Marvel Comics: Miss Marvel (70’s Version) Statue by Bowen Designs

It’s only been the past couple years that I’ve really started to appreciate and collect statues. The overwhelming majority of the pieces that I own are from Kotobukiya, but I’ve been meaning to branch out and pick up something from Bowen Designs for a while now. I’ve had a number of these statues on my radar for a little while, but Miss Marvel now has the honor of being my first purchase. It may seem like an odd first choice, but I’m really into her current book, Captain Marvel, and the retro sex-appeal of her Bronze Age costume has always been one of my favorite looks for her.

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The statue comes in a nice big box to accommodate what is essentially a 1:6 scale statue on a raised base. The deco here features a sort of marbled deco with a collage of Marvel character names and sillouettes. It also points out that this piece was digitally sculpted by Jason Smith and that it measures about 12.5 inches tall. There are nice big photos of the statue itself, and while the box warns that the actual statue appearance may vary, I think the final release matches up to the box photos quite well.

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Inside the box you get a thick styrofoam coffin. The lovely Ms. Danvers requires some rudimentary assembly. She plugs into the base via a peg on the bottom of her right foot and the peg fits quite comfortably and holds the statue securely. I’m also pleased to see that both feet make good contact on the base. The scarf gets placed on her shoulders and is secured via two generous tabs, and finally the head goes on, secured by a strong magnet.

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The composition of this piece goes for a sense of simple heroic majesty. Ms. Marvel has her feet placed at a somewhat wide stance and leaning her weight on her right leg so as to jut out her hip ever so slightly. Her hands rest on her hips and she gazes off to her left as her scarf billows off to her right. I love the pose, as it really captures the spirit of the character: Heroic… noble… and certainly sexy.

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Yes, the sculpt captures her shapely form perfectly. Carol’s certainly got all the right curves in all the right places and a particularly stellar tush. I love the way this outfit shows off her legs and the exposed belly button is a nice touch too. I think they did a nice job with the way the hands rest on the hips with the fingers slightly splayed. All of the edges of her costume are sculpted in, as are the little wrinkles at the backs of her high heeled boots and in her gloves and elbows.

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The portrait is also excellent. The expression is quite neutral and there’s a sense of natural beauty to her face. The lips are ever so slightly pursed her mask is part of the sculpt. In keeping with the Bronze Age look, I really dig the short hair, although it’s admittedly a fuller style than she wears in the Marvel NOW Universe. Maybe the sculpted hair is a little chunky, but that seems often to be the case with these statues, and it certainly doesn’t look bad.

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From what I can tell, Bowen has had some issues with paintwork. It’s one of the things that has made me squeamish about buying these online. Nonetheless, I have to say that I’m quite satisfied with the paint on this piece. The skin tone is smooth and even and I like the wash used on her legs to highlight some of the muscles around her knees. The high gloss red and blue used for her outfit looks great and the lines are mostly clean and fairly sharp with just a few instances of overstep here and there. There certainly aren’t any outstanding flubs that detract from the statue.

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The base is a raised disc with The Avengers emblem sculpted into the face of it. I’ve seen this base used on other statues and I absolutely adore this particular design. I just think it looks great and it’s the perfect mix of utility and style. The bottom of the base has the limitation information. Mine is #733 out of 750 pieces.

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After shopping around for this statue an awful lot, I was finally able to get a decent deal and in the end she set me back $165 shipped and I’m very happy with the price. The quality of the piece is fantastic from the sculpt to the paintwork and she looks damn fine standing on my shelf beside my Kotobukiya Iron Man. Of course, it helps that my favorite version of the costume happens to be the easiest and least expensive version of Ms Marvel to get, although I’m not ruling out throwing the money at Bowen’s Warbird statue at some point in the future before it gets any higher.

Transformers Generations: Scoop (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

I love the idea of Targetmasters. Who wouldn’t want a couple of friends that turn into guns? But I was already getting out of Transformers when this new breed of Transformers was arriving on the scene. I did, however, somehow manage to get Scoop and his two little buddies. I think he was my only one, but it’s possible I had Targetmaster Blurr as well. I don’t know if it was because I finally had an Autobot construction vehicle or because of the whole Targetmaster gimmick, but I really dug that G1 Scoop figure a lot and thanks to the character’s appearance in the IDW comic, this unlikely figure has gotten a long overdue update in the Generations line.

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Yes, as unlikely as it is to see an update to Scoop, it’s even more incredible that he comes with a comic book spotlighting the character. But that’s what I always liked about the IDW comics, they draw their character roster from a deep well of Transformers lore. We’ve seen this packaging many times before, so I don’t have anything new to say about it, except it’s still among my favorite of all the Transformers packages. You get the figure in robot form with his two Targetmasters, Tracer and Holepunch, beside him and a bonus reprint comic book in the background. How can you go wrong? You can’t! Let’s start with Scoop in his alt mode.

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Obviously, that alt mode is an orange payloader vehicle and in that sense it definitely pays respect to the original G1 toy. It’s a fairly simple sculpt with some articulation in the front scoop and it holds together and rolls along great. There are some notable details, like the molded ladders on the sides of the driver’s cabin, but that’s about it. There’s also not a lot of paintwork to speak of. You get a lot of orange plastic and black wheels. I’ve been known to jump all over Hasbro for how much they’ve scaled back on paint operations on recent toys, but in the case of Scoop’s alt mode, I don’t think it hurts the toy any. Construction vehicles aren’t meant to be flashy, and besides, Hasbro saved most of the color for Scoop’s robot mode, which I think was a rather good choice.

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There are three sets of peg holes on Scoop’s alt mode that can fit the Targetmaster guns. The two above his rear wheels don’t work so well because the guns bump up against the fenders. The ports between the two wheels work Ok, but I prefer to stick them onto the two top holes.

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Transforming Scoop doesn’t feel all that much different from the original toy. It’s extremely simple when going to robot mode. It was only when going back into vehicle mode that I had to ponder what exactly to do with the arms. Either way, the end result is a very clean and wonderfully proportioned robot. Scoop wears his scoop on his back and two of his wheels fall proudly on his shoulders. Some blue paint apps nicely recreate the chest stickers from the original toy and he’s got a crisp Autobot insignia stamped on his chest.

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Scoop sports some simple but effective articulation, which compliments his clean robot mode. With ball joints and hinges in the shoulders, ball joints in the hips, and hinges in the elbows and knees, Scoop feels very action figure-y, making him a lot of fun to play with and pose. If I have one complaint about Scoop it would be that he feels very hollow. The legs are hollowed out, the arms are hollowed out, and he’s rather light even for a Deluxe. But, maybe that’s more of an observation than a complaint, because it really doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the figure at all.

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The Targetmasters, Tracer and Holepunch, are simple, but oh so awesome. They represent some fantastic sculpting and paintwork for such little figures. These guys are a lot more stylized than the Nightstick figure that Hasbro released with Classics Cyclonus and I really dig that. Their articulation and transformation is simple, but that’s to be expected, and in the end you get a nice pair of little figures and a decent pair of guns. You can even combine the two into one ridiculous and unwieldy weapon just like you could with the original G1 figures.

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With distribution on these IDW comic packs being so poor in my area and online prices getting crazy, I all but gave up on getting many more of these. Nonetheless, a little persistence netted me Scoop for just a couple of bucks over regular retail and I’m mighty glad to have found him. He may not have been high on everyone’s list of Transformers that needed an update, but it’s hard to argue with results like this. He’s a fairly simple figure, but he’s easily among the best modern redesigns of a classic figure that Hasbro has done. He’s a great looking figure and super fun to play with… and hey, two Targetmasters! What’s not to like?

Masters of the Universe Classics: Fang Man by Mattel

You can tell I’m running behind because today’s feature was part of Matty Collector’s Early Access from LAST month. In fact, I’m writing this a couple days after getting the shipping notice for this month’s figure. What can I say? I didn’t have the same sense of urgency to get to Fang Man as I did Hydron because Fang Man was a second chance at an older figure rather than a new release. The truth is I haven’t even opened the shipping box until today. That doesn’t mean I’m not really excited to finally get him. I was kicking myself for missing out on him the first time around, and since then I’ve come mighty close to paying too much for him a couple of times from The Ebays. Good thing I held out!

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Hey, it’s the MOTUC packaging. We’ve seen it dozens of times, so I really don’t have anything new to say. What’s that? I have to go watch the episode he was in? No, I only had to do that with the Filmation Sub figures. He’s still a Filmation character so the rule still applies? Crap! Fine… give me about 25 minutes… And… I’m back. Ok, so the episode was “The Time Corridor.” Skeletor goes back in time to plant the Wheel of Infinity on the foundation where Castle Greyskull will be built. I’m a little shaky on the science here, but The Sorceress says it’ll spin really fast and get so big that it will destroy the Castle in the future. Anyway, he takes Fang Man and Tri-Klops back with him, but Fang Man is only in the whole thing for about a minute. He makes a failed charge against He-Man while riding a dragon and he’s never seen from again. I like that the bio on the back of the card suggests that Skeletor just left him in the past. What a prick! Ok, onto the figure!

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There’s a reason I came close to buying this figure at a premium, he’s fantastic. I get a bit of a Don Bluth Dragon’s Lair vibe off of the character design, particularly the outfit. The tunic is layered onto the figure and it looks great. The sculpted spikes underneath the back are a nice touch a the black belt with silver fixtures cinches it at his waist. The way the head protrudes out of the top, front of the torso gives Fang Man a very distinctive hunched over posture. The coloring on this figure is excellent. The pale blue skin contrasts nicely with the maroon tunic and orange collar and bracers. The clasps on his boots are even painted and the metallic silver on the belt is a beautiful final touch.

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The portrait here is also superb. The yellow eyes, spikes, and the snout all look amazing. The tongue that hangs out of the mouth is even articulated so you can swing it left and right. The jaw isn’t articulated, but adding a jaw hinge would have probably messed with what is an otherwise perfect head sculpt, so I’m glad they didn’t try.

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Fang Man features all the usual MOTUC articulation. I’m not going to run through it here because I’ve done it dozens of times and we should all know what to expect by now. He does, however feature two points of articulation in the head. The neck is attached to the body by a ball joint right at the orange collar. It’ll rotate 360-degrees and can look up and down a bit. There’s a second ball joint right behind the ears. Because the head is attached to the front of the torso, Fang Man can’t really turn his head left or right, only cock it like a dog. Also, while I’m sure there’s a ab crunch hinge buried in there, the tunic prevents it from being very useful. None of these are complaints, mind you, just characteristics of the figure design.

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Fang Man comes with a few accessories. First off, you get the Wheel of Infinity, which is a simple little medallion that he can clutch in his hands. It’s nothing amazing, but still a nice nod to the episode. Next up, he has what I think is supposed to be a taser or energy weapon of some kind. And lastly you get what is one of my favorite swords in the line so far. I like it because it’s a very simple and serviceable design and it has a tiny dragon head sculpted into the crossguard. The hilt is also painted a different color from the rest of the blade.

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No doubt about it, Fang Man is one of my favorites in this line. Granted, that’s a long list, but I can’t help but dig the great character design and beautiful colors of this figure. He’s unique enough to set him apart from The Snake Men, but I could see him possibly cozying up to Draego-Man on my shelf. It’s a shame he didn’t get a little more play in the cartoon, but I love that Matty gave him a figure anyway. Just about every one of the Filmation figures has been a hit for me, and I really hope that Matty gets more of them out to us collectors. Line up another Filmation Sub, Matty, and I’ll be happy to jump on board again.

Doctor Who: Zygon (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

Guess what, folks? I’ve got 5-inch Doctor Who figures to look at! Yes, some of the newly released Dalek-Doctor two-packs have been landing on my doorstep and I’m very excited about it. But we won’t be looking at those today because I still have one more 3 ¾” figure to look at before slamming a lid on this most recent wave. It’s the Zygon because there were motherf’cking Zygons in the 50th Anniversary Special! Sure, they were almost totally superfluous to much of the plot but it was still good to see Zygons in NuWho and now we have figures!

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I’ve said my piece about the packaging. It’s totally serviceable for a 3 ¾” figure line but certainly nothing special. It just begs to be ripped open and thrown away. The Zygon comes carded beside his grey “DWARTIS” figure stand. Yes, grey! Why did you change these to grey, Character Options? What was wrong with blue?

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The Zygons in the 50th didn’t change much from their last appearance way back in 1975 and that’s fine with me. I always thought they were one of the best looking monsters from the Classic series and despite having been absent from the small screen for almost 40 years, they still tend to get lumped in with the recurring aliens. They must have really good agents. And that’s one of the cool things about these figures is that they can easily pass for classic Zygons. If only we had some classic Doctors in this scale to display with them.

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The sculpting here is quite good for the scale in general and exceptionally good for this line in particular. Well, to be fair, most of the aliens in this scale have been decent and the Zygon figure continues that trend. The head sculpt is very evocative of the way they looked in the 50th and the skin is appropriately laced with all sorts of ridges and suckers. Since the Zygon is technically nekkid, the paint is uniform over the whole figure. Nonetheless CO really nailed the grubby orange color of the Zygon’s skin.

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Articulation here is pretty close to what we got with the Ice Warriors and Cybermen in this scale. You get ball joints in the shoulders and hips, there are hinges in the elbows and knees, and there are swivels in the wrists. The ankles do have hinges, but they don’t really offer any movment. There’s no torso articulation and because the Zygon’s head is basically just a continuation of his torso, there’s no neck articulation either. Nonetheless, what’s here is pretty good and any limitations are more likely due to the design of the creature than shortcuts in the figure.

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The Zygon is definitely my favorite figure in this wave and that’s saying something because he was up against a couple of those excellent Dalek variants. Some of my love for this figure has to do with the fact that I’ve always liked the look of this particular alien menace, but also because CO did a genuinely fine job with him and he looks great on the shelf alongside the rest of the 3 ¾” menagerie of aliens. I picked up three of these guys and who knows if I’ll stop there. Yes, as Tom Baker would say, “Who Knows?”

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And… that’ll wrap up my look at this wave for now. It’s likely I’ll eventually double back and pick up the tweed jacket 11th Doctor just because there’s plenty of him around and these figures are pretty cheap. But for now, I can finally start digging into some of the new 5-inch Who figures that are on my receivings pile. I think I’ll start with a couple of the Dalek and Doctor two-packs and then maybe we’ll circle back to that Claws of Axos set that’s been sitting around here for what seems like forever.

Marvel Legends Infinite: Baron Zemo by Hasbro

I’ve seen Winter Soldier twice now, and I really hope to get in one more time. And as the Captain America marketing juggernaut continues to roll over the land and thanks to Hasbro’s current wave of Captain America Legends, the comic books aren’t being left out. I already reviewed the excellent Marvel NOW! version of Cap and that got me good and excited to take a look at one of his arch enemies from the comics. Today we’re checking out Baron Zemo!

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But you won’t find his name on the front of the package! Zemo shares his slot in the wave with the elusive AIM Soldier. It’s amazing to me that Hasbro can not only slip a comic character onto the pegs under the guise of a movie line, but not even put the character’s name on the package. On the other hand, it warms my nerd heart to think that there are enough people walking through the toy aisle that will recognize Baron Zemo when they see him. The day I am in the action figure aisle and I see a little kid point up and say, “Mommy, I want Baron Zemo!” I will weep tears of joy. Will that ever happen? I don’t know, but I can dream. Anyway, Zemo comes on the tray with his weapons mounted beside him and the rather large arm for the Mandroid BAF. And yes, the new Infinite packaging is totally collector friendly.

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Hot damn… I love this figure! It’s a more modern treatment than the Universe version that we got last year and that’s fine by me. He still retains the iconic purple hood and pupil-less eyes that make him so sinister. Hasbro did a fine job sculpting the contours of his face under that mask. It really gives him a lot of character. I do, however, miss the regal fur trim that the older Zemo had as part of his outfit. Instead you get a shoulder harness holding two (sculpted and non-removable) automatic pistols. If you’re going to trade in your regal fur trim always do it for extra guns! At first I thought it was a little out of character, actually I still do, but it’s growing on me.

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Zemo makes nice use of a standard buck with some extra bits to make him unique. In addition to the gun harness, you get a belt and sash and sculpted yellow boots and gauntlets. If I were to complain about anything it might just be that the figure is a little too dark. I slightly darker purple for the body would have worked a little better for me. But that’s just me trying to find something to complain about because Zemo is otherwise awesome.

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Articulation is very similar to what we saw with the NOW! Cap. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, double-hinged at the elbows, have swivels in the biceps, and hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots, and hinges in the ankles. Zemo has an ab-crunch hinge in the torso and the head is hinged and ball jointed. The joints are a tad softer than the NOW! Cap, but it’s nothing so bad that it spoils the figure for me.

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Zemo comes with both a pistol and a sword. The pistol is a nicely detailed piece and even includes a pattern on the grips that’s evocative of Zemo’s old fur trim. I know, I miss the fur trim and I’m obsessing over it. That’s the last time I’ll mention it. He can hold the gun in either hand, but the right is specifically sculpted with a trigger finger. You also get his broadsword, which is delightfully chunky and melodramatic. It also fits into a loop on his belt and I totally dig that!

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While my goal is still to find the AIM Soldier, Zemo makes for a mighty fine consolation prize. This is not my favorite version of the character’s costume, but I still dig it quite a bit and he is undoubtedly a great figure. I already have one team of Thunderbolts in the Legends scale and now I’m hoping that Hasbro might find their way to delivering another roster with Zemo as the first step. Probably not, but I can still hope. Either way it’s just great to see Hasbro sneaking these comic based figures out among the movie marketing. It sure beats getting a dozen different versions of Cap with goofy weapons and made up specialized climate gear. Next week I’ll come back to this wave and check out Red Skull!

The Avengers: The Hulk ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

Yes, it’s time to give more money and attention to the wizards at Kotobukiya. Having done some amazing work with DC’s Justice League, they are now branching out their ArtFX+ line to include Marvel’s Avengers and for the first release they’re bringing in the big guns: It’s The Hulk and this statue is… dare I say it? Incredible!

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The Hulk comes in a box that absolutely dwarfs the packaging used on most other statues in this line. Standing at a little over 12-inchs tall and nearly as wide, this is one epic box. Of course, The Hulk is a big boy, so this piece still conforms to the usual 1:10 scale of the ArtFX+ line. The box features some shots of the statue and a nice piece of artwork on the back featuring all The Avengers. It’s a nice teaser of the forthcoming releases. No offense to the artsy boxes Koto used for the Justice League, but this is the kind of box I like to get my statues in. It’s attractive, it’s collector friendly, and it’s durable for long term storage. The front of the box declares that this piece is a “pre-painted model kit” and while the Justice League statues didn’t require any assembly, it’s not uncommon for other ArtFX+ statues to require you to plug some pieces together.

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Inside the box, The Hulk comes in three pieces all sandwiched between two clear trays. It’s not unlike the Iron Man ArtFX statue that I looked at last week. All you need to do is attach the two halves of the figure at the waist, pop on the head and you’re good to go. You also get two of the standard black metal square bases, because The Hulk is way too big for just one.

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So, before I start gushing all over this piece, let me deal with the drawbacks. Because there are some seams that didn’t show up in any of the pre-production photos. Yes, The Hulk is a kit so seams are to be expected, but the arms come already attached, so the fact that they are running across his biceps is unfortunate. On most pieces, these wouldn’t be a problem, but since Hulk is mostly skin, the seams do stand out. I just have to keep reminding myself that as far as statues go, this one is a fairly low end piece.

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And apart from those seams, it is indeed easy to forget that this is merely a $60 statue because the rest of it looks like something far better. I adored the metallic snap and relative simplicity of the Justice League statues, but there’s so much more opportunity to shine in a piece like this one. Koto went wild reproducing The Hulk’s muscles, veins and tendons, which all conspire to give this statue a feeling of pure power and rage. Even the composition, with one foot in front of the other and a fist winding up to smash, is just totally out of sight. This Hulk feels like a much higher end piece that has been shrunken down to the 1:10 scale range. And even in this scale, The Hulk stands at about ten inches tall! The portrait is every bit as stunning as the rest of the statue. The powerful furled brow, the broad nose, and the exposed teeth is indeed anger personified. This likeness is pure iconic Hulk through and through.

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As wonderful as the sculpting is, it wouldn’t succeed without the proper coloring and this statue has the paintwork to make it work. The green skin tone looks perfect to me and with just enough wash to bring out the detail in the muscles. For a statue that is mostly green skin, there’s a ton of depth and variety to the coloring. The same goes for Hulk’s iconic purple shredded pants. Simply exceptional!

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The bases work the same as previous ArtFX+ statues. They are simple black metal squares and they work with the magnets in the Hulk’s feet. You can slide them around to decide how you want your statue to sit on the shelf.

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I’ll confess, I thought it a bit odd for Koto to lead with The Hulk, I would have bet on Captain America or Iron Man. But when you’re sitting on a piece this impressive, it doesn’t hurt to get it out at the front of the line. And everything about this piece is indeed just so goddamn impressive. What’s really great about this statue is that it totally succeeds as a stand-alone display piece. And that means he won’t look out of place waiting for the other statues to be released. Indeed, even if I had no interest in collecting a full Avengers line, I’d still happily grab this guy up and at the $60 price point, he feels like a bargain.

Transformers: Masterpiece Lambor (MP-12) by Takara

Last week I announced the Bayformer takeover of Transformers Thursday, and this week I’m already reneging on it. Yup, I’m a big fat liar. In fact, the next three weeks of TFT will be devoted to some new acquisitions. What can I say? I didn’t expect to be buying a lot of Transformers this month. But fear not, that will still leave plenty of time to spread the Bayformer hate love during the following month. Today we have bigger fish to fry because I’m taking another crack at MP-12 Lambor. For those that don’t already know, I’ll preface this feature by pointing out that this is indeed the second time I bought this figure. I got the original release of MP-12 and wound up selling it because the paint job was so god awful, that I was furious at myself for spending $80 on it. I had it up on Ebay within hours of receiving it so I didn’t even bother to feature it here. Fortunately, Takara has done a second run on this figure and the word was that Takara “should be” addressing the QC issues this time around. With the three Datsuns under my belt, I had to roll the dice again. Let’s see how I made out this time.

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Back then, Lambor was our first look at the MP Autobot Car packaging, but we’ve already seen it here three times with Prowl, Streak, and Smokescreen. There’s not much new to say. It’s compact, it’s collector friendly, and it gets the job done. I like it. I’ll also take this opportunity to say that from now on I’m calling him Sideswipe.

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Inside you get a plastic tray that holds the toy in its alt mode along with the gun, the missile launcher, and the two piledrivers. I totally forgot that the piledrivers came with him, and I also totally forgot to snap a picture of him with them on. Unless you see one, and that means I had the time to come back and do it. Hey, I post at least five features a week, there can’t be time for everything! Anyway, you also get a folded instruction sheet and a profile card with some boffo character art. I just said “boffo.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m drinking. But yes, I am.

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Takara has also been bundling these MP figures with collector coins and US importers have been charging more if you want them with the figure. I couldn’t give a crap about these, so I haven’t been getting them. Nonetheless, my Sideswipe came with one because the retailer I bought him from didn’t give an option to get the second run figure without it. So here it is. Oddly enough, it says Hasbro on the back. Weird!

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As any good TransFan worth their energon knows, Sideswipe is a sexy red Lamborghini Countach. As I removed the figure I let out a sigh of relief. This time around, the paint is indeed quite good. Is it perfect? No, but I really have to nitpick to find flaws in it. There are a couple of grains of dust under the paint on the hood, but you have to get the light to hit it just right to notice. I tried to get it to show up in the pictures, but I don’t think it did. That’s how minor a flaw it is. There are a few minor instances of slop around the black triangle on the driver side. And of course, the shade of red on the roof doesn’t match the rest of the car because it’s painted over clear plastic. Considering the first Lambor I got had huge swirls and chips in the paint and red slop on the windshield, this one is a huge step up. Indeed, the fact that I am nitpicking the paint this time around is a wonderful thing. Anyway, Sideswipe has one hell of a solid alt mode with just some minor issues with getting some of the plates to line up perfectly. I blame this as much on my transforming skills. I’m possibly not comfy enough with him yet to get everything aligned just right. But I tend to get some gaps in seams along the sides and the two halves of the spoiler tend to separate a smidge.

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There’s a slot on the top of the roof in case you for some reason want to mount his missile launcher on there. You can even plug the rifle into it too just in case a Lamborghini with a giant missile launcher on top didn’t look ridiculous enough. It’s nice to have options, but I can’t imagine ever making use of this feature again.

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I found transforming Sideswipe a little more tricky than the Datsuns, but that could just be because I’ve been through it so many times with those three figures that it’s old hat to me now. There’s nothing terribly uncomfortable about the process, although his legs do involve quite a bit of fiddly bits. I’ll also note that it’s sometimes difficult to get his chest to stay plugged in, whereas the Datsun’s chests locked into place with a rock-solid snap. I think my problem is that I don’t always have the torso packed away properly and I suspect I’ll get better at it.

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Of course, it’s hard to argue with the end result and Sideswipe’s bot mode looks amazing. The proportions are perfect and I love the way the legs pack and tab together so perfectly. It’s brilliant. Even from the back he looks so clean and tight. Oooh, baby… so tight. Sure there are some exposed screws visible from the back, but I suppose they had to land somewhere. I’m also happy to say that the paint job looks just as good in robot mode as in his alt mode. There’s no chips or bleeding or any of the crap that I got with my orginal issue Lambor. Either I got lucky with this one or Takara did indeed step up the game on their QC for this second batch. Either way, a winner is me!

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Lambor features a white cannon or missile launcher that pegs comfortably into either shoulder and can still be angled up or down so he can attain that perfect firing arc and blow Decepticon Seekers out of the sky. He also comes with a hand gun, which looks great, but doesn’t stay in his hand as well as the guns do on the Datsuns. It seems to tab in fine, but when I close the fingers around it, it seems to knock it loose again. No biggie. It’s just a matter of striking the right balance on the finger hinges.

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Having a Sideswipe-shaped hole in my MP collection was really pissing me off. It was even more maddening because I had the figure in hand and had to give him up for being unacceptable. I can’t properly express how happy I am that Takara made this happen and re-issued him. He’s a superb figure and certainly worthy of the name Masterpiece. And he finally offers up a little more diversity to my MP Autobot shelf, which so far was populated mostly by the Datsuns. I’ve got a pre-order in for the second run of Red Alert too, so I’ll be anxiously awaiting his arrival later this year!

Doctor Who: Assault Dalek and Imperial Guard Dalek (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

Today I’m pressing on with Wave 2 of Character Options’ 3 ¾” scale Doctor Who figures and we’re looking at Daleks! Yes, today I’m doing TWO figures because these Daleks are just very minor variants of the ones released in Wave 1 and I doubt even I could pad out the feature enough to give them each their own spotlight. In fact, this shouldn’t take long at all. But don’t think that speaks badly about them because these figures are fantastic! Army building the little Daleks has been the best thing about this line so far and these two new pepperpots are every bit as cool.

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The packages are mostly the same as the ones we saw with the 12th Doctor figure. The big difference here is the addition of the “Heritage Line” on the bubble insert. It seems to be a sub-line that will draw material from earlier periods of NuWho, as both of these Daleks come from stories that pre-date Matt Smith’s tenure. I would presume that the 10th Doctor and Amy Pond figures that were shown off at Toy Fair may be released under this moniker. The only other thing worth pointing out here is that the Daleks do not include stands, but they certainly don’t need them.

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If you haven’t clicked back to my review of the Wave 1 Dalek, just imagine that CO took their excellent 5-inch scale Daleks and shrank them down to this smaller scale. Nothing is lost in the translation as they are superbly painted and detailed and everything I could want in a tiny Dalek. Stand one of these next to the 11th Doctor figure in the same scale and there’s such a wide chasm of quality between the two they feel like they come from two totally different lines. And I don’t have to spell out how awesome it is to have Daleks roughly in scale with Star Wars or GI Joe figures, do I? Anyway, let’s press on to what makes these little containers of hate different from the regular Daleks.

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Both of these variants come from the 9th Doctor episode “Parting of the Ways.” First up we have the Assault Dalek. This figure is your basic regular Dalek with his plunger arm replaced by a claw arm that can double as a cutting beam. This was the Dalek that tried to cut the bulkhead to get to “Lynda with a Y” before one of his chums blew out the window to space and robbed him of the kill. That’s it! That’s really the only difference. There’s nothing else to say about this one except he’s awesome.

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Next up, we have the Imperial Guard Dalek. This little fellow’s plunger arm is replaced with a big sphere arm. It’s called a sensor arm, although I don’t think it was ever established in the episode what it was used for. The other notable difference is the repainted black dome. I honestly didn’t even know these Daleks existed until I re-watched the episode to specifically look for them. He’s an interesting variant, but I don’t dig him as much as the Assault Dalek.

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And that’s all I got on this pair. I told you today would be brief! Obviously these figures were pretty quick and dirty tweaks, but that doesn’t make me appreciate them any less. I’ve got a nice little army of Daleks building up in this scale so I’m happy to pad out their ranks with a couple of unique models. I’ll likely be picking up some more of the Assault Dalek and maybe one more of the Imperial Guard. Next week, I’ll wrap up my look at the figures I bought from this wave with the one I was anticipating the most… The Zygon!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Hydron by Mattel

So far I’ve been mighty happy with my decision to sub to Club Eternia for 2014, but I knew sooner or later that contentment could be shattered and this month’s release looked like it might be the one to do the job. The New Adventures line never meant anything to me as a kid, and I never looked twice at it as an adult collector either. But I never let my ignorance of a specific character mar my potential enjoyment of a figure and there’s no denying that Optikk was a great addition to my collection. And so I try to approach the New Adventures figure, Hydron, with an open mind. Let’s see if he can win me over. Also, apologies for this feature being a little late, but I could only squeeze one Matty figure into the tail end of March and obviously I went with The Unnamed One!

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Gone are the white mailer boxes and in their place are brown ones that look like they’re made out of recycled Shop-Rite grocery bags. Oddly enough, mine also said Grizzlor on the back of the box. But open that sucker up and you’re treated to the same glorious Greyskull-themed package we’ve all come to know and love. Hydron’s package has a “Galactic Protectors” sticker on the bubble signifying that he comes from the New Adventures of He-Man mythos. There’s nothing else new and noteworthy here, so let’s bust him out.

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While Icarus was clearly designed to fight in the skies, Hydron battles evil below the waves. I get a very strong Centurions feeling out of these guys, and that’s not a bad thing at all. Hydron comes fully decked out in his underwater gear, the centerpiece of which is the rubbery chest piece that fits over the figure’s buck. It’s sculpted with various hoses and vents to keep him alive during his underwater doings. In a place as wacky and diverse as the Masters universe, you’d think The Guardians could find someone that can actually breathe underwater to take care of your underwater ops. But nope, that falls on this guy. Other notable points of interest on Hydron’s costume include webbed flippers on his feet and a sculpted knife strapped to his right leg.

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Hydron features a clear dome and a backpack with breather hoses, all of which can be removed to get a better look at the head sculpt. The portrait includes a very retro-looking fin helmet and he has a red breather mask permanently attached to his face. Why wear the breather mask in addition to the dome and breather apparatus? I don’t know, why does the gardener have a giant robotic elephant head? It’s best not to ask these questions. It is, however, annoying since Hydron didn’t always walk around wearing it in the cartoon. It kind of defeats the purpose of being able to take off his gear.

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In addition to his removable gear, Hydron comes with a crazy looking trident gun. It’s a cool design, but as far as MOTUC accessories go, it’s pretty weak. It’s cast in super soft yellow plastic with no paint apps. Hydron can hold it in either hand, but it seems to be designed for his left. On the plus side, it is designed so it can be worn on his belt by passing the handle through the loop.

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I’ll confess, there are plenty of other characters I would have rather had occupy this slot, but that doesn’t mean I’m angry or bitter that Hydron was included in the Sub. At least I have someone to keep Icarus company on the shelf. I don’t know what the general feeling among the Masters community is about New Adventure characters in the sub, but I’m it for the figures and Hydron is certainly a pretty cool figure. I probably wouldn’t have bought him Day of Sale, but considering how much I love Two Bad, Glimmer, Modulok, and The Unnamed One, I don’t have a problem having this one thrown into the mix.

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor Regenerated (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

Getting The War Doctor as a 5-inch scale figure was a nice treat, but now it’s back to reality as CO continues to push the smaller scaled NuWho figures on us. If you haven’t been keeping track, I’ve found the aliens in this line to be fairly good to excellent, but the 11th Doctor and Clara were rather weak efforts. This new assortment is being called Wave 2, even though we Yanks got a complete wave of variants in between, which I suppose we’ll call wave 1-B. I guess numbering these waves properly will be as confusing as the new numbering scheme for The Doctor’s incarnations. Anyway, in addition to the figure we’re looking at today, this wave features a pair of new variant Daleks, a Zygon, a Weeping Angel, The 11th Doctor in his tweed jacket and what appears to be a straight repack of Wave 1-B’s red dress Clara.

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The packaging hasn’t changed much. You get a generic cardback with the TARDIS on it and a bubble insert specifying who the figure is. The back of the card shows off the other figures in the wave as well as a pair of those cardboard Time Zone playsets that we’ve seen before. All in all the packaging is serviceable and suits the smaller line of figures pretty well.

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As is often the case with the regeneration figures, this 12th Doctor borrows heavily from the previous Doctor figure. I will, however, give CO credit for not just doing a quick-and-dirty head swap. The torso has actually been re-sculpted to account for the fact that he removed his bowtie before regenerating. The collar on this figure’s shirt is open at the top button and properly sans bowtie. Apart from that what we get here is the same purple coated body complete with right hand sculpted to hold the sonic screwdriver accessory that is inexplicably absent from this package. There is one minor variation in paint worth mentioning, the vest is slightly lighter. Alas, I can’t tell what color his kidneys are painted.

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Of course, the biggest issue I had with the 11th Doctor figure was the poor head sculpt. You’d have as good a chance pulling a random mini-marshmallow from a bag and having it resemble Matt Smith more than that figure did. I’m happy to say that CO has upped the ante and this new Peter Capaldi sculpt is actually not bad at all. It’s a fairly detailed portrait for such a small figure and the likeness is undoubtedly there. We don’t have a lot to go on as to what kind of Doctor Number 12 will be, but CO went with a raised eyebrow and an offset smirk that seems to agree with what little we’ve seen so far. Even the paintwork here is quite good.

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Same body, same articulation, but let’s run through it anyway. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the wrists. The legs feature a simple T-crotch for the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels at the boots. There is no waist or torso articulation and his head can rotate.

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While CO decided they couldn’t afford the few millimeters of plastic needed for the recycled sonic screwdriver accessory, we do still get a figure stand. It’s the same “DWARTIS” style logo as the previous stands only cast in grey plastic. Um, what? Why?? Laying aside the fact that my borderline OCD now has to deal with two different colored stands, why the change from the traditional TARDIS blue?

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I tossed this figure into my shopping cart just because I was buying a bunch of others and I just said, “why not?” As it turns out I’m mighty glad I did because I really dig this figure! The portrait is leaps and bounds above the last Doctor in this scale and it actually gives me renewed hope for this line. In fact, even if they just recycle this head again, I’m still really looking forward to the release of the proper 12th Doctor in his new costume. If CO can pull off this kind of Capaldi license, I’m thinking that their forthcoming David Tennant and Karen Gillian likenesses in this scale might not be so bad after all. It’s certainly possible that the first wave was just a matter of awkward first steps and we could start to see better. Here’s hoping!