#1541: Black Panther

BLACK PANTHER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“With his claws sharp and his eyes set on his target, Black Panther is ready to pounce.”

I really try not to critique the packaging bios too much, but I gotta say, if you’re completely unfamiliar with Black Panther as a character, that’s probably not gonna do much to help.  In fact, it sounds more like the sort of description you’d see of an *actual* panther.  Hasbro knows he’s not an actual panther, right?  One would certainly hope so…

We’re about a month out from the theatrical release of Black Panther, 2018’s first on a long list of super hero movies.  This, of course, will mark the second time audiences see T’Challa grace the screen, after his pretty much universally praised appearance in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.  I’m certainly excited to see more of the character, especially given the rather rich history they’ve got to draw from.  The landslide of movie-based product just started hitting last week, but before I get to that, I’ll be looking at one of Panther’s comic-based figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Panther was a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends figure, released last year.  When it was released last year is very much up for debate.  Samples of the figure started showing up over seas at the beginning of 2017, and the product was given to Walmart not long after that.  However, there was no official announcement that he was coming from Hasbro or Walmart, and no real estimated street date.  A few people found him starting in the spring, but for a lot of people, this guy didn’t actually show up until just before the winter holidays.  Quite a lag time.  But the figure’s here now, and that’s really all that matters, right?  For the most part, this figure’s just a slight re-working of the Rocket Raccoon Series Black Panther from 2013.  That whole series was pretty difficult to track down, and Panther in particular was always the most popular, so it’s nice for Hasbro to give some of us another shot at him.  Like the Marvel Universe figure, this one’s based on his classic 60s/70s appearance, from when he was with the Avengers.  With the included cape, he actually comes pretty close to a first appearance Panther, but the cape’s a touch long and he’d still need the satchel.  The point is, he’s a pretty standard “classic” Black Panther.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Bucky Cap body (which, when it was used for the last Panther, was still a fairly new addition to the line).  There have been some arguments made that he should actually be on one of the slightly larger bodies, but I find this base feels right.  He gets the same head as the Rocket Raccoon Series figure, which is a good translation of Panther’s distinctive full-face mask.  There are enough details that you can actually make out some of T’Challa’s face beneath it, which I think is pretty darn cool.  Changing things up ever so slightly from the last figure, this one gets the belt piece from Daredevil, and the hands from the Civil War Panther.  I wasn’t sure about the use of the hands at first, since the CW Panther has a lot of sculpted textures that I thought would be out of place on an otherwise comics-inspired figure, but they work surprisingly well.  The figure also sports a cape, reused from the 2008 Adam Warlock figure.  It’s not bad, but I definitely prefer Panther sans-cape.  The paint on Panther is subtle, especially when compared to the RR one, which had a lot of blue going on.  This one’s mostly just straight black, with a bit of detailing for the accents on the boots, gloves, and belt.  I really dig the striped boots and gloves, as they’ve always been one of my favorite parts of the classic design.  Panther is packed with the previously mentioned cape, a spare set of normal gripping hands, and a spear (borrowed from Kraven the Hunter).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I always wanted the RR Series Panther figure, but never could find one.  I eventually got the Civil War figure, which is an awesome enough figure that I was willing to let it slide that he wasn’t a classic Panther.  Needless to say, when this figure first surfaced, I was pretty dead set on getting one.  It took me until December to actually find one.  My closest Walmart put out about 20 of him all at once (all of which were gone within a week, I might add), so I grabbed him as soon as I saw him.  There’s not anything particularly innovative or new about this figure, but he’s still one of the best Black Panther figures in my collection, and I’m happy to add him to my Avengers shelf.

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#1471: Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader

SCARIF STORMTROOPER SQUAD LEADER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“Specialist stormtroopers stationed at the top-secret Imperial military headquarters on Scarif, Shoretroopers patrol the beaches and bunkers of the planetary facility.”

Though the main Star Wars line has moved onto all of the product from this December’s Last Jedi, I’ve still got a few Rogue One products sitting on my shelf waiting to be reviewed.  There was sort of a mass influx of new figures over the summer, and a lot of them had to wait for their slot in the reviewing schedule.  None more so than the Rogue One stuff, which got put on hold so that I could focus on TLJ.  Now that I’ve got a bit of lull, I can finally get back to some of them.  So, after much delay, here’s this Shoretrooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader is the fourth and final figure from the Rogue One assortment of the Walmart-exclusive small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  Of the four, this guy was by far the most difficult to acquire (which is part of why he’s being reviewed four months after the other three), largely due to his status as an army builder.  The name on this guy is a little confusing.  He’s listed as the “Squad Leader,” which is the name generally associated with the more decorated guy from the two-pack with the Moroff.  That name was again used for the more decorated look in the larger Black Series, where the look seen here was listed simply as “Scarif Stormtrooper.”  And when this look showed up in the basic line, it was “Shoretrooper.”  If I had to guess, I’d say Hasbro may have been initially planning to release the guy from the two-pack, but changed their minds after the packaging was underway.  At the end of the day, none of this actually affects the figure, though, so I guess it doesn’t really matter that much.  The figure stands a little under 4 inches tall and he has 26 points of articulation.  As with the rest of his assortment, the Shoretrooper’s articulation represents a marked improvement over the Force Awakens offerings from the prior year.  I’d place this guy on par with Cassian in terms of posabilty.  It’s nice that Hasbro put in the effort on these guys, since they’re probably less likely to see new figures going forward.  The sculpt on this guy is totally unique to him; no parts shared with any of his less articulated brethren (though I feel certain we’ll be seeing most of this body again for the Vintage Collection Hovertank Pilot).  It’s definitely solid work, and on par with the larger version of the same design.  The helmet could perhaps be a little sharper, but the detailing on the body is definitely top-notch.  The paint on this guy is definitely solid work.  All of the base work is pretty clean and the colors match what we see on-screen.  Like the larger Shoretroopers, he gets some dirt and grime, to help make his armor look a bit more used.  It’s a nice touch, and really adds a lot to the figure.  The Shoretrooper is packed with a standard E-11 Stormtrooper blaster.  That’s a bit less than the others in this assortment, so he feels a little light, but it’s not terrible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since they hit back in last December.  He and Cassian were definitely my most wanted, but while I was able to find Cassian back in May, this guy eluded me for several more months.  I ended up finding him at the Walmart across the street from the apartment I was moving out of back in August.  Which, of course, was just in time for Walmart to bring the price on these figure back up to their full $12, rather than the $6 they’d been at all summer.  Oh well.  At least I got him.  Is he the most thrilling figure ever?  Perhaps not.  I’ve gotten every other Hasbro Shoretrooper, so he’s not particularly different or new, nor does he blow me away the way Cassian did.  That being said, he’s still a very good figure, and I’m glad I found one.

#1455: Elite Praetorian Guard

ELITE PRAETORIAN GUARD

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES

“As the Supreme Leader of the First Order, Snoke was flanked by crimson-clad guardians, loyal protectors encased in ornate armor ready to defend the Supreme Leader from any threat.”

It’s been almost a month since I reviewed the Force Link reader and wrapped up my Last Jedi reviews.  Now I’m back with more!  Woooooo!  I’ve yet to find any of the post-Force Friday basic figure releases, but I have managed to find a few other things of interest.  As with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, there’s a Walmart-exclusive assortment of smaller-scale Black Series figures.  It would seem the timing is a little better this time around, since they started hitting only a week or two after the initial product.  Today, I’ll be looking at that series’ take on the Praetorian Guard!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Elite Praetorian Guard is one of the four figures in what is the final series of Walmart-exclusive Black Series figures (the line’s being replaced by the returning Vintage Collection next year).  This guy’s got a different helmet than the one in the two-pack with Rey, denoting he’s a different guard.  I like this one a little more than the last one.  Given the presence of this design in the big playset with Snoke and as the main release in the larger Black Series, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this guy might be the “lead” guard, but time will tell.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  The Guard’s articulation is showing the same improvements we saw with the Rogue One figures, though I found his to be about on par with the Death Trooper, who was definitely the most limited of that bunch.  Still, he’s way easier to mess with than the TFA figures.  The Guard gets an all-new sculpt, which is pretty decent overall.  The upper half is really the best work; it’s sharply detailed, the articulation is pretty well integrated, and the build looks to match what we’ve seen so far of these guys.  The lower half has his skirt piece done with cloth, rather than sculpted.  It looks alright, and helps with porsablity, but the shaping’s definitely a bit off in basic standing poses.  His legs are also really skinny, at least to my eyes.  Like his more basic counterpart, the paint on this guy is pretty simple.  He’s mostly just molded in glossy red plastic, with some slight black detailing here and there.  It still looks pretty slick, and one can hardly fault them for following the film design.  This guy includes one accessory: his spear.  It’s a pretty cool piece, and this figure can hold it with both hands, which is a definite plus.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I came across this assortment while I was out searching for a Voltron Keith (who I still haven’t found, by the way).  Luke and Rose weren’t different enough from the basic figures for me to feel they were worth it, and the Executioner’s built on the same body as the rather flawed FO Stormtrooper, so this guy was the only one that came home with me.  Admittedly, I don’t think he’s quite as strong as the Rogue One figures, but he’s still pretty fun, and I’m happy to have him.  Now, let’s wait and see if Hasbro decides to offer all of the helmet variations in this style.

#1395: Vulture & Spider-Man

VULTURE & SPIDER-MAN

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

Adrian Toomes uses a specialized flying suit to soar through the skies as the Vulture – but when this winged menace threatens justice, it’s up to Spider-Man to swing in and stop him in his flight.”

Didn’t I *just* review a Vulture & Spider-Man two-pack?  It’s like Hasbro has a reason to be releasing multiple Spideys and Vultures all of the sudden.  I mean, I guess it could be the movie, but I’m not sure.  As has become the norm these days, Hasbro’s taking advantage of the hype from this new movie and using it to put out a few comics-based figures in addition to all the movie fare.  Today’s focus set is a pair of those figures.  Let’s check them out!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Vulture and Spider-Man are a Walmart-exclusive two-pack, as part of Hasbro’s 6-inch Marvel Legends.  They started hitting not too long before Homecoming’s release.

VULTURE

It’s been twelve years since we got a comics Vulture.  Seems like a reasonable waiting period to me.  Where the last one was a classic Vulture, this one’s actually based on his Ultimate counterpart (who, if you want to get technical, isn’t Adrian Toomes like the bio says; he’s actually Blackie Drago.  Of course, the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon uses this basic design for Toomes as the Vulture, so I guess it’s not totally inaccurate.  Also, few enough people know Vulture at all, we probably shouldn’t be throwing a whole second, more obscure character at them.  This is a really long parenthetical).  The Ultimate costume isn’t that far removed from the classic design, just a bit more armored and sleek, and the wings are different.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Pizza Spidey body, with a new head, torso, pelvis, and forearms.   The new pieces mesh pretty well with the old, and he replicates Mark Bagely’s artwork for the character very well.  The head in particular really gets that Bagley style down.  I really enjoy the crazy grin he’s got going on.  Sure, he’s a little young for my preferred Vulture, but that’s accurate to the source material, so I’m not going to complain.  One thing I will complain about ever so slightly is the wings.  Moving past the fact that I’m not super into the Ultimate Vulture styled wings (they just look too much like Archangel’s wings), I’m annoyed that they aren’t at all articulated.  They plug into place, and due to the way they attach, they don’t have any sort of movement.  It’s kind of boring.  I mean, they still look cool, but I just wanted a little more out of them.  Vulture’s paint work is pretty solid.  It’s very green, but it’s a few shades of nice, metallic green.  Everything is nice and sharply applied, and the colors all accent each other well.  In addition to the removable wings, this guy also includes an extra, helmeted head, which is based on his appearance from the cartoon.  It’s a fun extra, and makes for a cool alternate look.

SPIDER-MAN

Can’t have a Spider-Man multi-pack without another Spider-Man, I suppose.  This one’s a slight re-deco of the Ultimate Spider-Man from the Space Venom series.  I didn’t get that figure, but I did get Miles, who uses the same sculpt.  Miles was a very good figure, and by extension, this guy’s quite good too.  He has essentially the same paint work as the Space Venom figure, but with two minor changes.  First, the blue has been changed to a bolder, less teal shade.  Second, he lacks the stripes of red running down his arms.  Why make these changes? Because now, instead of being an Ultimate comics version of Peter, he’s Peter from the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.  Which means this is actually another Spider-Verse figure.  I can get behind that.  The figure lacks the unmasked head, right fist, and left thwip hand of his single-release counterpart, which is a bit of a letdown, but he does at least get both open gesture hands.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I saw this set a few times and passed on it.  Vulture’s never been super high on my list, and the Ultimate design even less so.  Plus, I hardly needed another essentially standard Spider-Man.  I ended up grabbing this set because while I was out looking for the Homecoming series, I came across this pair on clearance for a 50% mark-down, at which point I was essentially just paying for the Vulture figure.  For that price, it seemed more worth it to me.  Vulture’s a decent enough figure overall.  I have some minor issues, but he’ll do.  Spider-Man’s decent in his own right, but is definitely a “more of the same” sort of deal.  I feel like it would have been nice to get a more unique variant, but at least this one gets us another Spider-Verse entry.

#1378: IG97 & Rom Mohc

IG97 & ROM MOHC

STAR WARS: LEGACY COLLECTION COMIC PACKS (HASBRO)

“Rom Mohc is an Imperial general involved in the testing of advanced battle droids known as Dark Troopers. One of these droids ends up on Tatooine and becomes activated by scavenging Jawas. The Dark Trooper attacks three friends camping in the desert. But things change when the prototype encounters a clumsy IG97 Battle Droid on Tatooine, and the machines battle each other.”

The Star Wars Expanded Universe may not be as “official” as it once was, but when it was in full swing, it encompassed a whole lot of stuff.  TV, video games, novels, and of course, comic books.  There are many, many unique characters there-in, with many of them remaining exclusive to one medium or the other.  Only a handful of characters have made appearances in multiple forms of media.  The set I’m looking at today includes one of those cross-over characters, as well as a character that only has one appearance to date.  Without further ado, let’s take a look at IG97 and Rom Mohc.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in 2010, during the Star Wars: Legacy Collection line.  They were part of the Comic Packs sub-line, and were offered as a Walmart-exclusive set.  The two are based on the Star Wars Tales #4 story “Sand Blasted,” in theory at least…

IG97

IG97, or IG-97 as he would be if he followed the usual droid naming conventions, is the less frequently appearing of the two figures included in this set.  In fact, his only appearance is in Star Wars Tales #4.  While he’s not the most major player in the story, he’s a fairly sensible choice.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  He’s surprisingly posable for a figure of his scale, and definitely a lot of fun to play with.  IG-97 is built using the body of the 2009 Legacy Collection version of the Battle Droids from the prequels.  It’s a pretty close match for the design of the  droid from the comic, and it was one of the best droid bodies Hasbro had at the time (and even now, it really hasn’t been topped).  He gets a new head, which is based on the art from the book.  This is a point of contention for some, who find him to be too cartoony and goofy to truly fit in with the rest of the figures of this era.  Personally, I rather like him, and enjoy the character and expression present in the head sculpt.  I certainly prefer this look to the basic Battle Droid head.  For a figure that’s largely a pale tan color, the paint on this guy is surprisingly well-done.  He’s molded in the base tan, and then has a darker brown wash, which brings out the details of his sculpt very nicely, and also helps to replicate the line-art from the comic.  IG-97 included a standard Battle Droid blaster, as well as both the standard and commander back-packs from the Battle Droid.

ROM MOHC

Rom Mohc is a character with a decent chunk of appearances, in a number of differing mediums.  He first appeared as the antagonist of the Dark Forces video game.  Subsequent appearances have been related to that, by and large.  Him getting a figure isn’t that odd, but it being part of a set based on “Sand Blasted” is somewhat strange, given that he only appears in about 3 panels of the story at the very beginning, and he’s almost completely divorced from everything else that’s going on.  But, he’s here nonetheless.  The figure stands about 3 3/4 inches tall and he has 14 paint of articulation.  Despite technically having more articulation than his pack-mate, he’s much stiffer, and way more limited in posability.  The figure is largely re-used, with his upper torso and arms coming from the Revenge of the Sith Tarkin (which also served as the basis for the previously reviewed Comic Pack Tarkin) and his legs coming from Janek Sunber.  He gets a new head to top it all off.  While the actual quality of the pieces used isn’t bad, they don’t add up to a figure that looks much of anything like any of Mohc’s appearances; certainly not the comic that this guy was actually supposed to be based on.  A lot of it comes from the re-used body, which just doesn’t have the right build for Mohc.  All of the available Imperial officer bodies were on the skinny side, so there’s not much Hasbro could have done, I guess.  The paint on Mohc is decent enough.  It’s not terribly exciting, being mostly drab colors, but it gets the job done.  He’s packed with a SE-14C blaster, which he has a little bit of trouble holding.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I wasn’t super familiar with either character in this set prior to acquiring it, but I’m always a sucker for a cool robot toy, meaning this sets been in my sights for a little while.  I spotted the two at Yesterday’s Fun, and Super Awesome Girlfriend insisted on getting them for me as an early birthday present.  I can take or leave Mohc, since he’s not super exciting.  Still, he works as a nice generic Imperial Officer, so that’s something.  IG-97 more than makes up for any of Mohc’s shortcomings, and is easily one of my favorite Star Wars figures I’ve gotten in a while.

#1343: Imperial Death Trooper

IMPERIAL DEATH TROOPER

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“The elite soldiers of Imperial Intelligence, Death Troopers are encased in specialized stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam and serve as bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic.”

Man, for being so elite, these guys didn’t exactly amount to much, did they?  Well, it’a not really their fault, I guess.  At their core, they’re still just Imperial Stormtroopers, aren’t they?  And these guys do manage to hit at least a few of their targets.  Good for them.  Like any good faceless Star Wars troop, they also make for really great toy fodder, so hey, here’s another Imperial Death Trooper figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Imperial Death Trooper is part of the small, four figure assortment of Rogue One-themed small scale Star Wars: The Black Series figures, which were released exclusively at Walmart back at the end of last year.  This is one of the two troop builders in the assortment, which makes it slightly more difficult to find (though not as difficult as the Shoretrooper, let me tell you).  The figure stands just over 4 inches tall and has 26 points of articulation.  As with all of the figures in this assortment, the articulation is a marked improvement over the Force Awakens figures from the prior year, especially on the legs.  That being said, I did find the Death Trooper to be the most difficult to pose of the three I’ve got.  It’s possible that’s due to the character design, though.  The sculpt is all-new to this particular figure, and it’s a pretty great rendition of the unique Death Trooper armor from the movie.  The lankiness of the character is a little more down-played here, which I think is for the best.  There’s an add-on with a pauldron and web gear, denoting that this guy’s a slightly different variation of the Death Trooper than I’ve looked at before.  I believe this makes him a squad leader.  Anyway, the extra gear is pretty cool, and adds something new to this guy.  It’s also easily removable, should you just want a basic Death Trooper, which makes him really great for army building.  The paint on this guy is pretty straight forward; for the most part, he’s just molded in black, but there’s some slight detailing here and there to help break things up a bit.  The application is all pretty clean, and he looks like he does in the movie.  The Death Trooper includes his standard larger blaster, as well as the smaller blaster pistol we saw with the larger Black Series figure as well.  Both are pretty well sculpted pieces, though he does have a little trouble holding the rifle (though it’s nowhere near as bad as the First Order Stormtrooper from Series 2).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted in my reviews of Jyn and Cassian, when I didn’t find any of these guys back in December/January, I had resigned myself to never getting them.  When I found the other two, I still resigned myself to never getting either of the troopers, since the army builders would have no doubt cleaned out all of the supplies long ago.  But, while in Seattle with Super Awesome Girlfriend and her family, I found this guy at one of the nearby Walmarts.  He’s pretty cool, and like the other two, I think he’s the best version of the character out there.  Now, if I could just find the Shoretrooper….

#1309: Beast Boy

BEAST BOY

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS

“While traveling to Africa with his scientist parents, Garfield Logan fell victim to a deadly virus and was saved via an experimental treatment that tuned his skin and hair green, in addition to granting him the ability to transform into any animal he imagined. After his parents died in a boating accident, Gar was taken in by the Doom Patrol, a team of misfit heroes that helped him to master his powers.”

It’s kind of odd that his bio mentions the Doom Patrol, but not the Teen Titans.  I’m not complaining, just noting that that’s the way they went.  In regards to DC Universe Classics, I’ve looked at Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, and Robotman.  The only Doom Patrol member they released that I haven’t yet looked at is the aforementioned Beast Boy, adopted son of Elasti-Girl (but we don’t seem to talk about that anymore), and, more prominently, member of the New Teen Titans.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Beast Boy hit in the Walmart-exclusive Series 10 of DC Universe Classics, alongside fellow Doom Patroller Robotman.  The figure stands about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 25 points of articulation.  The sizing on this guy is confusing to say the least.  He’s effectively wearing his costume from the Teen Titans cartoon, which was worked into the comics when Gar rejoined the Doom Patrol after “One Year Later.”  When Gar was wearing this costume in the comics, he was a full-grown adult, but this figure builds him on the small teen male body (introduced on the Series 3 Robin figure), as if he were just the version of BB from the cartoon.  This wouldn’t be a huge issue if the BB-specific parts weren’t clearly meant to be emulating the older Gar from the “One Year Later” storyline, and built with the proportions of an adult.  So, the end result is a Beast Boy that just sort of seems out of scale with just about everything.  I’m fine with Gar being a little smaller than the rest of the Patrol, but a full inch difference seems a little excessive, and he’s actually just flat-out in the wrong scale.  What’s really frustrating is that the actual sculpt really isn’t that bad.  He’s a pretty solid recreation of Gar from this period in the comics, and has a lot of nice little small details, such as the arm hair on his forearms, and even the really sharp work on his shoes.  The hair is a separate piece, which makes its contrast really sharp, and the ears even have the point they gained in later designs.  It’s clear a lot of effort went into this sculpt; he’s simply too small.  The figure’s paint is pretty solid, at least; the colors are a good match for both the comic and the cartoon, and everything is applied pretty cleanly.  There’s not a lot to mess up here, and Mattel succeeded in not messing it up.  Good for them.  Beast Boy included a green falcon (re-used from the MotUC line), meant to emulate his shape-shifting abilities, as well as the right arm of the series’ Collect-N-Connect, Imperiex.  Woo.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Beast Boy is one of the earlier figures I got from this series.  Just after it started hitting Walmart, my dad and I had a few trips just checking our local stores, and he was one of the ones we found.  I’ve always liked Beast Boy, and at the time I was super pumped about getting the Doom Patrol as action figures.  I can acknowledge some of this figure’s merit, and I certainly don’t hate him, but he disappoints me greatly.  He’s kind of a perfect example of DCUC in a nutshell; great in theory, and in 95% of the execution, but there was just enough leeway for Mattel to find a way to screw him up.  They were so close, and yet still so far.

#1303: Captain Cassian Andor

CAPTAIN CASSIAN ANDOR

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“An accomplished Alliance Intelligence officer, Captain Cassian Andor commands respect from his Rebel troops with this ability to keep a cool head under fire and complete his missions with minimal resources.”

Poor Cassian seems to keep drawing the short straw on the action figures. Jyn’s main looks were covered as widely-released single-packed figures.  We got a single-packed version of Cassian in both main scales, but they were both sporting his Eadu attire, which he only wears for short periods of the film. For whatever reason, Cassian’s main brown-jacketed look has been primarily limited to larger multi-packs.  The only version of that design to be released on his own is today’s focus figure, who was still a rather difficult to find exclusive.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cassian is the second of the four figures in the Walmart-exclusive Rogue One assortment of the small-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  The figure stands about 4 inches tall and he has 28 points of articulation.  Like Jyn, Cassian’s articulation is a significant step up from what we saw with the Force Awakens figures, making for a much more playable figure.  He sports an all-new sculpt, which is definitely one of Hasbro’s finest, especially at this scale.  Prior Cassian’s have really struggled to capture Diego Luna’s likeness, but I think this one just about nailed it.  It’s really not wildly different from the previous sculpts, but there are subtleties that just make all the difference.  The body does feel a little on the bulky side for Cassian (I think the two-pack/U-Wing figure may have gotten the build down better), but the detail work is definitely top notch, with the jacket in particular really impressing me. I also appreciate that the joints don’t stick out like sore thumbs on this guy.  Bad integration of the joints was a really issue on the Force Awakens figures, and I’m really happy to see them moving past it.  Cassian’s paint is largely pretty good, barring a few small issues.  It’s definitely cleaner than the two-pack version, and the eyes/eyebrows in particular are very clean and well-placed.  That can be really tricky, and was something that marred both my Poe and Han figures from the prior assortments.  My one really complaint with this guy is the beard.  It still isn’t quite right for Cassian; they keep giving him a full goatee, when it should really be a lot less pronounced on the sides.  Still, that’s quite minor, and it looks better here than on prior figures.  In a similar fashion to Jyn, Cassian includes his modular blaster, which can be broken down into three parts.  Of course, this is more key for Cassian, since we actually see his full blaster in action in the movie.  The stock is a little loose and prone to falling off, but I’m otherwise quite impressed with how well they executed this blaster’s design. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I had wanted this version of Cassian as soon as it was shown, but I was unfortunately unable to find him anywhere at retail at the time of his release.  That’s really the main reason I ended up grabbing the TRU-exclusive one, since I didn’t want to be without this particular look for Cassian.  I was thrilled to actually find this guy at retail last week, and at half-price too!  Jyn was a fantastic figure, and Cassian manages to top her.  This is a truly impressive figure, and hands down the very best version of Cassian out there.  He rivals the larger K-2 figure for the spot of my favorite figure to come out of the Rogue One merch.

#1302: Sergeant Jyn Erso

SERGEANT JYN ERSO

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“A highly skilled soldier in the Rebel Alliance, Jyn Erso is an impetuous, defiant warrior eager to bring the battle to the Empire.  Jyn has little patience for debate within Alliance High Command, enough that she takes matters into her own hands.”

Remember back last year when I reviewed those special smaller-scale Black Series figures based on the characters from The Force Awakens?  Well, Hasbro also did a set of those for Rogue One, albeit a more concise one.  They were a bit more difficult to find, since stores seem to still be swimming in the last few series just prior.  I did manage to finally track down some of them, including that set’s version of the film’s primary protagonist, Jyn Erso!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jyn is one of the four figures from the Rogue One-themed assortment of the smaller-scale Star Wars: The Black Series line.  She hit in late November (well, in theory) and, like all of the small-scale Black Series figures since The Force Awakens, she’s a Walmart exclusive.  The figure stands about 3 1/2 inches tall and she has 24 points of articulation.  I’m happy to report that they seem to have realized how difficult to pose some of the Force Awakens figures were, and have reworked the articulation scheme for the Rogue One offerings.  While I’m still not totally sold on the hip joints, the overall poseablity really great.  This figure sports an all-new sculpt, and she’s notable for being a Jyn look that we hadn’t yet gotten in plastic form.  Granted, it’s just a slight variation of the main look that we’ve gotten in both the small and larger scales; it’s her main Scarif look, which is her vested look, but without the underlying green jacket that she’s had on the prior vested figures.  All of the Black Series Jyn figures have had rather nice sculpts, and this figure is no exception.  I honestly think it’s the best Felicity Jones likeness of the bunch (this was also true of the Rey figure from this line), and the body sports halfway decent proportions, which is good for this line.  The vest is a removable piece; she looks a bit off with it removed, but it’s nice to have the extra option.  The paint work on Jyn is quite good for the scale; there’s not a ton of super intricate work, but the application is all pretty clean, especially on the face.  There’s some slight slop here and there, but I find it to be lot better than earlier figures in this style.  Jyn is packed with her small blaster pistol, along with two attachments for it to be converted into a sniper rifle configuration.  It’s not something we saw in the film, but it did show up in Battlefront, and it’s a cool concept.  Certainly a better extra than yet another giant missile launcher.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This particular series of figures *mostly* eluded me at retail.  Jyn was the one figure that I actually saw.  In fact, I saw about ten of her right after Christmas, but since she was all alone and there were so many of her, I figured I’d wait.  Of course, then I didn’t see her or any of the other figures anywhere for the next five months, so I figured I’d missed my window.  Last week, I was killing some time while Super Awesome Girlfriend, and I happened upon a whole rack of the smaller Black Series figures, Jyn included.  For half-price no less!  I had resigned myself never to find her, but I’m super happy to have found her.  Genuinely the best version of Jyn on the market, and a marked improvement over the so-so Walmart-exclusive Force Awakens figures.

#1258: Robotman

ROBOTMAN

DC UNIVERSE CLASSICS (MATTEL)

Wasn’t I just talking about DC Universe Classics a few days ago?  Okay, technically it was only in passing, since Catwoman was actually from one of the spin-off lines.  The main line is particularly noteworthy due to just how deep into the DC Universe it went (something that may have contributed to its downfall in the end, unfortunately).  One of my personal favorite subsets from the line was the Doom Patrol, who are one of my favorite DC teams.  I’ve looked at Negative Man and Elasti-Girl, but now it’s time for me to take a look at the team’s final founding (and most consistently present) member, Cliff Steele, better known as Robotman!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Robotman was released in Series 10 of DC Universe Classics, which was the second Walmart-exclusive series in the line.  He was the first member of the Doom Patrol to be released, which was rather sensible, as he’s probably the most popular of the main three.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 23 points of articulation.  There are a few different Robotman looks to choose from, but Mattel went for his classic ‘60s design.  It’s definitely a wise choice; it’s easily his best design, and it’s one he’s returned to a number of times over the years.  Cliff is built on the medium male body, with his own unique head, hands, and upper torso.  The new pieces all fit pretty seamlessly with the pre-existing stuff, and it all does a really great job of capturing Cliff’s retro-sci-fi design.  The head is a pretty decent piece; it’s not quite as streamlined as Cliff frequently was in his classic appearances, but it’s a pretty close match.  That slightly less streamlined appearance is also there due to the removable scalp, which allows us a view at Cliff’s brain.  It’s a pretty fun little touch, which takes this figure from average to awesome.  The upper those isn’t too far removed from the basic piece, but adds a few of Cliff’s extra robotic bits, as well as the video monitor that allowed the Chief to keep in contact with the team when they were on missions.  Also, since the upper torso includes the ridges above each shoulder, some of the shoulder’s size is masked, thus remedying what I find to be the weakest aspect of the basic DCUC body.  Cliff’s paintwork is some of the cleanest DCUC had to offer.  In the comics, he was always just orange, but here he’s more of a copper sort of color, which looks really slick in person.  The black shorts preserve his robot modesty (and also break up the colors a little bit), and there’s some really sharp detailing on the monitor.  The straps for the monitor are a little rough around the edges, but not horribly so.  Robotman’s only extra was the torso of the series Collect-N-Connect figure Imperiex.  It would have been kind of cool to maybe get an extra robotic Chief head from when he replaced Cliff on one of the missions, since poor Niles was never going to get his own figure.  But, that’s honestly pretty issue-specific, and probably a bit much for a character that was already lucky just to be getting a figure at all.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I found most of Series 10 at retail when it was released, but I never had any luck with Robotman.  It was made worse by the fact that I really needed to find a pair of them, since my Dad’s a huge Doom Patrol fan too.  Fortunately, my good friends at All Time Toys came through for me, and I was able to find two Cliff figures for a reasonable price.  Robotman is a great example of the sort of awesome stuff this line could do when they actually put in the effort.  He’s a lower tier character with exceptional execution, and just a really fun figure all around.  As much as I rag on Mattel, this guy is really one of my favorites, and the whole Doom Patrol set is just really fantastic.