#3179: Ultra Magnus



Okay, the Transformers reviews have certainly slowed down around here, I suppose.  I was trying for a once-a-month thing, but I couldn’t even do that.  Admittedly, I wasn’t really trying.  Well, hey, would you guys like a Transformers review?  Okay, but slight caveat: this one does not transform.  I know.  First Transformers review in three months.  Doesn’t even transform.  There’s some sort of cruel irony there.  Well, if it makes it any better, it’s at least an Ultra Magnus.  So, you know, it’s at least mostly on brand.  Mostly.


Ultra Magnus is one of the two figures (the other being the Prime version of Knockout) that make up the fifth assortment of Transformers: R.E.D., which remains exclusive to Walmart.  The entire selling point of this line is that the transformations are sacrificed in the name of animation accuracy, a selling point that has been completely lost with this figure, because instead of being based on any animated appearance of Magnus, this figure is instead based on his G1 inner robot.  Why?  Re-use, that’s why.  I’ll get to that.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 34 points of articulation.  Magnus’s entire existence is reliant on one thing: he’s a 100% parts re-use.  Since he’s just the inner robot, rather than a proper armored Magnus, he’s just a complete repaint of the Series 1 Optimus Prime mold.  This is my first time messing with the mold.  It’s alright.  The movement is a little better than the Soundwave mold for the most part, and I found the angles to be a little sharper on this one.  It matches the Prime animation model, which is good for Prime.  For Magnus, it’s kind of neither here nor there whether it’s accurate to anything.  It’s generally a pretty fun sculpt removed from the source, and it plays pretty well, so I can’t really complain.  The mold still features Prime’s opening chest compartment, which on the first release allowed for storage of the included Matrix of Leadership.  The Matrix isn’t included here, so it’s kind of vestigial, but it’s still a cool feature.  The main change-up for this release is the paint scheme.  As with the G1 figure, he’s a largely white version of Prime, much like the inner bots for the Siege and Kingdom releases.  Not *actually* being an inner bot means he can follow the original color scheme a little bit more, specifically with the upper being silver, rather than just more white.  The application is clean, and he looks the part, so it all works out.  Magnus is packed with three sets of hands (fists, open gesture, and a grip/pointing combo), a rifle, and an alternate Energon axe hand (now in blue).  All of these are the same as those included with the standard Optimus, though, as noted above, this guy loses the Matrix.


I got this line’s Soundwave because he pretty much fell into my lap.  He was fine, but not really enough to make me jump into the line any further.  The announcement of a Magnus was exciting, but that was undercut by the reveal that he was just a Prime repaint.  Generally, I don’t tend to go for just inner-bot Magnuses, so I wasn’t really planning to get this one.  Ultimately, I got him because I needed to stop at Walmart for something else, he was there, and he was on sale.  He’s not a bad figure, but he’s also just sort of…lost?  Like, he’s not even true to the one thing the line had going for it, so, exactly what is his purpose?  I’d like to see a proper armored version later down the line, but honestly I feel like this figure’s existence is going to make getting another one more difficult.  I get Hasbro wanting to get extra mold re-uses, but for this specific line, I don’t feel like this is one that really works.  So, I’m glad to have another Magnus, as per usual, but I do wish he were better.

#3177: Nova



“It was pure chance that granted Richard Rider his fragment of the cosmic power known as the Nova Force. He was just some smart-​aleck kid from Queens, dreaming the same other big dreams as everyone else. The closest he’d ever been to being a superhero was seeing the Avengers’ Quinjet once in a while. Since the day he felt that first rush of power, he’s traveled the universe and battled against and alongside some of the most powerful creatures in the known universe. He has turned back the aggression of entire star empires, and become the last survivor of an annihilated culture. His power enhanced by the absorption of the entire Nova Force and the Xandorian Worldmind, he serves now as a final bulwark against perhaps the greatest threat our universe has ever faced.”

Well, that’s quite a thorough selection of bio-text up there.  I guess…I guess I don’t really need to get into it too much, then.  Well, I suppose I could discuss the out-of-universe stuff, then.  The success of Spider-Man in 1962 was somewhat unexpected.  For the decades that followed, Marvel was kind of always trying to craft that next Spider-Man.  Admittedly, it’s kind of hard to purposefully create an equivalent for a character that didn’t really originate with that purpose in mind.  A decade after Spider-Man’s creation, they tried this with Nova, an admittedly noble attempt at aping Spidey’s success, right down to him being a reimagining of a pet character that Marv Wolfman had made up for a fanzine, mirroring Stan Lee’s own fostering of Spidey before he actually made it to publish.  Though they gave it an honest try, but he ultimately didn’t take off, and he fell into obscurity until the early ’90s when he was added to the cast of the New Warriors.  Nova got his first Legends release, which was his second figure overall, early in Hasbro’s run, and I’m taking a look at that figure today.


Nova was released in 2009 as part of the Nemesis Series of Marvel Legends.  The Nemesis Series, which wound up being the last assortment of Hasbro’s first run of Marvel Legends, had a turbulent path to release.  Originally, it was supposed to be a mass-release assortment, slated to hit in 2008, but there were production issues associated with it, and a bunch of planned exclusive assortments got pushed up first.  The line-up got tweaked and shifted around several times, and then it looked like it was cancelled entirely, but then, at the end of 2009, the set just started showing up at Walmarts, apparently as an exclusive, effectively pushed out to wrap up the line before the full switch to Marvel Universe occurred.  It was a mess.  Nova was based on his classic design, which was amusing at the time, since he’d just gotten a new look in the comics.  This is still my preferred, so I never really minded.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and he has 40 points of articulation.  Nova was built on the modified base-body version of the Bullseye body, first seen with Havok.  It was a good piece when it first dropped, and even in 2009 it was still holding up okay.  I mean, it was still in use for another 6 years after this, so clearly it still had a little bit of mileage left.  It’s a little goofy by today’s standards, especially given how the articulation has been worked into the overall sculpt.  His only new piece on this release was his head sculpt.  It matches well with the style of the base body, and doesn’t do a bad job of adapting the helmet design from the comics.  For proper accuracy, he probably should have a few other unique pieces, but it was the best we could hope for at the time.  The figure’s paint work isn’t great, really.  The big issue is the “gold,” which is really dull, far too dark, and just generally doesn’t pop the way it should.  In general, it’s just a super drab figure, just across the board.  Nova’s only extra was the leg to the Nemesis Build-A-Figure.


This assortment wound up hitting at the same time as the Walmart-exclusive 10th Series of DC Universe Classics.  At the time, my Dad was scouting out the DCUC figures for me and my brother, and he happened upon a few of the figures from this set, so he started scouting out those as well.  He and I wound up finding this one together, while on a run for some Christmas decorations.  He’s not a great figure, but I was happy to have him at the time, and I appreciate the story behind it.

#3174: Parallax



“As a Green Lantern, Hal Jordan served the Guardians of the Universe and saved all of existence from great peril countless times. But, when Hal was unable to save him hometown, Coast City, from obliteration because he was off-world, he was shattered. He flew straight to Oa, the Guardian’s home planet, and asked for their help to resurrect Coast City. When the Guardians refused, Hal absorbed the energy of Oa’s Central Power Battery, along with Parallax, a yellow entity made of living fear that was imprisoned within the battery for millennia. Parallax then drove Hal mad and fueled him to decimate the entire Green Lantern Corps!”

Hey, did you guys like seeing me tear into McFarlane for a bit yesterday?  Well, I guess I’m gonna do it again.  I swear, I keep meaning to be done with McFarlane DC, but, you know, then I keep not being…done…with..McFarlane DC.  Look, I just get weak sometimes.  Anyway, recently, McFarlane has been slightly breaking away from the heavy Batman-focus, and there’s been some Green Lantern stuff coming through, which certainly appeals to me.  Amongst those GL-related releases is today’s focus, Parallax, a character of whom my opinions are almost as conflicted as those of McFarlane’s handling of the DC license.  Let’s see how this goes.


Parallax is another “Platinum Edition” figure in McFarlane’s DC Multiverse line.  As I noted yesterday, exactly what “Platinum Edition” means varies from figure to figure, but in the case of Parallax, it means that he’s a Walmart-exclusive, alongside fellow ’90s-themed “Platinum Edition” release Azrael Batman.  This is Parallax’s first figure under McFarlane, and in fact the first Hal Jordan Parallax figure we’ve gotten since DCD’s old Rebirth release.  That’s quite a gap in figures there.  Sure is fun that it’s a Walmart exclusive.  That certainly won’t be a frustrating turn of events for most people.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 37 points of articulation.  On the topic of sizing, McFarlane’s difficulties with consistent scaling across their figures kicks in here, as Hal stands 1/4 inch taller than yesterday’s Martian Manhunter, which is definitely off, as J’onn has consistently been depicted as one of the tallest DC heroes, and Hal is usually middle of the pack.  The sculpt for Parallax is an all-new one, and…well, it’s got its ups and its downs.  First and foremost, the box specifically cites this figure as being from “Emerald Twilight,” and it’s just not.  Heck, not even the illustration on the back of the box is from “Emerald Twilight.”  It’s actually from the Convergence crossover series, some two decades later.  The figure proper is a decent enough sculpt from a technical stand point, aside from some slight oddities this the back of the head having a slightly odd shape.  Beyond that, the issues largely stem from a multitude of inaccuracies.  The hair’s short and spiky, rather than the more classically parted hair that Hal usually has.  The arms don’t have the stripes running down the sides, instead having the shoulders come to a point, the way they do on Hal’s classic costume.  The torso, specifically the circle on the chest, is three dimensional, and the surrounding elements are totally different in their shaping than what’s shown on the page.  The tops of the boots are also totally different in their shaping, and there are a ton of extra details on the boots that aren’t there either.  Why all the differences?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Todd’s gotta Todd, maybe?  It’s been a recurring issue with the DC line, but on this one in particular, it sticks out because he’s specifically called out as being based on a specific story.  Parallax’s color work is also notably off.  The most glaring issue is the total lack of the white steaks on his temples, but his hair is also generally too dark, with almost no brown at all.  There’s a slight hint of grey, but it’s far too subtle, and also almost entirely at the back of the head.  The greens are also rather drab, and generally too light.  Beyond that, the application is at least clean, and I do quite like how the clear green hands look.  Parallax is packed with a collector card, two energy effects for the hands, a power battery, and a display stand.  The accessories are at least pretty cool, so he’s got that going for him.


While I’ve always had my issues with the story that spawned him, I also have this odd soft spot for Parallax, going back to the Total Justice figure being my only way to get a Hal Jordan figure back when I was a kid.  I loved that figure, and it’s resulted in me really growing to like the Parallax design.  I had the DCD figure back when it was new, but it was always a rather fragile figure, which isn’t very fun.  I had hoped Mattel might get to him during DC Universe Classics, but they never did.  Then the pictures of this guy surfaced, and I realized he was really my best bet at getting a halfway decent Parallax.  I wasn’t looking forward to the difficulties of getting a Walmart-exclusive, but as luck would have it, someone traded one into All Time, making getting one super easy.  Ultimately, my feelings on this figure, much like the actual character, and the overall toyline he’s part of, are very conflicted.  He’s not a bad figure from a technical standpoint, but there’s a lot of issues in terms of accuracy, with lots of changes seemingly being made purely for the sake of change.  It’s an issue I’ve run into before with the line, and I’m sure it’ll crop up again, but you just keep getting this sense that Todd thinks his designs are just better, and, well, he’s wrong, and it gets in the way of figures being as good as they could be, which is a real shame.

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.

#3020: Black Widow



“Extensive training in the Red Room made Natasha Romanoff into a warrior with few peers.”

Okay, so, I gotta be honest, putting that specific bio on this specific version of Black Widow is, admittedly, a little bit humorous.  I mean, yeah, she has trouble making friends, and it’s relevant to the movie that was being released around the time of this figure’s release, but, umm, the figure’s sort of in her specifically Avengers-branded attire.  From when she was with the Avengers.  Long enough to have specifically branded attire.  Which would make them…her peers?  I don’t mean to keep throwing wrenches into the Hasbro bios here, but, you know, I’m just throwing that out there.  Okay, enough bio-reviewing, onto the figure reviewing.  Would you guess I’m looking at a Black Widow figure today?  I know, pretty crazy!


Black Widow was a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends release, initially showing up in the summer of 2020 to coincide with the original planned release date for Black Widow.  As with most Walmart-exclusives, it was not super easy to find, and this wasn’t aided by the whole pandemic thing.  Ultimately, she would up being offered up again through Entertainment Earth, and by extension through a good number of Fan Channel locations.  This version of Widow is sporting her grey jumpsuit and Avengers-branded bomber jacket from the early ’90s.  Notably, this same design was also the one used by her very first action figure, back during the Toy Biz 5-inch days, and it also showed up once prior as the variant color scheme for the Widow from the Legends two-packs in 2010.  The figure stands just over 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her sculpt is a mix of old and new.  The bulk of the body is the Phoenix mold, with the upper arms and jacket overlay from Rogue.  She gets a new head, upper torso (which was subsequently re-used on Firestar), and add-ons for her bracelets and belt.  It’s a good mix of parts, which does a pretty spot-on job of capturing this particular version of Widow.  In particular, I really like how the head sculpt turned out.  The hair really captures the look and feel really well, right down to the one lock in front of her right eye.  It’s honestly one of Hasbro’s nicest female heads, and certainly my favorite of the Widow sculpts they’ve done.  The paint work on this figure is pretty decent.  The bulk of the color work is via molded plastic colors, but the work on the two spiders is sharp, and the face and hair are particularly dynamic and lively looking.  She’s even got the Avengers insignia on both shoulders of the jacket, which is super cool.  Black Widow is packed with two sets of hands (fists and open gesture), three different sets of bracelets (standard, blast effect, and smoke), a jetpack piece, and two rocket effects for the jetpack.  It’s a really great selection of extras.  About the only other thing I could think of to really seal the deal might be an alternate set of unjacketed arms, but that’s really a minor complaint, given the other awesome stuff included.


I’ve got a nostalgic spot for this design, what with the old Toy Biz figure and all, so I was very excited when this figure was shown off, and immediately less so when it was confirmed as a Walmart exclusive.  I then had no luck locating one at retail, and kind of figured that was it.  Thankfully she got the second release, and I got a second chance at getting her.  I’m glad I did, because she’s a fantastic figure, and honestly my favorite Widow figure from Hasbro.  Just a really strong release all around, and I’m glad it’s getting a wider distribution.

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.

#2964: Ajak



“The spiritual leader of the Eternals, Ajak can heal others and is able to communicate with the Celestials.”

Eternals, like a lot of recent MCU stuff, has its main tie-in assortment that’s at mass retail, and then a few off-shoots to that main assortment, with two in particular being store exclusive offerings.  I’m looking at the first of those two today.  Ajak was introduced in Jack Kirby’s second issue of Eternals, with his primary role being that of communicator to the Celestials.  For the purposes of the film, the now female Ajak, played by Selma Hayek, is still the communicator to the Celestials, but also serves as a more direct leader for the Eternals on Earth, given their more cohesive team nature in the film.


Ajak is a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends release, who hit at roughly the same time as the main Eternals assortment.  I normally decry characters being made Walmart-exclusive, but Ajak is actually not a bad choice for the exclusive treatment.  Her role in the film is certainly an important one, but it also has her removed from the rest of the group, and therefore the separate releases honestly makes a little bit of sense.  I’d still prefer no exclusives, but it one of them was destined for this role, she’s the right choice.  The figure stands about 6 inches tall and she has 27 points of articulation.  Her articulation scheme is pretty much the same as the other female figures, though, like Druid, the design of her skirt means that most of her leg articulation is greatly restricted.  She’s an all-new sculpt, based on her design from the movie.  Ajak’s design in the comics keeps some of the broad-strokes elements and silhouette of the comics character’s design, but makes it something a bit more streamlined, as well as more within the general theme of the other movie Eternals designs.  The sculpt does an alright job of translating it.  The head has a decent Selma Hayek likeness, certainly on the higher end of the likenesses in the set.   It does sit a little bit funny on the neck joint, but it’s otherwise not bad.  The paint work on the figure is generally pretty alright.  It’s fairly cleanly applied, and there aren’t any notable misalignments like on some of the other figures, which is certainly a plus.  Ajak is packed with an alternate head without the helmet piece, as well as two sets of hands, in fists and open gesture.  The alternate head also has a respectably Hayek likeness, and even sports a slightly friendlier expression than the standard.  She still gets no effects or anything, but at this point it’s not really a surprise or anything.


I’m not in a rush to get anything that’s a Walmart exclusive, because that would require either stepping foot in a Walmart or trusting Walmart’s website, and none of those is a pleasant experience.  So, I was content to play the waiting game with Ajak.  As luck would have it, I didn’t really need to, because just a few short days after getting my standard release set, someone brought a whole set of Eternals, including Ajak, into All Time.  It’s hard to pass on something when it literally just walks through the door for you, so, hey, I got an Ajak, no muss, no fuss.  After seeing the movie, I was certainly glad, because Ajak’s a cool character, and she makes for a pretty cool figure as well.

#2933: Captain America



“Armed with Wakandan Gauntlets, Steve Rogers steps forward to defend the world from the impossible threat of Thanos and his minions.”

Okay, I’m gonna level with you guys: you better like Marvel Legends reviews.  Hasbro’s been really switching it into turbo with the line, and though they’ve been *trying* to space it out, that hasn’t so much worked out.  The result is a metric ton of them all dropping at once.  So, it’s gonna be at least a month of Legends around these parts.  I hope I can cling to my sanity.  Let’s kick things off by jumping back into Hasbro’s Infinity Saga sub-line, which is yet another throw-back to the first decade of the MCU.  It’s covering films from the beginning of the saga, up through Endgame, filling in some holes in a few of the line-ups, as well as offering some updates to figures that weren’t quite there the first time around.  Today’s figure, Captain America from Infinity War, falls into the latter category.


Captain America is the second of the 10 figures in the Infinity Saga sub-line of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.  He’s one of five single-packed standard figures, and also one of the three exclusives in the line-up.  Yes, once again Cap is a Walmart-exclusive.  I’m going to do my best not to harp on that too much, but it continues to feel like really terrible planning for overall line performance to have one of your central pieces always wind up as an exclusive to a chain that’s really bad at handling exclusives.  Moving on.  Cap is based on his Nomad appearance from Infinity War, a design that has been done in Legends once before, but not in a particularly accurate fashion.  This one aims to fix those issues and go a little more screen accurate.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s a bit of a mix of old and new articulation styles, due to the nature of his construction.  His arms are using the pinless construction, which looks quite nice, and they’ve reworked how the bicep cuts work to make them a little more pleasant to look at when posing.  The rest of the movement more or less remains the same as it was on the first version.  A lot of that is due to most of the parts being shared between the two figures.  The head and arms are new, but everything else is re-use.  It’s sensible, since most of the old figure was pretty decent; don’t fix what’s not broken and all that.  The biggest issue with the prior Cap was the inaccuracy on the head, which this one fixes, more or less.  The hair and beard are far closer to their on-screen looks this time, which is a definite improvement.  I don’t know that the likeness is quite as spot-on as, say, the Endgame figure, but it’s certainly not un-Evans-like.  There’s a second head sculpt included, this one more expressive than the first.  It’s not a bad face sculpt, but I’m not sure the hair works as well.  He looks like he’s got some very serious helmet hair going on.  The new arms not only improve the aesthetics of the articulation, they also fix the issue of the last figure only having the one glove.  Now he’s nice and symmetrical.  In general, the new sculpt is a resounding success.  If things seem to be going too smoothly, that’s because they are.  The sculpt is great, but as with pretty much every IW Cap, there’s always a trade off.  In this case, it’s that the paint ends up making his uniform much brighter and cleaner than it should be.  The colors were one thing that the first figure did alright on, so the move to something brighter feels like an odd misstep.  It’s not terrible, but it’s definitely off.  The paint on the heads is at least up to the usual standards, so that’s good.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he also gets two sets of hands (gripping and fists, both gloved this time), as well as two of the Wakandan shields.  The shields aren’t a matched pair; one is open and the other closed.  It would be nice to get two sets of each version, especially given the extra price on this round of releases.  At least they actually gave us two this time, though.


This figure fills me with mixed feelings.  I wanted an improvement on the last release, and that’s what I got, but there are once again trade offs, and I do really feel like if you’re going to force us to buy the same figure twice, you could at least go the extra mile by throwing in more accessories.  Just to spruce him up a little bit.  And that’s all without getting into the Walmart exclusive thing, which continues to be a rather stupid move on someone’s part.  Not entirely sure whose, but someone’s.  All that said, I was at least able to get mine without any major issues (apart from the one delay that pretty much everyone got), and in-hand, I do really, really like this figure.  It’s a shame we couldn’t just get him this way from the start, but then I suppose we wouldn’t appreciate this one as much.

#2767: Mandalorian Loyalist



“When Darth Maul betrayed and defeated Pre Vizsla, Death Watch splintered into two groups. Those who wanted to embrace Mandalore’s warrior heritage remained loyal to Maul.”

Okay, so, I can’t help but feel that the bio above would actually be more appropriate for the *other* Mandalorian trooper from this particular set.  You know, the one that was a figure of one of the Mandos that actually was loyal to Maul?  Rather than this guy, who is clearly meant to be one of the Mandalorians who sticks with Bo-Katan and is on the “heroic” side of the Siege of Mandalore?  Oh, god, I’m critiquing bios again.  I gotta stop letting myself do that!  I’m probably really messing hardcore with some poor copy writer at Hasbro who’s just trying to do their best.  Why can’t I just leave them alone?  It’s just toys!  And it’s not even the part of toys that anyone really cares about, either!  …I mean, not that it’s not a very important part of the job.  You go, copy writer!  …Where was I?  Ah, yes, action figure review.  Yes.  Let’s do that.


The Mandalorian Loyalist is figure #04 in the Clone Wars sub-set of Star Wars: The Black Series Phase IV.  He’s part of the Walmart-exclusive four figure assortment based on the final arc of The Clone Wars.  The set hit shelves last fall, in theory at least, though in practice most people are still waiting.  As touched on above, this figure is based on the armor worn by the Mandos that remained loyal to Bo-Katan, and kept their slightly more heroic looking blues and greys.  It’s not as ornate as the Super Commando, but it’s about function over form, I’d imagine.  The figure stands 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  Structurally, this figure is virtually identical to his Maul-supporting equivalent.  That means he too is built from a lot of Jango’s parts.  It’s still a clunkier body than what we’re used to these days, but after now having two Mandos built on it, I’m warming a bit more to its overall look.  Perhaps it just works a little better for this particular design.  He doesn’t get the updated shoulders from the last one, instead keeping Jango’s less pointy ones.  He keeps the modified belt and upper legs of the Super Commando, which brings him more in line with the animation designs.  His only truly unique piece is his helmet, which is similar to the Super Commando one, but without all the horns.  Like I noted above, this new helmet’s not super showy or anything, but it gets the job done, and it does look nice.  The paint work on the Loyalist is what really separates him from the Super Commando.  He’s a lot bluer, and a lot more subdued, but it’s a good look.  There’s some solid work on the weathering for his armor, as well as the markings on each of his shoulders.  There are a lot of details on this one that are easy to miss.  The Loyalist is packed with the same accessories as the Super Commando: a jetpack borrowed from Jango and a pair of pistols borrowed from Sabine.


I didn’t really have a ton of luck with this assortment at retail.  Max was able to set me up with the Super Commando, but I saw none of the others.  That certainly bummed me out, because, ideally, I kind of wanted the whole set.  This guy was probably my second most wanted figure of the bunch, so I was hoping for another shot.  Fortunately, he came in with the same trade that netted me the Clone Lieutenant I reviewed yesterday, making the whole “getting him” part that much easier!  This figure surprised me a little bit.  I wasn’t let down by the Super Commando or anything, but after getting him, I expected very little from this one.  I was pleasantly surprised by how nicely he turned out, and by how much work Hasbro put into this seemingly more basic design.

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.

#2761: Casey Jones & Raphael in Disguise



“Now you can catch America’s favorite green teens in their first live-action blockbuster film!  After wading in a puddle of radioactive waste, these radical reptiles are transformed into New York City’s greatest crime-fighting quartet.  Raphael’s a skilled sai-wielding ninja.  Beware: when he gets angry, you don’t want to be around.  Casey Jones, the masked vigilante, carries a golf bag on his back filled with clubs, bats, and sticks…makeshift weapons in his war against crime.”

Hey, how about that totally not at all troublesome or even slightly infuriating topic that is NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Which one in particular?  It doesn’t matter!  They’re all equally infuriating!  Yay!  Equal opportunity awfulness!  ….Okay, I’m gonna try not to let this be a review of me just complaining about distribution issues.  Those are no fun to experience, and even less fun to read about.  Let’s just skip past, shall we?  Remember back in early 2019, when I had a man on the inside a fiancee working at GameStop, which was pretty much the sole reason I was able to get a set of the GameStop-exclusive movie Turtles?  Well, NECA decided to do more of those.  And they were even harder to get than the first round, so they stopped giving them to GameStop entirely (not a bad decision, to be fair), and moved the movie-related stuff over to Walmart (a horrible decision, really).  Now, instead of single releases, they were doing two-packs, which they kicked off roughly around the middle of last year, starting with the pairing I’m looking at today, Casey Jones and Raphael in Disguise!


Casey and Raph were, as discussed above, a Walmart-exclusive two-pack, released as part of NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie line last summer….or they were in theory, at least.  It’s not like anyone really saw them–right, trying not to dwell.


Casey here is really the main appeal of this set, since he was previously unreleased by NECA, in any scale, or any style.  We got two of them last year, and neither one was particularly easy to–right, I’m dwelling again.  Don’t do that.  This one is movie-based, as you may have guessed from him being in a line that has “Movie” in the title.  This is a kind of big deal, since we’ve not gotten any form of movie Casey from any manufacturer prior to this one.  The figure stands 7 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s a little bit better in the articulation department than the Turtles were, showcasing some of NECA’s steps forward in that area since doing those guys’ sculpts back when they were still 1/4 scale.  In particular, he’s got much better range on his elbows, which have the same sort of structure as Brett did earlier last year.  Casey’s sculpt is all-new, and certainly on par with NECA’s usual work.  Since they didn’t get Elias Koteas’s likeness rights, the figure is without his face, instead keeping him permanently masked.  While it’s somewhat limiting, it’s also not that weird for a Casey Jones figure, since the vintage figure’s mask was sculpted in place too.  This one does at least look as if it *could* be removed, since it is actually a separate piece.  It’s a sharply defined and very clean piece, and definitely the best part of this figure.  The body sculpt does a respectable job as well.  The level of detail is definitely up to the standards of the other figures in the set; there are some spots where the articulation could be a little better worked in, especially on the knees, but for the most part, he’s pretty strong.  Casey’s paint work honestly isn’t all that involved for the most part, largely being just large open areas of solid color.  The shirt and vest do get some impressive accenting, however, and, apart from one spot on the side of his hair, the application is pretty clean.  Casey’s accessory selection is certainly one of NECA’s most impressive.  He gets four pairs of different hands (fists, loose grip, tight grip, and open gesture/flat grip combo), as well as his golf bag mentioned in the bio, which can be filled with his included hockey stick, goalie stick, golf club, two baseball bats, and cricket bat.  It certainly gives him a lot of options in how to bring the pain.


Raphael largely exists as an excuse to make a two-pack out of this whole set-up, but I guess also as a way to get Raphael out another time, after the less than stellar distribution of the first two movie releases.  This one operates on the general thematic of Raph and Casey’s first interactions with each other in the first film, which has Raph in the aforementioned disguise, which amounts to a trench coat and hat.  How does this figure manage that?  By taking the previous Raphael (which I reviewed here) and putting him in a trench coat and hat.  The coat is a cloth piece, and is decent enough for the scale.  Some of the tailoring is a little oversized, but it’s not a terrible look, and it’s a pretty close match to the one he had in the movie.  It can be removed, if you so choose, but it’s not really optimized for it.  It’ll definitely take some doing (hence why I didn’t, what with already having one sans coat and all), but it’s possible.  The coat is held in place a little more so by a sculpted back pack, which is a reasonable enough piece.  The whole disguise is topped off by the hat, another sculpted plastic piece.  It’s designed with a hole at the back, so that it can sit more properly on the head, while still allowing for the knot on the back of his mask to be left undeterred.  It’s a little janky to look at from behind, but it does stay in place pretty nicely.  In terms of accessories, Raph has the same alternate hands, alternate ties to the mask, slice of pizza, and sais as the single release, but also adds an extra set of hands which are pointing, you know, for pointing purposes.


I’ve always been a Casey Jones fan, and I’d go so far as to say he’s my favorite part of the TMNT mythos.  Despite all this, I owned no Casey Jones figures beyond the Minimate, which seemed wrong.  I’d been hoping for NECA to do some version of Casey, so I was interested in this one, but then there was the whole distribution thing.  That was a mess, wasn’t it?  Fortunately, I’m a patient man, so I just kind of avoided the whole issue for the entirety of the last year.  As luck would have it, my patience paid off, and someone happened to trade this set into All Time last month, at last giving me the opportunity to get one without having to deal with Walmart.  Yay for me!  Casey’s definitely a nice figure, worth the wait, but also not really worth the mark-up, so I’m glad I didn’t pay it.  Raph is kind of redundant for me, and I ultimately decided not to hang onto him, but he’s still as good a figure as the first release.  If someone didn’t get that one, I imagine this one would be a great alternative.  Perhaps even a better one, really.  Whatever the case, I’m just happy to have a Casey to go with my Turtles.  Now, here’s to hoping that April’s not quite as much of a nightmarish ordeal to acquire.  Man, even *I* don’t believe myself when I say that…

#2719: Autobot Elita-1



“Search for Alpha Trion” introduced a radical new concept to Transformers: women!  Okay, actually, it introduced gender in general, since previously they were just robots, and technically genderless.  Then these supposed “fem-bots” came along, and everything got kinda gendered…I guess.  The episode reveals that not only are there a force of female Autobots running around on Cybertron, but also that they had their own equivalent to Optimus Prime in his female counterpart, Elita-1 (whose name even has a similar root translation of “Best First”.  Pretty clever, right?).  Though central to “Search” and a fixture throughout the franchise’s various incarnations, Elita has remained a slightly less frequent choice for toys, which is really a shame.  Like Bumblebee, she was a character given a rather sizable role in Netflix’s War For Cybertron adaptation even before getting a toy in the accompanying toyline, and also like Bumblebee, she got her first War figure courtesy of the Walmart-exclusive tie-in to the show.  I’m taking a look at that particular figure today!


Elita-1 was released as part of the second Deluxe Class assortment of Walmart’s exclusive War For Cybertron tie-in line, alongside Bumblebee and re-decos of Wheeljack, Red Alert, and Impactor.  In her robot mode, Elita stands roughly 5 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 workable points of articulation.  While these figures are theoretically meant to be more show accurate, Elita joins Bumblebee in being, well, not.  I mean, she’s not *incredibly* far off, I suppose.  The basics are there, but as I touched on in Bumblebee’s review, it’s a case of Elita’s show model being one of the few that didn’t have a pre-existing toy CAD file to work from, meaning it’s not quite as play-tested and ready to go as some of the others.  So, she is instead built on the underlying structure of the Earthrise Arcee mold.  It’s not an awful choice, since they’re supposed to be rather similar in design, and they did just tool up the Arcee mold and everything.  She does get a fair portion of new parts to differentiate, with a new head, torso, pelvis, and shoulders.  They do quite a respectable job of changing up the look, especially the silhouette.  I quite like the new head sculpt, and I do like how the new torso actually gives Elita a slightly different body shape than Arcee.  There was some confusion regarding the shoulders for this figure; initial renders showed unique shoulders, but early production samples had Arcee’s more simplified shoulders.  In hand, however, she’s back to the unique ones.  Also the subject of some changes was Elita’s paint scheme.  The exact placement of the darker red and tan sections changed around a bit between renders and then the final product, with the final settling on full red for the lower arms and tan for the lower legs, as opposed to the reverse.  It’s a pretty nice set-up, and what’s actually painted is nice and clean.  Elita is packed with the same weapon that was included with Arcee, molded in a darker transparent blue.

Elita-1’s alt-mode is exactly the same as Arcee’s.  Now, as you may recall, I was not much of a fan of Arcee’s alt-mode.  I didn’t actually refer to it as “garbage,” but I certainly thought it.  I thought it a lot.  With that in mind, prospects weren’t high for this figure. If I’m entirely honest, it didn’t bug me quite as much as I expected it to.  I don’t really think it’s because I like it any more, but more because I just knew what I was getting this time, and didn’t really get let-down by it this time around.  The transformation scheme’s still kind of involved and not super fun, and I’m still not really convinced by the final product or its playability.  But, I suppose it could be worse.


As I’ve been watching the admittedly less than stellar Netflix show’s two seasons, one of the few things I didn’t hate was Elita and her Cybertronian crew.  So, I was definitely looking to get her for my collection.  With Max’s help, I was able to get both Soundwave and Bumblebee from this round back before the new year, but I wasn’t able to snag and Elita quite as quickly.  I happened to mention to Max just the other week that I was still looking so if he *happened* to see her, I’d still be interested, and as luck would have it, he found her about 10 minutes later.  I’m certainly not complaining.  Elita’s got a cool design, and she makes for a decent toy.  Yes, she inherits the same issues Arcee had, but she’s also got the same strengths.  That means she’s got a kick-ass robot mode, and I’m not gonna knock that.

#2657: Bumblebee



Despite his prominent placement in the franchise as a whole and in the tie-in media for the War For Cybertron Trilogy, mainstay Autobot Bumblebee has been completely absent from the main line for the first two parts of said trilogy.  It’s been a weird, almost gnawing omission, since we got Cliffjumper and a handful of other Bee-esque molds throughout the year, and he’s also had a fairly sizable role in Netflix’s tie-in animation.  Eventually, he surfaced, but rather than being a mainline release, he’s instead part of the previously repaints-only Walmart tie-in line for the animation.  Oh joy, another Walmart exclusive.


Bumblebee is part of the second round of Walmart’s War For Cybertron Trilogy line, and is part of the five piece deluxe-class assortment, alongside three repaints, and the similarly new offering of Elita-1.  In his robot mode, Bumblebee stands 4 inches tall and has 22 workable points of articulation.  In theory, he’s based on the cartoon, but…well, he’s not.  Bumblebee had no Siege figure, so while many of the characters featured in the cartoon used direct copies of the original CAD files, Bumblebee was an all new model created for the cartoon.  These two designs are certainly drawing from the same source (G1 Animation Bumblebee), but a spitting image of his cartoon counterpart, he is not.  Structurally, this figure is, as expected a re-tool of the Cliffjumper mold from early last year.  It was probably my favorite mold to come out of Earthrise, so it’s definitely a good starting point.  He gets a different head (shared with Bug Bite, but obviously designed for Bee), as well as new parts for his mid-section and feet.  Why the new parts for the mid-section and feet?  That’s because…

…he also gets a new alt-mode!  While Bug Bite and Hubcap both shared Cliffjumper’s generic sports car alt-mode, Bumblebee gets his exterior pieces replaced, allowing him to transform into an authentic, fully-licensed Volkswagon Beetle.  The general transformation sequence is the same as all prior uses of the CJ mold, so there’s still that little touch of parts-forming required with the back of the car, but I still really don’t mind.  It’s a decent transformation sequence, and ultimately it results in quite a nice alt-mode for the figure.  It’s clean, it holds together well, and it’s undeniably a Beetle.  It also means that Bee stands out a bit from the other uses of this mold, which feels appropriate for him.  Bumblebee gets the same accessory selection as all prior uses of the mold: the modular cannon thing.  It’s in the same colors as Cliffjumper’s.  It’s a fun piece, and adds a lot of variety to the figure, so I don’t mind getting it again.


Obviously, I, like a lot of people, have been waiting for a proper Bumblebee in this line since Siege launched.  Simply put, it’s stupid that they opted to make him a Walmart-exclusive, because it guarantees that he’s going the be hard to find and go for stupid amounts of money on the aftermarket.  They really need to stop making core looks exclusives, especially to Walmart.  Hopefully, the plethora of fiascos revolving around these exclusives in the last year will get Hasbro to ease up on them a bit moving forward.  As I’ve said on a lot of these exclusives, I hope that Hasbro finds a way to make these more readily available so that more people can get them, because Bumblebee is a very nice figure, and goes very well with the rest of the standard line.  Also, a shout out to Max for setting me up with this figure, so that I could, actually, you know, have him.  That was super dope.