#2657: Bumblebee

BUMBLEBEE

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

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.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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.

#2656: Soundwave

SOUNDWAVE

TRANSFORMERS: R.E.D. (HASBRO)

Ah, yes, non-Transforming Transformers.  A wonderful little oxymoronic concept that’s been rattling around ever since the introduction of Action Masters in 1990.  Over the years, it’s been something that Hasbro (and some of their licensees) have gravitated back to every so often, as a way of offering figures that are more accurate to what you see on the screen, thanks to not needing to have any sort of compromise for the sake of an alt-mode.  They’re newest stab at this venture is Transformers: R.E.D., short for “Robot Enhanced Design.”  It’s designed to pair off with the likes of The Black Series, being a highly-articulated line of collector-aimed Transformers figures…that don’t transform.  I’m giving the line a try with who else but Soundwave?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Soundwave is one of the three figures in the debut assortment of R.E.D., which was exclusive to Walmart.  I know, everyone’s super-thrilled, right?  This version of Soundwave is heavily inspired by his original G1 cartoon design, taking into account all of the impossibilities of that design in regards to an actual transformation sequence.   The figure stands about 6 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  In terms of sizing, he falls somewhere between and deluxe and a voyager class from the main line, meaning he fits in alright with the standard, actually transforming Transformers, if that’s something you’re interested in.  Despite being designed as a companion line to their other 6-inch stuff, he’s, of course, not even remotely in scale with Black Series or Legends.  Honestly, actual scaling aside, even just as a “hey wouldn’t he be cool robot figure to put with them” sort of thing, he seems a bit on the small side.  The articulation is overall pretty good on this guy.  It’s a slight step up from the Siege mold in its robot form, with more range in areas such as the shoulders and wrists in particular, but just a greater range of motion across the board, really.  The only area where I had any trouble was the ankles, which are just hard to get to move, I think in part due to the size of the joints.  They’re rather large joints, and prone to getting stuck.  In terms of sculpt, Soundwave is admittedly a pretty spot-on recreation of the G1 animation model.  They really got the proportions down pretty well, and the head and torso in particular really nail this particular look.  The torso even features the eject feature for the tape deck in his chest, although in the case of my figure, it does have a tendency to get stuck.  The articulation is pretty well worked in, and it all looks pretty clean.  For the most part, anyway. I do have one notable issue with the sculpt, and it circles back around the issue I had with the articulation: the ankles and feet.  They’ve given him these rather large ball-shaped universal joints, and they’re just kind of obtrusive and not very well worked into the sculpt.  They don’t follow the model, and they don’t look great.  But, from the ankles up, everything’s great.  The paint work on this figure goes for a flat color scheme to match the cel animation.  It’s a more muted appearance than other figures as of late, but it works out alright.  And hey, it’s a Soundwave with a red visor.  That’s cool!  Two of those from Hasbro in a year.  Not bad.  Soundwave is packed with a small version of Laserbeak in tape form, two sets of hands (gripping and fist/button pressing), his shoulder cannon, and his gun.  It hits all the basics, but it feels a bit light.  Couldn’t we at least get Ravage or Laserbeak in their robot modes?  Or perhaps the perpetual red-headed stepchild of the cassettes, Buzzsaw?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My interactions with Transformers in the last two years have sort of shifted my opinions on things, because in 2018, this is the kind of line that I probably would have been a bit more excited by, being a fan of the Transformers as cool robots, but not much else.  But, Siege and Earthrise have showcased to me that Hasbro can make some really good robot action figures that still have transformations, making the prospect of this line a harder sell.  When Prime and Megatron were the only two we knew about, it was an easy pass, especially with that bit about the Walmart exclusivity.  Then they had to go and show this guy, and my stupid love of stupid Soundwave dragged stupid old me back in.  The Soundwave that eventually became mine wasn’t originally meant for me at all, however.  Max found two of them at retail, but was unable to get a response from me, so only bought this one for himself.  After opening and messing with the figure, however, he ended up just asking if I wanted this one, because he wasn’t really feeling it.  I certainly wasn’t going to pass on a G1 Soundwave I didn’t have, so I was more than happy to take it off his hands.  Ultimately, getting him within a week or so of the Earthrise Soundwave, he feels a little redundant and out of place, but I can appreciate him for what he is, even if what he is winds up being a bit…counterintuitive?

#2556: Cable

CABLE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“A powerful mercenary, Cable uses telekinetic abilities and combat expertise to get the job done.”

The X-Men movies and Marvel Legends have never had the best relationship.  The first film predated Legends, and the second was its own removed thing.  The production schedule of the third film was fast tracked, so Toy Biz had to produce a vaguely film-inspired side line at the time.  When Hasbro took over the license, they included X3 figures in a few of their early assortments…and the less said about those, the better.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine hit right as Hasbro was taking a break from Legends for a bit, so it got a Universe-compatible line instead.  Then the relationship between Fox and Marvel really blew up, and we got absolutely nothing for the next several years.  Now, with Fox under Disney, things are starting to smooth out, and we’re actually getting a whole little sub-line of Legends figures just for the X-Men movies.  Among the earliest offerings are some figures based on the most successful branch of the X-Men films in recent years, Deadpool and Deadpool 2, including today’s focus, Cable!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cable is a Walmart-exclusive Marvel Legends offering, released to coincide with the main line releases of Domino and the Deadpool/Negasonic two-pack.  Another Walmart-exclusive wasn’t something that got anyone excited, but so far this particular release doesn’t seem like it’s been quite as hard to acquire.  Your mileage may vary, of course.  The figure stands 6 3/4 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s sporting an all-new sculpt based on Josh Brolin’s appearance as the character in the second film.  If you’ve messed with any of the post-movie MCU figures, then he’s pretty much the same story.  The articulation’s pretty solid for the design, and he’s more or less built like a real person.  The likeness on the head is a really good match for Brolin, and the detail work on his body is all quite sharp.  They even included his daughter’s bear on his belt, which is a cool touch.  The only thing I’m not super crazy about is how long the neck ends up looking when the cloak piece is removed, but getting the right pose helps with this.  Cable’s paint work is largely monochromatic, as it was in the film.  The face is suitably lifelike, thanks to the face printing technique, and they manage to get the hairline down okay.  The cybernetics on the neck are a bit sloppy, and almost seem to be just slightly misaligned to the sculpt.  The cybernetic arm showcases some decent accent work, but that more or less marks the end of any accenting.  The rest of the figure is just really basic work.  It’s not bad, but it kind of lacks that gritty feel that Cable has in the movie, and it means that some of the sharpness of the sculpt ends up getting lost.  A solid repaint could definitely really help the sculpt.  Cable’s accessory selection is rather decent.  He gets his larger rifle (which is a hodgepodge of a Kriss Vector with a Thompson stock and two barrels on the fore end), with two separate under barrel grenade launcher attachments, plus a pistol, and two sets of hands (one gripping, one in fists).

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I went against the grain a bit and was not really as big on the first Deadpool movie as a lot of people were, so I wasn’t exactly lining up for its sequel.  That said, my brother Christian wanted to see it opening weekend, and didn’t want to see it alone, so I went along, and I was honestly pleasantly surprised.  Brolin’s Cable was definitely a solid addition, and I was a little bummed when he was announced as a Walmart-exclusive.  Fortunately, Max was able to score me one on one of his Walmart runs, so I was good to go.  Cable’s a decent figure overall.  The likeness is strong, and the accessories are fun.  If they could slightly up the paint quality, he’d be top notch.

#2432: Ultra Magnus Spoiler Pack

ULTRA MAGNUS SPOILER PACK

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY (HASBRO)

Okay, so, uhh, here’s something a little different, I guess.  At the beginning of the year, back when the world was still relatively normal, Hasbro debuted the trailer and accompanying toy line for their Netflix-based Transformers War For Cybertron: Siege cartoon, which is, of course, based on the toy line of the same name.  Despite the toys being pretty directly recreated for the animation (down to using the same CAD files), there’s still an even more-show-specific set of figures, which are a Walmart-exclusive here in the US.  At the center of this line is a rather gimmicky concept: a spoiler pack.  And before we get into any sort of confusion about this being a box of car parts, since that wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for a Transformers line, it specifically references spoilers for the show’s plot, although technically the contents of the box as well.  We found out fairly early on that the box contained an Ultra Magnus, but further details weren’t initially revealed…or at least they weren’t supposed to be.  I’m going to play nice to that small handful of people who might actually like to still be surprised when they open this thing.  If that’s you, the following review is technically a SPOILER, so you’ve been warned.

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#2313: Xenomorph vs Super Power Loader

XENOMORPH VS SUPER POWER LOADER

ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)

I had my first look at Lanard’s new Aliens line yesterday with the line’s star piece, the Alien Queen.  But, what good is an Alien Queen without a Power Loader to do battle with, and at least one minion to be all Queen-ly with?  Practically no good at all!  Fortunately, the line offers up both of those things in one convenient package!  That’s some fairly smart planning right there.  It got me to buy them, anyway.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The Xenomorph Vs Super Power Loader set is part of the next step down from the Alien Queen on the price scale for the Alien Collection line, the “Xenomorph Attacks” sets.  There’s this set, and an APC (which, somewhat amusingly, is the only set at launch to not have a Xeno packed in, despite being in the “Xenomorph Attacks” sub-set).

XENOMORPH

There’s one of these in just about every set Lanard’s put out so far.  Currently, we’ve got two styles of Xeno drone: one based on the Aliens Warrior, and one based on the Alien 3 Runner.  This one is the Warrior.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Stylistically, much of this sculpt matches up with the Alien Queen, which is no surprise.  It’s fairly faithful to the film design, while still dialing things back a bit to make it a little more kid-friendly.  The various Xeno elements are all present, and things are pretty sharply defined.  The articulation is pretty well implemented, though the lack of elbow joints is a little bit restricting.  Additionally, the joints on mine are already starting to get rather loose from regular usage, so I’m not sure how well they’ll hold up to long-term play.  That said, it’s a fairly impressive sculpt, with some cool little touches.  Though he lacks the inner-mouth action feature of the queen (forgivable, given the size), he’s still got the details of the inner mouth sculpted on the interior of his jaw, which is a nice touch.  Like the Queen’s vibrant purple, the smaller Xenos are all privy to some Technicolorization, with this one being a rather eye-catching metallic green.  It looks pretty nice, and it’s something different, so I really don’t mind the change-up.

SUPER POWER LOADER

Though the most unique piece of this set within the context of this line, the Super Power Loader is the most clear-cut re-use (similar to what we’re used to seeing from Lanard), and does feel like more of an after thought to make sure there’s a Power Loader to face off against the Queen.  This release takes a pre-existing mech-suit from Lanard’s Corps! inventory and re-purposes it for something more familiar.  It’s not terribly far removed from the Power Loader of the movies, but it’s not terribly similar either.  It’s big and yellow and one of the hands is a claw.  That’s about where the similarities end.  That doesn’t stop it from being a respectably cool piece, although one that feels more designed for conventional weaponry than the glorified forklift from the film, which I suppose is really just an extension of the slightly more weaponized Loader from Kenner’s line.  It does make the name of the machine feel increasingly like an artifact, though.  The construction is fairly hollow, since it’s really just a shell for a figure, but it doesn’t feel too light weigh or like it’s going to break or anything.  I do like the color scheme a lot, and the caution stripes and bright yellow do a lot to sell this as the genuine article.  Power Loaders don’t always include a pilot, but this one does.  He’s not much to right home about, being one of Lanard’s cheapest figures.  He’s got the basic 5 points of articulation, and is very hollow.  Not particularly impressive, but okay for being essentially a glorified cardboard cut-out that’s only there to fill out the Loader in the box.  He’s armed with a pickaxe of some sort, which doesn’t feel like the best choice of weapon when your opponents bleed acid.  Whatever the case, I fairly quickly replaced him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ll admit, I kind of got swept up in the awesomeness of the Alien Queen, and found myself buying this in the same purchase.  I like having Loaders to face off against my Queens and this one was sitting right there, and was admittedly quite affordable.  The Alien’s the better of the two items here, definitely.  Clearly Lanard’s put their resources into making the Aliens cool, and is filling in everything else as cheaply as possible.  Given that the Loader was not part of the first batch of items we saw, it wouldn’t surprise me that this was a somewhat later addition, which would explain the more blatant re-use for the Loader.  It’s not a piece, mind you, but it’s not nearly as impressive as the Queen.  That said, they still look pretty impressive sparring off against each other.

 

#2312: Alien Queen

ALIEN QUEEN

ALIEN COLLECTION (LANARD TOYS)

An Alien Queen review?  Is it the post-Christmas reviews again already?  No, I’m throwing you for a loop dear readers, and doing something that’s not totally predictable.  Okay, that’s probably not true, because I’m reviewing an Aliens action figure, and that’s pretty darn on-brand for me.  Alas, there goes my plans for spontaneity.  So, in Aliens news, the license got picked up by a new and kind of surprising company: Lanard Toys.  Lanard previously made their name with their G.I. Joe knock-off The Corps!, but first got into the licensing game with Kong: Skull Island, and then followed up with Rampage and Jumanji.  So, while licensing isn’t a *new* thing for them, an R-rated movie from the ’80s does seem a little off for a company that sells exclusively in the toy aisle of Walmarts.  Whatever the case, I’m not going to complain if it means more toys from my favorite movie.  Plus, it’s been forever since I’ve reviewed an Alien Queen.  My skills are getting rusty.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Alien Queen is the central piece of Lanard’s new Alien Collection, which started hitting shelves right at the beginning of the year.  While much of the line is made up of Lanard re-purposing old tooling under a new branding (much like they’ve done with prior licensed lines), the Queen is a brand-new offering, designed solely for this line, and she doesn’t exactly have a lot of re-use potential after the Alien line is done.  The figure is roughly 12 inches tall (with her slight hunch) and has 20 points of articulation.  The articulation and its implementation is all fairly basic, but what’s there works and it works well.  In particular, the ball-joints on the ankles work surprisingly well to help keep the figure balanced in a variety of poses.  At first glance, I didn’t think much of them, but while taking the photos, they really stood out to me, especially in contrast to figures like the NECA Queen, who requires a stand to stay balanced (in their defense, so did the real thing; it’s one of the impossibilities of the design).  Some effort has been made by the figure’s sculpt to cartoonize or kidify the Queen’s design a little bit in order to make a slightly sturdier toy.  Most of this is in the legs, which now are more beefed up to support the rest of the figure.  By and large, though, the figure remains surprising faithful to the source material.  While it’s not got the screen accuracy of the NECA figure, it certainly lands closer than the Funko ReAction, or even the vintage Kenner attempts.  They’ve boiled down all of the important elements and crafted something that immediately captures that spirit of the original design, while not being too horribly terrifying for kids par-oozing the toy aisle.  In a lot of ways, I feel she would pair well with the Kenner Scorpion Alien in this respect.  Another change to the design in the effort of keeping things a little more kid-oriented: the colors.  While classically black with some blue highlights, the queen is now a rather vibrant purple…with some blue highlights.  There’s not actually much paint, just the whites of the teeth and the few traces of blue, but it looks pretty striking, and the purple honestly shows off the sculpt a little better than a straight black might have.  Though the Queen includes no accessories, she does get an action feature.  Pulling her head back will shoot her inner mouth outwards, a surprisingly effective feature.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I found out that Lanard picked up the Aliens license, I’ll admit I was somewhat perplexed.  However, the Queen was one of the first items to be shown, and I rather liked what I saw.  Thanks to Max, I got a heads up that this figure had hit, and was able to find one just after the new year.  I gotta say, I really love this figure, more than I’d anticipated, especially given the very low price tag.  For the same price as a Marvel Legend, you get a figure more than twice the size, and very, very playable.  I love my NECA Queen as much as the next Aliens fan, but if there’s one thing it was not, that’s playable.  Having a Queen I can feel free to pick up and mess with is really solid, and a great alternative for those not looking to drop over $100 on a Queen.  This is an absolutely fantastic piece for kids and collectors alike, and I hope Lanard can continue with such pieces.

#2265: Luke Skywalker – Jabba’s Palace

LUKE SKYWALKER — JABBA’S PALACE

STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES (HASBRO)

“Luke Skywalker was a Tatooine farmboy who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known.”

And lo, the Post-Christmas reviews begin!

There were a few years running where my first post-Christmas review was invariably an Alien Queen, but after my friends and family ran out of Alien Queens to buy me, I’ve moved onto another theme, it would seem: Star Wars.  Honestly, it’s not all that new a concept, me getting Star Wars figures over the holidays, going all the way back to the Millenium Falcon I received for Christmas of ’96.  So, I guess I can dig it being the new trend.  So, let’s kick things off with a Luke Skywalker figure, shall we?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jabba’s Palace Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Black Series offering.  Much like the two Captain Americas that they got last year, they also got two versions of Jedi Luke back to back.  Sometimes, I think Walmart’s toy buyer might be a little limited in their sights.  Whatever the case, this figure theoretically started showing up alongside the Triple Force Friday stuff back in October, though realistically, he started showing up shortly before the holidays.  This Luke is the second Return of the Jedi Luke we’ve gotten in the Black Series line-up, following the more end of the movie inspired version released back in 2014.  This one, as the name denotes, is based on Luke as he first appears in Jabba’s Palace, prior to ditching his vest and getting his robotic hand damaged. The figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall and he has 27 points of articulation.  For the most part, he’s fairly reliant on parts from the previous Jedi Luke figure.  He uses the body of that figure, along with a new head, the right hand from Bespin Luke, and an all-new vest overlay piece. The new head is the real star attraction.  While I always felt that sculpt on the original Jedi Luke head was far better than the sub-par paint job allowed to show through, it’s never the less a little bit of an artifact of an older way of doing things, since the separate face/hair pieces have become the new way of doing things, and allow for a more realistic recreation.  This new sculpt follows that new styling, and is honestly one of Hasbro best attempts at a young Hamill likeness, at least as far as the face is concerned.  The hair I’m still a little iffy about, but it’s certainly not terrible.  The new vest piece is a decent overlay; it’s not too bulky.  Of course, it’s also not designed to be removed, which I was a little let down by, but if you don’t want it on the figure, it’s easy enough to remove, keeping in mind it’s not really going back on.  And, on top of that, after removing it, you’ll also discover that he’s missing the previous figure’s belt (which would have no doubt affected the look of the vest at this scale, so I get why it’s gone).  The figure is also privy to the improvements in paint since the last Jedi Luke.  That previous figure was honestly one of my worst experiences with iffy paint in the line, but this guy gets the new face print tech, which works very well for him.  There’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing this paint on the old sculpt, just to see how the two pair off, but as is, this one looks very good.  This Luke ends up being a little better accessorized than the last one.  While he no longer has the swapable flap for the front of his uniform, he still gets his lightsaber (with a more accurately painted hilt this time), a cloth-goods cloak, and the blaster he steals from one of Jabba’s guards (re-used from Kanan Jarrus).  Not a bad assortment of extras, and certainly enough to make him worthwhile even if you have the prior figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve been looking for this guy pretty much since Force Friday.  As a kid, I went as Jedi Luke for Halloween, so I’ve always had a soft spot for this costume design, and felt the old figure wasn’t doing it justice on the shelf.  I found this figure just before Christmas and actually bought him with some money I got from my Grandmother for the holiday.  He’s solid improvement without being a straight replacement.  I just kind of wish Hasbro would stop giving their best figures to Walmart as exclusives…

#2258: Crackshot

CRACKSHOT

FORTNITE: LEGENDARY SERIES (JAZWARES)

Remember when I was reviewing all of those Fortnite toys…wait, I did this yesterday, didn’t I?  Sorry, I got confused in all of the holiday chaos.  Did I say holiday chaos?  Obviously, I must mean holiday joy, for these holidays are a joyous time, are they not?  Where am I going with this?  Truth be told, I don’t really know.  I’m gonna level with you guys, this is actually the second review I wrote for today, because I just decided that the last one wasn’t good enough…for this year.  Odds are good on it being good enough for next year, because I foresee future Ethan being really down for not having to write another review.  To celebrate Christmas this year, I’m taking a look at something of an old-standing Christmas tradition.  No, not Fortnite; we’re not there quite yet.  No, I’m talking about Nutcrackers, a German symbol of goodluck originating in Germany in the 17th Century, and popularized by ETA Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and its subsequent Tchaikovsky-composed ballet adaptation “The Nutcracker.”  They have now become quite the American tradition, but we Americans managed to do our comically missing the point thing, which is why most nutcrackers nowadays don’t actually function as nutcrackers.  Today’s offering really isn’t much different.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Crackshot is his own solo release in the Fortnite: Legendary Series line-up, available exclusively at Walmart.  He started hitting shelves just before Black Friday, which seems pretty timely.  I imagine he won’t stick around for long past December, but time will tell.  The figure is based on the similarly holiday-themed skin from the game, which was available during the Christmas season in 2017.  Like the two prior Legendary Series figures I’ve looked at, Crackshot was also added to the smaller scale line around the same time as his larger figure, however, somewhat amusingly, this figure is actually the cheaper option of the two.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and has 40 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is pretty much the same as the other two, which is a definite plus.  Keeping the positives of the Toy Biz Legends without the laundry list of negatives is alright by me.  Crackshot’s sculpt appears to be a fairly accurate recreation of his game model, for better or for worse.  That means that he ends up sharing a number of parts with this line’s version of Jonesy, upon whom most of the skins are built.  This means that he’s got the plates on his shins, plus some of the wrappings, and the patch on the pants, which do take you out of the nutcracker appearance a little bit.  That said, I was surprised to see that he actually got uniquely sculpted elements for his shoulders, given that they really are just painted on the skin in the game.  It gives him a nice extra bit of pop.  The star piece of this figure, of course, is the head, which manages to get that classic nutcracker design down pretty darn nicely.  Like the others in the line, has has multiple faceplates, three of them in this case, each displaying a different expression.  There’s angry, happy, and neutral.  Neutral’s destined to get the most use, but all three are fun, and I appreciate that they actually sculpted three different expressions for the eyebrows.  I got a lot more fun out of the angry one than I expected to.  The paintwork on Crackshot is pretty respectable.  He’s colorful and eye-catching, and gets those proper holiday colors down right.  Everything is applied cleanly, and he’s even got those signature rosy cheeks airbrushed on, consistently across the three faces, no less.  In addition to those three faces, Crackshot also includes the Hunting Rifle, the Bird Shot back bling, the Candy Axe pick axe, a bundle of dynamite, and a balloon.  It’s a pretty fun selection of extras.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I fully intended to run a different review today.  I really did.  I took the photos, and wrote it, and everything.  Then I found this guy at Walmart, and he jumped the queue.  I’ve always had something of a soft spot for nutcrackers, so the idea of actually making a proper action figure based on one is right up my alley.  This guy’s a great seasonal piece, and it definitely getting added to my holiday decorations, no doubt.

#2249: Luke Skywalker

LUKE SKYWALKER

STAR WARS: GALAXY OF ADVENTURES (HASBRO)

Oooooh, I bet you *really* thought I was done with the Galaxy of Adventures stuff, didn’t you.  Well, I mean, I was for a while…like almost a month…so I guess I kinda was.  I did get this guy before finishing the prior round of GoA reviews, and I did very much consider throwing him at the tail end of them, but ultimately thought that it might be a little much.  Would have made this intro funnier, though.  But that’s okay, I don’t like to be funny anyway.  As I noted in those reviews, the overwhelming focus of the first series of the line was on the newest trilogy, but the Original Trilogy isn’t getting overlooked entirely, and is in fact getting more focus in the next assortment.  It’s also getting more focus via the line’s very first exclusive offering, Luke Skywalker!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Luke Skywalker is a Walmart-exclusive Galaxy of Adventures figure.  He’s shipping in solid cases and started showing up about a month after the first round of product hit.  He’s not marked in any way as an exclusive, so it’s possible he may not remain so, but for the time being, that’s where he is.  There are a few versions of Luke to choose from, but for this release Hasbro’s opted for the Jedi Knight appearance, which pairs well with the Vader from Series 1.  The figure stands 4 3/4 inches tall (he’s shorter than everyone but Rey) and he has 25 points of articulation.  Luke is an all-new sculpt, and matches stylistically with the rest of the line.  Like the others, his articulation is quite well implemented, allowing for a surprising amount of range, and the figure is also very sturdy on his feet.  In terms of level of stylization, Luke’s not quite as cartoony as Rey was, being more in-line with Finn’s sculpt.  There’s some definite changes made, but there slightly more restrained.  Similar to the others, there’s not really a Hamill likeness, but he still has a proper character likeness.  I will say, the eyes seem a touch wide for my taste, which is the only real complaint I have.  I was initially going to complain about his torso being a little bulky, but that was before I took him out and realized that the vest is actually a removable piece.  This allows for both major looks he sports from the movie, since there’s a fully detailed torso beneath.  I’m okay with the slightly bulky torso if it means having the extra option, and it certainly works a bit better here than on a more realistically styled figure.  The paintwork on Luke is overall pretty decent.  It’s certainly sharp and clean in its application.  Again, the larger eyes seem a little off to me, and I feel like he’s got a bit too much color in his face, but I can’t fault Hasbro for their attempts to keep him from looking under-painted.  Luke is packed with his second lightsaber, which is a fairly decent piece, but unlike all of the other sabers I’ve gotten from this line, the silver of the hilt from this one chips off really easily.  I don’t know why it’s different, but it’s my only true complaint about the figure.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After getting and loving the whole Series 1 run of figures, I was definitely down for this guy, but wasn’t having a ton of luck finding him at first.  Fortunately, Max was able to point me in the right direction, and I boy were there a lot of this guy to choose from.  There are some slightly minor issues that I feel hold Luke back ever so slightly, but admittedly, Luke’s the one character in the line-up I really had any expectations about going in.  He’s still a really solid release in his own right.  I look forward to filling out more of the OT cast.

#2243: Megatron

CLASSIC ANIMATION MEGATRON

TRANSFORMERS WAR FOR CYBERTRON: SIEGE (HASBRO)

See, we’re kind of doing this one and one deal with me and Super Awesome Wife reviewing the Transformers now.  Why?  Well, because as she’s pointed out to me, legally the site is half hers now, so there’s not a lot I can do to stop it.  Guess this is just my life now.

At the beginning of me falling down the Transformers rabbit-hole, there was one major obstacle to overcome to get me really into that Transformers mind-set: owning an Optimus Prime.  Well now I have four of those.  You know who I still didn’t own a single figure of, though?  Optimus’s opposite number from the Decepticon side, Megatron.  Well, that changes today!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Like yesterday’s Optimus figure, plus the Soundblaster and Silverstreak  Bluestreak from last week, this guy is part of the Walmart exclusive “35th Anniversary Commemorative Series” sub-line of Siege figures, which started showing up on shelves towards the end of October.  While Silversteak Bluestreak and Soundblaster were more conventional re-decos, Prime and Megatron are based on the cel-animated appearances from the G1 cartoon, which gives them a fairly distinctive flair.  Like Prime, Megatron is a re-deco of his Voyager Series 1 release from the beginning of the year.  Unlike Prime, that makes him totally new to me, since that’s one of the few Siege items I never got around to picking up.  In robot mode, the figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and has 26 practical points of articulation.  Much like his counterpart Optimus, Megatron’s sculpt aims to be an idealized version of the G1 toy…more or less.  As with any modern update of Megatron, there are some needed changes, which I’ll touch on more when I get to his alt-mode.  The robot mode is pretty posable, though compared to Prime, it’s a little more restricted.  Not terribly so, and a lot of it owes more to his actual character design than to any design choices on the toy itself.  Compared to Prime, Megatron doesn’t have quite a clean and polished look, with slightly more deviation from that G1 animation design.  All of the important notes, are there, of course, but he’s more prone to some creative liberties, such as the far more obtrusive “backpack” that houses the alt-mode parts when he a robot.  It’s not a terrible way of handling things, but it’s also not as clean as the way Optimus does things.  Additionally, there are a couple of hollow spots on this figure, which Optimus mostly avoided.  That being said, Megatron still makes for a pretty solid robot.  The new paint scheme here is a major departure from the standard.  As a whole, he’s brighter, more eye-catching, and cleaner than the prior release.  He’s also got a cool, very artistic look, which simulates the cel-shading of animation.  While I felt that both Optimus figures were of a similar quality, seeing the updated Megatron really did a lot to salvage this particular figure in my eyes.  Now, about that alt-mode.  Megatron joins many others in losing his original G1 alt-mode, which was an accurate recreation of a Walther P-38 pistol.  With current safety laws, there’s absolutely no way that would fly, so this figure’s alt-mode is a tank, which has more or less become his accepted modern-day alt-mode.  The shift to tank from gun obviously requires some changing of the robot mode, but the figure manages to balance both alright.  The tank transformation is actually pretty straight forward, and I was able to get it most of the way without the instructions, so that’s good.  It’s a fairly cool looking design, and feels imposing enough to associate with a character like Megatron.  Megatron is packed with his usual arm cannon, as well as a large sword that calls back to the original Takara release, both of which are worked into the transformation.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As much as Optimus impressed me, I just never could bring myself to drop the money for the standard Siege Megatron.  I wasn’t trying to avoid the character on purpose, though, and I wanted a good one for my collection, so I was looking at other options.  I even considered picking up the Combat Megatron, but that seemed too drastrically different for me.  When I first spotted the 35th Anniversary figures, I did think this guy looked pretty slick, but ultimately held off.  But guess who didn’t.  Did you guess Max?  Yeah.  He bought one, and brought it into the store and let me mess around with it, at which point I pretty much knew I wanted one for myself.  And here we are.  Honestly, he’s a lot better than I’d expected, and he feels like he sort of completes a very important piece of my collection, so I’m glad I decided to give Megatron another try.