#1264: Fire Fighters

FIRE FIGHTERS

M.A.X. MINIMATES — ELITE HEROES

“Mobile Action Xtreme, the world’s premier action response team!”

A large piece of Minimates success is how closely tied they are to all sorts of pop-culture.  There’s a definite novelty to having all of your favorite characters from numerous media sources in one cohesive style.  With that being said, one of the biggest holes in just about any toy collectors collection isn’t the main, licensed heroes; no, it’s actually the everyday joes who populate the background of all our favorite stories.  The cops, firefighters, soldiers, etc.  In 2010, DST offered Minimates fans the chance to add a few of those average joes to their collections, under the banner of M.A.X. Elite Heroes.  The line was sadly limited to just two series of two-packs, a box-set, and a handful of vehicles, but what was released was pretty darn awesome.  Today, I’ll be taking a look at one of the line’s sets of Fire Fighters!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

There were actually five varieties of Fire Fighters available in the M.A.X. Minimates — Elite Heroes line.  This represent the most basic of the group (the others were Smoke Jumpers and Chiefs).  This set was offered in both Series 1 and 2 of the line, with one slight tweak;  mine is the Series 2 version.  Included in this set are effectively two versions of the same figure, albeit with brown hair for one and black hair for the other.  Both figures stand about 2 1/4 inches tall and have the usual 14 points of articulation.  They use the basic ‘mate body as a starting point.  Both figures include standard Fire Fighter garb, which includes a helmet, a jacket, sleeves for the wrists, and a unique set of feet with bulky pant cuffs attached.    The pieces all sit well on the body, and look like the gear gear that the real guys use.  The details are nice and clean, and fit well with the slightly simplistic stylings of ‘mates.  The second guy includes an extra set of arms, hands, and feet, as well as a belt piece and hair, allowing for a dressed-down appearance.  There’s also a clear torso piece to allow for storage of his jacket and arms when he’s not using them. The paint on the two figures is virtually identical, apart from the previously mentioned hair colors.  This means both guys have the same face.  Most of the M.A.X guys were really generic facially, but these two were less so.  They’re still generic enough to work, but they look a bit like twins.  Fortunately, the nature of Minimates makes it pretty easy to swap the heads out if you want to.  The rest of the paint is all pretty solid; there’s some slight bleed over here and there, but nothing beyond reason.  The set was quite heavy on the accessories.  In addition to the already mentioned extra body pieces, there was a hair piece for each figure, a helmet with a mask attached, an oxygen tank, a polearm, a flashlight, the jaws of life, and a fire extinguisher, and two axes.  That’s a fun selection of extras, and allows you to build your Fire Fighters pretty much how ever you want to.  There’s a reason these sets all ended up being rather hard to find.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I completely missed the first series of M.A.X.  Literally never saw a single one in stores.  They were pretty popular, and hit at a time when I wasn’t able to just swing by Toys R Us every few days to check.  I almost missed these guys too.  One of my local TRUs was going out of business and had a good chunk of products marked down pretty far.  I ended up grabbing pretty much all of the Minimates they had in stock, which included most of the second series of M.A.X. (I never did get those Police Officers, though).  This is probably my least favorite from the set, but that’s kind of a hollow qualifier, since they were all really awesome.  It’s a shame we didn’t get more of these guys, but I’m happy I got the ones I did.

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#1106: Princess Anck-es-en-Amon & Frank Whemple

PRINCESS ANCK-ES-EN-AMON & FRANK WHEMPLE

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

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Okay, so Halloween’s passed now, but I didn’t want to review just half of the Minimates based on The Mummy (since all the other Universal Monsters Minimates reviews cover four ‘mates at a time, anyway).  With that in mind, today’s review is the second half of what I looked at yesterday.  With the “creature” covered, today I’ll be looking at the Mummy’s object of affection Princess Anck-es-en-Amon and heroic archeologist adventurer Frank Whemple!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

princessfrank2Like yesterday’s set, Princess Anck-es-en-Amon and Frank Whemple were released in the third series of Universal Monsters Minimates. The pair was exclusive to Toys R Us, but that wasn’t the initial plan.  The original intent was for Imhotep, the Sarcophagus, and Princess Anck-es-en-Amon to be released via specialty channels in a four pack that would also include an exclusive Helen Grosvenor ‘mate.  That would have left Frank as the lone TRU-exclusive ‘mate.  Of course, the end result would mean that to get a full set you’d need to buy an extra Anck-es-en-Amon, but that was something of a recurring issue with this particular line.  For reasons DST never specified, a production problem caused the specialty Mummy set to be cancelled, leaving the entire Mummy line-up exclusive to TRU, with Helen going un-released. 

PRINCESS ANCK-ES-EN-AMON

princessfrank3Here’s an interesting thing about this figure: it actually pulls double duty (which is fitting, since, had the boxed set been released, you would have needed to Anck-es-en-Amons to get a full set).  One of the cruxes of the film’s story is how closely our hero Helen Grosvenor resembles Imhotep’s long-dead love Princess Anck-es-en-Amon.  During the film’s climax, he goes so far as to dress the kidnapped Helen as the Princess.  Since the two were both played by Zita Johan, this figure effectively can be both of them.  That’s actually pretty cool, and means that even with the proper Helen ‘mate unreleased, the collection isn’t missing an important character.  Anck-es-en-Amon is built on the standard ‘mate body, so she’s just shy of 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation (though the hair and skirt restrict her movement a fair bit).  The figure has two add-on pieces for her hair/headdress and her skirt.  Both pieces are unique to this figure, and they do a pretty nice job of capturing the costume pieces from the movie.  The paintwork on the Princess is pretty solid.  While it’s not quite as astounding as what we saw on Imhotep, it’s still quite nice.  The face has a pretty good likeness of Johan in the part, and her top has a nice bit of detail and texture work.  Perhaps the coolest thing about this figure is the skirt, which has actually been molded in slightly transparent plastic, so as to make it appear shear, as her skirt in the film was.  It the sort of detail that could have easily been overlooked, but really takes the figure from decent to pretty darn cool.

FRANK WHEMPLE

Frank is really meant to be the lead hero in The Mummy, but for reasons beyond his control, he tends to be largely forgotten, since there’s not really much that’s unique about the guy.  It can’t be at all a coincidence that he got packed with the most visually interesting ‘mate in all of Series 3, since he certainly wasn’t going to move this set by himself.  Frank was built from the same standard parts as the Princess.  He too gets two add-on parts, for his hair and his jacket/tie.  The hair first appeared on the Captain America Through the Ages Armored Cap, but Frank’s prototype actually sported it a few years prior (all of the Universal Monsters Minimates were shown at once and then released two movies at a time each October for three years).  The hair looks somewhat like Frank’s from the movie, but it’s not quite spot-on.  The tux piece is a pretty cool one, and it does’t bulk him up too much like some jackets do on ‘mates.  The paint on Frank is iffy at best.  There’s a lot of slop on the edge of his shirt, which is quite annoying, and the detail lines on his face seem kind of dull.  The face also doesn’t look much like actor David Manners, but that’s probably due to his face not being a shape that easily translates to a simple cylinder.  This figure may not be the most exciting but, on the plus side, since David Manners was also John Harker in Dracula, and wore an outfit very similar to this, he can easily fit in with the Dracula set DST put out as well.  Bonus feature!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s set, I picked these guys up new from TRU, before having seen The Mummy.  While the Imhotep set is cool regardless of the movie, I think an appreciation of the movie is key to really enjoying Frank.  That being said Anck-es-en-Amon is a very, very well done ‘mate, and perhaps one of DST’s most attractive female Minimates.  Had the boxed set materialized, I think this two pack might have been an easy skip, but without that extra way to get the princess, this is kind of a must have set, if just to go with Imhotep.

#1105: Imhotep & Sarcophagus

IMHOTEP & SARCOPHAGUS

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS MINIMATES

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It’s Halloween!  Oooh, aaah, scary and what-not.  To keep with the spirit of things (funny, riiiight?  I’ll show myself out…), I figured I’d take a look at something of the horror variety.  The last three Halloweens, I’ve looked at Minimates, and I’ll be darned if I’m gonna break the tradition now.  Today’s entry, like my first two Halloween reviews, comes from DST’s Universal Monsters Minimates line.  While years 1 and 2 covered some big guns with Frankenstein and Dracula, this one goes slightly more minor, being based on 1932’s The Mummy (which is one of my personal favorites of the Universal Monsters films).  Let’s look at the film’s titular creature, Imhotep, and the thing he comes sealed in!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

mummy2So, right off the bat, let’s address something: this was technically sold as a two pack, but there’s really only one figure included.  He just gets an extra large accessory, which takes the place of the second figure.  Imhotep was released in the third (and sadly final) series of Universal Monsters Minimates.  He and the Sarcophagus were exclusive to Toys R Us (though they weren’t initially meant to be.  I’ll touch on that tomorrow).  Imhotep is seen here in the wrappings he was buried in.  He only spends about five minutes of the film’s run-time this way, but it’s what’s on the poster and just about all of the merchandise, and it’s hands down the more memorable look for the character, so DST’s choice of garb is hardly in question.  The figure is about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the standard 14 points of articulation for a Minimate.  Apart from a slightly unique right hand featuring a ring, Imhotep is a vanilla ‘mate.  No sculpted add-ons here.  This means there’s extra pressure on the paint to deliver, but fortunately this figure passes with flying colors.  The level pf painted detail on this figure is nothing short of amazing, and he’s easily got the best paint work I’ve ever seen on a Minimate (and I’ve seen a lot of Minimates).  Application-wise, the sheen is surprisingly flat for a mass market item, which does a lot to bring out the painted details.  The bandages on the body are very well crafted, match up with the wrapping seen on screen, and even sport some awesome texture to boot.  The head takes the cake, though, rendering not only Imhotep’s decaying visage perfectly, but really nailing the Boris Karloff likeness as well.  The Sarcophagus is the only extra here (and even then, it replaces a figure), but was an all-new piece.  It’s done in two parts, so that you can remove the lid and place Imhotep inside.  The lid gets the bulk of the sculpted and painted work, and it does an admirable job of translating what we see on the screen into Minimate form.  Perhaps the only downside to this extra is that Imhotep can’t properly cross his arms to mimic the pose on the lid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

At the time that this set of ‘mates came out, I actually hadn’t seen The Mummy, but being a good Minimate fan, I picked this pack up first, and was then driven to see the movie, at which point I realized that both the movie and this set were actually pretty awesome.  This ‘mate remains to this day one of my very favorite Minimates, and he’s the definite standout of the Universal Monsters line.

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#1103: Ant-Man & Falcon

ANT-MAN & FALCON

MARVEL MINIMATES

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There are a lot of different standout characters in Civil War.  For a great number of people, it was Spider-Man, and for an almost equal number it was Black Panther.  Me personally?  Vision and Scarlet Witch all the way.  There was also a pretty sizable contingent of people whose favorite bits centered around Paul Rudd’s (Gi)Ant-Man, who made the most of his screen-time.  As such, it’s not a huge surprise to see the character turn up amongst DST’s offerings for the film.  Alongside him, my favorite character from the last Captain America film (as well as one of my favorite parts of the Ant-Man film), Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Ant-Man and Falcon are the second TRU-exclusive set for Civil War, and were released alongside Series 67 of the main line (meaning the hit in late July/early August).  It’s easily one of the better pairings we’ve gotten so far.

ANT-MAN

antmanfalconmm11Like so many characters before him, Ant-Man was one of those MCU characters who’s costume changed just enough from one movie to the next to warrant a new figure (hey, at least he’s more different than Vision).  I myself never got the basic Ant-Man from his solo movie (bad me), so this guy was actually pretty cool to get, and I can’t deny that the new design is pretty sharp.  The figure is built on the basic ‘mate body, and as such stands a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has one add-on piece for his helmet.  It’s new to this particular figure and is a pretty faithful recreation of the helmet he was sporting in the movie.  The paintwork on Ant-Man is nice and sharp, detailing all of the various bits of his costume, and overall looking pretty accurate to the source material.  That’s especially refreshing with regards to the helmet, since none of the Ant-Man movie merch got his helmet down right.  Ant-Man includes a spare hairpiece for displaying Scott sans helmet, as well as a clear display stand.

FALCON

antmanfalconmm10As cool as I think Falcon’s comic book costume is, it’s understandably a little hard to adapt to real life.  So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that he was sporting more or less real-world fatigues in The Winter Soldier.  That being said, it wasn’t the most exciting design.  Over the course of his cinematic appearances, his uniform has slowly evolved into something a bit more akin to his comics appearance.  His Civil War design is his most exciting yet, keeping the real world nature of the Winter Soldier design, but also adding the the color scheme from his comics incarnation.  Structurally, Falcon uses add-ons for his goggles and backpack, as well as a unique set of upper arms (with removable posable wings), and two different gloved hands.  The end result does a very nice job of converting his onscreen appearance, and improves in a number of ways on the last MCU Falcon (which was already a pretty awesome figure).  The paintwork on Falcon is decent, though not quite as clean as the work on Ant-Man.  The detail lines are all pretty sharp, and the colors are nice and bright.  The only real downside is the sloppiness on some of the basic color work, mostly on the shoulders.  The overall look is pretty cool, though.  Falcon includes a handgun (why just the one is a little baffling, since he always has two in the film), Redwing, two different styles of flight stands (one for him, one for Redwing), and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this set while out and about looking for those pesky X-Men Legends at various TRU’s.  I was actually quite happy to find it, since these are two of my favorite characters from the movies (and the comics, truth be told).  Ant-Man is a pretty solid addition to the roster of Ant-Men, though he may not be the most exciting ‘mate to people who have the last two ‘mates.  Falcon is a really nice improvement over the last MCU Falcon, and even more welcome since that one’s a bit hard to find now.   Probably one of best sets to come out of the Civil War Minimates. 

#1094: Aliens TRU 3

KANE, PHANTOM XENOMORPH, HIVEWORLD RED ALIEN, HIVEWORLD ALIEN, LT. GORMAN, & ATTACKING ALIEN WARRIOR

ALIENS MINIMATES

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After almost two weeks of Star Wars coverage, I’m switching over to another popular sci-fi franchise (and perhaps my favorite sci-fi franchise at that), the Alien franchise!  I’ll be taking another look at the ever growing Aliens Minimates line today, with that latest round of Toys R Us-exclusive ‘mates.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The six figures covered today are all from the third TRU-exclusive series of Aliens Minimates.  Currently, five of the six figures are exclusive to this set, with only the Attacking Alien Warrior being a repeat, though there will also be a slightly differently deco-ed Kane available with the upcoming Space Jockey set.

SPACE SUIT KANE & PHANTOM XENOMORPH

alienstru3eAlthough the whole line is under the Aliens banner, that doesn’t stop DST from including sets based on the first movie from time to time (as a matter of fact, the entire third specialty assortment was Alien themed).  Kane’s shown up as a ‘mate before in the 35th Anniversary set, but this time around, he’s wearing his pressure suit, an important look for the character.  The figure uses the base Minimate body, and as such stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-ons for the helmet, torso, belt, upper legs, shin coverings, and wrist bands.  These pieces are shared with the other pressure-suited characters from the third specialty assortment, but Kane’s my first look at the pieces.  They do a very nice job of translating the movie look into ‘mate form, and there’s definitely some great detail work here.  The generic upper leg pieces look a little strange compared to the more detailed pieces, but they work well, and you do have to draw the line somewhere.  The paintwork on Kane is pretty great, actually.  The design of the helmet doesn’t allow space for anything more than the basic head under it, so Kane’s cap from the film is just painted on, but it actually looks pretty decent.  The face appears to be the same one used on the first Kane, but it’s lower on the head this time, which makes it look a bit better.  The rest of the details are all pretty sharp, and I appreciate that the quilted pattern goes all the way up his chest, rather than stopping at the armored piece.  Kane was packed with a sidearm, a flashlight, and a clear display stand.

alienstru3dThe Phantom Xenomorph is pretty much the same figure as the Xeno included in the Crew of the Nostromo set, but molded in smokey grey tinted translucent plastic.  To that end, he’s a little over 2 1/2 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  As far as variants of the Big Chap go, this one’s pretty fun, and certainly a bit more exciting than the slight head variations we’ve gotten before.  His only accessory is a clear display stand.

HIVEWORLD ALIENS

alienstru3bRemember when NECA did these guys?  Well, it’s pretty much the same principle here.  They’re based on the two warring factions of Xenos from Aliens: Genocide, and are really just another inventive way of getting two more Xeno variants out there.  They both use the standard Xeno parts, with the Red one using the “screaming” head, and the black one the closed-mouth one.  The Red Xeno is nice and vibrant, and definitely sticks out.  That being said, the Black Xeno isn’t just a straight rehash of what we’ve seen before; rather than straight black, he’s actually a very dark blue, much like the black drones were in the actual comic art.  It’s a subtle change, but it at least makes him a little different.  These two include clear display stands and nothing else.  If I’m honest, that’s a little bit of a letdown.  I had sort of hoped these might be along the lines of the Red vs Blue Spartan set from the Halo Minimates line, where a number of different pieces would be included to build all three variants of the standard Xeno (closed mouth, screaming, and inner mouth extended), but I can see how that might have not been cost effective.

DRESS UNIFORM LT. GORMAN & ATTACKING ALIEN WARRIOR

alienstru3cLt. Gorman makes his first appearance here, albeit in a more obscure uniform.  The standard Gorman’s going to be packed with the upcoming APC, so this set includes Gorman in his dress uniform from when he and Burke go to meet Ripley about returning to LV-426.  Gorman’s mostly a vanilla-mate, with only a belt add-on.  He’s missing his hat from that scene, but I don’t believe there’s a proper hat available to re-use, and new tooling obviously wasn’t an option.  This figure is mostly carried by the paintwork, which does a pretty good job recreating Gorman’s look from early in the film.  I’m not sure the head really captures William Hope, but it’s a fair attempt.  It’s worth noting that, like both Apones, Gorman’s patch still incorrectly reads “USMC”, not “USCM” like it should.  It’s a minor issue of course, but it might be nice for DST to catch that one of these days.  Gorman includes a handgun and a clear display stand.

We’ve seen this Alien Warrior several times before, starting with the Aliens vs Marines army dump set that kicked off the line.  It’s a pretty standard Xeno, so it’s hard to complain about it showing up again.  It being packed with this version of Gorman seems a bit odd, since he didn’t wear his dress uniform on the planet, but I suppose the Alien is here to make the set a little less stuffy.  The Alien includes two eggs (one opened, one closed) and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I grabbed this whole set at my local TRU a couple of months back.  They’re a bit of a mixed bag really.  Kane and the Phantom Xeno are by far the winning set here, in terms of both execution and excitement factor.  The Genocide pack is decent, but the lack of any sort of extras makes it feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.  Gorman and the Attacking Alien are perfectly fine, and it’s cool to finally have a Gorman, but nothing about this set is particularly exciting.  All in all, I’m glad to have this series, and there’s a lot to like, but they don’t have the same “wow” factor as previous series.

#1093: Imperial Hovertank Pilot

IMPERIAL HOVERTANK PILOT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

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Well, dear readers, we’ve made it to the end of the Rogue Friday stuff.  I’ve looked at all of the regular release figures that I’ve gotten.  However, I also managed to grab one of the many store-exclusives, that were up for grabs.  This one fits the theme of the last few days, being another Black Series figure. Rogue One is offering us a whole bunch of different specialized Imperial troopers, such as today’s Hovertank Pilot, who follows the precedent set by the TIE fighter pilots, the AT-AT drivers, and even the Biker Scouts, of being a trooper specifically designed to drive a thing.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

hovertankpilot2The Imperial Hovertank Pilot is part of the Star Wars: The Black Series line and is a Toys R Us-exclusive figure.  He was released alongside the latest Black Series set on Rogue Friday, but appears to have shipped in cases of just Hovertank Pilots.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and has 27 points of articulation.  So far, the figure has a totally unique sculpt, but that’s likely to change, given the closeness of the Pilot and Scarif Trooper designs.  From the looks of things, all of the Pilot’s armor but the helmet and belt is the same as the Scarif Trooper.  The helmet lacks the mouthpiece, sports a much thinner visor, and is wider at the base than the Scarif helmet, and the belt lacks the skirt, in favor of two slightly longer pouches on the frontmost pockets.  I like the design of the Pilot, but, like the Death Trooper, I’m not certain it quite fits the OT-aesthetic.  It’s certainly close (especially on the parts shared with the Scarif Trooper), but something about the helmet looks more First Order than Imperial.  Someone brought up that this figure almost looks like a first order take on the Biker Scout, and I kind of agree.  But, like I said, it’s still a solid design on its own.  The sculpt does a good job translating the design (at least from what we’ve seen of it), and features a nice assortment of smaller detail work.  In particular, I like the texturing on the clothing under the armor.  The shoulders seem a touch wide, but other than that, the proportions feel pretty solid.  The paintwork is actually a good deal better than a lot of Black Series figures.  Not only is the basic application pretty clean, but he’s also got some really great wear and tear on his armored parts, which makes him stand out a bit next to the other spotless Troopers we’ve gotten.  Here’s hoping we get more like him!  The Hovertank Pilot includes a standard Stormtrooper blaster.  Like some of the others in this series, he feels a little light on accessories, but I don’t really know what else you could give him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, I’m sure no one’s shocked to find out that I got this guy at TRU during their midnight opening event for Rogue Friday.  I actually wasn’t sure I was going to grab him, and I didn’t pick him up on my first pass.  However, when I looped back around to the Black Series figures, he was still there, and I decided to go for it.  I’m glad I did.  After K-2, I’d say this guy’s my favorite of the Rogue Friday stuff.  He’s just a very well put together figure.  I look forward to getting the Scarif Troopers on this body!

Okay, that’s it for the Rogue Friday stuff (well, mostly).  I think this launch was much more successful than the Force Awakens product, and I hope that Hasbro is able to keep it more or less consistent for the Episode VIII launch.  Only time will tell! Tomorrow, I’ll be back to some non-Star Wars figures.

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#1070: Sam Wilson – Captain America, Vision, & Kate Bishop – Hawkeye

SAM WILSON – CAPTAIN AMERICA, VISION, & KATE BISHOP – HAWKEYE

MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES

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Wow, Hasbro sure is swamping us with Marvel Legends, aren’t they?  After a fair delay, the Giant-Man Series finally hit just about everywhere, very closely trailed by the Juggernaut Series.  The Abomination and Dr Strange series are also starting to hit in some areas as well. On top of that, there have been a number of exclusive items, with Walgreens getting two figures right on top of each other, and Walmart getting a pair of exclusives (that I still need to find).  There have also been two boxed sets: the Civil War Spider-Man set (which had a movie Spidey alongside re-decoed versions of Cap and Iron Man), and a set containing Sam Wilson as Cap, Kate Bishop as Hawkeye, and Vision…as Vision!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This trio is exclusive to Toys R Us and is loosely themed around looks from the post-Axis Marvel Now! stuff.  Sam and Kate both follow a firm legacy heroes theme, which kind of makes Vision stick out a bit.  Of course, flip-side, Sam and Vision are both part of the main Avengers line-up, and Kate isn’t.  So, exactly who’s left out is really up to you.

SAM WILSON – CAPTAIN AMERICA

falccapviskateguy5We’ve gotten him in both Minimate and 3 3/4-inch form, so it was about time we got a FalCap Marvel Legend.  Bonus points for being the first Sam Wilson Legend since the Toy Biz run!  The figure is about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  Structurally, he shares several pieces with 2014’s Marvel Now! Cap figure.  He has the arms, legs, and pelvis from that figure, along with an all-new head, torso, belt, and shoulders.  The Now! Cap parts aren’t a perfect match for FalCap’s design, but they’re close enough to work without too much trouble.  The new pieces match up well with the older parts, and are pretty decent sculpts on their own terms as well.  I wasn’t 100% sold on the head sculpt at first glance (as with so many of Hasbro’s Cap sculpts, I think it looks a little too mean for the character), but after having it in hand, I actually don’t mind it.  His hair seems a little closer cropped than his usual comics appearance, but it’s not like it’s completely wrong or anything.  All in all, it’s one of those sculpts that has some minor flaws here and there, but looks a lot better as a whole, which is what really matters.  The paintwork on FalCap is pretty solid. The shades on the colors are a bit more subdued than those on Now! Cap, which is fair, since he was probably a little too bright.  These colors look about right for Sam’s comics design, and still have enough vibrance to give him some pop.  The application of said paint is decent enough, though there’s still a bit of slop, especially on the switches from blue to white.  He could be a little better, but he could also could be far worse.  FalCap includes his mighty shield, which is all well and good, but what he doesn’t include are his wings.  Sure, he doesn’t always have them, but he does most of the time, and their omission here is a bit glaring.

VISION

falccapviskateguy3Vision’s a popular guy!  This is his third Legend in the last year, and the second time he’s been in one of these exclusive three-packs.  This time around, he’s based on his Daniel Acura-designed look from the latter half of Remender’s Uncanny Avengers run, which also happens to be the costume he’s wearing currently.  If I’m honest, it feels a little over designed, though, and I miss the yellow.  Also, the red bits make it look like he’s running around half naked.   That said, I like it a bit better then his first Now! look.  The figure is about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body, with a new head and an add-on for the cape.  I was a bit disappointed with the last Vision head sculpt, so I’m happy they didn’t re-use it a third time here. This may well be my favorite Legends Vision sculpt.  It just captures the character quite nicely, and is very sharply defined features.  The cape is kind of an awkward design, but it’s been translated into three dimensions well enough.  It’s definitely a better attempt at a cape than the one Hasbro was using before (which, judging by all the currently shown figures, has been justly retired from the line).  Paint is the one real downside to this guy.  Of the three figures included in this set, this guy definitely has the sloppiest paint in the bunch.  It’s just all over the place.  I mean, he looks okay from a normal viewing distance, but up close he’s got a lot of rough edges, and there’s a few spots where the paint doesn’t really follow the sculpt very well.  That being said, the colors are at least nice and vibrant, and he stands out quite nicely on the the shelf.  Vision doesn’t get any accessories, but I can’t really think of what you’d give him, so that’s okay.

KATE BISHOP –  HAWKEYE

falccapviskateguy2At long last, Kate Bishop makes her way into the action figure world!  It took them long enough, since the rest of her Young Avengers teammates were released way back in 2006.  Of course, this costume doesn’t technically match the rest of them, and we still don’t have Cassie Lang, but let’s not kick the gift horse in the mouth here.  Kate here is sporting her more recent, jumpsuit look from the pages of the last two Hawkeye series.  It’s not a bad look (and it makes me feel a little bad that I never got one of the Now! Hawkeye figures), and it’s the one she’s been wearing for the last several years.  The figure is about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, which is definitely a good one.  It works pretty well for Kate, especially since this is the slightly more grown-up version of Kate from the last few years.  She gets a new head and lower legs, which blend well with the rest of the body.  The head does a very good job of capturing Kate, and possesses a lot more personality than is usually seen on female figures.  Kate also got a new left hand for gripping her bow, which is cool.  She has to make due with the basic open gesture right hand to be her drawing hand, which isn’t perfect, but isn’t as bad as you might think.  She also gets an add-on piece for her belt and quiver, which sits very nicely, and does a great job of completing her look.  Kate ends up with the best paintwork of the three figures in this set (which is nice, since it’s her debut figure and all).  It’s still not 100% perfect, but it’s pretty close.  Kate is packed with her bow, which is the same one included with the last few Hawkeyes, but with proper paint this time around.  Some arrows might have been nice, but the lack of them isn’t new to this figure, so it’s not hugely surprising.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these guys up from my local TRU last month.  I was actually searching (unsuccessfully) for the Juggernaut series at the time, so these guys were a little bit of a surprise.  This is a set I’ve been eagerly awaiting, ever since it’s announcement.  Kate is the main draw, of course, since she’s never had a figure before, and I’m a pretty big Young Avengers fan.  She’s the strongest figure in the set, too, making her the   real star here.  That being said, FalCap was somewhat overdue, the new Vision is much appreciated, and both figures are both really solid additions to the line.  Unlike prior sets, all three figures included here are real winners, and I don’t think any of the three feels like a forced heavy hitter.

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#0941: Space Marine Lt. Ripley

SPACE MARINE LT. RIPLEY

ALIENS (NECA)

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A little over three weeks ago, it was Alien Day, a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Aliens, the greatest movie of all time. There was lots of awesome stuff going on to celebrate (I even got to see Aliens on the big screen!). NECA, who’ve been making Aliens figures for several years now got in on the fun by offering an exclusive figure in partnership with Toys R Us. So, without further ado, here’s Space Marine Lt. Ripley!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

KenRipley1Ripley is a part of NECA’s ongoing Aliens line. She was a special one-off exclusive, so she’s not officially part of a specific series. However, she falls in between Series 7 and Series 8 as far as the timeline of releases goes. So, we’ve got Ripley from the first movie, Ripley from the second movie, and Ripley from the third movie’s in Series 8; what version of Ripley is this? Well, it’s not Ripley from the fourth movie, that’s for sure. This Ripley isn’t based on a movie incarnation at all: she’s instead based on Kenner’s Lt. Ripley from their ‘90s Aliens line. NECA started using Kenner variants in their Predator line when they started running out of movie designs, so it’s not a huge shock to see them go that route with Aliens too. This Ripley stands 7 ¼ inches tall and she has 26 points of articulation. Since she was meant to be a figure that could be turned around relatively quickly, most of Ripley’s sculpt is the same as the Series 5 version of the character. That was a fantastic sculpt, and is perhaps one of my favorite NECA sculpts to date, so the reuse is far from a bad thing. There are still a few minor nits, but the good outweighs the bad by like a whole lot. In addition, the Kenner Ripley was based on the same basic design as the Series 5 Ripley, so the sculpt really isn’t far off. To help seal the deal, Ripley gets one additional add-on piece for her bandana, which does a suitable job of capturing the Kenner piece, while at the same time fitting right in with the rest of the sculpt. The rest of the changes in design are handled via the paint job, which I must say is quite impressive. The ‘90s were a truly garish time for fashion, and Kenner’s Ripley was not unaffected by this. However, despite not toning down the colors all that much, NECA’s managed to make Ripley not look super ridiculous. To the casual fan, she’s a fairly serviceable normal Ripley, but a toy fan should be able to instantly recognize the reference. The original Kenner Ripley included a huge freaking flamethrower thing. To properly replicated this would have required a whole new tool that wouldn’t have been useful for too much else. So, instead of that, this Ripley gives us our first look at the Smartgun that’ll be included with Series 9’s Vasquez. Ripley has a little trouble holding it, since it’s not what her hands are designed to hold, but it’s an awesomely sculpted piece. Also, as a neat little throwback, the figure also includes a reprint of the comic included with the original Kenner Ripley (These really need to be put out in a collected edition of some sort).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Oh boy, was getting this figure an ordeal. I hit up my local TRU on Alien Day with no luck finding this figure. I also had no luck finding at any of the nearby TRUs for the next two weeks. In addition, it sold out of TRU’s online store in a few hours, and then the product page disappeared, so I had no luck there. However, patience persevered, and TRU listed more stock online, allowing me to get the figure. Yay. I’m glad I got this figure. Sure, I have most of it already, but it’s an incredibly fun variant, and a wonderful throwback to my very first Aliens figure.

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#0923: TRU Aliens Minimates Series 2

ELLEN RIPLEY, SCREAMING XENOMORPH, SGT. APONE, GLOWING ALIEN, PVT. DRAKE, & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

ALIENS MINIMATES

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Well, it’s been almost a week since Alien Day, and I’ve started to miss those scary acid-bleedy monsters. So, how about another Aliens review? And, for extra fun, why not some more Minimates? Yeah, that’ll be cool, because I just got this brand-new set of them from Toys R Us. Let’s have a look at them!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These six were released as the second Toys R Us-exclusive series of Aliens Minimates. The pack breakdowns are Ripley and the Screaming Xeno, Apone and the Glowing Alien, and Drake and the Extra-Damaged Alien. Typically, I review Minimates one two-pack at a time, however, all but one of these figures are slightly tweaked versions of previously reviewed ‘mates. Rather than drag them out for the better part of a week, I thought I might as well get them all out of the way, since there’s not much new to review.

ELLEN RIPLEY & SCREAMING XENOMORPH

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Ripley’s the real star of the franchise, so it’s not a huge shock that she’s also the human with the most variations. This Ripley is a slight tweak of the Alien 35th Anniversary boxed-set version, reviewed here. The only difference between the two figures is the facial expression, which is a slightly cleaned up version of the Hive Assault Ripley from Series 1. The new face definitely helps her resemble Sigourney Weaver a bit more, resulting in a AliensTRU2eslightly superior figure. That said, the issue with the incorrect hair is still present, and is made more glaring by the fact that this is the second time we’ve seen it happen. Aside from that issue, she’s a pretty solid figure, just like her predecessor. Ripley includes a flamethrower (no flame trail, though), Jonesy the cat, a facehugger, and a clear display stand.

Not to be outdone by Ripley, the Big Chap goes for his fourth variation. This one’s a combination of two of the prior figures: he’s got the paint scheme from the “Crew of the Nostromo” set, with the head from the first set (albeit with the inner mouth removed). Not really much to say about this one, other than to say it’s just as good as all the other Xenos in the line. The figure includes a closed egg and a clear display stand.

SGT. APONE & GLOWING ALIEN

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Well, I was wrong. In my review of the Series 1 Apone Minimate, I said he’d likely only get one Minimate appearance, and here he is with his second Minimate. Lucky him. Like Ripley, the only difference between this Apone and his prior ‘mate is his facial expression: he’s turned in his more collected (if still pissed off) expression for a more intense, teeth gritting one. This Apone’s clearly from his final moments in the hive, as he’s caught in a firefight. The resemblance to Al Matthews is lessened a AliensTRU2fbit by the new expression, but it’s not hard to figure out who it’s supposed to be, and the expression is worth the tradeoff. The rest of Apone’s details are identical to the last release, right down to the transposed letters on his USCM patch (it says “USMC”). Apone is packed with his baseball cap, an M41A Pulse Rifle, a newborn alien, and a clear display stand.

The other half of this set is the one truly new figure in this series: the Glowing Alien. No, you didn’t miss a scene in the movie; no aliens ever appear like this. He’s just a fun variant cooked up by DST. Sculpturally, he’s the same as any other Alien from the line (his head is the “Screaming” version). What sets him apart is the clear green plastic he’s been molded in. The figure isn’t just clear green, though; if you let him charge in sunlight for a while (and I mean a good, long while), he lives up to the adjective he’s given by the front of the box and does a bit of glowing. The Glowing Alien includes another egg, also closed.

PVT. DRAKE & EXTRA-DAMAGED ALIEN

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Okay, I had kind of figured that Drake might get a second ‘mate, and this one gives me pretty much exactly what I expected. This figure’s more or less the same as the Series 1 Drake; like Ripley and Apone, he just gets a new expression. Instead of the sly grin of the last figure, this one’s mid-yell, that honestly feels a bit more appropriate for Drake. Sadly, Drake is still lacking the flack vest under his armor, instead just sporting the normal fatigues. It wouldn’t be a big issue, if not for the extra pieces included. Drake comes with an extra head, sporting the acid burns he gets at the end of the hive attack. AliensTRU2gAt that point in the film, Drake had ditched his smartgun and its harness, which is when we see the flack vest. Of course, everything about this series points to them being put together as quickly as possible, so there probably just wasn’t time to do a new torso detailing. In addition to the extra head, Drake includes his smartgun, a hat without the headgear, a flamethrower (w/ flame trail), a newborn alien, and a clear display stand. It might have been nice to get a hairpiece without the hat, since Drake loses the hat at the same time as the harness, but he has enough extras that I don’t feel gipped.

We’ve gotten a number of Battle-Damaged Aliens over the course of this line. What makes this one different? He’s Extra-Damaged! No, but really, there are different blood splatters. Seriously, you guys probably don’t get how big a deal that is, but I’ve got like four of these already, all with the same damage. Some variety is much appreciated. Other than the slight change in blood splatters, this figure’s the same as the one included with Vasquez. The Extra-Damaged Alien includes another egg, open this time, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

On Alien Day, NECA released a re-deco of their Aliens Ripley figure through Toys R Us. I was busy during the day, but my Dad was nice enough to stop by a TRU during his lunch. He didn’t find the Ripley figure, but he did find these three sets. They’re not a bad consolation prize. Sure, there’s not a whole lot of newness to them, but each set has at least something exciting, especially for an Aliens geek like me!

#0913: Vision & Hawkeye

VISION & HAWKEYE

MARVEL MINIMATES

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Civil War is almost upon us (well, some people have already seen it. Lucky ducks…) and the tie-in product is starting to hit, though not as explosively as in prior years. Still, there’s notably more stuff then we got for Winter Soldier. As with all the recent Marvel Studios films, there are some Minimates based on the movie, and the Toys R Us assortment just started showing up. Today, I’ll be looking at two of my favorite Avengers, Vision and Hawkeye!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vision and Hawkeye are the Toys R Us-exclusive set from the first series of Civil War Minimates (which are Series 66 of the specialty Marvel Minimates line). It’s actually fairly amusing that their packed together, since Vision and Hawkeye’s very first Minimates (from way back in Series 20) were also packed together.

VISION

VisionHawkeyeCW2With the exception of the face detailing, this Vision is the same as the Series 63 version of the character. That was a pretty nice translation of the film version of Vision, and since his design hasn’t changed between the two movies, the new figure’s pretty accurate to Civil War as well. He gets a new, more detailed face, which has a better likeness of Paul Bettany, and adds some of the detail lines that were absent from the last figure’s face. There’s actually a pretty good rationale for this almost total re-release: Vision was a specialty exclusive in the AoU assortments, meaning he was one of the two Avengers not available to TRU consumers. Now everybody gets a Vision! Vision includes both a clear display stand and a flight stand.

HAWKEYE

VisionHawkeyeCW3Of all the costumes in the first Avengers movie, Hawkeye’s was the one that most disappointed me. Hawkeye’s got one of the coolest costumes in comics, and the movie version sucked a lot of the originality out of it. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, since Hawkeye’s gotten a slightly tweaked design in both subsequent reappearances. In AoU, he added a pretty cool coat to his look, but he still seemed to lack some of his comics counterpart’s flair. Civil War seems dead set on amending that, as it’s given Hawkeye possibly his coolest look yet, taking major cues from his West Coast Avengers/Heroic Age design. This ‘mate replicates that design. He has add-on pieces for his hair, quiver, and holster. All of these parts are re-used pieces (being mostly fairly generic parts), but they certainly fit what we’ve seen of Hawkeye’s look so far. Hawkeye’s paintwork is pretty impressive, with a whole ton of great detail work on his uniform, giving him a lot of dimension. His colors also pop; I think this is my favorite shade of purple that I’ve seen on a movie Hawkeye. The likeness on the face bears a resemblance to Jeremy Renner, but I think the Winter Ops Hawkeye still has the closest resemblance. Hawkeye includes a bow, three arrows, a pistol, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across this set at my local TRU. Shocking, right? For whatever reason, this was the set I was most looking forward to in this series. Vision’s essentially a re-release, but the minor changes go a long way, at least for me, and I prefer this one to the AoU version. The new Hawkeye design is pretty strong, and it translates quite nicely to the ‘mate aesthetic, resulting in what is probably the best MCU version of the character so far. This set might be easy to overlook, but it’s definitely one I’m glad I got.