#3050: Blink

BLINK

MARVEL’S MOST WANTED (TOY BIZ)

“In an alternate world where Charles Xavier has died and Apocalypse rules supreme, Clarice Ferguson is a young mutant struggling to stay alive. Fighting alongside the astonishing X-Men, Blink uses her super powers of teleportation for the good of mankind. Her mutant abilities allow her to temporarily “blink” an object out of existence with the aid of a phasing pulse. Few people know that while just a girl, Blink’s life was saved from the forces of Apocalypse by none other than Sabretooth!”

When Toy Biz did their tie-ins for the “Age of Apocalypse” event, they mostly focused on the heavy hitters in their new personas.  This left some of the more underdog characters, whose mainstream counterparts weren’t as developed, out of the picture.  Thankfully, they found some other avenues for a few of them.  Morph found his way out as a ToyFare exclusive, and Holocaust joined the main X-Men line later on, oddly shoehorned into a ninja-themed assortment.  Blink, a breakout character who in the mainstream universe was just a throwaway casualty for the original Generation X line-up, found her first foray into the toy world courtesy of the rather bizarrely named Marvel’s Most Wanted line, a figure whom I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Blink was released in 1998 as part of the three figure line-up for Marvel’s Most Wanted, an assortment that featured Blink, X-Man, and Spat & Grovel.  Not exactly the heaviest of hitters, the most wanted, or even a particularly cohesive set, but they sure were….um…released all at the same time?  Sure, let’s go with that.  The figure stands roughly 5 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme marks an improvement over a lot of what Toy Biz was offering at the time…in some ways.  The shoulders are universal joints, and she’s even got wrist movement, but then she’s stuck with v-hips, and no knees.  There’s a swivel on one thigh, but not the other, which is strange to say the least.  Still, she’s capable of a good deal more poses than other figures of the era.  Blink’s sculpt was new to her, and would remain unique for Toy Biz’s run.  Since it was prior to any of her post-AoA appearances, she’s based purely on the design from there.  It’s a fair choice, especially given that it means she works with the other AoA figures Toy Biz had done up to that point.  The sculpt is a decent offering.  She’s rather stylized, as well as being slightly pre-posed.  Both of these are in keeping with the main line’s AoA assortment in terms of style, as well as the overall evolving designs of Toy Biz’s Marvel stuff at the time.  It matches well with Blink’s illustrations from the comics, and is suitably unique.  The dynamic nature of the skirt and hair does a nice job of working with the pose, and just making for quite a visually interesting figure.  Blink’s color work is generally pretty basic, but it does what it needs to.  The application’s all pretty clean, and there’s not any notable bleed over or slop.  Blink is packed with a removable cloak, a quiver with removable javelins, and a base meant to look like one of her portals.  It’s not a bad selection of extras, given that none of them are really dead weight or fillers, both of which had a tendency to crop up with the Toy Biz stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The only one of this line-up that I had as a kid was X-Man, mostly because he was the only of the characters I actually knew at the time.  I first really encountered Blink in Exiles, and by that point, this figure had kind of dried up in terms of availability.  I always wanted to pick one up, but it took me a while to get around to it.  It was actually Jess who finally got me one.  In 2017, we were driving up and down the coast a lot while in the process of a rather slow move, and one of the places we stopped had a Blink.  I mentioned to Jess that I had never gotten one, and she made a point of fixing that, because that was just how she was.  Blink was actually a favorite of hers as well, so I suppose it was kind of appropriate.  As far as first outings go, Blink was pretty solid.  She’s stylized and all, but it works for the exact nature of the character, and it’s still one of her better figures.  I mean, yeah she only has three, so I guess they’re all kind of high up there, but still…

#2934: Captain Marvel & Rescue Armor

CAPTAIN MARVEL & RESCUE ARMOR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Hasbro did their best on giving us the most thorough line-ups possible when it come to the Infinity War and Endgame casts, but given the sheer size, there were of course a few that wound up slipping through the cracks.  The purpose of the Infinity Saga line seems to be equal parts getting figures out that were missed, and fixing ones that weren’t quite right the first time around.  Today’s focus goes for a bit of both, as well as serving as a nice representation of some of the film’s own internal representation of the franchise’s female heroes during the big climactic battle, all rolled into one package.  So, without further ado, and before I rack up too many pissed off commenters, let’s look at Captain Marvel and Rescue!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Captain Marvel and the Rescue Armor are the first of the two-pack portion of the 10-piece Infinity Saga sub-set of Marvel Legends.  This particular pairing is an Amazon-exclusive.  This set is one of three items from the line to be based on Endgame, which does seem like a lot, but, of course, it’s a rather jam-packed movie, isn’t it?

CAPTAIN MARVEL

Captain Marvel uses her incredible powers to battle evil in the ultimate fight for the fate of the universe.”

Given that she had gotten her own assortment devoted to her, and that all the promo material showed her in a costume that was largely unchanged from her solo film appearance, it really wasn’t a shock that we didn’t get a proper Endgame Captain Marvel at the time of the film’s release.  That said, the inverted color scheme on the costume, as well as her fancy new hair style were both changes I really liked to her look, and ones I was hopeful to see in toy form at some point.  Here we are at some point.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, she’s largely the same figure as the one from her solo outing.  It’s generally a pretty solid starting point, it’s not terribly far off from Larson’s build when she’s playing the character, and the broad strokes details line-up with her suit from the film.  Some of the smaller details aren’t *quite* right, but given how brief this look’s appearance is, and how small those details are, they don’t generally feel too out of place.  My figure does wind up with one notable QC issue, which is that she’s got two left forearms.  Just my luck.  Regardless of QC issues, Carol gets a new head, as well as a new sash piece add-on.  The new head is a very nice piece, and definitely has Hasbro’s best Brie Larson likeness to date.  It’s a marked improvement on the solo film figures, and is just generally a pretty good match.  The sash is a pretty basic piece, but does a lot to change up the sculpt just a bit more.  The biggest change-up is the paint, which is sporting her inverted color scheme from the movie.  I find this to be a lot more appealing, and more classically “Captain Marvel” like, so I’m definitely a fan.  I also kind of dig the change to the flat colors vs metallic.  It’s not a huge shift, but I think it works.  Carol is packed with three different sets of hands (fists, flat, and relaxed) and Stark’s nanotech version of the gauntlet, this time just meant for holding.

RESCUE ARMOR

“Outfitted with repulsors and a unibeam, Pepper’s Rescue suit is ready to step into battle against Thanos.”

Pepper Potts in her Rescue armor was notably *not* absent from the Legends tie-ins for Endgame when it was released, but, similar to the War Machine from that same assortment, getting her out that close to the film’s release resulted in some inaccuracies and some stripping of more film relevant accessories.  This release serves to address some of that.  The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and has 31 points of articulation.  At her core, this figure’s sculpt is the same as the one from the main line release.  It wasn’t a bad sculpt at all, so re-using it feels like a pretty good call.  I liked it the first time, and I still like it now.  The first set of changes are in the form of paint.  The standard release wasn’t far off, but there were some small tweaks to the final film design, which have been reflected here.  The overall color scheme has also been toned down slightly, which looks a bit truer to what we see on screen.  The biggest changes are in the form of accessories.  She still gets both versions of the back-pack, but now she also gets two additional head sculpts, one with the face plate up, and the other with the helmet entirely removed, as well as some extra attachments for the open back pack to showcase her nano gear a little more, and also a pair of blast effects.  It’s a shame we didn’t get any extra hands mixed in with all of that, but I’m not going to be too greedy on this one.  The new parts add a lot to a figure that I already really liked.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Today’s review is a significant one for me, on two counts.  Today would have been mine and Jess’s second wedding anniversary.  It is also the first one I’m spending without her.  Jess’s encouragement of my collecting was a prominent piece of our relationship, and it was something that she maintained up to the end.  When this set dropped online, I was pretty excited, and made mention of it to her.  Then things got serious, and my mind moved onto more important matters, and I wasn’t really thinking about toys.  After Jess’s passing, I discovered that she had ordered this set for me, the very day I’d mentioned it to her.  And so, three months after her passing, its arrival marked my final gift from her.  It’s something of a bittersweet moment.  It’s a set I very much wanted, and one I’m very happy to have.  Jess absolutely adored the moment with the female heroes assembling in the film, so this set was already bound to remind me of her.  She was always so thoughtful and caring, even in her darkest moments.  And because of that, she gave me this one last gift.  But I know that it’s the last one.  And I wish it weren’t.  And I wish I could tell her how much it means to me.  But I can’t.  All I can do is take solace in the fact that she loved me, and she knew I loved her too, and that was why she worked so hard to take care of me, even after the fact.  So, now I have one last testament to just how Super Awesome of a Wife she really was.  Thank you for everything, Jess.

#2919: Van Helsing

VAN HELSING

DRACULA (MEGO)

It’s October, which is classically a kind of a spooky month, I guess.  I don’t frequently get too invested in all the spooky stuff the way some people do, but I can enjoy it well enough, and I’ve certainly got some knowledge of various things spooky.  When it comes to classic monsters, Universal Studios really set the pace in the ’30s and ’40s, but as they began to fade away, many of those same monsters would be reimagined by Hammer Film Productions, whose horror films became a staple of the ’60s and ’70s.  Perhaps their best known work are their Dracula films, starring the late Christopher Lee in the titular role.  Playing opposite Lee in the role of heroic vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, was Peter Cushing, whose take on Van Helsing (and one of his descendants) would help to shape later portrayals of the character.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Van Helsing is part of Mego’s Horror line, and was released in the latest assortment of mixed figures.  He was originally supposed to be released at the beginning of August, but he crept into the end of September.  As with other entries in the line, he’s showing up in a mix of specialty stores and select Targets.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s build on the updated Type 2 body, which is a decent enough standard starting point.  Cushing was just a pretty regular guy.  The all-new head sculpt here does a pretty great job of capturing Cushing’s likeness.  It’s not often that we see a younger Cushing in toy form, but it works out well here.  He’s got rather distinctive features, and they lend themselves to this style pretty well.  This is actually the second time Cushing’s gotten a Mego-style figure, since he was also in Classic TV Toys’ Space: 1999 line.  I think the likeness here is a little bit better.  The paint work is pretty basic, but it gets the job done, and everything is pretty much in line with where it should be.  Van Helsing is clearly meant to based on his look from the first Hammer Dracula film, and he gets an outfit based on that.  It features his jacket, shirt/tie (one piece like on the Cheers figures), pants, and a pair of rubber shores.  They’re all really goofy looking, but, of course, that’s really part of the style, and he matches well.  Van Helsing is packed with a rather small stake, which is probably going to go flying the first time he gets jostled, being lost for the rest of eternity.  Or something like that.  Given is tendency to use both a hammer and stake together in the films, just the stake is perhaps a little light.  Honestly, I would have liked to get the candlesticks for the cross he makes during the film’s climactic battle, but I guess those might be a little harder for him to hold properly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Van Helsing was initially intended as a birthday present from my parents, but he got delayed, so I had to wait a bit for him.  Worse things have happened.  While I’m not necessarily the biggest Hammer Horror fan, I’ve always quite liked Cushing’s take on Van Helsing, and I’m glad he finally got some figure treatment.  He’s goofy and hokey, but I do really like him.

There’s a slightly more serious side to this one as well, I suppose.  In the months since losing Jess, I’ve been trying to find comfort in the stories of people who have experienced a loss similar to my own.  In reading up more on Peter Cushing, and specifically how he responded to the death of his wife in 1971, I really felt like I found a kindred spirit.  His habits and the words he said about his loss really have resonated with me, and the fact that he was able to continue his life in some way after such a devastating loss has served as an inspiration to me.  So this figure, as hokey as he may be, really serves as a symbol to me, and how I can’t just give up.  And I like that.

#2893: Quicksilver

QUICKSILVER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Quicksilver’s ultra-high-speed capabilities are a major asset to the Avengers in the fight against Ultron.”

While the first Avengers film hit during a period of time when Marvel Legends were dead, so they had to rely on an exclusive run to get the team out in 6-inch scale (and they didn’t even get out the whole team, anyway).  By the time of its sequel, Age of UltronLegends was finally getting its footing back, but still wasn’t quite strong enough to support the entire extended line-up of the team as seen in the film.  Three members of the team wound up at mass retail, with an Amazon-exclusive boxed set to fill out the rest of the original core six.  That left the three new additions to the team, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Quicksilver, out of the line-up.  Scarlet Witch and Vision were both able to get toy coverage out of their later appearances, but that didn’t work out quite so well for poor Pietro, who, you know, died in Age of Ultron and all.  We went through two special anniversary lines with no love for Pietro, but a third one would have just been ridiculous, I suppose, so here he is, after six whole years, finally in Legends form!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver is part of the 10 piece “Infinity Saga” sub-set of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line.  He’s one of the five standard sized single release figures, and one of four of those to be an actual wide release (because of course we can’t release a Captain America that’s not a Walmart exclusive, right?).  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The range of motion on the joints is all pretty solid, especially on that neck joint.  I do wish the knee joints broke up the sculpt a little bit less when posed, but it’s far from the worst we’ve seen.  I also do dig the full transition to pinless joints here on the elbows and knees.  Quicksilver has an all-new sculpt based on his attire from the film’s final battle, which is a sensible choice, since that’s his most distinctive look, and the one that matches with most of the rest of the team (we still don’t have an AoU Scarlet Witch, so he doesn’t match her at all, of course).  The sculpt is an impressive piece of work.  The head doesn’t quite have a perfect likeness of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but it’s certainly got a resemblance.  Likewise, the body seems like it might be perhaps a slight bit too small for his build in the film, but it’s again not too far off, and there’s some really amazing texture work going on in the clothing.  Quicksilver’s paint work is pretty basic stuff for the most part.  The head gets the best work, with the face printing to give him a lifelike quality, and some solid accenting on the hair, for his proper eurotrash dye-job appearance.  The rest of the work is rather on the basic side, but it works for what it is.  Quicksilver is packed with two sets of hands, in fists and an open gesture, plus the head, torso, and arm of an Ultron drone.  It sure would be nice to get a full Ultron drone one of these days, but this is certainly a start, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Quicksilver, specifically the Age of Ultron version of the character, was one of Jess’s favorite Marvel characters.  She really, really liked him, and she was really upset when he died.  I think I may still have the marks from her hitting in the theater, in fact.  She was also really upset that he didn’t get the same toy love as the other characters.  This figure was shown off just a few weeks before she died, and she was very excited.  It had been my plan to get her one of her own when they were released, but that didn’t happen.  It’s a shame that she just missed him.  I think she would have been very happy with the end result.  I myself am pretty happy with him, and with the extra meaning he brings along with him.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2892: Ocean Protector Mosasaurus

OCEAN PROTECTOR MOSASAURUS

JURASSIC WORLD: CAMP CRETACEOUS (MATTEL)

You know how I don’t review dinosaurs much around these parts?  Well, sometimes, I go against the norm.  I know, it’s weird, right?  This time, I’ve definitely got a good reason, though.  I can assure you of that.  Also, this one might not strictly be a dinosaur.  I no longer have a resident marine biologist on hand to give me the solid facts, so I make do with what I can find online myself.

The Mosasaurus, or “Lizard of the Meuse River,” is an aquatic reptile which inhabbited the Atlantic Ocean and seaways adjacent to it 82 to 66 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period.  Though extinct now, they can be traced to modern day reptiles, with either monitor lizards or snakes being their closest relatives, depending on who you ask.  Though reptilian, scientific evidence suggests that these creatures were actually endothermic, or warm-blooded.  Pretty nifty.  And, hey, look, it’s a Mosasaurus toy.  How about I review that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ocean Protector Mosasaurus is part of Mattel’s Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous toy line, which is meant to tie-in with the Netflix spin-off of the same name.  I’ve got it on pretty good authority that the show’s not really worth it, but if it means more toys, I guess that’s not so bad, right? The figure is about 8 1/2 inches in height and measures a whopping 17 inches in length.  Based on the Mosasaurus’s average length being between 23 and 33 feet, that makes this figure about 1/18 scale, so it would technically fit with your 3 3/4 inch figures.  Of course, it’s sheer size means it’s not going to look exceedingly out of place with most common figure scales, since it’s always going to be really big by comparison.  The figure has 11 points of articulation, which includes an articulated jaw, flippers, and tail.  Not super posable, but also not a bad set-up.  While the majority of the line is just fairly average toy dino fare, the Mosasaurus, being an “Ocean Protector” and all, has a fun quirk to his construction.  He’s actually made from a pound of recycled ocean-bound plastic, which is plastic waste that is at risk of ending up in the oceans.  The plastic for these was recovered from within 31 miles of waterways in areas lacking in formal waste collection systems.  Plastic waste is a pretty big issue all around, but is especially bad for the oceans, and I’m all for any venture that does something to help stave that off.  The quality of the plastic doesn’t seem to be that far removed from what you see with other items in the line.  It’s slightly softer, so the details aren’t quite as intense, but what’s there looks pretty solid.  There’s a slight shift in detailing between different parts, as some of the plastic is a little more rubbery, but this all feels pretty by design.  I’m kind of curious to see how it holds up long term.  The actual design is a little more fearsome, I think, than most renditions of the creature, but that fits the style of the franchise, and it looks nice enough.  The paint work on this figure is pretty nice.  There’s some variance to the creature’s skin tone, with some cool flecks of color in the plastic, as well as some solid accenting and work on the lighter portions of the skin.  There are no accessories included with the Mosasaurus, apart from the potential satisfaction of doing your part to help protect the ocean.  And really, isn’t that an accessory enough?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jess was a marine biologist, something that I don’t think was too much of a secret.  She really liked the ocean, and even had an internship at the National Aquarium not too long before the pandemic shut things down.  She fully intended to return once she was able to, but never quite reached that point.  Teaching others about the ocean and the creatures within it was one of her very favorite things, and she was also very devoted to conservation efforts, even more so after starting her work with the Aquarium.  She liked to bring others into the conservation thing when she could, and she certainly worked at that with me.  For Christmas this last year, she got me a pair of Wall-E and EVA Pop!s that were made using some recycled plastic, and she was so excited by them.  When I heard about this toy, I knew it was the sort of thing that she would have absolutely tracked down to give to me, because it was very important to her that we find the places where our loves overlapped.  So, when I found this figure just a few days after my birthday, I has a hard time not getting it, as a little gift to myself, in memory of Jess.  Of course, my mom was with me at the time, and decided to beat me to the punch on that one.  I may not be the biggest fan of dinos, but I’m a big fan of what this toy represents, both personally and on a larger scale.  And I love it for that.

#2851: The Rocketeer

THE ROCKETEER

THE ROCKETEER (MEGO)

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, that 1990’s The Rocketeer is one of my favorite movies, and truly an underappreciated gem.  The film’s failure at the box office led to Disney kind of burying it for a while, but in the last decade they’ve started to get a little more serious about licensing it out.  Funko got us a few different styles of him in the 2013-2014 area, which was cool, but then it kind of quieted down again.  There’s a bit of an uptick again, though, and included in that uptick is a figure from Mego, who are themselves in something of an uptick, I suppose.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Rocketeer is part of Mego’s line of Movie-based figures.  It’s a collection of all sorts of different film characters, and that’s really the only way someone like the Rocketeer is ever getting a chance at a release.  He started showing up around the spring of this year through specialty stores, as well as the handful of Targets that are still carrying Megos.  The figure stands about 8 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s built on the basic improved Type 2 body, which serves as the basis for most of their output.  As a rather average build sort of guy, Cliff makes perfect sense for this body.  Cliff gets an all-new head sculpt, sporting his distinctive helmet.  It captures the helmet’s look pretty closely, while still filtering somewhat through the usual Mego style, just so it doesn’t look *too* out of place.  It’s a nice piece, with a fun, sleek retro feel to it.  The paint work on the head is pretty straight forward; the majority is a metallic bronze, with some black detailing for the eyes and mouth.  It’s basic, but it’s clean, and it works.  Cliff’s outfit is made up of five different pieces, including the jacket, pants, boots, and jetpack.  The jacket and pants are decently tailored.  They’re a little bulky, as is the usual Mego way, but they look alright for the scale and style.  The boots are re-used from the original Mego Will Scarlet figure.  They’re not a perfect match for his boots from the movie, but they work well enough, I guess. The jetpack is all-new, and it’s a nice replica of the one from the movie.  It’s a little hard to get on his back, because the strap is very tight, but once it’s in place, it does look really nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m always a sucker for Rocketeer merchandise, but it’s not always very easy to find.  Mego and The Rocketeer are a pretty solid match of styles, and I was definitely on the look out.  Not that I was really expecting to find him in person, or anything, since none of the stores nearby tend to carry such things.

FYI, we’re going into post-Jess territory here.  This guy was the last piece of the trip out to Target that brought me Major Bludd and the Plastic Patroller, though he’s not actually from the *same* Target, but rather another Target we all stopped at on the way back after the first Target didn’t have something Cheyenne was looking for.  Jess and I didn’t talk about The Rocketeer a lot or anything, but we watched it a few times together, and she did buy me one of my other Rocketeer figures.  But, if I’m sticking to attaching my own projections and feelings to what are likely unrelated events, I suppose it did mean something to me that I found three figures I actually wanted, on one trip, despite the general barren nature of retail these days.  It was at least a nice little pick me up in light of the worst week of my life.  It’s a small victory, but the small victories are what keep me going these days.

#2850: Plastic Patroller

PLASTIC PATROLLER

FORTNITE (MCFARLANE TOYS)

My last Fortnite-themed review was back in December of 2019.  Ah, 2019.  What a different place to be.  Given that I’ve never played even a second of the game, I do actually review stuff from it here with a surprising frequency.  Look, I’m a sucker for a fun toy, and you can’t deny that Fortnite‘s designs do result in some fun toys.  While I’ve stuck with the Jazwares component of the tie-ins thus far, McFarlane has also had their own line running alongside for a bit, which offers up a lot of the same stuff at a slightly different scale, but also a few unique pieces.  Included amongst the unique stuff is today’s figure, the Plastic Patroller.  Added in Season 9 of the game, the Plastic Patroller is a pretty straight forward concept: he’s an old school plastic green army man.  That’s very toyetic, and I’m all about it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Plastic Patroller was added to McFarlane’s Fortnite line early this year. The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  Comparing the two toymakers’ lines, I don’t find the McFarlane offerings to be quite as easily posed, at least going by this particular figure, but I don’t think it’s a bad set-up.  It’s on par with the DC stuff, so it’s certainly much better than what Todd used to do.  In-game, the Patroller is largely a recoloring of the Jonesy skin, so this figure is unsurprisingly built on a lot of the same parts as the McFarlane Jonesy.  It’s a decent enough starting point.  I’m super crazy about how the ankles and wrists look, but for the most part it works.  I also did find it interesting that the trigger finger is on the left side, which isn’t very common.  That I definitely don’t mind, though.  He does get a new head and feet, though, in order to give him both the helmet, and the excess plastic at the feet, to help really sell that green army man feel.  The helmet does maybe feel a little to joined to the head and not a distinctly different part, based on the animation model, but it’s not terrible, and does still feel like the old toy, so it still works.  The extra stuff on the feet actually makes him a bit more stable, so I won’t complain about that.   In terms of color work, the Patroller is actually a little more involved than you might think at first glance.  He’s based on the skin’s second iteration, after it was reworked in order to remove its potential for blending in with certain environments.  So, he’s not just straight green, but actually has a little bit of dirt build-up.  Though not quite as classically green army man, it does make him a slightly more involved design, I suppose.  It’s like he’s been taken out to the playground.  The Patroller is packed with the Response Unit Back Bling, Scar Assault Rifle, Knockwurst harvesting tool, and a stand.  Not a bad selection of parts, and it certainly follows the gamut of the game’s stylings, being a mix of goofy and straight forward.  The rifle’s basic, but I really dig the Knockwurst, as goofy as it is.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Fortnite purchases are entirely based on “hey, that’s a cool design”, with no underlying knowledge beyond that.  Jazwares had dragged me in with the Joe compatibility, and then gotten me on board with the 6 inch stuff, but I was steering clear of McFarlane, because why would I need to start another scale.  Well, a green army man’s a good enough excuse.  I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s a one-off.  I hope it’s a one-off.  I’m sticking by it being a one-off.

FYI, we’re heading into another post-Jess section here.  The Plastic Patroller came from the same trip to Target as yesterday’s Major Bludd.  Likewise, I didn’t go in expecting to find him, but after finding Bludd, I was wandering through the video game section, and I spotted this guy.  And I heard this little voice in the back of my head telling me that they’d be mad at me if I didn’t buy him, because I’d regret it later.  It felt very Jess.  Again, I may be doing some projecting, and maybe I’m seeing more than what’s there and attributing silly, little minor things to her, but hey, that’s where I am.

#2849: Major Bludd

MAJOR BLUDD

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

We’ve had something of a hiatus from G.I. Joe reviews around these parts, mostly because there hasn’t actually been all that much to review, surprisingly.  We’ve got a lot just now hitting and also on the horizon, but since I reviewed Zartan back in May, there’s only actually been one true addition to Classified Series, and, surprising very few people, it was an exclusive.  This time around, it’s another member of the Cobra forces, Major Bludd.  First added to the line in 1983, Major Bludd gave the Cobra side some variety in ranks, as one of the first actual face characters for them, as well as one of the very few to truly fit into the overall Cobra ranking structure, unlike Destro, who was more an outside contractor.  Bludd is often a character that gets no respect, and you know what?  That’s appropriate.  He hasn’t earned it.  No respect for Sebastian.  I shan’t allow it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Major Bludd is figure 27 in the G.I. Joe: Classified Series line-up, and is part of the Target-exclusive “Cobra Island” sub-line of figures.  Unlike other Target-exclusives from this line, Major Bludd is the only new figure from his round, as he initially shipped with restocks of Firefly and the Viper.  His initial stock disappeared as quickly as anything else in the line, but there was a pretty decent push for solid restock cases, which made him *slightly* more available for about a week or so.  That was kinda nice.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Major Bludd’s design is generally a pretty straight forward updating of his original V1 design, with that little bit of the Classified sci-fi upgrading to help fill in some of the gaps from making it too bland at the larger scale.  Structurally, the core of Major Bludd’s build is shared with the Cobra Trooper.  It’s a pretty sensible choice, since he’s kind of the highest ranking grunt, and has classically had some design elements in common with them.  He gets a new head, right arm, torso overlay, belt, and boots in an effort to change him up.  Ultimately, it ends up working pretty well.  Bludd’s original head was a little nondescript, but this one is very descript.  He’s grizzled and angry.  His eyepatch is no longer just a standard patch, but is now this more armored, squared off looking thing, which appears to be mounted to his eye in some fashion.  The face is scarred beneath the patch, and the expression on the face is definitely not a pleasant one.  The helmet is, for the second time on a Major Bludd, a removable piece.  It sits securely in place, which is nice, and it adds a slightly more severe shape to the design than the original.  Perhaps the star piece of the new sculpt is the right arm.  Bludd’s V1 figure had an arm that lacked the usual articulation, but which sported vaguely cybernetic details, which weren’t mentioned in his bio, and were ultimately left off of all updates until 25th.  This time, he leans hard into those details, with an all-new appendage that is clearly a robotic replacement.  It’s a very cool design, which immediately reads as different from the rest of him.  It’s very cool.  Quite frankly, it’s too cool for Major Bludd.  He doesn’t deserve it.  But he gets it anyway.  Oh well.  Bludd’s paint work is largely very brown.  True to the character, but not terribly exciting.  The face gets some very strong detailing, though, so that’s cool.  Bludd gets a decent enough accessory selection, which includes the previously mentioned removable helmet, as well as a necklace of dogtags (a detail lifted from the V1 figure), an update on the V1 rocket launcher, two rockets, an update on the V1 backpack, and a very large revolver.  Despite not being V1-homaged, the revolver is probably my favorite piece.  But, again, it’s probably too cool for Bludd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not the world’s biggest Bludd fan by any stretch, and I certainly wasn’t jumping up and down for this figure.  Originally, he was brought up to some retailers as a standard release, at which point I would have just gotten him the usual way.  But, then he was suddenly a Target exclusive, and orders were being cancelled, and he was harder to get.  And that’s a lot of work for Bludd.  And is he really worth that?  I certainly didn’t think so.

FYI, there’s gonna be some Post-Jess talk here.

Three days after Jess’s passing, I was staying with my friends Tim and Jill, and I woke up one morning with a sudden urge to go to a Target.  No idea why.  I’ve pretty much entirely given up hunting these days, but I was feeling it for some reason.  Tim, Cheyenne, and Christian obliged, and off we went for a quick little trip.  The toy aisle was predictably barren, but I again felt an urge, this time to walk over to the “collectibles” section, which was a total mess.  I happened to pick up one of the NECA figures, and spotted the corner of a Classified box behind it, which turned out to be this guy.  I wasn’t actively searching for him in the slightest, but there he was, so I bought him.  Like the Disney+ Legends, he helped me navigate that first week without Jess, even if in a small way.  And, if I’m entirely honest, I almost feel like finding him was somehow her looking out for me.  I know it’s cheesy and hokey, and probably a very reductive way of looking at it all, but it makes my days a little brighter to think that some part of her is still out there, even if it’s only in my own mind.

#2845: Jaxxon

JAXXON

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Jaxxon is a nearly 6-foot tall, green-furred, Lepi smuggler and captain of the Rabbit’s Foot. Known for his wise cracks and high kicks, Jaxxon has helped Han Solo and Chewbacca out on more than one occasion.”

For some reason, this review has been very hard for me to start.  Well, I say “for some reason,” but I suppose it’s a bit more transparent than that.  There’s a rather big reason that anything is difficult for me these days.  I guess the “for some reason” comment more relates to how difficult this one review has been for me to actually sit down and write.  I’ve even written other reviews around working on this one, so it’s apparently just this particular green space bunny that’s giving me trouble.  Said “green space bunny” is Jaxxon, a big green bunny man created by Roy Thomas and Howard Chaykin for Marvel Comics’ Star Wars #8.  He’s one of the earliest full-fledged EU creations, and is rumored to have been removed from the comics on Lucas’ request, although this rumor remains unsubstantiated.  Though an early player, Jaxxon was removed from the franchise just as early, and has up to this point been completely without a toy in a very toy-driven franchise.  Seems like a shame.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s on top of it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jaxxon is another of the four comics-based Star Wars: The Black Series line-up, alongside the previously reviewed Carnor Jax Kir Kanos.  Jaxxon is notably the only figure in the set without any prior toy treatment, as I noted in the intro.  There was just no love for the bunny before this.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall counting the ears (closer to 6 without them) and he has 27 points of articulation.  Though he looks very unique and different, Jaxxon actually has a fair bit of re-use going on.  His upper half is X-Wing Pilot Luke, and his lower half is ANH Luke.  He’s a lot of Luke, I guess.  It’s a combo that works pretty decently, though I’m admittedly a little surprised he’s not just a straight up Pilot Luke re-use.  I guess this keeps him a little more diverse.  Aiding in making him look sufficiently different is a new head, chest plate, and belt with holsters.  The new head is certainly a more realistic looking design than he usually gets, in keeping with how the line has handled other more cartoony characters, I suppose.  This is really Jaxxon viewed through the lens of actually being in one of the OT movies, where he’d have just been another guy in a rubber mask.  It’s a departure from the artwork on the box, but it’s not bad at all.  The new overlay pieces for the armor and belt sit well on the figure and do a strong job of selling him as having more new parts than he does.  Generally, the result of this mix of parts is a pretty good one.  His paint work suits the design.  It’s not many colors that you tend to really associate with Star Wars, but that helps him feel more unique, and certainly true to the character’s nature.  Application is pretty clean, and the head even gets some accenting to keep it from just being a basic green.  Jaxxon is packed with two blaster pistols, re-used from Jaina Solo.  Unfortunately, we once again have a figure with two blasters, but only one hand with a trigger finger.  Come on guys.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Disclosure: I’m talking about Jess a lot today.

I could give you the exact road map to how exactly “Green Space Bunny Pilot” invariably leads me to dwelling on Jess’s final days over and over again, but I can’t say that knowing the how really truly explains the why.  I suppose, technically, you could say it’s because this was the first item added to my collection that she never saw (since he came into the store before she passed, but I didn’t actually get him until after), and I suppose it could also be linked to him being another Star Wars piece, and how much we both enjoyed the franchise.  I suppose it could even be because he’s a Black Series figure, and that the figures I was photographing on the day that she asked me what I was doing and I answered “just taking a few photos of some action figures,” were the first series of Black Series. Or it could even be because he’s the first of the comic figures I’ve reviewed since Kir Kanos, who was the figure I was reviewing the last day I sat with Jess before we knew it was the end.  There’s a lot of supposing in there, huh?  That’s because I really don’t know any of it for sure.  I just know that, for some reason, every time I sat down to write this, it got very hard to do so.  I think it’s because Jess probably would have gotten a real kick out of the Green Space Bunny.  Seems like something that might be up her alley, honestly.  This feels like something I very much would have gotten to show her, and to experience with her, but it’s one of the first things I didn’t.  That sucks.  Plain and simple, it just sucks.  The figure doesn’t, for what it’s worth.  I actually quite like him, and look forward to more deep cuts like this for the line.  And perhaps those ones won’t be quite as hard for me to write about.  Time will tell.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2843: Clone Pilot Hawk

CLONE PILOT HAWK

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

Store exclusives have been the bane of pretty much every collector’s existence for the last year, because not only has the number of things that are exclusive jumped, but so has the number of people trying to scalp them in order to make a quick buck.  Not helping matters is the general lack of quality distribution when it comes to actually getting them out there, making for an all around just unpleasant experience.  So, there’s definitely a little twinge of anxiety that hits every time a new item is announced, and then also confirmed as an exclusive.  In the case of Star Wars: The Black Series, there’s a whole sub-set of throwback Clone Wars figures, which seemed poised to be the worst thing ever to get, but which now seem to be significantly less so, which I suppose is a good thing.  For me personally, I was most invested in getting the clones, which I have.  I’m starting things off today, with a look at Clone Pilot Hawk.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Pilot Hawk is one of the four figures in Target’s exclusive assortment of Clone Wars-retro carded Black Series figures.  He’s the most obscure character in the bunch, to be sure, notably being the only one included who has never had a figure, even in the days of Hasbro’s far more expansive Clone Wars toy line.  Not only did we not get Hawk, we never even got one of the pilots with this specific helmet design, which does feel kind of baffling when you get right down to it.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  Now, the fact that Hasbro very recently introduced an all-new basic clone body into the line might lead you to believe that Hawk might, you know, be built on it, what with being kind of a basic clone and all.  However, you’d in fact be a fool to think that, because he’s absolutely not built on that body.  Neither is he built on the old clone body, though, so don’t think that either.  Instead, he’s actually built on the Captain Rex body, for some reason.  I mean, I’m not knocking it.  It’s a good body in its own right, and certainly an improvement on the old clone body, meaning his movement isn’t really restricted like it would have been on that older body.  In fact, his movement’s pretty darn great, so that’s cool.  He gets an all-new head for his unique helmet, as well as a connected breathing device, to signify his pilot nature.  Also, in a far more minor touch, he also gets a new belt, sans the kama and the holsters.  The new parts are nicely crafted, with the helmet in particular being the real star piece here.  It does a quite respectable job of walking the line between animated faithfulness and merging with the realistic style of the line.  I definitely like it a lot.  Hawk’s paintwork is generally pretty nicely handled.  There’s a little bit of slop on the hands on my figure, but he otherwise turned out pretty nicely.  I like the extra markings on the armor, as well as how they’ve weathered them a bit to show that his armor’s been in use.  Hawk is packed with a standard small Clone Trooper blaster.  It’s a little light, but it’s also fairly standard set-up for a pilot figure in this line, so it’s hard to say it’s a surprise.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Hawk was my only “must have” figure in this set, largely because I’ve just always liked this particular pilot design and it’s literally never gotten a figure before.  I was happy he got a figure, but not so happy that it wound up as an exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to help me out with this one, as it wound up being literally the first of the four he saw at retail.  He turned out really nicely, and I’m curious to see if we might actually get some of the other Clone Pilots in the main line now.  Time will tell.

There’s also a bit of a post-Jess segment to this one as well.  This figure is the last figure added to my collection before Jess died.  Max brought him to me during her last week in the hospital, and I had him with me those last few days.  He’s the last new figure I got to show her, and the last figure she got to be excited about me adding to my collection.  I didn’t know that when I got him, but those are the sorts of things you never do know, I guess.  I do know that showing off my new figures to her was one of my very favorite things about collecting in the last eight years, and the items I gotten since all feel a little different, since something’s very definitely missing.  He gets to be my last contact to that feeling, and the last true part of that collection.  My collection post-Jess will be a different one, and I’ll have to figure out how as I move forward.  But this guy’s not going anywhere, I can tell you that much.