Feral Rex (Reformatted Series) by Mastermind Creations: Combined Mode and Final Thoughts

So, it’s been a whole year and now my Feral Cons are finally complete. It’s time to get these guys combined and see just how impressive Feral Rex (aka Not-Predaking) actually turned out. Transforming these guys into their component parts holds no real surprises. The arms and legs are more or less the beast modes with the legs folded in, and some other tweaks and bobs, and the torso is Leo Dux with his legs and shoulders acting as connecting points. It’s very Voltron-y in it’s flavor and as a result the combiner transformations feel pretty natural if you’re already used to bringing each of the figures from their robot to beast modes and back. Like his G1 inspiration, Feral Rex features some parts-forming. The backpack weapons that came with Bovis and Fortis are used for the hands and feet and the shield used for Leo becomes the groin. And obviously, Talon’s wings are removed to be placed on the back. It’s no more time consuming then you might expect transforming five different figures to be and it certainly goes quicker for me than forming Fansproject’s Causality figures into Not-Menasor. And the results… well, the results are pretty tough to argue with…



Magnificent is the word that comes instantly to mind. From a design standpoint Feral Rex certainly satisfies the updated G1 Predaking aesthetic that I was looking for. Rex hits all those points that make the original toy design so damned iconic. You get the same dual cannon toes in each of his feet, Talon’s wings coming off the back making him look like a giant angel of death, and you can’t beat those bull and rhino head kneecaps. Leo Dux’s lion head is worn prominently on the chest and the groin armor has the same gold plated bling that all giant robots wish they had on their crotches. Of course the main difference in Rex’s aesthetic is that all of these iconic points are applied to fully realized proportions and that’s the most amazing thing about Feral Rex. It doesn’t feel like anything was compromised to deliver a truly awesome looking figure.


The head sculpt is fairly simple but still excellent. I love the detail put into his “helmet” and I do believe there’s an LED in that noggin to light up his visor, but I’m not going to mess with installing batteries at this point. It’s a nice bonus feature that I may make use of at some point. I should also note that the cannons that rise up from Rex’s back can be angled forward to give him some extra firepower. You do have to remove Talon’s wings to do it, but you can snap them right back on once the cannons are in firing mode.


Of course, one of the key failings with a lot of combiners is their overall fragility. A combined mode can look great, but if it falls apart when you touch it… well, that’s no fun. But Feral Rex is damned solid. The connection ports lock quite well so there’s virtually no chance of limbs accidentally disconnecting when you’re playing with him and happily they aren’t too scary-tight to pull apart either. What’s more there aren’t a lot of bits to fall off, which was one of my primary gripes with TFC’s Uranos combiner. The only exception is the wrap around crotch piece. I have a habit of grabbing the figure from the center of gravity and that usually means putting at least one of my fingers on Feral Rex’s robot diaper, which will indeed make it pop loose. Pick him up from under the arms, and you’ve got no worries.


Feral Rex features a good amount of articulation for a gestalt mode. You can get a wide stance out of him and he has nice strong ratcheting hinges in the knees that hold his massive weight with little difficulty. The feet are ball jointed to keep them flat most of the time and the way the connection ports are designed he has a good amount of lode bearing strength in those ankles. His arms do run into some problems where the sculpts interrupt the articulation, but nothing too bad. His shoulders rotate quite well and he has a bit of lateral movement there too. His elbows are hinged and there are swivels, and his fingers are individually ball jointed. He can rotate at the waist and his head is naturally ball jointed too. Standing Feral Rex is quite easy, although he is ever so slightly back heavy. Nonetheless, a little tweaking gets him standing just fine in a variety of poses and while I will be displaying my Feral Cons in their individual bot modes, I wouldn’t be apprehensive about standing him in combined mode as I don’t think he’d be prone to shelf diving. With that having been said, where a $500 toy is concerned, I’d still probably invest in a support stand of some sort.



While Rex is perfectly capable of just stomping on his enemies, picking them up and throwing them, or blasting them to bits with his shoulder cannons, he would be lacking without his extra weapons and that’s why he can combine all of the Feral Cons weapons into a giant sword and gun. Let’s start with the gun…



It’s fairly simple to put together and it uses all the guns from the individual figures with Tigris’ being the core of the weapon. Putting it together is easy, but taking it apart can be tough because Fortis’ two guns fit together really tight. When you’re done you get a nice beefy looking cannon that mounts onto Feral Rex’s left arm and it looks pretty damn imposing. I really like the idea of Rex having a gun that still frees up both his hands, because…



He’s also got that big damn sword! I threw in Legends Class Swerve to convey a sense of scale on this thing. By pooling together all the knives plus Leo Dux’s mace and swords you can build Feral Rex’s ridiculously massive sword. This is a vicious looking design expressing sheer art expressed in the form of giant robot cutlery. And despite it being formed from lots of knives, it holds together with no problems. With the help of some tabs and Rex’s hinged fingers he can hold it securely in either hand and holy crap does he look amazing when he’s wielding it. Between the length of the sword and Feral Rex’s bulk, shooting pictures of him with his weapon really strained the capacity of my staging and lighting area, which wasn’t built with a figure this big in mind.





As massive as Rex’s sword is, his joints are up to the challenge. He can wield it in just about any pose I put him in without the arm dropping. I know I ragged on poor Tigris for being scrawny and the runt of the litter, but damn if he isn’t one tough little sonvabitch. His arm mode takes the full weight of that sword without even breaking an energon sweat. I take back everything I said about you, Tigris! You da man!!!

Final Thoughts:

It’s funny to look back to a point when I was struggling to get up the nerve and invest in a Third Party Transformer. Never did I imagine I’d reach a point where I was happily plunking down $100 for a Voyager sized figure, let alone $500 for a combiner team. But that’s a testament to what a fine job some of these 3P companies are producing these days and with the entire Feral Con team now on my shelf, I’m confident in placing Mastermind Creations at the top of the 3P pyramid. Sure, they may be sharing that spot with Fansproject right now, but that certainly puts them in good company. The Ferals represent everything I could have asked for in a set of Masterpiece Predacons. The individual figures are fantastic and the combined mode is stunning and inspired. It literally feels like nothing was sacrificed or compromised in delivering a great team of figures and a magnificent combined mode.


The Feral Cons have represented a quality and well thought out product from the very beginning. Besides looking great and sporting high quality plastic, MMC designed these guys with some wonderful touches. The way the weapons interact with the figures has been fantastic and I love finding new places to stick them on and store them. These toys may be expensive collector pieces, but they are also so much fun to play with. Their transformations aren’t overly complex and never do I feel like converting them is a chore, even when I was combining them for this feature and then changing them into beast modes, and then back into robot modes. There’s nothing about manipulating them that feels scary or intimidating. They’re just plain fun.


But if I were to pick out a favorite thing about this series it would be how unified the design has been throughout. It must be hard enough designing a single transformer, it must be even tougher making a set of combiners work, but when you can do it and actually make all the figures look like a cohesive team as these fellas do… that’s just so damn impressive to me. This set of figures represents careful planning from the start and some really deft and clever engineering.


The last thing that I wanted to mention was how awesome MMC is as a company and the fact that they listen to their fans. From the very beginning of this series, they kept a constant eye on the way the collectors received their product. The Ferals have had some minor QC opportunities and by monitoring message boards and collecting specific consumer feedback, they addressed all these issues with each subsequent release. Some people were finding that the gears on Bovis’ elbow joints were getting flattened and so they supplied replacement parts with Fortis… and so on. Even the Completion Kit that came with Tigris was an amazing bonus as it addressed something that I doubt any fans were complaining about (filling in the hollow arm cavities), and supplied some optional parts to improve your toys and tossed in bonus weapons too. It was the last figure in the line. They already had you for $500+ dollars, but they still threw in that lovely little bonus.


I haven’t decided yet whether I’m going to do a “Favorites and Most Disappointing” list for 2014. I hate doing those. But if I do, it’s hard to imagine me not combining a top slot for Feral Rex. Looking back, I can only say that this was money well spent and I’m happy to let these figures stand in my collection as my Masterpiece Predacons. If Takara wants to take a stab at it, I’ll be happy to take a look, but it’s hard to believe that they could improve on what Mastermind Creations has achieved here. And just as a parting note, I will be revisiting the Ferals one last time in a couple of months when MMC releases the unofficial sixth member of the team… Felisaber!


Feral Rex (Reformatted Series): R-0 Tigris (Shock Trooper) by Mastermind Creations

It was exactly a year and a couple of weeks ago that I featured, Bovis, the very first of MMC’s Feral Cons here on FFZ. It’s been a long road, but here we five figures later with the final member of this combiner team, Tigris (Yeah, he’s not really the final figure if you want to count Felisaber, a figure that is an optional addition to the team). Not only does Tigris round out the team, but he finally allows me to merge them together into Feral Rex. I’m going to knock out my look at Tigris today and tomorrow I’ll be back to look at Feral Rex and give my final thoughts on this series. This figure has been sitting here waiting to be featured for a couple of weeks now, so let’s get to it…




There’s the packaging. As per the rest of this series, Tigris comes in a large box with a front flap that opens to reveal the window that shows off the figure in his robot mode. I’ve gone on record saying that I’m not all that fond of the deco on these, but that’s just my own personal taste. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s totally collector friendly, and the side panels of the boxes denote the figure inside, which is great for storing the boxes all lined up on a bookshelf. Let’s go ahead and start with Tigris’ robot mode!



So, Tigris definitely looks like the runt of the litter, but he’s actually no slighter of body than Talon, as the two share some of the same body parts. It’s just that Talon’s majestic wings give him a lot more bulk and a far more interesting profile leaving Tigris’ stature feeling a tad wanting and doubly so when compared to his comrades, Bovis, Fortis, and Leo Dux. That’s no really a criticism, but more an observation. Obviously Tigris and Talon had to be scaled back a bit to make their arm modes properly proportional. I didn’t get the same wow factor when taking him out of the box, but he definitely has his own charms, most notably his very clean appearance and very humanoid silhouette. That having been said, I would have liked it if the spikes on the back of his shoulders orientated toward the front as it would have given him more of a foreboding look to help combat the somewhat scrawny vibe that he gives off.


Like Leo Dux, Tigris wears his beast head on his chest. He also sports the same socketed thigh guards that function as holsters so you can peg his weapons or knives in there. This seemingly throwaway feature has been one of my favorite little design touches of this set and I’m glad they made it onto every figure. From the back, Tigris has a bit of an unfinished look with his connection port on full display, although he does have some sockets there and I like to store his big gun diagonally across his back to fill this area in. The head sculpt here is clean and simple, just two eyes and a huge face plate, but it definitely has the least character of any of the robots on this team.


Tigris’ deco consists mostly of red, orange, and black plastic. I’m sure I’ve said before how much I love the quality of plastic that MMC used on these guys and how well it holds the colors. That having been said, Tigris’ deco is the least interesting to me. The other figures seemed to have that one extra color to help break up the pattern. For Bovis it was grey, for Fortis it was yellow, etc. He’s still a striking and colorful looking bot, but I think the deco could have used something more. There are at least some very nice silver paint apps on his chest plates, his knees, and some of the rivets.




Tigris comes with two hand guns, two knives, and a big cannon. At first, I thought the guns were repacks of the ones that came with Bovis, but nope, they are original sculpts and they look great. Not only can he dual wield them or store them on his hips, but he can also store them pegged onto his back, or they can be pegged onto his big cannon to add even more firepower.




The cannon is a beast of a weapon and has an extending barrel. It looks fine on its own, but those two hand guns look like they were meant to be part of it. It’s kind of ironic that the small fry of the Ferals gets the biggest gun, but hey, it gives him plenty of character.



The knives are similar to what we’ve been getting all along. They are new designs but all the knives in this set have shared the same elements to help them mesh better when combining into Feral Rex’s giant sword. On the downside, Tigris doesn’t have any sockets on his forearms to plug them into, so he’s left either wielding them in his hands, or storing them pegged on his thighs or on his back.


If all that isn’t enough, Tigris also comes with an extra baggie of parts that fill in the hollow forearms of the entire team and allows you to peg in some additional weapons and stuff. Additionally, the bag contains a replacement face with a red painted mouth plate. I’m sticking with the stock yellow one just because it adds some much needed diversity to the Tigris’ color palette. Ok, so enough about the robot mode and all the goodies, let’s get him transformed and check out his beast mode…




While a lot slighter in build than Bovis and Fortis, Tigris’ beast mode follows the same basic patterns of transformation with the robot arms becoming the front legs and the robot legs packing up to form the back half of the animal. The deco remains mostly the same as in robot mode with a lot of orange and red plastic and a little black plastic and silver paint apps showing. Tigris’ jaws are articulated and you get the same great poseability out of the legs as we’ve seen all throughout this line. It’s not a bad tiger mode, but I don’t think the proportions work as well. Maybe it’s because his head is sort of tiny, but mostly I just think the bull and rhino translate better to chunky robots than a lithe tiger.



One way I like to remedy that is just to weaponize the crap out of him. Tigris can wear his big cannon on his back and man, does he look great wearing it. It not only breaks up the color by adding a lot more black, but I think it helps by bullking him out a little more. I also like to attach the knives to his front “shoulders” because I think that would make most enemies want to get the hell out of his way.


It sounds strange to me to say it, but Tigris is my least favorite of all the Feral Cons. It’s strange because he’s still another fantastic figure in MMC’s Feral Con series and I love him a lot, but his comrades have all set the bar really high and Tigris doesn’t quite reach the heights that the others have. Neither the tiger or robot modes are as impressive and the color scheme feels a little bland by comparison. But even with all that having been said, he’s an excellent figure in his own right and continues the high standards of quality and engineering that this series has delivered on from the very beginning. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a look at the Feral Cons combined mode and offer up some final thoughts on this team as a whole.


Transformers Generations: Waspinator (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again and I’m still chipping away at my last wave of IDW Comic Packs. There were two figures in this wave that I was really excited to get: The first was Skids and the second was good old Waspinator here. I’m still not a steady reader of IDW’s Robots in Disguise comic, but at some point I will get to reading my stack of RiD TPBs. I promise! I haven’t been terribly impressed with the half dozen or so issues that I have read, but then it’s kind of been eclipsed by the brilliance of More Than Meets The Eye. One thing I will applaud about the comic is IDW’s willingness to bring characters from other continuities into the fold. Sure, we got a straight up Beast Wars version of Rhinox in Generations, but he was a Voyager and as far as Deluxes go, right now it seems that Hasbro is predicating the releases in this size assortment as part of the comic packs, at least where the Generations toys are concerned.


And there’s nothing wrong with that because as I’m so fond of pointing out, I think any kind of action figure comic pack is just amazing. Ok, so yeah it’s a little odd to see Waspinator on a G1-inspired cardback, but this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Beast Wars figures in the Classics-Universe-Generations lines. Anyway, I’ve gushed on and on about my infatuation with the presentation of the Generations Comic Pack long enough in the past and so let’s just move on to the figure. I’m going to buck the trend here and I’m actually going to start with Waspinator’s robot mode.



So, perfection isn’t a word I throw around a lot when talking about action figures, and I’m going to come just short of doing it here today. But damn, if this Waspinator figure doesn’t come close. There are minor nits to pick, the exposed hollow portion of the wasp butt between the legs is a little unsightly, but when you consider what a complex and difficult character design this is to reproduce at a Deluxe Class level, I’m willing to overlook whatever minor blemishes there may be. I love the way the wasp head splits to form the chest and even the bug leg kibble feels like it belongs there rather then getting in the way. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how I would sit down and design a transforming figure like this one, and that makes it all the more impressive to me. So, how could I possibly improve on this figure? Give him a sound chip that says, “Wazzzpinator has planzzzzz.”



The head sculpt is poetry in plastic. It has a remarkable amount of depth to it, particularly around the mandibles. I love the white plastic light piping in the eyes. I don’t recall seeing white plastic light piping on any previous Transformers, but it sure looks great here. Alas, there is a little chipping to the yellow paint on my Waspy’s noggin, but I don’t think it’s going to bother me enough to make me try for a better one.


If I have one significant gripe, it comes in the articulation, but not in the individual points. No, my only real issue is with how loose the joints are on this guy, particularly in the hips. If I put him in too wide of a stance, he’s likely to buckle and do the splits. It’s nothing that a little nail polish won’t fix, but still worth pointing out. As to the rest of the articulation, Waspinator features ball joints a plenty which not only gives him great articulation, but also makes for a nice nod back to the Beast Wars figures where ball joints started appearing as the order of the day.




Waspinator comes with one accessory and that’s his little handgun that transforms from his wasp stinger. The barrel is made of the same milky translucent plastic that they used for the light piping in his eyes. It looks cool enough and he can hold it well in either hand. You can also store it by pegging it into his wasp butt.



With how good Waspinator’s robot mode is I was expecting the beast mode to be a terrible afterthought. I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s apparent that the designers went for the robot mode first and the wasp second, but it’s still a remarkably solid alt mode. Not only can he stand perfectly on his insect legs, supporting the full weight of his body, but the engineering includes a plethora of tabs and slots and pegs to secure this mode together quite nicely. Everything has an obvious and intentional place to go and it’s all intuitive enough that I didn’t even have to look at the instructions once. And you’ve just got to love the way his gun becomes his stinger.


Yes, he’s rather blocky under the wasp head, yes you can see through parts of him from the side, and yes, you can see his robot arms and hands pretty clearly, but I’m willing to forgive all of that for the sake of having such a great robot mode.


I didn’t talk a lot about the deco in robot mode, but it remains pretty much the same in both modes, so let’s discuss it here. You get the same two tones of green, the beautiful and bright yellow striped butt, and touches of brown for the legs, antenna, and other bits. I also really dig the paint they used for his huge compound eyes. Oh yeah, you get a perfect little Predacon insignia stamped on his back. The translucent wings include sculpted veins and look pretty good and by working the button on his back you can make them flap. I didn’t really need that gimmick in the toy, but then it really doesn’t hurt anything either. The wings are still connected with ball joints so you can angle them in a variety of ways.




Waspinator was easily one of my favorite characters in the Beast Wars series because he always made me laugh, and that shouldn’t be discounted. Comic relief characters are hard to do properly, particularly in a series aimed at kids. Just ask Jar Jar Binks! But Waspinator worked. He was endearing and he was the one Predacon I always felt bad for even though he was a bad guy. He was just trying to get by and could never get a break. It’s no surprise I had high hopes for this figure to turn out well and I’m so pleased that Hasbro did such a great job on him. Primus knows that Hasbro has put out some amazing figures this year in the Generations line, but Waspinator is definitely vying for the top spot as one of my favorite Deluxes this year. How about that? Never in a million years did I think I’d be raving about a Generations figure of Waspinator.

Avengers: Captain America ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

I’m double dipping on Marvel this week because The Big M got shafted here for the last couple of weeks. Plus, I’ve had this Cap statue sitting on my receivings pile for so long that the next statue, Hawkeye, has already started shipping. It’s long past time I get Steve here under the FFZ Spotlight. If you haven’t been keeping score, I’ve already looked at Koto’s entire run of Justice League ArtFX+ statues and Cap is the third release in their Avengers Marvel NOW! Line. These statues are roughly 1/10 scale and have been absolutely stunning. If you aren’t up to date with this line, you might want to check out The Hulk and Black Widow first, otherwise let’s jump right in and see what Cap is all about…


Cap comes in a very traditional and enclosed box. The deco consists of a combination of concept art and photos of the statue with monochrome comic panels making up the backdrop. I know some collectors were smitten with the snazzy clear plastic packaging Koto used for their DC ArtFX+ line, but I much prefer these Marvel boxes. They’re far more sturdy, more collector friendly, and I am keeping them whereas the I pitched all the fragile DC boxes.


Inside the box are two clear plastic trays which contain the statue’s four pieces and the base. Each piece is carefully wrapped in plastic. Assembly consists of plugging the legs into the torso and the arms into the shoulders. Getting the legs into place made for a rather snug fit, but the arms went in fine. Once together everything stays put, although you can still take the statue apart fairly easily for storage.



While the Justice League statues featured what were more or less museum poses, Koto has been having a little more fun with the composition of this Avenger’s line and I like it a lot. Cap strikes a rather heroic pose, leaning forward on his left leg with his shield held down by his hip, but ready for action at a moment’s notice. His left arm is slightly bent at the elbow with his hand balled into a tight fist. His expression is one that I would describe as stoic determination. It’s all about courage and patriotism, soldier! And this statue has it in spades!




The sculpting here is beautiful and really accentuates the tactile nature of his modern costume. The only part of the outfit that isn’t reflected in the sculpt is the midriff area, which gets by with simple paintwork. The pants feature scupted piping, knee pads, and ribbed areas behind the knees. The boots include sculpted laces and what appear to be extended spats. The belt is understated with a selection of small pouches. Ah, but what I really love is the sculpted honeycomb pattern in his chest and shoulders. It not only adds a some complexity to what is a fairly simple costume design, but it makes the star on his chest and back stand out all the more.




The sculpted work on the interior of his shield is also damn amazing. It has a large harness attaching it to his arm and circular bars running around the interior circumference. I’d like to think these are some kind of shock absorbers to give that vibranium a little extra cushion and prevent Cap’s arm from shattering under those particularly hard hitting attacks. Either way, it’s a nice change up from the more traditional straps and it gives the impression that a lot more modern tech went into the design of the shield. I like it!



I’ve already talked a little about Cap’s expression, but it’s worth noting that the head sculpt is all around excellent. The helmet is made to look as if it’s separate from the hood and there’s some great detail in the chin strap. The wings and the “A” are not part of the sculpt, but rather just neatly stamped onto the helmet. There’s a tiny bit of transfer of the flesh tone paint around the chin strap, but it’s very minor and it’s the only notable flaw in the paint on the entire piece.


While the coloring on the statue is naturally limited to red, white and blue, the paint uses various tones to make things more interesting. The pants, for example, are matte blue whereas the chest and shoulder armor are slightly more metallic. One of my favorite little touches on this statue is the way the material that the form fitting hood is matte and contrasts nicely with the metallic finish of the chest armor and helmet. It goes a long way to demonstrate that while the statue is all plastic, the costume is meant to be made of different materials. The white and red used for the midriff and the white on the sleeves are all a simple matte finish as is the brownish red used for his boots and gloves. You get some additional silver paint hits for the buckles on his gloves and the back of the shield. Of course, the front of the shield makes use of high gloss red, white and blue and the paint is flawless. Lastly, the star on his chest and back feature a nice pearlescent white.


The base is a simple square black slab of metal that works with the magnets in the statues feet to hold him firm, but then if you own any of Koto’s ArtFX+ statues then you should know what to expect here. You can position Cap anywhere on the base that you like or even combine the bases with the other statues and have them overlap and straddle multiple bases if you want the figures displayed in a tighter formation.



While I would easily recommend this piece to any fan of Cap, it’s really perfect for that statue collector on a budget. If you fancy a collection of comic based statues but don’t have the funds to drop $250+ on each piece and don’t have the room for a bunch of Premium Formats, the ArtFX+ line is a perfect solution. While I think the MSRP on this is around $50 you should be able to find it in the $40-45 range if you hunt around online. Either way, you get a lot of quality and craftsmanship for your buck, but then that’s been what Kotobukiya has always been all about. And while Cap is a wonderful stand alone piece he looks particularly good displayed alongside Hulk and Natasha. Yup, Koto’s Avengers are certainly shaping up nicely. I’ll give it another week or so and then I’ll swing back to this line to check out Hawkeye!

Star Wars Black: Imperial Shadow Squadron (Target Exclusive) by Hasbro

Well, it didn’t take long to for Hasbro to repaint the Star Wars Black 6-inch Speeder Bike and Biker Scout. I just got around to looking at that set last week and now this new set landed on my doorstep. This new box is a Target Exclusive and contains black repaints of the Biker Scout and Bike along with a repainted Sandtrooper. Why? Because they’re SHADOW SQUADRON! I’m not usually up for these sort of repaints, but I happened to be online when this set dropped onto the website (it didn’t take too long to sell out) and I had a Target Giftcard with some monies left on it, so I figured why the hell not? Let’s check it out…


It may be a special exclusive, but the box is still mostly black and featureless. It’s pretty similar to what we got with the Speeder Bike set only elongated to include the extra figure and weapons. The back drop is illustrated with a still from A New Hope where the Falcon was sitting in The Death Star’s hanger bay. Yup, these Shadow Troops are so damn stealthy we couldn’t even see them in the movie. Why did they have a Speeder Bike sitting on the deck there? Because… shut up! Anyway, the box is still collector friendly and I may just save this package to keep the figures in there because I’m not sure how well they will fit into my regular 6-inch Black display.



Let’s start with the Shadow Scout and Speeder Bike. I just looked at the original versions of these things last week and so I’ll try to be brief. It’s obviously the same figure with a new coat of paint and the new deco consists of black armor with dark gray used for the bodysuit and the abdominal area. You also get some gray and silver paint hits to pick out the details in the sculpt and an Imperial insignia neatly printed on the left of his chest armor. The black alternates between a straight matte finish and some areas with bit more gloss. I really dig how the ankle holster and straps are painted to stand out from the boots. I’m really impressed with the way the deco on this guy came out.



I’ll defer on a rundown of the articulation and just point you toward my review of the regular figure for that. The joints aren’t at all mushy and he is lots of fun to pose. And yes, he still comes with his little pistol and I did manage to avoid snapping the trigger guard this time.



If the Shadow Scout impressed me, the new deco on the Speeder Bike absolutely wowed the hell out of me. I mean… damn. The paint finish on this thing is absolutely fantastic. Once again you get a couple different styles of black, both matte and glossy and the combination makes this piece really shine. Toss in some gray plastic and some silver paint hits and you’ve got a piece that pops like crazy. The Bike also comes decked out with Imperial insignia stamped on each side of the back and a smaller one dead center between the handlebars. If Hot Black Desiato, the lead singer of Disaster Area, owned a Speeder Bike, you could be damn sure this would be it! And yes, I like to think that Hitchhikers exists in the same universe as Star Wars.



The handlebars are a bit warped on mine, but if I display it with the Shadow Scout riding it, it’s impossible to tell. It also comes with the same tringular stand. Yes, the stand still feels all soft and cheap as hell, but damn if it doesn’t work great and add some options to the display.



Lastly, you get the Shadow Stormtrooper Commander looking equally dapper in his black and dark gray deco. This is actually a repaint of the Sandtrooper, rather than the straight Stormtrooper (yes, there are differences in those two sculpts) and he also comes with the pauldron. Once again the deco here just looks phenomenal. The deco still consists of a mix of matte black and slightly glossier black with the bodysuit in dark gray and some grey and silver paint hints to pick out the details in the helmet.. The pauldron looks exceptionally sharp with a matte black surface surrounded by a glossy border. I guess my only complaint here is that he didn’t get an Imperial insignia stamp. I think one would have looked good on his chest armor and that way my OCD wouldn’t be acting up over the fact that the Scout has one and the Stormy doesn’t.



I think it would have been cool if Hasbro had included the holster for the E-11 blaster on this guy. No chance to add a functional holster to a figure should ever be ignored and doing so would have given us a cool hybrid Stormy that was unique for something other than his deco.



The Shadow Stormy comes with his E-11 Blaster and you also get the rifle that came with the original Sandtrooper and the one that came with the original Stormy. The E-11 comes in the Shadow Stormy’s hand, but the rifles are mounted between the figures in a community pot, so I guess they’re up for grabs. I seem to remember in the Battlefront games the Biker Scouts were also snipers, so I’ll likely give him one of the rifles.



This set retails for $50, which is pretty damn good considering the Speeder Bike and Biker Scout alone went for $40. Between free shipping, a 5% Redcard discount, and some scraps left on a Target gift card, I netted this set for $30. I thought when I got it I would feel like a sucker for buying the ubiquitous “cool” black repaints, but once I got these toys open and out of the box I knew I did the right thing. By every right, this set should have been nothing more than a quick and dirty repaint cash grab, but I have to give it to Hasbro, they did a really nice job on it. Sure, they exist because they’re black and black Imperial armor look bad ass, but it genuinely feels like care was put into the re-deco and a lot more that was put into some of the regular stand alone figures… I’m looking at you Prequel Obi-Wan!


Marvel Universe Infinite: Platinum Hulk by Hasbro

Hey, it’s been a while since I last checked out something from the Marvel Infinite Series. Well, my stack of unopened figures isn’t getting any smaller so I thought it was long overdue to grab another Marvel Infinite figure for the spotlight. This time I went with The Hulk. Or more specifically, Marvel NOW! Hulk or Platinum Armor Hulk, if you prefer.


There’s the packaging. I still don’t like it. It’s drab and boring and everything a comic book action figure package should not be. I don’t want to keep going on about how I don’t like the packaging, so let me take this time to point out that The Hulk doesn’t get a whole lot of love in my collection, but that doesn’t mean he’s entirely absent. I have Kotobukiya’s ArtFX+ Hulk statue, I have more than a few of Hasbro’s 3 3/4” Marvel Universe Hulk figures (one of which, World War Hulk, happens to be among my top five figures in that whole line) and hey, Hulk, my Hot Toys version of you is currently the most expensive single figure in my entire collection. So, not too shabby. The thing is, I rarely ever read Hulk’s solo books. I tend to like him more as part of a team rather than him being on his own. It’s fun to see other characters play off him. With all that having been said, I grabbed this Hulk figure as part of a complete wave.



So, yeah, Hulk wears armor now. When I said I rarely read any Hulk books, that certainly applies to Marvel NOW!’s current selection. In fact, the TPBs of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk were the last two Hulk books I read and the only two Hulk collections I own. As a result, I really don’t know why Hulk wears armor now, other than it helps to solve his out of control clothing budget from when he changes. My kneejerk reaction would be to say it’s dumb, but when I consider that my favorite Hulk figure to date is wearing sandals and gladiator armor, I think I can come at this figure with an open mind.


One thing’s for sure, the armor makes for a far more interesting and complex sculpt. I mean, there’s only so many times that you can sculpt a big green guy in his shorts! And besides that this armor is beautifully executed. The armor sculpt includes lots and lots of detail and the paintwork features some very convincing weathering effects. The shoulders are made of soft plastic and worn on the figure like a vest and I imagine could be removed, although I didn’t try it. The arm pieces, on the other hand, definitely come off. And off. And off again. And off and off and off until I just wanted to chuck them into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories to be… you know, forgotten. They’re just two soft pieces of plastic and there is absolutely nothing holding them in place. Every damn time I pose the figure, those things fell off. The boots are just part of the lower leg sculpt and are every bit as well done as the chest armor.


The head sculpt is very sharp and very much a modern rendition of Hulk. He certainly looks angry enough and I’m very impressed with the detail and paintwork on the teeth. So good! Hasbro can really churn out some impressive portraits in this scale when they want to and here’s a case where they brought their A-game.


I’ll also give a shout out to the beautiful coloring on this figure. Normally with The Hulk you expect a lot of green and purple and that’s about it. Sure, you still get plenty of green and the green plastic they used here looks great. Toss in some brown for his pants and gloves, and that wonderful weathered silver armor with bright yellow accents, and you’ve got a very attractive piece.



The articulation here is very much in line with the other larger buck figures in the Marvel Universe series. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have rotating hinges and lateral rockers as well. Lastly, you get a ball joint in the torso and a hinge and ball joint in the neck. Sure, the enormous sculpted muscles work against some of the articulation, but Hulk here is still plenty of fun to play around with and pose.






The key to enjoying this figure is tossing those annoying arm pieces. With those out of the way, I’d definitely rate this Hulk among the better figures from either the Marvel Universe or Infinite Series. No, he doesn’t surpass my beloved World War Hulk, but he comes pretty close. I’ll just go ahead and say it. He looks… incredible! And I think the addition of the armor makes him a lot of fun. In the end, the best compliment I can give this guy is that he wasn’t even on my radar to purchase, but when I happened to get him as part of the wave, I pretty much fell in love with the big guy.

By figurefanzero

World’s Finest: Huntress and Power Girl by DC Collectibles, Part 2

As promised I’m back with the second half of my look at DC Collectibles’ World’s Finest action figure 2-pack. Yesterday we looked at Huntress and today we’re checking out Power Girl. I have already given the packaging it’s due, so let’s jump right in with a look at this second figure…


“Hey, my eyes are up here!”

So, I’m really torn with the direction DCC went with here. Power Girl started out in World’s Finest with a very different costume and eventually adopted the one that is most associated with her last pre-reboot look. I love (and actually prefer) her more traditional modern look. What red-blooded male could resist the boob window? But at the same time it would have been nice to see a figure of her other costume. I guess what I’m saying is that either way I would have been happy, but at the same time I’d still love to see the other version be done in figure form somewhere down the road. Unfortunately, I think it far more likely to have seen this version single packed if we got the other version in this two-pack. The bottom line is that I really love Power Girl and I’d like to get as many figures of her as possible. And yes, I am still mulling over that Premium Format Statue from Sideshow, but I really hope my willpower wins out on that one. Anyway, it’s worth noting that of all the New 52 characters, this pair from World’s Finest has probably seen the least drastic change in wardrobe, making this a great set for newer and older fans alike.


The sculpt here is absolutely magnificent on every level. Her one-piece consists of some sculpted lines of stitching with some of her taut abdominal muscles peeking through from underneath and neatly painted gold piping partially partially circling her waist. Her gloves and boots both feature sculpted panel lines, (because you can’t have New 52 without some panel lines, right?) and her short cape plungs down from her shoulders and is fastened loosely just above the right of her chest.



The portrait is also a total slam dunk. I love the soft flesh tone plastic that DCC has been using for these figure’s faces. It looks like something you would see in a larger scaled import figure. The hair is wonderfully sculpted and I love the way it hangs down over the right side of her face without covering her features. The paintwork on the face is clean and precise, particularly on the lips. On the downside, there’s a little white waxy residue on her boobs.


As for the rest of the paint, well if there’s one thing that DCC and even old DC Direct always seems to have a problem with it’s applying white paint. And one look at Power Girl’s mostly white outfit and you can see where I’m going with this. It’s not a terrible paint job by any means, but there are just enough brush marks and slight imperfections in the white paint to bug me a little. It’s frustrating to have a figure sculpt look this good and have a few blemishes in the paint to keep it from perfection. The metallic blue for the boots and gloves, however, is right on point and the flesh tone for her legs looks great. Under the casual eye there’s nothing too bad here, but it begins the break down as you get in close.



The articulation on this figure is close to Huntress, but it is missing a few of Helena’s points and that is disappointing. What’s missing? Well most obvious are the swivels in the legs. Huntress had them at the tops of her boots, but Power Girl is missing them entirely and that really limits what you can do with her stance. Since you can’t tweak the direction her feet are pointing and there’s no lateral ankle tilts, some of Kara’s stances look a little stiff and unnatural. Thankfully the swivels in the biceps survived any further cuts. I’m on the fence over the lack of torso articulation. Not having any movement there is a bummer, but at least there are no POA’s to interrupt the sculpt there.




The World’s Finest 2-pack retails for around $40, which is right in line with the usual twenty bucks a figure that DCC tends to charge. Actually with the markup at most comic shops, you can expect to pay closer to $25 for the more popular DCC figures, so that makes a set like this a little better deal. I don’t know how many of these two-packs I’m likely to pick up, but this one called to me the moment I saw it go up for pre-order and even with some nits to pick, I wasn’t disappointed. Both figures are great updates to the old DCUC style figures and I’m looking forward to DCC getting their figure stands on the market so that I can finally get some of these figures up on display. I’ve got a couple more ladies from DCC coming in the next week, so stay tuned for looks at Batgirl and Supergirl coming up sometime probably early next month.

World’s Finest: Huntress and Power Girl by DC Collectibles, Part 1

DC Collectibles has been getting a fair amount of my money this year, thanks to the amazing work they’ve been doing with their recent crops of action figures. Today I’m checking out my first DCC 2-pack and it pays respects to one of my favorite books of the New 52, World’s Finest: Huntress and Power Girl. I latched onto this comic mainly because I became such a fan of Power Girl’s solo run beginning in 2005 and after that I’ve sought out the character whenever I could. But when you toss in a team up with Huntress it’s hardly necessary to justify reading World’s Finest. Previously, my only figures of these characters were from the DC Universe Classics and subsequent Signature Collection lines, and while I still think those are solid figures, both characters were sorely in need of updates. Today I’ll check out the packaging and Huntress and tomorrow I’ll look at Kara!


The figures come in a large window box, which is basically just a bigger version of what we’ve seen for the single figure packs. It’s pretty bland, but it does show off the figures very well and it is totally collector friendly. Although it is a pain to get their capes through the plastic tray without cutting it. The side panels and back show off additional photos of the figures as well as crediting the sculptors, Jack Mathews (Huntress) and Phil Ramirez (Power Girl). I keep thinking about how great these packages would look with some comic panel art and whatnot, but at least I don’t feel bad about throwing them out.


While the New 52 costumes have polarized a lot of readers, Huntress’ New 52 look has remained fairly true to her pre-reboot stylings. She dons a black bodysuit that covers up her previously exposed thighs, biceps, and midriff and the entire ensemble has been streamlined to enclude less pouches and straps. In an era that gave us Supergirl’s inexplicable knee-less boots, Huntress’ costume looks sleek and sensible, while still retaining the design tropes that I knew and loved. Sculpted details include the panel lining on her boots and gloves and some subtle seam lines running up and down her bodysuit. She has understated elbow and knee pads and a modest belt with some pouches. And let me say here how happy I am that DCC went with sculpted shoulder armor rather than separate hinged pieces, especially after the debacle with my Starfire figure.



One of the things I like the most about this figure is the more lithe and demure body type. As much as I still dig the DCUC version of Helena, she looks a bit stocky when compared to this one. The cape is fastened just below her shoulders and is made of a very soft, pliable rubbery plastic. It’s not too heavy and it’s sculpted into a neutral position, which doesn’t get in the way when posing the figure.


DCC has been doing a fantastic job with the head sculpts on these figures, and Huntress is no exception. She has a beautiful face and while the hair and mask are all part of the head sculpt, it still has a nice degree of depth to it. The paintwork on the face is immaculate and they did a particularly nice job on her lips. When you get in pretty close you can see that the eyes aren’t exactly even, but it’s not something I noticed when just casually inspecting her.


Speaking of paint, the paintwork is pretty good on the rest of my figure. Huntress’ entire deco consists of just black, purple and white. Both the black and the purple paint have an ever so slight metallic sheen. There are some visible brush strokes in the white paint applied to her torso and the fringe of her cape and a little slop around the cape, but nothing too bad.


The articulation is solid, albeit not exceptional. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and forearms. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels at the tops of the boots. The head is ball jointed, although her sculpted hair does limit the amount of movement there. There’s no torso articulation. DCC’s figures are never going to be super articulated, but I think they’ve found a pretty happy medium with what they’ve been offering in this year’s releases.




Huntress comes with one accessory, and that is of course her crossbow pistol. It’s a beautifully detailed little piece, cast in grey plastic. She can hold it pretty well in either hand.




It’s always nice to get a great figure from a comic book that I really enjoy and Huntress fits that bill perfectly. I love the character’s current look and DCC pulled off the figure remarkably well. Sure, the articulation is stiff, particularly when compared to Helena’s acrobatic fighting style, but that having been said, DCC has come a long way from the pre-posed and limited articulation of the DC Direct days. All in all, well done!

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up my look at this set with Power Girl!

Transformers Generations: Goldfire (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday again and after a Masterpiece inspired detour last week, I’m back to checking out the last wave of Generations figures I picked up. I started with Skids, the one I wanted the most out of this wave and now I’ll check out the one that I had to choke down to get him… It’s Goldfire. He’s a repaint of the IDW Comic Pack Bumblebee and despite his copyright-challenged new name, in a roundabout way, he is intended to be an homage to Goldbug.


And there’s that great packaging fortified with 100% comic book goodness. I’ve opted not to read this one all the way through, as I’m pretty sure it’s a reprint of an issue of Robots in Disguise, and I’ve only read the first six issues of that book. I’m not in a rush to get back to it, but in case I do eventually, I didn’t want any spoilers. I do know that this is the issue where a wrecked Bumblebee gets an overhaul into Goldfire, although he’s not actually named in this issue so I’m not sure if he still goes by Bumblebee, Goldfire, or Goldbug. Either way let’s check out the figure and we’ll start with the alt mode…



Golfire’s car mode is a muscle car that is quite clearly inspired by the Chevy Camero that Bumblebee adopted in the Bay movies. I love the styling on this car, as it borrows from vintage and modern designs and the contours just looks amazing. There’s something about the way the hood swells really does it for me and I also dig the split spoiler in the back. One issue I still have with this mold is the faked out chest for the robot mode leaves zero clearance underneath so the car doesn’t roll as well as it should.



There aren’t a ton of paint apps, but the gold plastic looks so much better to me than the crappy yellow used on this mold the last time around. You get some black striping, silver and black on the front, and some black and red on the tail end. That’s it. The windows are clear tinted blue plastic, and Hasbro opted to not paint the rear window this time, which I think actually looks better, even if it doesn’t make a lot of sense. On the downside, the door pieces are cast in the same clear plastic as the windows and painted over and the gold paint on was already showing a few chips and scratches inside the package.



Goldfire comes with repaints of the same two weapons that came with Bumblebee and you can still peg these onto the sides of the car to weaponize him in his alt mode.



I was pretty indecisive over this mold’s robot mode when I looked at the original Bumblebee release. I think I came down in favor of it last time, but it hasn’t exactly been growing on me a lot. I actually have no problem at all with most of the figure, but it’s those shoulders that drive me nuts. The designers were definitely inspired by Bayformer Bumblebee what with the doors becoming wings and I think it looks OK right up until I start moving his arms. I just don’t like that the whole assembly is tied to the arm movement. If those pieces locked into place as shoulder armor and the shoulder joint was located inside and independent, I would have been totally on board with this guy.


The only new sculpting on this guy is found in the head. Goldfire sports a faceplate and his eyes are painted rather than light piped. It’s a decent enough sculpt that matches the comic art quite well, and it’s very nicely painted.


I’ve already talked about how the deco is much improved and obviously that carries over to the robot mode. Here you get the same gold plastic with black paint apps as in vehicle mode, but you also get some additional blue showing up int he feet, legs and biceps. It’s an odd color mix for the gold, but somehow it works. I also really dig the way the blue translucent plastic on the door wings looks with some light coming through it.



Goldfire’s two weapons can be held in both hands to be wielded akimbo, or you can put them together to make one big cannon. The Bumblebee figure was able to have the two halves peg into his forearms, but the pegs are too loose on this one and they keep falling out.






So, I still find myself waffling on this mold. The car mode looks great and the deco is much improved, but the robot mode still gives me pause. It looks fantastic standing on the shelf, but it loses some favor with me when I pick it up and play with it. The best thing I can say is that after having been forced to buy it to get the other figures in this wave at a good price, I’m not as displeased with the figure as I thought I would be. The new deco alone makes it an improvement over the original Bumblebee release, but that’s still not a ringing endorsement of this guy. Next Thursday, I’ll check out the other repaint in this wave… Dreadwing!

Star Wars Black: Deluxe Speeder Bike with Biker Scout by Hasbro

Back when Hasbro first unveiled their Star Wars Black 6-inch line, there was a lot of speculation as to whether or not there would ever be any vehicles. Now that speculation can end because we got one! Even if it may be the only one (that still remains to be seen), the Speeder Bike seems like the perfect way to get a vehicle into the line and bundle it with a figure too! I’ve been particularly excited to get this set in hand to see how it turned out, mainly because I bought a case and got two of these along with the Deluxe Jabba the Hutt.


The packaging is a very simple, no frills window box. Like the boxes for the individual figures, the presentation here is as minimalist as you can get. There isn’t even any writing or art or anything on the side panels or the top. Yup, pretty boring. On the other hand, it’s a confident move to let your toy speak for itself, and that’s exactly what the huge window is doing here. I do find it interesting that the set is called “Speeder Bike with Biker Scout” as if it’s the figure that’s the accessory. I think most would have figured it to be the other way around. Either way, both pieces come on a clear plastic tray with the Scout seated on his ride and held in by rubber bands. I’m a little worried about the dreaded Pre-Posed Warping Syndrome. I can’t wait to bust this thing open and get them out! Oh yeah, the box is totally collector friendly so long as you’re careful clipping all those rubber bands and don’t mangle the tray. Let’s start with the figure…



My rule of thumb when evaluating the 6-inch Black figures can be summed up with, “is it an improvement over the best of the 3 3/4” versions and thereby does it take advantage of the upscale?” In the case of the Biker Scout I would have to say… yeah, sort of. It’s not a huge leap forward, but it I think it does take advantage of the larger size to deliver a marginally better sculpt then what we’ve had in the past and definitely better articulation. Most of the improvements in the sculpt can be found on the back of the belt and the armor for the arms. The underlying body suit also has a more intricate texture. I also like how the shoulder hinges are no longer visible through the shoulder armor. The treads on his boots are particularly impressive. I’ll confess you have to scrutinize this guy quite a bit to find the stand out differences between him and his smaller cousin, but there are some there to be found.


Obviously the bulk of the deco here consists of white armor on a black body suit. The figure does make some use of weathering and panel lining. The weathering mostly consists of some dirt on his boots and a little more of the same color on his chest. I’m kind of torn on whether or not I would have preferred him clean, but what we got certainly looks fine. The rest of the paint hits are used to pick out detail in his armor and it’s all executed with precision. I think my only quibble would be that I wish the black used for his visor was glossy instead of matte.




As for that articulation, I’m happy to report that my Biker Scout doesn’t suffer from any mushy joint syndrome, nor did any of his joints get warped or deformed from being packaged seated on the bike. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The shoulder armor does inhibit the movement there a bit, but it’s not terribly restrictive. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just below the chest armor and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged.




On the downside, his gun is a little piece of shit. I think it’s undersized, but that could be just me. The first time I put it into his hand the trigger guard snapped because it’s just weak soft rubber. It still looks alright in his hand, but paying good money for something from a “collector’s line” only to have a part break right out of the box is not my idea of fun. I’ll have to be more careful with the second one when I open it.




Moving on to the Speeder Bike, I’d say this piece is a bigger departure from the 3 3/4” version but mainly because it’s a far more static piece. There are some small improvements to the mold, but this piece also takes a few steps back. There are hinges on the air brakes, but they only allow for a little movement. The undercarriage blaster can still swivel, but those two examples are the extent of the articulation on this thing. The pedals are fixed into place (although they will pull out as they are just tabbed into the bottom) as are the handlebars. On the plus side, I expected this thing to be really soft and bendy and I’m happy to report that’s not really the case. Only the handlebars suffer from soft plastic and it’s not really an issue when the figure is holding them, only when the bike is unoccupied. The deco gets by mostly with colored plastic, although there are some silver dry brushed weathering effects here and there, which are only moderately convincing.




I’m not sure if this will make sense, but this Bike feels more like a prop than a proper 6-scale replica of the Bike. Upscaling the Speeder Bike to the 6-inch range offered lots of opportunities for more intricate moving parts and better defined instruments and such and sadly those opportunities are missed here. That’s not to say, however, that it doesn’t look good because it certainly does. What’s more, the Biker Scout looks fantastic when riding it, thanks to his excellent articulation and the addition of foot pegs on the pedals.



The stand is a frosted translucent cheap piece of rubbery plastic, but damn if it isn’t clever. When I first set it up I was pissed because it seemed like the only way to display the bike was in elevated flight. It took me a few minutes to realize that the other two ball joints work as well. You can plug any of the three into the bottom of the bike and the irregular triangular shape of the stand makes it so that you can display the bike at different heights depending on what side you flip it onto. I was happy to see I could achieve the parked levitating look with the Scout standing beside it.





Both the Speeder Bike and the Biker Scout are very nice pieces and I’m very happy to have them in my growing 6-inch Black collection. They are not, however, toys that take full advantage of the collector’s grade potential of the larger scale and higher price point. At about $40 for the set, I’d say this box is definitely worth the money. The 6-inch Black figures generally retail for twenty and it’s easy to see where another twenty bucks went into the bike for plastic, tooling and paint. I’ll admit to having lowered my expectations of this line a bit since the initial wave came out, but that’s not to say that I’m not appreciating and enjoying these figures.