Masters of the Universe Classics: Blast Attak by Mattel

As usual, I’m scrambling to get in the review of the month’s Club Eternia figure before the month actually ends and in this case that figure is Blast Attak! I was looking forward to this guy because I really dig the more fringe releases and let’s face it, the fringe is just about all that’s left. Blast Attak’s rather late release in the Classics line is fitting since he was a pretty late release in the original vintage line and therefore didn’t get any face time in the Filmation cartoon. As a result, I know very little about this guy and so I must resort to the bio on the packaging. Hey, at least it spares me having to watch an episode of the cartoon.

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Note the Snake Men sticker on the front as it offers a hint of Blast Attak’s rather confused allegiances. This “Evil Blast Apart Robot”  was summoned by Skeletor, but stolen and reprogrammed by The Snake Men to serve them. Weird! The figures shown on the back of the card are mostly comprised of Snake Men and naturally Kobra Khan is there to laugh at me because he’s very pricey now and I don’t own him. KHAAAAAAAAAN!

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Out of the package, Blasty is just a hodge podge of evil goofiness. I love the retro charm of his gold torso with the big gauge on the left of his chest and all the bolts, hoses, and clamps. It looks like he was pieced together using an old boiler. The arms have all sorts of little techno bits on them. I was so sure they were borrowed from New Adventures Skeletor, but they’re actually just really similar and not recycled, at least not from that figure. The backs of his legs look very robotic and even incorporate the knee hinge into something that definitely looks not human. And you just have to love the giant thigh pads.

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And then there’s that head. It’s a good update to the vintage figure, but I still get that WTF? feeling from it. Why not build a robot with a monster face? It reminds me of that old schlock horror film, Robot Monster, where the robot monster was a guy in a gorilla suit wearing a diving mask. OK, this isn’t that bad and it certainly gives you a great idea of how *mind numbingly high* wildly creative the people at Mattel were who were designing this stuff. Either that or they just had a grab bag full of ideas that they randomly pulled from. Part of me wants to think that whoever constructed this thing just stuck a dead monster head on top of it and called it a day. One thing’s for sure, Blast Attak looks angry that they took his gimmick away.

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As his name suggests, Blast Attak’s original gimmick was blowing himself up. Yes, this was Eternia’s version of a suicide bomber, only in this case after he ran up to you, gave you a bear hug, and blew up in your face, he could happily reassemble himself and do it all over again. The vintage figure could be blown apart via a cord and mechanism, but that’s way too gimmicky for Matty’s Classics line and so this modern version is robbed of his one signature move. He does, however, come with a facsimile of the detonation cord, which has been cleverly repurposed into a whip.

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Blasty also comes with this… whatever it is. I shall call it… The Axetron! It looks like a really over complicated axe and it is indeed the spitting image of the weapon that came with the vintage figure. Honestly, I got nothing. Look at this thing.

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Stardard MOTUC articulation applies here. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed and have swivels, the knees and the ankles are hinged. Mr. Attak can swivel at the waist, he has a ball jointed neck, and despite the rubber vest, you can still get some use out of the ab crunch hinge that’s buried in there.

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If ever you needed evidence that we’re coming to the end of the line, Blast Attak is on the scene. Mattel is pulling out all the stops now and all but the staunchest supporters of MOTUC have called it a day. But not us. No sir. We’re here to see it to the end. Blue faced monster robots reprogrammed by Snake Men to explode is exactly what we all signed up for and something tells me it’s just going to get weirder from here on in. Next month? Sssqueeze!

By figurefanzero

Transformers Generations: Jetfire by Hasbro

Call me late to the party, but I finally got around to picking up the big daddy of Hasbro’s Thrilling Thirty: Leader Class Jetfire. I held off on buying this guy because I was planning on getting the Takara version, but with my toy expenses running as high as they have been lately that just never happened. Plus, I did a lot of rationalizing about how much I still dig the Classics Jetfire and maybe I didn’t really need another. Then all it took was for me to see Hasbro’s version on clearance for me to say, “Aw, slag it!” and buy him. Coincidently it just happens to be Transformers Thursday, so let’s take a look!

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Ah, the Generations packaging, how I miss you! With that deliciously vintage grid pattern and familiar Transformers logo, I think this has been the pinnacle of Hasbro’s changeable robot packaging and I mourn the fact that they dumped it for the current crop. But hey, I don’t save these boxes anyway so what do I care? Jetfire comes boxed in his robot mode and all geared up with his guns and armor. The red chrome! It’s already burning my eyes!!!

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It’s the back of the box that makes me cry foul on you, Hasbro. You’ll note the non-chromed armor and guns and the extra black paint apps on these pieces too. I know that all of these boxes point out that the actual product may vary from what’s pictured, but this is a pretty big leap between what’s pictured and what we got. It’s also what made me hold out for so long in favor of the more expensive Takara version until that pesky notion of fiscal responsibility got the better of me. Anyway, let’s start off with his alt mode, and to be more specific, his stripped down jet mode.

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God, this is a great looking toy and a gorgeous recreation of the original G1 Jetfire’s jet mode. Little changes include a much pointier (and sexier) nose cone, and the addition of the tail wings. The cockpit is tinted blue and you get double stripes on the wings, where if I recall correctly the original only had the single stripes. Ah, but some things never change and the huge Autobot emblem is still crisply printed right on the nose cone in front of the cockpit. The primary wings can be angled back and there are three sets of landing gear for the jet to rest on. Of course, as with the original toy, you can load the jet mode up with the extra pieces to make a super armored mode…

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Aaaand, here’s where Jetfire starts to stumble a little. The extra pieces consist of the booster assembly, which snaps onto the back of the aircraft, and two pairs of guns: One, which attaches under the wings, and the others that go over the rear landing gear. You can also attach his rifle under the nose cone, but I think that just looks silly. The pieces are all a lot simpler than what we got with the original toy, but I think they work really well, or at least they would if they weren’t all blinged out. Much has been made about Hasbro’s decision to use red chrome on these parts and I’m not going to beat a dead horse any further, other then to say I really don’t approve and I’m not sure why. Usually it’s just this kind of thing that makes the Takara version more desirable, but here it’s the other way around. I just don’t think it was appropriate and it makes an otherwise amazing looking jet mode look rather cheap.

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Transforming Jetfire into his robot mode also results in both a stripped down robot and the armored up version. I have to say that I absolutely adore the basic robot mode. I honestly didn’t think this guy was going to replace my Classics Jetfire (other than for scale purposes) but I fell in love with this figure the first time I got him out of the box. He’s a really nice compromise between IDW and Sunbow versions of the character and he scales beautifully with most of my Classics and Generations figures. There are a few minor gripes, which I’ll get to in a second, but even so, this is the Jetfire figure that I’ve been waiting decades for.

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From behind, it’s evident that there’s a lot of cheating going on with the transformation. I get it that it bugs a lot of people, but in this case I think the ends justify the means. I don’t think the cockpit hanging down the back looks bad at all. It’s a perfectly valid and stylish place to store that jet kibble and it’s quite unobtrusive. On the other hand just by being there and so visible, it advertises the way the engineering cheats. Again, if that’s what I need to sacrifice in order to get a more Sunbow accurate chest, I’m cool with that and I love the way they took the opportunity to put in all those sculpted components and an Autobot symbol inside the cockpit. I can’t see how they could have pulled that off with a legit transformation. This isn’t a case of Hasbro being lazy with the engineering, but rather just wanting to deliver an animated or comic style robot mode that never had to bend a knee to the harsh mistress of toy design.

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The head sculpt is also fantastic. I dig the way the helmet frames his face and his noble expression just nails the character for me. Of course, you also get the option to put on the battle mask, which is included as a nod to the Macross head on the original toy. I’m not usually a fan of this sort of thing. I don’t think I ever displayed my Classics Jetfire with his battle mask, but I have to admit that this mask looks totally badass. It simply clips right over the face and it gives him a mouthplate, vibrant blue visor and even the antenna from the original toy.

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Loading Jetfire up with his armor consists of mounting the booster package to his back, the smaller guns to his wrists and the larger ones to the sides of his legs. In theory it all looks good, and serves to cover up those unfinished looking areas on the outsides of his legs and arms. if only it weren’t for all that blasted red chrome. Honestly, I’ve usually preferred my Jetfire toys to be displayed without the extra bits, and that’s how I’ll be displaying this guy. Although, I have to admit, I do really like those arm guns.

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The articulation here is pretty solid and thanks to some nice ratchets, he can hold his own weight, which admittedly isn’t all that much, and a lot of great poses. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels at the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and the ankles. I think the Third Party stuff is really starting to spoil me because I really miss having ball joints or lateral rockers in the ankles, especially on a guy this big. There’s no torso articulation, but the neck is ball jointed.

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In addition to all those extra bits, Jetfire also comes with a rifle and this is one of the bigger sticking points with me and this figure. I’ve always considered the gun that came with the original toy to be something iconic to the character and what we got here is just a fairly generic looking missile launcher, which also happens to be cast in the same awful red chrome. Blah!

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Shitty red chrome or no, I absolutely love this figure, and I’m genuinely surprised at how I immediately accepted it as a replacement for my beloved Classics Jetfire. Plus, as a Leader Class figure, he really fits nicely into my Classics shelves. Well, he doesn’t actually fit on any of those shelves, but I mean he scales well with the likes of Classics Prime and all those Deluxes. That’s a claim that Classics Jetfire couldn’t really boast. To think that I almost passed this guy up is absolutely insane to me, although I can’t fault the outcome because I did manage to get him at the very appealing price of $35. I’d still easily recommend the Takara version over this one in a heartbeat, and if Transformers were all I collected, I probably would have gone for that one myself. It would have been a worthy investment, because everything else about this figure is so beautifully done. I’ll also be happily revisiting a remold of this figure next month when I look at Leader Class Thundercracker, a figure that I am very excited to get as he will likely wind up being my Masterpiece Scale version of that character.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Gamora 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

The second release in Hot Toys’ Guardians of the Galaxy line is here and it is none other than Gamora! Man, do I have a thing for green girls! I’m guessing it started way back when I was an adolescent watching Star Trek. Factor in that GotG is currently one of my favorite movies of all time and it should be no surprise that I was beyond excited to get this lovely lady into my collection. While I’ll admit that the big screen version of Gamora lost a little bit of her hard edge from the comics, I still liked the treatment of the character and Zoe Saldana did a damn fine job bringing her to life. So far Hot Toys’ track record has been pretty good about releasing the Guardians figures on time. Both Star-Lord and Gamora made their original estimated window of release. Rocket and Groot, on the other hand have now been pushed back a month… twice. And what about Drax? Where the hell is he at? The pre-orders still haven’t dropped and I’m getting a little worried that the team may not be complete. Anyway, it’s worth noting that I’ve been sitting on Gamora for quite a few weeks now as I work my way through my backlog of other acquistions, so today’s Feature is long overdue. Let’s look at that packaging…

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If you like gaudy cheese then these Guardiaans packages will be right up your ally. I do’t hate them, but they do lack the reserved style and gravitas of some of the other recent Hot Toys releases. I’d like to think of it as intentionally designed to match the crass and retro charm of the movies’ anti-heroes, so let’s just go with that. The figure comes in a simple window box with a sleeve over it. There’s an illustration of Gamora on the front looking all sexy and badass, the Guardians logo on the top and a throwback 80’s grid pattern that still reminds me of something you might see on an old PC game box.

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The boxes are designed to match and have the characters’ name on the side panel set against a starfield. Star-Lord’s box was dark blue and Gamora’s is green. All in all, not bad. Gamora comes on a single tray with her stand and extra bits. You will have to do some careful cutting of plastic wrap on the hands and feet and head, but once you free her she’s all ready to go.

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And what a beauty she is! One of the coolest things about this figure is all the detail that I feel like I’m seeing in her costume for the first time. Yeah, I’ve seen Guardians half a dozen times in the cinema and probably another dozen times on Blu-Ray, but it’s a dark movie and it’s tough to pick out a lot of those details. I’m particularly talking about the metallic blue scribbles running from her shoulders all the way down to her boots. These highlights show up beautifully on the figure and really make the outfit pop. The mesh front also looks great and gives offers more than a hint of cleavage and a peek at her bellly button.

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Gomora’s belt featues various silver painted fixtures and a “holster” to hold her collapsed sword. I know, sheathes and scabbards hold edged weapons, but neither of those terms really apply to this thing, so I’m going with holster. She also has sculpted plastic bands tied around her right thigh and a strap across her left thigh. The boots are a rather distinctive design with cut outs in the heels and some cool texturing on the fronts. The super tight pants can be a little restrictive to hip articulation and the boots don’t offer a lot in the way of ankle articulation. Of course, that’s often par for the course with Hot Toys’ figures. I’d wager that I could get a little more movement out of her legs if I tried, but at the same time I don’t want to risk pulling the stitching.

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The arms are fully enclosed with that rubbery skin we’ve seen before. I only own one other HT release with this on it and that’s their Resident Evil Ada Wong, who actually has it on both her arms and legs. I like it a lot, but it does make me a little more leary about posing the figure. I’ve seen a couple horror stories about the inner mechanisms tearing through Gamora’s arms, and I can just barely make out a bump, probably from the joint, under the skin in her left bicep that might be the problem. The instructions are very specific about what you can and can’t do with them, and I feel like as long as I support the bicep with one hand when articulating with the other, things are going to be OK.

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And that brings us to the portrait, which is pretty spectacular. It’s a dead ringer for Zoe in the makeup and the detail is all there right down to those thin silver patterns and scars on her cheeks. This is one of those HT portraits that, with the right lighting and a photographer far better than myself, could easily be made to look like the real thing. The rooted hair, which is often a matter of contention for collectors looks pretty good right out of the box. It helps that Gamora’s hair just falls free and is a little wild, so styling isn’t necessary. I do like how it can be swept to one side or the other and it’ll sort of stay there for a wind blown look. The metallic red highlights are also a nice touch.

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One place that Gamora comes up short is in the accessories. This is a Hot Toys figure, so you know you’re going to get extra hands, and while I’m not someone who gets a lot of use out of a passel of extra mitts it at least adds value to the figure. In this case, however, you only get a total of three pairs, and by HT standards, that’s not a lot. The figure comes with the relaxed hands attached and the tray has a pair of fists and a pair of weapon holding hands. That having been said, the hands do look great and come complete with the sculpted and painted rings on her fingers and painted fingernails. The sculpted wraps around her forearms do a nice job of concealing the wrist joints and enforcing the illusion that the entire figure is covered with “skin.”

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She also comes with two versions of her sword, one collapsed and one extended. It looks very nice, but the extended one feels super delicate because by design it’s a very thin blade with a forked tip. Here’s an instance where a little diecast would have probably helped. Considering the cost of the figure, if you’re only going to put a couple accessories in the package, you might as well go all out.

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And finally you get her stand, which is the same one that came with Star-Lord only with a new nameplate. I like the bases on these a lot. They’re roomier than the regular Hot Toys stands and feature a graphic to simulate the deck of a spaceship. They’re going to look really sharp when displayed together with the entire team.

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Gamora is a great figure, but she’s also an extremely basic one. Action figures are, afterall beholden to the character designs they are based on, and there isn’t a whole lot to Gamora to make her compex. Mores specifically, she doesn’t have a lot of gear. She has just the one signature weapon, and so while some may find her wanting on the accessories and extras, especially when compared to Star-Lord, the truth is she still feels complete to me. Value, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. Gamora does slip in at just under $200, a rare thing for Hot Toys these days, but when you consider how light she is on the extras, it doesn’t feel like such a great deal. One might argue that the rubber skin on the arms adds cost, but then my Ada Wong figure has the same on both her arms and legs, came with a crap-ton of weapons and extras, and she shipped at the same price. In the end I’m sure some of it comes down to the likeness and licensing fees, but I’m sure a bigger part of it is Hot Toys knowing they can goose collectors for a high demand item. For me, it was still worth the money to have such a fantastic representation of the character on my shelf, but it’s going to be hard for me to keep collecting HT with any gusto if prices continue to climb. And I’m really starting to feel the pinch in the wallet.

Currently, Rocket and Groot are still on schedule for release next month. After two delays, we’ll see if that finally sticks. In the meantime, I’m going to try to revisit Hot Toys next week with a look at STRIKE Suit Captain America from The Winter Soldier.

Star Wars Rebels: Kanan Jarrus and The Inquisitor by Hasbro

If you’ve been reading FFZ for a little while, or just tried collecting the Rebels 3 3/4″ figures then you probably know that Hasbro has made it quite a chore. I’ve managed to slowly piece together the bulk of The Ghost’s crew and a couple of Stormies and recently I was able to grab two more: Kanan and The Inquisitor. These guys turned up on one of my favorite e-tailers for pre-order so I dropped it in. I honestly can’t remember the last time I had to pre-order 3 3/4″ Star Wars figures to make sure I got them, but hey, we gotta do what we gotta do.

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There’s the packaging and I like it well enough. The Stormtrooper helmet as a card is pretty eye catching, but all in all the packages are pretty disposable, and not at all collector friendly. I thought it was only appropriate that I was able to pick these two characters up as a pair since they happened to engage in what was to me easily the best lightsaber fight since The Original Trilogy.

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I love this little spot on the back of the packaging and it gives me a laugh every time. The multi-lingual bit where it says “Also Look For” actually sounds like the names of Star Wars characters. Who can forget the adventures of Aussi Offerts? And Busca Tambien sounds like an alien from Jabba’s Palace. Anyway, let’s start off with Kanan Jarrus

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I didn’t think I was going to like this character at all, and I’ll concede that he’s still not one of my favorites in the show, but he’s not so bad. This figure, on the other hand, is one of the better ones of the series so far. The detail is good enough to stride the line between animated-retro and modern. I’m particularly impressed with the gun sculpted in the holster and how great the portrait came out. There’s a little paint slop on mine here and there and some of the paint on his butt is scratched off, but he’s a guy that gets into a lot of adventures, so I can just write it all off as wear and tear on his outfit. Kanan comes with his lightsaber, which also sports a very nicely detailed hilt and can be held in either hand.

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And then we have The Inquisitor. I can still remember rolling my eyes when they first showed off this guy as the baddie of the show, but I’ll give them credit, he turned out to be a pretty rad villain. And just like Kanan, Inquisitor’s figure is really great. The sculpt captures the animated look of the character design, but still manages to look unusually sharp. The silver Imperial logos on his shoulder armor look great and the portrait is fantastic. Even the painted markings on his face are nice and sharp. The Inquisitor includes his rather distinctive double-bladed lightsaber, which feels a tad oversized for the scale.

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Of course, the retro style five points of articulation are the order of the day here. The arms rotate at the shoulders, the legs move forward and backward at the hips, and the heads rotate… sort of. Both of these characters have high collars, which tends to impede the neck articulation. Kanan makes out a little better than The Inquisitor. Up until now, I’ve been pretty happy with the the 5 POA on these highly stylized figures, but this pair is the first that look so good they feel like they need modern articulation, especially since they’re both accomplished lightsaber duelists and without better articulation, you can’t pose them fighting each other with any degree of credibility.

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Yes, it feels good to have assembled all the humanoids of The Ghost crew, but there are still those pangs of anger when I see Chopper getting scalped for $35. Maybe if I liked the character I would pony it up to complete the set, but I don’t and so I won’t. There are still a couple more figures in this line that I may grab if the opportunity comes up but right now I feel like I at least sort of got what I wanted out of it. I’ll be interested to see if Hasbro continues this line in this style when the second season of the show hits. Part of me would really like to see them take the opportunity to make amends with fans and get the figures distributed better, but the realist in me believes that Rebels merch is going to be eclipsed by the Episode 7 Marketing Juggernaut.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Spider-Woman by Hasbro

As The Bangles once sang, “It’s just another Marvel Monday and that’s my fun day!” Or something like that. Yes, today I am closing in on the end of my look at the Thanos Wave of Hasbro’s Mavel Legends line. Spider-Woman is the last packaged figure that I have to open before moving on next week to the Build-A-Figure, Thanos. Sure, these parts are actually doubles of what came with Hellcat, so I could have already built Thanos, but I always save the BAF for last.

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Here’s the gratuitous packaged shot. Sorry it’s such a shitty shot, but I bumped the camera and spilled my Jameson. Doesn’t matter. It’s basically the same packaging we’ve seen dozens of times now. If you were here last Monday then you might remember that Spider-Woman shares a slot with Hellcat as the “Ferocious Fighters!” which means that neither characters’ names appear on the front of the package. And like I just said, it also means that if you already own Hellcat that you don’t really need to buy this figure in order to complete your Thanos BAF, and vice versa. There’s been a big “to do” lately about how Black Widow has been snubbed in the Age of Ultron merchandise and a lot of people are making the connection to it being a trend with female figures in general. I’m not saying that’s not an issue, but in fairness Marvel doesn’t seem to have a big problem with getting us other Marvel ladies. In the last couple of waves we’ve had Hellcat, Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Girl, two versions of Spider-Woman, and Agent Hill in the SHIELD 3-pack. The Hulkbuster Wave will have Valkyrie and Thundra, and we’re even getting a Legends version of Misty Knight. Seems to me like it’s personal, Natasha.

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Out of the package, Jessica is looking mighty damn nice. We get a very shapely female buck with the costume mostly painted on. I feel like the red used for the costume could have been a little more vibrant and crimson, but I’m not hating what we got either. The yellow used for the gloves, boots, and accents really help the figure to pop on the shelf and the black borders are pretty sharp. There are a few minor stray black marks on my figure’s boots and a little visible brush work on her tummy, but otherwise, the paint really sells the costume splendidly.

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Hasbro included the plastic web “wings” for under her arms, which was evident from the package shot. What I wasn’t expecting was a pair of collapsed wings as well. That was a nice surprise. These pieces simply tab into the slots on the back of her biceps. The textured plastic pieces have almost a GiTD quality to them, which is very effective, although I kind of miss the heavy handed black webbing pattern, especially since these are rather hard to see against a white backdrop.

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The portrait here is a homerun. The lower half of her face is certainly pretty and her lips are well defined and neatly painted. The mask looks great with the large blank white eyes and the hair sculpt is superb and well worth the hit to the neck articulation, at least as far as I’m concerned.

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Articulation here is quite good, so long as you can get past those ball jointed hips that require you to work the joint all the way around to attain certain poses. Apart from that you get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists; Swivels in the biceps and thighs; The legs feature double hinged knees and hinged ankles with lateral rockers. The torso has a ball joint just below the chest and a ball jointed neck with no hinge. Sure, Spider-Woman is a pretty limber gal, and this figure isn’t going to be mimicking any maligned cover art we’ve seen recently, but for a Legends figure, it’s not at all bad.

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Considering that I still own very few of my original Marvel Legends, I’m very pleased to be able to put Jussica Drew back on my 6-inch scale shelf. But even if I still had the old Toy Biz figure I think I’d still be quite happy for the upgrade. I don’t think the last version was quite as bad as some say, but then it’s been quite a while since I’ve had in hand and a lot of those figures haven’t aged gracefully. Next Monday I’ll put together The Mad Titan himself and have a look at this Wave’s Build-A-Figure… Thanos!

ReAction Series: Big Trouble in Little China by Funko!

If you grew up in the 80s, you probably loved Big Trouble in Little China as much as I did. You probably watched it over and over again like I did. You probably drew your own comics chronicling the further adventures of The Pork Chop Express, just like I did. Actually, scratch that last part. I may have said too much. It’s classic John Carpenter goodness and it’s still one of my favorite WTF movies. So much of it makes no sense, and yet it’s so highly watchable and re-watchable and re-re-watchable. I love movies that are batshit crazy and don’t take themselves too seriously, and this one fits that bill perfectly. So far I’ve passed on the overwhelming majority of Funko’s ReAction figures on the grounds that a lot of them just miss the point. Making Kenner style figures of properties from 1990 and beyond, like Pulp Fiction and Firefly, just doesn’t make much sense to me, but I’m not judging anyone who digs them. Big Trouble on the other hand was a great license for them to score. Yeah, technically it missses the true “Vintage Kenner” Era by a couple of years, but it’s not that much of a stretch. It’s also a license that I desparately wanted figures from when I was a kid. Had they been made, it probably would have been the last line I collected before getting out of toys.

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There are a total of six figures in this series, which is a lot more than I thought the film would warrant, but upon review of the character selection, I think they were all good choices. You get Jack Burton, Gracie Law, David Lo Pan, and the three Elements: Thunder, Rain, and Lightning. Some fans may ask, where are Wang and Egg, but I don’t think either of them were distinctive enough to get their own figures and I believe Funko went the right route as to not water down this line too much.

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The figures all come on the same card, which draws its art directly from the movie poster. The only thing unique is the characters’ names printed above the bubble. On the one hand, it’s a bit of a lazier approach than actually giving each character their own card. On the other hand, I totally dig this artwork and it looks fantastic printed on an action figure card. To me the ReAction series should largely be about things we never got, and this is exactly what I would have loved to have back in 1986. I also don’t feel nearly as conflicted over whether or not to open them. If I ever want a carded example from this line later on down the road, I can just pick up one figure to get the full effect of the line, but I doubt it’ll ever come to that. Anyway, I’ve got a lot of figures to get through and you know what Jack Burton always says in a situation like this. Who? Jack Burton… ME!

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I’ve seen this figure get a pretty lukewarm reception when it was first revealed, but I actually dig it a lot. Yes, the head is oversized, but I actually think they did a pretty good job with the portrait. These are retro style 3 3/4″ figures, so the fact that I can see even a little of Kurt Russell in there is good enough for me. If nothing else, they certainly got the hair right. The other thing they got right is his wife-beater shirt with the artwork printed on it. It’s easily the high point of this figure and goes a long way to identify him with the character. Other points of interest include the watch on his left wrist and the defined muscles in his exposed arms. You also get a pair of accessories, which include his combat knife and machine pistol.

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For Gracie Law, they went with her in her ceremonial garb, which was a good choice, because it makes for a far more interesting figure than her street clothes. Again, for the style we’re going for here, the likness to Kim Cattrall ain’t bad. I like that she’s got a paler face to simulate the makeup and they even included her mole. The outfit is well done right down to the classic “robe legs” with the split down the middle just like old Kenner Obi-Wan used to have. She comes with a fairly intricate head dress that just clips right on the front of her head.

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David Lo Pan is quite recognizable, mostly because he’s wearing a rather distinctive outfit. Again, you get those “robe legs” split down the middle and some respectable detail, like the extended finger nails on his pinky fingers! The hat is nicely sculpted and painted, and and the dragon decorations on his robes are actually both sculpted and painted on. Lo Pan comes with the little Beholder monster, which is just a lump of sculpted fleshy plastic.

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And that brings us to the Elements, which to me turned out to be the real stars of this series. I kind of expected these to be quick and dirty remolds of the same figure, but as far as I can tell the straw hats (permanently sculpted to the head) are the only parts that are reused and I have to give Funko props for that. Each figure includes a removable cape and their own signature weapon from the movie. Rain has his claw weapons, Thunder has his knives, and Lightning has his propellers. OK, the propellers are the weakest of the three, they just look like wrenches. But, points for trying!

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As always, these retro-style figures all feature the simple five points of articulation. The plastic used here feels really good and I’m happy to see that Funko is starting to paint the faces rather than leave them bare plastic, because they look so much better this way.

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Funko’s Big Trouble line gives me everything I’m looking for out of the ReAction series. It’s an 80’s property that should have gotten action figures (but didn’t) and I truly believe the figures and card art were executed with some love of the property. In short, they did good here and these figures definitely scratch a nagging itch that goes back about 30 years. I also dig the whole “one and done” mentaility of these. I get one wave of figures to represent the movie on my shelf and I can move on. Of course, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be glad to see these characters turn up in the Legacy line. Even a one-off of Jack Burton would be most welcome, but honestly, I love this move enough that I’d be on board for a full wave.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Menasor by Hasbro

Over the course of the last month or so I’ve been checking out the Combiner Wars Stunticons and that has inevitably started me on the path to today’s Feature wherein I take five really good figures and combine them together a questionable gestalt. But before we get to that I want to point out how much I appreciate what Hasbro is trying with these. I’ll also point out that Superion is by most collectors’ opinions infinitely better and the only reason I haven’t looked at him yet is because I’m waiting for the Takara release later this Summer. And so with all that having been said…

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“Stunticons…

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Transform…

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And Merge…

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Into…

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Menasor!!!”

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And here he is in all his, um… glory. In true Scramble City fashion, there is a great deal of customization available here. Not only can you arrange the limbs in any manner you want, but you can throw other combiner limbs on there too. I’m going for the standard G1 configuration that puts Dragstrip and Dead End as the arms and Breakdown and Wildrider Offroad as the legs. I’ll also point out that I don’t have Blackjack yet to fill out his chest, I’ll revisit that option in a few weeks when I get around to looking at that figure. Yes, without him the chest is an unsightly empty cavity, but I’m not going to pick on that just because I’m missing that figure. It can be closed up, but I’m not sure it’s much an improvement. Also, keep in mind, I’m not overly concerned with which foot/hand part goes with which figure at this point, so pardon me if I’ve mixed them up.

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Proportionally speaking, Menasor is a mess. He’s got such a tiny torso and he’s all legs and arms, which is an issue of Hasbro repeating the same design mistake from Fall of Cybertron Bruticus. On the plus side, the bulkier arms and legs help out a lot and the more I look at him the more I’m willing to admit that he’s a big improvement over that horrid Bruticus figure. Sure, that’s a loaded compliment, but Menasor should take what he can get.

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The head sculpt has grown on me quite a bit and I couldn’t tell you why. I’m still not a fan of the huge horns, but the face itself is pretty solid. I actually find his expression to be appropriate because he looks like he’s in agony and probably wants to be put down. Either that or he suddenly realized that he just pooped himself.

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While I said I don’t want to get into a lot of the customization options, I will say that I prefer to build his legs in the old G1 fashion with the undercarriages of the cars showing to the front. This does, admittedly hamper the normal knee articulation by not allowing the lower legs to bend backwards, but I think it looks better if I’m just going to have him stand there. And that leads me to my next point.

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While Menasor isn’t the prettiest thing around, it’s actually not his aesthetics that I find most irksome, but rather his stability and playability. Just looking at him, I would guess that Hasbro made a lot of sacrifices in order to build a solid toy and in fairness he does have a satisfying chunky look to him. Unfortunately, playing around with him, or just trying to pose him is an exercise in utter frustration, which all starts in the hip design. Ugh, those hips! Just getting the legs even is a pain in the ass, but unless I have the legs on mine straight up and down, the hips are going to give way and he’s going to do the splits. There’s also not a lot of subtelty to those ratchet joints, so tweaking his stance is all but futile and more often than not when he’s standing I find that his torso is lopsided.

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The shoulders are another problem. Moving the arms forward and backward usually cause the shoulder assembly in the torso to give way and come apart. I find that the only way to pose the arms is to hold the figure by this area to keep it together. Again, playing with toys and posing them should be fun, but everything about handling this guy is a chore.

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Menasor has one weapon in his arsenal (unless you count collapsing and falling on top of an Autobot) and that’s his sword. The sword is formed from Motormaster’s gun and sword and overall looks pretty good. Unfortunately, he can’t really hold it. Instead it pegs into a socket that’s closer to the wrist and looks rather awkward.

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I feel bad picking on this figure. I like what Hasbro tried to do here and I really like the Stunticons as a team of individual figures. I will even go so far as to say that Menasor probably doesn’t look as bad in person as I thought he would based on the terrible “official” pics from Hasbro. But the apologists will tell you that this is a toy and if it doesn’t look as good as your $350 Fansproject Menasor that’s because it’s for kids and it’s meant to be played with. Well, I can’t imagine that playing with this guy could be any fun. Fortunately, it looks like Menasor will likely be the black sheep of the Combiner Wars gestalts, because I’m really anxious to get my hands on Unite Warriors Superion and Defensor is looking mighty damn nice too!

Star Wars Hot Wheels: Millennium Falcon, Y-Wing, and Snowspeeder by Mattel

My love of miniature spaceships is probably rooted in growing up with FASA’s old tabletop Star Trek game. While I could only find a handful of people willing to play it I was able to keep myself more than entertained by pouring over all those great books full of ship statistics and collecting the tiny pewter ships from The Complete Strategist, a destination store in the local mall that specialized in RPG supplies. God, what I wouldn’t give to be able to go back to that now long defunct store with my adult monies and clean the place out. Anyway, I’m not here today to talk about FASA or Star Trek, but rather Mattel’s new line of little Star Wars ships branded under their Hot Wheels line.

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And here they are in the package! It’s so weird seeing the Star Wars license on a Mattel package, but this isn’t an isolated incident. Mattel is also releasing a number of Star Wars themed Hot Wheels cars onto the pegs right now. The card deco keeps the spirit of the Hot Wheels brand, advertises the use of die-cast metal, and I’m rather impressed that the cards feature artwork specific to eachs hip, rather than a generic card and bubble insert.

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I found these hanging not amongst the 10,000 pegs of proper Hot Wheels cars, but along with the rather dead pegs of the Star Wars action figure aisle. The Episode 7 stuff can’t come soon enough, because the only things hanging on the figure pegs now are are a bunch of 6-inch Han Solos and Obi-Wans and the shelves are creammed with that Deluxe Jabba that no one seems to want. Anywho… the initial case assortment of these vehicles includes The Millenium Falcon, Snowspeeder, Y-Wing, Slave-1, and The Ghost from the Rebels series. I left The Ghost and Slave-1 but one of these days I may pick them up. Let’s start off with The Millenium Falcon!

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There’s some really impressive detail sculpted into this little ship. All the little bits and texturing on the hull is present, both top and bottom. It looks like the top half is the die-cast with the bottom half plastic. There’s definitely more detail sculpted into the die-cast, but that might just be because it’s what’s going to be most visible when the ship is on display. The top cannon is just molded in as part of the ship and as such isn’t terribly well defined, but the radar dish is, and while it is a tad oversized it does indeed rotate 360-degrees.

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The paintwork on this little ship is rather sparing, but what’s here includes applications on the five black discs on the top as well as black paint on the cockpit windows. There are some maroon hull markings, and the thrusters are painted blue. I wish I still had my Hasbro Titanium Falcon to do a comparison, but just going from memory, I think I rather prefer this one.

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Moving on, next up we have the Gold Leader Y-Wing. I’ve been playing a lot of the Enhanced Edition of the X-Wing PC game on Steam and thus spending a fair amount inside the cockpit of one of these babies. This has always been one of my favorite smaller ships of the Star Wars universe and oddly enough one that I never owned as a 3 3/4″ scale toy. In fact, this may be my very first toy version of the Y-Wing ever. Crazy! At this point, i should also point out the obvious that these ships are not in scale with one another. The Y-Wing is a much simpler sculpt than the Falcon. It does feature a lot of great detail molded into the hull, but it doesn’t look as detailed as the Falcon. I suppose that could be an issue of size, where the Falcon is in much smaller scale so the detail is packed in a lot tighter. Either way, it’s not to say this isn’t a great little recreation of the Koensayr wishbone bomber. I particularly like the use of clear plastic for the skeletal engine pylons and the pronounced front guns.

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The paint on this one is again sparse, but well placed. The cockpit is painted a light grey with black painted windows and there are yellow hull markings denoting this as the Gold Leader Y-Wing. No doubt Mattel has plans to double dip on these molds via the wonderful world of repaints and I’m just the scruffy-looking nerfherder that will probably be first to open my wallet when I see them.

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Last, but not least, we have the Snowspeeder and this one is perhaps my favorite of this trio. I’m a little biased because I love the design of these things so much, but I really think that while all three ships are solid, the Snowspeeder is just particularly spot on. This ship just looks fantastic and is such a huge improvement over Hasbro’s Titanium version. The guns are really well defined as are the panel lines and the rear grill complete with the little area where the harpoon detatches.

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Following the trend of the other two ships, the Snowspeeder gets by with minimal paint hits, and yet it has all that it needs. The rear grill is painted dark gray, the cockpit windows are black, and you get some maroon hull markings, including the “ZZ” on the rear of the cockpit. While the paint is solid on all three ships, the Snowspeeder just seems a bit sharper and more impressively done. I love this little guy!

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All three of these ships include a rather clever clear plastic stand that plugs securely into the bottom of the ship. The stands are embossed with the Hot Wheels and Star Wars logos. These plastic bases support the ships very well and also have a ring so you can put it on your finger and fly your ships around the room. How cool is that!!!

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It’s the sad truth that I don’t have all that many cheap toy lines to collect any more. Part of that is probably due to the nature of the industry and a lot is due to my changing tastes. But that makes it all the more refreshing when I can pull a $5 toy off the peg and be genuinely impressed with it. Sure, I’ll concede that the first wave of five ships only got me to pony up for three of them, but I am still genuinely excited to collect this line and I can think of so many ships that I want to see from the obvious X-Wing and Tie Fighter, to admitted long shots like the Ebon Hawk or the Moldy Crow maybe???

Ame-Comi Heroine-Series: Mera by DC Direct

I’m a Bishoujo guy. I say that in the way someone might say, I’m a Coca-Cola guy as opposed to Pepsi, because deep down inside I’d like to think that the same style of Coke vs. Pepsi rivalry is being fought among the comic book statue collecting market between the rabid and diametrically opposed supporters of Koto’s Bishoujo and DC Direct’s Ame-Comi. One day, I’d like to sit my grandson on me knee and tell him all about those glorious days when Kotobukiya and DC Direct slugged it out and scorched the Earth over dominating the statue market of overly-sexualized anime-style female comic book characters. Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen, but my point here is that I’ve rarely ever given DCD’s Ame-Comi line a second glance. Somehow it seemed suspicious. Koto’s Bishoujo statues are the real thing because they’re from Japan and designed from art by Shunya Yamashita, whereas Ame-Comi is like a Western imposter line. Then again, Ame-Comi is the one that actually has a comic book to justify its existence and DCD pulled in the big guns for some of these pieces, like the one I’m looking at today, which was sculpted by the great John St. John. And so, here I go, jumping in to see how the other half lives. Let’s check out Ame-Comi Mera! Also, apologies in advance to all you non-Bishoujo collectors because I’m going to probably be doing a lot of comparisons where they aren’t necessarily warrented. What can I say, I’m coming at this piece as a Bish collector and that’s the filter in which I’m seeing it.

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The box is pretty typical of what we’ve been seeing in the later years of DC Direct and the current DC Collectibles branding. There isn’t a date on this one, but I’m sure it’s one of the most recent releases, probably from right before DCD changed over to DCC. You get a big window box that shows off the statue quite well, mainly because there isn’t any plastic wrap to obscure it like you get with the Bishoujo pieces. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing, as that plastic is there to prevent paint rubbing, but in this case, its absense doesn’t seem to have hurt the statue. The box is collector friendly and the only thing holding the three pieces into the tray re some twisty-ties.

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The back of the box extends to form a card with a J-cutout to hang this on a peg if need be, but it’s a pretty big and heavy box for that sort of thing. You get a mix of artwork and shots of the statue and a little blurb about Mera on the back. So why was it that Mera got me to break down and go to the Dark Side of Ame-Comi? Mainly because I saw this gal in the comic shop and she called out to me and because Koto hasn’t given Mera the Bishoujo treatment yet. Although with the way they’ve been cranking them out lady, I have to imagine she may not be far behind.

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Straightaway, let me say that I adore this statue. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw her in the box on the comic shop counter, apparently waiting to be put away. I’m not sure whether it’s the composition or the coloring or just the style that I love the most, but maybe it’s just all three. The pose has her supported on a mermaid tail, or what actually looks like is the husk of a mermaid tail with her bare legs breaking out of it. Is it a real tail or just a wildly impractical costume? Who knows? I’m not trying to read too much into the logistics of what’s happening here, and that’s probably for the better. The tail on the base gives her a levitating effect with her legs off the ground and one kicking up more behind her, as if she’s bounding through water across the ocean floor. She’s got her trident in her right hand held down at her side and her left hand trailing behind her. It’s a superb pose, which straddles the line between action and just mugging for the camera, and it’s all the better because it works when displayed from multiple angles.

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The outfit is really something special too, even taking into account for the possible body horror aspect that’s going on between her fish tail and real legs. The fish scales are intricately textured and the shimmery green paint is damn pleasing on the eyes. I really dig how elaborate her headdress is, along with the matching choker collar, and the way the transparent shell pieces rise up from her shoulders. The paint is overall excellent, particulalry on her eyes, lips, and even the green nail polish on her fingers and toes.

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Mera shows a fair amount of skin, but I don’t get the same feeling of intentional and overt sexuality here as I do with the Bishoujo statues. Yeah, she’s got some killer legs and she’s showing off her midriff and a little cleavage, but what’s here feels slightly more innocent and natural. Maybe that’s just me. I think it may have a little something to do with the proportions, which strike me as more ‘toon than anime. I think a lot of that also comes off in the portrait. It’s more rounded and the eyes again, strike me as conveying more Disney Princess rather than anime tentacle bait.

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In addition to the figure itself, you also get the trident and the base. The trident is a nicely sculpted piece that simply goes right into her hand. I was a little nervous getting it in there, since you have to pull the fingers apart a bit, but it went in with out any problems and she holds it quite well. You can even tweak it a little depending on where you want her to grasp it.

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The stand is a simple black oval base with the tail portion pegging into it. It features a nicely engineered system of balance that makes it look like the statue shouldn’t be as stable as it is when standing on the shelf. The base is printed with “Ame-Comi Heroine Series” although the mermaid tail does obscure most of the lettering.

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Based on a little research, the market on these Ame-Comis seem to be a lot more erratic than the Bishoujo pieces. A lot of Koto’s ladies shoot up in price, some hover around their original MSRP, but very few ever sink below that making them a fairly safe investment. While I’ve yet to see an Ame-Comi reach the heights of a Bishoujo Emma Frost or Rogue, some of these seem to have doubled in price, while a few others are available for deep discounts. This one was already sold at the comic shop I saw it at when I went back for her, but she later popped up on a clearance sale at on online retailer for $38, which is certainly not bad. She’s a fantastic piece and I do believe I’m smitten enough with her to pick up another statue and see if my new found admiration of this line can hold.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Hellcat by Hasbro

It’s another Marvel Monday and that means it’s time to open up another Legends figure. Today I’m going to check out the first of the ladies of this wave, Hellcat. Patsy Walker is an interesting character, or at least she has an interesting print history. She started life in a non-superhero comic and existed that way for almost three decades before being established as the alter ego for superheroine Hellcat sometime in the early 70s. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of her character, although I do really dig her costume, so much so that I came damn close to picking up her Bowen statue from a year or so back before the final production piece showed some unfortunate deviations from the excellent looking prototype. Fortunately, Hasbro stepped in and included her in the Legends line, thus allowing me to put her on my shelf for a lot less money.

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Hellcat shares her slot in this Wave with another, in this case that other figure is Spider-Woman. These used to be running changes and it was often a bitch to find both of them on the pegs. Thankfully, Hasbro has since come to their senses and are now including both variants in the wave’s case assortment. Apart from making it far easier to complete the wave, all it means to the collector is that you’re going to have an extra set of BAF parts, in this case Thanos’ head. It also means that Hellcat’s name doesn’t appear on the front of the package. Instead all you get is “Fierce FIghters” and it’s not even in the usual place, but rather all the way down at the bottom in smaller multi-lingual print. This practice really fascinates me, especially when used with lesser known characters like Walker.

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Hellcat is another one of those highly recycled figures and that’s more an observation than a criticism. At first I thought this was just the Ms. Marvel body, but that figure had bicep swivels and Hellcat doesn’t. Maybe they’re just different arms. Either way, this is a generic female buck with the costume painted on. And in this case, the paint is a bit problematic, because the bulk of the body is cast in yellow plastic, but the lower legs and feet are black with a little under the knee painted yellow. Unfortunately the paint doesn’t match. Also note the rather obvious use of the sash from Carol Danver’s Warbird costume.

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At least the head is new and it’s a pretty good portrait. The mask is great and she has the pupil-less eyes just like I like them. I especially dig the way they did her hair. It spills out of the back of her mask and just kind of erupts down her back in a red fiery explosion. Nice!

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Hellcat is a nimble little kitty and the figure does a nice job of conveying that through her articulation. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows and wrists. The hinges on the wrists, however are oddly positioned so she can tilt her hands side to side, rather than front and back. Weird! The legs are ball jointed at the hips, swivel at the thighs, double hinged at the knees, and the ankles have hinges and generous lateral rockers. The torso features a ball joint just under her chest and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint.

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Lest you thought I was done with the subject of parts sharing, it appears as if Hellcat stole Daredevil’s batons and painted them black. These are the same two rods that can be pegged together to form a longer fighting stick. I don’t remember ever seeing Patsy use anything like this, but I’m certainly not an expert on the character. I guess they kind of fit her, so I’m willing to give it a pass. Gosh, I’m in a generous mood today!

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Yes, it seems like the subject of parts recycling is coming up more and more, and I’ll keep standing by my mantra. There’s nothing wrong with it so long as its done thoughtfully and it’s used to get us a figure that we otherwise might not have seen. I think those criteria mostly fit Hellcat. She’s a solid, albeit not spectacular figure and honestly, I’m just so surprised and pleased that we got her that I’m willing to overlook issues like poor color matching. Does that make me part of the problem? Maybe, but holy crap, there’s a Hellcat figure hanging on the pegs. Isn’t that worth a little recycling? To me it sure is. Next Monday I’ll check out Spider-Woman, the last figure in the Wave I need to open before building Thanos!