#1457: Mercury

MERCURY

TRON 2.0 (NECA)

“Jet Bradley, a young computer engineer working for ENCOM, must step into the digital world in search of answers.  He uncovers a sinister plot spinning out of control that threatens to corrupt one reality and forever transform another.”

Tron Legacy is perhaps one of my favorite movies ever.  In terms of toys, though, it’s also one of the biggest disappointments ever, with some of the most lackluster offerings imaginable under its belt.  The Tron franchise in general hasn’t really tended to have much luck with toys.  The only entry to really escape this curse is Tron 2.0, 2003’s video game sequel to the original film.  In it, the son of one of the original film’s heroes goes into the digital world looking for his missing father, and he’s aided by a kick-butt female program sent by his father to help…wait, this sounds familiar.  Yeah, there are a few similarities between 2.0 and Legacy, but they’re actually pretty superficial.  Anyway, when 2.0 hit, they went all-out and had some figures made, which were produced by the fine folks at NECA.  Today, I’ll be looking at the previously mentioned kick-butt female program, Mercury.  No, she’s not Quorra, but I’ll try not to hold that against her.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mercury is one of the four Tron 2.0 figures NECA released in preparation for the game’s release.  She hit in early 2003, about 5 months before the release of the game.  The figure stands about 7 inches tall and she has 11 points of articulation.  She’s not the most mobile figure ever, but given that NECA was still moving past their usual McFarlane-style plastic statues at this point, she was actually pretty decent.  Honestly, my only real issue is with the v-hips; that’s a style of joint I’ve just never really lived.  Obviously, she’s based on her in-game design, though it’s a slightly idealized version.  Since the graphics of a 2003 video game were still a little bit compromised, this figure sort of smooths some things out and presents a slightly more realistic composition.  She’s still a bit6 stylized, of course, since she’d look a bit weird if she wasn’t.  They kept the essence of the character without the flaws, I suppose.  The sculpt does a nice job fitting in all of the details from the game, and I particularly dig the big bulky gloves.  Those are pretty awesome looking!  The paint on Mercury is a bit monochromatic by design, but NECA didn’t just phone it in; they actually put a lot of effort into getting all of those distinct shades of blue on the figure, and she’s better for it.  Even without translucent plastic or light-up features, this figure conveys the whole Tron aesthetic very well.  Kudos to NECA for that.  Rather than the usual disc, Mercury is armed with a cool fighting staff.  It’s translucent with dark blue piping, which has this nice holographic look about it, and it can be fairly easily held in either hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This figure’s a recent acquisition for me, but it’s been housed in the same place as the rest of my collection for several years now.  It used to be owned by my brother, who decided over this past summer to part with a lot of his action figure collection.  I’ve taken most of the strays in, of course, because, as I’ve noted before, I’m the personification of the Island of Misfit Toys.  In the case of Mercury, it’s actually a figure that I might have tracked down on my own eventually.  I’ve never played Tron 2.0, but this is still a pretty fun figure, and an early sign of how good NECA would eventually get at making consistently awesome stuff.  One of these days, I’ll need to track down the rest of this particular line.

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#1349: Kat & Carter

KAT & CARTER

HALO MINIMATES

I own an amusingly small quantity of Halo Minimates.  How amusingly small?  Well, this will be my third and final Halo Minimates review.  More amusing?  I don’t actually like either of the characters in this set.  Why do I have them?  Read on to find out.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in the second Toys R Us exclusive series of Halo Minimates, as the resident Halo: Reach pairing in the assortment.

KAT

“As second in command of Noble Team, Lieutenant Commander Kat was considered an exemplary soldier and brilliant cryptanalyst. Even during times of limited intel, her ability to read a situation and react accordingly was considered supernatural, making her invaluable to the team.”

Of the two figures in this set, Kat’s the one I loathe the most.  God does Kat suck.  Especially when she’s driving. She’s like the worst driving AI ever implemented in a video game.  But none of that has anything to do with the figure, I guess.  The figure stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation (she loses one wrist joint and both ankle joints).  She uses the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for her helmet, chest plate, left shoulder armor and glove, belt, and boots, as well as a unique right arm, which replicates her robotic replacement from the game.  The pieces are on par with the other Halo ‘mates I’ve looked at; not bad overall, but slightly soft around the edges, when it comes to the finer details.  Still, it’s pretty solid.  In terms of paint, Kat’s okay.  The colors seem to match up pretty well with her in-game counterpart, albeit much cleaner than her armor in the game.  Under the armor, there’s a fully detailed face, with hair and everything detailed.  For some reason, the hair has no actual color, but other than that, the detail work is pretty solid.  Kat comes packed with a Magnum handgun.

CARTER

“During the Fall of Reach, Carter was the Commander of an elite team of Spartans referred to as the Noble Team. Charismatic, reassuring, and also known to be cool under pressure, Carter was considered a born leader. He inspired confidence in all of those under his command.”

Okay, so, admittedly, I don’t dislike Carter quite as much as Kat.  Mostly, I just find him sort of “meh,” which isn’t so great when you’re leading a team of fun, colorful characters. I guess not everyone can be Jorge and Emile.  Like Kat, he’s built on the standard body, though he’s got movement on both wrists.  He has add-ons for his helmet, chest armor, gloves, and boots, as well as unique pieces for his upper arms and legs.  He’s a little on the chunky side, but the pieces are generally pretty  nicely sculpted. The paint on Carter is okay; a little on the drab side, and the blue and grey run together, but it’s decent enough.  As with Kat, there’s a fully detailed head under the helmet.  He actually gets hair color, so that’s a nice step up.  Carter includes a DRM battle rifle, which he can only hold with one hand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Okay, Ethan, you don’t like these two, so why do you own them?  Two reasons: 1) I hadn’t yet played the game when I got them, so I didn’t really know the characters, and 2) my local Toys R Us was closing down, and everything was 75% off.  I’m not crazy about the characters, but the figures are actually pretty cool.

#1307: Amanda Ripley

AMANDA RIPLEY

ALIENS (NECA)

“15 years after the disappearance of the commercial towing vessel Nostromo, the ship’s flight recorder is discovered floating in deep space. Its owner, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, immediately dispatches a team of representatives to Sevastopol Station to retrieve it. Among their number is Amanda Ripley, daughter of Ellen Ripley, the Nostromo’s warrant officer.”

It’s no secret that Aliens is my favorite movie of pretty much all time (though Guardians Vol 2 has given it some serious competition, not gonna lie).  As I was -6 when the film was released, I never saw it in theaters.  I instead caught it many years later when it was released on DVD.  On the DVD, the default version is the director’s cut, which adds 16 minutes of footage.  There’s a lot of simply cut lines, but a few whole scenes, and by extension underlying subplots, were cut.  The removal of Newt’s family and the other scenes at the colony is the biggest excision, but not far behind it is the removal of the pre-inquest scene where Ripley discovers the fate of her daughter, Amanda, who died during Ripley’s 57 years away from Earth.  All we get is a name, a picture, and her age at time of death.  28 years later, we got Alien: Isolation, a game centered on Amanda and her quest to find out what happened to her mother.  Real shocker here: she runs into a Xenomorph along the way.  Who could have foreseen that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Amanda Ripley was released in Series 6 of NECA’s Aliens line, which was a whole series devoted to Isolation.  There were two Amanda figures in the set; this one depicts her in her main jumpsuit-ed look, which she’s sporting for a good chunk of the game.  There was also a figure of her in her compression suit, which I never got around to picking up.  This figure stands about 7 1/4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As it was supposed to be nearer in the timeline to Alien than to Aliens, Isolation took a lot of its design elements from the first film.  By extension, each of the three figures in Series 6 borrows liberally from prior NECA Aliens figures.  This Amanda figure is built using about 95% of the parts from the Jumpsuit Ripley figure from Series 4, along with a new head and upper arms.  The designs of the jumpsuits are close enough that this makes for a pretty decent recreation.  If you want to get super nitpicky, the pattern of the seams and “belt” on the pelvis section is incorrect, and she’s missing the leather pads on her shoulders.  However, it’s hardly noticeable; you have to be looking for inaccuracies (which, I as a reviewer am paid to do.  Oh wait, no I’m not.  There’s no money in this.  It’d be nice, though, wouldn’t it?).  The new pieces blend well with the old, and make her sufficiently different from her mom. The head does a suitable job of capturing Amanda’s likeness from the game; it does seem a tad on the small side to me, though.  Amanda’s paint work is decent, but it does have a few issues.  The overall application is pretty solid, and the colors all seem to match what’s seen on the screen.  She’s got painted skin, which I don’t like quite as much as the molded skin, but I guess it’s alright.  There are a few scuffs on my figure, and she’s got a weird splotch of discoloration on her forehead.  Overall, though, she’s really not bad.  Amanda is packed with a flamethrower (the very same one included with her mother), as well as her self-assembled motion tracker, and her backpack.  A great selection of extras all around.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first Amanda Ripley figure I bought actually wasn’t for me, but was instead for my brother Christian.  My exposure to the game was watching him play through it, so I thought it was only proper he get the figure first.  Other things took priority over getting an Amanda for myself, so I just never got around to grabbing her.  Last summer, the day before Movie Stop went out of business, several of us went to see what was left.  Poor Amanda was one of about three NECA figures left, and I ended up getting her for something like 90% off.  She’s a pretty solid figure, thanks in no small part to being built on the same body as one of NECA’s best.  It’s just a shame we never got a Worker Joe to harass her.  Guess I’ll just have to make due with the Xeno….

Hey, look at that; I managed to go this whole Alien-themed review without mentioning my seething hatred for Covenant.  Good on me!

#1243: Mr. Freeze

MR FREEZE

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

What am I reviewing today? <checks review docket> Mr. Freeze.  DC Comics Multiverse.  Mattel.  *sigh* Well, I’m sure this’ll be a joyous review.

Okay, so my hate for Mattel is no secret, nor is my general dislike of their current DC line, dubbed DC Comics Multiverse, which, in its small-scale form, never even came close to living up to that name.  Might as well have called it “Batman & Friends: Arkham Style (and also three ‘80s movies that get two figures each).”  Yes, there was more than a small focus on the Arkham games in this line.  And that’s not inherently bad; the Arkham games were a popular series, and a solid source of cool toys; but there’s a whole lot more DC out there, and returning to the days of no one but Batman getting any toys doesn’t exactly thrill me (the larger scale line looks like it’s avoiding this for now, which is good).  Anyway, I don’t hate Batman or his rogue’s gallery, so I’m not completely unwilling to pick up the stray figure here and there.  One of my all time favorite Bat-Villains is Mr. Freeze, who I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Mr Freeze was released in the very first series of DC Comics Multiverse figures from Mattel.  He’s based on his appearance in Arkham City, the second Arkham game.  It’s not a terrible Freeze design; it feels a little over  complicated for my taste, but it fits alright with the rest of the Arkham game aesthetic, which I guess is really the main point.  The figure stands a little over 4 inches tall and has 17 points of articulation.  The articulation is like a lot of the other figures in this line, where the lower half has reasonable movement, but the upper half is mostly pretty restricted.  Freeze’s shoulder pads in particular limit when can be done with his arms.  Also, the lack of bicep movement is a real killer on Freeze, since it means he cant hold his freeze gun with both hands.  Freeze’s sculpt was all-new to him, and it’s honestly one of the best sculpts this line had to offer.  There are some slight oddities to the proportions, especially when it comes to the placement of the pelvis.  The feet also are a bit clown shoe-y, which looks pretty goofy.  The head and helmet is a pretty solid implementation; his head is connected to the waist joint, which subverts the usual issues with neck movement on Mr. Freeze figures, so that’s something Mattel actually did right.  The paint on Freeze is decent enough.  It’s pretty straight forward work, with solid color work, and no real accent work to speak of.  The application is all pretty clean, and he has some brighter colors that help him stand out from the pack a bit.  Mr. Freeze is packed with his freeze gun, which as I noted above, he can only hold one handed.  It doesn’t look awful that way, so I guess it’s not the end of the world.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Knightfall Batman and Detective Mode Bane, Mr. Freeze was given to me by Super Awesome Girlfriend, who purchased him for me during one of her stress-buying sprees.  I gotta say, I came into this review kinda down on this figure, but I’ve come out the other side actually kind of liking this guy.  I mean, he’s still far from perfect, but he’s certainly not as bad as the last few Mattel items I’ve looked at.

#1229: Bane – Detective Mode

BANE – DETECTIVE MODE

DC COMICS MULTIVERSE (MATTEL)

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Hey look, another DC Comics Multiverse figure.  These figures are always sooooooooooo great, right?  While the line switched over to the 6-inch scale last year, there are still quite a few entries from its earlier, 3 3/4-inch scale, based primarily on Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight.  I watched my brother play through Knight, so I’m familiar with that one, but I don’t really know Origins all that well.  Amusingly enough, I actually own more Origins merch than any of the other games.  There were just a lot of toys from that one, I guess.  Anyway, I’ll be looking at one of the smaller Origins figures, Bane.  Of course, it’s not a basic Bane.  No, no, this is a wacky variant Bane.  Let’s do this.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

banedetvis2Detective Mode Bane was released in Mattel’s small-scale DC Comics Multiverse line.  I couldn’t begin to tell you what series.  I didn’t follow the line super closely, and from what I can tell online, no one else did either.  The back of his box shows Arkham Knight, Arkham Origin Joker, and some sort of Batman derivation.  I’m guessing he hit around the time of Arkham Knight’s release?  The figure stands a little over four inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  He’s built on the same mold as the standard Arkham Origin Bane figure.  It’s okay, I guess.  Not the worst thing Mattel’s put out.  I guess he sort of looks like Bane from the game.  It’s hardly the most exciting Bane look, and the figure suffers from the same clumsy articulation issues that plagued pretty much this entire line.  The paint’s what makes this figure “unique.”  As his name denotes, he’s based on how Bane looks when he’s viewed by the player using Batman’s Detective Vision in the game.  In the game, this means the foes are seen through an x-ray filter, showing off their skeletons and what not.  For the figure, it means he’s molded in clear blue plastic, with a skeleton pattern hastily painted on the front of the figure.  He ends up looking like one of the Skeleton Men from Scooby Doo, Where Are You?.  I don’t think that was quite what they were going for, but that’s what they got.  An x-ray figure is really the sort of thing you have to fully commit to, not just a quick repaint  (for instance, every “Emperor’s Wrath” Darth Vader has at the very least an actual skull imbedded in the middle of his helmet), so this ends up looking more like a guy wearing goofy makeup than anything else.  Bane included no accessories, because why offer anything new with this figure, right?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the Knightfall Batman I reviewed two weeks ago, this guy was another figure given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, picked up during one of her stress buys.  The fact that he was a gift from her is probably the best that can be said about him.  I mean, I’ve still owned worse figures, but this one’s not offering a whole lot of positives.  The gimmick is cool in theory, but as usual, Mattel was lazy about it, and that makes him kind of a pointless figure.  I can’t really imagine what the market for this figure is supposed to be.  People who like failed concepts?

#1225: ODST Romeo

ODST ROMEO

HALO HEROES (MEGA BLOKS)

romeo1

“Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

That’s the question that Juliette and all the other Halo 3: ODST fans have been asking ever since we started getting toys based on the game’s titular team.  McFarlane held the main license at the time, and one by one gave us each member of the team, mixed in with other assortments.  Romeo, the team’s plucky sniper, was slotted to be part of their Halo Universe line, which would be comprised of figures from all of the games, but the line was cancelled rather last-minute, leaving poor Romeo out in the cold.  Fortunately, he’s finally made his way to the toy world, courtesy of our friends over at Mega Bloks.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

romeo2Following the trend started by ODST Buck, ODST Romeo is the resident ODST presence for the second series of Halo Heroes.  The figure stands about 2 inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation.  Like Buck before him, Romeo is really just a slight variation on the standard ODST look, and as such is built on the same basic body as both Buck and the Copper ODST from the Drop Pods series.  That being said, he’s probably the most unique of the ODSTs we meet in the game, so he gets his fair share of newer pieces.  His head has been tweaked to add Romeo’s signature goggles (easily the coolest part of his design), which are comically large, but that’s in keeping with the style of these little guys.  He also sports just a single shoulder pad (allowing him to better hold his sniper rifle), which is a different design than the base ODST shoulder armor used on both prior figures (and the ODST Rookie, which I never got around to reviewing).  As with all the prior figures, the shoulder, torso, and thigh armor is all removable.  The Heroes line is notable for the slightly stepped up paintwork the figures sport.  Romeo features mostly basic color work, but it’s all pretty cleanly applied and it matches up with his in game look.  It also mostly matches Buck and the Rookie for the shared colors, with the only real difference being the color of the visor, which is a more vibrant blue on Romeo than it was on the others.  If I’m honest, I think I like the color they chose for Romeo a bit more, and it’s not like it’s completely implausible that his visor is just a slightly different color than everyone else’s.  Romeo is packed with his sniper rifle (with actual paint ops, like the rest of the Heroes weapons), as well as the same three-piece display stand included with the rest of the Series 2 figures.  I’m not sure I like the orange as much as the blue for the stand, but that’s minor.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first series of Halo Heroes snuck up on me, but I knew the second series was coming.  While I could take or leave the rest of the assortment, I knew I was getting Romeo.  The guy’s probably my favorite member of the team (and that’s saying something, given that he’s on the same team as characters voiced by Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion), and I was really bummed that his McFarlane figure wasn’t released.  Seems I wasn’t the only one, as Romeo was pretty consistently the first figure to go from cases of Series 2.  I did finally manage to track one down last summer while on vacation with my family, so that was a relief.  I quite like this figure, and I’m happy to have another piece of the team!

Guest Review #0039: Snake/Big Boss

SNAKE/BIG BOSS (PEACE WALKER)

REVOLTECH YAMAGUCHI

snaket1

The following is a guest review by Tim Marron.  For more from Tim, check out Timsical Thoughts!

Kept you waiting, huh?  Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these reviews, but it seems appropriate to bring it back with a review of the greatest hero in the world, Big Boss, or Snake.  It’s hard to tell which one.  On the box, he’s called Snake, so I guess we’ll go with that, but onto the review.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

snaket2Snake has had a wide variety of looks across the Metal Gear franchise.  This particular figure is based off of his sneaking-suit look from Peace Walker, after having established Militaires Sans Frontières but before the events of The Phantom Pain.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 53 points of articulation, one of which is his eye which can be turned to look in practically any direction.  The sculpt work is quite nicely handled with a good amount of detail such as the the rivets and wires which can be seen under the fabric of Snake’s suit.  His face seems a little on the gaunt side and some of the revolver joints are a little more visually prominent than I might have liked, but that’s about par for the course with most Revoltech figures.  As far as I’m aware, this is entirely original sculpting though smaller pieces like the hands could have been used in other versions of Snake.  The only area in which the sculpt suffers isn’t even visible when the figure is fully assembled.  The aforementioned poseable eye has a peg on the back side to facilitated movement, however it sticks out just enough to get in the way of the central joint of the head. The figure’s paint is very clean for the most part, with just a little bleed around the edged of his hair and beard.  The suit in particular has some really nice fine detailing such as the MSF and FOX logos on the shoulders.  Snake comes with a bunch of accessories including some weapons, so no need to worry about OSP.  Included are 5 pairs of hands (fist, gripping, gripping w/trigger fingers, karate chop, and open gesture), an additional hand to hold what I assume is a stun baton/taser thing, said taser thing, an M16 rifle, a pistol with a suppressor, a pair of climbing hooks (perhaps?), an exclamation mark, a sleeping piece, an action effect stand, and an articulated stand.  Snake also comes packed with a piece of card stock that you can cut out and fold into the real hero of the Metal Gear universe, the cardboard box.  I like the figure a lot, but I felt it was my destiny to be here, with the box.  You should get the box too, then you’ll know what I mean.    

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Ok, fine, that last line was technically a different Snake, but you laughed, maybe, I hope.  I actually got this figure with the intent of getting a Solid Snake to go with my Revoltech Raiden but it turned out that the other options were either the wrong scale or far too expensive at the time, so I settled for Big Boss.  Sure, he and Raiden never interacted, but it suits my needs just fine.  To be fair, he’s a really cool figure in his own right and I’m glad I have him.  When I got him I spent basically a whole day playing with him LIKE A DAMN FIDDLE!  Ok, not like a damn fiddle, but like a really cool action figure.

snaket4b

#1161: Contra

PLAYER 1 & PLAYER 2

CONTRA (NECA)

contra1

I don’t know about you guys, but I definitely enjoyed Friday’s partner review.  And during the winter holidays, I think it’s a great time to deal with togetherness and stuff, so why not do another partner review? It’s definitely not just because this way I only have to do half the work.  What are you talking about?  Anyway, today I’m teaming up with my brother Christian to take a look at NECA’s recent Contra figures.  Any words to start us off Christian?

At this point, I do believe I’ve exclusively written about video game related toys. So to break the mold and expand into new horizons(*wink*), I’m talking about the Arnold-Contra-Guy, Bill Rizer (aka Player 1).

And I’ll be taking a look at Sly-Contra-Guy, Lance Bean (aka Player 2).  Let’s do this!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Bill and Lance were released over this past summer as part of NECA’s Player Select. Unlike most of the line, this is a two-pack, because who in their right mind would release these two separately?  (Mattel probably would…)

PLAYER 1

contra5Ok. I’m not gonna be as much of a spicy meatball about the specifics as MC Ethan down below, but I got some things to say. So yadda-yadda he’s roughly 7 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation. He’s got some like, uh, sand(?) all over his rippling biceps and pectorals and to accent this uber-testosterone he’s got like a bazillion bullets to refill his guns(but not those guns!*FLEX*). He’s waisted up with a knife(Heyo, I’m not Tim. I opened this box with a carving knife.) He looks really good and considering they only have the weird box art and 8-bit pixel patterns to work with and he’s a sturdy figure. In fact, maybe too sturdy. He’s not very easy to pose and is incredibly stiff. Other than that I have no issues. This is a well-made figure that does it’s job well: killing gosh darn aliens!

contra2I also kept the box, so let’s get cubular. The box art is an obvious homage to the original game’s box art and design(The NECA seal of approval looking like the Nintendo seal made me very happy; so thumbs up for effort!) This box is clearly trying hard to capitalize on the fans of the original and it does a fantastic job. This is not a box to throw away. As for what’s in the box, we’ve got a few accessories to choose from.   We’ve got the spread gun and the machine gun for your bullet-multiplying needs. We also have a sold and well-designed weapon capsule with the red falcon. These are very awesome assets to have and they really make these figures feel like more than just hit-it and quit-it NES inspired cash grabs. For me it’s a plus because rather than 18 million hands to not use to customize my figure, I get real in-game accoutrements that look cool in photos 🙂 

PLAYER 2

contra6Guess I gotta go all “spicy meatball” with the specifics here in my section.  Both Bill and Lance are built on NECA’s Jungle Encounter Dutch body.  As Christian noted above, the body is about 7 inches tall and sports 26 points of articulation.  The choice of body is pretty spot on; while Bill and Lance are commonly known to be patterned after Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, on the box art, both of the pair used shots of Schwarzenegger’s Dutch as models, making the use of actual Dutch bodies very appropriate.  It helps that the Dutch bodies are still amongst NECA’s strongest sculpts and are a very strong foundation for any figure.  Lance is sporting an all-new head sculpt based on his box art depiction.  For being based on a single two-dimensional image of a character we only ever see in profile, it does a remarkable job of capturing the general likeness of the character.  Not only is he almost perfect when viewed in profile, but he also just looks really good in general.  I know some people have expressed being slightly let down that he doesn’t really feature any sort of Stallone likeness, but I myself prefer him this way, as it let’s him actually be his own character, rather than just complete imitation of Rambo.  While the sculpt of the head is based on the box art, the rest of the figure, specifically the paint, is based on his actual in-game sprite.  Hence the bright blue clothing and the slightly strange shading on his upper half.  As with so many of NECA’s video game figures, their ability to simulate a pixelated character model on a fully detailed large scale figure is quite impressive, and Lance looks like the spitting image of his in-game model.  The accessories are mostly shared between these two figures, but Lance does get his own pistol and knife, as well as a base rifle to which you can add attachments to make the various types of guns that appear all throughout the game.

THE US HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Contra at a Goodwill for about 30 bucks. Currently, Contra has shot up in price nearing around $45-$50. It was one of the few non turn-based multiplayer games I had for my NES at the time(I don’t know how much over lap is, but thats’s the Nintendo Entertainment System for those in the dark about video game history. They just made another one, though it’s the small one from Las Vegas) and so I popped it in to play with my best an only bro, Ethan. Not being a child of the 80s, I didn’t have the Konami Code memorized(#F@#&Konami) and had to spend about ten minutes getting the code to work. From there it was free sailing and I had a blast playing it.  Close to a year later Ethan saw the figures in a Toys R Us in PA for only like $17. We picked it up and since Ethan and I are separated by 600 miles and both loved Contra about equally, we agreed to split the two-pack, but I got to keep the box. So by definition I win. Hee Hee!

Look at that, I didn’t have to write the outro! Alright!

contra7

#1159: ODST Rookie & Spartan Hayabusa

ODST ROOKIE & SPARTAN HAYABUSA

HALO MINIMATES

odsthayabusa1

Hey guys!  For today’s review, I’ll be doing something just a little bit different.  Today marks mine and Super Awesome Girlfriend’s third anniversary, and in honor of the occasion, we’re going to being partnering up for a review!  We’ll be looking at something that combines two of our favorite things: Minimates and Halo!  The set in question is ODST’s main character Rookie and Halo 3’s Hayabusa armor.  I’ll be looking at the Rookie, and Super Awesome Girlfriend will be following up with the Hayabusa. 

Ready Super Awesome Girlfriend?

Yes? O.O

Close enough!  Let’s see how this goes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Rookie and Hayabusa were released as part of the fourth TRU-exclusive series of Halo Minimates.  Both of them are exclusive to this particular two-pack (though there was another Hayabusa released later in a different color scheme).

ODST ROOKIE

odsthayabusa3It’s no secret (Seriously, it’s no secret at all, he geeks out about the armor every time he see it!) that I’m quite a fan of the ODST design.  Recently (well, several months ago, but within the last year), I played through Halo 3: ODST and it’s probably my favorite game in the series.  The only ODST proper to get released as a Minimate was the Rookie.  He’s not my favorite member of the ODST squad from the game (I didn’t really care for him either…), but he’s certainly better than nothing (and still plenty cool).  The Rookie stands about 2 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation (the boots remove the ankle articulation).  The figure uses the usual Minimate body as a starting point.  He’s got add-ons for his helmet, chestplate/belt, shoulder pads, thigh armor, gloves/wristbands, and boots.  It’s also worth noting that he uses the special thin waist piece created specifically for the Halo line in order to keep the belts from making them too tall.  The general quality of the sculpted pieces is pretty solid.  The helmet is the same one used on the Spartan ODST; I have some minor issues with it, but by-and-large it looks pretty good.  The rest of the parts capture the general ODST armor pretty nicely, though they do end up making him a bit bulkier than even the Spartans in this same line.  Still, independently he looks pretty awesome, and since scale’s never been totally perfect in ‘mates anyway, I don’t really mind all that much.  The paint on the Rookie is rather on the dull side, but that’s actually accurate to his in-game design, so that’s not a knock against him.  The application is overly pretty clean.  Not the sharpest work ever, but certainly not bad.  The Rookie included his signature silenced SMG, which he can hold decently enough, though not two handed as he does in the game.  I must say, it’s weird reviewing a ‘mate that predates when clear display stands were standard.

SPARTAN HAYABUSA

odsthayabusa2Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve written an action figure review! I should probably catch up…

This isn’t the first Hayabusa figure that I’ve received from Ethan. The other figure is a much larger (blah-blah inches tall? It’s about 5 —Ethan) and is the only other Hayabusa figure that I know of (riiiiiiight Ethan? Apart from color variations, yes). Like the figure above, Haya is about 2 1/2 inches tall with a whopping 12 points of articulation. He has the standard Minimate body with the special Halo waist piece, he puts anorexic skinny to shame, see why it’s different in the section above. He’s got add-ons for his helmet, chestplate/belt, shoulder pads, thigh armor, gloves/wristbands, and boots. Haya’s boots and gloves/wristbands are thinner than previous Spartan minimates. His other add-ons are obviously unique, the Hayabusa armor is much different than your standard Spartan design or any other amor variant. I really enjoy the sculpting of this figure, I believe it’s a pretty good replica of the original armor considering the size of the figure. My favorite part of the figure is the helmet, I believe it’s the most difficult piece to make true to the video game design, but they did a fantastic job of it. It’s my favorite part because it looks like the figure is sporting a white Tom Selleck mustache. I know, it’s an odd thing to note about a figure but what can I say, I’m weird that way. The rest of the armor is also pretty cool, makes him look slick and intimidating. Haya’s paint job is a magnificent shade of bright red, much brighter than other Spartan Minimates. The white accents on the helmet and shoulder pads also help to brighten the red and make the figure POP! The only thing that I’m disappointed about with this figure is that he comes with just your standard battle rifle, which is my least favorite weapon. In the Halo games you can unlock a katana to go with the armor, which would have been wonderful to have. Now, I can understand why they wouldn’t include a katana, because it might’ve been to difficult to do. However, the figure doesn’t even come with an energy sword, one that the Elite’s tend to carry, which I believe would’ve added to his badassatude and definitely shows up in many game shots of the armor. Overall, it’s a pretty stellar figure that triggers the nostalgia and the memories of the hours spent over the summer collecting all the damn skulls to unlock that armor. Some of those memories were fonder than other, all of them had cursing or some childish variant if parents were in the room, it was a difficult armor to get.

THE US HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this set from Yesterday’s Fun, while on vacation this year.  I’ve got a real soft spot for the ODSTs and I knew Jess really liked the Hayabusa, so the pairing was really quite convenient.  I know I was pretty happy wth the final product.  How ‘bout you, Super Awesome Girlfriend?

I really do love this figure! Hayabusa is by far my favorite Halo armor. Me and a friend of mine spent the majority of our summer in Middle School trying to get this armor in Halo 3. It took a lot of time, cursing, and Googling to find those skulls. We spent most of our time not in finding the skulls but getting to them without dying, our older siblings and parents had a lot of fun watching us and hearing our outbursts. This armor will always hold a special place in my heart, mostly because of them memories that went with it. As for figures, I have to agree with Ethan and say that I’m happy with the final product, really happy!

#1031: Cyborg Ninja

CYBORG NINJA

METAL GEAR SOLID (MCFARLANE)

GrayFox1

In my family, I’m the action figure guy and my brother Christian is the video game guy. The cool thing about those two hobbies is that they have a tendency to overlap, with lots of games getting action figures. I’ve been known to dabble in such figures, but I generally stick to ones from games I’ve actually played. Not so with today’s figure, who comes from Metal Gear Solid, a game from a series of games I’ve never once played. I did watch the “movie” version of the first MGS, though, for what that’s worth. Anyway, despite not playing the game, I like a few of the designs, especially today’s figure, the Cyborg Ninja, better known as Grey Fox!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GrayFox2Cyborg Ninja was released by McFarlane Toys in 1999, as part of their Metal Gear Solid line. This figure is actually the camouflaged variant of the main figure. There were a number of similar variants in this particular line, but it’s actually pretty sensible for Grey Fox, who spends a good portion of the game cloaked. The figure stands 6 ½ inches tall and he has 16 points of articulation. His articulation is a bit better than a lot of McFarlane’s earlier stuff, but still he’s really only good for a basic standing pose. It’s a shame, since Fox is pretty agile in the game, and it would be cool to do a bit more with the figure. The real killer is those freaking v-hips. V-hips are consistently annoying, no matter the figure. Grey Fox’s sculpt is decent enough, especially since it’s based on the PS1-era graphics of the original game. He looks more or less like the character he’s supposed to be. He lacks the cool detail work that later versions got, but he was also a fraction of the price, so it’s acceptable. I will say that his arms seem a bit short and his legs a bit long, but that could just be a stylization thing. The paintwork on the figure is more detailed than you’d think, given the whole active-camo thing. Every detail of the suit has been outlined in black, so that you can still see what he’s supposed to look like. It’s a nice effect, and makes him feel like a whole figure, rather than just a cheap recolor. Grey Fox included a sword (done to match the rest of the figure), an extra head with the faceplate open, and an extra arm with a rail gun attachment. The extra arm is really cool, because it has an elbow joint, which the normal arm does not. Why they didn’t just put elbow joints on both arms is beyond me, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Cyborg Ninja figure was actually my very first exposure to MGS. I saw a picture of the figure in ToyFare and thought he looked kind of cool. It was years before I had any clue who he was or what MGS was. In the last couple of years, Tim’s introduced me to the games, and I still quite like Grey Fox. For my birthday, I took a trip to 2nd Chance Toyz and Tim pointed this figure out to me. I would have preferred the regular version, I think, but this one’s not bad. He’s got the sorts of problems I’d expect from an old McFarlane figure (weird proportions, no movement, fragile, etc.), but he’s still a decent enough figure that I don’t regret getting him.