Masters of the Universe Classics: Double Mischief by Mattel

Another Matty Sale Day has come and gone and you know what that means? Subscription figures are landing at my door! Yes, this month it’s figures (plural) because in addition to the Club Eternia release, the Club Etheria Mini Sub kicked off this month and that’s the one that I’m going to look at first. This is the second of these Mini Subs that I subscribed to, the first being the Club Filmation. I can honestly say that I didn’t think there was a bad figure in that entire series. Will that be the case with Club Etheria? Well, let’s take a look at Double Mischief and find out.

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While she may hail from a new Club Subscription, Double Mischief features the same great packaging we’ve been seeing all along. The only difference worth noting is a snazzy 30th Anniversary She-Ra logo printed on the back of the cardboard mailer box. You’ll have to take my word for it, though, as I tossed it before I was able to shoot any pictures. The front of the bubble has the Princess of Power sticker on the front. The back of the card has the usual bio and pictures of other figures in the line. Looks like I’m only missing Bow and Snout Spout. The bio proclaims that Double Mischief’s real name is Rebekkah Kettle. Wait… what? Ok, well for the rest of the feature I’m calling her Becky, because I don’t want to keep typing Double Mischief.

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Holy shit, this figure is crazy! I realize that’s usually a compliment for MOTUC figures, but in this case I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way. Becky’s gimmick is that she’s basically a female Man-E-Faces and while I happen to dig the Man-E figure a lot, in this case I’m getting more of a weird and off-putting vibe. I guess I’ll start with her portrait, because that’s where it’s all going on. She has the same bucket-head kind of helmet with a rotating set of faces. In this case, Becky only has two faces, one good and one bad. The idea is that she’s a member of the Great Rebellion posing as a Horde member. She’s a double agent, get it? So why does it work for me with Man-E-Faces and not with this chick?

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It’s tough to put my finger on exactly why. I think a big part of it is that Man-E was more of a freakish monster and Rebecca is just a regular lady with a monument sized bucket on her head. And girlfriend, that hair ain’t helping any neither. <insert double-snap here> The hair is not only a ridiculous fountain of plastic spurting out of her top, but the paint on it is terrible making it look dirty and just plain nasty. It looks less like hair and more like what you get when you push play-doh through one of those toy pasta maker machines.

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You switch faces simply but turning the knob on the top of her helmet and the main difference between the two is in the eyebrows. One face has a set of eeeevil eyebrows. And god help you if you stop halfway through changing the faces because you’ll be confronted with a featureless lump of flesh that will haunt your dreams forever.

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It’s a shame because I think the rest of the figure looks mostly good. I like the green dress and the high collar and those silver Go-Go boots look like they’re right out of a classic Star Trek episode. I had high hopes for the translucent green cape, but in person it looks kind of dingy and not so great. From the neck down, Becky has the same articulation as most of the other females in the line. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows and have swivels in the biceps and wrists. Her legs have universal movement at the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels at the upper thighs. She also has lateral rockers in the ankles. Naturally, there’s no neck articulation because this chick doesn’t really have a neck. If you want her to look in either direction you can work the knob on the top of her head. She’s not someone you want with you in battle because she’s got zero peripheral vision.

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Becky comes with only one accessory and that’s her Horde crossbow. It’s designed so that it can convert to a less evil looking crossbow for when she’s with her Rebellion chums. You convert it simply by twisting the front. It’s because of the crossbow that I’ll probably keep her displayed with my Horde figures.

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Unfortunately Club Etheria isn’t off to a great start as far as I’m concerned. I find it odd that Matty put Double Mischief out there as their first offering and one that would land on people’s doorsteps smack dab in the middle of Subbing Season for 2015. I thought she was a dubious offering from the beginning and there are much stronger figures and characters that they could have used as their inaugural release. There are precious few figures in the Masters Classics collection that I don’t enjoy on some level, but I think Becky here is going to be counted as one of those few. Fortunately the rest of this Club’s offering should be a lot better.

Transformers Generations: Legends Class Megatron by Hasbro

Wow, it’s Thursday again. The week just flew by and it’s time for more Transformers goodness. We’re in the fourth week of my infatuation with the Generations Legends line and so far everything about these little toys has been nothing but kittens and rainbows. Well, sadly that trend is going to end today with Megatron because I’m just not digging this guy as much as the others. Let’s take a look…

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Here’s the packaging. Well, the deco is still awesome, but I can’t say the same for the character art. Oh, the artwork is just fine, but when you get down to it, I just don’t like this design for Megatron. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Megsy comes packaged in his robot mode with his Targetmaster, Chop Shop beside him in his bug mode. There isn’t much new to say here, so let’s start out with Megatron in his vehicle mode.

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Megatron is a tank, and honestly if he isn’t going to be a gun, this is my preferred Megatron alt mode. If you can’t be a gun, be a tank! Interestingly enough, Hasbro actually used the Legends Class assortment a few years back to get us a new G1-style gun mode Megatron, but I was ignoring the Legends line at the time so I never picked him up. Anyway, I don’t have a lot of quibbles with this Megatron’s alt mode. Sure, you can see his hands on each side of the cannon, but even though they’re right there, I don’t think it looks too bad. It’s a rather f’ugly mode, but it still works well enough for what it is. Overall, there’s some nice detail in the sculpt, particularly in the tiny faux treads, and I appreciate the fact that the turret can rotate. I’m not a fan of the plastic they used for the two parts on the back of the turret, which becomes Megatron’s shoulders. It looks cheap. I think it’s the weakest of the Legends alt modes I’ve looked at so far, but for a toy this size, I’m willing to give it a pass.

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Transforming Megatron is pretty simple and apart from maybe the way the lower legs pack in there’s nothing terribly clever here. The result is a fairly decent representation of a version of Megatron that I just don’t happen to enjoy all that much. Honestly, I think a big part of my problem with this design is the coloring. It’s that black chest and head with the yellow hazard striping effect. The Megatron I know wouldn’t walk around looking like that. That’s not to say that the quality of the paintwork here isn’t excellent. The yellow hits are crisp and the little touches of red around his midsection and elbows are welcome. I still maintain that there’s better and more complex paint on these little guys than a lot of the Deluxes I’ve seen in the past few years. Either way, with a more G1-style deco I could probably be more accepting of this figure.

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Megs features decent articulation for this size class. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and hips, and hinges in the knees. Some of his transforming parts don’t lock in as well as I would like, but he’s still a fun figure to play with.  The tank cannon works OK as his arm blaster. It’s a little thin to drive the homage home, but at least it’s there. It’s also ball jointed, so you can shift it between the outside of his arm or have it like he’s holding it like a gun.

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And then there’s Chop Shop! I was unusually excited to see this guy because the old Deluxe Insecticons don’t tend to get any love these days. I never owned any of the originals as a kid, but I was certainly curious about them, mainly because they didn’t look anything like the rest of the official Insecticons, who were official in my eyes because they were actually in the cartoon. I like Chop Shop’s beetle mode a lot and while his robot mode just consists of standing him up, I still think it’s pretty cool. Again, the sculpt and paint on these teeny little figures is impressive to me.

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I guess it’s a misnomer to call Chop Shop a Targetmaster, since his weapon mode isn’t a gun, but rather a giant pincer claw. It’s also not really an independent mode at all. You’re just sticking his beetle mode on Megs’ arm and you can work the claw by opening and closing the back half of the beetle. Personally, I think it works better as a shield. Man, that would suck being the Transformer that turns into a shield for another Transformer! I was kind of hoping I could stick Chop Shop onto Megs’ back because positioning the pincers behind his head would give him a cool Armada Megatron look. Sadly, the socket on Megatron’s back is too big for the peg. It seems like either a wasted opportunity or a tease. You can also stick Chop Shop on top of Megsy’s tank mode, but it just looks like exactly what it is, a giant beetle riding on top of a tank.

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So, Megatron is not one of my favorites in this line, but that doesn’t make him a terrible figure. Most of what’s here works just fine and my real issue with him is just my personal disinterest in the design. I’m certainly not sorry I added him to my collection. At $10 a pop, these little figures aren’t exactly a high risk gamble. Next Thursday, the Legends Class train will roll on with a look at a very highly anticipated figure… Swerve!

DC Universe Classics: Captain Marvel by Mattel

What’s this? DC Universe Classics??? Yup! I’m a little short on time today so I wanted to do something I could run through pretty quickly. My vehicle is about ready to die on me and so I’ve got to go out and engage in the horror of horrors known as car shopping. I’m not happy about it because in addition to tying up my day, it’s going to force me to spend a lot of money that could have gone to toys.  Anyway, I’ve been filling some holes in my DCUC collection latel and so it seemed like an opportune time to give the old line a little spotlight again. It’s hard to believe that we’re coming on two years since I completed Wave 20, the last wave in the line. The DC Signature Collection helped to soften the blow and put the line on life support and now even that’s gone. But the list of figures that I still need is substantial and last week I was able to check another one off as I finally added Captain Marvel to the collection.

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And there he is! I picked him up loose as part of some trades with a fellow collector, so there’s no packaged shot. That’s a shame because with all the bland and shitty packaging on the pegs these days, it’d be nice to see a little DCUC to brighten the day. I also got him without the C&C Kalibak part, but that’s OK, because I plan on picking up that figure complete on Ebay one of these days. Captain Marvel hails from the early reaches of the line, all the way back to Wave 6 and yes, if I remember correctly he was indeed packaged under the name “Shazam!” because of copyright issues. Poor guy. He’s never going to live that down, is he?

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In a line that garnered a fair share of criticism for recycling a handful of figure bucks with painted costumes, Captain Marvel actually stands out a bit thanks to his unique cape. But if you look more closely you can actually make out the sculpted flap of his tunic and where it buttons just under his right shoulder. It’s a little thing, but totally unnecessary and I think it’s cool that Mattel bothered to put it in there at all. Apart from that you get the sculpting on his segmented arm bracers and the cuffed tops of his boots. The sculpted cape is worn off his right shoulder and while the neck cord is a little chunky, I think it overall looks pretty good right down to the sculpted finials. Alas, the factory got a little sloppy with the glue on this one as there are a few gloppy parts around his neck.

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The pure cheese of the head sculpt suits the character quite well, although the squinting makes me think that I can repurpose this head if I ever want to customize a David Puddy figure from Seinfeld. You can stand Captain Marvel right next to Mary Batson and get creepy smiles beamed at you in stereo. The rest of the figure gets by mostly with red plastic and some yellow paint. The lightning bolt on his chest is nice and crisp, although there’s a little slop on the gold trim of his cape. I’ve also got a little of the red plastic bleeding through the yellow paint on the sides of his boots, but that’s no big deal to me. It’s a simple enough deco, but it’s so bright and colorful that I absolutely love it.

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Articulation consists of what we’ve been seeing in this line more or less since the beginning. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have hinges in the hips that allow for universal movement, hinges in knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso and a ball joint in the neck. Nothing surprising, but it still works well.

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And that’s it… told ya today would be a quickie! It feels good to finally fill that gap on my shelf between Mary Batson and Freddy Freeman. This figure has been high on my want list for a long time now, and I can’t for the life of me noodle out why it took so long to pick him up. He tends to be fairly reasonably priced on the second hand market, at least when he’s loose, and even the trade that landed him in my collection didn’t require me to give up much of anything important. Either way, he brings me another step closer to a complete DCUC collection, but there are still quite a few steps on that journey left. The next time I stop back to look at DCUC, it’ll be for another figure I’ve been desparate to get… Orion!

Marvel Universe Infinite: Death’s Head by Hasbro

While he may bask in relative obscurity, the character we’re looking at today wears a veritable aura of greatness about him. Well, he does as far as I’m concerned! Through the pages of Marvel comics, he has hob-nobbed with The Transformers and Doctor Who alike. He is a conduit for tying together two of my favorite franchises of all time and for that I can’t help but revere him. I also can’t help but sit here in slack jawed amazement as I stare at this figure on my desk. He is Death’s Head! Hasbro made a Death’s Head figure! Holy shit!!! I have no packaging to show you, because this fella came to me loose from the proprietor of the spectacularly awesome toy review site, Starscreamersrants. Go check it out. Seriously… go now. I’ll wait.

<Let’s see what’s in the paper today. Well, look at that. A big ass hole opened up in Siberia. That can’t be good. Can’t be long until demons start spilling out of that. I bet right now they’ve got Spetsnaz teams headed down there to dynamite that thing closed before the para-dimensional invasion begins… >

HUH? Oh, you’re back. Ok. So, Starscreamer was content enough to scoop me on the review before bartering the figure into my greedy hands and sparing me having to risk getting my throat cut by going down to 17th Street and buying the figure from my dealer. Anyway, the packaging is the same horridly boring and uninspired dreck that we saw last week for the Cyclops review and we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future so I need not dwell on it.

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And there he is in all his glory. Hot damn, it’s Death’s Head! Even if I had no idea who this character is, I’d still fall in love with his wild and colorful design, which is beautifully portrayed in this figure. I mean, I just look at this guy and my imagination runs wild.

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The body is built straight off of the Marvel Universe Colossus figure and I think that was a great choice. The only notable resculpting done to the buck is the addition of the new and bulkier boots and new hands. The silver paintwork on the arms and legs is also kept, albeit made a smidge more vibrant. The biggest changes come in the addition of the shoulder and cape piece, which is removable, and the new belt and skirt ensemble. Hasbro put some beautiful work into these new pieces. I love the pitted and pock-marked armor on the shoulders and the battle scrapes and scars on the boots and skirt pieces. Very nice!

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Of course Death’s Head sports a new sculpt for his… Death’s head! This guy’s portrait has more personality than anyone I can think of. He’s basically a metal skull, horned demon, with the jowls and under bite of a bulldog. It’s readily apparent that sweet, sweet love was poured into this head sculpt and it is most certainly appreciated. And as great as the overall sculpt is, this figure is also enhanced by some beautiful coloring. In addition to the aforementioned silver paint, you get some really beautiful metallic blue mixed up with the yellow, red and even some gold on his belt. This is what a comic book figure is supposed to look like. It’s like watching colors having sex. Seriously, I’m looking at him now and my eyeballs are aroused.

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As he’s built entirely on the Colossus buck, Death’s Head features the same articulation as his predecessor. The arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and ankles, double-hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

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Death’s Head comes with a few accessories to aid him on his bounty hunting. You get a classical spiked mace and a short handled axe. Both pieces are cast in metallic silver and the axe has some great weathering in the sculpt to show that Death’s Head gets a lot of mileage out of his weapons. You also get a small bronze colored target shield that can clip onto either of his wrists. The shield can also be clipped onto his back and there are slots on the shield to hold both his weapons.

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Normally I would say that Death’s Head’s obscurity as a character, at least in the US, is going to restrict the appeal of this figure to only a small number of collectors out there. On the other hand, his quirky character designed coupled with the wonderful job Hasbro did on the figure have me reconsidering that. It’s hard for me to imagine that many Marvel Universe collectors are going to see this beauty on the pegs and dismiss him just because they aren’t familiar with who he is. I know I’d pick up this figure even if I had no history with the character at all. Possibly the only sad thing here is that even with two scales of Doctor Who figures out there, Death’s Head isn’t compatible with either of them. That’s OK, though. I think he fits in OK with the Classics and Generation line of Transformers, and that’s probably where I’m going to display him.

Star Wars Black: Vizam (3 ¾” Scale) by Hasbro

I love Skiff Guards. If you haven’t read my chronicles of love for these delightful alien desert pirates then I will direct you to HERE and HERE and even HERE. These characters got some great attention in the Vintage Collection line and it’s nice to see that they’re still getting some love in the Star Wars Black series. Today we’re looking at Vizam who I presume is the guy firing the gun from Jabba’s Sail Barge and I’m pretty sure this is the first time he’s being released as a figure. While I have a number of figures in the 3 ¾” scale Black series, most of them I picked up on the cheap. Vizam here is the first one that I actually sought out to purchase simply because I cannot resist the Skiff Guards.

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There’s the packaging. Last Friday I said my piece about the abysmal art design on Hasbro’s current packages and I don’t want to dwell on it any more. I suppose the bland, black cardbacks are more appropriate for Star Wars than they are Marvel. Even the copy about the character on the back is so bland and sterile that it feels like Hasbro just doesn’t care about presentation anymore. They might as well just print, “this is some dude from Star Wars. Buy it.” Either way, the package here is nothing more than a purely utilitarian vehicle to get the figure to the collector. The only real redeeming feature here is that the unobscured bubble does indeed give you a great look at the figure you’re buying.

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Vizam is a Nikto, which I always used to think was a name and not a race mainly because the more familiar Skiff Guard figure that appeared first in the Kenner line was called Nikto and still was right up to his Vintage Collection release from a year or so ago. As a result, Vizam uses a repaint of the same head used on Vintage Collection Nikto. It’s a great head sculpt and the fresh paint makes it work as a different character, so I’ve got no gripes about the recycled noggin. The headgear is brand new and it’s still removable too!

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The rest of the figure represents the usual ragtag style of outfit that is all the fashion amongst the Skiff Guards these days. I kind of get the feeling that on their day off, these dudes walk around the Sarlacc Pit to scavenge for clothes that the beast has coughed up. Vizam has a little bit more color than most of his cohorts thanks to his blue sleeves, which contrast rather sharply with his brown tunic and his quilted tan chest armor. There are some nicely detailed pouches on his belt and he has a functional holster for his little holdout blaster. Both the sculpt and paintwork are excellent here. Sure, the hinges in the shoulders and knees aren’t painted, but other than that the figure looks so good that I’m inclined to believe Vizam started life as a Vintage Collection release before getting bumped to be repackaged into the Black Series.

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Articulation here is right in line with what we got on the Vintage Collection guards. There are ball joints in the neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. There is a swivel in the waist and again at the wrists. The only real disappointment here is the antiquated T-crotch, which prevents any kind of wide stances.

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In addition to his pistol and headgear, Vizam comes with the cannon that he mounted to the rail of Jabba’s Sail Barge to take pot shots at our heroes. It’s a really nice sculpt, but it’s cast in some very unfortunately soft plastic. Also, the mounting arm connects to the gun with a ball joint that wants to pop out every time you work the articulation. The arm does have a clip, which is compatible with the railings on the Vintage/POTF2 Skiff vehicle, which is an incredible nice touch.

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It’s a little big, but then the Skiff is a tad undersized for the figures anyway. I still think it works well enough.

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And so, the 3 ¾” Black Series continues to be all over the map in terms of quality. I’ve been disappointed by more than my share of these figures, but just when I’m about to quit on the line altogether I get a figure like Padme Amidala or Vizam here, which gives me renewed hope and makes me hang on a little longer. Granted, I’m totally biased in favor of this guy because I do love me my Skiff Guards so damn much, but I still think Vizam is a fantastic all around figure and a great addition to my the crew of my Tattooine Skiff.

Marvel Universe Infinite: Cyclops (Astonishing X-Men) by Hasbro

I do still have some unfinished business with the now defunct Marvel Universe line, but in the interest of being topical I’m going to press on and start looking at some of the Marvel Infinite Series. Yes, it’s the same thing only rebranded. It’s so much the same thing that a significant portion of the Infinite lineup has been repackaged figures or in today’s case figures from MU that were cancelled altogether. This Astonishing X-Men version of Cyclops was from a planned three-pack. It’s possibly worth noting that this is my first figure of Scott Summers since the one included in the Secret Wars Comic Pack a long time ago.

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There’s the brand new packaging and it, along with the Star Wars Black and Age of Extinction packages, provides further evidence to me that Hasbro has sacked its entire art design department. I mean, really Hasbro, what the hell is up with this? It’s so bland and boring. You’re supposed to be marketing comic book figures for chrissake. Look at the old packaging. It was colorful and exciting and it had great character art. Hell, I still have some of those carded figures hanging on my wall because they look so good. This is so sterile and… blah! Had I not known better I would guess that this package was designed for repacking older Marvel Universe figures and selling them at The Dollar General for five bucks a pop. On the plus side, I don’t have to feel bad about opening the figures any more. So, let’s shred this crappy card to bits and get Cyclops out of his dingy digs.

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I can’t say the Astonishing X-Men version is my favorite incarnation of Scott’s costume. Nostalgia dictates that I will probably always be a fan of the 90’s look. Nonetheless, I’m always going to applaud Hasbro for trying to get the look from the current books out on the shelves and pegs. Something in me has to believe that there are still kids out there reading the comics and wanting to go to the store and buy the corresponding figures so they can make adventures of their own. Anyway, aside from the head, there’s really no original sculpting on this figure. Cyclops represents the fairly easy “paint a costume on a standard buck” variety of release.

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Cyclops is cast in dark blue plastic with gold paint apps for the arm bracers, lower legs and piping of his costume. He also has the “X” emblem painted on the left of his chest, which I really don’t recall him having in the comics. The paintwork here is all pretty clean with just one break in the gold piping on my figure.

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The head sculpt is pretty good, but nothing extraordinary. The lower part of the face assumes a rather stern expression and his visor is quite well defined. Cyclops also features a left hand that is sculpted so that it interacts with his visor to help create some good action poses. There is something odd going on with the paint on his face. It looks like he had an explosive sneeze. It’s not noticeable under normal circumstances, but it’s sure turns up when you get in close with a camera lens.

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As far as articulation goes, Cyclops makes use of the most articulated buck we’ve seen in the Marvel Universe line. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, and hips. The arms have hinges in the elbows and swivels in both the elbows and wrists. The legs have double hinged knees and swivels in both the thighs and lower legs. The ankles feature both hinges and some generous lateral rockers. The torso swivels at the waist, has a ball joint just below the chest and there’s an extra hinge in the neck. It’s worth noting that the waist swivel on my figure was totally stuck and I had to boil the figure in order to reclaim the joint.

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If it hasn’t come across in this feature, I’ll just come out and say it now: Cyclops was the one release in the Infinite line so far that I was the least interested in. In fact, I intentionally picked him to go first so I could spend some time talking about the rebranded packaging because I just don’t have a lot else to say about this figure. There’s nothing wrong with him and if anything he has reassured me that despite the crappy new packaging and the needless name change, once you get the figure loose, this is still the same old Marvel Universe that I’ve collected and loved since the beginning. If you were jonesing for Scott Summers in this costume then you’ll probably be glad to have him.

Transformers Generations: Legends Class Starscream by Hasbro

In case you hadn’t noticed, Transformers Thursday has a Legends Class thang going on right now. I consider it a soothing balm to counteract the irritating diaper rash of that Bayformer marathon that I did. I’m also using these guys as a cleansing enema to wash out all the memory of Age of Extinction that remains like the red meat rotting away in my colon. Hey, this intro has gone to a scary and disgusting place, let’s check out Starscream and Waspinator!

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Packaging! Seen it already! Starscream comes carded in his robot mode and Waspinator in his little buggy mode. Love the character art. This is how to design packaging, Hasbro! Notice it doesn’t look like that minimalist crap you’ve got on the shelves now! Let’s start with Starscream’s alt mode

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I’m not sure if Hasbro was going for a specific model of jet here. It kind of looks like a cross between his original F-15 Eagle and more recent F-22 Raptor modes. Either way, it works for me. The sculpt isn’t overly encumbered with detail, but it gets by particularly thanks to the snappy red and white deco and the Decepticon insignia printed on his wings. The hole in his back is kind of ugly, but it’s obviously there so that Waspinator can ride on his back either in bug or blaster mode. I dig the way Starscream’s null ray cannons mount under his wings and he actually has a folding landing gear under his nose. Nice!

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Transforming Starscream is very quick and easy but it still manages to pull off some impressive things. For starters, the wings position nicely on his back so that the Decepticon emblems are facing out and it’s pretty cool how his arm cannons don’t have to be detached for the transformation. I also like how nothing on his robot mode is faked out.

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Overall, I think the robot mode here is fantastic. Yes, the shoulder intakes are rather underdeveloped and he’s a tad chunky in the middle, but I’m really nitpicking on what is an otherwise great looking figure. The tiny head sculpts in this line have been surprisingly detailed and Starscream’s may be the best I’ve seen yet. How did they pack that much personality and detail into such a teeny tiny noggin? The articulation is a tad more limited than the other Legends I’ve looked at, but he’s still got plenty of playability. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, and hips, and hinges in the knees. Not bad for such a little guy. He can also wield his arm cannons as guns.

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Starscream’s Targetmaster buddy is Waspinator and he is hands down my favorite of these little guys so far. The bug mode is excellent and Hasbro crammed a ridiculous amount of detail into this tiny sculpt. I particularly love the cybernetic elements on the wings. I think his robot mode is a little better than what I’ve seen with Roller and Blazemaster, mainly because the wasp head actually folds down to form his chest and his arms are quite well defined. And again, look at that tiny head… that’s certainly a good likeness to the Beast Wars character packed into something smaller than the head of a nail.

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Waspinator’s blaster mode is OK. It’s basically a wasp with his back morphed into a gun barrel. It’s probably on par with Blazemaster’s gun mode but it’s quite large for the Legends Class figures. Starscream can wield it OK, but I think it works better if you give it to a Deluxe or Voyager Class figure.

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Hot damn, I’m still loving this Legends line! Everything about these guys feels like they’re made with extra love. Starscream is an excellent little figure and I’m certainly going to go all in when Hasbro finally gets the Thundercracker and Skywarp repaints onto the pegs. I’m so glad I came to these little figures so late in the game because right now they’re giving me a port in the storm while the shelves are full of AoE toys that I don’t want to get involved in. Next Thursday… Megatron!

Mordles: Seas of Uzalek and Geist Editions by Toyfinity

I’m a little pressed for time today, so I wanted to feature something very cool and simple and my two new batches of Mordles fit that bill just perfectly. If you’re a regular reader here you may remember Mordles, as I’ve covered previous editions of them HERE and HERE. For those of you who are just joining us, these little plastic critters hail from a fun but largely forgotten 80’s toyline called Rocks & Bugs & Things. The fine folks over at Toyfinity obtained the license and have brought these nasty little beasties back to life. In the original line, these creatures were nothing but nibbles for the larger toy creatures of R&B&T but I like to think that these new Mordles have evolved past that and have gone on the offensive. After years of oppression, they are finally having their day! As a kid, I used to peddle my bike down to the corner Woolworth’s with allowance burning a hole in my pocket and these are exactly the kind of simple but collectible toys that I would have blown that money on. Toyfinity has been releasing various different colored waves of Mordles and I’ve slowly been working on getting my hands on as many as I can. Let’s take a look at these new styles!

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The “Seas of Uzalek” Mordles are grey with black accents and this may be my favorite colored set so far. I like them because they look like stones and they could probably camouflage themselves among rocks pretty easily in order to leap out at their prey. The plastic is a really deep and satisfying shade of battleship grey and it looks outstanding with the glossy paint apps. It’s a sinister deco that really takes these little guys in a new direction. The ten Mordles in this pack are the same wonderful designs that Toyfinity has been turning out since the beginning. Why mess with perfection. I seriously think that at this point any new Mordle design that got dumped into these packs would get immediately devoured by the others. Each one is these fellas is brimming with personality and when assembled together they make up quite the Menagerie.

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And yes, my favorite is still this guy…

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He’s the Grumpy Cat of the Mordles Universe and I love him.

Of course, if there’s one thing the toys of the 80’s taught us all it’s the simple truism: “Glow-In-The-Dark plastic makes everything better.” It didn’t matter whether it was an action figure, an accessory or a Wacky Wall Walker. Any toy that glowed was way cooler than any one that didn’t. That’s the philosophy embraced by this next set of Mordles, “The Geist!”

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Cast in the true miracle of science that is GITD plastic and kissed with electric neon green paint apps, this new breed of Mordle horrors now peer at me through the blackness of the room while I’m trying to sleep. Through the din of the room I can make out the sickly green glow. Again, they’re the same molds as previous packs, but somehow these appear less angry and more sardonic and disaproving. Despite the fact that I placed them on the stand near my TV, they have somehow reassembled themselves on the shelf across the room and now conspire with the kindred spirit of Scareglow and plot my destruction.

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They huddle about the feet of Scareglow like he is their surrogate father. It would be interesting to see another pack of GITD Mordles with purple paint apps, as they would match Scareglow perfectly.

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And I’m still not done! I must have pleased the Mordle Gods because included in my shipment were these two strays: One cast in clear plastic with green apps (only on the eyes) and one in translucent blue with green apps. I have dubbed the former one “Hologram Mordle” and the latter one “Force Ghost Mordle.” If GITD plastic is science’s principal gift to the world of toys, than certainly translucent plastic would be the penultimate gift. Either way, this pair is awesome!

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If you fancy a set of Mordles head on over to Toyfinity and grab some, goddammit. These little guys are only $10 a pack and for a bit more you can get a Manglor egg to keep them in. And man, these things look great when displayed in multiple packs. I’m already eyeing my next two sets and I’m rather tempted to try my luck with a random pack as well. I’ve yet to bag me one of the elusive Giant Mordles, but I hope to remedy that in the future. Truth is they’ve been selling out too fast for me to get in on them! These little guys always put a smile on my face and the best thing about them is that they can comfortably infest almost any of my toy displays from Doctor Who to Star Trek to Masters of the Universe to AD&D. The Mordles are content to make themselves right at home wherever they damn well please.

DC Comics: Armored Wonder Woman Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s time for more plastic crack from Kotobukiya. They get my paychecks direct deposited to them now to save me the trouble. What do they do with what’s left over? Ha, there’s never anything left over! Anyway, a couple of years back, Koto gave Wonder Woman the Bishoujo treatment and the result has remained hands down my favorite piece in my Bishoujo collection. When I heard they were doing her again, I was certainly intrigued. Could they improve upon perfection? And why bother trying? Well, the result is their new Armored Wonder Woman Bishoujo, a completely new take on everyone’s favorite Amazon from Themyscira. I had this lady sitting in the receivings pile for a little while now and today is the day I’m finally getting to open her. Can she rival the previous Wonder Woman release? Let’s find out!

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If you’ve been collecting the line, the packaging here should be readily familiar to you. The statue comes in a two-sided window box with an extra window on top to let the light in. It gives you a passing peek at the statue itself, but she’s imprisoned behind plastic wrap and a couple of trays so you’ll need to get her out to fully appreciate her. The box is mostly white, but kitted out with plenty of colorful shots of the statue and the beautiful source art to make it exciting. The back of the box features a little blurb about Wonder Woman and, oh wait… what’s this?

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Awwww…. Yeah! While Spider-Woman will be the next Bishoujo Statue I look at here at FFZ, Starfire is still due to ship this month. With the exception of maybe Zatanna, Starfire has been tops on my list of characters I wanted to see in this line. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to her release. Ah, but let’s not steal any of Diana’s spotlight… back to Wonder Woman. The statue requires very little assembly. You need only plug her into the stand and she’s ready for display.

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Ooooh… my! The photos I’ve seen of this beauty just don’t do her justice. The first thing you may find yourself asking, “this is Armored Wonder Woman? Really???” Well, her boots look like they feature a little extra reinforcement so her feet will be OK, but I’m not sure a pleated skirt, bodice, and dainty cape constitutes armor. Not that I’m complaining mind you. Diana’s got her bullet-deflecting bracelets so why does she need armor? The composition here is a spectacular blend of action and glorious cheesecake muggery. Diana has one foot on the base with the other leg bent back, her left hip tossed to the side and her bracelets crossed, no doubt to deflect the onslaught of fanboy overtures. The piece displays great from a number of angles, but if you rotate her off to the side just a little bit, you can get her gaze looking straight at you and it makes for what I think is the statue’s sweet spot. As far as height is concerned, this statue is slightly taller than the previous Wonder Woman, but right in line pieces like Power Girl and Huntress. The only Bishoujo on my shelf that stands above her is Storm and that’s mostly because of the base.

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So, let’s swing back and talk about her costume. The sexy high heeled boots feature intricately detailed buckles running up the outer sides and the somewhat chunky raised white bands do indeed give them a sense of extra fortification. The paintwork on the boots is truly exceptional. That deep, metallic red is absolutely gorgeous and contrasts beautifully with the matte white and metallic gold.

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The skirt is fabricated from a light, slightly transparent blue plastic, which looks fantastic and naturally it’s kicking up in the back to showcase her star spangled panties. In this case, Wonder Woman could take a lesson from Mara Jade and lose the cape because it’s blocking the view. Of course, the cape does add a lot to the kineticism of the piece. It’s flowing out to the side and perfectly counterbalances the composition of her left foot reaching down to the base. The bodice follows the same outrageous coloring of the boots with that sumptuous metallic red paint and beautiful gold paint on her belt and eagle emblem. The right side of the belt features Diana’s coiled lasso and a finely detailed little snap to hold it in place.

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The portrait here is everything I’ve come to love about this line. Her face is a little more angular than some and her eyes are a little better proportioned, making this piece a maybe a tad more accessible to the non-anime fans out there. Most of the Bishoujo’s feature a down-turned head, but Diana’s is more cocked to the side so her face isn’t really obscured and I like that a lot. The windblown hair effect is particularly good here and compliments the cape for a nice sense of energy. Naturally the paintwork on the face is immaculate and we get more of that lush metallic red and gold paint on her tiara.

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The statue does actually feature a swappable left hand that’s holding a dagger. The dagger is a great looking piece and I’ll concede that it does work very well with the composition by throwing a little more balance to oppose the cape. As a matter of preference, however, I think I’ll stick to the dagger-less look for my display.

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I’ve never been all that big on Wonder Woman using swords and such and I think the pose works better without it. Nonetheless, it’s always nice when you get some display options on pieces like this one. Somebody out there is going to prefer the look of the dagger.

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Last up is the base. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but you never quite know which way Koto’s going to go with their bases. They’re either going to be the elaborate diorama-type (like we saw with the first Wonder Woman) or just simple and utilitarian and in this case they went with the latter. You get a very simple transparent blue circle that sweeps up at the back. I like the fact that the base is small, because my Bishoujo shelves are getting a little congested these days. However, I do kind of wish they had just gone for regular clear plastic because I’m not sure the blue tint makes much sense here. Maybe it was just to add a little more blue to the overall pallet.

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I really tried hard not to come at this review as a comparison to the original Wonder Woman Bishoujo. In style and composition, the two statues are about as different as they can get and still be in the same line. The original strikes me as something that could still appeal to a Wonder Woman collector who doesn’t happen to enjoy the anime influences of this line. It also has a serene sense of nobility and beauty that’s quite remarkable. Now, that’s not to take away from this new version, which is an absolutely fantastic piece that goes for more energy but still manages to capture everything there is to say about the character. I think this one fits in with recent Bishoujo releases a little better than the previous one. Is the original release my favorite of the two? Had you asked me that based solely on the pictures of this new one, I’d say there was never any doubt. Now that I have them side by side, it’s a much harder decision. I think the original still holds its own as my favorite statue in my collection, but I never thought it would be this close and that’s a huge credit to this new version.

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Armored Wonder Woman is readily available now at around $55-60 and that’s a hell of a deal for such a gorgeous piece of work. Of course, Koto has yet another Wonder Woman coming out soon in their ArtFX Sixth-Scale line and that one is looking mighty damn fine as well!

Guardians of the Galaxy Legends: Nova by Hasbro

Well, it took me long enough, but I’m finally getting to the last figure in the Marvel Legends GotG Wave: Nova. Wait, didn’t I already look at this figure? Oh, right that was the Marvel Universe version. Yes, I continue to find it odd just how many characters Hasbro is releasing in both the 6-inch and 3 ¾-inch formats and how close together these releases are. It’s possible to wander down a toy aisle right now and find a Marvel Universe Red She-Hulk hanging next to a Legends She-Hulk on Clearance. At the same time, you could probably find a Marvel Universe Nova on clearance beside this Legends version. It’s been going on ever since Marvel Legends came back and I think it’s a bit weird, but that doesn’t stop me from buying the same character in both formats. As I start moving into featuring the Marvel Infinite figures we’ll see a lot more of this curious phenomenon.

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Here’s the packaging and we’ve seen it enough times now to give it a quick look and move on. With no accessories apart from one of Groot’s spindly limbs, the package looks a little light inside, but we’ll try not to hold it against him. Nova’s been getting a lot of attention lately and I think that’s a good thing. Will Richard Rider actually appear in the GotG movie? Well the rumor that Nathon Fillion is playing him has been quashed, so the answer to that question remains to be seen. At this point it’s probably safe to chalk this figure up as a comic tie-in much like the Iron Man figure we looked at last time, although it’s not the current Marvel NOW! look of the character and it’s also not what the Nova Corps will be wearing in the movie.

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Laying aside the context of the outfit, I think this Nova is a really great looking figure. The design of the suit is identical to the one featured in the Marvel Universe version, however, Hasbro makes use of every advantage of the larger scale. The biggest improvement is in the gold armor bits. The spires on his legs and arms aren’t all floppy like on the smaller figure and that’s a huge plus. Hasbro also went all out and put the shoulder armor on hinged arms so that it doesn’t interfere with the arm articulation. It’s the same concept they tried with the GotG Iron Man figure, only it works much better here and they don’t pop off when posing him.

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The sculpt here is pretty involved and features all sorts of panel lining on the suit itself, particularly in the torso. Everything that’s painted is also part of the actual sculpt and that always goes a long way to add to the figure’s credibility. The head features a very pronounced starburst stuck on to the front, which looks good, and I can’t help but get a strong Judge Dredd vibe from the exposed portion of Rider’s face.

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The coloring on this figure is quite striking. The combination of sparkly blue plastic used for the bulk of the costume and the metallic gold on the armor is extremely effective. I’m not quite as keen on the bare gold plastic used for the belt and the helmet. I think they should have been painted to match the rest of the armor, but I can live with the difference.

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Nova sports most of the articulation that I’ve come to expect and love in this line. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, double hinged at the elbows, hinged at the wrists, and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso can swivel at the waist and has a ratcheting ab-crunch, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. All the joints on this figure feel good and he’s lots of fun to pose.

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Nova is a very welcome addition to my Legends shelf. The only really bad thing about him is that he exposes all the problems with his smaller Universe version. But unlike the Iron Man figure, I would have still happily picked up Nova even if he didn’t come with a part that I needed to build Groot. Overall, I’d say this was my favorite wave of Legends in a while, but I think that has more to do with how excited I am for the movie. Like the Winter Soldier wave, it still had its ups and downs, and I’m still hoping in vain that we might get a second wave with Nebula and Ronin and a movie version Nova Corps. I’m tempted to say they could have given us those characters with swap out variants, but then I’m still hunting for an AIM and Hydra soldier at a good price. That whole variant concept has done more harm than good and I’d like to see the end of it. Anyway, now that I’m pretty much caught up on my Legends, I’m going to start digging into the new Marvel Universe Infinite line, and I’ll start doing that at the end of the week!