#2786: Dani Moonstar

DANI MOONSTAR

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Part of a group of young mutants, Dani Moonstar has the ability to conjure illusions based on her enemy’s deepest fears.”

Debuting in 1982, the New Mutants were an attempt to go back to the “troubled youngsters” angle of the original X-Men pitch, which had been since lost in the main book.  Included in the team’s five-member founding line-up was Dani Moonstar, who initially went by the alias of “Psyche”, before switching over to “Mirage”, and then ultimately just going by her own name, because if you’ve got a name as cool as “Dani Moonstar” maybe you don’t need to try to make it cooler.  Dani was ultimately written out of the book before it’s conclusion (though she was at least lucky enough not to be killed on her way out, which was more than could be said for poor Cypher and Karma), and that meant she wasn’t folded into X-Force, so she didn’t take off quite the same way that Canonball, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane.  However, she’s still got some things going for her, such as a Marvel Legends figure.  How about that?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Dani Moonstar was released in late 2019/early 2020, as part of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  She was initially a Walgreens-exclusive figure, and followed in the store’s trend of getting female X-characters as their exclusives.  Earlier this year, she was offered up for a fan channel release as well, making her generally more accessible.  Yay!  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 29 points of articulation.  She’s built on the Phoenix body, with newly sculpted parts for her head, forearms, and boots.  Dani is based on her mid-00s team suit design, from after they’d relaunched the New Mutants in light of most of them not being dead anymore.  It’s an update on their original black and yellow costumes, in turn based on the original X-Men designs.  It’s a pretty basic design, but not a bad one from a team stand-point.  Technically, there should be a few more character specific elements for it to be properly customized to Dani’s look from the comics, but there’s a decent reason it’s not: because this figure’s designed to be more than just Dani.  She includes two extra heads, as well as two extra sets of hands, which allow her to be displayed as her team-mates Karma and Wolfsbane, also in their mid-00s team suits.  The heads are pretty nice pieces themselves, and the overall appearance works out way more convincingly than, say, the Lilandra head included with Mystique, so there’s more out of the box value here.  In terms of paint work, the figure’s overall pretty basic. The work on the suit is nice and clean, and the individual heads all feel sufficiently distinct from each other in terms of how they handle the palette and themes of the characters.  In addition to the whole extra set of head and hands for the two separate characters, Dani does also get a couple of accessories of her own, namely a bow and a single arrow, which both appear to be new pieces, as near as I can tell.  She has a little trouble holding the arrow, but it’s still a good look overall.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m generally not a huge New Mutants fan (though I’m all about Cypher and Warlock), so I wasn’t in a hurry to get this particular release.  That was probably for the best, because it was never all that numerous around these parts.  I think I saw it once, while driving between locations for work, and I just wasn’t feeling it enough to grab it at the time.  That being said, when she was just at All Time, and I was already grabbing a handful of other figures that came in that day, Dani was harder to pass up.  She’s a decent figure, if perhaps not quite as impressive as more uniquely designed figures.  Still, it’s a cool concept, and her being a 3-in-1 is certainly a nifty prospect.

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

#2766: Clone Trooper Lieutenant

CLONE TROOPER LIEUTENANT

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Throughout the Clone Wars, Clone Troopers fought the Battle Droids of the Separatists across the galaxy. They were loyal to their Jedi generals and the Supreme Chancellor.”

When introduced in Attack of the Clones, the Clone Troopers originally made use of varying colored stripes in order to differentiate ranks amongst the many identical guys running around during the big battle on Geonosis.  Red were captains, yellow were commanders, green were sergeants, and blue were lieutenants.  Of course, then the final film came along, and pretty much everything of note was done by the all-white regular clones….but it was the thought that counted, right?  When The Black Series‘ first Clone Trooper body was introduced, Hasbro got to work doing the various ranks.  The basic, captain, and sergeant got main-line releases, and the commander was part of a boxed set…and then?  Nothing.  There was a break, and the line eventually got a new clone body.  But before entirely retiring the original body, Hasbro decided to throw some of the longer-term collectors a bone, and actually finish out the original set, with one last release, adding the lieutenant to the ranks after all these years.  That was awfully nice of them, wasn’t it?  And I bet it was super easy to get, too.  Right?  Yeah….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Clone Trooper Lieutenant is officially the first figure in the Attack of the Clones sub-set of Phase IV of Star Wars: The Black Series.  He was released exclusively through Walgreens, and hit retail at the tail end of last year.  I mean, in theory, at least.  He wasn’t really super widespread or anything.  Granted, he also wasn’t quite as in demand as other Black Series exclusives at the same time, so it was a little hard to track.  It probably could have been worse.  The figure stands a little over 6 inches tall and he has 29 points of articulation.  He’s built on that original Clone body, which I reviewed first when I looked at the Sergeant.  It’s got some troubles with the articulation layout, especially on the elbows and shoulders, but it’s far from the worst thing that Hasbro put out.  On top of that, it’s still a pretty nice looking sculpt, so it’s certainly got that going for it.  I very much liked it when it was new, and I still do like it quite a bit, even now, when there’s technically a better option out there.  The main thing that differentiates this guy from the other clones on this body is, of course, the paint.  The lieutenants were blue, which is a very nice, and also very familiar look for clones.  The actual shade of blue here’s not really right; the lieutenants were a lighter shade of blue, in contrast to the darker shade of blue that became more common with the 501st troopers.  So, this one’s technically not quite right.  Of course, the Lieutenants are largely theoretical in the films anyway, so it’s not really the end of the world there, I suppose.  Just sort of odd.  I do like that they changed him up ever so slightly from the others in terms of how the paint was applied, giving him a little bit more wear on his paint.  He looks like he’s actually made it through a battle or two, which is cool.  Like all versions of this mold, he’s packed with the two different blaster rifles.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When this figure was unveiled, I was excited, then not.  Partially, it was the reveal that he was an exclusive, and partially it was that he was on the old body.  I opted not to really go hunting for him, since I’m expecting he’ll probably get updated to the new body at some point.  However, when one of them came into All Time via a trade, I did find it a lot harder to say no, and ultimately didn’t.  That’s how I’m reviewing him, and all.  He’s not breaking molds, or doing anything new, and honestly, he’s actually a bit inaccurate, but he’s still a clone, and clones are just usually a lot of fun.  This one’s really not different, there.  He’s fun.  And he’s blue.  And that’s pretty cool.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Black Series, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2601: Iron Man – Silver Centurion

IRON MAN — SILVER CENTURION

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Tony Stark jets back from obscurity in Silver Centurian armor, a breathtaking technological achievement equipped with a uni-beam, force field, and rapid-fire Pulse Bolts.”

Another Iron Man?  Already?  Look, this one’s worth it, I assure you.  One of Iron Man’s most definitive story lines is “Demon In A Bottle”, which delves into Tony Stark’s troubles with alcoholism, and its affects on his ability to be Iron Man, ultimately culminating in Tony vacating the armor and leaving it to his friend James Rhodes.  Rhodey would remain Iron Man for 30 issues of the main title, as well as being Iron Man during the founding of the West Coast Avengers and the Secret Wars event (something that Mattel’s tie-in toyline got slightly confused about), while Tony built himself back up to the main title.  Tony returned to the identity full-time in issue #200 of the book, sporting a brand-new, all sorts of improved armor, the Silver Centurion armor.  The armor lasted about 30 issues, and it was prominent during “Armor Wars”, another rather definitive story, which has certainly helped to cement its status as one of Tony’s classic designs.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silver Centurion Iron Man is a late 2020 Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, following Moon Knight, who was sandwiched between two different Iron Man variants it would seem.  This is the first Silver Centurion in Legends form since Toy Biz’s version way back in the original Series 7 line-up. The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  Like both Iron Man 2020 and War Machine, Silver Centurion uses the 80th Iron Man as a starting point for his construction.  In a similar fashion to War Machine, the only parts that are exact matches, however, are the upper arms and legs.  Everything else is newly sculpted to match these parts.  It’s sensible, since the basic arms and legs fairly standard, and there’s no point in wasting a strong sculpt like that. The new parts match up quite nicely aesthetically with the 80th figure, but with that much boxier and squared off nature of the Silver Centurion as seen in the comics.  There are also some slight tweaks to the articulation scheme with these new parts, which actually do some pretty cool things.  The neck joint is now a ball joint, which works particularly well with this design, and allows for a lot of range in his posing.  The shoulders are also tweaked a bit to allow for a solid range of motion without impeding the design of the armor.  It’s effectively a mix of the universal joint from the standard 80th body, combined with a cut joint at the base of the shoulder plate.  It works surprisingly well.  The color work on Silver Centurion is pretty basic.  For the most part, its molded plastic colors for the red and silver.  It’s a bright and vibrant look, but it’s also one that unfortunately loses a little bit of the sculpted detailing on the red sections.  A little bit of accenting would go a long way here.  It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s just a shame the sculpt isn’t as well shown off as it could be.  Silver Centurion is packed with two sets of hands, one in fists, the other in repulsor pose (sadly missing the wrist joint again), as well as the two different sizes of blast effects included with the 80th Iron Man.  An unmasked head would have been cool, but it’s understandable given everything else included.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m quite a fan of this design, but it’s frequently had issues with translation into toy form, so I was waiting for a solid figure version.  I was hoping to see an update when the 80th figure came out, and I was really excited when he was shown off.  Him being a Walgreens exclusive I was a bit iffy on, especially after the whole thing with them cancelling my Moon Knight preorder, but I was able to track him down in person with minimal visits to actual Walgreens locations (i.e. I only had to stop and look when I was grabbing other things).  He’s a pretty strong figure.  Sure, some accent work on the paint front would help, but other than that, he’s aces.  Now, here’s to maybe building a larger West Coast Avengers line-up?

#2554: Iron Man 2020

IRON MAN 2020

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Arno Stark wields powerful weapons and a superior armor suit as Iron Man 2020.”

2020’s been such an onslaught of a year, it needs to have its own dedicated Iron Man.  Simply having the standard just wasn’t enough.  Introduced in 1984, Arno Stark was the distant first cousin of Tony, and was from a far off future, that none of us dared to even think of.  Man, remember when 2020 was far off and it couldn’t hurt us? Those were the days.  Arno, rather unsurprisingly, got a bit of a revival this year, this time as Tony’s previously unmentioned half brother, who takes over the Iron Man identity for a bit.  He also got an action figure, again rather unsurprisingly, although this one’s based on his classic design.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Iron Man 2020 is a Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, and was the first for this year.  He was shown off at Toy Fair, and started arrived in late spring/early summer.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He uses the 80th Anniversary Iron Man figure as his starting point, which, given the similarities between the armors, and the general quality of the body, is a very sensible choice on Hasbro’s part.  He gets a new head and belt, as well as an all-new overlay for his chest piece.  It translates to a figure that does a pretty solid job of replicating the character’s comic appearance.  The head’s not too far removed from the standard classic Iron Man in design, but it does mix things up by making the faceplate a separate (albeit unremovable) piece, allowing for at least a glimpse at Arno’s eyes.  It’s a goofy look, but also an entirely accurate look for Iron Man 2020, who is admittedly pretty goofy looking.  With the overlay piece, I was definitely a little bit worried that it might be too free floating, but it actually stays in place pretty well, thanks to seating in place over the original sculpt’s unibeam.  The figure’s paintwork is pretty similar to the prior release as well, with the obvious changes for the new design elements, as well as the newly visible eyes.  Also, for some reason, they’ve molded the unibeam in a transparent yellow, a cool touch that will literally never be seen, since it’s completely covered by the overlay piece.  I shouldn’t even know it’s there, but somehow I do.  Iron Man 2020 includes the same two sets of hands as the 80th release, as well as the standard repulsor effects for his hands, and an all-new (well, at the time of the release, anyway) set of blast effects for his boot thrusters, which can work as single boosts, clipped into a supporting stand for each side, or all be joined together into one stand.  Sadly, there’s no unmasked head, so we don’t get to see Arno’s fabulous Snidley Whiplash mustache, but I guess he’s still got an okay selection of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve never really clicked much with the whole Iron Man 2020 thing, which is probably why I didn’t snag either of his previous figures, despite actively collecting both of the lines he was included in at the time of release.  Honestly, I wasn’t in much of a hurry to get this figure either, but I managed to find him on a quick stop-off for some other supplies at Walgreens, and he looked nice enough in person to be worth it.  Of course, I still couldn’t get excited enough to review him all that quickly, which is why it took my like five months to get this thing up here.  Hey, at least I got it up before the end of the year, right?

#2516: Moon Knight

MOON KNIGHT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A vision in an Egyptian temple leads Marc Spector to don a shroud and become the crime-fighting hero, Moon Knight.”

Well, I gotta admit, this was sooner than I’d expected.  I…uhhh…thought I had more time.  You know, to really prepare, and build up the energy.  Do a whole thing.  Play up the crowd.  But, you know what, here goes:

It’s MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON KNIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep, there’s a new Moon Knight, and I’m right here reviewing it.  Reviewing all those lame Deadpool figures early in the week paid off, didn’t it?  You know it did! ….Okay, maybe I’m being a little mean to the Deadpool figures.  It’s not their fault they aren’t Moon Knight.  Aw, what do I care, I’m reviewing a Moon Knight!  Let’s do it!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Moon Knight is the latest Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Legends release, following up on this year’s first offering of Iron Man 2020, who I’m just now remembering I haven’t actually gotten around to reviewing.  2020’s been a roller coaster of a year, but it’s not so much of a roller coaster of a figure.  It’s also not Moon Knight, which is really a point against any figure that’s not Moon Knight.  Or ’90s Havok, but he’s a whole other thing.  This is our second Moon Knight Legend in the last few years, following up on the Marvel Now!-costumed one that was in the Homecoming tie-in assortment.  He’s sporting his classic attire this time around, which I’m definitely down for.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  While the last Legends Moon Knight made use of his own unique body, this one opts for building off of the 2099 body.  I’m a little iffy on this body, as I find it’s not always well integrated with its new, more character specific pieces.  I could definitely see an argument for it also being a touch on the small side for Marc.  I think a lot of people were kind of expecting him to show up on the Spider-UK body.  That being said, the 2099 body means he gets the butterfly shoulders, which are a definite plus.  In addition to re-using the cape, hands, and underlying head of the 2017 Moon Knight, this guy also gets a healthy helping of new parts, including a new hood, forearms, shins, and belt.  It all amounts to a figure that looks quite different from his mold ‘mates, and in fact quite different from the prior Moon Knight figure.  I was particularly impressed with the new hood sculpt, which adds some extra detailing to what we got on the last figure, blending with the cape even better.  I also really dig the clean sculpting on the arm and leg bracers, which help to break up what could otherwise be a pretty basic costume set-up.  The only slight complaint I have on the construction side is that the cape is actually just a touch too long for the 2099 body.  It’s not terribly off, and is really only an issue when he’s standing straight up, but it is slightly annoying.  Moon Knight’s paint work is surprisingly intricate given how little variation of coloring there is in this design.  The slightly metallic coloring on the bracers and belt definitely does a nice job setting them apart, and I really love the slight shading they’ve done around the eyes and on the bottom of the hood.  I wish there there a little more shading on the cape, but what’s there works, and it’s honestly better that it being too heavy.  Perhaps my favorite thing about the coloring is the all-white mask.  I really dig this look for Moon Knight, and while I was a little iffy about how it worked out on the Mezco figure, it ends up working out really well here.  But, if you don’t care for the all-white set-up, have no fear: Hasbro was kind enough to include a second head with a black mask, giving you the choice.  It’s amazing that the $20 Legend can do this, but the $90 Mezco can’t.  In addition to the second head, this guy gets two large moonerangs, three of the smaller ones, an actual proper staff (the one notable omission from the prior figure), and two spare gripping hands.  As with the previous release, the standard fisted hands on this guy have slots to hold the smaller moonerangs, which is cool.  The only thing I’m not big on here is the alternate hands; for some reason, rather than using the gripping hands from the last Moon Knight, which match the fists in terms of detailing, they just used a basic pair, which aren’t even gloved hands.  They also aren’t quite the right size for his accessories, which can make holding things troublesome for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After the very lengthy search that surrounded getting the last Legends Moon Knight, and the serious trouble I’ve been having getting the other Walgreens exclusives as of late, I was actually kind of dreading this release a little bit.  I pre-ordered him through Walgreens’ website, which didn’t actually end up helping, because they cancelled my order with no warning.  It’s okay, though, because I’d actually found him about two weeks earlier when I swung by my local Walgreens for a couple of essentials, and found this guy there before even knowing he was actually out.  So, that was pretty easy, I guess.  In sort of a similar fashion to Iron Man, I had picked up Mezco’s One:12 offering because I wanted a more classic Moon Knight, and then Hasbro went ahead and rather quickly gave me one in Legends style.  And, again, I feel like this one kind of ends up doing the job a little bit better.  He’s just about everything I’d want out of a Moon Knight figure.  He’s really good.

#2454: Captain America & Peggy Carter

CAPTAIN AMERICA & PEGGY CARTER

MARVEL MINIMATES

Even in these times of uncertainty for the line, Marvel Minimates has a fairly steady stream of new product always coming from at least one retailer…provided you can actually find any of that new product.  Walgreens has been great for getting lots of new ‘mates on the books, but in 2018, they started kind of having a bit of a back-up in their distribution process, and two years later we’re still kind of feeling it.  Officially hitting at the end of last year, Series 11 has a decent mix of things going for it, including today’s set, Captain America and Peggy Carter!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were part of the 11 Walgreens-exclusive set of Marvel Minimates, and are animation-based, specifically hailing from the Avengers Assemble show, though in the case of both ‘mates featured here, the movie-inspiration is also pretty strong.

1940s CAPTAIN AMERICA

“Given enhanced strength, speed and durability in a top-secret experiment, Steve Rogers became a symbol of hope for Americans in World War II.”

We’ve had a couple of these MCU-esque ’40s Caps in the line, and this one’s just another.  This marks the first time he’s been animated, though!  Structurally, Cap’s just got the one add-on piece for his helmet.  It’s a re-use from the ’40s Cap in the Series 55 assortment, which is fair enough.  That piece has always looked a bit better than the one we got from TFA‘s line, and its slightly streamlined appearance works a bit better with the more vanilla nature of this figure.  Everything else here is paint.  This is the animated recreation of the film design, so it dispenses with a number of the details for something a bit cleaner.  I rather like it, honestly.  There’s a definite simplicity to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad in the slightest.  Cap is packed with his shield, a spare hand with a connection for it, an alternate hair piece for an unmasked look, and a clear display stand.

AGENT PEGGY CARTER

“Peggy Carter, a British agent who knew Captain America during World War II, was briefly brought from 1949 to the present day by Kang the Conqueror.”

Since Minimates had claim to the only Peggy Carter action figure on the market for a good eight years,  I guess it’s only fitting that when Legends got in on the game, they would double their efforts…literally.  This is our second Peggy ‘mate, and our third Peggy figure, ever, so that’s all pretty cool.  What’s more, it takes my complaints about wanting the Hydra base-storming gear from the end of TFA into account!  More looks for Peggy!  Yay! Peggy is a pretty basic ‘mate in terms of construction.  She’s got the hair piece, and that’s really it.  It’s a new piece, and definitely goes with that animated style, but it certainly fits the character.  In fact, I like this piece a bit more than the one used on the movie Peggy.  It just really feels like it gets the character down.  Again, the heavy emphasis here is on the paint.  As with Cap, she’s definitely got a very simplified look about her, but that said, the face still looks remarkably close to Haley Atwell in terms of likeness.  It also seems a little less void of expression than the last ‘mate.  The detailing on the jacket is all pretty sharp looking as well, and this has got to be one of the few times that the somewhat washed out nature of the animated ‘mates didn’t feel totally out of place. What really makes Peggy shine are her accessories.  She gets a hat-wearing hairpiece, a spare torso and arms, and a skirt piece, which effectively allow you to build a second figure, of Peggy in her trench-coated appearance.  It’s another quite distinctive look, and another really strong design for the character.  It also really adds some serious value to a figure that was already really cool, and distracts from the always present issue of the Walgreens sets not getting guns by giving Peggy a much preferred replacement.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve kind of been falling out of Minimates (which is only fair, since so has DST, if I’m honest), but Max has been keeping me at least a little bit invested, and he was nice enough to hook me up with this set earlier in the year.  Cap is kind of a nifty figure, presenting something of a what-if scenario where the line hadn’t evolved so much by the time the MCU films rolled around.  He’s kind of a movie Cap via Minimates Year One, and I think that really works for him.  I’m getting real Series 5 Cap vibes off of this guy.  The prior Peggy was good for the time, and had the novelty of being the only one for a while, but this Peggy is pretty much the ultimate version of the character, with two really great looks and a pretty spot-on likeness.  This set is pretty much all win.

#2330: Clone Commander Obi-Wan Kenobi

CLONE COMMANDER OBI-WAN KENOBI

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A legendary Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi was a noble man and gifted in the ways of the Force. He trained Anakin Skywalker, served as a general in the Republic Army during the Clone Wars, and guided Luke Skywalker as a mentor.”

Between Episodes II and III of the prequel trilogy, the Clone Wars got their first cartoon treatment in a 2D series led by animator Genndy Tartakovsky.  While it’s place in the cannon proper has been taken by the later 3D series, the broad strokes from it do still crop up from time to time.  One of the most recurring elements for re-appearance is the show’s distinctive design for Obi-Wan, which placed the Jedi in a suit of clone armor so that he could do battle with the bounty hunter Durge.  It’s a really cool look, and its gotten surprisingly little toy love.   Fortunately, though, it’s gotten a spot in The Black Series.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Clone Commander Obi-Wan is a late 2019 Walgreens-exclusive Black Series release (and, fun fact, Walgreens’ second time getting Obi-Wan as an exclusive).  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and has 29 points of articulation.  Obi-Wan’s largely made from re-used parts, as pretty much everyone was expecting when this figure was announced.  He’s built on the standard Clone Trooper that Hasbro’s been using since early in the line, and I’m sort of mixed emotions about that.  It’s a nice looking body, and it was one of the best in terms of poseability when it was new, but it’s got some definite issues compared to more recent stuff, most notably those really restricted shoulders.  Hasbro created a totally new clone body for Captain Rex, but as of yet haven’t used for anyone but him.  This feels like it would have been a good place to start, but maybe Hasbro’s got a specific reason for sticking with the old mold for now.  Obi-Wan gets a new head, belt, clasps for his cape, and a slightly retooled upper torso to work with the clasps.  The head’s really the star piece here, with a really strong McGreggor likeness.  Technically, for true accuracy to the source he should still have his Attack of the Clones hair, in contrast to this one’s Revenge of the Sith appearance, but given that the 3D show seems to have firmly decided that Obi-Wan had the short hair for the Clone Wars, and the fact that I honestly think it looks better this way, I can’t really complain.  He’s also got a cloth goods robe, which isn’t terribly impressive, but also isn’t terribly terrible (which some of the Black Series cloth stuff really has), so I again can’t complain.  Obi-Wan’s is largely pretty basic, apart from the head, which gets the nice printed face technique, which looks really nice on this particular figure.  Obi-Wan is packed with his lightsaber (which an be stashed on his brand new belt) and one of the stands they’ve been packing in with the exclusives.  It’s a shame he didn’t also get the standard clone helmet, since he wore it with the armor, but he’s at least got the bare minimum.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This guy is probably the most excited I’ve been for a Walgreens-exclusive Black Series, which is honestly a little funny given my prior “no prequels” rule, but I’ve always really liked this design, and this is the first time The Black Series has done anything 2D Clone Wars-related.  I lucked into this guy at the Walgreens between two of my day job’s sites, which made for a nice mid-day pick-me-up.  While the older body does hold him back a little in terms of posing, he’s still a really, really awesome figure, and I’m glad I was able to track one down.  Here’s hoping for a Durge to face off against him!

#2263: Dragonshield Black Ranger

DRAGON SHIELD BLACK RANGER

POWER RANGERS: THE LIGHTNING COLLECTION (HASBRO)

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is no stranger to toy coverage, and they’ve had action figures in all shapes and sizes.  For the purposes of Hasbro’s Lightning Collection, the Mighty Morphin’ characters have had similar coverage in a similar style in the form of the Legacy Collection and Figuarts, making the Morphin’ characters an interesting proposition for the line, should Hasbro want to avoid making die hards double dip on the characters too soon.  They’re doing a respectable job of it so far, mixing them in one per assortment, with a few exclusive offerings to bridge the gap of releases.  These exclusives have all followed something of a common theme: the Dragon Shield, the distinctive armor worn by the Green Ranger.  There are a few instances of the shield being passed to other Rangers, so the Red Ranger got his version in a SDCC two-pack, and now the Black Ranger is getting his due courtesy of a Walgreens exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Dragon Shield Black Ranger is the first Walgreens-exclusive for The Lightning Collection.  Given Hasbro’s current relationship with Walgreens, it seems unlikely that it will be the last.  The figure is based on Zack’s time wearing the Dragon Shield from the episode “An Oyster Stew”.  It’s notable because this concept is one of the ones introduced by the “Zyu2” footage, which was the additional suit footage commissioned exclusively for Mighty Morphin’, and not present in the original Zyuranger series.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has  34 points of articulation.  Construction-wise, he shares a good deal of his parts with both the Red and Green Rangers, sensible given how close the designs all are.  It follows the established style of the Lightning Collection so far, being ever so slightly bulkier than the Figuarts stuff, but generally more relalistic than anything Bandai America put out.  Zack gets a new helmet and, rather surprisingly, a new belt.  The helmet is as nice a recreation of the show design as any of the helmets so far from the line.  The belt is a real shock, because it’s definitely an area where they could have just gone with a painted emblem to differentiate the rangers, but they instead have sculpted in the proper emblem.  That’s actually pretty impressive.  The paintwork on the figure is about par for the course.  It gets all the basics done, and generally looks pretty solid on my figure.  Zack is packed with his Power Blaster, Power Axe, an extra set of hands, a blast effect, and an unmasked head, which sports a pretty decent likeness of Walter Jones, though it’s perhaps not as spot on as some of the modern rangers.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been mostly avoiding the main Morphin‘ Rangers from this line, since I’ve already got the Figuarts line-up, so I was initially planning to skip this one.  However, I swung by Walgreens while looking for the Clone Wars Obi-Wan and saw this guy and he proved too hard to resist.  It helps that he’s not just the standard Black Ranger, so I don’t feel quite as bad about double-dipping.  This is a pretty solid release, and a pretty smart choice not just for an exclusive, but also for Zack’s first inclusion in the line, since it’s more likely to be picked up even by those that have Zack in another form.

#2230: Autobot Ratchet

AUTOBOT RATCHET

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

As I write this review, I’m feeling a bit under the weather, and definitely have getting better on my mind, so what better time to look at the Autobot’s resident medic, Autobot Ratchet (gotta get that Autobot branding in there, lest the Decepticons, or worse, the Go-Bots, get him)?  I mean, he specializes in robots, not humans, so I don’t know how much help he would be to me personally, but I feel like he could give it a try.  Of course, that could be the sick-brain talking.  Don’t trust the sick-brain.  I’ll probably edit all this out once I’m back in my right mind…or will I?  Eh, I’ll just go with whatever’s more entertaining.  Onto the review!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Autobot Ratchet is a Walgreens-exclusive offering, and is officially a Deluxe Class Siege release.  He’s one of the last Siege items to make its way to retail, though we’ve known about him for most of the year.  In his robot mode, he’s 5 1/2 inches tall and has 22 workable points of articulation.  He’s on the taller side for a Deluxe, and there’s a good reason for that.  Like his original vintage figure, most of Ratchet’s parts are shared with this line’s version of Ironhide.  I was generally a fan of Ironhide, so I’m definitely alright with the re-use.  What’s more, there were a few issues I had with Ironhide (most notably the problems keeping the leg panels properly snapped in place) which this release actually corrects.  I don’t know that there were any actual changes to those parts of the mold, or if it’s just a slightly better pressing of it.  Whatever the case, he’s a slightly more satisfying figure in hand, which makes the re-buying feel really worth it.  He’s not all re-use, though.  Ratchet gets a new head and shoulders to differentiate him from Ironhide.  They work well with the pre-existing parts, and the head in particular is a nice rendition of the G1-animation Ratchet (since the actual G1 figure had no head).  Ratchet’s alt-mode is more or less the same as Ironhide’s, being a sort of a van thing.  The transformation is still pretty simple, and he’s pretty much a brick with wheels again.  There’s also a third mode of sorts, a repair bay, replicating the original toy’s medical sled.  It’s not quite as finalized a transformation, essentially just being a mid-point between the two main modes, but it’s nifty enough.  Ratchet gets a distinct selection of extras, including a shoulder-mounted laser cannon with robotic arm, a gun/welder, and a cool looking wrench.  That’s a fair bit of new parts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Ratchet, especially his Prime incarnation, so I was definitely happy when rumors started flowing of him being added to the line.  I was also pretty happy to hear he would be a re-work of Ironhide, since I really liked that figure.  I was less happy to hear he would be an exclusive, but at least it’s Walgreens, not Walmart.  Max actually found Ratchet first, and was kind enough to grab one for me as well…or is it kindness?  What if this is way of keeping trapped in this Transformers collecting life?  Oh, that’s devious! …Or that could be the sick-brain talking again.  Don’t trust the sick-brain.

#2186: Tron, Flynn, & Sark

TRON, FLYNN, & SARK

TRON (DST)

“When a brilliant video game maker named Flynn hacks the mainframe of his ex-employer, he is beamed inside an astonishing digital world and becomes part of the very game he is designing.  He must team up with the heroic Tron and evade the forces of the Master Control Program to find his way home and shut down the power-hungry MCP once and for all.”

Despite being at best a modest success when it hit theatres in 1982, Tron did get a little bit of toy coverage at the time of its release, courtesy of toy makers TOMY, who have us a handful of the film’s main characters.  Since then?  Well, neither the movie no its sequel, Tron: Legacy, has had a ton of luck with toys.  The original film’s titular character was fortunate enough to get a couple of figures earlier this year from DST as part of a tie-in with Kingdom Hearts, and to follow things up, they’re giving a Tron line proper a try.  Let’s have a look at those guys today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Tron, Flynn, and Sark make up the first series of Tron figures from DST.  The line-up seen here is specifically the Walgreens-exclusive, slightly paired down line-up; specialty stores will be getting the same Tron and Sark, as well as Flynn in a red color scheme (because why not, I guess), and all three will include parts to build a Recognizer.  The Walgreens set started hitting in early September, and the specialty line-up should be arriving in the coming weeks.

TRON

Both Tron and Sark were just released in DST’s Kingdom Hearts line.  I had initially thought that these figures would be slight retools of those releases, but that’s actually not the case.  Tron is seen here sporting an all-new, more movie inspired sculpt.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall (giving him a 1/2 inch on his predecessor) and he has 29 points of articulation.  Comparing the two Tron figures, leads to the question “does more articulation mean more posability?” and in the case of these two figures, it’s kind of a toss-up.  The double joints on the elbows and the swivels on the thighs certainly are an improvement, but the hips just seem different for the sake of being different, and the added mid-torso joint doesn’t change his range in the slightest, meaning he’s got a break in his sculpt there for no practical reason.  Perhaps most frustratingly, the neck, which had a decent range on the KH figure is now greatly reduced.  That’s disappointing.  The overall sculpt is a bit less stylized, obviously, since it’s based on the movie, and not a game, so Tron has a slightly more realistic set of proportions, as well as greater detailing on a few areas of the sculpt.  The boots in particular are quite impressively handled.  That said, the head is different from the previous figure, but I can’t really say it’s any more accurate or closer to Boxleitner in appearance.  In general, while the sculpt goes for a more realistic look, I found that the sculpt made more compromises for the articulation this time, and the end result is a figure that just never looks quite as natural standing on the shelf as the previous figure.  Tron’s paintwork marks another change from the KH figure, and honestly another area of different for the sake of difference.  Rather than the grey with blue of the prior figure, this one is predominantly a light blue, with grey for the “skin” and darker blue for his tron-lines.  I suppose an argument can be made for this being more accurate to the film, but the very dynamic nature of how the characters look on screen means that either appearance reads more or less as accurate.  Tron is packed with his disk (a notable improvement over the KH figure) and a display stand.  The disk is nice to have, though it’s worth noting that his hand posing isn’t totally ideal for holding it and it has a little trouble staying in place on his back.

FLYNN

The movie may be named after Tron, but Jeff Bridges’ Kevin Flynn is the more clear-cut protagonist (and his son is undoubtedly the protagonist of Legacy).  Despite all that, he’s far less common as a figure, and was left out of the Kingdom Hearts stuff.  Also, for whatever reason, DST decided to make the wider release version of him in red, rather than his blue that is his default look, making this figure the most desirable of the Walgreens trio by a country mile.  Yay? Flynn’s construction is very similar to Tron’s, and the two of them share the same right arm, lower torso, pelvis, hands, and lower legs.  The articulation is the same here as above, for better or for worse, but on the plus side, Flynn’s got his little toga thing from the movie, which hides the non-functioning torso joint for the most part.  Of course, then it ends up restricting his left shoulder.  You win some, you lose some.  The head, though not a spot-on likeness of Bridges, is at least distinctly a different person, so there’s that leg up on the TOMY figures.  Flynn’s paintwork very much follows the model of Tron’s, swapping out the character-specific details of course.  He’s still predominantly that light blue color.  The specialty release will, of course, swap this out to match Sark’s colors.  Flynn is packed with a disk and display stand.  They’re the same as Tron’s, but the tunic at least keeps the disk more in-place when on his back.

SARK

The legendary David Warner actually does triple-duty in the original Tron, with turns as corrupt exec Edward Dillanger, Big Brother stand-in Master Control, and dictator-esque program Sark.  Of the three, I guess Sark’s kind of the most toyetic, isn’t he?  Sark was offered in the Kingdom Hearts line, but like Tron, this figure is an all-new offering.  He shares no parts with the other two figures, and that’s probably for the best.  By and large, Sark’s articulation actually works a fair bit better than the other two.  The range on the shoulders was definitely better, and the mid torso joint is not only functional, it’s also pretty much hidden.  In general, the articulation and the sculpt mostly stay out of each other’s way on this guy.  Getting him into a basic standing pose is a lot easier here.  By far my favorite part of the sculpt is the head.  While the other two likenesses are so-so at best, Sark is pretty unmistakably Warner, even if he’s hiding behind all that goofy headgear.  Sark’s paintwork goes back to that KH styling, with the majority of things being grey, with the red highlights thrown in.  This confirms for me that I really just prefer the grey with accent color look, as it just works a lot better.  I don’t know why they opted to do it the other way for Tron and Flynn.  Sark is again packed with his disk and a display stand.  The disk is still tricky to hold, but is at least much more secure when plugged into his back.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these figures were shown, I had no idea if I’d be picking them up, because they honestly didn’t look all that different from the Kingdom Hearts releases, and I don’t believe Flynn was part of the initial line-up.  I happened across Tron and Sark while checking some Walgreenses in an out of my area location.  I almost just picked up Sark, but decided to grab the pair, and at the time had no clue about the Flynn figure.  Once discovering Flynn’s existence, I was able to get hold of him as well with an assist from Max.  I want to like these figures more than I do.  Tron is really hurt by following the KH figure.  While this one tries some new things, ultimately, the more standard faire of the previous figure is just more enjoyable to me.  Flynn is more unique, but still suffers from a lot of the same issues.  Sark is by far the best of the trio, and is the only one that really seems to succeed in what they’re trying to do with this line.  Ultimately, I’m not sure what DST’s aim was with these figures, but they’re something of a mixed bag, and a little hard to recommend.  They’re not terrible, and at least the Walgreens releases are pretty cheap, but I can’t see the specialty versions being worth $30 a piece.