#1475: Mary Jane

MARY JANE

SPIDER-MAN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

Back in the day, when super hero movies actually got dedicated toy lines at mass retail, one of the nicer things they offered were figures of some of the less dynamic members of their supporting casts.  Perhaps one of the best examples of this is the toy line for 2000’s Spider-Man film, which gave us figures of J. Jonah Jameson, Norman Osborne, and today’s focus figure, Mary Jane Watson!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mary Jane was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man: The Movie toy line, alongside variants of Spider-Man and Green Goblin, as well as a Peter Parker.  She’s seen here in her red dress she wears during the first movie’s World Unity Festival scene.  While it’s not necessarily a definitive look for her, it’s easily the most distinctive look from the movie, and more exciting than her others.  The figure stands a little under 6 inches tall and she has 10 points of articulation.  Though many of the figures in this line were super-posable, MJ was on the lower end, more on par with the X-Men: The Movie figures.  Like those figures, there’s not a ton of poses possible, but you can get at least a little bit of variety out of her.  The sculpt was unique to this figure, and it’s actually pretty good for the time.  The proportions are still a little bit exaggerated, and the articulation isn’t integrated as flawlessly as I might like, but it looks solid overall.  The detail work on the dress is actually pretty nice, and the likeness on the head isn’t a half-bad Kirsten Dunst.  The paintwork on MJ is pretty solid overall, apart from a few small nits.  The skin’s a little pasty, and the face is a bit sloppy, but the work on the dress is nothing short of amazing.  It definitely makes this figure worthwhile.  MJ is packed with a section of balcony, which is meant to work as a stand, I suppose.  There’s no foot pegs or anything, and it’s only really stable if you’ve got a window to mount it on, but it’s still a pretty cool piece.  There’s a breakaway feature, allowing it to split, not unlike the damage seen in the movie.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

17 years ago, I picked up this figure in a Toy Zain toystore.  She was rarer at the time, so I almost got her, but she was also $7.99, which was a $2 mark-up from the usual going rate, and I just didn’t know if she was worth it to me.  So, I didn’t get her.  And then I didn’t really see her again, until a few weeks ago, when Cosmic Comix put her out, as one of the many figures they’d gotten as part of a larger collection.  The price?  $7.99.  Nowadays, that’s not so bad, and I was hardly going to leaver her behind again.  She’s actually not a bad little figure, certainly not for the time. 

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#1467: Rogue

ROGUE

X-MEN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

“The genetic abilities of the young drifter known as Rogue are both a blessing and a curse. The young mutant has the power to absorb the memories and powers of others through the slightest touch, but because she has no control over this talent, she must keep even those she cares for at a distance. She first met Wolverine when he saved her from an attacking angry mob and feels a special kinship with him because she once used her powers to absorb his mutant healing factor and memories in order to save her life. As a result, she understands why the mysterious loner has such a troubled soul.”

For 2000’s X-Men movie, Rogue was somewhat refitted into a focal point character, through whom the audience could be more easily introduced to the titular team of mutants.  Since it’s not a role the character had previously filled, she was refitted with some traits from the last two characters to fill this role, Kitty Pryde and Jubilee, which ended up making her a little less Rogue-like.  Still, she got to be a very central figure in on of the franchise’s most visible offerings, so it’s hardly the worst thing ever, right?  And she got toys out of the deal, which is always a win in my book.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men: The Movie tie-in line of figures.  The first two series of the line were actually released simultaneously, something Toy Biz did with a few lines at the time.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Most of that articulation is rendered essentially inert, thanks to some very low range of motion.  The neck has the hair to contend with, the cuffs of the jeans restrict the feet, and the hips are v-hips that are so shallow they barely even count as v-hips.  Essentially, she’s good for standing, and that’s about it.  Oh, and she can also wave her arms around.  That’s fun!  The sculpt was an all-new venture, and it’s decent enough for the time, I guess.  The body seems a little skinny for Anna Paquin, and the head doesn’t really look all that much like her, but it’s decent enough from a purely aesthetic standpoint.  She looks like an actual person, which is always a good thing.  The paint work is passable, if maybe a little basic for a figure that’s supposedly based on a real person.  There’s at least some fun detailing on her blouse and undershirt.  She’s got a streak of white in her hair, showing that she’s supposed to be from the end of the movie.  It’s only in the final film ever so briefly, and even the prototype didn’t have it, but one can certainly understand why Toy Biz would want Rogue to have at least one recognizable trait.  Rouge included an overcoat and scarf, both cloth, which completed her look from the film.  They were both rather over-sized and goofy, but better than nothing, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After rushing out to get Cyclops and Jean Grey when they were first released, I patiently waited for my 8th birthday to get the rest of the line.  Rogue was near the top of my list, but she and Toad were both short-packed, meaning they weren’t found for my actual birthday.  However, I did get a little money, which I immediately took to the nearest Toys R Us, where I found both Rogue and Toad in one fell swoop.  Nifty! Rogue is perhaps not the most thrilling figure, but she’s a pretty solid standard civilian, and you don’t get many of those.

#1458: The Thing

THE THING

FANTASTIC FOUR (TOY BIZ)

“Ace test pilot Ben Grimm found his life was forever changed after a fateful trip on an untried spacecraft. Exposure to cosmic rays caused Grimm to evolve into a hulking, brutally strong creature, with a thick, orange, rock-like hide. Dubbing himself The Thing, Grimm, along with Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Invisible Woman, decided to make the most of his transformation and aid humanity by becoming a valued member of the Fantastic Four. His unbelievable strength and endurance, combined with his bravery, loyalty and innate kindness make The Thing one of the most heroic humans ever to walk the Earth!”

Almost exactly four years ago, I spent several of my earliest reviews on this site looking at six of the seven figures in the first series of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line from the ’90s.  I didn’t review the seventh because he was the only one I didn’t own.  Now I own him, and so now, after four years, I’m completing my reviews of Fantastic Four Series 1.  Let’s look at Benjamin J Grimm, aka the ever-lovin’-blue-eyed-Thing!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As touched on in the intro, the Thing is one of the seven figures in Series 1 of Toy Biz’s Fantastic Four line, based on the cartoon from the mid-90s.  Ben, like the rest of the titular team, is wearing a variant of his John Byrne-designed costume from the ’80s.  It’s a standard look, and was his main look in the cartoon, so it made sense here.  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  This version of Ben was sporting an all-new sculpt, which was only ever used for this one figure (barring a few direct re-releases).  Unlike later Thing figures from this line, this guy wasn’t directly based on the cartoon, and as such presents a slightly more detailed take on the character.  I think this may be the best sculpted Thing figure that Toy Biz ever released, quite frankly.  It’s really very good.  There’s a ton of detailing on his rocky skin, he’s got just the right build, and they even managed to very nicely convey Ben’s attitude on the face.  What’s more, the belt on his shorts even has little wrinkles and some stretching, which is an awesome touch.  Comparing this figure to something like Mole Man, who is from the very same series as this figure mind you, is like night and day.  Whoever sculpted this guy had a fun time.  Now, I’m not going to say that the paint ruins this figure, because it certainly doesn’t, but there’s a definite step down from the sculpt to the paint.  There’s paint for the eyes, the belt, and the shorts.  That’s it.  The rest is all the same shade of molded orange plastic.  That was Toy Biz’s style at the time.  That was the style of action figures in general at the time.  And it doesn’t ruin the figure.  But this sculpt would look a ton better with even the tiniest bit of accent work.  The Thing included no accessories, but he does have a “Clobberin’ Time Punh” action feature: when you turn him at the waist, his arms swing up and down. Fairly standard for this era of figures, but I like that it adds a little something to the figure without risk of ruining the sculpt or posability.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Growing up, my main version of Ben was the trench coat-wearing variant from Series 3, so I never had this one.  I’ve been on the lookout for one for a few years now, but it was never a really a search I put a ton of effort into.  This year at Shore Leave, one of the vendors I buy from pretty regularly had gotten in a stock of new loose figures, and thrown some of the more beaten-up figures into the dollar bin.  I was mostly happy meal toys, knock-offs, and the like, but I did dig this guy out.  He was covered in god-knows-what, but I figured it was worth it to grab him and see what sort of condition he was in.  So, I got him home, and I sat down with my cleaning supplies, and after about a half an hour or so, I had a Thing figure that was in pretty great shape.  And now my Series 1 set is complete.  For a dollar.  Not bad.

#1456: Annihilus

ANNIHILUS

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Power mad is the only word that can describe the flying nightmare known as Annihilus. He’s not satisfied being the merciless ruler of his own dimension, the bizarre Negative Zone – he wants to be the tyrant of Earth’s universe too! And because he carries the near-limitless force of the awesome Cosmic Control Rod on his chest, he has the power to make his wicked dream a reality! Only the Fantastic Four have been able to block his nightmarish plans of conquest.”

The foes of the Fantastic Four don’t ever seem to get much respect.  Beyond Doctor Doom and Galactus, it’s like they don’t exist.  And that’s a shame, because the FF have a lot of really fun villains.  One such villain is Annihilus, the ruler of the Phantom Zone.  Annihilus has had a few different figures over the years, but he got his very first in 1992, in what was effectively luck of the draw.  I’ll be looking at that figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Annihilus was released in Series 3 of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line.  Series 3 included Toy Biz’s first versions of the Fantastic Four, and they needed a villain to go along with them.  However, Doctor Doom had already been released in Series 1, meaning TB needed another villain.  Why they chose Annihilus is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps they just thought he had the coolest design?  Who knows?  Annihilus is seen here sporting his classic design, which I believe was still the only one he had at the time of this figure’s release.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  Like most of the others from this line, Annihilus’s sculpt is rather dated, and looks a little out of place with more modern items, or even figures from just a few years later in TB’s run.  The details are a little more simplified, and, most noticeably, he’s really scrawny.  This was a recurring issue, after Toy Biz moved away from the slightly stockier figures of the first two series, where everyone went too far the other direction.  I don’t believe Annihilus has ever been quite this small.  It should be noted, though, that this is still not a bad sculpt.  There’s some nice work on some of the smaller details, especially on the head, which looks good for the time, if perhaps a little goofy in this day and age.  Though jiust how they’d be handled on later figures would vary, the wings on this Annihilus are permanently affixed to the figure, and much like the original Toy Biz Archangel, there’s a wing-flapping action feature that’s operated by the little lever on the back.  It doesn’t offer a ton of motion, and the wings are sort of small and silly, but it’s a mildly amusing little feature.  Paint on Annihilus is fairly simple.  Mostly, he’s just molded in the proper colors, with only a few actual painted details, which are all just straight colors.  It’s hardly inaccurate to his original design, though, so it’s hard to really complain.  Perhaps some metallics would have added some flair, but beyond that, this feels decent enough. Annihilus included no accessories, but he’s got the wings, so that’s at least something.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t have this figure growing up.  Instead, I had the later one from the main Fantastic Four line.  Unfortunately, that one had a removable head, and I lost mine, so I’ve been without a proper Annihilus for a little while.  I’m slowly working my way to getting a complete run of Toy Biz 5-inch figures, so I grabbed this guy at the Dave Hart Toy Show this past summer, in an effort to get one step closer to my goal. He’s sort of a goofy little figure. There’s no denying that.  But, he’s still entertaining, and that’s really all I look for in an action figure.

#1443: Moon Knight

MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL’S GOLD (TOY BIZ)

“Moon Knight possesses superhuman strength. His strength varies with the phases of the moon, being the strongest at full moon.  Moon Knight is an experienced fighter (used to be a boxer, marine and mercenary). He’s also skilled in the use of a great variety of weapons.”

Another Moon Knight for you, Konshu!!!

Hey, look at that, it’s another Moon Knight figure.  It’s been just over a month since the last Moon Knight figure, so why not have another one, right?  Three years of reviews without a single Moon Knight, and I’ve gotten three of them in the last four months.  What are the odds?  Ah, who cares?  Let’s just move onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight was part of Toy Biz’s 11 figure Marvel’s Gold line, which was a sub-set of their 5-inch Marvel line available exclusively through specialty retailers.  The line made use of entirely re-used parts, and was notable for giving figure debuts to several cult favorite Marvel characters, including the esteemed Mr. Knight here.  This figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and he has 9 points of articulation.  Moon Knight was built on one of Toy Biz’s Hercules figures from their Legendary Journeys tie-in line, which was itself a slight re-tooling of X-Men’s Gladiator.  It’s a slightly odd choice for Moon Knight, truth be told, and makes him a fair bit bigger than he’s usually depicted.  I personally would have preferred the Daredevil or Archangel bodies, both of which were frequently used pieces in this line, and I feel would have better summed up Moon Knight’s usual look.  Not helping matters on the oversized body front is the head, which is just a standard Spider-Man head.  There’s really nothing wrong with the head itself, but it’s really small when compared to the body, which only emphasizes the puffiness of the base.  To aid in fully transforming this figure into Moon Knight, there are also two cloth add-on pieces, for the cloak and the belt.  The pieces are slightly goofy looking, but the cloak does at the very least help to sort of mask the size differences between the head and the body.  It takes a little bit of work, but you can actually get the cloak to look pretty nice if you try.  In terms of paint, Moon Knight is actually pretty solid.  He’s largely done up in this great pearlescent white, which looks super slick, and then there’s black line work for his costume details.  It’s all pretty sharp and looks pretty polished for a straight re-paint.  Moon Knight included no accessories, which is a slight bummer.  At the very least, his staff would have been nice.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I always wanted this figure growing up, but the Gold Series’s distribution was rather spotty, resulting in lots and lots of certain figures, and next to none of others.  Moon Knight was one of the ones I never saw.  I’ve kept an eye out over the years and ended up finding him at the Factory Antique Mall (America’s Largest Antique Mall!…in case you didn’t know) just this past summer.  Amusingly, I found him while I was still desperately searching for the new Legends figure.  In light of more recent Moon Knight figures, this one maybe hasn’t aged so great, but the 5-inch scale is kind of my jam and I’m super pumped to finally have this guy in my collection.  You can never have too many Moon Knights, right?

#1430: Thor

THOR

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Thor, the legendary Norse God of Thunder, is the most powerful Marvel Super Hero. With his amazing hammer, Mjolnir, Thor can fly, smash through any obstacle and create and control the mightiest storms – even tornadoes and hurricanes. Though Thor’s home is Asgard, where all the Norse gods live, Thor spends most of his time on Earth with his friends Iron Man and Captain America helping them fight the forces of evil and injustice that threaten the world.”

Happy Thorsday everyone!  …She already did this bit earlier, didn’t she?  *sigh* This is what I get for letting other people write for the site.  Well, there goes my intro.  Anyway, I’m also looking at a Thor figure today, but I’m looking at the original, Odinson variety of Thor.  This one hails from the ‘90s, which was actually a pretty barren time for Thor figures, believe it or not.  There were only three figures of him in the space of the decade, and today I look at the first of those three.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Thor was released in the second series of Toy Biz’s Marvel Super Heroes line, alongside fellow Avenger and previous subject of review Iron Man.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  He’s ostensibly based on Thor’s classic design, though he’s a bit removed from how he usually looks.  See how he doesn’t have a cape?  There’s no missing piece there; he just never had a cape.  They left it out, for whatever reason.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Maybe they were actually basing him on Thor from Adventures in Babysitting?  I mean, he doesn’t look *unlike* Vincent D’Onofrio.  Maybe I’m onto something here.  Thor’s sculpt was unique to him, and follows the style seen with the likes of Cap, Iron Man, and Silver Surfer.  There’s a definite Super Powers sort of aesthetic, albeit a slightly dumbed down version.  It’s not quite as strong a sculpt as Series 1’s Captain America (which is probably my favorite in the line), but it’s certainly an improvement over the really goofy Iron Man sculpt.  Still, he’s kind of oddly proportioned, and the hair just sort of looks weird suddenly stopping the way it does.  Thor’s paintwork follows the sculpt in its strange lack of cohesion to his usual design.  Instead of the usual black for the tunic, this guy’s got the same blue used on his pants.  It makes for a slightly less bold look, and means he looks a little blander than usual.  It probably that doesn’t help that the little chest circles are light blue instead of silver, and the helmet is just a straight white.  The paint definitely seams a bit lax on this guy.  Thor was originally packed with his hammer Mjolnir, which mine is missing.  He also has a hammer swinging action feature built into his right arm.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Marvel Super Heroes Series 2 was pretty much entirely gone from retail when I started collecting, so I went quite a while without a Thor (all I had was the rather lackluster Marvel Masterpiece boxed set version).  I ended up getting this guy over the summer, via Yesterday’s Fun.  He’s okay, I guess.  Not anything amazing, but he fits well enough with the rest of the set of Marvel Super Heroes Avengers.

#1394: Iron Man

IRON MAN

MARVEL SUPER HEROES (TOY BIZ)

“Iron Man is the world’s greatest high-tech hero. Iron Man’s armor is made of space-age alloys and is virtually indestructible. Not only that, but the armor is filled with an awesome arsenal including energy blasting repulsor rays, a navigational computer and rocket-powered boots that can fly him at a top speed of 960 miles an hour! Iron Man is really the millionaire inventor and industrialist, Tony Stark. When he’s not wearing his armor and helping his friends Thor and Captain America save mankind from super-powered enemies, Tony’s in his lab creating a new invention to save lives or clean the environment.”

You can’t go anywhere these days without tripping over like 50 Iron Man figures, but that wasn’t always the case.  When Toy Biz took over the Marvel license back in the early ‘90s, there were only two prior Iron Man figures.  They eventually released a whole line of Iron Men, but their first figure of the character was released as part of their early Marvel Super Heroes line.  He’s kinda goofy and I’m looking at him today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man was released in the second series of Marvel Super Heroes.  Along with that series’ Thor figure, he completes the “Avengers” set started in Series 1 with Cap and Hulk.  He’s based on the Neo-Classic armor, which is more rare amongst action figures.  This was actually its first time in plastic form, and would remain its only appearance until the Marvel Legends Showdown line more than a decade later.  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 7 points of articulation.  These earlier figures kind of mimicked the Super Powers aesthetic, albeit in a slightly lower quality way.  This figure’s sculpt is…interesting.  It’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s not as nice as, say, the Captain America figure.  A lot of the figure’s issues come from the rather primitive snap-on armor.  While later Iron Men would place the focus on getting a decent starting figure and then enhancing them with extra armored bits, this figure goes for a combo Iron Man/Tony Stark.  The problem is that the end result is an Iron Man and a Tony Stark that are both off.  The armor is really bulky and has obvious clips (which are rather difficult to work with), and the underlying Tony Stark is just…odd.  Really, really odd.  I mean, just look at him.  That ain’t right.  The paint work on this guy is okay overall, but his armor is lacking a few of the yellow details.  Maybe they were working from a classic Iron Man image?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure slightly pre-dates me getting into collecting…and me existing…so I didn’t get it new.  I did eye it up a few times over the years, but it’s not the most common figure, and it was never high enough priority for me to actually go and track him down.  I ended up finding this guy at the most recent Dave Hart Toy Show back in July, for a pretty decent price.  He’s…strange?  I guess that’s the word.  I find him intriguing as sort of a pre-formed version of the later Toy Biz Iron Men, but as his own figure, he’s not Toy Biz’s strongest offering.

#1393: Buzzing Beetle

BUZZING BEETLE

SPIDER-MAN: CLASSICS (TOY BIZ)

When is a figure you want not a figure you want?  That’s a confusing question.  What I’m getting at is that sometimes, there’s a character you really want, and when they arrive, they just aren’t what you wanted at all.  That’s the perpetual story of Beetle.  He’s a B-list Spider-Man foe, so his appearance in numerous Spider-Man lines over the years is no surprise.  What’s continued to be a surprise is the versions of the character we’ve gotten.  Back when Toy Biz was still pioneering the Marvel Legends style, they gave us our first 6-inch Beetle as part of their complimentary Spider-Man: Classics line.  It was…not exactly what was expected.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Buzzing Beetle was released in Series 14 of Spider-Man: Classics as one of the two Spider-foes in the set.  The figure stands a whopping 7 3/4 inches tall and has 39 points of articulation.  This Beetle figure is based on one of the much later Beetle designs.  It’s not exactly one of the more memorable designs that the character’s had.  In fact, Abner Jenkins, the original Beetle, never even wore this armor.  He instead controlled it by remote.  It was eventually worn by Leila Davis, after Abner had given up the Beetle identity, but even that was rather short-lived.  It’s at the very least a visually interesting design.  The complexity of the design means it also requires a completely unique sculpt.  It’s pretty decent work all-in-all.  The various pieces of armor have differing textures, which adds a lot of additional cool factor to this figure.  The design also really lends itself to toy form, so the articulation can be worked in pretty well.  The hip joints are kind of obvious, as were all of these types of joints at the time.  Beyond that, it’s really pretty solid.  The “buzzing” feature was linked to the wings (which my figure is lacking) and the mechanics are placed within the torso.  Due to the sheer size of the figure, though, the mechanics really don’t impede the sculpt or articulation all that much.  There’s also a light-up feature on the visor, which turns it…red?  Yeah, okay.  The paintwork on Beetle is actually pretty great.  The metallic shades are really cool to look at, and the purple and green go really well together.  There’s also some really fun weathering on the purple bits, which helps further accentuate their already more worn-in sculpt.  In addition to the (missing) wings, Beetle also included a pair of missiles (also missing) to go in the missile launchers affixed to the figure’s forearms.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this figure a few times when it was new, and I never bought it.  I was a little bit resentful that they went with this design over the classic look.  Of course, once it was officially gone from all the regular places, I kind of regretted never picking it up.  I ended up fishing this figure out of the $1 bin at 2nd Chance Toyz, which was pretty exciting.  Sure, it’s missing a few parts, but the base figure is still cool.  Really, at the end of the day, I’m actually kind of happy this figure was made when it was.  It’s actually a pretty fun design, and it’s the sort of thing that wouldn’t really be financially feasible in this day and age.  A good toy’s a good toy.

#1387: Sauron

SAURON

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“Sauron is the most terrifying Evil Mutant. Sauron loves to silently swoop down and use his mutant power to hypnotize and drain the energy out of his victim! Then in the blink of an eye, he flies away ready to strike again! The more energy he drains, the more powerful he becomes. Because he can drain the energy from anyone, even another Evil Mutant, even Magneto, the leader of the Evil Mutants, fears him!”

Not to be confused with the evil ruler of Mordor, Sauron is one of the X-Men’s older foes, predating quite a few of the team’s more popular members (including a certain Canadian who goes “snikt”).  Interestingly enough, despite what the bio above may tell you, he’s not a Mutant.  At least not in the same way as the X-Men.  He actually got his powers after being bitten by an Antarctic pteranodon and then being exposed to the mutant energies of Alex Summers, aka Havok.  Yes, really.  Just go with it.  Despite the inherent coolness of a Pterodactyl-man, Sauron himself has only ever gotten a single figure, which I’ll be taking a look at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Sauron was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s ‘90s X-Men line.  He was one of four villains in the line-up, and he was the most obscure of the set (though that would change in quick fashion).  The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 10 points of articulation.  He lacks the elbow and knee movement that were standard at the time, but makes up for it with the addition of not only outward movement on his shoulders and a cut joint at the base of his tail, but also a hinge on his jaw, allowing for his mouth to open and close.  That’s a pretty wizard!  Sauron had a unique sculpt.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt, on par with the rest of the line at the time.  It does a nice enough job of capturing his classic comics design.  The shoulders are a little weak, and prone to tearing under stress.  Also, I’m no 100% sure what he’s supposed to be wearing, though.  Usually, he would wear the tattered remains of Karl Lykos’s pants, or perhaps a loincloth of some sort.  This is neither of those.  It’s some weird conglomeration, I guess.  Still, a solid sculpt overall.  The paint work on Sauron is pretty simple; he’s mostly just molded in a dark green plastic.  There’s a bit of paint for the eyes, the interior of the mouth, and the…whatever it is he’s wearing.  It’s all pretty cleanly applied, and what’s there works.  Less is definitely more on this one.  Sauron was packed with a big ol’ club.  You know, for clubbing stuff.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for a Sauron for a little while. I haven’t been looking particularly hard, but I’ve been keeping an eye out.  The trouble with this guy is the shoulders; loose figures will almost always have one of them broken or about to break, which doesn’t work for me.  Recently, I decided to start working on completing my Toy Biz X-Men collection, and I went to the Dave Hart Toy Show last month with this in mind.  I looked though several bins of loose figures, and put back a handful of broken Saurons, before finally finding a fairly cheap packaged sample and calling that a win.  Not a bad figure overall.  A shame he’s not a touch more durable.

#1385: Raza

RAZA

X-MEN (TOY BIZ)

“His body rebuilt as a cyborg after a near-fatal accident, the freebooting swashbuckler Raza travels the galaxy in the company of the star-spanning Starjammers, lending his sword and his courage to any battle for freedom and justice!”

The sheer character depth of Toy Biz’s ’90s X-Men line is perhaps its greatest strength.  They took full advantage of the popularity of the X-Men in the ’90s and used that to produce a very large chunk of the major and minor players in the franchise.  Even slightly older characters and groups eventually found their way into plastic form.  One of my favorite teams represented was the Starjammers, the group of space pirates introduced during the Phoenix Saga.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the more minor Starjammers, Raza!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Raza was released in Series 7 of the X-Men line.  Believe it or not, along with Ch’od, Raza was the first appearance of the Starjammers in this line.  The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and he has 11 points of articulation.  The sculpt was unique to this figure, and patterned on Dave Cockrum’s illustrations of Raza from the comics.  It’s an okay sculpt; it’s overall decent, but definitely not without issues.  A lot of the issues are to do with posing.  Raza’s pose is a little odd.  He’s a bit pigeon-toed, and his shoulders are oddly thrown back.  And, for whatever reason, his right hand has his palm facing forward.  In addition, the articulation, especially at the shoulders, isn’t well worked into the sculpt at all.  On the plus side, he does fit in pretty well with the rest of the line overall, and there’s plenty of solid work, especially on his head, which really capture’s Raza’s distinctive look.  In terms of paint, he’s pretty decent.  The colors match his colors from the comics, and the application is all pretty clean.  The colors are also nice and vibrant, which is always a nice thing.  Raza was packed with a sword and a pistol, both of which fit quite nicely in his hands (though it’s a shame his right hand doesn’t have an extended trigger finger) and stay pretty well put.  There’s also an action feature, where his arms rock back and forth at the shoulders.  It’s kind of hard to explain, and I’m not 100% sure what it’s supposed to do…

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I was growing up, my Dad had a Raza figure.  I always thought he was pretty cool.  I almost bought one of my own numerous times over the years, but never got around to it.  In actuality, I kept thinking I already had him for whatever reason.  After verifying I definitely didn’t have him, I eventually ended up getting him at the Dave Hart Toy Show in Timmonium, just about a month ago.  He’s not one of the star figures from this line, but he’s still pretty nifty.  At least he’s better than Ahab, right?