#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.

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#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.

#1846: Everett Ross & Erik Killmonger

EVERETT ROSS & ERIK KILLMONGER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“While Everette Ross is assigned to escort T’Challa to American soil, Erik Killmonger threatens the security of the Wakandan borders from which T’Challa hails.”

Despite having to share a year with the merchandising juggernaut that was Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther actually seems to have made out alright in terms of toys.  In fact, counting what we saw this year at SDCC, Panther may very well have the most complete selection of Legends figures of any of the MCU films, which is no small feat.  Today, I’m looking at our first taste of the continuing Panther offerings, Panther ally Everett Ross and Panther foe Erik Killmonger!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Everett and Erik are another Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, which hit alongside yesterday’s Falcon and Winter Soldier pairing.  Like that one, this set originally began its life as a Toys R Us-exclusive, before finding itself without a home over the summer.  Fortunately, Target was able to step-in and make sure these two still made it to us.

EVERETT ROSS

First debuting in Civil War (well, in the MCU, anyway), Everett gets his toy intro here, thanks to his rather substantially larger role in Black Panther.  Martin Freeman’s no stranger to toys, with multiple plastic versions of his turns as both Arthur Dent and Bilbo Baggins, but I don’t know that any of them have been quite up to this quality.  Everett is 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation, and is built primarily out of the suit body first introduced with Agent Coulson.  It’s fitting, as Ross is something of a late-game replacement for Coulson, and also just another guy in a suit.  It’s a perfectly reasonable starting point.  The body’s not without its flaws, but they’re not so bad that they break the figure or anything.  It’s all topped off with a brand-new head sculpt, which does a great job of capturing Freeman’s bemused and bewildered smirk.  Guy’s got a lot of character in his face, and it’s all perfectly present here.  In terms of paintwork, Ross is mostly pretty standard fare.  His suit is various shades of grey, which, not terribly exciting, is at leas clean, and accurate to the source material.  His head gets a printed face, and it’s definitely another success, resulting in quite a lifelike looking figure.  Everett is packed with a handgun, which is actually, like, a real gun, and not some sort of sci-fi contraption.  Crazy!

ERIK KILLMONGER

Amusingly enough, our first double-packed character from Black Panther isn’t the title character at all, but instead his main antagonist, Erik Killmonger.  Killmonger was, of course, in the main Legends assortment for the film, in this very outfit, even.  Tim was kind enough to review that one for me, but I knew this one was coming, so I decided to hold out.  Boy am I sure glad I did.  Like his predecessor, he stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Sculpturally, he’s completely identical to the prior release, barring one thing: the unmasked head.  The standard, masked head is, of course still included as well, but now you’ve got the option to also showcase Michael B. Jordan’s floppy hair!  Can you imagine how cruel the world would be without that as an option?  I certainly can’t.  It’s an excellent piece, with a spot-on Jordan likeness, and, unlike the equivalent T’Challa head, it actually sits properly on the body, so he won’t look super goofy with it on.  In addition to the extra head, another major change to this release is the paint.  The standard release Killmonger was somewhat lacking on the paint front, leaving an impressively detailed sculpt looking a little bit barren.  This offering fixes some of that, adding back in a lot of the gold detailing that was missing from the prior release.  Unfortunately, he exchanges it for the leopard print patterning of the last figure, which I’m a little sad to see missing this time around.  Given the darker coloring of the main suit, it’s not the end of the world, though, and it’s overall a net gain in terms of appearance.  Killmonger is packed with the same pair of blades as his regular-release counterpart, as well as an extra set of hands just for holding them.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Falcon and Winter Soldier, I initially passed on this set.  And then, I passed on it a second time, because I really only had the funds for one pack, and I went for the other one.  But, as luck would have it, when I made my way back to that same Target, there was still one set left, so yay for me!  I don’t think this set quite has the “wow” factor of Falcon and Winter Soldier, but both figures are very solid offerings, especially if, like me, you skipped the standard Killmonger release.

#1845: Falcon & Winter Soldier

FALCON & WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Trained by different armies, but equally prepared to defend their allies from any threat, Winter Soldier and Falcon stand their ground to protect the Earth from other worldly adversaries.”

There were a *lot* of characters in Infinity War, so its not a huge shock that even several months later, there’s still a pretty healthy helping of action figures streaming out of the Hasbro toy machine.  While there were plenty of MCU characters granted their very first figures over the course of all of this, today’s set actually concerns two who we’ve seen before, The Cap’s bestest pals, Falcon and Winter Soldier.  Since their last figures were both exclusives that not everyone could find, Hasbro decided to re-issue them in…an exclusive set that not everyone can find.  You win some, you lose some.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Falcon and Winter Soldier ended up as a Target-exclusive Marvel Legends two-pack, alongside Black Panther’s Everett Ross and Killmonger.  The sets were shown off early in the year and initially theorized to be Toys R Us-exclusives, but we all know how that turned out.  Both figures are based on their Infinity War appearances…in theory, at least.

FALCON

Falcon’s look from Civil War to Infinity War didn’t change much, and, much like the Minimate, this figure reflects that, really being quite similar to the previous release.  He stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  His sculpt appears to be identical to that last figure.  The head may possibly be new, but the body is definitely the same.  While not perfect, the previous sculpt was certainly passable, and its re-use is certainly more acceptable than, say, that same Cap body that Hasbro keeps giving us.  The main difference between these two releases is the paint, but oh boy what a difference does it make.  The Civil War figure was somewhat lacking on a few of the smaller applications, which gave him this almost unfinished vibe.  This figure, on the other hand, adds back in a lot of the smaller details, and just overall gives the figure a better finish, making him look comparatively much more complete.  The figure includes the same wing pack as the last release, so the wings are still not posable.  He also lacks the deployed version of Redwing, but that’s acceptable, given Redwing doesn’t factor into the movie.  Also still missing are his guns, but at this point that’s no surprise, and it has to be some sort of a licensing issue.

WINTER SOLDIER

I haven’t actually reviewed a Winter Soldier Legends since, well, Winter Soldier.  He had a Civil War release, but that one just never spoke to me for whatever reason.  By extension, this guy ended up as the main draw of the set for me.  While Falcon’s design was fairly unchanged from Civil War to Infinity War, Bucky actually had a number of changes implemented, resulting in a design that’s actually a little closer to the comics incarnation of the character in design.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s a mix of old and new parts, with the same head and arm as the Civil War figure, and the boots from the WS/AoU/Civil War Cap, with everything else being new to this release.  The head actually has an amazing likeness of Sebastian Stan, far better than the prior release might have made clear.  The only real trouble is that it’s clearly Bucky circa Winter Soldier, not the scruffier, recuperating-in-Wakanda-for-a-year of Bucky Infinity War.  That said, it’s an issue that bugs me far less here than it did on Cap.  From the neck down, he’s actually quite accurate, and marks some improvements in movement from the WS variant of the character.  I particularly like all of the small detail work on the stitching on his torso; it adds to the realism.  Bucky’s paintwork is definitely one of the figure’s strongest suits.  The work on the body is reasonable in its own right, though not necessarily anything particularly stand-out.  The head, however, uses the face printing, and it’s one of the best instances of it I’ve seen, certainly rivaling the likes of Hot Toys in the realism department.  Bucky is packed with two different rifles.  The first is the same goofy dead-fish-looking thing that the WS release got, but this time in gold.  I hate it just as much this time as I did the first time around.  Fortunately, this figure also includes the assault rifle from the Netflix Punisher, which is a far more sensible piece, and will be the one my figure will be keeping.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw these figures once at an out of the way Target, and passed on them at the time, reasoning that Falcon wasn’t all that different from the one I had, and I’d be perfectly content to just keep my first Winter Soldier.  I also figured I might see them later, at a more local location.  Well, then I didn’t, so when I happened upon that same Target again, I was more easily swayed.  I knew Bucky would be the star of the set for me, and I was correct on that front.  While he may not be 100% accurate to the film, he’s still the best version of the character to date, and an all-around fun figure.  I didn’t expect much out of Falcon, having already picked up the CW release.  This one makes just a few subtle changes, and yet still ends up feeling almost like an entirely new figure, and he’s a lot better than I’d expected him to be.

#1791: Norm Peterson

NORM PETERSON

CHEERS (MEGO)

NOOOOOOOOORM!!!”

—Everyone but Norm

And now it’s time for another sort of oddball appearance for this site: Cheers.  A show about a bunch of Boston-natives hanging out in a bar may not seem like the most natural fit for an action figure line, but “doesn’t seem like a natural fit for an action figure line” made up most of Mego’s business back in the day, and their relaunched selves seem to be dialing into a lot of those same philosophies.  In that respect, Cheers feels pretty well at home with Mego’s modern offerings.  They’ve decided to launch their little Cheers line not with Sam or Diane, but instead with the bar’s most frequent patron, announced by name every time he enters, Hillary Norman Peterson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Norm is one of the 11 single-packed figures in the first wave of Mego’s TV Classics line-up.  He’s going to be followed by Cliff and Woody in subsequent waves.  As of right now, all of the new Mego offerings are available exclusively through Target.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  He’s built on a slightly different body than the previously reviewed Fonzie.  This body features a different, more rounded piece for the torso, befitting Norm’s paunchier physique.  In vintage times, this body was used for the likes of Boss Hogg and the Penguin, and it’s a pretty decent fit for Norm.  While Fonzie was built on a tweaked body with a slightly studier built to it, Norm’s body seems to be closer to its vintage counterpart, meaning he’s a little looser on some of those joints.  I’m not 100% sure if he’s still using the band construction, but if he is, I’ll be curious to see how well he holds up over time.  Norm has a brand new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty spot-on likeness of George Wendt.  I think this is one of the best likenesses in the first assortment, and it’s definitely a step-up from the classic figures.  The detail work, especially on the hair, is quite sharp, which is impressive on a rotocast item.  Additionally, the paint is quite cleanly applied and gives him quite a lifelike quality.  Norm is seen here in his standard post-work attire of a suit and tie.  It’s decently tailored for the style, and like Fonzie, he uses velcro in place of snaps, so they should hold up a bit better.  Under the jacket is a fully sleeved shirt, which is a nice change from the vintage Mego style.  The tie, rather than being a fully separate piece, like we saw on the DST Captain America and Daredevil, is actually affixed at the front of the shirt, and the band is just a part of the shirt, so it separates at the velcro just the same.  This is definitely a far better way of handling such a design.  Norm is packed with what is hands down the best possible accessory for the character, a mug of beer.  It’s actually quite a nicely handled piece, and the mug even has the Cheers logo engraved on one side, which is certainly a nifty touch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting the review sample Fonzie from Mego, I was definitely been interested in looking at a few more of these figures.  I’ve just recently been on a binge watch of Cheers, so Norm was at the top of my want list from the first set.  I’m the slightest bit let down that his body doesn’t have the same level of improvements as the standard body, but apart from that, I really like this figure.  The likeness is awesome, and the beer is a really nice touch.  I very much look forward to the rest of the Cheers offerings from this line, and I’m hopeful we might even get to see Frasier or Wings figures as well down the line.

#1752: Chewbacca

CHEWBACCA

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“A mighty Wookiee nearly two centuries old, Chewbacca has fallen upon hard times during this age of the expanding Empire.”

Let’s keep this extraneous Star Wars love going, I suppose…wait, that doesn’t sound quite right.  Never mind.

I broke my rule about the clones, but I also had this other rule with the Black Series, where I was going to avoid minor variations of the same characters.  Now, technically Vader was the first one I broke the rule for, but that was a slightly special case.  I stayed true with Chewbacca and didn’t buy the Force Awakens variant.  Well, Solo broke me, what can I say.  Was he worth it?  Let’s find out!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Chewbacca was released right around the same time as the rest of the Solo product launch, but the comparatively soft roll-out of the Solo product compared to prior movies meant that he just started showing up in some places very recently.  He’s not part of the main line-up, but is instead a Target exclusive.  Chewbacca stands 8 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation. Unsurprisingly, given his generally consistent look over the course of the film’s, this Chewbacca figure shares a lot of parts with the original Black Series release, namely everything but the head, upper torso, and bandolier. I was rather critical of the sculpt back when it was new, and I still stand by those critiques.  There are just some issues that are inherent to the process of adapting a design like Chewbacca’s into a highly articulated plastic figure.  There are going to have to be some compromises, and they do have negative impact on this sculpt.  With all that said, I think this figure does a lot to salvage the sculpt.  The new head is really strong.  While it’s been reworked to allow for the goggles to sit better on his face, he actually still looks pretty good without the goggles in-place.  In fact, he makes a for a decent approximation of Chewbacca’s messier hair style from Empire and Jedi, which I’m definitely okay with.  The new torso’s really just a slight change, mostly done to help the new double-strapped bandolier sit better on his shoulders.  But it definitely helps, and as a result, this Chewbacca’s bandolier sits a lot flusher to the body than the first one’s did.  It’s a minor change, but one that does a lot to help the figure.  Minor changes to the sculpt aside, I think the biggest thing that helps this new release is the paintwork.  The first Chewbacca was released during the line’s worst period paint-wise.  While his paint wasn’t *bad*, it was definitely very basic, and lacking in any form of subtlety, which hit that figure pretty hard.  By contrast, this figure’s hitting while the line is at a very high point, and he definitely shows it.  The transitions between shades on the fur are less jarring, and work has been done to keep these changes from being right on the joints.  In addition, he’s far less glossy overall, which only helps in making him look a lot less goofy.  In Solo, Chewbacca hasn’t yet gotten his distinctive bowcaster, so he’s instead carrying a different heavy blaster rifle entirely.  This one’s patterned on the M-60 machine gun (thanks Tim!), which is certainly a fun one.  The piece is very well sculpted and an accurate recreation of the design from the movie.  And, not only does it avoid the usual lack of paint issue, but it’s even got moving parts!  A very impressive piece.  In addition, Chewbacca also includes his goggles from the train heist, which go on and off pretty easily.  Not as impressive as the gun, but fun nonetheless.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw Chewbacca fairly early on, back in May, but decided to pass on him at that time.  Of course, then I didn’t see him for a couple of months, so when I came across him again (after having seen and quite enjoyed the movie), I didn’t feel like I could pass him up.  I’m glad I opted to get him the second time around, as he’s a pretty sizable improvement on the last one, and definitely my favorite Chewbacca to date.

The Blaster In Question #0057: Vigilon

BlasterInQuestion1

VIGILON

VORTEX

vigilon1I know what you’re about to ask, so let me go ahead and answer it before you do.  No, I’ve still not heard anything from Mads but I’m staying optimistic.  That’s not what you were gonna ask?  Ok, weirdo.  Oh, right, that.  Yeah, I have no idea what the heck a vigilon is either but it’s the name of this week’s blaster.  Maybe taking a look at the blaster will inform us on the matter.  Let’s find out if that’s the case.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

vigilon2It’s not the case, it’s a made up word.  Anyway, the Vigilon was released in 2011 as part of the Vortex series of blasters.  It then disappeared with the apparent death of the Vortex line a few years later, only to be brought back in 2018 in the Target exclusive Vortex VTX line-up.  Really all that changed is the colors, so I’ll be reviewing them both as the same blaster here.  The Vigilon uses the same mechanism for launching the Vortex discs as most blasters in the line but with the added bonus of an integrated internal magazine that holds (officially) 5 discs.  I find it odd that the Vigilon has only ever been marketed as a 5-round blaster despite the fact that I can fit 6 discs in the magazine just fine without using any trickery, plus, you can keep another disc in the chamber, effectively giving the blaster a 7-round capacity.  The magazine vigilon3itself is an interesting design in which you open the loading gate with the release levers just above the trigger and load rounds in the side of the blaster rather than the top or front like we’re used to seeing on dart blasters.  Releasing the magazine cover is also rather satisfyingly snappy and makes it feel like something akin to a plasma weapon from the Halo franchise venting heat.  The outer shell is all original to the Vigilon, and while the green and orange color scheme of the first wave was fine at the time, the sky blue/neon green VTX colors really do it for me.  Just- MM, so good.  Naturally, the new colors are also carried over to the ammo which also looks quite nice and again, an improvement over the older version.  I mean, they work the same, they just look nicer while they do it.  The Vigilon gets the same performance as just about every other Vortex blaster out there.  The discs do travel far, but they vigilon4slow down as they fly through the air and end up floating a bit near the end of their flight path.  If you’re planning on using this as a weapon against your younger siblings, just make sure they’re not too far away, otherwise, even if your shots hit, they won’t have nearly the same impact as they would at closer range.  Plus, with some practice, you can do crazy stuff like bank shots off the wall and whatnot.  Then you can really make them feel like they’ll never be safe again, and isn’t that really the goal?  What do you mean that sounds abusive?  I’m just saying they shouldn’t feel completely at ease in their own home cuz they’ll never see the radtastic VTX discs coming.  Well, yeah, when you say it like that, you can make anything sound like abuse.  Anyway, the original Vigilon came packaged with just 5 Vortex discs, but the new VTX version comes with 10 and they look way cooler to boot.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION 

I don’t normally care too much about straight recolors, but the Vortex series was different and innovative in a way not often seen in the toy blaster market.  Moreover, it seemed to garner a decent fan base over traditional darts, so it’s fairly unique in that regard.  In reality, though, I just think the folks over at Nerf did a great job with the new colors.  I wish this had been what Vortex looked like from the get-go.  It’s just so- MMM, I love it.

#1589: Cassian Andor, Imperial Deathtrooper Specialist, & Jyn Erso

CASSIAN ANDOR, IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST, & JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

 

There was one major piece of Rogue One merchandise I haven’t yet gotten around to reviewing.  It was sitting there in the store, staring at me, waiting, watching, and….uh, waiting.  Sorry, didn’t have a third “w” word, there.  Anyway, I finally have said piece of merchandise, so, without further ado, here’s this set with Cassian, Jyn, and a Deathtrooper!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This three pack was a Target-exclusive, and started hitting shelves about a month after the main Rogue One product launch.  Of the three figures included, only Cassian is a truly unique figure.  The Deathtrooper has some minor tweaks as well, but Jyn is exactly the same as both her standard and SDCC-exclusive releases.

CASSIAN ANDOR

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer with combat field experience, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with his ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Despite his placement in a big exclusive set, the Cassian seen here is the standard version of the character, seen most frequently throughout the movie.  It was oddly scarce in the initial product launch, but by the end of all the Rogue One product, it did end up fairly well represented.  It’s definitely the selling point of this release.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  His head is shared with the Eadu version, which admittedly wasn’t the best Cassian sculpt we got, but it looks a little bit better here than it did on that figure.  The rest of the figure is a unique sculpt, and it’s a definite improvement over the Eadu look.  The details are generally a lot sharper, especially on the jacket, and the overall aesthetics just seem to flow a bit better.  He’s still a little bulky for Luna, but not as bad as the Eadu figure.  The movement is a lot better as well, thanks to the slightly less restrictive design.  Just like the sculpt, the paint on this Cassian is a marked improvement on the last figure.  The face is still a bit off, especially the beard, but it’s definitely a step up.  The eyebrows are less caterpillar-like, and the scruff is a little more reserved, so that’s a plus.  The rest of the body is pretty solid overall.  There’s a little bit of fuzz in a few spots (like the tops of his boots), but generally it’s pretty sharp.  Like his oh-so-awesome small-scale counterpart, this Cassian is packed with his modular blaster rifle, which maintains the oh-so-awesome-ness.

IMPERIAL DEATHTROOPER SPECIALIST

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam.  These soldiers serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic, a highly placed officer within the Advanced Weapons Research division of the Empire.”

For the most part, this is a figure I’ve looked at before, back when it was just the standard Deathtrooper.  But, apparently, as a “Specialist,” this guy is entitled to a whole web gear load out, with a shoulder pauldron, some ammo pouches, and a bunch of grenades.  It’s a cool piece, and totally removable, should you just want the standard Deathtrooper.  Beyond that, his sculpt, paint, and accessories load out is the same as the basic variant.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I passed on this set when it was new, because paying the cost of three figures and only getting one I actually wanted seemed a bit much.  Just after the new year, however, Target got around to marking the set down, to about the cost of a standard Black Series figure. That brought into a reasonable range for me, so I finally got it.  I’m glad I finally got this Cassian; he’s definitely my go-to figure of the character.  I’m also not unhappy about the Deathtrooper variant, though I can’t say it’s the sort of figure I would have paid full retail for.  Ultimately, I think bundling Cassian into this three-pack was a mistake, and I think the fact that the set ended up on such deep clearance speaks to that.  I get Hasbro’s desire to get as many Jyns as possible out there, but this exclusive really would have worked much better as a two-pack with Cassian and the Trooper.  Three times was just one time too many for the standard Jyn to get a straight re-release.

The Blaster In Question #0024: Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR DELUXE BLASTER

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Everything looks better in blue.  Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of things do, and that goes for Nerf blasters.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at yet another Star Wars blaster.  This time it is the Target exclusive Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Blaster.  Well, sort of exclusive.  I’ll explain later.  Let’s get into the review

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Captain Cassian Andor Deluxe Quite A Mouthful Blaster was released in 2016 as a tie-in product for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.  This specific blaster is the Target exclusive blue recolor of the Jyn Erso Blaster from the same line.  Plus, this one’s got a bunch of accessories that Jin’s blaster doesn’t.  It’s built on the classic magazine-fed flywheel system we’ve seen on the Stryfe and other blasters.  Holding down the rev trigger spins up the flywheels and pulling the main trigger pushes a single dart into the wheels, sending it flying.  The big difference between the CCADB and the Stryfe is the inclusion of lights and sounds which activate on the trigger pull, regardless of the rev trigger being pressed.  I was actually pretty impressed with the lights on this blaster.  Every time the trigger is pulled, a series of green LEDs in the barrel light up in rapid succession giving the illusion of a laser blast traveling down the barrel.  Accompanied by the sound effects, it really does make just pulling the trigger quite satisfying.  It’s also worth noting that holding down the rev trigger turns on the blue LED in the chamber as part of the blaster’s Glowstrike feature.  The included magazine holds 12 darts and, unlike most standard N-Strike Elite magazines, is completely transparent orange on both sides.  The outer shell of the base blaster is completely new work though shared with the Jyn Erso blaster, and looks a good bit like the blaster in the film which, if anyone cares, was made with an AR-15 as the base of the prop.  Like with the Poe Dameron blaster, the use of real-world firearms parts makes holding the blaster fairly comfortable, though there is some noticeable down-scaling from the real thing, making it a little cramped in the grip.  All the included accessories with the CCADB are recolored attachments from various other blasters.  The stock comes from the N-Strike Raider CS-35, the scope comes from the Modulus Long Range Upgrade Kit, the barrel extension/suppressor comes from the N-Strike/Elite Specter REV-5, and the bumps along the sides of the magazine indicate it comes from the Modulus Flip-Clip Upgrade Kit.  In addition to the grip being a hair small, some sections of the blaster feel a little flimsier than I’m used to from Nerf.  It’s not a lot, but the grey panels on the sides of the grip and the battery tray cover do flex a good bit if you have a firm grasp on the blaster.  This CCADB is not a heavy hitter in terms of performance.  The power of the flywheels is rather limited, either by design or because the batteries also have to power the lights, sounds, and Glowstrike feature when firing.  This is an indoor blaster, no question.  It does fire reliably but shots arc more severely than most other blasters and don’t land with as much force, making it ideal for busting into your sibling’s room and emptying the mag without fear of getting in as much trouble.  The CCADB comes packaged with 12 Glowstrike Star Wars darts, a 12 round magazine, a scope, a stock, a barrel extension, and 4 AA batteries already installed.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This blaster is largely what convinced me that the addition of lights and sounds to the Star Wars Nerf lineup wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  While the Death Trooper blaster is fine, the effects on this blaster are pretty top notch and, having seen this year’s offerings, set the standard for effects for “deluxe” blasters to follow.

 

#1298: Imperial AT-ACT Driver

IMPERIAL AT-ACT DRIVER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The Empire’s combat drivers are trained to handle everything on the Imperial ground arsenal, from heavily armed AT-ATs to the more utilitarian AT-ACT walkers.”

You can’t have Star Wars figures without a metric ton of generic Trooper figures.  They’ve long been the backbone of the line, so it’s not a huge surprise that the movie makers put effort into introducing a few extra variants every time there’s a new movie.  Rogue One gave us the whole Scarif sub-set of troopers, which are some of my new favorites.  Today’s figure isn’t *technically* a Scarif trooper, but he share’s a lot of design elements, and he only actually shows up during the Scarif sequences of the movie, so I’m grouping him with them.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial AT-ACT Driver is a Target-exclusive entry in the Star Wars: The Black Series line.  He follows the store-exclusive trooper trend, coming out after the TRU-exclusive Hovertank Pilot and the Walmart-exclusive Scarif Trooper.  In the movie, there are actually two drivers seen in the AT-ACT; a basic driver and a commander.  This figure represents the commander.  Of course, thanks to the fairly easily swapped heads on all these troopers, if you swap the head on this guy onto the Hovertank Pilot’s body, you can get both the basic AT-ACT driver and the Tank Commander, if one were so inclined. The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s a total parts re-use; he’s got the body of the Hovertank Pilot and the head of the Scarif trooper.  It’s totally warranted re-use, since the movie design was the same.  Plus, the pieces are solid, so I have no issues with having them used again.  This figure’s main differences are, of course, the paint.  The basic colors match up with those of the Hovertank pilot (no doubt intentional, since it makes the previously mentioned head swap much easier), but he also gets the additional grey markings on the shoulders to denote him as a commander.  The markings are nice and sharp, which is good.  There’s also a little bit of weathering on the armored sections, offering a bit of accenting to the sculpt.  I’m glad to see the weathering on troopers is remaining a rather consistent thing.  The AT-ACT Driver includes a standard E-11 Blaster.  In uses the same extra detailing used for the blaster included with the K-Mart-exclusive Jyn, which is another thing that’s nice to see be a recurring feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy caught me by surprise, since he wasn’t really promoted that much by either Hasbro or Target.  On the same trip where Tim bought me Moon Knight, I also found this guy, but I was still planning to pass, since I was trying to hold off on buying as much.  Of course, this just wouldn’t sit with Super Awesome Girlfriend, who insisted on getting him for me.  This figure doesn’t exactly offer anything new, but I do really like him.  He’s probably my personal favorite of the various Rogue One troopers that have gotten Black Series releases.