#1661: Thor, Rocket, & Teen Groot

THOR, ROCKET, & GROOT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“When a blaster-toting raccoon, a teenage tree, and a Asgardian god get together, the journey is sure to be out of this world.”

You thought I’d slip, didn’t you?  You thought I’d forget about my new favorite running gag!  That I’d review a Thor figure on a day other that Thursday!  Well….I actually almost did.  Yep, had this one queued up for tomorrow.  Like an idiot.  It’s okay, I got better.  It’s been a week since I wrapped up my first round of Infinity War-themed Legends reviews.  Now I’m coming back to it for another multi-pack.  This one’s got the aforementioned Thor, as well as one-third of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Rocket and Groot!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Thor, Rocket, and Groot are another displaced Toys R Us-exclusive.  They were meant to be the follow-up to Vision and Scarlet Witch, and were only confirmed to exist just before TRU announced they were going under.  It’s not known how many of them actually made it to TRU, but it’s certainly less than Vision and Scarlet Witch.  As with the other displaced exclusives, it’ll be available over the summer via Entertainment Earth.

THOR

After taking a bit of a back seat for Age of Ultron, Thor’s right back in the forefront for Infinity War.  Of the many characters included in the film, he’s the first to have a variant confirmed.  This one uses his early-in-the-film appearance, picking up from the end of Ragnarok.  If you haven’t seen that film, his eye-patch-wearing head’s going to be a bit of a spoiler.  It’s a major selling point for this set, though, being the only version of the character available right now with the eye patch.  He’s also sans cape, which is a first for the MCU Thor figures.  I like it.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and has 30 points of articulation.  At first glance, I’d kind of expected this figure to make use of a lot of Gladiator Thor’s pieces, but there doesn’t actually appear to be anything shared between them.  I think that’s ultimately for the best, as I felt there were some minor issues with the last one.  This one has a really solid, hefty construction, and his posablity is actually really great given how bulky he is.  The head looks to be about the same as the un-helmeted Ragnarok sculpt, but with the eyepatch, of course.  It’s a pretty decent likeness of Hemsworth, so I can’t complain.  What I can complain about?  The paint.  It’s perhaps the only thing I don’t like about this figure.  I mean, the basics are fine.  The detailing on the hair works.  But, what I really don’t like is the lightning effects.  The details on the torso in particular look rather cheesy.  I don’t hate the effects on the eye; if it were an extra head, I’d probably find it really cool.  As the only eye-patched Thor head out there?  It’s a little annoying.  Like the Ragnarok two-pack release, he’s packed with Heimdall’s sword.  He still doesn’t use it in this movie, and I still want an actual Heimdall, but it’s better than nothing.

ROCKET

Any Rocket figure is going to have the rather difficult task of surpassing the Mantis Series release.  Hasbro has acknowledged this fact, and pretty much just given us a straight re-release of that figure.  There are some minor paint differences between the two, with the accents being a darker grey this time.  He also only gets the calm head, but he does still get both of his blasters (sadly lacking the cool painted details) as well as his brand-new gun that’s been packed with all of the Infinity War Rockets.

GROOT

I’d say Groot’s the biggest draw of this set, since we’ve not yet gotten this version of the character in Legends form (though we did get a surprisingly good version of him from the basic Infinity War line).  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and he has 25 points of articulation.  Articulation is the main differentiating thing between the two teen Groot figures, with this one being not only far more posable, but also having the articulation better worked into the overall sculpt.  This figure also gets a little more detailing, especially on the smaller details, such as the little twig growing from the top of his head.  His head seems to be a little more accurate to Groot’s Infinity War design than the basic figure (in the basic figure’s defense, he seems to have been based on our brief glimpse of Teen Groot from Guardians Vol. 2), with a rounder face, and an even poutier expression.  He’s not a perfect recreation of Teen Groot; I think his chin’s a bit too pronounced; but he’s still pretty close.  The paint is kind of sparse on this figure, which is a little surprising given the accent work that the basic figure got.  The browns are just left flat, which is a little disappointing.  On the plus side, there’s some slight green representing vegetation, which keeps him from being too monotonous, and his eyes are nice and sharp as well.  Groot includes his gamepad…or *a* gamepad, because I don’t think this is the one he had in the movie.  It’s still a nice touch, though, and I’m glad he got *something*

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found this set at one of the two slowly dying Toys R Us’s near me.  I thought Vision and Scarlet Witch were just a stroke of luck, but this set popped up about a week after.  Honestly, it’s a set I was uncertain about when it was first shown off, since there’s not a *ton* of new stuff here.  Rocket’s essentially identical.  If you missed his first release, it’s great that there’s a second opportunity, but if you didn’t, he’s extraneous.  I quite like Thor, like to a surprising level, but he’s got a few flaws, and if you aren’t big on lots of variants of the same character, he too can feel a bit extraneous, especially with the fully equipped version from the Cull Obsidian assortment on its way.  A lot of this set’s selling power is resting on Groot.  He’s a good figure, but I can’t say he’s enough of an improvement on the basic series figure to warrant 5 times the price to get him.  Of course, I got my set for 20%, since I got it from TRU, but I can see it being a tricky sell at full retail.  I’m certainly happy I have it, but not everyone’s as willing to drop tons of money on toys as I am!

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#1658: Obsidian Fury

OBSIDIAN FURY

ROBOT SPIRITS (BANDAI)

“A towering mecha so powerful its origins are shrouded in secrecy, meet the deadliest Jaeger to ever walk the Earth.  With stealth chrome armor plating chainsaws and a chest-mounted AKM salvo-launcher, Obsidian Fury is ready to defend our world…or destroy it!”

Infinity War may have come along and blown everything else away, but before it came along, I was all about Pacific Rim: Uprising.  Though hardly a perfect film, it was certainly a fun movie-going experience, and, most importantly, it gave us a bunch of cool new robot designs!  One of the coolest was the dark rogue Jaeger, Obsidian Fury!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Obsidian Fury is figure 231 in Badai’s Robot Spirits line, sequentially the first of the second series of Uprising figures, and fourth overall from the movie.  The figure stands the tallest of the new Jaegers at 7 inches and has 31 points of articulation.  Obsidian is the most advanced Jaeger we see in the film, so his design is a lot sleeker and made up smoother lines than all of the others.  This gives him a slightly more organic feel that goes well with his Kaiju-origins.  He’s also got a bit of a modern-BSG Cylon feel to him, which helps keep him appropriately sinister.  The figure’s sculpt is handled the same way as the others; there’s an underlying skeleton of sorts, with all of Obsidian’s armored bits placed on top.  It’s definitely a solid piece of work, though I do have one complaint, having to do with how the articulation has been worked in.  For the most part, the joints of the figure follow the natural points of movement from the movie, but Obsidian’s shoulder pads just sort of break right in the middle to allow them to move.  It doesn’t follow the flow of the design at all and can be quite jarring.  Like his three predecessors, Obsidian is mostly light on the paint, but the few bits he has work well.  I quite like the translucent orange visor; it looks a little off from some angles but when it catches the light just right, it looks pretty sweet.  The figure is packed with two sets of hands in both open grasp and fist positions, as well as his laser chainsaw attachments from the film.  Interestingly, the blades aren’t attached to a separate forearm like Gipsy, but instead require you to pop the outer plate off of the forearms and click the blade into place.  It’s actually a lot easier than swapping the arm every time, so I prefer this method.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up the whole first set from Toys R Us a week before they announced they were going under.  I wasn’t expecting to find any of this set there.  After the announcement of their closure, and the beginnings of the markdowns, I made my first stop at my usual store.  It was something like a wasteland, really, with things just in piles everywhere from people rummaging through (and this was when they were still only at 10% off, mind you).  After doing a few loops around the store, I had one or two things I was going to buy.  I was standing in line at the register, when Christian texted me about an Amiibo they had that he wanted.  On my way back to grab it, I happened to knock over something from a shelf near the front, thus revealing two of this bad boy.  I was surprised to say the least.  This is a pretty good figure, and a great counterpart to the first assortment’s Gispy Avenger.

#1653: Taskmaster

TASKMASTER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“An expert in mimicry, Taskmaster copies the stunts and skills of his opposition to beat them at their own game.”

To paraphrase Jeff Goldbloom “Uhhh, Hasbro, uhh, finds a way.”  What does that mean?  I’m glad you asked.  See, with long-running lines such as Marvel Legends, you will run into the need to update characters as the line’s style and quality improves.  Toy Biz went pretty deep with their original line-up, but 15 years after the fact, a lot of them are starting to look out of place.  The trouble is, that while some of the heavy hitters are an easy sell for re-do, it can be tricky to get retailers on-board for new versions of second and third-stringers.  So, Hasbro’s doing their best to tie-in with more current media, and get us new figures of old characters that way.  The trouble is, this often results in those characters wearing more recent, less fan-favorite costumes.  And if you’ve *just* gotten a figure of a lower tier character, it’s unlikely you’ll get another shot.  Right?  Well, Hasbro doesn’t seem to think so, if the two Taskmasters in the space of three years are anything to go by.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Taskmaster is figure 4 in the Thanos Series of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third, and final, comic-based figure in the assortment.  Where the last Taskmaster was based on his up-to-date-iest look, this one goes for Taskmaster’s classic design, which is sensible, seeing as he’s spent most of his career with it.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body.  There was some campaigning to get him on the Reaper body instead, but I don’t mind this one, and it matches what was used for the last Taskmaster figure.  Taskmaster uses the flared boots and gloves like we saw on Zemo (amongst others), which are as good here as they have been all the prior times. He’s also got a (partially) new head sculpt, and add-ons for his cape, belt, and leg straps.  So, how’s the head only partially new?  Well, the actual head part is new (though, as a few others have pointed out, it does appear to be at least patterned on the head from Red Onslaught, which, coincidentally, was the piece included with the last Taskmaster), while the hood is re-purposed from the skull-styled head from the first Taskmaster.  I’m honestly a little surprised that they didn’t just straight re-use the last figure’s head, but I can’t say I’m upset.  While the belt is re-used from the prior figure, the cape and both leg straps are new to this particular figure.  The cape is a very nice piece, and I’m not going to be at all surprised to see it show back up later down the line.   The right leg strap finally gives us a new leg holster for the Bucky Cap bod, so we can retire that one with all the pouches, while the left matches perfectly with the weird studded thing Taskmaster had in his first appearance.  The color work on Taskmaster is a fairly typical Legends offering.  The molded colors all work well enough, and the paint’s application is mostly pretty clean.  There’s some slight slop on a few of the edges, but he mostly looks pretty solid.  The most impressive paintwork is definitely on his head, which makes use of the printing technique to get the gradations in shading on the skull down just right.  In a somewhat accessories-lite assortment, Taskmaster makes out pretty well, getting a sword, shield, and pistol.  All re-used pieces (the shield is the standard comic Cap shield, and the sword and pistol come from Zemo), but a nice selection nonetheless.  Taskmaster also includes the right leg of Thanos.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Taskmaster was nearer the top of my list of wants for this assortment.  This appears to have been the case with other collectors as well, since only Iron Spider was harder to find than Taskmaster.  On one of my many recent TRU runs, they had just put out a case of this set, and fortunately Taskmaster was still on the pegs.  I was quite a fan of the last Taskmaster, so this one had a high bar set for it.  The two are actually kind of hard to compare; they appeal to separate versions of the character, and each offer their own awesomeness.  But, for classic Taskmaster, you can’t do better than this guy.

#1647: Colonel James Cameron

COLONEL JAMES CAMERON

ALIENS (NECA)

Okay, so Avengers: Infinity War starts hitting US theatres today, but I’m taking a one-day reprieve from the Avengers stuff to celebrate today’s other notable thing:  it’s Alien Day again!  And I actually remembered to set aside an Aliens-related item for this year.  Of course, the focus of this review, a figure based on Aliens director James Cameron, is rather amusing in light of Cameron’s comments in the last week about hoping for audiences to get “Avengers fatigue” so that we can back to creating new sci-fi ideas.  You know, like those 5 Avatar sequels we’ve all really been clamoring for.  That’s what the people want.  I wonder how he’d feel about his action figure being smack dab in between Avengers figures.  Well, he’d have to read the site for that to apply.  Odds of that seem low.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Colonel Cameron was a Toys R Us-exclusive figure, released as part of NECA’s running 30th Anniversary assortment of their Aliens line.  He started cropping up in stores towards the end of last year/early this year.  As with Sgt. Windrix, Cameron doesn’t represent a character actually from Aliens, but is more of a concept figure instead.  The figure stands 7 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  He uses the long-sleeved Marine body we’ve seen on both Windrix and Frost.  It’s still a very strong sculpt, even five years after its introduction into the line, and I can’t really see any improvements on it at this point.  It remains one of NECA’s strongest sculpts, so their desire to get as much mileage out of it as possible is pretty sensible.  Cameron gets a new head sculpt, which is sporting a pretty darn fantastic likeness of Cameron circa 1986.  The details are sharp, and it’s well-fitted to the base body.  He’ll fit right in with the rest of the crew.  Colonel Cameron’s paint work is on par with what we’ve been seeing on the more recent offerings from this line.  Application is cleaner than most of the line’s earliest offerings, and he makes use of the molded skin-tone plastic, which helps him look more lifelike.  The detailing on the armor matches up with the other Marines, but Cameron has his own unique graffiti-ing.  It’s really just a planet on his backplate.  I might have liked a little bit more personality, but this is a fun touch, and it’s certainly better than nothing at all.  Cameron’s accessories are his most impressive aspect.  The re-used compliment includes the standard issue M41A pulse rifle, the handgun included with Frost, and a motion tracker.  Figure-specific, there’s a clapboard (which admittedly doesn’t make much sense in-universe, but it’s cool nonetheless) and the viewfinder Cameron used when scouting locations.  A lot of fun pieces in there, which show a real commitment to making this release stand out from the standard-issue figures.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Obviously, the odds of me missing a figure like this were always going to be slim.  That being said, I did see him a couple of times in the store before I finally got around to picking him up.  It was ultimately the announcement of Toys R Us’ planned closure that pushed me to pick him up, since I definitely didn’t want to miss out.  He’s another top-notch figure from NECA, and a fantastic addition to the line.  Happy to have the chance to add him to my collection.

#1646: Vision & Scarlet Witch

VISION & SCARLET WITCH

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Both empowered by the Mind Stone, Vision and Scarlet Witch are powerful forces in the throes of battle.”

Avengers: Infinity War is almost upon us, which is pretty darn exciting.  There’s a metric ton of product out there for it right now, including the largest movie compliment of Marvel Legends Hasbro’s done yet.  When Age of Ultron came out, the MCU-Legends were still on the slow rise at retail.  This meant that it was tricky enough just to get the core Avengers all represented, so there was certainly no space for the team’s new recruits from the movie.  Scarlet Witch found her way into the Civil War assortments, but poor Vision’s been up in the air for three years.  Can I get a “finally”?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

When is an exclusive not an exclusive?  When the company that paid for it goes out of business.  Yes, this pair was supposed to be the first of a large number of Toys R Us-exclusive Marvel Legends two-packs planned for this year.  Because of Infinity War’s release date, this set was already produced and some of it had made its way to TRU’s warehouses prior to their announcement of liquidation.  They’re keeping what they already had, but anything not already in their possession is going to be distributed through online retailers later this year.

VISION

Vision is very obviously this set’s star, and looks set to play quite a pivotal role in Infinity War, what with possessing one of the Infinity Stones and all.  His design has remained consistent through all three of his MCU appearances so far, so this figure has an easy time of picking an appropriate look.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Okay, so first minor complaint about the figure: his height.  Bettany is 6’3”.  On a strict 1:12 scale, the figure’s height is fine, but Legends hasn’t really ever been on a strict 1:12 scale.  Bettany is the same height as Chris Hemsworth, and while the Thor figures have a tendency to slightly over-state Hemsworth’s height, I feel Vision should be at least a little taller, so as to not be totally dwarfed by Thor.  Moving past that, it’s worth noting that this figure is sporting a brand-new sculpt.  I have a few minor nit-picks, mostly having to do with him seeming a bit too skinny.  That said, the overall quality is pretty top-notch.  The likeness on the head bears a decent resemblance to Bettany, and the texture work all throughout the body is definitely impressive.  He’s certainly on par with the recent kick of very strong MCU sculpts.  Even the cape has a nice flow about it, and captures the intricate nature of the design from the films.  Vision’s paintwork is pretty decent.  The metallic colors are fun, and he uses the same face printing technique as the others for his eyes.  His cape is a slight letdown; the semi-translucent effect is nice, but rather than fully detailing the back of the cape like in the movie, he’s just got several streaks of metallic pink going down the back.  It gets the general effect alright, but it does rob the sculpt of some of its impact.  Vision’s packed with two sets of hands.  The standard ones are in open gestures, which feel very true to the character, and there’s also a pair of fists.  You know, for punchin’.

SCARLET WITCH

Scarlet Witch’s design has only changed minimally since Civil War, so it follows that this figure is mostly just a retread of that one.  It’s the same exact sculpt, which is fine by me, since that sculpt was a favorite of mine.  It still holds up well two years after its release.  The figure gets a new paint scheme, detailing her lighter hair color from this film, as well as upgrading her to the new face printing tech, which has improved her likeness to an amazing level I didn’t realize was possible.  I thought the Civil War release was pretty solid at the time when it hit, but this release makes that one look kinda goofy.  This figure also ditches the effects pieces form the last version, and adds in a new set.  I thought the old effects pieces were by far the weak point of the last figure, so the new pieces are a very welcome addition.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been wanting Vision since 2015, so I was happy to hear he’d be getting a figure courtesy of Infinity War.  I was less happy to hear it would be a TRU exclusive, and even less so when they announced the impending closures.  I initially thought I might be missing this set, but then when Entertainment Earth put it up for pre-order, I planned to just wait to get it from them.  Then TRU started clearing out their warehouses, and I walked in one day to find a case of this set sitting on the shelf.  That was most definitely a pleasant surprise.  If only I’d had more experiences like that *before* they were going under.  Vision isn’t a perfect figure, but he’s a very, very good one, and an awesome addition to my collection.  Scarlet Witch takes a figure I already loved and makes it bafflingly better than it was before.  This is a fantastic set, and I hope everyone who wants one can get one.

#1645: Hiding Scooby-Doo & Funland Robot

HIDING SCOOBY-DOO & FUNLAND ROBOT

SCOOBY-DOO! (IMAGINEXT)

“Why is Scooby-Doo hiding in a trash can?  Because everything in the theme park is mysteriously running by itself!  But that’s not all that sends Scooby running—a mysterious robot is chasing him!”

I don’t have a huge collection of Scooby-Doo figures (though it’s actually increased by 400% in the last two years, if you’re keeping track).  For the longest time, my entire collection was made up of two figures.  One of them was Fred, my favorite member of the Scooby Gang.  The other was Charlie, the Funland Robot, by far my favorite “monster” (though it’s a loose use of the term).  I know, what a shock; Ethan likes the robot.  Crazy.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is one of three two-packs in the 2018 assortment of the Imaginext Scooby-Doo! line.  Each two-pack is one member of the gang and one monster.  This one’s a solid pairing, giving us the Funland Robot alongside a hiding Scooby-Doo seen in the Funland Robot’s episode “Foul Play in Funland.” (okay, technically Scooby’s hiding in a barrel, not a trash can, in that episode, but it’s close enough).

HIDING SCOOBY-DOO

Admittedly, this Scooby variant is less of a figure in its own right and more a glorified accessory to the other figure.  But, it’s billed as a separate figure on the package, so I’ll count it the way they want me to.  I’m nice like that.  The figure stands just shy of 3 1/2 inches tall.  He’s got no actual articulation, but he does have a spring-loaded action feature that pops his head and feet out of the trash can.  It’s pretty nifty, I suppose.  Scooby’s sculpt is unique, rather unsurprisingly.  The trash can is basic in details, but has a few more in-depth areas of dents and dings.  The button that activates the action feature is rather obvious, but it’s small enough not to ruin the whole effect.  The lid and top of the can are slightly bent, so that when the head is fully retracted, you can still see Scooby’s eyes peering through.  The actual Scooby parts are fairly standard, rather un-stylized for the line, truth be told.  He lines up pretty well with the standard Scooby figure I looked at earlier this year.  Paint is largely minimal on this particular figure; it’s just on the eyes and nose.  Everything else is just done up in the proper colors.  The grey on the trash can is a little bland, but it’s not terrible.

FUNLAND ROBOT

The main star here is definitely this guy.  The Funland Robot’s a distinctive looking character from the show, who’s sadly lacking in toys when you really get down to it.  The figure stands 2 3/4 inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation.  His movement is the same basic set-up as the other Imaginext figures I’ve  looked at.  It’s pretty solid for the size and style.  His sculpt is unique to him, and it does a good job of capturing his in-show design and translating it into the style of the toyline.  He’s a design that certainly works quite well in this particular style, and I appreciate the small touches, such as the small wrinkles at the base of his pants legs.  Like Scooby, the Funland Robot’s paint is fairly minimal.  The majority of the colors are molded plastic, and tend to work pretty well.  Like the older figure I looked at, his torso is a pink color, rather than the indigo shade from the show.  I’d say it’s a licensing thing.  The actual paint on the face is pretty clean, and captures the character’s likeness, with a fun bit of stylization thrown in for good measure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Imaginext purchases are rather sparse.  My Scooby-Doo purchases are also pretty sparse.  So, how did I come upon this set?  Well, I’ve been frequenting my closest TRU on a rather frequent basis, keeping an eye out for all the new stuff coming in from the warehouses.  My TRU has become a bit of a war zone, if I’m honest, with stuff just strewn all over the place.  I found this set sitting in the Marvel aisle of all places.  I didn’t know it existed, but I couldn’t bring myself to turn down a Funland Robot figure.