#2698: Bumblebee & Spike Witwicky

BUMBLEBEE & SPIKE WITWICKY

TRANSFORMERS: BUZZWORTHY BUMBLEBEE (HASBRO)

Despite his increased presence in the franchise in the last few years, Bumblebee has been without any major presence in the main core line of the toys since the beginning of the War For Cybertron Trilogy.  He’s gotten a couple of figures in Studio Series, of course, as well as the one notable exclusive figure from Walmart for the main line, but that’s admittedly kind of minor given how many Optimuses and Megatrons we’ve gotten in that same span of time.  Fortunately, Hasbro’s at least a little bit aware of the seeming lack of Bumblebees, and they’ve got a whole subline of stuff dedicated to him.  Isn’t that nice?  I mean, I think so.  Most of the line is re-releases, but there’s one new item in the starting line-up, a Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky two-pack, which I’m taking a look at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bumblebee and Spike Witwicky are part of the Target-exclusive Buzzworthy Bumblebee line, specifically under the War For Cybertron branding.  Though dubbed as a two-pack, the focus of the pack is really the Bumblebee figure.  He’s part of the newly launched core-class size, which is a slightly smaller scale at an appropriately smaller price point.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 9 practical points of articulation.  Design-wise, this Bumblebee is definitely G1-inspired, though not quite as 100% cartoon accurate as some of the larger scale WFC figures have been.  There’s a little more stylization to this mold, and it matches up pretty decently with the other G1 figures we’ve seen from the core-class line-up so far.  The kibble is a bit more intensive on this robot mode, since his smaller scale makes folding such things up a little more difficult.  He’s also got some more hollow and exposed portions in robot mode, again thanks to the smaller size.  Ultimately, he’s pretty impressive for the smaller size, and he’s a fun little figure.  Bee is packed with a small blaster pistol, styled after his G1 weapon, which is pretty nifty.  He’s also joined by Spike Witwicky…or at least Spike’s exo-suit from Transformers: The Movie.  Spike’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and he’s got movable arms, and that’s it.  The sculpt’s pretty rudimentary, and is designed in such a way that you can’t actually see anyone inside of the exo-suit.  Silver lining: that means it can just as easily be Daniel!

Bumblebee’s alt mode isn’t the usual G1 VW Beetle, and is instead a more generic tiny little car.  Given the lower price point on this guy, the VW licensing probably wasn’t going to be worth it.  This is an okay alternative.  It’s generic, but not a terrible look.  It’s also a pretty easy transformation, and pretty fun to swap back and forth.  Spike’s also got an alt-mode…in theory.  You lay him down on his front and flip one panel over.  Boom.  He’s a…thing?  It’s a different thing, I guess?  I don’t know.  Hey, he’s pretty much an accessory; anything extra’s cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kudos go to Max for setting me up with this set.  I’m not in dire need of any of the Core Class stuff, and I was content with just the Walmart Bumblebee, but the inclusion of Spike’s exo-suit made this set a bit more worthwhile for me.  Ultimately, he’s not the star of the set, and he’s pretty basic, but the price point on this set is also low enough that it doesn’t really hurt too much to pick it up.  The Bumblebee being a nifty figure on his own helps things out too.

#2692: Cobra Viper

COBRA VIPER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Alright, so, for my seventh entry in my crazy, insane “Day of the Vipers”–wait a minute! It’s not 2018 anymore, is it?  I…I already made it through the Day of the Vipers, didn’t I?  Right.  Sorry.  The “Day of the Vipers”, it did things to me, you guys.  I still haven’t fully recovered.  When I last left off with the Vipers, it was 2003, and the Joe line had just done a re-brand into it’s Spy Troops incarnation.  That line would lead into Valor Vs Venom, which got its own brand new Viper mold.  After VvV, the 3 3/4 inch line went on another hiatus at mainline retail, and moved to Direct To Consumer markets, until returning in 2007 with the 25th Anniversary line.  The Viper would gain an additional seven figures from that line (the first of which I reviewed here back in 2016), and then another revamp in the Pursuit of Cobra/30th Anniversary style.  The 3 3/4 inch line again went into hiatus following the franchise’s 50th anniversary, but Joes have returned once more, now in a 6 inch scale, and with an all-new Viper figure to boot.  What could possibly go wrong?  Yeah, about that…

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cobra Viper is the other half of the second “Special Misions: Cobra Island” assortment of G.I. Joe: Classified Series.  He’s officially figure 22 in the line, the highest numbered figure so far in the line-up.  He follows the trend set by the Cobra Trooper of standard Cobra army builders being exclusives, which isn’t very cool.  Hopefully he’ll also get a second release in the main line, just like the standard trooper, because as of now, he’s even harder to find than that one was. The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 35 points of articulation.  The Viper’s design is unquestionably an update on his V1 design.  Most Vipers since the ’00s have worked from this same reference material, so there’s been a lot of smaller tweaks to it over the years.  This one follows suit, with its own handful of tweaks, but does honestly stick closer to the original design than a lot of the Classified figures so far.  Most of the tweaks are of the rather minor variety, changing up some of the specifics of design, to modernize and somewhat utilitarianize the look, while still kind of hitting the same ending mark.  Things like the ribbed section of the shoulders on the original figure have now been adjusted to be straps holing things in place.  Same end result visually, but a more practical rational for it, and one that fits a bit more with the aesthetics of the line.  The biggest change to the character’s visual is on the arms; rather than the tightly rolled up sleeves of the original figure, this one’s arms are almost entirely covered in the default set-up.  The changes that cause this are two-fold.  Firstly, the new add-on pieces for the wrist guards are designed with removing them in mind, so they wrap solidly all around the arm, rather than leaving most of the forearm exposed like the original design.  Secondly, the sleeves come much further down the arms than the original, almost exactly meeting the guards.  This bit is caused by the figure’s only re-use; namely, he has the upper torso and arms of the Duke figure.  It’s not the worst choice of re-use, even if the sleeves aren’t quite right; it changes things a little bit, and removing the guards entirely helps to sort of simulate the old look in its own way as well.  He also gets Duke’s holster for his leg, giving the Viper a side-arm he doesn’t classically have.  The rest of the figure’s sculpt, apart from the arms, is all-new.  It’s a pretty solid sculpt, with quite a bit going on, and quite a few layers.  The helmet is a very clean piece; its shape is slightly sharper and more stylized than the classic helmet, but it fits well with the rest of the figure’s design.  Much like the 25th Anniversary figure, this one’s goggles are a separate piece, and much like that figure, there is some difficulty keeping them in place.  With a little bit of doing, you can get it to sit a little bit more securely, but I’ve heard that it’s prone to breakage, so I was quite careful.  Even so, mine’s started to split a bit at the back, so I don’t foresee it holding out terribly longer.  Ultimately, the removable goggles are an intriguing idea, but much like the 25th, I’m hoping Hasbro uses later releases to offer up a version with the goggles attached directly to the helmet.  The goggles are an interesting experiment, but they always seem to introduce extra problems, and honestly, how many people are really looking to display the Viper without the goggles?  It winds up as the one really annoying feature on an otherwise enjoyable figure.  The paint work on this figure is pretty decent.  It follows the usual set-up for the color scheme on a Viper, with a touch of extra red detailing worked in.  The flesh tone on the arms is a little sloppy around the edges, and misses the mark, as well as having a spot in the middle of one arm.  These parts aren’t really meant for being seen, I suppose, so it’s not the *worst* possible place for issues to occur.  The Viper’s accessory selection includes the previously mentioned goggles, a removable bandana piece, a back pack, Duke’s pistol (to match the holster), and a rifle with a removable clip.  The rifle’s not quite the distinctive silhouette of the classic Viper weapon, but it’s not an awful looking update either, and is a cool looking gun on its own merits.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Readers of the site may have *slightly* picked up on the fact that I’m quite a fan of the Vipers.  I’ve been anxiously awaiting their addition to Classified, and I was…less than pleased about the Target exclusive move.  Nevertheless, I was determined not to miss this one, but also not to pay scalper pricing.  I wound up stalking Target’s site for a couple of hours the day these dropped, and was actually able to get one pre-ordered in the less than 5 minutes they were actually in stock.  It wasn’t fun.  What also wasn’t fun was his delivery getting pushed back three separate times, all the while people were finding them in-store, and the aftermarket price was skyrocketing.  Fortunately, they actually came through, and he actually arrived, but Target *really* needs to work on that pre-order system…or maybe just not carry quite so many exclusives?  I don’t know.  It just seems like a bad set-up.  At least the actual figure turned out pretty nicely.  The goggles are annoying, but otherwise, I really like him.  And I’d really like to be able to have a few more of them, so maybe a mainline release?

*The classic Viper rifle above was actually given to me, along with a few other classic Joe-esque designs, by Mark2Designs, whose work is quite impressive, and can be seen on his Instagram page!

#2691: Firefly

FIREFLY

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

I haven’t taken a look at anything from G.I. Joe since October, which does feel like a bit of a gap, doesn’t it?  In my defense, there hasn’t been a ton to look at, since I’ve been kind of keeping up with Classified as it’s been moving along, and there was a bit of a gap in new releases, as they at least attempted to actually get some of the older releases to some stores.  But, the new year has brought some new figures…or more specifically some new exclusives.  I know, I’m not thrilled either.  I’m starting things off with the *slightly* less frightening to acquire offering, Cobra’s resident saboteur, Firefly!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Firefly is one half of the second Target-exclusive “Special Missions: Cobra Island” series of G.I. Joe: Classified Series.  He brings us another Cobra mainstay, and another character that *probably* shouldn’t have started as an exclusive, but, hey, let’s not open that particular can of worms, huh?  Firefly stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  FIrefly’s design is one of the ones that’s a little further removed from his classic v1 appearance, at least in terms of direct replication.  All of the major strokes are there to ID him, but he modernizes a few elements.  It’s not incredibly new for the character, since elements like the goggles and the bomb disposal vest were incorporated into the character’s design back during Resolute and Renegades, making him more of an adaptation of all of the character’s appearances through the years, rather than focusing in on just one figure in particular.  The figure is a mix of old and new pieces to achieve this design.  His upper half is shared with Beach Head, while the legs come from Snake Eyes.  While we’ve had some re-use previously, this is the first time that any of them have crossed teams.  Fortunately, they end up looking pretty standard issue, so it doesn’t look too specifically Joe-y.  He gets a new head and boots, as well as an overlay for the bomb vest.  The head’s the best piece, and I absolutely love what you can make out of the crazed expression beneath the mask, as well as that small touch of scarring over the eye.  The boots are sufficiently unique looking, if maybe not much to write home about.  They get the job done.  The vest piece is pretty cool looking, but my main beef with it is how much it restricts the mobility on the torso and hips.  It definitely impairs his posability a touch.  Firefly’s paint work is pretty nicely handled.  He’s got some proper camo detailing, which looks pretty sweet, and they’ve managed to keep him in all greys without him looking too bland or boring.  I also quite like the detailing around the eyes; it really makes them pop.  Firefly is pretty well off when it comes to accessory selection, including a pair of goggles, a gun (based on a modified version of the Nerf Vortex Praxis; thanks Tim!), a backpack, stack of dynamite, drone, and control panel for the drone.  The goggles are another cool piece of customization, and the drone’s certainly a lot of fun, and can even be stored on the backpack (as can the dynamite).  I wish he had a spot for the control panel, but no placement for it seemed to make sense to me.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures were shown off, I honestly didn’t pay Firefly much mind.  I was quite happy with Havoc as a stand-in on the shelf, and this one was an exclusive, and that’s not a game I was really looking to play.  I was far more invested in getting his assortment-mate anyway, so I wasn’t going to put any real effort into this one.  Then they started hitting, and I did stick to that bit about no effort.  Max, however, managed to find a pair of them out in the wild, and hooked me up with this one.  Admittedly, even after getting him, I held off of actually cracking him open for a bit out of protest about getting him before my pre-order for the other figure actually even shipped, but, well, he’s open now, so I guess you can fill in some blanks there.  He’s a well put together figure, but I can’t say he really jumps out at me as much as others from the line.  Still, I’m happy to have him, I guess.

#2622: Cyborg Spider-Man

CYBORG SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Cyborg Spider-Man has enhanced cybernetic capabilities in addition to all the powers of Earth-616 Spider-Man: web slinging, wall crawling, and heightened spider senses. Villains are no match for this Spidey’s advanced cyborg technology!”

The bio above seems to imply that this guy is some sort of an alternate universe Peter Parker, when in reality, he’s actually just good old regular 616 Peter, with a few temporary cybernetic components added onto him, as seen in 1992’s Spider-Man #21.  There was a Cyborg Spider-Man included in “Spider-Verse” as well, but he had a slightly different look.  This one’s definitely been a go-to for alternate looks over the years, with coverage in both the old ’90s toy line and Marvel Minimates, as well as being featured as an alternate skin in Spider-Man on the PS4.  And now, it’s got a Marvel Legend.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyborg Spider-Man is another Target-exclusive Retro Collection offering from Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He hit shelves at the same time as Gambit and Rogue, and was joined by another Spider-Man variant that I haven’t yet picked up.  This guy marks the third toy of this particular design, after the two I listed in the intro above.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Spider-Man is built on the 2099 body, but there’s actually more new parts than you might expect.  Obviously, the arm is all-new, as is the head, and the add-ons for the bandage on the leg and his utility belt.  The most surprising of the new parts is the new upper torso.  I’m not really sure *why* it’s new, since it seems like the standard 2099 piece would work just fine, but it’s a little different, seemingly for the sake of being different.  Whatever the case, it’s a good selection of parts.  The arm is definitely the star piece, with a lot of nice, crisp detail work going on there.  The shoulder pad is a separate, glued in place piece, and time will tell if it’s as prone to breaking off as the old ’90s one was.  Spider-Man’s paint work is all pretty straight forward stuff.  He’s got the basic Spidey paint scheme, which goes pretty well for him.  Application is clean, and the cybernetic parts look pretty nice as well.  This guy is packed with two right hands (in fist and thwipping…open gesture’s just gone, I guess), as well as a web strand.  The strand is the same one that’s been floating around for a few years, and it’s not really the best fit for this particular release.  Still, I won’t complain about getting more parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I recall the old Toy Biz version of this design rather fondly, so when this new version was found in the wild, it was a rather pleasant surprise.  That said, with Gambit and Rogue also hitting at the same time, and this figure being another Target exclusive, I was okay with waiting for a bit.  Then I was fortunate enough to snag the other two on Target’s website, and they were running a “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” sale, which meant I literally got this guy at no extra charge.  At that price, it’s certainly hard not to like this guy.  He’s not the star attraction or anything, but he’s a fun little variant.

#2621: Rogue

ROGUE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Rogue can absorb superpowers, personality traits, strength, and even memories from others with a single touch, making her capabilities in any matchup nearly limitless. These talents have naturally led her to be a leader among the X-Men.”

I guess this year’s not a bad year to be Rogue, is it?  I mean, I guess it’s rather fitting that 2020 might be okay for a person who can’t come in contact with others on a regular day to day, right?  Rogue’s history with Marvel Legends isn’t the best, really.  Despite her rather popular status among the X-Men, her only figure during the Toy Biz run was exclusive to a rather large boxed set (and not a very good figure at that), and then Hasbro didn’t tackle her for the first few years they had the license.  Their first attempt would have been part of the Puck Series in 2013, but it was one of two figures dropped when the assortment moved from mass retail to specialty.  Her ’90s costume got a release in the Juggernaut Series in 2016, but it was also the hardest to find figure in the set by far.  When a Rogue/Pyro two-pack was announced early this year, there were hopes it would be another go at the ’90s Rogue, but it wasn’t.  Fortunately, another go wasn’t too far behind, it seemed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue is in the same boat as yesterday’s Gambit figure, a Target-exclusive offering in the Retro Collection sub-line of Marvel Legends.  She and Gambit were shown off and released together, shipping in the same store display, which went up just after Black Friday.  Much like how Gambit serves as just a slight tweaking on the Caliban Series Gambit from last year, this Rogue serves as a slight rework on the Juggernaut Series Rogue mentioned in the intro.  She stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation.  Rogue is, for the most part, the same sculpturally as the 2016 version.  While the Moonstone body is starting to show its age these days, Rogue is definitely a character for whom the body works well.  The add-on pieces also sit a little tighter on this release, as well, making her feel like an overall sturdier figure.  The one sculptural change up on this figure is her head, which is an all-new piece.  The head on the old figure wasn’t bad at all, and in fact I really quite liked it, but it was a little removed from the art style of the ’90s, and made it feel more like a 2010s take on the ’90s design.  This one goes closer to the source, and it’s another solid piece, and one that feels perhaps a bit more at home with the more recent ’90s X-Men offerings.  And it certainly gets her big ’90s hair down, doesn’t it?  The paint work marks another notable change for this release.  She follows in the footsteps of Gambit, Cyclops, and Wolverine, with a color scheme that more closely matches up with her animated counter part, making the yellow much less orange, and darkening the green a bit, and making it flat instead of metallic.  It definitely works well.  The only part I don’t really care that much for is the color in the cheeks.  It’s not as bad as some as Hasbro’s attempts, but it could stand to be a touch more subtle.  Rogue is packed with an extra set of hands.  Like her prior release, there’s the ungloved right hand, and this one also adds in an all-new left hand which is holding the right glove.  I already liked the extra hand the last time, and the left hand holding the glove just makes it even better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as I liked the Juggernaut Series Rogue, mine had that pesky incorrect upper arm on the right side, and then even wound up with a broken foot within a year of me getting her.  Finding a replacement wasn’t a cheap prospect, so the plan to re-issue her wasn’t a problem for me.  Her being a Target exclusive was a bit more of a problem.  But, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Gambit review, I wound up having no issues getting her ordered through Target’s website, so here she is.  She’s again an improvement on the prior figure, although I personally have trouble choosing which of them is my favorite.  First world problems, am I right?

#2620: Gambit

GAMBIT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Gambit has the ability to mentally charge objects with explosive kinetic energy! Remy LeBeau relies on his superior card-throwing abilities and lightning-fast reflexes to turn the tide of battle in favor of the X-Men.”

Today is Super Awesome Wife’s birthday, and so, in her honor, I’m going to use today’s review to focus in on one of her favorite characters (at least in recent years) from the X-Men franchise, one Remy LeBaua, aka Gambit!  Gambit spent a few years away from Legends (due in part to a diminishing prominence in the comics in more recent years), but got a pretty solid release last year as part of the main line.  With Legends generally on the rise, that figure came and went relatively quickly, so Hasbro’s doubled back, tweaked him, and given him another release, which I’m taking a look at today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gambit is a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, as part of the Retro Collection sub-line.  To that end, he takes last year’s Gambit, and pushes him a bit further into that Animated Series territory, crafting the character’s third time as a Legends release proper.  Like the prior figure, he stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Gambit is predominantly the same sculpt as the previous figure, which is quite alright by me, because that was a rather strong sculpt, and it had a lot of new parts that have yet to see any other use.  The only sculptural change actually addresses my only complaint about the sculpt the last time I looked at it: his hair.  The last release had the hair all blowing a single direction, and just generally looked far too lop-sided for my taste.  This one replaces that piece with one that’s got a part and a little more of that traditional Gambit hair bounce we’ve all come to know and love.  For me, it just ends up working out a lot better for the character.  I’m glad they took this opportunity to fix that.  The next big change up on this figure is the paint work.  The prior scheme was definitely more comics-based, while this one goes for a much brighter and more saturated look that’s more in line with Gambit’s animated appearance.  I honestly had no issue with the previous paint scheme, but I’ll admit that this one feels like an improvement to my eyes.  The only thing about it I’m not entirely sold on is the swapping out a very dark blue for the black sections.  It’s not bad at all, but I’m just more used to the straight black.  This looks cool too, though.  The last Gambit had a good selection of extras, and this release keeps them all, as well as adding one more.  He’s got the staff, the two playing card effects, and the open hand of the last release, plus a new gripping hand for his left side, so he can two hand the staff.  I also really appreciate how they actually painted the card details on this time; I didn’t miss it the last time, but it adds an extra touch this time around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I loved the Toy Biz Gambit, and I loved the last Hasbro Gambit, so I wasn’t really feeling like I needed to be in the market for another Gambit.  I’ve got two very good ones to choose from.  So, when Hasbro announced this one (as well as the fact that it was yet another Target exclusive), I was game to skip…until I saw that damned hair, and realized they fixed my one and only complaint about the last figure.  I was expecting him to be really hard to get, but I actually found acquiring him to be quite a breeze.  I caught a message that he’d shown up in stock on Target’s web site, and I was able to get on and get him ordered with no fuss.  Yay!  He’s an awesome figure, and hands down the best Gambit out there.  I don’t really know what could be done to improve him, honestly.

#2590: Storm & Thunderbird

STORM & THUNDERBIRD

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Weather changer Ororo Monroe and noble Apache warrior John Proudstar wield their mutant powers for good.”

Giant-Size X-Men #1 is one of the most distinctive covers in the history of comics, but that hasn’t always made getting all of the characters featured *on* said cover all that easy.  Typically, the X-Men’s second incarnation has had to rely on special releases to truly fill in their ranks.  In the case of Marvel Legends, we’ve been working on the line-up since 2003.  It’s…it’s been a long road.  Hasbro steered more toward completing the ’90s line-up more recently, but with that one more or less complete, they’ve moved back around to the better  earlier incarnation of the team. Right now, we’ve got a new two-pack featuring one of the team’s most prominent fixtures…and Thunderbird.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Storm and Thunderbird are a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, which just started hitting back in October.  It was initially pretty scarce (thanks in part to its instantaneous sell-out online), but appears to have picked up in volume in the last few weeks.  Hopefully they remain that way for a bit.

STORM

First Appearance Storm is surprisingly illusive as a Legends figure.  She was never done during the Toy Biz days, and was eventually shown off during Hasbro’s Fan Choice Poll in 2007, where she lost (rather criminally, if I do say so myself) to the AoA version of Sunfire (who managed to also get an update before poor Storm even got one single release, furthering the criminality).  She’s been the most notably absent figure from the classic X-Men line-up, and there was definitely a lot of built up demand….and then they went and made her an exclusive.  Goody.  She was shown off at Toy Fair this year by herself, before being confirmed for this here multipack.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation is quite well implemented, with most of the joints (the elbows in particular) having a better range of motion than typically expected from such pieces.  The knees use the new pin-less design for their construction, which helps to give the whole thing a sleeker feel.  Storm’s sculpt is all-new, and it’s quite a nice piece.  She’s not quite a pitch-perfect Cockrum recreation, but she certainly captures the classic Storm feel.  The costume details, many of which could have just been painted on, are all actually sculpted elements, and the proportions are certainly well balanced.  The head and cape pieces are both sculpted with a dynamic flow to them, with a teeth-gritting expression, and a sweeping nature to both her hair and her cape, indicating that she’s right in the midst of using her powers.  It works really well.  The paint work works out okay for the most part, but there’s a lot of ups and downs.  The core figure’s paint is really strong, and I really dig the glossy finish on the black parts of the costume.  The cape is where the issues arise, mostly having to do with that yellow border.  It’s just really sloppily applied, on both of the capes.  Did I say “both”?  That’s right.  In addition to the more dynamic head and cape, Storm also gets extras of both for a more calm, just lounging around the X-Mansion look, as well as three sets of hands (in fists, open, and lightning effects).  Quite a nice selection of extras there.

THUNDERBIRD

The cover of GSXM #1 has five of the most prominent X-Men in the franchise…and Thunderbird.  Thunderbird’s primary contribution to the team is really just that he died, and he actually managed to stay that way, which I guess is pretty notable.  He tends to get one figure in every major scale eventually, and now he can add Legends to his list.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Thunderbird is largely built from parts re-use, making use of the Reaper body as his starting point.  It’s a decent enough match for Thunderbird build wise, as he’s always been depicted as a little bulkier than most of his team mates, but not quite the same size as his brother James.  It also matches his usually more balanced proportions pretty well.  He gets a new head, as well as add-ons for his sleeves, wrist guards, belt, and boot tops. The add-ons sit alright on the body, but the fringe pieces for the boots and shoulders do require a little bit of proper positioning to get them to stay in place.  The head is a nice piece on its own, but it sits a bit too high on the body, which looks really wonky.  Thunderbird’s paint work is pretty decent.  It’s brighter than the colors on Warpath, which seems more appropriate.  Thunderbird is packed with no accessories, which is a pretty stark contrast compared to his pack-mate Storm.  Not even some extra hands, guys?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was one of the fans who voted for Storm in the poll back in the day, so I was definitely waiting on this figure.  It’s been a long wait.  I was super thrilled when she was unveiled this year, but immediately less so when she was announced as a Target exclusive.  When she sold out in pre-order, I was definitely bummed, but I kept routinely checking the page, and happened to catch them in stock not too long after release.  All-in-all, pretty painless, I suppose.  Storm’s awesome, and by far my favorite release of the character.  I’m particularly thrilled to have y “Pryde of the X-Men” line-up complete.  Thunderbird is fine.  That’s the best I can muster, really.  He feels far more phoned in than Storm, and certainly feels like a late addition to the set-up.  He could be worse.  Now, can we get a proper update for Banshee so that we can complete the GSXM team?

#2578: Red Hulk

RED HULK

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“General Thunderbolt Ross transforms into the Hulk, a creature he swore to destroy.”

From the second appearance of the character, the Hulk’s been no stranger to changes in color.  Originally shifting from grey to green, and then back to grey, and then green again, there’s certainly been some back and forth.  In 2008, Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness through another color into the mix, shifting the Green Goliath into the Crimson Goliath.  Of course, this new Red Hulk wasn’t just a recolor of Bruce Banner, but was instead someone else, whose identity remained a mystery for over a year…and then it turned out to be Thunderbolt Ross, in one of the most convoluted, fake-out-filled reveals in comics history.  Nowadays, of course, the reveal’s common knowledge, and gets used for toy packaging bios like that one above.  But hey, toy bios mean there’s a toy to go with them, right?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Red Hulk is a Target-exclusive deluxe Marvel Legends offering.  This marks Red Hulk’s second time in Legends form.  The first time was as a Build-A-Figure way back in 2008, and he was actually a Target-exclusive that time as well.  They sure do like those red exclusives, don’t they?  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Red Hulk is our fourth use of the 80 Years of Marvel Hulk body, which is, again, not much of a surprise.  It’s a good sculpt, and it’s no surprise that Hasbro wants to get more uses out of it.  As with Grey Hulk, this guy changes the body up a bit by adding a new head sculpt into the mix.  This one’s got Red Hulk’s spikier hair style (which, by the way, never really made much sense, since it’s not like this is anything like Ross’s usual hair style…and where the hell does his mustache go?), and also changes up the expression.  He’s still angry and screaming, but it’s a slightly different looking angry and screaming.  It’s more like someone barking orders, which feels appropriate for the character.  He ditches the torn shirt piece that the last two Hulks had, which is sensible, since I don’t believe Red Hulk’s ever really done the torn shirt thing.  The paint work on this guy is pretty basic, and that’s honestly a little bit of a let down when compared to the other two Hulks I’ve reviewed on this body.  He lacks any real accent work, apart from a little bit on the face.  That much is at least pretty cool, but his body ends up feeling, I don’t know, unfinished, I guess.  In terms of accessories, he gets two sets of hands, one in fists, and one in open gesture.  They make for some nice variety for posing.  In a perfect world, I’d have liked to see maybe another head sculpt as well, maybe with the grin the character frequently sported, but I suppose that, given his size, just the extra hands are acceptable.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Red Hulk hasn’t exactly been the most readily available figure, at least in my neck of the woods.  I’ve not seen him at retail myself, and Target’s site’s really not been much help.  I spent a good chunk of time looking for him, but with no luck.  Fortunately for me, my former co-worker Jon Nieto, who knows how much I like Legends, happened to catch them while they were in stock on the website, and was kind enough to snag a second one for me.  That sure made my life easier!  Thanks Jon!  There’s not a ton new going on with this figure, but the updated Hulk body is still always cool to see again, and he sure does contrast nicely with the 80th Hulk.

#2573: Mountain Trooper

MOUNTAIN TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Like all First Order Stormtroopers, specialized units of Batuu Mountain Troopers are trained from birth, growing up with unit designations instead of names and fed a steady diet of First Order propaganda to ensure absolute loyalty.”

There were no shortage of new Trooper variants introduced into Star Wars with the latest trilogy of films, and as such there’s also been no shortage of Trooper variant toys.  I’ve looked at a fair number of them here on the site, be they prominent in the films, or exceedingly minor.  What makes today’s particular Trooper different?  Near as anyone can tell, today’s focus the Mountain Trooper exists nowhere but in the toys, and only in a very exclusive set of them at that.  That’s actually pretty out there for a Star Wars concept, if you can believe it.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Mountain Trooper was originally added to the Black Series line in the Disney Parks-exclusive “The First Order” boxed set with Kylo Ren, Commander Pyre, and a Mouse Droid.  Like DJ R3X, he was given an outside of the parks release this year courtesy of Target’s exclusive “Trading Outpost” sub-line.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  From a design stand point, there’s a lot of similar lineage here as we saw on the Scarif Troopers, as well as a little bit of Biker Scout thrown in, albeit with all of the elements somewhat updated to the slightly tweaked First Order aesthetic.  Ultimately, he ends up feeling like the First Order answer to the Biker Scouts, and I am totally on board with that.  Structurally, the figure uses the legs and hands of the Scarif-based troopers as a starting point.  Everything else is new, but it definitely all has a similar feel about it as the other Scarif figures in terms of how the construction is set-up.  The articulation scheme in particular sticks out as being pretty much the same.  This ultimately makes the figure a touch more restricted than some more recent troopers, especially when it comes to the elbow movement.  It’s really the only flaw with the figure.  Beyond that, the sculpt is a pretty impressive one, with a lot impressive and clean detail work.  The figure’s paint work is pretty solid.  The base colors are nice and strong, and the application is clean.  The figure also takes advantage of the printing technique to give the Trooper some pretty solid looking weathering.  The Mountain Trooper is packed with a single accessory: an all-new blaster rifle, which also sports some impressive weathering.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My love of the Biker Scout and Scarif Trooper designs is no secret, so it’s probably not a terrible surprise that this guy intrigued me as soon as he was shown off. I hadn’t had the opportunity to procure the three pack, for obvious reasons, so when the Trading Outpost figures were announced, I was hopeful to find him.  Life’s been pretty jam-packed and hectic for me recently, so a few weeks ago Christian and Cheyenne forced me to take some time for myself and took me to Target to pick up a few things just for me.  I just so happened to walk back to the toy aisle right as the Outpost figures were going out, and boom, there this guy was.  He’s not anything amazingly special or anything like that, but he’s pretty fun, and I’m glad I was able to get a hold of him.

#2569: Cobra Trooper

COBRA TROOPER

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

So, how ’bout that new G.I. Joe line?  Aren’t you all really glad that everything from it’s so easy to get at regular pricing and not getting scalped at the first chance pretty much everywhere?  Oh, right, that’s…that’s just how it is in my dreams.  The real world is far more sad and painful.  What a shame.  Well, despite the relative insanity that is this line and its distribution, here’s another new review, of one of those insanely hard to get items, nonetheless.  Please don’t hurt me.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cobra Trooper is figure 12 in the Classified Series line-up, making him numerically the last of the “Special Missions: Cobra Island” singles.  As with that whole sub-line, he’s a Target exclusive, but as Pulse Con confirmed, there’s a slightly tweaked version of this guy coming out in the main line in a few months.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  Like a lot of the figures coming out of this line, the Cobra Trooper’s design has its roots in the v1 figure design.  That said, this one works in a lot more modernized elements, and even grabs from a few later incarnations (the v3 from ’06 comes to mind, given the full balaclava under the helmet).  The final assembled product feels very v1-esque, but there’s a lot of layers going on there.  As with pretty much everything from the line so far, it’s a truly impressive sculpt, with a ton of detail work and careful thought being put into how it all assembles.  I really dig how much work goes into stuff like the mask, most of which is never going to be seen when it’s under the helmet.  This is definitely one of the line’s most impressive sculpts (though I think Beach Head still edges him out in my book).  The paint work is about what you’d expect from Cobra forces.  There’s a lot of blue and black, with just a hint of red.  This version in particular has more black than usual, which doesn’t look bad, but is certainly different.  This particular version of the Cobra Trooper has quite the accessory selection, with the removable helmet, a set of goggles, a removable arm band to give him a higher rank, standard and sniper rifles, two pistols, and a knife.  Everything can actually be stored on the figure at once, which is quite impressive, especially since it doesn’t require him to be holding one of the rifles like most Joes fall back on.  I dig the customization angle that all of these parts give the figure for sure, though I myself am drawn to a rather “standard” trooper set up.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been able to pull some favors to get the rest of the Target-exclusive stuff for this line, but this Trooper in particular has been pretty much a ghost around here since before these figures dropped.  This one’s actually not mine, and is instead Max’s.  He was able to procure one through some of his connections, and even offered to let me have it outright, but I was content just to get to do the review.  He’s a fun figure, but one that I see a lot of people hyping up way too much and ultimately being let-down by.  I’m planning to wait for the standard release myself, but it was nice to get a little preview of how that version should turn out.