much.  The gold isn’t quite as bright as the first 3PO, which seems more accurate.  He also gets some small silver piping on the arm joints, which we’ve not seen before, as well as the expected extra detailing on the back of the head.  The most notable change, though, are the eyes.  Like Dryden Vos, they’re therno-sensitive. At room temperature, they’re a standard gold, but when cold, they turn a bright red, like his eyes do briefly in the film.  It’s a nifty effect, even if I don’t see myself getting a ton of use out of it.  3PO is packed with Chewbacca’s bandolier and bowcaster, both borrowed from previous figures, as well as a whole nother figure, Babu Frik.  Okay, I say he’s a whole figure.  That’s perhaps a slight stretch.  Babu is certainly more of a figure than I had anticipated; I fully expected an unarticulated mini-figure, but to my surprise, Babu sports ball joints at the shoulders and waist.  He’s also got a moving visor, so he can properly work on the back of 3PO’s head. Certainly he is far more impressive figure than I’d initially expected.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This pair was another gift to me from my in-laws.  I’d expressed a moderate interest in the pair prior to the film’s release, but wasn’t sure what to expect.  After seeing the movie and quite enjoying Babu’s sequence, I was quite happy to open these two up Christmas morning.  I was even happier when I actually took them out of their box and discovered just how playable Babu was.  Definitely a fun little offering, and a great choice of exclusive.

#2274: Strong Guy

STRONG GUY

MARVEL MINIMATES

On a team of oddballs and easily overlooked characters, Lila Cheney’s bodyguard Guido, under the alias of Strong Guy, is probably the most oddball and easily overlooked of the second X-Factor line-up.  Perhaps because of that, he became sort of the signature character for the team, a fixture for incarnations going forward.  The team’s line-up just really feel complete without him.  So, making a toy version of the team without him simply hasn’t happened.  The advent of Build-A-Figures for Minimates finally made it possible to make this five man team work in an assortment that could still sell to retailers, all while giving us the whole line-up in a single shot.  And, hey, it gives Strong Guy his second ever action figure.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Strong Guy is the Build-A-Figure for the 78th Series of Marvel Minimates.  He’s the fourth Minimate BaF, and the first one to really take advantage of the ability to get a slightly larger ‘mate out there by divvying up their pieces amongst four sets.  Unlike the rest of the assortment, Strong Guy is totally new to Minimates, which makes sense, what with him not really having other bankable looks to fall back on like the rest of the two teams.  The figure stands 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation, though like most bulked up ‘mates, there’s the caveat of the articulation all being rather limited.  Strong Guy starts with the basic ‘mate body, and then has add-ons for the torso cap, pelvis cap (with a torso extender), bulked up thighs, and straps for the wrists and ankles.  Somewhat amusingly, he doesn’t get the poofy upper arm sleeves like Havok and Polaris, which makes his arms seem slightly under-developed.  Why they didn’t opt to include those parts is anyone’s guess, but I suppose it’s possible they just didn’t cost out.  Strong Guy’s torso piece is all-new, and does a respectable job of recreating his distinctive proportions from the comics.  The design clips over the standard torso and replaces the arm pegs with another set mounted on the new torso piece.  For my money, they seem to sit out a little too far from the core of the body, and I definitely worry about their long-term integrity in terms of posing without breaking.  That said, they do the job alright.  The rest of the parts are re-used from elsewhere, and keep him inline with his teammates. His paintwork is respectable.  The best work is definitely on the face, which gets his design from the comics down.  The base color work on the body could be a little crisper, and the paint on some of the joints is a little thick, but he looks alright.  He’s got no accessories, but he’s technically an accessory himself, so I guess that pans out.  It would have been nice to at least get an extra stand for him, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Gee, I wonder where Ethan got this Build-A-Figure, built from the parts included in four sets that he just reviewed this week.  Yeah, this whole assortment was a gift from my Super Awesome Wife.  Havok was my primary focus, but I was also pretty invested in completing Strong Guy as well, which was the main push for rounding out the assortment.  He’s not perfect, but he’s a solid recreation of the character.  And now I’ve got this pretty nifty little X-Factor team.

#2273: Wolfsbane & Beast

WOLFSBANE & BEAST

MARVEL MINIMATES

Four days into these reviews, you should know what to expect here.  It’s time for one more of these Minimates reviews!  While yesterday’s pairing of characters was perhaps a little off-kilter, the assortment is finishing off with a pairing that’s actually a pretty natural one.  The feral but dignified Wolfsbane and Beast are both offered up in this final two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Wolfsbane and Beast are the final two-pack in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates.  Like the other sets in the assortment, they also include part of the Build-A-Mate Strong Guy, specifically the torso.

WOLFSBANE

“Rahne Sinclair was originally a member of the New Mutants before joining X-Factor. Her power is to shift into a wolflike form.”

Wolfsbane was a slight odd-man out for the New Mutants.  While most of their number were shunted from New Mutants into its direct replacement X-Force, Rahne was grabbed in the shuffle for a slight upgrade to X-Factor member.  It’s okay, her place in the X-Force roster had to be filled by the thinly-veiled knock off Feral.  They hardly missed her.  This figure marks Wolfsbane’s second time as a ‘mate, after getting released with her New Mutants team mates back in 2011.  This one stands 2 1/4 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  She’s built on the modern ‘mate body, with add-ons for the hair and shoulder pads, and non-standard hands for her claws.  The hair piece is new, and is shared with her pack-mate.  Sensible, I suppose, as they typically had fairly similar hair, though perhaps a bit odd to see when looking at the pack in the box.  The claws and shoulder piece are both re-used parts, which is a sensible choice.  In general, they do a decent job of capturing Rahne’s team appearance.  The paintwork on her is solid work.  It translates the design and has all of the important details.  One of the knee joints was a little stuck from the paint, but at least it didn’t break like with Polaris.  Wolfsbane’s only accessory is a clear display stand.

BEAST

“Henry ‘Hank’ McCoy initially only had large hands and feet, and was a natural gymnast, until an experiment turned him furry and blue.”

There’s been something of a revolving seat for who gets left out of any ‘mate recreation of the various forms of the original five-man X-Men team.  The last time we got a boxed set of them all together, it was Hank who was left out, but this time he gets the nod over Bobby, who was the one member of X-Factor whose costume didn’t change with the others.  Beast actually had three different looks, with two “human” looks and the usual blue and furry.  This one is the usual blue and furry, which we haven’t gotten a ‘mate of since Series 34, prior to the move to the properly bulked up larger characters.  This figure uses those bulked up parts, alongside the feet from the Series 34 figure, the hair he shares with Wolfsbane, and a new set of bulked up hands.  It’s a good selection of parts, and easily the most accurate recreation of the bulked-up Beast we’ve gotten in the line.  The paintwork is about what you’d expect, and it’s worth noting it goes more heavily into that beastly look from the end of his stint in X-Factor, rather than a friendlier appearance.  The color of his fur is a close match to the Series 34 version, however, should you prefer the friendlier look.  Like Wolfsbane, his only accessory is a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This would be the last of the four sets of Minimates I got this year for Christmas from Super Awesome Wife.  It’s an okay set, though it’s probably my least favorite of the four sets personally.  Neither of the two included is really that much of a stand out, but they’re both certainly serviceable.

#2272: Multiple Man & Archangel

MULTIPLE MAN & ARCHANGEL

MARVEL MINIMATES

The last two sets of Minimates I looked at each paired off one member of X-Factor’s first incarnation with one from the second.  The first was the team leaders, Scott and Alex Summers, the similarly powered leaders of their respective teams.  The second was Jean Grey and Lorna Dane, the again fairly similarly powered love-interests of the team leaders.  For the third set, the connective tissue appears to be choice in head gear…*

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Multiple Man and Archangel are another set in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates, a whole assortment based around X-Factor.  Multiple Man is also available in a Luke’s Toy Store-exclusive two-pack with a duplicate of himself, allowing for quicker army building.  Also included with this pair is the head of the assortment’s Build-A-Mate, Strong-Guy.

MULTIPLE MAN

“Jamie Madrox has possessed the mutant ability to form duplicates from birth. He has been a member and the leader of X-Factor.”

Multiple Man’s first minimate was based on his 2000s X-Factor Investigations appearance, and pretty much since then a more classic version of the character has been fairly heavily requested.  Like a lot of this assortment, Multiple Man treads down the same roads as his recent Legends release; at least they know there’s a market, right?  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He’s built on the modern ‘mate body, with an add-on piece for his jacket.  The jacket’s actually a new piece, which is a little surprising, but nice to see nevertheless.  The rest of his design is conveyed via paint work, which is a pretty impressive affair.  The shading on the uniform works really well, and I dig the green trench coat that more closely replicates the comics art.  Multiple Man’s only accessory is a clear display stand, which is a slight let down.  It’s too bad we couldn’t get some alternate arms for a sans jacket look, or maybe an extra head with a different expression like the Legends release had.

ARCHANGEL

“Warren Worthington III lost his feathered wings in battle, but was given new, metal wings by the mutant Apocalypse.”

Archangel marks this assortment’s first straight remake of an earlier ‘mate.  His Death design was first released back in Series 19 of the line, and hasn’t been updated since.  This one is different, but I don’t know that it’s inherently better.  He gets an add-on for his wings, which are a different piece than the previous Archangels, another surprise.  While these seem to capture the earlier stylings of the wings a bit better, it’s at the cost of the cool ball joints of the old ones; these wings only have the one possible pose.  That’s a bit of a letdown.  His paint work is at least pretty good.  I like the general color scheme of this one a little more than the prior release, and I think the face is more Warren Worthington-esque than the earlier version.  Archangel gets a flight stand and a regular display stand.  Cutting the death mask from this release is another letdown.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got these two from the same source as the last two packs: Super Awesome Wife!  As I noted yesterday, I mostly wanted the first set, and the rest were along for the ride.  That said, this set’s probably number two for me.  Both figures are decent, but I can’t help but wish there were some more extras included, and there’s no denying that Archangel suffers a bit from change fro the sake of change.  Multiple Man’s pretty cool, though.

*Interestingly, as odd-ball as this pair may be, this is not the first time Madrox and Worthington have been paired up in this line; Madrox’s more modern appearance from Series 31 was packed with two different versions of Angel.

#2271: Polaris & Jean Grey

POLARIS & JEAN GREY

MARVEL MINIMATES

To round out the first week of my Post-Christmas reviews, I’m continuing yesterday’s theme, with another look at some Minimates.  Yesterday kicked off a pair of X-Factor teams with their respective team leaders, the brothers Cyclops and Havok.  Today, I’m following that up with their respective love interests from said teams, Jean Grey and Polaris!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Polaris and Jean are the second set in Series 78 of Marvel Minimates.  Like yesterday’s set, they also include part of the Build-A-Mate Strong Guy, specifically his arms.  I’ll be looking at those arms alongside the rest of him at the end of the week.

POLARIS

“The Mistress of Magnetism, Lorna Dane is the daughter of the mutant Magneto, and occasionally battled the X-Men before joining X-Factor.”

Though Havok has been a little more lucky, Polaris hasn’t actually gotten a single ‘mate since her very first one, all the way back in Series 20 of the line, a whopping 12 years ago.  In DST’s defense, that figure held up surprisingly well, and the only reason she really needed a follow up was to get her a second costume.  Like the Legends figure also released this year, Polaris is sporting her first X-Factor costume.  The figure stands 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation…or at least she would if mine hadn’t had the peg tear off of the right hand the first time I tried to move it, necessitating me gluing it back in place for this review.  Yay for tacky paint on joints!  She uses the basic ‘mate body, with the same poofy-sleeved upper arms as Havok, plus an all-new hair piece, and add-ons for the wrist and ankle straps.  The hair is a decent recreation of her wacky, crazy ’90s hair.  It doesn’t translate quite as well to this style as Havok’s look did, but for the most part they did a decent job of making it work.  The paint work on Polaris is fine, apart from it’s tacky, joint destroying nature in a few spots.  Aside from that little nit, it does actually look pretty solid.  Lorna included two effects pieces and a clear display stand.  Like the Legends figures, Polaris and Havok again share the same effects, just differentiated by color.  I’m still not sure how well it works.  Also, my figure has that whole torn joint thing, so she can only use one of the pieces.

JEAN GREY

“A powerful telepath, Jean Grey was a founding member of the X-Men. She later became a founding member of X-Factor.”

Jean’s the first figure so far from this assortment to not have been beaten to market by a Legends equivalent….probably due to this being a fairly low-profile look for her.  While her initial green and yellow number checks off the standard Jean Grey boxes and has therefore seen a little bit of toy love, and Scott’s second round costume was forever immortalized by having an action figure early on, Jean’s red and yellow number is often overlooked.  This is actually her first figure.  She is largely built from the same bank of parts as Cyclops, which I guess makes sense, what with the whole uniform thing.  The gloves are still technically incorrect, but at least they remained internally consistent.  The only differing piece between the two figures is Jean’s hair, which is the same one they’ve been using for Jean since the ’90s costume back in Series 34.  Again, props for consistency. Like Scott, Jean’s paintwork is rather straight-forward.  It’s clean, it’s eye-catching, and it’s definitely very red.  Jean looks weird in this much red.  Jean comes up light on the accessories front, with only a clear display stand.  Since her mask is painted onto the face, it would have been nice to at least get an unmasked head to swap out, or possibly some sort of telekinesis effect.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I touched on yesterday, I got this whole series of figures from my Super Awesome Wife.  Let’s all be real, the stars of the assortment are yesterday’s set; everyone else was really just along for the ride.  This set’s okay, not anything really amazing.  Neither figure has that wow factor, but neither one of them is bad either.  All in all, a decent set.