#2144: Seekers Acid Storm, Ion Storm, & Nova Storm

SEEKERS ACID STORM, ION STORM, & NOVA STORM

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

You know, it’s actually been a surprising amount of time since I’ve written a Transformers review.  I mean, like not a lot of time, but notable time. I sure have added a lot to my collection since then! And now, apparently, I’m letting Jess write this one, because that’s just how I do.  It’s just repaints, so I guess we’ll see how this goes….

These bois are the storm seekers, like the guys that chase the storms. They the storm roadies of the Transformers, maybe they actually decepticons but idk yo…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

One is blue. One is green. And one is yellR. They all look the same though, except for the colors of course! They shouldv’e done red instead of green though because then they would’e had all their prime colors! But yea, they all look the same though. So like the same molding and even have the same mud stains on their shins. Do robots have shins? Or are they like lower leg plates? Anyways, they’re about 6 inches tall. They’ve got 12 points of articulation, so in total they’ve got 36 points of articulation. Really it’s just one mold painted in three different colors. Obviously, green is Acid Storm, blue is Ion Storm (I guess, though I think blue is better for Ice Storm), and yellow is Nova Storm. They’re kinda bulky looking, but that’s okay because they turn into vehiculars, planes or something. I wonder if they’re like the Flying Angels or whatever. The paint is okay, kinda bright but i like that because they probably look cool in blacklight. The mud stains are kinda genwric though and only on the legs. I wonder why they only have mud stains on their legs, I’ll let you guys think about that one! Anyways, I guess these figures are decent because I haven’t heard Ethan complain about them. I thought they looked really cool, the bright colors are nice accessories to any room, like the bedroom, dining room.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ethan got this acton figure set from Target. He was gonna leave it cuz he thought he didn’t need it, but I convinced him that he should get it and here we are!

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#2141: Spider-Man & MJ

SPIDER-MAN & MJ

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Students at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, Peter Parker and MJ experience the powers of Spider-Man firsthand when the web-slinger must suit up to take down the Vulture.”

The Legends coverage for Spider-Man: Homecoming followed the usual Spider-Man movie range, meaning we got the main villain and a bunch of Spider-Man variants.  We did also get an Iron Man figure, but that was sort of on his own merits.  Beyond that, the other characters were really left out.  While the Far From Home offerings more or less followed the same set-up, but between the two, we did get one of the more important supporting players, albeit in a slightly rebooted form with Michelle “MJ” Jones.  Of course, surprising no one, there’s also another Spidey variant along for the ride.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and MJ are a Target-exclusive part of the Marvel Legends line.  They’re both officially based on Homecoming, though the set was clearly meant to tie-in with MJ’s increased role in Far From Home.

SPIDER-MAN

We got both of Spidey’s main looks from Homecoming back when the movie came out, but there was one notable design missing.  When locked in the Damage Control vault at the movie’s mid-point, Peter keeps himself warm by layering up and putting his hoody and decathlon team jacket over his costume.  It’s a pretty distinctive look, and was even used on the film’s main poster, so its recreation as a toy was pretty much inevitable.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Spider-Man uses a lot of parts from the initial Homecoming figure, but obviously swaps out the arms for a new pair with sleeves to match the jacket.  It also re-tools the upper torso to remove the butterfly joints at the shoulders.  I was admittedly never a huge fan of how they were implemented on the original figure, so I don’t miss them here.  In addition to the arms, he also gets the Coulson jacket, plus a new hoodie piece that slips underneath of it to complete the look.  Paintwork on this guy is actually a little different from the original release; the weblines are a little tighter and the tech-lines on the blue sections are a little darker.  It makes the figure pop a little more than the original, but the reds on the suit are the same, meaning the extra head from the first figure is still compatible.  Spidey is packed with two sets of hands in fists and thwippign poses.  It’s a shame he didn’t also get his Beats, but the hands are at least something.

MJ

Zendaya’s Michelle “MJ” Jones caused a fair bit of controversy when she was added to the cast of the first movie and was originally rumored to be a more direct adaptation of Mary Jane Watson.  It was honestly downright comical given how minor her role was in the first film.  Whatever the case, I found her performance to be enjoyable and the character to be a quite likable reimagining of a character we’ve seen quite a few times before.  And now I’ve got an action figure of her, which is always the best thing about any fictional character.  She stands a little over 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  MJ is built on the same body as the last Legends MJ, which is also the one used for Jessica Jones and Elektra from the Netflix line-up.  It’s a pretty sensible body, and fits the general build and look of Zendaya in the movie.  The figure gets a few new parts to help sell the new look better.  She has a new set of arms and jacket piece, as well as new lower legs.  It’s all topped off with two new head sculpts, one with the hair down and a more intense expression, the other with the hair pulled back and a more amused expression.  Both have a pretty spot-on likeness, but I personally prefer the second one.  MJ’s paintwork is more reserved than Spidey’s, but it’s still a pretty solid offering, with plenty of nice little touches, especially on the jacket.  MJ is packed with two sets of hands, one set in open gesture, the other in a gripping/fist combo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wanna guess where I got this here Target exclusive?  Did you say Target?  How ever did you crack that one?  This set first started hitting way back in June, but I didn’t actually find mine until a few weeks ago.  I had almost given up hope of finding it at retail, when a quick stop off on the way home to grab a few other things led to me finding a whole stock of them.  The Spidey variant is actually a lot of fun, and MJ’s kind of an essential figure, so I definitely dig this set.

#2119: Assault on Ryloth

WAXER, BOIL, CLONE COMMANDER CODY, & MACE WINDU

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“Jedi generals and clone troopers battle the Separatists who have taken control of the planet Ryloth, homeworld of the Twi’leks. Mace Windu coordinates battle plans as he prepares to bring gunships onto the planet. Clone Troopers Waxer and Boil, who are eager for combat, join Clone Commander Cody on a mission to free Twi’lek prisoners being used as shields to protect a deadly proton cannon.”

Fairly early on in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the show runners realized that a show with “Clone” in the title was going to have to lean pretty heavily on clones as characters.  With that taken into consideration, the previous depictions of clones literally just being whole squadrons of the same guy a couple dozen times over wasn’t going to work.  Over the course of the show’s first season, they began introducing the audience to lots of troopers, all with individual names and personalities, many of them even getting their own small arcs.  There were a few clone-centered early on, which included my personal favorite episode, “Innocents of Ryloth,” the middle entry of Season 1’s Ryloth trilogy.  “Innocents” brought in troopers Waxer and Boil, and bickering pair that would crop up a couple more times over the course of the show.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Waxer, Boil, Clone Commander Cody, and Mace Windu make up the “Assualt on Ryloth” Battle Pack, which was available exclusively at Target in 2009.  The set is based primarily on “Innocents,” though Mace’s presence brings in the follow-up, “Liberty on Ryloth.”

WAXER

Technically, Waxer appeared prior to “Innocents,” as part of the tie-in comic “Slaves of the Republic.”  Of course, the timing is close enough that Waxer was likely created for the show first and dropped into the comic later, given production cycles and all.  Whatever the case, Waxer’s appearance in “Innocents” is certainly the better showcase.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 24 points of articulation.  All of the figures in this set were built from pre-existing molds, which really isn’t too surprising for Waxer, what with him being a clone and all.  Nevertheless, there’s a surprising amount of frankenstiening going on here.  Waxer uses the body of Clone Trooper Denal (meaning he’s got a spot for a backpack…not that he includes one, of course), with Commander Thire’s dual holster-sporting belt, and the original Captain Rex head, all topped off with the upgraded removable helmet first seen on Gree.  The holsters on the belt on show accurate, and I’m not entirely sure why they went with the torso with the peghole, but beyond that Waxer’s as good as any figure built from the basic clone parts, which is to say he’s very good.  He poses well, and his helmet sits properly and tightly on the head, and he’s fairly accurate to the animation models.  His paintwork is solid stuff, though it’s worth noting this set was released in a period when Hasbro was going for cleaned up clones.  He still gets his proper 212th markings, as well as his personalized helmet, with tally marks and all.  Waxer is packed with a pair of DC-17 Blaster pistols, as well as a DC-15A rifle.  Technically, he’s carrying the 15C in the episode, but it’s not like I don’t have a bunch of those I can give him, including one of the two in this very set.

BOIL

Though he never seemed to get the same prominence as Waxer, Boil ended up as the more fortunate of the two, since he was one of the few prominent clones still alive at the end of the show’s run…at least as far as we knew.  Boil and Waxer’s designs were very similar, but Boil ended up sticking with the Rex/Basic Trooper hybrid body that was first introduced with Matchstick, with the head of Commander Cody.  No extra holsters or spots for back packs on him.  He does *technically* still have Cody’s molded scars on his forehead, but there’s enough else going on that you really don’t notice them.  Beyond that, he’s another pretty solid clone figure.  His paint does change up things ever so slightly from Waxer.  Obviously the head’s different, what with the mustache and all, as is the helmet, which has Boil’s specific markings and graffiti.  There’s one more rather minor change between the two: Boil has solid colors on the shoulders, while Waxer had stripes.  In the show, they actually both had stripes, but when they they got their ARF armor in their second appearance, Boil had one solid shoulder to further distinguish.  This figure just carries that forward symmetrically.  It’s not technically show accurate, but I really don’t mind the slight change for the sake of a slightly more unique figure.  Boil isn’t quite as heavily armed as Waxer, with only a DC-15C blaster rifle.

CLONE COMMANDER CODY

As the clone in charge of Waxer and Boil’s battalion, Cody’s definitely a sensible choice for inclusion.  He’s essentially just a reissue of his single release figure from the main line.  Cody shared his legs and lower arms with the standard early line clones, but had his own head, torso, pelvis, and upper arms.  The head is the same one I just looked at for Boil, but the scarring now makes sense.  The other parts incorporate Cody’s unique armor elements.  Curiously, his torso, and especially his waist, is really skinny when compared to all of the other Clones released around the same time.  Was Cody just more conscious of his figure?  Whatever the case, Cody’s sculpt is just as strong as the other two clones, making him another really solid figure offering.  For the most part, Cody’s paint is identical to his single release, though the orange on his armor was dulled down a bit to better match Waxer and Boil, and he also loses the painted aspect of his facial scar.  Cody included his removable helmet, as well as a DC-15C blaster rifle.

MACE WINDU

Windu is honestly the weirdest choice in this set, since he only has a small role at the beginning and end of “Innocents,” with the primary Jedi being Obi-Wan.  While Windu wraps up the Ryloth Trilogy in the next episode, it’s without Waxer, Boil, and Cody.  I’d wager that the main reason he was chosen over Kenobi is that he was the rarer figure at the time, and Hasbro wanted collectors to get another shot.  Worked out for me, since I didn’t have a Windu.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation.  For whatever reason, the initial Jedi for this line weren’t given full articulation, so Mace lacks any sort of knee or ankle movement.  It definitely cuts down on the crazy action poses.  Despite the reduced articulation, his sculpt is actually pretty solid.  It’s a decent translation of the animation model, and fits in well with the rest of the line.  His paintwork is pretty minimal, with just a lot of browns for the most part.  For whatever reason, his eyebrows went from dark brown on the single to an orange here, which looks a little off, but really only if you closely examine him.  It honestly reads as him just not having eyebrows most of the time.  Windu included his lightsaber, plus a helmet, collar, and shoulder pads to give him some clone armor.  He also includes a spring-loaded waist joint, which gives him a sort of a slashing feature when you pull it back.  Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

With “Innocents” being my favorite episode of the show, you’d think that this set would have been on my list from day one, right?  I mean, I got the high-end Sideshow set, right?  Yeah, well this pack wasn’t anywhere near as easily gotten as the Sideshow figures, so I actually didn’t have them.  In fact, for the longest time, I just passed off my generic 212th trooper as one of them.  It wasn’t until the set got traded into All Time a couple of weeks ago that I finally had my chance, and while they may have been a little pricey, I kind of counted them as a birthday present to myself.  Expensive as they may be, I really like the Waxer and Boil included here, and I’m happy to have finally gotten them.  It’s just too bad we never got a Numa to go with them.

#2056: Hawkeye & Black Widow

HAWKEYE & BLACK WIDOW

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

From the ranks of SHIELD to the growing team of Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye put their expert training to use as they suit up to defend their world and universe from intergalactic threats.”

There sure was a lot of pre-movie hype built around the Avengers’ Quantum Suits in Endgame, and then…well, let’s just say they aren’t overly present for much of the film.  But, I suppose they did get that grand entrance, and they were certainly an intriguing new design.  They’re also a decent way of getting out a fair number of the main characters out with as much shared tooling as possible.  I’ve looked at one Legends offering of the Quantum Suit (worn by Captain America), and now I’m following it up with fellow founding Avengers Hawkeye and Black Widow!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Hawkeye and Widow are a Target-exclusive two-pack of Marvel Legends, and started arriving at shelves right around the film’s release date.

HAWKEYE

After quite an absence from the toy realm, Clint Barton has been pretty well-served by the initial Endgame product, with a whole two Legends figures, right out of the gate.  No body else got that!  Well, okay, Cap’s almost getting that, since the Walmart-exclusive is already hitting, just over a month after the first figure, but let’s not sully Hawkeye’s good fortune.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  This guy is mostly made up of re-used parts, being identical to the Quantum Suit Cap from the neck down.  It’s really not a surprise, especially given the slightly more averaged proportions of the body.  It’s also supposed to be the same suit on everybody, so I guess it’s a sensible choice.  Hawkeye gets a brand-new head sculpt, sporting Clint’s radical new hair, or at least an approximation of it.  It’s also got probably the best Renner likeness we’ve seen from Hasbro (although Super Awesome Fiancee says he does have enough of a “dad” look to really be Hawkeye), and is generally a nice offering.  It has the added benefit of looking pretty nice on the Ronin body, should you want his look from most of the movie.  The paint on Hawkeye is about what you’d expect.  The head sports the face-printing tech, which looks nice and lifelike, and the body is an exact match for the paint on the Cap figure.  Hawkeye is packed with his bow, re-used from his first Avengers figure.  Befitting the “lots of characters from the same shared tooling”, he also includes two alternate heads, for Iron Man and Ant-Man.  They’re re-used from the IW Thanos and the Cull Obsidian series figures respectively.  Not at all accurate, but hey, that hasn’t stopped these figures before.

BLACK WIDOW

Widow was represented in the Infinity War toys, but thus far has had a much sparser selection for Endgame, with this being her only planned figure from Hasbro, at least so far.  I wouldn’t be shocked if that changes going forward, though.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Widow’s sporting an all-new sculpt.  It’s a solid match for the male version of the suit, and it’s in fact a little better, at least from a proportions stand-point.  The head is sporting a very nice likeness of Scarlet Johansen, which, again, I’d say is the best version of her likeness we’ve gotten from Hasbro.  It’s also sized well to fit on the Infinity War Widow body, if you want her non-Quantum-Suited.  The paint on Widow matches pretty decently with Hawkeye’s, so it’s another very strong offering.  I especially like that they got that little bit of blonde at the end of her ponytail.  Widow is packed with her twin batons (re-used from the Infinity War release), as well as an extra head and pistol so she can be used as Nebula (both re-used from the Mantis Series figure).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was a little scarce around the movie’s release, what with the hype and whatnot.  I was searching for a little while without much luck, and kind of gave up, honestly.  Then the power went out a few weeks ago, and we had to run out for dinner and some supplies, and I just happened to wander past the toy aisle and, boom, there they were.  While having the quantum suits doesn’t mean as much to me, I’m definitely glad to have the new heads for Nat and Clint.

#2036: Spider-Man & Kraven

SPIDER-MAN & KRAVEN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Unwittingly bonded with an alien symbiote, Spider-Man has the enhanced strength and abilities he needs to take on his deadly enemy, Kraven the Hunter.”

The last time I reviewed a Kraven figure, I remarked that long-running lines require a somewhat cyclical nature.  Well, uhh, I’m now reviewing a re-release of Kraven from that very line…so, hey, here we are.  Guess we’ve already come back around to him, haven’t we?  I, of course, already had the previous Kraven, but one more certainly couldn’t hurt too much.  Nor could one more of the Spider-Man he’s packed with!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Spider-Man and Kraven are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, clearly patterned after the much-loved “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline.  The set started hitting shelves just a few weeks ago, and will hopefully be showing up in plentiful quantities throughout the summer.  Both figures are tweaks of prior figures that have packed up a sizable aftermarket price.

SPIDER-MAN

Spider-Man’s black costume (or at least a cloth copy of it) was central to “Last Hunt,” and is enough of a fan favorite that a re-release of his Sandman Series figure definitely makes sense.  The basic figure is essentially identical.  Same base body and head, and for the most part, the same paint scheme.  The symbol is ever so slightly different, with the head being a little wider.  It’s minor enough that you’d only notice the change with both releases side by side.  The main change-up is the accessories.  They were kind of the let-down of the original release, but this one amends that.  He loses the open gesture hands of the original, but exchanges them for the missing web-pose hands that were sorely missing the last time.  He also gains an alternate unmasked head, which is a re-paint of the unmasked head from the Spidey/MJ pack, now featuring some battle-damage.  Of course, since I still don’t have that, I’m just building a continuing collection of non-standard Parker heads.

KRAVEN

Kraven’s been absent from Legends longer than Spidey’s black costume.  His Rhino Series release was four years ago now, and just predates a lot of collectors getting into the re-launched line, meaning he still goes for a bit of a premium.  His re-release is definitely the main driving force of this set.  Where Spider-Man was a fairly straight re-issue, Kraven is actually quite different from his prior release.  Where that one was his most recent appearance, this one is a classic Kraven.  He gets a new head, right hand, and belt, and swaps out the boots of the last release for more streamlined parts.  The head is by far the best piece; the crazed expression is a perfect recreation of Mike Zeck’s Kraven from “Last Hunt,” and it’s a marked improvement over the more generic sculpt of the last release.  Another marked improvement?  The paint.  It’s sharper, bolder, and just generally better detailed than the last release.  Hasbro’s definitely gotten a lot better at this part of the figures.  Kraven includes the same spear as the prior release, and also adds in a hunting rifle, which is a pretty classic Kraven sort of piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since I have both of the original releases, when this set was originally announced I didn’t know if I’d be picking it up.  The images of the new Kraven head definitely did a lot to sell me on him, but the Spider-Man didn’t look to have much new to offer.  I was out looking for the Endgame Hawkeye and Widow (who I still haven’t found), and came across this set, and upon seeing the unmasked head and webshooter hands was definitely sold.  Both figures included are improvements over their original releases, and I don’t regret grabbing this one at all.

#2010: Senate Commandos

SENATE COMMANDO CAPTAIN & SENATE COMMANDO

STAR WARS: CLONE WARS (HASBRO)

“A Senate Commando captain and his elite commando team confront suspicious arrivals to the Senate building. The captain and troopers rush to the platform where Cad Bane has landed without permission. They are prepared for a fight if necessary, but are taken by surprise when Bane springs his trap.”

In the break in movies between Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, the Star Wars franchise didn’t go on hiatus as it had between Jedi and Phantom Menace.  Instead, it was kept going by a multimedia affair, the two most obvious being, of course, the toys, and the animated series Clone Wars.  Clone Wars took a lot of concepts, designs, and characters from the prequels and put them to new use.  Or, honestly, just put them to use period.  One such example were the Senate Guards, precursors to the Imperial Royal Guard.  In the movies, they didn’t do much more than stand in the background of scenes and remind you that one day they’d be putting on all red attire and serving the forces of evil.  The show, on the other hand, reworked them into the Senate Commandos, and even gave them a few focus episodes.  They made their way into the toyline, of course, but they aren’t among the easiest items to track down.  I managed to snag a set, though, and I’m reviewing it today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Released as a Target-exclusive two-pack in 2010, the Senate Commandos paired off with a complimentary Cad Bane and IG-86 two-pack, both based on the first season episode “Hostage Crisis,” which was one of the focus episodes for the commandos.  While the other pack was straight re-releases, both figures in this pairing were only available here.  Following the 2010/2011 re-branding of the Clone Wars line, these figures were part of the “Galactic Battle Game” concept that Hasbro was attempting to introduce into the line.  To facilitate this, the set includes two stands, a card with stats for each character, and a die chance cube with various symbols on it, presumably meant for use in playing the game.

SENATE COMMANDO CAPTAIN

First up, the ranking officer, the Senate Commando Captain.  Though un-named here, if he is indeed meant to be the commanding officer from “Hostage Crisis”, that would make him the ill-fated Captain Jayfon.  Yes, he had a name, because this is Star Wars.  Everyone has a name, just ask Elan Sleazbaggeno.  I suppose Jayfon should count himself lucky that he wasn’t named “Guardo” or something.  Anyway, this figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  He’s based on the streamlined design of the guards from the show.  Because of the more limited nature of the animation early in the run, the Guards could not keep their usual flowing cloaks.  For the sake of making things easier, their distinctive helmets and color-scheme were moved onto the standard Clone Trooper model.  The figure follows suit, being built on the basic Clone Trooper body from the line.  Fortunately, that’s one of the best molds the line produced, meaning this guy’s already starting ahead.    The forearms, legs, and pelvis are from the original base Clone Trooper, and the upper torso is from Rex, allowing for use of the smaller neck-peg for their heads.  The upper arms first showed up on Captain Argus in 2009, and since it’s supposed to be the same armor, they were sensibly re-used here.  It’s all topped off with a new head, which is a definite improvement to the removable helmet on the Argus figure.  It’s accurate to the source material, and sits nicely on the body.  For the most part, Jayfon is just molded in the appropriate shade of blue (which, it should be noted, is a different shade than was used for Argus; this one is technically more accurate), with black accent work.  As the captain, though, he needs some appropriate denotation, which the white accenting provides.  It’s more extensive than what we saw on Argus, though this is true to the show in both characters’ cases.  Whatever the case, it adds a very nice little pop to the figure.  Jayfon is packed with a small Clone-style blaster rifle.

SENATE COMMANDO

Okay, the Captain may have had a name, but the basic grunts really didn’t get them.  I guess this guy’s just an army builder. Crazy concept.  Like Jayfon, he stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 24 points of articulation.  For the most part, his construction is the same as the Captain’s, but he does get a unique head, this time with the shorter head-fin that the basic grunts sported.  It’s not a huge difference, but it’s true to the show and it makes it even easier to differentiate the two.  His paintwork is also a bit simpler, as he drops the white accent work.  It means he doesn’t pop as much as the Captain, but that’s appropriate for a rank and file trooper.  Lastly, the Commado swaps out the small blaster for a larger clone-style rifle, which is certainly nice for variety’s sake.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though not impossibly hard to find when released, the fact that this set shipped alongside a total re-pack set, and the two figures contained there-in never got re-issues meant that it never hung around anywhere for very long.  I was, rather foolishly, trying to convince myself I didn’t need to keep collecting Clone Wars figures at the time, and passed on them the one time I saw them.  I’ve regretted it ever since, especially after their price got pretty high on the after market.  Fortunately, I was able to get one when a very large collection of Star Wars figures was traded in to All Time Toys.  They still weren’t cheap, but they were a much better deal than they would have been elsewhere.  I really do like this set a lot.  The Captain’s the real star, but the basic commando is no slouch either.  It’s really criminal that the standard commando never got a single carded re-release, because I’d really love to have a whole squad.  Alas, that’s not financial feasible at the moment.

As noted above, I grabbed this set from my friends at All Time Toys.  While they only got one of these in, there was a whole lot more in that collection, and they can be found on their website and their eBay storefront.

#1995: Captain Marvel – Starforce

CAPTAIN MARVEL — STAR FORCE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Using her intensive training from her days in the Air Force, Carol Danvers boldly leads an intergalactic fleet as Captain Marvel.”

Well, I gave one MCU-based Captain their due.  Why not jump on over to another?  Captain Marvel continues to perform very well at the box office, and will, without a doubt, follow in Black Panther’s footsteps, remaining in theaters even as its MCU successor Endgame arrives.  I looked at the movie’s main assortment of Marvel Legends right before the film hit theaters, but there was one figure I hadn’t managed to snag yet at that time, a variant of the main character that I’ll be taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Starforce Captain Marvel is a Target-exclusive Legends release.  She was impeccably timed, showing up at most stores within a week before or after the film’s release.  She was also a successful step forward in Target getting their exclusives up on their webstore, meaning she’s been a reasonably easy experience for most of the fans that wanted one.  As the name denotes, she’s based on Carol’s Starforce colors from the film.  The figure is a rather logical repaint of the standard Captain Marvel figure, meaning she stands the same height and has the same articulation.  While the sculpt is not a 100% perfect replica of her look from the movie, it’s still a good, solid offering, and its reuse here is kind of expected.  It’s decked out in a new color scheme, and, I have to say, I think this color set does the sculpt a lot of favors.  Obviously I’m not knocking her usual colors, but there’s something about this look that feels more dynamic and has more of a pop to it.  It makes the figure look pretty sufficiently different from the main release.  Carol gets the same masked/unmasked head selection as the standard release.  The helmeted head is understandably different, so as to match her uniform.  The unmasked head is also different, but in a much subtler, more than likely unintentional sense.  It still doesn’t look a whole lot like Brie Larson, but I’m warming up to it.  Following a trend that Hasbro’s been really getting into lately, this Carol figure isn’t *just* a Carol figure.  She also gets an extra head, hands, scarf, and rifle, allowing her to be turned into fellow Starforce member Minn-Erva.  Minn-Erva played a decently-sized role in the film, so it’s certainly nice to see her crop up, and it’s also a fantastic way of getting us an extra character out a necessary variant of the main character.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After rather easily acquiring the main assortment through All Time Toys, this figure was slightly more illusive (though mostly because I resisted doing the easier thing of just ordering one online), but I was able to find her within a week of seeing the movie.  I’m glad I did, because I really liked the Starforce design (probably owing a lot to my history as a Green Lantern fan), and it especially translates well to toy form.  Not only is the standard Carol figure really cool, but the ability to turn her into Minn-Erva makes this an essential part of the collection.  Hopefully she continues to be easy to acquire.

#1894: Princess Leia – Bespin Escape

PRINCESS LEIA — BESPIN ESCAPE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire. With her quick-thinking and inspired leadership, Leia ranks among the the galaxy’s great heroes.”

For a number of reasons, December has a tendency to put me in a rather Star Wars-y sort of mood.  Be it the fact that three of the last four films have hit this month, or how I tend to make watching the Original Trilogy an annual occurrence, or perhaps just the fact that I have a tendency to get a lot of Star Wars stuff around the holiday season, whatever the case, I’m certainly in a Star Wars-y mood today.  So, in a vaguely holiday spirit, I’m taking a look at this Leia figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Princess Leia — Bespin Escape is a Target-exclusive entry in The Black Series.  She first started showing up intermittently in the early fall, but seems to have been arriving in full force in the last couple of weeks.  This version of Leia is an oft-overlooked variant from the climax of Empire, during her, Lando, and Chewie’s chase to re-claim the frozen Han Solo.  It’s really just a dressing down of her main Hoth gear that she wears for the majority of the film.  It’s the similarity between those two that generally causes this one to be overlooked.  Nevertheless, its presence during a fairly important section of the film makes it a reasonable choice for a figure, especially an exclusive one.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her scaling matches perfectly with the ANH figure, which is a nice bit of internal consistency that we don’t always see in this line.  Her sculpt is totally new, but hasn’t remained unique to her, thanks to the almost concurrent release of the proper Hoth Leia.  Regardless of origin and uniqueness, it’s a strong sculpt.  The head sculpt has the strongest Carrie Fisher likeness we’ve seen to date for this line (or any of the smaller ones, for that matter), and they’ve even nicely translated her hair braids.  I imagine this head will be seeing a re-use at some point for a Bespin Gown variant, or at least I sure hope it will.  Mine has an unfortunate error on her left ear, with a small chunk missing out of the lobe, but it’s fortunately not super noticeable.  The jumpsuit’s sculpt is nice and crisply detailed, and looks appropriately like a garment she’s been running around in for a substantial amount of time.  The paintwork on Leia is largely pretty basic; the jumpsuit’s just molded white plastic, and they’ve let the sculpt do all the lifting.  This is one of those times I don’t mind the lack of accenting, as accenting on white can go very badly very quickly.  She does get the printed face; she’s the first Leia to get this treatment, and it works very well for her.  I especially like how they handled the hairline, which is a frequent slip-up on such figures.  Leia is somewhat sparsely packed, with just a stolen Stormtrooper blaster alongside her.  It’s scene-accurate, of course, but something else would have maybe added some extra excitement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Leia sort of just started showing up, without too much fanfare.  I wasn’t initially sure I was going to grab her, what with the Hoth Leia on the horizon.  However, I was at Target looking for something else, which I was unable to find, and when I came across Leia.  Determined not to let the trip be a waste and impressed by how the figure looked in person, I was swayed into getting her.  She’s a decent enough figure, but I will curious to see how she performs once the Hoth Leia is more readily available.  She’s really the sort of figure that is really aimed at the more hardcore collector.  Which, of course, is me.  So, hey, how about that.

#1859: Green Lantern

GREEN LANTERN

DC SUPER HEROES (MEGO)

Back in the day, Mego were the first company to really offer up substantial action figure product for either the Marvel or DC super heroes.  Sure, Ideal Toys had briefly touched on them for their Captain Action line, but that was more as an augment to an established thing, not their own thing outright.  Mego gave them the treatment they deserved, and because of that, they’ve both become tentpole properties within the toy market.  Of course, now that Mego is back around, DC and Marvel are both tied up with a multitude of other manufacturers.  DC in particular has been getting consistent Mego-style coverage from Figures Toy Company, but there was still some room in the market for the the over 12” and under 18” market.  It’s a pretty specific niche, but Mego was there, offering up a rather classic selection of DC characters, including, for the first time ever as an official Mego product, Green Lantern!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Green Lantern is part of the second series of Mego’s DC Super Heroes line, alongside Superman, Batgirl, and Poison Ivy.  Hal is sporting his classic ‘70s appearance, which is the correct era for a genuine vintage GL, had Mego released one back in the day.  The figure stands 14 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  All of these figures appear to be patterned after the body of the Mego-designed and Denys Fisher-released “Power Action” Superman figure from the late ‘70s.  It’s a respectable starting point.  It’s similar to the standard Mego body, but with slightly tweaked proportions, giving it a generally more heroic stature, which works nicely for the likes of the DC Super Heroes.  It’s also got some extra articulation in the knees, which is fun.  GL gets an all-new head sculpt, which is actually quite nice and surprisingly detailed.  I’d love to see it shrunk down for an 8-inch body.  GL also gets a unique right hand, sporting his lantern ring, as has become the standard practice for such figures.  His costume is a three piece affair, made up a spandex jumpsuit and a pair of plastic boots.  The body suit is fairly well tailored to the body; I appreciate the use of different materials stitched together, rather than just silk-screening.  It makes it look a lot cleaner.  Hal’s paintwork is mostly confined to the head, which is nicely applied, sharp, and sporting some quite subtle accent work.  GL is packed with his power battery, which is another fairly standard thing for him.  He can’t really hold it, but it’s nicely sculpted, so there’s that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on the first series of DC Super Heroes due to not really having an undying need for any of the characters offered.  Of course, Green Lantern’s my boy, so when he was shown off for Series 2, I knew I’d be tracking one down.  Okay…well, maybe not personally, because it was actually my dad that tracked him down for me.  He’s goofy, he’s really big, and he’s kinda awesome.  I don’t know if I’ll be really investing in this whole line, but I’m certainly very happy with GL.

#1855: Gamorrean Guard

GAMORREAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Burly, pig-like brutes who favoured axes and other primitive weapons, Gamorreans were often used as muscle by Hutt and other underworld kingpins. Jabba the Hutt employed a gang of intimidating Gamorreans to guard his palace on Tatooine.”

One of the things that makes it so easy to get really, really invested in Star Wars is all of the interestingly designed and individually maintained creatures that serve as little more than set-dressing, especially for the Original Trilogy, where each of them had to be crafted through intense prosthesis or advanced puppetry.  Sometimes, it was even a combination of the two, as was the case for today’s focus, the Gamorrean Guard.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Gamorrean Guard is kind of the Star Wars: The Black Series counterpart to the Archangel I reviewed last week.  He’s the first figure in a sub-set of deluxe offerings for the line.  He’s already been followed by Molloch from Solo (who I’m all but positive will be available at a Target near you for many, many years to come) and will be followed up again by General Grievous some time next year.  The Guard is a Target-exclusive, but it doesn’t look like the others in the line will be.  Time will tell.  The Guard is, of course, based on its appearance from Return of the Jedi.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation, which includes a posable jaw.  I appreciate that Hasbro is continuing to work that feature into the more inhuman figures.  The Guard is actually surprisingly mobile, given his design; Hasbro’s put a lot of effort into giving him the most sensible and efficient articulation possible.  His unique design also warrants a unique sculpt, and, like all of the more out-there aliens we’ve gotten from this line, it’s quite a good sculpt.  Hasbro’s clearly had some fun with this one, and there’s just a ton of detailing worked it, from the slight texturing of the skin to the un-even patch-work stitching of his leather vest.  Elements such as the armored plates on the shoulders, the straps on his torso, and his helmet are separate parts, giving the sculpt a nice sense of depth, and allowing for each of those parts to have all of its proper detailing.  The loin cloth is made from faux-fur, which is a fairly traditional way of handling this part of the design in toy form.  I’m always a little skeptical about the mixed media offerings on Black Series figures, but Hasbro definitely made the right choice here; the fur just wouldn’t have looked right any other way.  The Guard’s paintwork is fairly standard faire for the line at this point, which is to say it’s nicely rendered, and suitably subtle.  It’s not going to knock anyone’s socks off, but it certainly gets the job done.  The Gamorrean Guard is packed with two axes and a staff, as seen wielded by different Guards throughout the Palace sequences of the film, thereby allowing for a bit of army building, if that’s your prerogative.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Guard had, initially anyway, proved rather illusive for a good number of collectors.  He showed up on Target’s site several months back, and people were able to place pre-orders, but those took their sweet time getting out there, and the figures took even longer to make it to store shelves.  I found one a couple of months ago, but I opted to spend the money on something else at the time, and when I made it back, he was long gone.  Fortunately, I lucked into a fresh case of them a couple of weeks ago, while I was out and about with Super Awesome Fiancee.  I like this figure overall.  The Guard was never a particular favorite of mine, but he does translate well to the Black Series style.  I’m cautiously approaching the rest of this “deluxe” line, though.  The Guard feels a little light for the heightened price, and Moloch even more-so.  I worry that Hasbro’s going to price themselves out of this line before they get a chance to really explore the style.