#2561: Speeder Bike

SPEEDER BIKE (w/ REBEL SPEEDER BIKE PILOT)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

“Whipping through the forests of Endor on a Rebel strike mission against the Death Star shield generator, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia battled Imperial scout troopers atop highly maneuverable speeder bikes. Considered ideal reconnaissance vehicles by the Empire and he Rebel Alliance alike, their maneuverability and acceleration is superior to both landspeeders and airspeeders. This particular speeder bike was designed and built based on production sketches found in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Sketchbook.; its creator was renowned Star Wars artist, Joe Johnston.”

Have you ever been so non-started by something that when it came time to do that thing you actually did an entirely different thing for far longer than you’d like to admit before realizing you were actually doing the wrong thing?  Because I have, and it was right here, just moments ago, when I was so “meh” on today’s review subject that I actually started up writing a review for *next* Sunday, and even got so far as uploading that review’s photos before realizing my mistake.  I’m sure that makes you guys feel real great about having to read the following review that my subconscious clearly didn’t want to write.  Well, we’re doing it anyway.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The Speeder Bike and Rebel Speeder Bike Pilot were released by Kenner in 1998, as one of three vehicle sets that accompanied the Expanded Universe sub-line of their main Power of the Force line.  While the figures were all based on established characters and designs from Star Wars media other than the movies, the vehicles on the other hand were all focused on replicating un-produced concept work from the films.  This item is, as you may have guessed, the original concept for the Speeder Bikes that would appear on the Endor sequences in Return of the Jedi, and, as the bio above notes, are based on Joe Johnson’s sketch.  In toy form, it’s about 5 inches long, and features a spring-loaded feature that swings the outriggers backward or forward.  The sculpt is definitely on the boxy side, which is true to the original sketch overall, but the process of converting the design into plastic form has made it a good deal clunkier.  This only increases its relative clunkiness when compared to its film-based brethren.  It’s not a bad looking sculpt from a technical standpoint, I suppose.  The detailing is relatively sharply rendered, so that’s good.  In addition to the outrigger action feature, there’s also a missile launcher built in, for a more offensive set-up, I guess.

Included with the Speeder Bike is its own unique pilot, the Rebel Speeder Bike Pilot.  That’s a very unique name, I know.  While the Speeder bikes in the final film were an Imperial vehicle, and subsequently had their own specific Imperial pilots, it seems at some point they were supposed to be the Rebels’ proper.  This guy’s design is rather different from any of the Rebels we actually saw in the film, with his aviator’s cap and goggles.  It’s not that far removed from the WWI/WWII film-inspirations that the movies had, and a similar design element would crop up years later when Marvel introduced Doctor Aphra into the universe.  So, it’s not inherently un-Star Wars.  The figure stands just shy of 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation.  He feels somewhat on the diminutive side for this line, and I’m not entirely sure why.  I guess he’s just like that.  His sculpt is passable, but compared to the original sketch, it definitely feels like some of the charm of the design was lost in translation.  A lot of that coolness factor just feels gone.  As it stands he’s…fine.  That’s about it.  The paint’s kind of the same deal.  He’s rather drab and not particularly eye-catching.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Expanded Universe sub-set as a whole excites me.  The vehicles from that set as a whole do not.  They’re just kind of bland and not terribly exciting, and they’re certainly not helped by the lack of the 3D back drops.  I never had much attachment to this release, which is why I never really went to the trouble of tracking it down.  I still don’t really have much attachment.  It’s okay.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set.  They’ve got a decent back stock of Power of the Force, and other cool toys both old and new, so please check out their website and their eBay Store.

#2533: Punisher with Motorcycle

PUNISHER with MOTORCYCLE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Frank Castle rides through the night dispensing brutal vigilante justice.”

Hasbro’s “Legendary Riders” subset of Marvel Legends releases is something of a dubious offering.  It’s a really obvious choice on the outset (much like it was when Toy Biz decided to devote an entire assortment to it during their run with the line), since there are a number of memorable rides in the Marvel Universe.  Unfortunately, said rides I think are more prominent in all of our heads than they are on the page, which is why, just like with Toy Biz’s assortment, Hasbro’s had to start…stretching things a bit, to cover the fact that they effectively launched a whole new line to have a good excuse to release a Ghost Rider with a motorcycle.  Admittedly, some of their figure with vehicle pairings are slightly better than others, while others seem to take a stance of “if we add the word ‘ride’ somewhere in the bio, it’ll all work out.”  Today’s review is kind of from the latter category.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Punisher heads up the sixth assortment of the Legendary Riders sub-line of Legends, as the only actually new offering contained there-in (he’s packed alongside a re-pack of Squirrel Girl, who initially shipped alongside Cosmic Ghost Rider, who, fun fact, is another variant of Frank Castle.  How about that?).  It follows the trend so far of even numbered assortments only being half new, which seems to have worked out okay so far.  We’ve gotten all manner of Punisher looks in the last couple of years, so there’s been a little bit of re-treading, but fortunately it’s not without some decent spacing.  This guy’s largely inspired by Frank’s look from Garth Ennis’s run on the book, when he opted to angle more into a real-world take on the character.  We haven’t seen this style in figure form since the Nemesis Series in 2008, so it’s fair for it to be getting an update.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  For the most part, Frank re-uses parts from the Netflix Luke Cage figure, which is a pretty decent bulked up civilian base.  It does seem perhaps slightly large for Frank, but not baselessly so.  He has been on the Reaper body, after all.  He gets a new head and arms, which are all pretty solid pieces.  Technically, there are two heads, with differing expressions, as well as levels of damage to him.  Personally, I like the gruffer, taped up look, but they both work well.  The new arms are using Hasbro’s new internal construction technique for the pins, which help keep things looking a little cleaner.  It’s all topped off by a re-use of the shoulder strap piece we’ve seen a few times now, which works well with the design.  Frank’s paint work is all pretty basic stuff, but certainly not bad looking.  Everything is nice and clean, and gets the job done.  Frank’s accessories are the coolest part of all of this.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he also gets a pretty sweet viking helmet (safety first), a sawed off shotgun, an uzi, a TEC-9, a machete, and a baseball bat.  Not a bad selection of weaponry there.

Also included, of course, is the motorcycle that justifies the “riders” portion of the set.  Now, when I think of Punisher and vehicles, I tend to think more of a van sort of thing, but that’s not very cost effective at this scale, so he gets a bike.  It’s a chopper-style bike, which seems appropriate for Frank.  I can’t say I’m familiar enough with this particular incarnation of the character to know if there’s any specific reference for this particular bike, but it looks cool, so I can’t really fight that.  It looks like the majority of the sculpt is shared with the bike from the Riders Wolverine set, but not having personally handled that set, I can’t say with absolute certainty.  At the very least, there are a few cosmetic changes, including the handle bars, which keep the two bikes unique enough that they don’t look like straight re-use.  Re-used or not, the sculpt is a very impressive one, and it looks like a relatively real vehicle.  There’s some really strong detail work going on here, and my favorite little bit by far is the license plate on the rear of the vehicle.  It’s just really well done, and it sells the realism of the whole thing so nicely.  About the only thing I’d liked to have seen that isn’t included is some weapon storage, which feels like the sort of thing that Frank would really want on whatever vehicle he ended up using.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Remember when I didn’t really like Punisher and didn’t tend to buy toys of him?  Those were the days, huh?  The turnaround time on this set felt really quick, so I didn’t really have much time to process that it was coming, or really form any thoughts about it ahead of time, so I more or less opened it up blind.  I wasn’t expecting much, but ultimately, I got a pretty fun set that feels worth while enough to justify its existence.  After being left kind of cold by both offerings in the last assortment, I’m happier with this one, and I don’t feel quite as negative about the overall prospects of the sub-line.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for hooking me up with this set to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2528: Baroness & Cobra C.O.I.L.

BARONESS & COBRA C.O.I.L.

G.I. JOE: CLASSIFIED SERIES (HASBRO)

Since its move to the 3 3/4 inch scale and subsequent re-branding under the “Real American Hero” branch of the franchise, vehicles have been a somewhat central piece of G.I. Joe.  When it became official that the line would be jumping to 6 inch scale, one of the early questions to pop-up amongst the fan base was: “What about the vehicles?”  Vehicles have been a hard-sell for the line pretty much since the end of the vintage years.  Obviously, at almost twice the size, they’re an even harder sell, but Hasbro’s dipping their toes in the water, much like they did with Star Wars, with a smaller-scale vehicle to try things out.  And, it’s also packed with one of the franchise’s central characters, so let’s see how all of that works out, I guess.

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

Baroness and the Cobra C.O.I.L. are another piece from the Target-exclusive “Special Mission: Cobra Island” sub-line of Classified Series.  They’re numbered 13 in the overall line-up, showing that the vehicles will also apparently be getting in on that main numbering scheme as well.  Also, for those of you tracking at home, you’ll see I went from 11 to 13.  That’s because 12 is the Cobra Trooper, and I haven’t yet become a miracle worker.

BARONESS

Baroness was an early addition to the toyline (and an even earlier addition to the franchise, due to being present in the comics well before her toy appeared), and has long been at the core of the franchise, so it’s no surprise that she’s getting added to this relaunch pretty early on.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 35 points of articulation.  She’s got the same articulation scheme as Scarlett, meaning she’s a touch more limited in terms of posability than some of the others in the line, but as I noted on Scarlett, she’s still very serviceable on that front. In fact, she’s actually got one improvement over Scarlett in terms of construction; her shoulder pads are their own piece, allowing them to rotate out of the way, giving the shoulder’s slightly cleaner movement.  I do still wish there was a deeper range on the elbows, but I’m overall pretty happy with the mobility on this one.  In terms of design, Baroness joins her boy-toy Destro in staying pretty faithful to the vintage figure.  Obviously, there are a lot more parts and depth to this particular iteration, but the major parts of the costume all line up pretty much piece for piece with the layout of the V1 figure’s gear.  I definitely dig this.  Her head sculpt definitely falls slightly more into the modern era depictions of the character, and I definitely see a lot of similarities to Sienna Miller’s take on the character from Rise of Cobra going on.  That being said, there really are worse parts of that movie to be borrowing than Baroness’s design.  The glasses are a separate piece that’s been glued in place, and they’re quite well scaled to the figure.  Sometimes, I’m sketchy on that sort of set-up, but it actually works here.  Baroness’s color scheme is classically just a lot of black.  This figure takes that as a starting point, but does a fair bit more with it, adding dark grey sections to her underlying body suit.  She’s also got a printed face, which looks pretty solid, apart from one errant mark on my figure.  I also quite dig the gold tips on her glasses.  That’s a fun touch!  Baroness is quite well accessorized, with a second head sporting a helmet, two golden pistols, a strange snake gun thing, two rifles, and a knife.

COBRA C.O.I.L.

Our first vehicle for the new line is honestly not a huge surprise.  Motorcycles have been a piece of the Joes since pretty much the very beginning, and it’s a good, fairly low-cost way to introduce a vehicle to the line.  The only thing that I’m left to ponder is just what C.O.I.L. stands for, because the box doesn’t share that info with us. Alas, we’ll have to figure that out for ourselves.  The cycle measures 4 1/2 inches tall by 8 1/2 inches long, and has working wheels.  When I first saw the cycle, I was honestly expecting it to have a fair bit in common with Black Widow’s bike from Marvel Legends, but the two are wholly unique from each other.  This one’s got a rather unique design to it, which looks pretty decent, and fits well with the whole overall Cobra aesthetic.  It’s definitely in line with the line’s high-end sci-fi elements as well.  Baroness sits well on it, and you can even mount the two rifles each on the sides of the bike, for some proper armaments.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Given the nightmare that other people have been having trying to locate this one, I was anticipating not getting the chance to grab it at all.  However, like with the Roadblock from yesterday, I got a call from Max, who found one while on a grocery run.  Dope!  Baroness is a really nice figure, and a fantastic companion to the Destro figure from Series 1.  I feel confident she’ll be out again in some shape or form, and probably rather soon.  The bike I can kind of take or leave, because I don’t really associate Baroness with it, and I don’t really have anyone else who quite fits it yet.  Still, it’s not a bad piece either.

#2226: First Order Driver & Treadspeeder

FIRST ORDER DRIVER & TREADSPEEDER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Oh, you probably thought I was done with Galaxy of Adventures, didn’t you?  What with the “please buy the line” urging at the end, plus that whole shot of all the figures, and it seeming like I was done.  Well…I kinda thought I was done, too.  But I forgot there was actually one more item in the launch, which is the thing I’m gonna be looking at today.  See, one of the things that was surprisingly absent on Triple Force Friday was vehicles.  With no basic 3 3/4 inch line, we only really had the Vintage Collection to go on, and that was just the two X-Wings.  Galaxy of Adventures did give us one more little reprieve of vehicle coverage, however, with an update on the speeder bike concept, the Treadspeeder!

THE TOYS THEMSELVES

The First Order Driver and Treadspeeder set is the highest price-point item in the Galaxy of Adventures line, following the classic 5 POA-style vehicle packing of “figure and vehicle”.  It’s sold in one of those open style boxes, which is always a little frightening to me, but ultimately mine was in okay condition, so no worries.

FIRST ORDER DRIVER

While the Jet Trooper is the only single-packed army builder at launch, we do get one more trooper, the First Order Driver.  Not a terribly imposing name, but it’s fairly descriptive.  The Driver merges the basic First Order Stormtrooper with a little bit of Scout Trooper.  I’m always okay with mixing in a little bit of Scout Trooper.  It’s worth noting that this particular look stays a little more on-brand than the old Scout Trooper did, making him feel more like a later-era take on the Imperial Patrol Trooper.  Ultimately, it’s a design that’s is distinctly different enough from a standard Stormtrooper to warrant them both getting a release in the line, while close enough that the lack of a basic Stormtrooper at launch doesn’t hit quite as hard.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is very similar to the Jet Trooper figure, although it’s worth noting that as similar as parts of them may look, there are no shared parts between the two figures.  I do, however, expect for this guy to have some of his parts re-used for the inevitable standard Stormtrooper.  Whatever the case, the articulation on this figure is essentially a match for the Jet Trooper, meaning that the Driver is quite mobile, which does seem pretty important for a guy who needs to be able to properly sit on a vehicle.  By this point in the reviews, the stylization of this line is pretty cut and dry.  As a masked character, the Driver is slightly less impacted by it, though it’s a little more obvious on him than it was on the Jet Trooper.  Again, there’s a real Clone Wars-vibe on him, especially with the proportions on the body, and the general layout of the articulation.  His paintwork is fairly standard, though I appreciate that he actually has a few little details on his chest piece to differentiate him from the basic Troopers.  The white/black is a clean combo, and while there’s a little bit of white bleed through on the black sections, it’s generally pretty good.  The Driver is packed with a small blaster pistol, and like the Jet Trooper, features a quick draw action.

TREADSPEEDER

The Treadspeeder is an all-new vehicle for Rise of Skywalker (though we’ve gotten a taste of it in a few of the comics ahead of the movie), but it’s not like it’s all that new a concept, and in many ways is following the sequel trilogy of similar story beats for each corresponding movie compared to the original trilogy.  But I won’t complain if you don’t.  Compared to the much smaller, much more nimble speeder bike of old, the Treadspeeder is a big boi, more of a utilitarian tank than its predecessor.  It’s an interesting design element, because other sequel trilogy elements have tended to go sleeker and more futuristic, while this seems more primitive.  Perhaps Kylo’s influence on the First Order is slowing progress a bit?  Whatever the case, it’s a cool design, and a slightly different take on things, which is never a problem.  The actual toy is definitely designed with gimmicks in mind.  The most basic and simple is definitely the rolling wheels on the bottom, which make it a bit more practical than other speeders in that regard.  Of course, since it’s a speeder, the main gimmick is a pop-apart function.  It’s been that way since ’83, and it’s not going to change now.  Pushing the button on the back pops the front plate in two separate directions and launches the driver out of his seat.  It’s a little bit temperamental, and the armor plate has trouble staying in place when you’re not using the feature, which can be a little annoying.  The speeder also has a missile launched built into one side, as well as storage for the driver’s gun on the left side of the vehicle.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so this would be the one thing I didn’t get at the same time as all of the others, mostly because it appears that Walmart isn’t carrying it.  I had looked at it at the same time that I picked up the Jet Trooper, but was ultimately unsure about dropping $25 to try out the line.  After being confident that I liked the line, I tracked it down again, courtesy of Target, who happened to be having a sale on it, which really pushed me over the edge on picking it up.  The vehicle’s not bad.  Not the best vehicle I’ve ever picked up, but not the worst thing either.  The Driver’s another solid figure, though, and I’m certainly glad to have him with my set.

#2193: Poe’s X-Wing Fighter

POE’S X-WING FIGHTER & POE DAMERON

STAR WARS: THE VINTAGE COLLECTION (HASBRO)

October 4th of this year as Triple Force Friday, the third major film product launch for Star Wars since Disney took over the franchise.  There’s been a definite cooling off of the events and their cultural impact as things have progressed and Triple Force Friday was quite indicative of this.  Despite a lot of hyping on the part of Disney’s marketing machine, it was just rather anticlimactic.  I did actually participate in an early run the morning of (since there were no midnight openings to be had near me), and picked up a whopping two things.  I know.  But, I did come up with enough items to do a week of coverage, so I guess here we go?  I’m starting things in the most me way of doing so, with a look at something Poe related, specifically Poe’s X-Wing fighter, and the guy what flies it, Poe Dameron himself.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

There were two vehicles present for the launch this year, which marks a serious scaling down from prior years.  There’s Luke’s X-Wing (which is OT-based) and Poe’s X-Wing.  That’s it.  Also unlike prior launches, these aren’t the slightly cheaper, more all-ages oriented offerings, but rather are part of the newly-returning Vintage Collection, meaning their designed to be (closer) to proper scale, and far more detailed that previous offerings.  While Luke’s fighter is purely an online exclusive, Poe’s is, in theory, supposed to be showing up at brick and mortar locations.  Like its slightly downsized counterpart from The Force Awakens, Poe’s X-Wing has a little bit of required assemble when taking it out of the box, though it’s slightly more intricate when it comes to properly getting the wings and such attached.  There are instructions included and it’s pretty straightforward, so I had no issues getting it all properly put together.  Once fully assembled, it’s definitely a big boi, at 18 1/2 inches in length and with a wingspan of 18 inches, making it noticeably larger than the previous Poe X-Wing, if still under-scaled for proper movie scaling.  It’s also a far more detailed item, with the shared details being a lot sharper on this particular offering.  Additionally, there are far less obvious points of assembly, and some of the less oft-seen parts of the ship are actually properly detailed this time around.  There’s a fully detailed cockpit this time around, which is far better scaled to the Poe figure that is intended to go in it, with a defined seat, console, and controls.  In order to make it more of a display piece and less of a toy piece (and no doubt in order to offer just a touch more customizability), the spot for BB-8 is not filled by a permanently attached BB, but instead has a spot that can hold either a BB or a classic Astromech unit.  With the BB removed, the launching mechanism for the wings also had to be moved; now it’s done via two buttons built into the rear of the ship, which are quite nicely hidden.  The vehicle also gets proper landing hear and such this time, rather than just the one foot at the front of the ship.  All three pieces of gear are designed to fold up compactly and out of the way, and are fully detailed when deployed.  They do take a little of work to get properly locked into place when deployed, but work better than I’d initially expected.  Also included with the landing gear is a little ladder, used for the pilot to get into place, which even has a dedicated spot on the underside of the ship, which is pretty darn nifty.  The biggest change to the Fighter in-universe is of course the colorscheme, which is generally a much brighter appearance.  I really dig this look, and I look forward to seeing it in action in the film.  The paint does a respectable job of capturing the colors, as well as still giving the ship a real worn-in appearance, which the prior ST vehicles have more frequently shied away from.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Unlike prior X-Wings, this one *didn’t* come packed with its pilot and droid.  There is, however, a Poe packed in the corresponding Vintage Collection assortment for the launch (if you need a BB-8, though, you’re going to have a slightly more difficult time of things), which I figured I’d take a look at alongside the vehicle.  While most of the assortment was all-new figures, Poe is actually a slight tweaking of Poe’s small-scale Black Series figure from 2015.  That figure definitely had its ups and downs, especially when it come to implementation of the articulation in the sculpt, so I myself wouldn’t have minded a fully new figure, but I’m hopeful that Hasbro’s got plans for an all-new figure in Poe’s non-piloting gear, and that this guy can be just a bit more of a place holder.  The primary selling point for this release (beyond the vintage style card, which is admittedly pretty cool) is the improved paintwork.  The last release had some pretty rough face paint, but this one uses the printing style.  It’s a little bit off center on my figure, but a marked improvement over my last figure.  Like his last release, this figure is packed with a helmet and a blaster pistol.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After being quite underwhelmed by the overall product launch, the only thing that really stuck out at the launch was Poe’s X-Wing, which I do have to say I like the new look of.  So, the Vintage vehicle was the main thing I was looking for when I hit up a handful of stores Friday morning, and was also the one thing I didn’t see anywhere at all that morning, meaning I ended up having to resort to order it online.  That sure made the getting up first thing in the morning to go out feel totally worth it.  In an effort to not feel totally defeated the day of, I grabbed the Poe re-release in person at my first hit-up.  The X-Wing is definitely a very nice piece, no doubt about it, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel it didn’t fit my sensibilities as much as the more gimmicky releases from prior films.  It also feels a lot less of package deal, given the lack of included figures.  For Poe, it’s not a huge issue, since the single card will no doubt be easy enough to get, but BB-8 has no 3 3/4 figures currently at market, which could prove frustrating to someone who doesn’t have a couple laying around.

#2079: Motorized Battle Tank – MOBAT (w/ Steeler)

MOTORIZED BATTLE TANK — MOBAT (W/ STEELER)

GI JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO (HASBRO)

“Steeler comes from a blue collar middle-class background. He put himself through college on an ROTC scholarship and work as a heavy equipment operator. Familiar and proficient with all NATO and Warsaw Pact AFV’s. Graduated Armor School, top of class. Special Training: Cadre-XAFV Project; Artillery School; AFV Desert Exercise; Covert Ops School. Qualified Expert: M-16; M-1911A1; MAX-10; Uzi.”

The first year of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero didn’t just serve up its original 13 Joes and their two enemies, it also took a page out of the Star Wars and Micronauts playbook and went hogwild on giving them some vehicles with which to play around.  There were eight vehicles and playsets that first year, but perhaps the most impressive was the Motorized Battle Tank, or MOBAT for short.  Though lacking in some of the fancities of later vehicles, the MOBAT gave the Joes some serious offensive power, and definitively gave us the sort of vehicle to which the old 12-inch line could never really do proper justice.  And, of course, it had one of the cooler launch-Joes driving it, which is always a good point in its favor.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The MOBAT is definitely the main focus here (well…for most people; at my heart, I’m still a figure guy), and is a pretty straightforward “tank.”  It’s specifically patterned after the MBT-70, which was a scrapped US/German tank design from the 60s.  It’s fitting that it would get repurposed here, and really fits that experimental angle that the Joes were getting into, while tying them more to the real world than they would be later.  It’s also a fittingly “all-American” design that just looks like the average US tank to most people who don’t spend their time researching these sorts of things for toy review sites.  What an uninformed life that must be…with so much free time!  Though it would be dwarfed fairly quickly as the line progressed, the MOBAT was the largest vehicle in the line at the time of its release, measuring about 10 inches at its longest length, and sitting about 5 inches tall.  Its mold was brand new at the time, but has subsequently been re-used for both re-releases of the MOBAT, as well as both versions of the Crimson Attack Tank, Cobra’s equivalent.  While not a high-quality scale model, the sculpt on the MOBAT is still pretty solid for the time, and certainly looks a bit less dated than the figures it was meant to accompany (which is why it was still able to be used 25 years later, when the figure molds had been long since retired).  The details are all clearly defined, and there are lots of great little bits, with all the panelling and grates and rivets.  It’s mostly a hard plastic construction, but uses a more rubbery material for the treads, as vehicles tend to do.  There’s only space for a single figure (probably this vehicle’s main drawback), in the turret at the top, and the rest is a solid construction.  And I do mean solid; this thing’s got some definite heft on it, with a potential for even more.  The name’s inclusion of “Motorized” isn’t just a fancy naming scheme, it actually refers to the tank’s special feature, which was a full working motor that could run off of two D Batteries.  Sadly, my MOBAT doesn’t move, a common problem with most vintage MOBATs these days.  I’ll have to tinker with it to see what’s up.  Still, I bet that was pretty cool when it worked.  Paint’s not really a thing on the MOBAT, which instead has a whole ton of decals.  They haven’t held up super well over the years, but they do offer up some nice extra details to give it more of a finish.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The MOBAT’s driver was Pennsylvania-native Ralph “Steeler” Pulaski.  Steeler, like a number of the original Joes, sort of fell by the wayside as the line continued, and was never a major focus in the first place.  He did get a pair focus episodes thanks to the cartoon’s alternate-reality-based “Worlds Without End,” which gave a respectable send-off to Steeler, as well as fellow O13-members Grunt and Clutch.  This (and the 1983 swivel-arm re-issue) would be Steeler’s only figure for the entirety of the vintage run.  The figure stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation.  Like all of the original ’82 figures, he was available straight-armed or swivel-armed, and mine is the former.  Additionally, there are two different styles of thumb thickness, and mine is the thin-thumbed version, which is something I’ll be touching on a bit later.  Steeler was largely made from shared parts, with the most egregious being his head, which he shares with both the previously reviewed Flash and Hawk, as well as the as of yet un-reviewed Short-Fuse.  It’s generic enough to work, and in Steeler’s case there’s a unique helmet, which further helps in masking it.  Unlike Hawk and Flash, Steeler does actually get one new part on his person: his torso.  He’s got a zippered jacket (instead of the usual sweater) and a shoulder holster that goes across the chest.  It’s a nice, unique look among his companions.  Steeler follows the trend of rather basic, rather drab paint for the original Joes.  He’s a slightly different shade of green than the others and gets a darker hair color than Hawk and Flash.  He also gets gloves, because he’s very special, I guess.  Steeler included a standard helmet, but had a non-standard, and in fact quite distinctive visor.  He also included an uzi, making him the only vehicle driver from the first year to actually be armed, and with a fairly standard weapon at that.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so first of all, I need to throw in a very, very important shout-out to my Super Awesome Fiancee, without whom this review would not have been possible and I might very well still be a quivering mass on the floor of my toy room.  Remember how I mentioned that Steeler was a thin-thumbed figure?  Do you see how he still has both of his thumbs?  Yeah, that’s actually a pretty big deal, and I was pretty excited to have found him that way.  Then I was a big dumbo who decided to stick Steeler’s uzi in his hand, and when I went to take it out, off came the thumb, which went flying into the oblivion that is the floor beneath my photo stage…before I had even gotten a single shot of him.  I was feeling pretty dumb, but Jess was having none of that, and marched upstairs to help he search for the missing piece, which she managed to find in a few short minutes, thereby allowing me to repair this guy, get the photos taken and regain a good deal of my sanity.  Truly she lives up to the “Super Awesome” monicker.

With that out of the way, where the heck did this guy come from?  Well, recent reader’s will likely guess correctly that it came from All Time Toys, who got in a really huge GI Joe collection last month.  I got the pleasure of sorting through all of them to get all the figures, vehicles, and parts matched up, and this was one the somewhat expensive haul of figures I picked up.  I’ve only recently gotten the opportunity to collect the straight-armed Joes, which is a set that’s always fascinated me.  Steeler called out to me due largely to his slightly more distinct look among the basic grunts.  He’s pretty cool for what he is, and the MOBAT is certainly a nice centerpiece to my Joe display.

As I noted, All Time Toys are absolutely swimming in vintage Joes at the moment, so check out the Joe section of their eBay page here.  If you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2039: Speeder Bike (w/ Scout Trooper)

SPEEDER BIKE (w/ SCOUT TROOPER)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

Just over a month ago, and then also two weeks before that, I took a look at the first and second releases of the Imperial Speeder Bike from Kenner’s Power of the Force II line.  At this point, it can’t be too much of a surprise that I’m following those up with the final piece of the trio.  I’ve looked and both Luke and Leia with their stolen rides, but why not look at the proper rider of the ride, the Biker Scout?

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

As I noted in the Luke review, the speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia back in March.  I liked it then, I liked it the second time, and I still like it now.  It’s hard to go wrong on this one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

This was our first Biker Scout since the vintage line, and, unlike that one, this one was designed specifically with riding the bike in mind.  To facilitate this, the figure’s articulation scheme is changed up a bit.  Rather than the standard 6 points, he’s got 7, which includes movement at the knees, as well as a a hinge-style neck, allowing for him to look up and down.  It’s the same articulation spread used for the Swoop Trooper, but I think it actually works a little bit better for this guy, since the configuration of the bike means he’s more likely to need to look upwards.  Despite the extra articulation, he still ends up being rather pre-posed, even moreso than the other two Speeder Bike figures.  He’s got a defined squat, and really deeply bent arms.  It’s the arms that I think are the worst bit of it, because they don’t quite work as well with the bike as you might hope.  It’s a shame they couldn’t also spring for elbow joints to match the knees.  Despite its awkward stance, the costume details on this guy are at least accurate, if perhaps a bit on the soft side.  His paintwork is limited to black detailing on a (very yellowed) white plastic, and it’s rather on the sloppy side.  Like, even for this line, it’s really quite sloppy.  While Luke and Leia both got accessories in addition to the bike, the Biker Scout was not so lucky.  No comically enlarged comically small Biker Scout blaster I’m afraid.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Luke was the one I got as a kid, and Leia was the most recent addition.  Where does this guy fit into it all?  Well, not that far ahead of Leia, actually.  I picked him up in the Farpoint 2018 Dealer’s Room, from one of the vendors I frequent.  I’d long wanted one, and this one was a case of right price at the right time.  Ultimately, he’s really the weakest of the three variants, though.  The main figure’s just not as strong as a proper figure as the other two, nor is he a particularly endearing Biker Scout variant.  It’s kind of a shame this was his only Power of the Force release, but there’s always the Power of the Jedi single-card.

#2004: Speeder Bike (w/ Luke Skywalker in Endor Gear)

SPEEDER BIKE (W/ LUKE SKYWALKER IN ENDOR GEAR)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the first of three versions of the Imperial Speeder Bike released by Kenner in their Power of the Force II line.  The vehicle’s mold was first introduced in the vintage Return of the Jedi line, and was then re-packaged in the ’90s, with one of three different pilots.  I’ve already looked at the one with Leia.  Today, I look at her brother Luke, alongside his own Speeder.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The speeder bikes in these sets were all identical, meaning this one is exactly the same as the one I looked at alongside Leia two weeks ago.  I liked it then, and I still like it now.  I imagine I’ll still like it when I get around to the third variant of this set.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like the Leia figure included with the last one, this one has an Endor variant of Luke Skywalker.  Luke spends a little bit less of his time in this gear, but it’s still a fairly distinctive appearance for the character.  Like Leia, it had previously appeared in the vintage line, but this was the first we saw of it in this re-launch.  It would also be our only Endor Luke for a little while, as figures of him from Jedi tended to go for his, well, Jedi appearance.  As such, this figure’s sculpt would remain completely unique to him.  He stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.   Check out those sweet knee joints!  That was a pretty huge deal.  Luke’s head is rather similar to the Endor Rebel trooper, not only with the same helmet, but also a rather similar facial structure.  This Luke’s sculpt was notable for not including his outer vest; he was not the only version of Luke to omit it in this line, but he was the first one.  Like his sister, Luke has a removable rubber poncho piece.  This one’s not quite as nice.  It isn’t very well fitted to the figure, making him look really pudgy.  It also lacks the nice, subtle paintwork, meaning it’s just a lot of unpainted tan plastic.  This guy was packed with a variant of the green lightsaber included with the basic RotJ Luke, though this one was wider than that one so that his slightly enlarged grip can still hold it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, I only had one Speeder Bike, and it was this one.  I was definitely a Luke kid, so I needed to have another version of him, and the Endor one was one of my favorites.  That being said, I remember the actual figure didn’t get a ton of use; instead he was robbed of his poncho and speeder, which I gave to my standard Jedi Luke.  Looking back at this figure, I kind of remember why that was the case.  He’s not a bad figure, but he’s not as strong a figure as the Leia.

#2002: Deadpool Corps Scooter

DEADPOOL CORPS SCOOTER

MARVEL LEGENDS: LEGENDARY RIDERS (HASBRO)

“Vroom vroom, baby.  It is I, Deadpool, and my merry heard of fluffy-tailed friends. All aboard, dirty-pawed brethren!  It’s ride-off-into-the-sunset time.”

It’s been exactly 200 reviews since I did my last Deadpool-centric review.  Time for another one?  Might as well be.  So, why a Deadpool review?  Well, let’s put some context on this one: just a little over a year ago, Hasbro launched the Legendary Riders sub-set of their popular Marvel Legends line.  It’s focus is, as you might expect, on providing some of their Legends with their rides.  Deadpool is just one of the lucky ones to get focussed on for this last go-round.  But, it’s not just Deadpool all by his lonesome, he’s bringing some of his Deadpool Corps teammates with him!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Since his re-appearance in the Juggernaut Series, there have been no shortage of Deadpool figures in Hasbro’s Legends line-up.  Just last year, he got four separate 6-inch releases.  Now he’s gotten one more.  This one’s another go at a default Deadpool, though he’s wearing a different derivation of his costume than the Juggernaut or Sasquatch Series releases.  This one goes back to Deadpool’s appearance from around the mid-00s, right about when his popularity really started to spike.  This is most clearly denoted by the y-shaped harness that he sported at the time, which is also seen on this figure.  I’m not as big a fan of this particular look, but it’s been a few years since it got a Legends release, and at least it’s something different.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 32 points of articulation.  As you might expect, he’s largely made up of re-used parts.  The bulk of the figure uses the same construction as the Juggernaut Series release, though he swaps out the harness piece for the one from the 2008 figure.  That figure was built on the Bullseye body, so the harness isn’t a perfect fit, but it’s close enough that it doesn’t look out of place on this figure.  The one new contribution here is the head, which is stylistically consistent with the prior DP head, but now depicts his eyes wide-open, and his mouth clearly agape under the mask.  It suits the incredibly goofy nature of this entire set very well, and I think it may well be my favorite of Hasbro’s Deadpool heads.  Deadpool’s paint work is a bit of a conundrum.  On it’s own, it’s a nice paint job.  It’s clean and bright, and suits the character well.  So, what’s the problem?  It doesn’t match either the dark red of the Juggernaut Deadpool or the exceedingly bright red of the Sauron Series Deadpools, meaning that there’s no way to swap the various expressions between the figures.  It’s a definite missed opportunity if you ask me.  Deadpool is armed with a pair of katana, which he can stow in the sheaths on his back.  They’re gold instead of the usual silver, which is a nice change of pace.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

Deadpool may not be defined by his ride, but the image of him looking super goofy while riding around on an appropriately color-matched vespa has become fairly common place in the cultural lexicon, and is a sensible choice here.  It measures 4 inches tall by about 5 inches long.  It’s got working wheels and can properly steer, and all that jazz.  It’s also got a working kickstand to keep it upright most of the time.  The sculpt is actually really nicely handled.  The shaping is clean and sharp, and everything flows together quite well.  It’s also a very unique looking item, with less re-use potential than Widow’s cycle had.  It also doesn’t have the obvious screws that the cycle had, which I count as a very definite plus in this vehicle’s favor.  The scooter has it’s own specific accessory, a little horn to mount on the handle bars.  It also includes a sheet of stickers for customization, but I don’t see myself using that much.  The most important extras, though, aren’t for the scooter, but instead accent the included Deadpool.  We get figurines of both Dogpool and Squirrelpool.  Dogpool is articulated at the arms and neck, and can be mounted on the scooter.  Squirrelpool is unarticulated, but can be placed on Dogpool’s back.  Also included is an extra head, for a figure that’s not even in this set.  Whose head is it?  Why it’s only Deadpool’s bestest sidekick ever, Bob: Agent of Hydra!  It’s perfectly matched the standard Hydra Trooper from the Agents of Hydra two-pack, which is still quite readily available, making this a rather ingenious extra.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, so, admittedly, this set wasn’t at the top of my list or anything when it was shown off, because it was shown off at the same time as the outwardly more impressive Professor X.  Also, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worn out on Deadpool.  That being said, I did used to be a fan back in the day, and the confirmation of the extra head for Bob really swayed me quite a bit.  Plus, I was also getting an Xavier, and I felt compelled to grab them both at once.  I’m actually really happy I did.  This is probably the best package deal of all the vehicle sets.  You get a solid, unique variant of a main character, a quite well-crafted vehicle, and a bunch of fun little extra characters.  I dig it.  I dig it quite a bit.

This set was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys, and it’s currently available from their store, here. And, if you’re looking for other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1990: Speeder Bike (w/ Princess Leia Organa in Endor Gear)

SPEEDER BIKE (W/ PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA IN ENDOR GEAR)

STAR WARS: POWER OF THE FORCE II (KENNER)

The Star Wars franchise has long placed a good deal of emphasis on the distinct vehicles utilized by its heroes and villains, with at least a few new designs for every film.  For Return of the Jedi the cool new vehicle was the speeder bike, a hovering cycle that was perfectly tailored for exciting chase scenes.  It of course got a release during the vintage line, and by extension, it found itself among the re-purposed vehicle molds for Power of the Force II in 1997.  Where the prior release had been sold on its own, for PotF2, it was available with one of three pilots: the Biker Scout, Luke Skywalker, and today’s focus, Princess Leia Organa.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The main focus of these sets was the Speeder Bike, seen here as it appears on the forest moon of Endor.  As I touched on in the intro, a lot of the vehicles for Power of the Force II re-used the molds of their vintage counterparts.  For the bikes in particular, there’s a definite feeling of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.  Measuring about 7 inches in length and standing about two inches off the ground, the Speeder Bike is a fairly decent replica of the on-screen version of the vehicle.  Some of the features have been simplified ever so slightly, and it still has the original mold’s adjustments to make seating the figure on it a little easier, so the controls are vertically oriented rather than horizontally, and there’s still that little plunger that held the original figures’ legs in place.  The plunger was no longer necessary thanks to the vehicle specific riders, but I can’t complain about it remaining, since that keeps it backwards compatible, and meant it could still be used with figures not specifically designed for this set.  The foot pedals have springs built in to maintain tension, allowing the bike to stay up straight even if not totally balanced in its weight distribution.  Later bikes would instead resort to flight stands and the like, but I actually like how this works, and it certainly makes it playable.  Speaking of playable, there’s a whole other spring-loaded feature designed with play in mind.  When you press the pack on the rear of the bike, it pops apart into several pieces, simulating the rather catastrophic damage the bikes tended to take in the movie.  In terms of coloring, the original bike was always a little on the pale side.  This one went a little more accurate, and also supplied some decals if you wanted to go even further with the accuracy.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Included with this bike was a variant of Leia, seen here in her camo gear from Endor.  Since this is what she’s wearing when on the bike, it’s pretty sensible, don’t you think?  Leia’s Endor appearance had previously appeared in the vintage line, though this would be its debut here for Power of the Force.  It would, however, later be retooled and released alongside a Commemorative Coin.  But this one was first.  She stands 3 3/4 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation.  These pilot figures were the first to sport knee articulation, which was a definite plus for this Leia, though the articulation is perhaps a little rudimentary in their implementation.  The sculpt is about on par with the rest of the line.  The helmet is permanently attached to her head, which is honestly the best way of handling it.  Her poncho is a separate piece made of a somewhat rubbery material.  It’s a little bit bulky, but not terrible as a whole.  Under the poncho, Leia’s got a fully defined uniform, which is a respectable match for what she was wearing in the film.  Leia’s paintwork is actually pretty darn decent.  Most of it’s pretty basic, but the work on the helmet and poncho is subtle and quite nicely implemented.  Leia is packed with a blaster pistol which, while it may look really similar to Han’s, is actually a totally unique sculpt.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As a kid, the only of these sets I had was the one with Luke.  Back last year I finally picked up the one with the Scout Trooper.  Leia here?  The last of the three to be added to my collection.  All Time got her in last winter, and I picked her up during my splurge of PotF2 purchases.  For the money and time it takes to acquire, this release of the speeder bike, regardless of which figure it comes with is really the best option.  It’s pretty accurate, the spring loaded features are fun, and it scales nicely with the other offerings.  Plus, the Leia figure that’s included is actually not a bad offering, and is probably the best of the three potential figures to go with.