#1453: Spider Racer (w/ Spider-Man)

SPIDER-RACER (w/ SPIDER-MAN)

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (HASBRO)

Spider-Man: Homecoming hits physical media next week, and I’m definitely looking forward to giving it another watch.  It was an awesome film that felt a little bit crowded out this summer.  The actual film did great in theatres, but a lot of the tie-in stuff was scarce from day one.  I still haven’t seen the Legends figures in any substantial numbers, and while the more basic line’s coverage has been a little better, it still seemed a little small for a Spider-Man movie.  Back in May, I looked at one of the basic line’s takes on Spidey. I ended up picking up one more item from this line, though it’s admittedly not one directly aimed at my particular demographic.  So, without further ado, here’s Spider-Man driving a car!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Spider-Racer was a mid-sized offering in Hasbro’s basic Spider-Man: Homecoming toyline.  It was released fairly early on, right around the same time as the first four basic figures.  The racer measures about 8 inches long by 5 1/2 inches wide, and it has working wheels and a pop-out Nerf feature.  The overall construction of the racer is new to this particular item, and it’s fairly well-rendered.  The racer is pretty solidly put together, so it’ll hold up to fair bit of play, which is good, since that’s kind of the whole point behind an item like this.  Design-wise, it’s totally concocted from the minds of Hasbro’s designers, of course, but they’ve at least managed to create a vehicle that’s plausible as a real thing.  It’s got consistency in its design as well, so it doesn’t just look like a bunch of random elements tacked together.  There’s a bit of an old-style Formula 1 race car look to it, mixed in with a little bit of the Tumbler from Batman Begins.  It’s hardly the most original thing ever, but I dig it. Throughout the body, there’s lots of little details that add a bit more character to the racer.  I appreciate that they didn’t just leave large chunks of this thing totally smooth and featureless.  The racer’s a single-seater, which is a little bit of a letdown if you’re like me and you want to put a couple of alternate reality Spideys in it for a cross-dimensional adventure, but seems reasonable enough within the confines of a movie-based-racing-centric-solo-hero-vehicle.  The latter’s probably a little more marketable than the former, so I can’t really blame Hasbro on this one.  Paint on the racer is pretty straightforward.  Lot of red and blue, which are the Spider-Man colors and all, so that makes sense.  It’s obviously on the toyetic side of things; it’s not like anyone will be mistaking this for a real scale model of a car or anything.  The application is all pretty clean, and the colors are fairly eye-catching.  One of the selling points of the Spider-Racer is its Nerf feature.  There’s a small Nerf gun built into the left side of the vehicle.  Press it in and it pops out, and then you can shoot a Nerf dart.  There are two Spidey-themed darts included, but only one can be loaded at a time.  It’s a mildly amusing feature, but not particularly powerful.  Since it’s Nerf, though, I did go ahead and get a few words from the FiQ’s resident Nerf-Expert Tim.  Here’s what he had to say about it:

“So, if there’s one defining thing Peter Parker does, besides the whole spider thing, it’s invent stuff.  And take photos.  And get bullied in school, but the inventing is the main thing. That’s why it’s a little disappointing to see that he chose to equip his car with one of the lamest Nerf mechanisms ever.  When you load the dart in the barrel, you press back on the collar piece around it which primes the blaster to fire.  It’s super compact, probably more so than even the Jolt and that means it can at least fold away neatly into the side panel of the car.  It’s the same setup we’ve seen on the Rogue One vehicles and that one Build-A-Saber lightsaber set and it wasn’t great then either.  Sure, it gets the job done, but it might have been nice to see a more  creative solution, especially given who’s driving.”

THE FIGURE ITSELF

A car’s no good without a driver, and by extension, a Spider-Car’s no good without a Spider-Driver.  Fortunately, this Spider-Car does have a Spider-Driver, in the form of an included Spider-Man Spider-Action Figure. Spider.  The figure is very much on the basic side.  He’s about 5 1/2 inches tall (the same scale as the other basic figures) and has 5 points of articulation.  The articulation is less than the other standard figures, but it’s enough to get him seated in the car and holding the controls, and that’s really all this figure needs to do.  Spidey uses the same head and torso as the standard Homecoming Spider-Man, with new arms and legs.  It’s a fairly decent sculpt. Nothing ground breaking, but the costume is translated pretty well here and the proportions look decent enough.  He’s even got all of the proper texture work!  The paint on Spider-Man, like the Racer, is fairly straightforward.  Basic color work with clean application.  At least he doesn’t have any of the weird flaking paint issues the he Homemade costume had.  This figure doesn’t have any accessories, but he’s really just an accessory himself, so it’s excusable here.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: “why’d you buy this, Ethan?” To explain that, I need to give a little history lesson.  Back in the ’70s, Mego was producing their World’s Greatest Super Heroes line.  The Batmobile was a strong seller, so they decided to give all of the big heroes their own themed vehicle.  This included Spider-Man, whose Spider-Car was sort of worked into the comics, albeit in the rather tweaked form of the Spider-Mobile.  The Spider-Mobile’s picked a sort of a cult following over the years (in no part due to some rather brilliant uses by Spider-Man scribe Dan Slott), and I’ve always been a fan of it, as goofy as it is.  So, I saw this on the shelf this summer, in the midst of trying desperately to find Marvel Legends, and it just called to me.  It’s not some amazing piece of unskippable merchandise, but it’s pretty amusing, and will at the very least hold me over until Hasbro releases an official, comics-accurate, Marvel Legends-scaled Spider-Mobile with a Spider-Ham pack-in figure.  Please?

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#1422: Resistance A-Wing (w/ Resistance Pilot Tallie)

RESISTANCE A-WING FIGHTER (w/ RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“A longtime reliable fighter model used by the Resistance that dates back to the struggle between Empire and Rebellion, the A-Wing is a nimble, wedge-shaped fighter propelled to incredible speeds by large twin engines.”

I’ve looked at one of The Last Jedi’s new vehicle designs, but like its predecessor The Force Awakens, it’s also borrowing from the Original Trilogy’s sizable bank of pre-existing vehicles.  Today, I’ll be looking at another of those returning vehicles, the A-Wing fighter.  The A-Wing’s actually had a fair bit of play recently; not only is it returning in TLJ, but a prototype version of it was also fairly prominently featured in Star Wars: Rebels.  That translates to not one, but two toy versions in the last year.  I’ll be looking at the most recent version today.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The A-Wing Fighter is one of two smaller-sized vehicles released on the Force Friday launch of The Last Jedi line (the other was the Canto Bight Police Speeder). Like the Ski Speeder, assembly is rather minor for the A-Wing.  The thrusters need to be popped into place, as do the side cannons, but that’s it.  It should be noted, however, that once you put this sucker together, it’s not coming apart.  At all. Moving on: once assembled, the fighter’s about 11 inches long and 7 inches wide.  The ship features an opening hatch and  a small landing leg, which swings down out of the ship’s front.  The A-Wing is sporting a brand-new sculpt, based on it’s updated design from the new film.  The ship isn’t too terribly different from the A-Wings of the past; same basic design elements and everything.  In general, it’s just a little bit longer and thinner than prior A-Wings.  The sculpt is pretty decent overall.  It’s in keeping stylistically with the other vehicles we’ve gotten in the last few years.  The details aren’t the sharpest ever, but they’re decent for the scale and price.  Speaking of scale, the A-Wing is the least down-scaled vehicle I’ve looked at yet from the new movies.  There’s still a tiny bit of tweaking to keep it at least believably in scale with the rest of the vehicles, but it’s hardly noticeable.  What is rather noticeable is the way the cockpit connects to the rest of the body.  It’s not particularly subtle at all, and it’s rather different from how the hatch looks to work on the actual ship. It doesn’t ruin the ship or anything, but it’s rather annoying all the same.  On the plus side of things, the paint wis fairly decent on the A-Wing.  The blues and reds are vibrant, and the edges show off some nice wear and tear, which gives the ship a nice used feel.  I do feel a nice wash would go a long way towards helping to further sell this used look, but what’s there is definitely solid.  The A-Wing has two main play features.  There are two missile launchers, mounted on each side of the ship, which use the standard spring-loaded schtick, as well as the current-standard ForceLink feature.

RESISTANCE PILOT TALLIE

Included with the A-Wing is one of its pilots, a Resistance fighter named Tallie.  That’s all I’ve got on her.  I have no idea if she’s prominent in the film or if she’s just another Goss Toowers in the making, but I do know she’ll be flying this ship at some point in the film.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has the standard 5 points of articulation.  Design-wise, she’s rather similar to Paige, which I suppose makes a degree of sense.  I had initially assumed most of her tooling was shared with Paige, but a comparison of the two in-hand shows that, while they do share certain elements to their sculpts, it doesn’t appear that these two figures actually have any parts in common with each other.  Being that the two sculpts are still very similar, I do rather like this one, same as with Paige.  The details are nice and crisp, and have a nice realistic look to them.  Her helmet is permanently attached to her head, which is a shame, since I really dug the two removable helmets on the basic pilots.  On the plus side, they did at least have the good grace to mold her visor as a separate piece, so it can be translucent and thereby avoid another appearance of the infamous banana visors of TFA.  I appreciate that they went to the effort of putting a whole face under there, and the helmet is at least nicely detailed.  Tallie’s paint work is fairly standard stuff.  Mostly just basic color work.  There’s a bit of slop here and there, but nothing terribly noticeable.  The best work’s on the helmet, which even gets some smaller details to keep it interesting.  Tallie is packed with a standard small Resistance blaster, in a very dark brown.  Yay for variety of colors?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I hadn’t initially planned to grab this one on Force Friday.  I tend to skip vehicles at launch, and I was already breaking that rule by getting the Ski Speeder.  Surely I couldn’t also grab another vehicle, right?  And I didn’t.  Well, not at Toys R Us, anyway.  But then we went to Target, and Super Awesome Girlfriend (who had gotten there before me) wandered up with this set in her hand and said it was the last one they had.  That, plus Target’s “Spend $100 and get a $25 gift card” promotion, helped convince me to get this one.  It’s not the most exciting item I picked up on Force Friday, but it’s a decent ship with a decent pack-in figure, and I can’t ask for much more than that.

#1417: Resistance Ski Speeder (w/ Captain Poe Dameron)

RESISTANCE SKI SPEEDER (w/ CAPTAIN POE DAMERON)

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

“An older design predating those of the Rebel Alliance, these low-altitude, high-power ski speeders use a stabilizer strut to keep balance when zipping across alien terrain.”

The Star Wars franchise has a history of introducing fun new vehicles with just about every installment.  The Force Awakens didn’t do this as much, preferring to stick with variations of some old favorites, as a call-back to the older films (I didn’t mind).  The Last Jedi looks to be meeting somewhere in the middle, giving us both old favorites and some new designs.  I’ll be looking at one of the newer creations (though, if the bio’s any indication, that’s not the case “in universe”), the Ski Speeder, which looks to be the standard Resistance transportation following the trailer’s ominous hints at the destruction of their old fleet sometime during The Last Jedi’s runtime.  Hasbro’s offering a small-scale version of the vehicle, packed with ace Resistance pilot, Poe Dameron!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The Resistance Ski Speeder was one of the launch items for The Last Jedi’s Force Friday II event.  It’s a C-Class-sized vehicle, and is the only one of its size at launch time.  Time will tell if that’ll change later.  In terms of assembly, this vehicle’s a bit easier than the last few vehicles.  Pop on the right wing, the stabilizer strut, and a  blaster cannon and you’re good to go.  When fully assembled, the vehicle measures an impressive 18 inches long and stands about 5 inches tall when sitting and about 8 inches when the strut is fully extended.  In terms of moving parts, there’s the landing gear, which drops out of either wing, as well as a very small rotating gun on the left underside of the cockpit.  There is *not* an opening cockpit hatch; it’s open-topped, which does appear to be accurate to the film.  The Ski Speeder is sporting all-new tooling, based on its film design. Though they may be a new design, the Ski Speeders definitely take influence from earlier ships, most notably the Rebel B-Wing, which it should be noted is one of my favorite OT ships.  I tend to like this design, as impractical as it would be in real life.  From what we’ve seen of the Ski Speeder, this toy does a respectable job of translating it into plastic.  Like a most recent SW vehicles, the Speeder looks to have been scaled down a little bit from its on-screen counterpart.  It doesn’t look to be as expensive as the AT-ACT or even the Resistance X-Wing, which is likely due to the ship’s more feasible size.  The details have also been slightly simplified, so as to better fit the line’s overall aesthetic, but once again, it seems to be a less drastic change than we’ve seen previously.  There’s still quite a bit of detail on this thing.  Paintwork on this vehicle is a step up from recent vehicles.  It’s still not quite up to the level it used to be from Hasbro, but there’s a bit of weathering and such, which keeps it from being too dull.  There’s a few action features built into this ship, though nothing particularly obtrusive.  The most obvious is are the two missiles which can be launched from the central engine.  The stabilizer strut serves as a handle, and there’s a trigger at the top of it.  It’s essentially a big gun.  Shame that they went back to hard plastic missiles; this would have been a perfect place for Hasbro to work in some Nerf.  It would literally just be a Nerf gun.  The second feature is a detaching wing.  When you press the turbine at the top of the engine, the right wing springs off, in a similar fashion to the wings on the TIE Fighter.  I’m guessing at least one of these ships is losing a wing in the movie.  The final feature is the ForceLink feature, which looks to be the same basic concept as with the figures.

CAPTAIN POE DAMERON

Oh, he’s a captain now, is he?  That’s new.  I think.  I mean, I don’t know what his rank was before, if there was one.  I’m assuming this is a promotion.  Good for Poe.  This figure gives us Poe in his casual gear from The Last Jedi.  Since he gave his awesome leather jacket to Finn in the last film, he was in the market for a new one.  Now he’s got this snazzy dark brown jacket, which makes him look not unlike Han from the last film.  Or the Fonz.  I guess cool guys have a consistent look.  I’m not complaining.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 5 points of articulation.  The sculpt is all-new to this guy; nothing re-used from any of the prior Poes.  The proportions are all well-balanced, and the detail work is all quite sharp.  I dig the texture on the jacket.  We’ve gotten yet another stab at an Oscar Isaac likeness on this new head sculpt.  It’s not awful.  It’s closer than earlier attempts, I think.  His cheeks are definitely too pronounced, which makes him look ever so slightly like a young Al Pachino, but his not terribly far off.  Maybe they’ll get it by Episode 9.  One thing I think is probably helping this figure is the paint, which is a step-up from the last few figures.  I did have to pick through a few sets to find the one with the best work, but they did seem a bit sharper in general this time.  There’s still a bit of slop around the wrists, but that’s a minor issue.  Poe’s packed with his blaster pistol (the same one included with several Poe figures), as well a headset, or as a like to call them: “Beats by Rey.”  Yeah, I went there.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Poe fan. Ever since the first images of this set leaked, I knew it was going to be at the top of my list.  It was actually one of the few items I didn’t find the week prior to Force Friday, which bummed me out initially, but less so in the end, since I wasn’t able to buy anything then anyway.  This set was the very first item I grabbed on Force Friday.  I almost got stepped on to get it, but them’s the risks you take, right?  The ship’s pretty fun and I look forward to seeing it in action.  Honestly, I kind of bought this for the new Poe figure, and he didn’t disappoint.  Now, knowing my luck, he’ll end up released on his own in like a month.  Still, this is one of my favorite items I picked up this time around.

#1396: Rapid Fire Imperial AT-ACT

RAPID FIRE IMPERIAL AT-ACT (w/ SERGEANT JYN ERSO, AT-ACT DRIVER, & C2-B5)

STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE (HASBRO)

“A larger version of the standard combat AT-AT, the AT-ACT walker features a dedicated cargo bed for the transportation of heavy building materials or combat munitions. It was deployed at major Imperial construction projects, such as shipyards and sprawling research installations.”

Toy Fans can be a bit stubborn and short-sighted sometimes.  There’s this innate inability to see that not every product is aimed at them, and that adult collectors only make up a very small fraction of the target audience of any given mass produced line. This means that there’s whole chunks of product not meant for us in the slightest, or at the very least, items that are designed with kids in mind first and adult collectors second.  After going pretty hardcore into the adult collector sphere for a while, Hasbro has shifted their Star Wars product into a more toy-etic form, in an effort to maximize sales and appeal to the new generations of collectors being brought in by the franchise’s newest films.  The new product has been an overall success for Hasbro, but some of the more hardcore sections of the fanbase have been less than pleased.  There’s been a lot of crying foul, particularly when it comes to the various new vehicles, which have proved quite divisive.  One of the most divisive was today’s item, the Rapid Fire Imperial AT-ACT.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

The AT-ACT is part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: Rogue One line.  It was released about a month or so after the first big product launch for Rogue One.  As with the two X-Wings and the TIE Fighter, there’s a bit of assembly required when you open up the AT-ACT.  The the legs, small blaster stalks for the head, and the cargo bed are packed separately from the main base body and head, and they need to be snapped into place (which takes a fair bit of force, let me tell you).  Once fully assembled, the AT-ACT stands 16 inches tall and 12 inches deep.  That’s far from accurate scaling for the 3 3/4 inch figures, which was a point of contention for some collectors.  It should really be twice the size at least, if not even larger, since the AT-ACT was even larger than the AT-AT.  To give a frame of reference, there’s a shot in Rogue One of an X-Wing fighter flying through the open cargo hold of one of these things.  At best, you can probably get one of the old Action Fleet X-Wings through there.  That being said, at the current size the AT-ACT’s large enough to dwarf just about everything else in a collection, all while keeping it to a manageable size for production and storage purposes.  Could it have been larger? Perhaps, but for most people it’s not going to make a huge difference, and this is hardly the first time a Star Wars vehicle has been underscaled for a toyline.  The sculpt on the AT-ACT does a decent enough job translating the film design into plastic form.  The important details are all there, and it matches aesthetically with the vehicles from Force Awakens and the like.  There’s a little bit of cheating in a few spots (such as the slightly larger head relative to the rest of the body) which has been done to maximize playability with the basic figures, but the overall appearance is still fairly close to the source material.  When it comes to playability, there are two main spots that you can place the figures.  Obviously, there’s a spot in the cockpit for the driver.  While the film’s design has spots for two drivers, this one’s just got space for the one.  This is in part due to the down-scaling, but also due to offering storage space for the four Nerf darts used by the firing feature, which I’ll touch on in a little bit.  The other main spot for figures is in the main body’s removable cargo bed.  It’s actually a pretty neat bit; the sides fold down on both sides, revealing a nicely detailed interior, as well as a plethora of footpegs to hold figures in place.  There are even spots for the troopers to stow their rifles, which is a cool touch.  The bed can be removed and deployed as a cool little base or installation, which also reveals the interior of the AT-ACT proper.  There are even more details, as well as two panels that flip up to reveal footwells that can be used for standing space or additional storage.  Paint is minimal on the AT-ACT, but not entirely absent; there’s some minor work throughout, and it’s all pretty decently applied.  There’s also a sheet of decals to pick up some of the slack, and those work pretty well too.  The AT-ACT is packed with three figures (which I’ll look at in just a second) as well as a cannon and a zipline, both of which can be plugged into either the main body of the vehicle or the cargo bed.  A major selling point of this set was the two included action features.  To make use of the features will require four D batteries.  Both play features can be accessed using the various buttons on the AT-ACT’s back, which can be a little difficult to use.  Fortunately, the AT-ACT is Bluetooth-enabled.  You can download the “Star Wars: Studio FX” app to your phone and use it to control the AT-ACT remotely, which is a lot of fun.  Onto the actual features!  The first feature is the walking ability, which is pretty decent.  It’s slow, and this thing definitely needs to be on a flat, uncarpeted surface to work best, but it’s an amusing feature.  There are a number of associated sound effects and such, which help to sell the feature.  There’s also a head movement capability worked into this, which is a little difficult to really get working, but nice nonetheless.  The second feature is the titular “rapid fire” feature, which replicates the AT-ACT’s blaster capabilities through use of Nerf mechanics.  There are four included Elite-style Nerf darts to use, and I find the feature to be generally pretty amusing myself.  Don’t take my word for it, though.  Here’s a word from the FiQ’s resident Nerf expert, Tim. Quoth Tim:

“With such an extensive history of military manufacturing such as G.I. Joe, Nerf, and Furby, it’s not surprising that the Galactic Empire contracted Hasbro to help develop weapons like the ones seen on the AT-ACT.  The dart cannon in the walker’s head is optimized for size, using a greatly miniaturized version of the tried-and-true flywheel mechanisms seen in blasters like the Stryfe.  The cannon uses a gravity-fed, 4-round magazine and an electronic pusher to feed the darts into the itty bitty flywheels, producing some rather hilariously flaccid results especially after the ominous revving noise that precedes each shot.  Also, just as a fun side note, if we can assume the darts are in scale with the pilot figure, the full size projectiles would be almost 4-1/2 feet long.”

SERGEANT JYN ERSO

The first of the three included figures is the film’s leading lady, Sergeant Jyn Erso.  As the main character, I suppose it makes sense to pack her in again, and they were undoubtedly trying to avoid the issues caused by leaving Rey out of the Millennium Falcon from TFA.  That being said, I don’t believe Jyn ever actually interacts with an AT-ACT in the film, so her inclusion does seem a little bit out there.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 5 points of articulation.  She uses the same sculpt as the Jedha variant of Jyn from Series 2 of the main line.  Of course, I never got that figure, so this one’s new to me.  It’s a pretty decent sculpt, and I think I like this one more than the Eadu version.  The likeness to Felicity Jones is definitely improved.  The paintwork also appears to be a step-up from the single-carded released.  The basic colors are all the same, but the application is a lot sharper, and she’s also got some extra detailing on the legs, indicating she’s been running around on Scarif’s beaches for a bit (not that it happens in the final film, but hey, let’s go with it).  It’s a little on the heavy side, but it looks decent enough.  Jyn is packed with her blaster, which is painted silver, rather than molded like the single releases, which looks a lot better.

IMPERIAL AT-ACT DRIVER

The AT-ACT isn’t going to get very far without someone to drive it, right?  Well, as luck would have it, the second figure included with the AT-ACT is the Imperial AT-ACT Driver.  This is easily the most sensible of the three figures included.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation (though the hips are a bit limited).  The larger scale AT-ACT Driver was a total parts re-use, but I don’t think that’s the case here.  He’s definitely got some similarities to the basic Shoretrooper, but there are enough subtle differences between the two to illustrate that they aren’t made from the same molds.  It’s a little weird that they aren’t the same sculpt, though, because the AT-ACT Driver has some slight inaccuracies to his design that would totally come from sharing parts with the Shoretrooper.  Most glaringly, the skirting on his belt; the driver should have the same style of belt as the Hovertank Driver, but instead he’s got the Shoretrooper skirt, just painted the same color as the pants.  It’s an odd choice.  The other problem with the presence of the skirt is that it impedes the movement on his hips.  Normally, I’m not a huge stickler about such things, but given that this figure’s whole purpose is being able to sit in the cockpit of the vehicle he was included with, it’s more than a little annoying.  In terms of paint, this guy is fairly decent.  Like the larger scale figure, he uses the deco of the AT-ACT Commander, as denoted by the grey on his shoulders.  Where the larger figure kept the dark brown and bone white of the Tank Driver, this figure goes for a more straight black and white scheme.  It’s not terrible, just different.  The figure includes a large blaster rifle, which is the same one included with the two Scarif Troopers.

C2-B5

I can’t say I know much about ol’ C2 here, given its complete lack of presence in the final version of Rogue One.  There were a few potential endings floating around, I suppose it’s possible C2 played a role in one of those.  Or, perhaps Hasbro just really wanted to put an astromech in this set.  It’s Star Wars.  It wouldn’t be right if they didn’t get an astromech droid in there somewhere.  This figure’s about 2 1/2 inches tall and has 3 points of articulation.  C2’s a head-to-toe repaint of the Mission Series R2-D2 (which was re-released for Force Awakens as well).  It’s a pretty standard astromech sculpt, so that’s reasonable.  It’s a shame it couldn’t have been one of the slightly better articulated R2s, but they’re undoubtedly going for consistency here.  Instead of the usual R2 colors, C2 is done up in a more imperial dark grey and silver.  Not a bad look, though perhaps not the most exciting color scheme.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was intrigued by this set when the Rogue One product started hitting, but the initial $300 price tag was just too much for me.  Rather quickly after the holidays, Target started marking it down to $150.  At that price, I was very much tempted, but my finances at the time didn’t really allow me to drop that much on one item.  I mentioned it to my parents, but that was kind of the end of it.  It disappeared from shelves, and I convinced myself that I hadn’t really needed it that much.  Flash forward to my birthday this year, when I unwrapped this.  Apparently, mentioning my interest in it to my parents was *not* the end of it.  My mom went out the very next day and bought this, and then they hung onto it for six months.  This thing got a lot of flak from the fanbase, and perhaps some of it was deserved, but this is a really, really fun toy.  I’m definitely very happy to have it!

The Blaster In Question #0017: Motofury Rapid Rally Set

MOTOFURY RAPID RALLY

NITRO

One of the most prominent trends in Nerf marketing is the considerable groundswell surrounding the release of a new type of ammunition.  It happened with Vortex, it happened with Elite darts, it happened with Accustrike.  This makes the substantial lack of hype for the new Nitro series curious.  Ok, maybe not that curious once you realize that Nitro is doing something completely different from the Nerf dart blaster lines.  That something is cars.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really grabbed by the premise of Nitro, but the launchers themselves were similar enough to the dart blasters that I was willing to give it a try, so today I’m looking at the Motofury Rapid Rally set.

THE BLASTER ITSELF

The Motofury Rapid Rally set was released in 2017 as the flagship of the Nerf Nitro line of car launchers.  It uses a flywheel system to fire the foam cars, much like any of the numerous flywheel Nerf blasters, however, it only uses a single wheel as opposed to the pair of wheels seen in blasters.  I guess in a sense, you could say this is the Stryfe of the Nitro line, but the comparisons really stop after the use of flywheel propulsion.  As with all of the Nitro launchers, the underside of the launcher is flat and designed in such a way that prevents a car from being fired if its not on a flat surface.  At least, that’s the idea.  It’s not difficult at all to press in the rev switch on the bottom of the grip with one hand while holding the launcher with the other, although I’m not really sure why you would want to.  It should be pretty obvious that cars handle rolling along the ground much better than being unceremoniously chucked through the air.  Keeping its intended position in mind, the Motofury feels solid in the hand, or rather, on the floor.  This is the only of the Nitro launchers to use a detachable magazine to feed cars into the firing mechanism as well as the only electronic launcher.  It does feel a little weird getting prone on the floor in order to shoulder and aim the launcher as instructed, but there’s nothing stopping you from launching cars from a regular seated position.  Speaking of aiming, the Motofury features a flip up sight for maybe aiming, I guess.  It’s just a single sight with nothing else to align it with so it’s effectively useless, but you do feel a little like a sniper lining up a shot if you bother with the sight at all.  For the most part, launched cars travel pretty straight and at high enough velocity to be fun, but not enough that you’ll hurt anybody or damage anything.  One complaint I have with firing the cars is that there is a considerable delay between when the trigger is pulled and when the car actually exits the launcher.  For someone used to the quick, snappy response of Nerf blasters, this delay can seem like a misfire and pulling the trigger again before the first car has been launched can result in a jam fairly easily.  The MotoFury requires 4 AA batteries to work and comes with 9 cars in 3 styles, and a 9-car magazine.  Now that would be fine and dandy if it were just the launcher, but what makes this a set is the extras that come with it.  Included in the box are 4 red barrels, 4 crates, 4 tire stacks, a high jump ramp, and a long jump ramp.  The random obstacles are pretty plain.  You can set them up and crash cars into them and that’s about it.  The ramps, however, are quite fun as they dramatically affect the trajectory of cars that reach them.  As you can imagine, the long jump ramp makes the cars fly pretty far through the air and the high jump ramp gives them considerable height.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This was an impulse buy for me.  I was at a local TRU with my boy Ethan looking for any of the newest wave of Nerf blasters.  I didn’t find any of them, but there was a sale specifically for Nitro products.  I was curious about the line and the extra 20% off was enough to get me to pick up the Motofury and I’m glad I did.  It’s not a Nerf blaster, but it’s a lot of fun.  I don’t see myself getting any more Nitro after this, so I don’t mind splurging just a little to get the top of the line.

#1199: Mystery Machine (w/ Fred Jones)

MYSTERY MACHINE (W/ FRED JONES)

SCOOBY DOO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

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In addition to being a comics geek and a sci-fi geek, I’m also quite a bit of an animation geek.  Obviously, I love the cartoons of the ‘90s, being the ones I grew up with and all, but access to the likes of Boomerang and Cartoon Network also afforded me an appreciation for a number of older cartoons.  Of course, it hardly takes an animation geek to be familiar with today’s subject of review.  Scooby Doo hit the airwaves in 1969 and there’s been at least one new iteration of it every decade since, keeping it pretty squarely in the public eye.  As I noted in my previous Scoobybased review, I actually don’t have a particularly large selection of Scooby Doo items in my collection, but as with just about everything there isn’t enough of in my collection, I’m working on it.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the fixtures of the franchise, the Mystery Machine, along with perpetual driver of said machine, Fred Jones.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

mysterymachine5The Myster Machine was released as part of the latest iteration of Character Options’ Scooby Doo line, which hit last year.  While lots of places seemed to have the two-packs featuring the one member of the gang each packed with a ghost, the Mystery Machine seems to be a slightly rarer find (for me anyway).  The vehicle is 6 1/4 inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 9 1/4 inches long.  In terms of design, exactly what version of the Mystery Machine this is supposed to be is a little hard to place.  Near as I can tell, it’s not actually based on any specific design for the MM, but is instead a somewhat stylized take on the classic design.  I think a lot of this may be due to some mold re-use, as it appears this mold initially showed up as the “Goo’busters Mystery Machine,” which was a playset designed to go with a line of Superhero Squad/Galactic Heroes-style line of Scooby characters.  That would mysterymachine6explain the harsher stylization present here.  It doesn’t look awful, provided you aren’t looking for a really faithful recreation of the original vehicle.  The biggest complaint I have is that it’s rather difficult to get the full-sized figures into the front, since it wasn’t designed with them in mind.  Aside from that, it’s actually remarkably well-scaled, to the point that it was only after a considerable amount of digging around that I realized it was originally made for the smaller guys.  It’s worth noting that it’s clearly designed as a playset first and a functioning Mystery Machine second.  There aren’t any functioning doors (the figures are placed in the front through the hatch at the top), there’s no actual seating in the back, and the steering wheel doesn’t turn.  It does at the very least have actual moving wheels on the bottom.  From what I’ve read online, this mysterymachine3is a change from prior releases, so I guess they’re learning.  Yay!  The back of the van folds out into a…thing.  Not really sure what.  I guess it’s supposed to be a crime solving lab or something? The original release had some traps and stuff built in, but this one leaves those out, so we just end up with a lot of flat surfaces with printed on details.  It’s kind of cool, but a little confusing.  Also, the fold-out feature results in some rather ugly hinges running along the middle of the van, which is really unfortunate.  Could those not have been worked into the interior of the design?  The paint on the Mystery Machine is rather on the sloppy side, especially around the edges of the green sections.  Of course, actual paint is minimal; most of the details are decals.  By and large, this is a perfectly fine way of handling the details (since they’re mostly on large, flat surfaces anyway), but there are some peeling edges and, in the case of the flowers on the side, some issues with underlying paint showing through.  There’s a valiant effort to ignore a few of the sculpted elements to bring the design closer to the classic look, which works about as well as anything else on this thing.  For accessories, the Mystery Machine includes one main extra, and that’s….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

mysterymachine8….Fred Jones!  Fred (who, fun fact, was named after CBS executive Fred Silverman, who was a driving force for getting Scooby Doo, Where Are You? on the air) is the leader of Mystery Inc, the owner of the Mystery Machine in at least a few versions of the story, and above all, the guy usually seen driving the Mystery Machine, making him quite the sensible inclusion here.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Fred is based on his slightly updated design from Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated, where he was given a slightly more brawny physique and a more pronounced lantern jaw of justice.  I actually quite liked his redesign from that show, so I’m happy it’s the version they went with.  It’s transition into three-dimensions isn’t too terrible; he looks a little off from certain angles, but that’s the sort of thing you expect with action figures of two-dimensional designs.  The legs could stand to be a little longer, and the torso a little less tubular, and his chin should probably be a little less pronounced.  He sort of reminds me of the Kenner Batman: The Animated Series figures, being slightly off-model, but still pretty solid as an action figure.  The paint on Fred is a good deal cleaner than we saw on the Mystery Machine.  While he’s still not devoid of sloppiness, especially around his hairline, the overall appearance is a lot cleaner.  His eyes are also kinda goofy, thanks to no one really being very sure of how exactly this style of eye should be done in 3D.  He looks a bit surprised.  While my figure is pretty decent, I should note that I had to pick through four of this set, and finding a combo of good paint on both Fred and the Mystery Machine was pretty much impossible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fred’s my favorite character from Scooby Doo.  Prior to picking up this set, he made up half of my Scooby Doo collection (granted, it was a collection of TWO figures, but still).  So, when I spotted the two-packs last year, I immediately flipped through the rack to find the set Fred was in.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered they doubled up on Scooby instead of including him.  Now, all of my issues would have been resolved had there simply been a picture of the Mystery Machine and the included Fred figure somewhere on the packaging for the two-packs, but Character Options didn’t see fit to actually inform their customers what was actually out.  So, instead of tracking this set down early last year, I ended up stumbling upon it at the K-Mart near where my family vacations for Christmas.  It was even marked down to $15.  There’s a whole extra $10 they could have gotten out of me if I’d known this thing existed (to say nothing of me forking over the cash for the rest of the gang).   Ah well, I got my Fred figure, and that’s really what matters.  Ultimately, this is a more toy-etic set than I tend to go for in modern toys, but I can’t say I’m unhappy with the purchase.

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#1174: Armored Personnel Carrier

ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIER (W/ LT. GORMAN)

ALIENS MINIMATES

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Okay, I’m kicking off the second week of post-Christmas reviews the same way I kicked off the first: Aliens.  This time around, I’m turning my focus back to Aliens Minimates, because I just haven’t reviewed enough of either of those things in a while.  One of the advantages of the smaller scale of Minimates is the ability to produce vehicles and such to go with the figures.  Due to licensing restrictions, Marvel, DST’s flagship license, is strictly just the figures, but other lines are fair game, including Aliens.  That’s a definite plus, because the Alien-verse has some pretty awesome vehicle designs just begging for some cool toys.  One of my all-time favorite vehicles from the movies is the Armored Personnel Carrier, or APC for short.  I’ll be looking at the Minimate-ized version of that today!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

apcmini3There are two versions of the APC currently available in the Aliens Minimates line. I’ll be looking at the regular version, which is the specialty release, but there’s also a battle-damaged version available at Toys R Us.  The APC measures 2 1/2 inches tall, 7 3/4 inches front to back, and 3 3/4 inches from side to side.  Both turrets rotate, as do all four wheels.  The top turret doesn’t slide up and down like it does in the movie, likely due to the size and price of this set, but it can be popped out and placed on the back, simulating its movement from the movie.  The door also opens.  It’s not as far as in the movie, but it’s enough that it’s a cool touch.  The apcmini7sculpt of the APC is pretty good.  It’s noticeably less deformed than some of the prior vehicles, which I’m quite pleased with.  Obviously, it’s downscaled ever so slightly, but not incredibly so; it’s quite a sizable vehicle.  The top of the Carrier is hinged, allowing access to the interior of the vehicle.  It’s at best an approximation of the actual interior seen in the film.  That being said, it’s totally acceptable, since the interiors we see on screen were a separate set that didn’t actually fit in the vehicle used for exteriors.  Any recreation by definition must make some concessions.  Gorman’s station is there, with a swivel chair and everything.  There are four more seats: the driver, right behind the driver, by the door, and apcmini4towards the back.  All four of them are removable, allowing for some extra space if need be.  There’s also a small weapons rack in the back of the vehicle, which can hold two pulse rifles and two flamethrowers.  It’s a little hard to get to (it can be removed with a bit of finagling), but still a nice little touch.  Paintwork on the APC is minimal, but well handled.  There are also a few small decals to help fill in a few more of the details.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

apcmini2Included with the APC is Lt. William Gorman.  Given that Gorman spends perhaps the most time in the APC of anyone in the movie, he’s a good choice.  This is Gorman’s second time as a Minimate, with the first being as part of the third TRU-exclusive series.  However, that figure was based on his briefly seen dress uniform, where as this one is based on his main fatigues look from the film.  He stands 2 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation. Gorman uses the standard Minimate body, with add-ons for his hat and belt.  Both of these pieces are re-used, but they fit very well for the character.  The paintwork on Gorman is overall pretty solid; he’s on par with the rest of the line.  The face is the same one seen on the TRU version, which is good for consistency.  The patch on his shoulder still incorrectly reads “USMC” instead of “USCM,” but at this point, I guess they just want all the patches to match.  More power to them.  Gorman includes an extra head, sporting the bandage he’s got for the second half of the film, as well as a handgun, and a clear display stand.  I wouldn’t have minded getting the jacket he has when they first arrive on LV-426, but I can’t say I’m disappointed by the selection at all. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Since Aliens Minimates were announced, this was an item I was looking forward to getting.  When they finally showed off the prototype, my excitement only increased, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting it since.  I ended up getting this set from my parents for Christmas.  I’m quite pleased with the final product, and it’s definitely become the centerpiece of my Aliens Minimates collection!

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#1006: Battle Tank

BATTLE TANK

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2002)

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Masters of the Universe was one of the pinnacles of ’80s toylines.  It had all the trappings: gimmicky figures, wacky action features, play sets, and, yes, lots of vehicles for the figures to make use of.  The vehicles were a success in the ’80s, so Mattel gave them another try with the 200x relaunch.  They weren’t quite as successful that time around, but they certainly tried.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of those vehicles, the somewhat mediocre Battle Tank.  Let’s have a look at that!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

BattleTank3The BattleTank was one of the earliest vehicles in the 200x line, released during the line’s first year.  The vehicle measures 9 ¾ inches long and 6 ½ inches tall.  The Battle Tank is somewhat oddly named.  It looks more like some sort of ramming vehicle and less like what I would think of as a tank.  Of course, I suppose that a more conventional tank might look out of place in Masters of the Universe, so there’s that.  Still, I feel like there could have been a more exciting name for this thing.  As far as the actual sculpt goes, I suppose the tank’s not bad.  It’s a bit rudimentary and clunky, but it’s serviceable.  I think the biggest issue I have with it is how it interacts with the BattleTank2figures.  Their limited articulation means that any vehicle meant for them has to do the heavy lifting in terms of helping them sit.  The tank would be difficult for even a Marvel Legend to sit on comfortably.  The MotU figures look rather uncomfortable, and they all have to do this weird sort of lounging lean.  It’s not exactly an imposing look.  The tank has a pop-out feature, which launches the head forward and flips out two little wing things at the sides, which makes it somewhat cooler looking, but also makes it even less tank-like. There’s not really any paint on the tank, but there are a lot of decals which make up for it. They’re kind of basic, but they look okay.  They stay on pretty well, which is the important part with decals.  The Battle Tank was packed with a basic He-Man, who was the same as the standard Series 1 version, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing, but a unique figure might have been a little cooler.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never been much into the MotU vehicles, so I never had any of them.  This one was part of the Goodwill find from a few weeks ago.  I found this last out of the bunch, and I honestly only got it because I felt bad leaving it there by itself.  Island of Misfit toys and all that.  I can’t say it was my favorite piece of the find, but it’s enjoyable enough, and certainly worth what I paid for it.  All in all, not bad.

 

#0947: Resistance X-Wing Fighter (w/ Poe Dameron)

RESISTANCE X-WING FIGHTER (W/ POE DAMERON)

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

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In the current climate of toymaking, where the costs of plastic are trending fairly consistently upward, pretty much every new mold produced needs to justify the cost of its production. In the years past, most items had large enough initial production runs to offset the tooling costs in pretty much one fell swoop. Sadly, as public interest has moved towards more technologically advanced entertainment, the market for toys has shrunk. Initial production runs are smaller, and so to make sure they tooling costs are covered, companies do their best to get multiple uses out of the same pieces, which tends to mean repaints. Today, I’ll be looking at one of these repaints: the Resistance X-Wing Fighter!

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

ResistanceXWing2The Resistance X-Wing Fighter was released as part of Hasbro’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens line, released right at the tail end of 2015. It was available exclusively at Walmart. The Resistance X-Wing uses the same mold as Poe’s X-Wing (reviewed here). Like that set, the vehicle requires a tiny bit of assembly when it’s first taken out of the box: the nose and wing cannons need to be attached and there are a few small decals meant to be applied to the interior of the cockpit. When assembled, the fighter is 15 ½ inches long and has a wingspan of 13 inches, just like Poe’s version. Poe’s X-Wing had a pretty nice sculpt, and it’s still nice here. It remains a little undersized, but, given the re-use, that’s not a shock. It’s also slightly less of an issue this time, since the included figure sits a little lower. The nose is still made from a softer rubber (which honesty didn’t bug me with Poe’s X-Wing, but it did turn a few people off). One noticeable change is the quality of the wing cannons. The actual sculpt hasn’t changed, but the manner in which they were packaged has, so they came out of the box far less warped than the prior set, which greatly improves the overall look of the vehicle. The paint is the most noticeable deviation from the prior X-Wing. In place of the dark grey and orange of Poe’s personalized vehicle, this one gets the off-white and blue palette of the basic Resistance fighter. It looks really clean, works very well on the fighter. The application is all pretty solid too, with no major slop or the like. BB-8 is still a little under painted on the body, but consistency I guess. The action features on this fighter are the same as those on Poe’s fighter. The wing feature seems a little tighter this time around, but the missile launcher appears to be identical.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

ResistanceXWing4Included with the Resistance X-Wing Fighter is another figure of ace pilot Poe Dameron. He’s based on his look from the film’s opening, which is appropriate, since that’s when Poe is seen using this style of fighter. The figure uses the body of the Armor-Up Poe, along with the head of the single release pilot Poe. While it’s not a combination that really plays up the Oscar Isaac likeness, it’s not a terrible set of pieces. The body is solidly sculpted and has a lot of really cool detail work, so I don’t mind seeing it again. The head isn’t a bad sculpt, but it is a touch generic, especially with the opaqueness of the visor.  Still, it’s a decent representation of the helmet design from the movie, and the details are all pretty well realized. From the neck down, the paint is identical to the Armor-Up figure, which is fine, since that was pretty good. The head is slightly different, since it’s replicating Poe’s more unique helmet from the beginning. The paint is nice and sharp, so that’s good. The opaque visor is a little frustratingly cartoony, but that’s more the fault of the sculpt. Though he’s sort of an accessory himself, Poe does get one accessory: his blaster rifle. It’s the same piece seen with the Armor-Up Poe, but it’s another scene specific piece. I only wish there were somewhere for him to keep it while piloting so that it wasn’t rattling around in the cockpit.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Despite loving the normal release X-Wing and loving the Resistance color scheme, I’ve passed this set up more than a few times in the last few months, due mostly to the $50 price tag. It’s not unreasonable, but it makes me need redundant pieces a bit less. Last week, I managed to find this set at a nearby Walmart on clearance. At 50% of its original value, the set felt way more worth it. If I’m honest, I think the main fighter is superior to the Poe version. The blaster issue has been fixed, and the tension on the wing feature works a bit better. The included Poe isn’t quite as fun as the other version, but his generic-ness makes him a pretty decent unnamed Resistance Pilot. Ultimately, I’m not sure this set is quite as necessary as the first, but for half its original price, it’s way worth picking up.

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#0873: Superboy “VTOL” Cycle

SUPERBOY “VTOL” CYCLE

SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL (KENNER)

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While they’ve all but disappeared from the market nowadays, there was a time when goofy made up vehicles were the norm for action figure lines. Kenner in particular was pretty big on them, especially ones that they made up. Yesterday, I looked at one of the figures from their Superman: Man of Steel line, and you might think that someone like Superman wouldn’t have any need for vehicles, but you’d be wrong. The Man of Steel line had three different vehicles, including today’s focus, the Superboy “VTOL” Cycle.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

SuperVTOL3The VTOL Cycle was released as the first (and smallest) vehicle in the Superman: Man of Steel line. The cycle is about 3 ½ inches in height and 9 inches in length. It’s not based on any design from the comics, since Superboy’s never been one to need flying transportation, so it’s a totally original creation from Kenner. Despite re-use of vehicle molds being somewhat common from Kenner in th 90s, the VTOL Cycle has its own mold. Generally speaking, it’s really just a fairly generic pseudo-Sci-fi motorcycle. There aren’t any super in depth details, and the sculpt is slightly on the soft side, but it certainly doesn’t look out of place with the rest of the line. The vehicle has been designed with the Superboy figure in mind, so it fits him pretty well (if not perfectly). There’s a seatbelt piece with a cool Superman logo at the front, which keeps him properly seated. The cycle boasts that it “converts to pursuit jump jet” on the SuperVTOL2front of the box; essentially, the back wheel splits in two and each half can be folded out to create a turbine on either side. It’s nothing extraordinary, but it’s vaguely cool. There’s also a “kickstand” piece, which is useful for keeping the vehicle standing. The Cycle is done up in colors that vaguely match up with Superboy, but are not so specific so as to prevent the cycle from being used with another figure. The paint has a few spots of bleed over here and there, but generally looks fairly decent. There was also an included Superman logo decal, meant to be placed on the front of the Cycle, but I actually forgot to put it in place.  The VTOL Cycle includes a “claw snare” launcher, which can be mounted on either side of the back wheel, as well as an oxygen mask piece, which is meant to be used with the Superboy figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in yesterday’s Superboy review, I got the VTOL Cycle in a lot with the Superboy figure from a vender at this past Farpoint. I never had this vehicle growing up, but I saw it on the back of various different packages over the years, so I was always curious. Truth be told, it’s not the most thrilling vehicle Kenner ever put out, but it’s nifty enough that the purchase feels warranted. Plus, it makes a pretty neat accent piece for the Superboy figure (of which I now have two)!