#1733: Negative Zone Spider-Man & Jack O’lantern

Before their demise last month, Toys R Us played a tremendous role in getting the Minimates brand into the hands of many new fans, as well as helping to introduce new licenses and bolstering the ranks of existing ones.  As with all things Minimates, by far the most successful of these ventures was with the Marvel license.  In the decade that they supported the line (well, the second time around, anyway), they put out 47 series and 6 boxed sets, with over 200 unique Minimates released therein.  That’s pretty darn impressive.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Negative Zone Spider-Man and Jack O’Lantern, comes from Series 25 of the main comics line of Marvel Minimates, which would prove to be the final TRU-exclusive assortment.

NEGATIVE ZONE SPIDER-MAN

Amongst the many zany properties of the Negative Zone is apparently the ability to create killer costume variants.  In addition to doing it for Spider-Man, it’s also done it for the Fantastic Four.  It’s a wonder Marvel hasn’t stuck a few more popular heroes through there to get some additional variants!  Negative Zone Spider-Man’s a variant that’s cropped up in other lines, but not yet been seen in Minimates, which is honestly a little bit surprising given how many Spider-Men we’ve gotten over the years (this one marks the 83rd, for those keeping count). Negative Zone Spider-Man is another vanilla ‘mate, so no add-on pieces here.  I much prefer this method of handling Spider-Men, so I’m happy this was the way they went. The important costume details are done via paint, which is applied very cleanly and is sharply defined, capturing his negative look from the comics very well.  It all makes for a very striking looking design, that’s also quite sleek.  As an added bonus, the head is almost a dead match for Agent Venom’s mask, should you wish to swap out the slip mask from the TTA set or turn your animated version into a comics one. For accessories, Negative Zone Spidey includes a webline (done in smokey translucent grey instead of the usual solid color; guess Spidey’s web-fluid was affected too), a Negative Zone effects base (a clever re-use of Invisible Woman’s forcefield piece), and the usual clear display stand.

JACK O’LANTERN

Jack O’Lantern’s a name that’s been held by four Marvel Super Villains.  None of them have ever really risen beyond second-string villain, but he’s got an intriguing design, so he’s gotten a few toys.  This marks his first Minimate, though.  This particular figure’s design is one that could equally work as original Jack O’Lantern Jason Macendale, or his immediate replacement Steven Mark Levens, and it could even work as Daniel Berkhart from before he re-designed his costume to become Mad Jack.  Point is, you’ve got options. Jack O’Lantern makes use of a unique pumpkin-shaped head in place of the usual cylinder.  At first glance I thought it might be re-used, either from Samhain or Pumpkin King Jack, but it’s a new piece.  He also has add-ons for the flame effect, and his flared boots and gloves.  It makes for a nice summation of Jack’s classic design, and the flames in particular work a lot better here than they have on the various Ghost Riders we’ve gotten over the years. Like Negative Zone Spidey, Jack’s paintwork is sharply handled, cleanly applied, and very bold and striking.  Traditionally, Jack’s color scheme is variations of green, rather than the green and black combo seen here.  However, differences in shading mean this general look has shown up on occasion, and it certainly looks very eye-catching. Jack O’Lantern is packed with a spare pumpkin-bomb-wielding hand, as well as his flying disk, a corresponding flight stand, and a standard clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set during TRU’s lengthy liquidation sales.  It was nearer the beginning, so they were essentially full price, but given how scarce Series 25 proved, I’m glad I got them when I did.  Negative Zone Spider-Man is far from an essential design, but as far as one-off variants go, he’s a pretty strong one, and quite a bit of fun.  Jack O’Lantern’s a fun lesser villain, and his Minimate lives up to all that fun, and even elevates him, crafting one of the best Spider-Foe ‘mates available.

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#1725: Imperial Speeder (w/ AT-DP Pilot)

IMPERIAL SPEEDER (W/ AT-DP PILOT)

STAR WARS: REBELS

“AT-DP Pilots are elite ground vehicle pilots for the Empire. Equipped with unique armor, they are formidable opponents for all of the Empire’s enemies.”

While everyone else seems to have gotten in on the speeder bike game, our first taste of speeder bikes were property of the Empire.  They also had the absolute coolest variants of the Stormtroopers driving them, which was always a plus for me.  Rebels, which is set before the original trilogy, doesn’t make use of the Scout Troopers, but they do have their own unique pilots, which are pretty cool in their own right.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Imperial Speeder was released as an initially Toys R Us-exclusive item alongside the main Rogue One product launch.  It was a more informal exclusive, though, since it bore no actual denotation of the status (and, of course, now it’s not an exclusive at all).  Unlike the last two sets I looked at, it just had the one release, likely due to it being a pretty simple re-skin of Ezra’s Speeder from yesterday.  The only difference between the two sculpturally is the addition of a cannon on the left side of this one.  It’s a little obtrusive, but I guess it mixes things up a little better.  The paint work is the main changing point here, as it’s done up in a much milder palette than the last, which is certainly much more pleasant.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the speeder is the AT-DP Pilot.  No, the speeder isn’t actually called the AT-DP, he’s technically the pilot of another vehicle, who’s been repurposed.  His sculpt’s been re-purposed as well, being a reissue of the Saga Legends figure from back in 2014.  But I missed the first one, so I appreciate the re-release.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is probably one of the finest to come out of the Rebels subset of figures, being a pretty awesome translation of his on-screen design.  The detail work is crisp, and there’s actually a ton of smaller detail work, even for him being one of the animated designs.  His paintwork is a pretty straightforward recreation of the first figure’s paint, which was itself a good recreation of the colorscheme from the show.  It’s pretty clean overall, though it gets a little fuzzy at some of the edges.  However, since it’s all shades of grey, it’s not all that off looking.  The AT-DP Pilot is packed with a standard Stormtrooper blaster, should you want him to be doing something other than driving.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, unlike the last two sets, this is actually an item I fully intended to buy when it was new.  However, I never actually saw it at retail, and then I sort of forgot it.  Fortunately, it showed up in pretty high numbers at my nearest Toys R Us during the liquidation process.  I gotta say, it’s a pretty simple set, and not really anything new, but I really dig it.

#1724: Ezra Bridger’s Speeder

EZRA BRIDGER’S SPEEDER

STAR WARS: REBELS (HASBRO)

“Once a lone street urchin stealing to survive on Lothal, Ezra Bridger has been taken in by the crew of the Ghost and is now a determined freedom fighter who plays a critical role in the rebellion against the Empire. With the help of his master, Kanan, Ezra is well on his way to becoming a Jedi – he uses the Force to fight the Imperial opposition that threatens to destroy the galaxy.”

If there’s a competitor to Kanan Jarrus for the “main character” slot in Rebels, it’s his apprentice Ezra Bridger, who is essentially Aladdin in space.  Cool?  But, instead of a magic carpet, he’s got a speeder bike.  So, that’s different, I guess.  Let’s just review this toy already.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Ah, yes, who can forget the eternally memorable, unmistakably distinctive…speeder owned by Ezra Bridger.  Okay, so I still haven’t actually gotten past more than the first season of Rebels, and I only watched it the once, so I don’t recall off-hand if this is actually in it.  I want to say it is.  But I doubt it’s a prominent fixture regardless.  Anyway, this set was part of the smaller scale vehicle releases that hit on the first Force Friday, alongside the Force Awakens products.  It was then re-released alongside the Rogue One product, which means it pretty much never, ever left store shelves.  The vehicle is about 6 inches long and stands about 2 inches tall.  It’s more of a basic seated bike than the ones from Return of the Jedi, which is fortunate given the reduced articulation of the figures.  It’s a pretty decent sculpt, slightly softer on the details like prior vehicles, but it’s not terrible.  It’s certainly sharper detailing than we saw on the Y-Wing yesterday, so that’s a plus.  The paintwork on the bike is certainly unique. Green and orange is quite a unique combo.  A hideous combo, but certainly a unique one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obviously, it would be odd to release Ezra Bridger’s Speeder without an Ezra figure, so here it is.  Of course, as sensible as it may be in this particular case, he ends up in the same boat as the Kanan figure, since at this point we had a ton of Ezra figures already (and, like Kanan, there was a single-packed Ezra, released at the same exact product launch as this one).  That said, this is actually the first figure of him I’ve gotten, so it’s not a total waste.  The figure stands 3 1/2 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is largely the same as the first Rebels Ezra, but with the legs tweaked to add some pouches.  The sculpt does a respectable job of capturing the show design, and I think it’s a slightly better sculpt than the Kanan figure.  His paintwork is pretty clean, and pretty bright as well (this signifies that my figure is the later release; the earlier ones were rather washed out).  Ezra is packed with his lightsaber, which, unlike Kanan’s has a removable blade, which is pretty cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like Kanan and the Y-Wing, Ezra and his speeder were picked up in the TRU liquidation sales.  I hadn’t really planned on getting it, but I didn’t yet have an Ezra figure, and this was the easiest way to get him.  While it’s hardly the most thrilling set, I can appreciate it for what it is.

#1723: Y-Wing Scout Bomber

Y-WING SCOUT BOMBER (W/ KANAN JARRUS)

STAR WARS: REBELS (HASBRO)

“Discover exciting stories of good versus evil in a galaxy of starships and vehicles. Armed with proton bombs and laser cannons, this prototype Y-wing Scout Bomber uses its rotating engines to provide enhanced maneuverability during flight.”

For the next entry in my week of Star Wars vehicles, I’ll be starting off a trend that’s going to finish out the week: Star Wars: Rebels.  Rebels had its own devoted line of figures back when it first started out, but it was sort of swallowed up by the recent movie toylines (which is how I acquired my rather modest collection of figures).  The main crew has each cropped up at least twice, with a few of them popping up a little bit more than that.  Kanan Jarrus is probably the most common, and he’s part of today’s review, alongside a variation of the Y-Wing.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Y-Wing Scout Bomber was released as one of the mid-sized weapons in the Force Awakens toyline, and was re-released unchanged for the Rogue One line as well.  It’s a much smaller variant of the traditional Y-Wing from the original trilogy, with its roots in The Clone Wars.  The vehicle is actually an almost entirely re-used sculpt, from back in the Clone Wars days, but tweaked a bit to fit Chopper in place of a more standard astromech droid.  The ship is about 7 inches long by 4 1/2 inches wide, and stands about 3 1/2 inches tall.  The thrusters on the back are both posable pieces, as is the turret for the astromech droid.  Overall, it’s a very squat and compact ship, which isn’t perhaps as impressive as a more standard piece, but for the price point, it’s about what you’d expect.  The paint work on this piece shifts it more from a Clone Wars design to something closer to the Original Trilogy, adding in some white and yellow.  The details are a little sloppy in some spots, but nothing too terrible.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with the Bomber is the aforementioned figure of Kanan Jarrus.  Kanan is sort of the show’s lead, I guess, so his prominence in the toy form makes a little bit of sense.  What makes less sense is how many times they released him the exact same get-up.  This was the fifth time this figure was released, more or less.  This one has a slightly tweaked head with the head set, but that’s the only difference.  Most egregiously, there was a standard Kanan in the launch wave of the Force Awakens product, so he was hitting twice on that same day.  The fact that he was picked over the less oft-released Chopper, whom the ship kind of needs to look complete, is rather frustrating.  It’s not like anyone who needed a Kanan was missing him.  But I digress.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation.  He’s using most of the same sculpt used several times before, but with the new head.  It’s Kanan’s basic garb, which works decently enough.  The sculpt is softer than later releases, in part due to his animated nature, but also due to him just being a slightly older sculpt.  He’s still a pretty respectable looking figure.  Kanan’s packed with his lightsaber, which is a pretty cool piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Kanan and the bomber is a set I saw very many times, but never picked up.  However, in Toys R Us’s last days, they had a bunch of these various vehicles for rather cheap, and I got sucked in.  Honestly, it’s not much to write home about, but it’s a decent enough toy, especially for the much lowered price.

#1711: A-Force

SHE-HULK, SIF, MARVEL’S SINGULARITY, LADY LOKI, ELSA BLOODSTONE, & MONICA RAMBAEU

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Spawning out of 2015’s Secret Wars event was an all-female super team dubbed A-Force.  Gimmicky?  Perhaps, but of course, so was the whole event.  I appreciated it for what it was: a chance to focus on some of Marvel’s fun secondary characters, who maybe get overlooked a little too often.  The event-tie-in got its own spin-off, and ongoing that went 10 more issues.  And, in 2017, the group even got an exclusive boxed-set of Marvel Legends, which I’ll be looking at today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The A-Force boxed-set was a partnered offering between Entertainment Earth and Toys R Us, which first hit at SDCC 2017, before eventually making its way to Toys R Us retail establishments.  Well, for a little while, anyway.  The set includes six figures: She-Hulk, Sif, Singularity, Lady Loki, Elsa Bloodstone, And Monica Rambaeu.

SHE-HULK

A blood transfusion from Bruce Banner leaves Jennifer Walters with the gamma-powered abilities of the Hulk.

She-Hulk is the one character in this set who’s had a Legends release before.  Three of them, in fact.  But the most recent of those was still a decade ago, so we feel overdue for the update.  She’s also the biggest name in the set, and one of the easier to produce figures just based on parts.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 28 points of articulation.  She-Hulk is built on the same body used for both Thundra and Valkyrie, which was debuted on a She-Hulk figure, just not a Jen Walters one.  It’s a decent enough body, though it’s a little out dated compared to the others in the set.  Ultimately, it’s not bad, of course, but the articulation scheme’s a bit archaic.  This body’s definitely the next one that needs replacing.  She-Hulk’s got a new head sculpt, which is very nice.  The expression is perhaps a touch bland for Jen, and nothing’s ever going to top the original Hasbro release for me, but this one’s still very well crafted.  Jen’s paintwork is nice, bold, and colorful.  The paint on the face is very clean, as are the costume’s color transitions.  The metallic purple looks very slick, as well, but then I’m a sucker for metalic purple.  She-Hulk included no accessories, but what would you give her, really?

SIF

As a gifted warrior goddess of Asgaard, Sif traverses time and space through teleportation.

Sif is an important character in the world of Thor, but rarely travels outside of that particular realm.  Seeing her interact with others in A-Force was admittedly pretty cool.  Though she may not be the heavy hitter here, Sif is very much this set’s star.  She stands 6 3/4 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  Sif is one the newest body in this set, making use of parts from last year’s Angela figure (which I’d predicted back when I reviewed that figure).  She does, however get a new head, upper torso, upper arms, and cape and skirt piece add-ons, all of which add-up to a very different looking figure than Angela.  My main complaint about Angela was not liking the character, so Sif gets an extra leg up here.  This gives the body a new chance to shine, and I find myself really enjoying this figure.  Her paint is very clean, the colors are very bold, and that bright red helps her to be the most eye-catching member of this set.  The blue wash on the fur lining of the cape is perhaps a touch heavy, but I’ve seen worse, and it helps to distinguish it from the rest of the white.  Sif is packed with a sword, which seems pretty sensible to me.

MARVEL’S SINGULARITY

Singularity is a multi-dimensional being whose powers of energy manipulation grant her unique psionic abilities.

Singularity is probably the most obscure of the figures in this set, by virtue of being the only character in the set to have no existance outside of A-Force.  Singularity is sort of a personified walking pocket dimension, and is something of a gender-flipped Beyonder from the original Secret Wars.  While she’s perhaps not the most known character, she’s important to the specific event this set was commemorating, and has the added bonus of an appealing design.  The figure stands 5 3/4 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation. Singularity is built on the Spider-Girl body, which is always a good one, though its mold might be starting to show its age a bit.  She gets a new head sculpt, which captures the art style of the book pretty well, while also melding well with the rest of the body.  The big thing that sets her apart is her color scheme.  She’s molded in clear blue plastic that has these little metallic flecks all through it, and then has a little metallic purple airbrushed over that in a few key places.  It makes for quite an interesting look, and it’s a great way of capturing how she looks in the comic.

LADY LOKI

A being of Frost Giant descent, Loki also possesses Asgardian powers of shape-shifting and sorcery

Lady Loki is sort of a confusing character in the context of this set, since she’s technically the same person as the usual Loki (who was still running around elsewhere during Secret Wars), and she’s also technically in Sif’s body, but Sif is also in this set.  Best not to think about it too much.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 28 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Black Cat body, which means she’s a fair bit smaller than Sif, who she supposedly shares a body with.  Of course, the armored details and such on the Sif body would have made this impossible to do here, and I’d much rather have an inaccurate Loki than a slightly diminished Sif, so I’m letting it slide.  She *does* share a cape with Sif, though, so there’s at least that.  Her head and her skirt add-on piece are both new to this figure, and they’re both quite nicely sculpted, though as with She-Hulk, I might have liked a little more expression in the face.  My figure had a slight molding issue, which left some noticeable flashing at the bottom of her chin, but an X-acto blade cleared that up fine.  Loki’s paint is probably the most complex in the set, with all the scaling detaining and such.  It’s all pretty clean, and once again the metallic colors are looking pretty cool.

ELSA BLOODSTONE

A gun-toting, foul-mouthed monster hunter, Elsa Bloodstone follows in the family tradition of fighting supernatural evils.

Originally a pretty thinly-veiled rip-off of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, Elsa Bloodstone was re-purposed by Warren Ellis for his cult hit Nextwave series, which completely changed the character, making her far more absurd, and far more entertaining.  Her placement in this set continues the Nextwave appreciation that began with the Dirk Anger head included with Nick Fury.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the medium-sized female body, but since no member of Nextwave is truly complete without their trenchcoat, she also gets the arms and jacket pieces from Scarlet Witch.  In addition, she gets a new head, knees, and feet, as well as a belt add-on with a holster.  The whole thing adds up to another very unique looking figure that’s surprisingly true to her Nextwave appearances.  Elsa is the best accessorized figure in this set, getting both her twin shotguns, as well as an oversized revolver.

MONICA RAMBEAU

Gifted in her control of the electromagnetic spectrum, Monica Rambeau uses powerful blasts of energy to shut down her enemies.

Ah, it’s Monica Rambeau, aka Captain Marvel, aka Photon, aka Pulsar, aka Spectrum, aka the most unlucky superhero ever when it comes to keeping a code name.  She’s a favorite of mine and a lot of other fans, and probably one of the bigger draws for this set.  Also, like Elsa, she’s a member of Nextwave.  Two members in one set!  Alright!  Of course, Monica’s not quite in her Nexwave gear, instead wearing her Ultimates costume that she had at the time of the event.  Still, that’s a costume that’s very Nextwave-inspired, so I’m calling it a win.  Monica uses the same basic construction as Elsa, but with standard leg pieces and without the holster.  She also gets a new headsculpt, which is tied with Sif for nicest in the set.  Monica’s paintwork is mostly black and white, which looks very striking, and is in keeping with the design.  There’s a slight pearlescent finish to the white sections, which adds a nice energy-like quality to her design.  She came with no accessories, which is a little disappointing.  Not even an energy effect?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, you saw who was offering this set, so you probably know how I got it.  Yep, this was another Toys R Us liquidation purchase.  I’d seen the set when it was new, but only felt like I really needed three of the six figures included, so the price was a bit prohibitive.  I decided I would wait it out, and if the set ever came down in price, I’d get it.  I firmly set my entry price at 25% off and waited.  When the liquidation began, my store still had a whole stack of this set, and they didn’t really move any faster, but I stopped by one day and they only had a single set left.  What was the discount? 30% off.  So, home with me it came.  Sif is this set’s star, with Elsa and Monica picking up right behind her.  They were the three I wanted, and I’m very happy with them.  Loki and Singularity are both pretty nice as well, but as more event/time specific characters, I have less need for them.  She-Hulk’s the real weak link here, but even as the weakest, she’s still a very nice figure!

#1710: Ray Stanz

RAY STANZ

GHOSTBUSTERS (PLAYMOBIL)

There’s Ray!  I found him! The heart to counter Venkman’s “the mouth” and Egon’s “the brain,” is Dan Ackroyd’s turn as the lovable goof Ray Stanz.  Though perhaps not as colorful a character as Venkman or Egon, Ray nonetheless plays an essential role in the plot.  Just don’t tell him to think about nothing.  Or ask if he’s a god.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ray is the third figure in Playmobil’s Playmogram 3D sub-line of Ghostbusters.  As with the other two, he’s sporting his darker Ghostbusters 2 attire.  It’d be odd if they changed that up in the middle, though, wouldn’t it?  His figure stands 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  Ray is built on the same body as the other two, but once again with a different hairpiece.  Once again, the hair seems off, but there’s a bit more of an excise this time.  The more geometrically rounded bit on the the top is a fairly standard concept for Playmobil, and it’s there to allow for attachment of various head gear.  In the case of Ray, it’s to allow for him to wear his ghost-detecting googles.  They’re a little bulky, but they’re also on an articulated hinge, thus allowing them to be raised up or leveled down, depending on how you want him to wear them.  Ray also has the proton pack and removable gloves, just like the other two, and my opinion of them here remains the same.  Ray’s paintwork is pretty much the same as Venkman’s, but there are some slight tweaks to it, just to prevent them from all having the exact same look.  I certainly appreciate that.  Ray is the best accessorized of the three; in addition to the goggles, proton pack, and gloves, he also includes the same trap as the other two (this time with a blue piece for the ghost catching bit), the proton beam energy effect, a readout piece to plug into the goggles, and three tubes of the pink slime in a device of some sort.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Take a guess where I got Ray.  Did you guess “the same Toys R Us where I got the other two”?  Congrats, you win.  Don’t you feel special?  Yeah, so I had the other two and there was Ray, and I was hardly going to leave him behind, right?  He’s pretty fun.  I think Egon’s still my favorite of the three, but Egon’s also my favorite character of the three, so that could be coloring my opinion.  Sadly, the same store did not also have a Winston to go along with these guys, so my set is woefully incomplete.  I do believe I’ll have to end up paying full price for him.  That’s how they get you.  Put a whole chain store out of business, just to get that extra $7 out of you.  The nerve of some companies, am I right?

#1709: Peter Venkman

PETER VENKMAN

GHOSTBUSTERS (PLAYMOBIL)

If the Ghostbusters each make up a respective part of the body that makes up the organization, Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman is undoubtedly the mouth.  Fitting for a Bill Murray character, right?  I suppose you could be more generous, and more generally make him the face, since that’s what he is for a lot of people; the face of the Ghostbusters.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Venkman is part of the same Playmogram 3D sub-line of Ghostbusters Playmobil figures as yesterday’s Egon.  He too is sporting his darker Ghostbusters 2 togs, which are rather unique, I suppose.  The figure stands 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  He’s built on the same body as Egon, but with one notable exception.  His hair’s a new piece, and, like Egon’s, it seems a little off for Venkman.  He lacks Murray’s pronounced hairline, and instead gets something a fair bit more generic.  I actually think it’s a piece that’s been used before, but I’m not well-versed enough with Playmobil to know for sure.  The point is, it definitely muddies up any sort of likeness.  Maybe there’s a larger likeness rights issue going on here?  I don’t know.  It’s also possible they couldn’t make the proper hairstyle work with the construction of the head, thus neccesitating this differing look. Also, this is a very minor thing, but since he re-uses the exact same base body as Egon, that means he’s actually missing one Peter-specific detail: his pants legs are tucked into his boots.  That’s a consistent feature of his, across just about every figure he’s gotten.  Of course, it’s also easily overlooked, so it’s hard to say.  Venkman’s paintwork is quite similar to Egon’s, but his uniform is unslimed (kind of amusing really, since the situation is usually flipped).  Peter includes the same accesory compliment as Egon, minus the puddle of slime, so he’s got his proton pack, PKE meter, and ghost trap.  The piece that interacts with the Playmofram 3D feature is also given a pink coloring instead of green.  Woooo?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found Venkman at the same time as Egon.  Since I was getting Egon, and they were both pretty cheap, home he came.  He’s not quite as strong a figure as Egon, but he’s still decent enough, and I’m happy to have him in the set.

#1708: Egon Spengler

EGON SPENGLER

GHOSTBUSTERS (PLAYMOBIL)

Playmobil?  On this website?  This seems like different and uncharted territory!  Oh, wait, it’s licensed Playmobil?  Well, maybe that’s not so different.  Yeah, after years of making non-licensed toys, Playmobil decided to follow in Lego’s footsteps and start releasing some actual pop culture characters to go with their pre-existing sets.  Amongst the earliest properties to be adapted is actually one that’s run the whole gamut of block figures, Ghostbusters.  Today, I’m looking at my personal favorite ‘buster, Egon!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Egon is part of Playmobil’s Playmogram 3D product range, which offered up the four main ‘busters in their Ghostbusters 2 uniforms.  There’s a gimmicky phone feature included, but for the most part, it’s just an excuse to release some fairly straightforward figure releases.  Egon is built on the standard Playmobil body, which stands 3 inches tall and has 6 points of articulation.  The Playmobil body is kind of one of the standards for the industry.  Its not super posable, and it’s very definitely of it’s own style, but it certainly works for someone of an average build like Egon.  He’s got an add-on piece for his hair, which if I’m honest seems a bit long for Egon’s hair.  It’s got more of an Elvis thing going on.  It gets the job done, though, and it looks close enough to work.  Egon also gets a unique set of legs, detailing his boots and the bottom of his jumpsuit, which is just different enough from the basic legs to give him a unique edge.  You can also add Egon’s proton pack and gloves into the mix, via snap-on pieces.  The gloves are a little odd, since they only cover one side of each hand, so I’m leaving those off of mine.  The proton pack, on the other hand, is an awesome piece, which gets all of the important details of the design, while still simplifying it for the style.  Egon’s paintwork is pretty decent.  Basic, of course, since that’s what the line’s going for, but there’s actually a lot going on with the uniform, especially since Egon’s been covered in some pink slime.  Egon’s pretty decently accessorized for a smaller set.  He gets his PKE meter, a splotch of slime, and a ghost trap.  The trap is where the Playmogram feature comes in.  Download the app to your phone, and you can get a little holographic ghost to appear in the trap.  It’s somewhat nifty, in the same vein as the Star Wars Studio FX thing that Hasbro tried with Rogue One.  And, if you don’t like it, you’ve still got a cool trap accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m not entirely unversed in the whole Playmobil thing, but I don’t think I’ve bought a set in over a decade.  My mom had them growing up, so I recall them from when I’d stay at her parents’ house when I was younger.  They’ve always caught my eye, though, and I very seriously considered some of the larger Ghostbusters sets when they hit, but just never got them for whatever reason.  This guy was purchased largely due to TRU going under.  He was there, and at the discount they’d hit, it was very hard to say no.  He’s actually quite fun, if you’re into this sort of figure.

#1707: Agents of Hydra

HYDRA AGENT & HYDRA ENFORCER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Driven by rage, these advanced Hydra super soldiers are prone to clash with anyone in their paths.”

Back when the newest incarnation of Marvel Legends was first launched, Hasbro was still figuring some things out.  The Captain America-themed Mandroid Series still had some troubles with distribution, and some…interesting choices in case packouts.  The assortment was split into two waves.  For the first wave, the Agents of Hydra swap figure’s packout was split evenly between Red Skull and the basic Hydra Agent.  Both moved pretty quickly, but there was definitely more demand for the army buildable Hydra Agent.  When the second wave hit, Hasbro decided to repack…Red Skull?  And then the Hydra Agent never resurfaced, so finding one was a mean feat.  Last year, having started to learn from their earlier woes, Hasbro did a re-release of the Agent, alongside a new Hydra Enforcer figure, in an exclusive two-pack.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Agents of Hydra two-pack was a Toys R Us-exclusive offering under the greater Marvel Legends banner.  It *was* a TRU-exclusive, emphasis on “was.”  It was supposed to be released last summer, but apart from being on their website for exactly one afternoon, it never really showed up.  And then, it sort of did, in the wake of all of the closing stuff.  Now it’s made its way to Entertainment Earth, who have been grabbing all of the former exclusives.

HYDRA AGENT

The basic Hydra Agent is, for all intents and purposes, a straight re-issue of the Mandroid Series release.  He’s a more modern interpretation of the Hydra troopers, in the vein of Bob, Agent of Hydra.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s build on the Bucky Cap body and he has add-ons for his harness and belt.  Both pieces are unique to this figure and his predecessor.  They’re well sculpted, and well fitted to the body.  He’s also got a unique head, which is a good recreation of the Hydra Agent’s usual design.  His paintwork is a point of marked improvement over the last release.  Not only is the application a lot cleaner across the board, but he also gets a few more details, particularly the Hydra emblem on his shoulders.  Also an improvement are his accessories.  The last Hydra Agent included two rather goofy sci-fi-y rifles.  This one instead gets two less goofy rifles, which look a lot better.  He also gets a vest to swap out for the harness and and two extra heads.  The first head is Taskmaster’s alt-head, recolored to match the Hydra soldier scheme, which is nice and imposing.  The second is the same one included with the Nick Fury figure from the Giant-Man Series.  It all makes for a nice selection of options on this figure, which is especially nice for army building.

HYDRA ENFORCER

The Hydra Enforcer is a newer concept, and seems to be the figure that’s actually being referred to in the bio on the back of the box.  Despite being a new concept, the figure is just as much re-use as his pack-mate.  He stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  The figure is built on the Hyperion body, specifically the Nuke variant of the body, with the pants and combat boots.  He also gets Nuke’s vest and belt, as well as the head of Captain Britain, which works surprisingly well with the Hydra theme.  The design presented by these piece complements the basic agent pretty well, and he seems to fit the overall Hydra aesthetic nicely.  His paintwork is pretty similar to the standard agent, and the application is all pretty clean.  The Enforcer is packed with a large rifle (re-used from the AIM Agent), a missile launcher (re-used from Drax), a knife, and two extra heads.  The first head is Nuke’s, matching the other pieces on the figure.  It’s been re-decoed with a pretty intensive scar.  The second head is re-used from Radioactive Man, done up with a sort of a Jason Statham look.  Both are pretty fun, and far more specific designs than any of the basic heads, which I guess makes sense, since you’d assume the Enforcers are a more unique bunch.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Having missed out on the original Hydra Agent release, I was definitely on board for this set.  Of course, I couldn’t find it anywhere, so that all meant for nothing.  Then I was going through my local TRU during it’s liquidation process, and there was just a stack of this set.  Yay for me, right?  It’s a solid offering, very definitely.  It’s only real drawback is that it’s a little difficult to army build if you don’t want a bunch of Enforcers.  Still, a very fun set, and I’m glad it’s finally making its way out to the people who want it.

#1690: Claptrap

CLAPTRAP

BORDERLANDS (MCFARLANE)

“A general purpose CL4P-TP robot manufactured by Hyperion, Claptrap acts as the Vault Hunter’s (sometimes) useful guide and quest-giver on Pandora. Programmed with an overenthusiastic personality, Claptrap masks his fear and loneliness behind cheerful bravado.”

What happens when you cross R2-D2 and Jar-Jar Binks?  Claptrap.  Okay, well that’s what some people think, anyway.  I don’t quite agree.  Claptrap’s nowhere near as annoying as Jar-Jar.  That said, he’s cetainly more talkative than R2.  Or at least more fluent in English.  Anyway, he’s by far the most merchandised character from the Borderlands, so it wasn’t much of a shock that he turned up as one of the earlier offerings from McFarlane’s Borderlands toyline.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Claptrap is the first deluxe offering from the Borderlands line, hitting shelves at the same time as the Zer0 figure, and thus loosely making up the second series of the line.  Most of McFarlane’s deluxe figure offerings are at a larger scale than standard releases, but this isn’t the case with Claptrap, who is meant to be in the same relative scale as the three prior figures.  The figure stands 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 15 points of articulation.  The majority of the articulation is in the arms, but he’s got a movable eye and a “lid” that goes up and down, which is a pretty nifty feature.  As far as scaling of this figure relative to the others, he seems a touch large for my eyes.  Like, not atrociously so, but he just looks a little off to me.  It *could* just be his accessories that are throwing me off.  His sculpt is an all-new one, and its a pretty solid offering.  The model from the game has been well captured here.  The details are clean, and the line work is sharp.  There’s some great work on the dings and weathering on his outer plating, which helps give him that nice broken-in look that fits in so well with the game aesthetic.  My one complaint about the sculpt is the pegs they’ve put on his top for his hats.  They’re not at all subtle, and break up an otherwise very  faithful sculpt.  I think it would have made more sense to put the pegs in the hats, since the holes would be less obvious.  The paintwork matches up with the sculpt, the base work is clean, and the accenting helps sell the sculpted details.  There’s a slight gash on my figure’s eye, which is a little annoying, but it’s minor, and I think it’s safe to say it’s not the norm.  Claptrap includes a stand, which uses an articulated arm to plug into his back.  He can’t stand without it (it’s just one of the troubles of translating this design) so it’s certainly appreciated.  He also includes a sherrif’s hat and revolver, and a wizard’s hat and two different wands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I don’t dislike Claptrap as much as some of the fanbase, I still waited a bit on this one.  I ended up grabbing the last one at my local TRU, once they hit the 40% off level of their liquidation process.  He’s a pretty decent figure, but I’m not sure he’s really worth the heightened price.  It’ll be interesting to see how this concept works out for McFarlane.