DC Comics: Batwoman Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

What time is it? Time for more Bishoujo of course! With Koto now running Street Fighter, Tekken, Marvel, and DC lines of these wonderful statues it’s getting harder and harder for me to keep up. And in the world of Bishoujo statues if you don’t keep up, you’re likely going to be paying for it later when you’re hunting down discontinued pieces. To that end, today I’m checking out Batwoman, a character that I have very little history with but simply couldn’t resist having on my Bishoujo shelf once I saw the preview images. Besides, it’s hard to resist a red head in a tight leather bodysuit, even if she does play for the other team.

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As we’ve seen here many times before, the comic inspired statues come in white window boxes chock full of colorful artwork by Shunya Yamashita along with some pictures of the statue itself. The boxes sizes vary based on the pose of the statue inside, but in this case we get a pretty big box to incorporate this one’s bold stance. Batwoman is nestled between two clear plastic trays and everything is totally collector friendly. which is why I quite literally have a closet full of Bishoujo boxes. There’s no assembly required as Batwoman comes permanently attached to her base and all ready for display.

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The back panel of the box has a blurb about Batwoman and like I said, I don’t encounter her a lot in my funnybook reading adventures. The last time was probably in the 52 run back in 2006 and before that you’d have to go all the way back to the early 80s when I was reading a lot of comics from the 70’s and that was a different version of the character altogether. And not to upstage Ms. Kane, but Koto went and put a teaser image for the next Bishoujo and it is indeed Zatanna. I’ve been waiting for her to get the Bishoujo treatment for a long while and she is easily my most anticipated statue right now. Sorry, Kate, back to you now.

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If there’s ever been a fine example of me not having to be too into a character to enjoy a statue, this is it because this piece is drop dead gorgeous. I mean, y’all know that this line can practically do no wrong by me, but I was still taken aback by just how beautiful this statue turned out. There’s a lot of things going on here to gush about, but I’m going to go with what strikes me first and that’s the colors. Granted, there’s precious little diversity here, just a black body suit and crimson accents, but the black and the crimson go together so indescribably well. It’s like my eyes are having sex right now. But not with each other. Because that would be creepy.

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The entirety of Kate’s bodysuit features a high gloss “new car” finish with a slightly less lustrous finish used for the red boots, gauntlets, belt and bat symbol. The cape switches things up with a matte black finish for the outside and a slightly more glossy crimson finish for the interior. I used to think the black and gold of Batgirl’s costume was the snazziest thing I’ve ever seen, but Ms. Kane here trumps it easily and a lot of that is due to Koto choosing just the perfect shade of crimson and the right balance of matte and gloss for this piece. Have I said it’s gorgeous yet? It’s gorgeous! I also love how Koto just busted out the silver paint for those two tiny shoulder clasps on the cape.

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Of course, the pose is quite spectacular too. Batwoman has her legs in a wide stance with her weight tossed to her left hip, her head cocked to the left while regarding her open palm. Meanwhile she swooshes her cape around her with her right hand. Koto has done some remarkable things with capes in this line before, but holy hell is this great. It adds a lot of energy and excitement to what is otherwise predominantly a cheesecake pose. And that’s what I call great composition! It also doesn’t hurt that she’s moving it out of the way so we can get a clear look at her hinder. Mmm… Bat Hinder…

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And that brings us to the portrait and to me this one is all about the hair and the lips. Kate’s lush red hair blows behind her forming some perfect little curls and with one wave of strands passing under her chin. The angular mask with the whited out eyes looks great and her tiny lips are just perfect.

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Ah, but the fine folks at Koto also included a bonus unmasked portrait via a swappable head. The optional head features some sharp paint for the lovely emerald eyes and red lips and she’s sans wig and sporting her shorter, but still red, hair. This is killing me, because I think this head looks great on the statue, but I’m still going to have to go with the masked head most of the time and it’s a shame to relegate such a fine portrait to the box. Sometimes options are painful.

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As always, the Bishoujo line keeps me guessing when it comes to the base designs. You literally never know what you’re going to get. In this case we get a simple oval base painted metallic crimson and with “Batwoman” etched into it. I can only remember one other time where Koto included the character name on the base of one of their character statues and that was Powergirl. Either way, I like it a lot.

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Batwoman is another superb addition to this line and I’m actually surprised by how she’s shot straight up to the top of my favorites list. Maybe not the tippy top, but she’s definitely up there among the winners circle and with 26 of these on my shelf, that’s no small feat. I was able to grab her for around $55, which is a little under retail and right in that sweet spot where I think I’m getting an incredible value. With several new Bishoujo pieces out there right now for me to pick up, I was considering setting Ms. Kane as a low priority, but now that I have her in hand I’m certainly glad I didn’t.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Blades by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday on a Friday, folks, because I spent a little too much time at The Pub yesterday to work on any content. Fortunately, I’m doing my drinking at home today so we’re all good and I’m even going to bump my planned Feature for today to tomorrow so I don’t miss anything. Today I’m embarking on my look at The Protectobots. I was originally going to hold off and get these all in Takara’s Giftset when it comes out later this year, but then I saw a couple of them at the store and I lost my Saving Throw for Willpower. I’m kicking things off with Blades because unlike a lot of Transformers collectors, this is my first time with this mold on account of me skipping Alpha Bravo.

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Hasbro is winning me over with this packaging, not so much because of the design, but because they’ve started packing comic books in with the Deluxes again. YAY! I will confess I haven’t had time to read this one and the Combiner Wars stuff hasn’t been my favorite chapter in the ongoing Transformers story, but hey… Free Comic!!! On the downside, the blurb on the back suggests that Blades is some kind of bloodthirsty animal and engages in “chopper kung fu.” Oh, no… Hasbro. No no no no no no no no. Nope. Please, don’t ever say that again. It’s stupid.  Blades comes packaged in his robot form, but we’re going to start off with his alt mode.

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Yes, it is indeed a helicopter and a pretty solid one at that. I have what could be possibly called a helicopter fetish in that I have a lot of books about them, I was raised on episodes of Airwolf, and I even did a whole week dedicated to Transformers helicopters here on FFZ, many years ago. So, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m anti-helicopter because I didn’t pick up Alpha Bravo. I just didn’t want a helicopter in with my Aerialbots. I was more than happy, however, to pick up the mold as Blades and I like this chopper a lot. The red and white deco is really attractive and is held dutifully in check by the grey parts. Blades also has a really cool “Autobot Coastal Patrol” emblem on his tail stabilizers and he’s got RESCUE written all over him, which helps calm the panicking disaster victims who see a helicopter coming at them loaded with missiles. “Attention Puny Humans. I come to help! These are Helping Missiles.”

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I dig that the hand/foot part can be used as a stand and it even sort of works as extra guns if you don’t mind a lot of junk hanging off the bottom. And just in case a six-pack of missiles isn’t enough armament for your “rescue” chopper, you can even attach Blades’ weapon to either side. All in all, I really like what we got here, but then generally speaking Transformers choppers have good alt modes and things start to go wrong when you transform them. Remember Blazemaster from a few years back? Holy shit! Let’s hope Blades fares better.

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And yes, he absolutely does. If clean looking robots are  your thing, then Blades may be one of the best helicopter Transformers we’ve seen in a while. In fact, looking at him from the front, he’s nicely proportioned and relatively devoid of any horrific chopper kibble. Pictures of him show the chopper tail bent to the side behind his back, which actually bothered me, because I like symmetry in my robot designs, so I was happy to see that you can leave it pointing straight back, because that’s what I prefer to do.

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The back side is another story. Here’s where all that pesky chopper kibble is hiding, but it still isn’t too bad. In fact, my only complaint would be the rotors. They really needed to clip somewhere. As it is, I can tuck them on the insides of his tail fins, but they don’t stay put and they do tend to shift around a lot. It’s the only really disappointing thing to me about this otherwise solid robot mode.

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Of course, Blades still has the ubiquitous combiner port chest, which is something I’m sort of getting used to. He also has a nice Autobot symbol stamped on the right of his chest. The head sculpt is great, although Blades looks a little angry for a rescue chopper. The blue paint on the face looks good as does the darker shade used for his eyes.

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I absolutely love how the missiles from his chopper mode wind up on his arms in robot mode. I get the idea that this guy does his protecting by murdering the shit out of anyone trying to hurt people. It’s sort of a preventive measures kind of deal. Maybe not in character, but I’m all about bad-ass Autobots so I can get behind it. His hips are a tad too narrow for my liking, but that’s a minor quibble and with ball joints in the shoulders and hips, rotating hinges in the elbows, and hinges in the knees, he’s got some fun and useful articulation.

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What’s that? You want your Protectobot to have more killing power? Well, fear not because Blades also sports a seriously cool looking gun. It’s the same one we saw stuck onto his chopper mode and I totally dig this piece. It’s got a wicked looking muzzle suppressor and sculpted ammo on the sides. Why does a laser gun need ammo? I don’t know, but the concept worked well enough for me in the Fall/War of Cyberton games.

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So, yeah, this is a surprisingly good mold and one that I’m happily now able to embrace because it isn’t being forced on me as an Aerialbot. I’m actually impressed that Hasbro’s designers were able to keep the same aesthetic as the other combiner limbs and make it work with a helicopter alt mode. This is simple, but clever engineering and just all around solid design in both robot and alt mode, and that’s pretty much been the case for all the Combiner Wars Deluxe Class figures. I’m off to a great start with the Protectobots and next week I’ll keep the ball rolling with a look at Streetwise!

Battlestar Galactica: Lt. Starbuck and Captain Apollo by Bif Bang Pow!

Megos! Collectors these days seem to either love them or hate them, but as someone who grew up playing with these dolly-like figures back in the 70’s, I can’t help but have a soft spot for them. From World’s Greatest Super Heroes to Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, Mego was where it was at before Kenner turned the action figure industry (such as it was) on its collective ear with the 3 3/4″ scale. As a result, it makes me happy to see that some toy companies have been keeping this style alive with Faux-Megos, because like it or not, they are an extremely important piece of action figure history. I don’t buy a lot of these, but rather only seek out the ones that really fit the flavor of the 70’s and scratch my nostalgia itch. It’s hard to think of any that fit that bill better than Classic Battelstar Galactica. I’ve got a bunch of these, but today I thought I’d start with the two Colonial Viper Pilots, Lt. Starbuck and Captain Apollo.

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In typical Mego fashion, the figures come on simple cards and bubbles with the bubbles orientated to the right. The cards are made from quality, heavy stock and feature a starfield with an illustrated Cylon head, no matter which character is in the package. There’s a little personalization with the character name on the card, but even that is placed with a sticker.

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The coffin-style bubbles are pretty big, and they need to be to hold an 8-inch scale figure plus accessories. The figures themselves come secured to some inner plastic tray pieces with twisty-ties. These do a fairly good job of keeping the figure in place, although my Apollo came with his blaster rattling around in the bubble, so results may vary. I dig the presentation on these so much, I’ve kept them carded for the year or so that I’ve had them, but having just got a box of Mego-Style figure stands, I was anxious to get them out and display them.

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The back of the card is fantastic. You get head shots of the six figures available (several more would be added later), a nice piece of vintage art with a Colonial Viper blasting away and those great lines spoken at the end of each episode, which are impossible for me to read without hearing them in Lorne Greene’s voice. I don’t think I could properly express how much I still love this show. It felt like a proper mix of Star Wars and Star Trek and it’s still one of my go-to series whenever I’m looking for something quick to watch while I’m eating dinner or just killing time. If you haven’t seen it, go watch the two-parter “The Living Legend” with Lloyd Bridges as Commander of the Pegasus, or another excellent two-parter, “Guns of Ice Planet Zero” which plays out like The Dirty Dozen in space. Brilliant stuff!

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And here they are, out of the package, Starbuck and Apollo. The figures I’m looking at today are virtually identical from the neck down, because they’re each wearing their Colonial uniforms. The only difference there is that Apollo’s holster is correctly positioned on his left hip, whereas Starbucks is on his right. In keeping with the Mego Style, the uniforms are proper soft goods, which is where these figures get a lot of their charm.
The uniforms consist of khaki pants and matching sleeveless t-shirts, the flight jacket, a belt with holster and leg strap, and boots. I think BBP did a great job with the tailoring on these. Other than clipping some stray threads and adjusting the belts, I didn’t have to futz with them too much with the clothes out of the package. The pants and belt do bunch up a bit at the waist, but they still look good, especially for this scale.

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The flight jackets are made out of a textured material that mimics the jackets on the show pretty well. They feature shoulder patches and plastic buttons running down the fronts. They ride a little higher than I would like, but even with that being said, I think they turned out great.There isn’t a lot of detail on the boots, but what they lack in show accuracy they make up for copying the style of those classic plastic Mego boots that almost every figure had.

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The head sculpts are pretty darn good considering the style BBF was going for here. I’ve got no problems at all seeing the great Dirk Benedict and Robert Richard Hatch (Sorry, Apollo!) in those likenesses, but keep in mind realism wasn’t what they were after here rather than copying a toy style from 40 years ago. I’m also happy to see that the heads aren’t soft and squishy and yes, these noggins have that slightly over-sized charm not uncommon for the time.

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Each figure comes with a Colonial Blaster, which can be held in either hand as well as tucked into the holsters. The sculpt and paint apps for these are definitely above par for what we used to get with these types of figures in the old days.

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Probably the most impressive piece here are the flight helmets. These are sculpted plastic and feature some great paintwork and fit onto the figures very well. Just the fact that these were included makes me believe that BBF went all out on these guys, as they could have easily left them out and the figures would have still felt complete. The only other thing that could possibly be missing from these are the poncho’s they sometimes wore.

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I’m totally in love with these figures! BBF did a wonderful job striding that fine line between retro homage and quality. These are definitely better than what we would have had back in the day and yet they’re close enough to ooze retro charm. It’s worth noting that Battlestar did indeed have action figures back in the day, they were made by Mattel and clocked in at around 4-inches. I had a bunch of those and they were cool, but I would have killed to have figures like these to go with my Star Trek Megos. I would have been in crossover heaven!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Evil Seed (MYP Version) by Mattel

August was a busy, busy month for Matty Collector subbers, especially if you’re like me and have both the Club Eternia and 200x Subs. There’s no way I can pack all the goodness in before the end of the month, but if I get started now, I can make it before September’s goodies arrive. I’m kicking things off today with the MYP version of Evil Seed, a villain who is well loved from the original Filmation cartoon, despite being a one-off character. I remember that episode a little, but for the life of me, I can’t remember him in the MYP cartoon. I really do need to pull out those DVDs and watch it again, not only to jog my memory, but because it really is an awesome re-imagining of a cartoon that never really appealed to me.

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Not much to say about the packaging, other than it looks great as always. I will take this time to say how much I love that even with Matty’s exorbitant shipping costs, they won’t even throw a lick of packing material into the box. They just toss in four figures and let them rattle around in there. How these arrived without getting all beat to hell is beyond me. But enough about shipping bitching, let’s check out Evil Seed…

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And here is the Evil Master of Plants himself and I’ve got to say I really dig this look as well as the splendid way it translates to action figure form. Evil Seed is a figure with a very tight color pallet. You get an entirely green body with some brown trim on the vines and a smidgen of red for the face, and man does it work well. There’s a ton of what looks to be new sculpting on this guy and between the barbs and the vines, he makes for a very dynamic and exciting looking figure, despite the limited and muted colors.

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I think my favorite thing about this guy is the way they did all the vines. In some places, like his chest piece and high collar it serves as decorative trim. It’s just close enough to being symmetrical, but deviates slightly to give it a more natural feel. The bendy vines on his legs start at his hips and loop around his knees so that they’re loose but don’t inhibit his leg movement. Those barbs on his shoulders and knees are a damn fine touch too!

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The head sculpt is fantastic, particularly the way it’s framed by that high collar. If I was made of vegetation and could grow my own clothes, I’d definitely do something that looks like that! The mouth, which looks like it’s just a stretched membrane of vegetation is damn creepy and the way the top of his head is sprouting those brown stalks is killer. The heavy brow ridge and red eyes tie the whole visage together beautifully. While the original Evil Seed may win out in terms of kitsch and nostalgia, this guy is just pure bad ass and I love it.

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Despite all the new sculpting, Evil Seed retains all the usual MOTUC articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles and have swivels near the hips. The torso can swivel at the waist, has an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is ball jointed. I would have loved some lateral rockers in this guy’s ankles.

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Evil Seed comes with two accessories. First off, you get a bendy piece of snake-like vine with what looks like a little bitey head on the end of it. It’s molded into a bit of a coil so it can wrap around Evil Seed’s arms, or he can hold it as a sort of staff. It’s a fun and certainly unique accessory, which features some nice paint and sculpting all on its own.

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Next up you get what I believe was called the Scepter of Power. This piece is another one of those Filmation accessories that Matty has been trying to bundle with figures every now and again. I have absolutely no memory of this in any episode and I’m not about to go hunt it down and subject myself to watching that. I only do that for figures, not accessories.  It may have nothing to do with Evil Seed, and I may have no memory of it, but I’m not going to complain about an extra accessory. I’ll probably end up giving it to King Randor.

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Evil Seed was one of the figures that tipped me in favor of doing the 200x Sub, although in all honesty I could probably say that about almost any one of them. Last month’s Callix was a tough act to follow, but Evil Seed manages to keep this Sub’s stride going along just fine. He’s a great update to a great villain and T4H did a beautiful job with him. I’ll concede it’s a little odd that Matty went with this version before delivering on the Filmation style, but since we’re still getting that other version next year, fans don’t have anything to get all uppity about. Frankly, I’m glad Matty is giving us both and I may just regard this one as a different character altogether. And now, I think it’s time to pour myself a Jameson and bust out my MYP He-Man DVDs. With a bunch more of these figures coming, a re-fresher is definitely in order.

 

Marvel Universe Infinite: Shanna The She-Devil by Hasbro

Lest you forgot about it, Hasbro’s Marvel Universe 3 1/4″ Scale line is still a live and kicking. Well, maybe not kicking, more like twitching, but either way it’s still a thing. The character selection has been a little hit and miss and I’ve been passing on more figures than usual because of it, but suffice it to say it is still very much on my radar because I love the line so much. On this Marvel Monday, I’m taking a brief interlude from the Legends figures to check out Shanna the She Devil!

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The last time I looked at a Universe figure was way back in January, so here’s a refresher on the packaging… it still sucks! It’s black, bland, and boring. I’ve said it before, but this is everything a comic book package shouldn’t be. I miss the old days before the Infinite reboot when we got personalized cards with great character art. What’s that? Why do I care? I just throw them away. I don’t know, maybe it’s the principal of the thing. Maybe I want to be woo’ed. I want Hasbro to wine and dine me with the packaging before I lay my money down. Anyway, about the only thing this packaging does well is show off the figure. I mean, they didn’t even give her proper title on the insert. Maybe they thought “She-Devil” wouldn’t fly in the toy aisles in this day and age.

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Let me start out by saying that I have more than a few issues with this figure, but most of them are based on the choices Hasbro went with rather than the execution. If I take Shanna for what she is, she’s fairly well done, although she feels more like one of the earlier Marvel Universe releases than being from the latest crop. New sculpting on the body includes her top, her boots, and a separate sculpted loin cloth hanging over her painted undies, which even has a working sheath for her knife on the back. Her left hand is sculpted into a fist and her right is sculpted to hold the knife. You get some painted arm bands and the ample amount of skin tone is well done.

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I’d say my biggest issue here is with the boots. I can’t remember the last time I saw Shanna not being depicted as barefoot. And since I can’t place these legs on any other figure, I have to imagine they were sculpted for this figure. So, hey… if you’re doing the sculpt anyway, Hasbro, why not give us her most common look and sculpt some bare feet? It’s perplexing. Something else that’s odd… Hasbro seems to go out of their way to sculpt belly buttons through the costumes on many of their female figures. Here’s one that’s actually got a bare midriff and you can barely see it. Weird!

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Like the body, the portrait is pretty good at least based on the direction they went with it. Shanna has her blonde hair sculpted down over half her face and this would not have been my first choice. An alternate head? Fine, go for it! But the face sculpt (at least half of it) looks so good, why not just let us see it all? I may try to pop the noggins off one of my Universe Sue Storms and see if that one works better.

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Articulation takes a few steps back too. The last female figure I looked at in this line was Valkyrie and she was loaded with articulation. Shanna, not so much. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, but no swivels in the biceps or wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s no articulation in the torso at all and a ball joint in the neck, which is rendered inert by her sculpted hair. For an Olympic-trained athlete, Shanna deserved better.

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You get one accessory, and that’s her tiny knife, which fits in the sheath on the back of her belt. Pretty cool, but nothing special.

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Make no mistake, this is not in any way a bad figure. The sculpt is solid, the paint is fine, and even while the articulation is dated, it’s still better than most of what we’re seeing on the pegs in this scale these days. Had Hasbro gone a different way with her hair and decided to lose the boots, I would have been a lot happier, but I’m still not sorry I added her to my Universe shelf. And given Hasbro’s predilection for doing the same characters in Universe and Legends scales, I’m hoping that means we might see Shanna appearing in the 6-inch scale in the near future.

Firefly (Legacy Collection): Kaylee Frye and Jayne Cobb by Funko

Back in June I checked out Captain Mal and Zoe from Funko’s Firefly Legacy Collection and while I wasn’t blown away by them, I found them to be solid enough to keep going. I was planning on waiting to get the last three figures and knock them out in one fell swoop, but I haven’t found Wash yet, so we’ll worry about him another day. Today we’re looking at Kaylee, Firefly’s spunky young mechanic, and Jayne, the resident gun-toting psychopath.

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The packaging is uniform to what we saw last time. The figures come in window boxes with a deco that matches the show and side panels that identify the figures inside. I like these a lot and so far I’ve been keeping the boxes to all my Legacy Collection figures. The figures in the wave are numbered, with these two being 2 and 3, although I haven’t been going in any order so it doesn’t really matter. Let’s talk about Kaylee first…

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Kaylee is sculpted in her green, sleeveless mechanic’s overalls with her purple floral patterned shirt sleeves showing through. I really like the detail they put into the outfit, both from a sculpt and paint standpoint. There’s scattered bits of Chinese writing and the teddy bear patch on the left leg is actually part of the sculpt, which is great. The paint wash on her overalls is a little heavy handed, as was the case with Mal’s jacket, but in this case it can be passed off as grease, so I’m alright with it.

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The portrait is kind of an enigma. There are angles where it looks good, there are angles where it looks not so good. I know, that’s not a ringing endorsement, but I get the feeling Jewel Staite is one of those people with rather distinctive features which defy all but the most talented sculptors. Still, Gentle Giant is still credited on this line and they aren’t exactly amateurs. The look they went with has Kaylee offering a sly smirk and I’d have to say that I could probably identify her even if someone just handed me the head and asked me to guess. Bottom line, I expected this likeness to be a train wreck and what we got is passable under certain circumstances.

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Kaylee features a good amount of articulation with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles. She has ball joints in the hips and double hinged knees. There are swivels in the thighs and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint just under her chest and again in the neck. Alas, Funko is still using the super shitty clear plastic for the joints and I did have one stuck knee joint. I have no patience for boiling these things, so I rolled the dice and was ultimately able to coax it into working without snapping anything.

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Kaylee comes with one accessory, and that’s a wrench that she can hold in her right hand. Seems like they could have thrown some more in there, but then Jayne makes up for it with some extra bits. And speaking of Jayne…

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Now here’s a sculpt that is just spot-on perfect, or at least as close as we’re likely to see in a 6-inch scale mass release figure. Granted, the outfit is simple, with just a green t-shirt and khaki pants, fingerless gloves, combat boots and a gun belt, but everything about it is solid. You even get a functional holster and knife sheath.

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The portrait is a dead on likeness for Adam Baldwin. I mean, there’s really nothing else to say, except the paint is nice and clean. This one is a slam dunk.

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The articulation, on the other hand, is a little wonky and wanting. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, and these really, really weird variations of the same in the elbows. These were on the Mal figure too, but they look a lot stranger on Jayne’s bare arms. The legs feature ball jointed hips, double-hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The torso features a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. This one has a few more stuck joints than Kaylee did. The left thigh swivel won’t budge, nor will the rocker in the left ankle. Guess I’ll be boiling some water after all.

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Jayne comes with three accessories and, surprise! They’re all weapons! First, you get a pistol and a combat knife that he can wear on his belt. Both are very nice pieces and while his left hand is clearly sculpted to hold a gun, I appreciate the fact that it will still hold the knife without it falling out.

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You also get Vera, Jayne’s favorite gun and Funko definitely invested a lot of work into this piece. The sculpt is wonderfully detailed and you get some pretty solid paintwork for an accessory. The stock even has the individually sculpted and painted bullets on it. I can see why Jayne is so fond of Vera, it’s a great little piece.

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While it’s sad to see that Funko is holding on to the use of the clear plastic jointing and Jayne’s elbows are really odd, I’m still going to chalk this pair up as a win for this series. If Mal and Zoe left me a little on the fence, Jayne and Kaylee have elevated the line a little in my eyes. Funko is still making some strange and curious choices in the production of the Legacy Collection, but I’m still overall satisfied with what we’re getting. Indeed, I like Jayne well enough that I may go ahead and pick up the exclusive version with his infamous hat. I’m also still on the lookout for Wash. Are we getting any more of these? Who knows. So far, Funko has dropped the Magic the Gathering Line after just one wave and rumor is Game of Thrones is done too. I’d still very much like to see Reverend Book and the Tams see releases, but I’m not holding my breath.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Blackjack by Hasbro

After taking a couple of weeks off, Transformers Thursday is back in action and today I’m looking at the last and tiniest of the Stunticons, Blackjack. Yeah, I know, at first Off-Road was the last and then Brake-Neck was the last, well now it’s this little guy. Scale has never mattered much to me when it comes to Transformers, but even I have to balk a bit at the silliness of this one tiny car cruising around with the others. Nonetheless, I had to pick him up because I love Decepticon cars, I love the Legends line, and while this Legends Class car isn’t a necessity for rounding out Menasor, I was curious to see what it would bring to the table.

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This isn’t my first time looking at a Combiner Wars Legends figure, so I won’t dwell on the package much. It’s a simple card and bubble affair with the now familiar CW deco, which I will admit is now growing on me. Despite being new, the bubble on mine is clearly attached to the card with cellotape, so I’m not sure what’s going on there. Blackjack comes with a weapon, a character card, a folded instruction sheet, and he’s packaged in his robot mode. Of course, we’re going to start with his alt mode.

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BJ’s auto mode is a sexy little black sports car with a little purple trim, gold painted windows and a crisp little Decepticon logo stamped on the hood. The sculpt is simple, but it still manages to offer some nice contours. Alas, it doesn’t roll very well. Either I can’t get it all locked up right or the undercarriage is dragging.

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What does work well is the way the weapon attaches to the top to give him a roof mounted cannon. Hmm… that looks familiar. Could it be they’re repainting this guy into Rodimus? Oh, wait… they already did.

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Being a Legends Class, there isn’t a whole lot to the transformation, but I’ve got to say I’m quite happy with the robot mode. BJ wears his rear window on his chest, while the rest of the top of the card falls down his back. The way his front wheels wind up pointing backwards on his biceps is both unexpected and pretty cool. You get a little more gold visible in his robot mode, but overall he keeps his black and purple deco, which are always welcome colors for a ‘Con. The head sculpt isn’t terribly detailed, but with a simple visor and mouth plate, it gets the job done.

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One of the things I appreciate most about these Legends figures is the use of ball joints for most of the articulation. In this case, BJ’s got them in his shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees and that makes for a remarkably fun figure for someone so tiny. His head will also rotate.

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The weapon that makes a roof cannon for his auto mode can be wielded as an axe in his robot mode. Pretty simple, but not bad. If I were to stop right there, I’d say Blackjack is a worthy enough pick up if you’re as into tiny Transformers as I am. Something about these little fellas reminds me of being a kid and throwing Bumblebee or Windcharger into my pocket before getting dragged off to go shopping or something by my parents. Boredom just isn’t an issue when you’re a kid, you have an imagination, and you’ve got a tiny transforming robot in your pocket. But, of course, Blackjack has one more trick up his sleeve, and that’s forming a piece of chest armor to fill that awkard hole in Menasor’s chest. How’s this work?

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Sadly, it doesn’t. The idea is that in car mode, Blackjack pegs into those two posts in Menasor’s chest, with the weapon attached to the roof. In theory it looks great and does indeed fill up that chest cavity quite nicely. In practice, he doesn’t fit because the pegs are too thick to peg him on all the way and he just keeps falling off. I had to use a couple of wads of bluetack just to get it to stay on long enough to shoot some pictures. How you can design something to work like this and not even check to see if it will fit is beyond me. It’s also worth mentioning that with Menasor being such a god damned frustrating mess to handle in the first place, the last thing it needed was a chest piece that keeps falling off. By the time I was done shooting just a couple of pictures I wanted to crumple this thing up and throw it against a wall.

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And so, Blackjack is a neat little figure on his own and maybe one day I’ll shave those posts down on Menasor to get him to fig properly because that’s the main reason why I bought him. For a figure that was going for scalper prices on a lot of online retailers, the best thing I can say is I waited until I found him at retail and only paid about $11 for him. I can live with that, but as an additional piece for Menasor all he really does is salt the wound.

 

Masters of the Universe Classics: Peekablue by Mattel

There’s a shitload of figures coming to me from Matty for the month of August (I think it amounts to three figures and a pack of heads), so I guess it’s well past time I finish opening up and looking at July’s figures. Today we’re checking out another one of the Princess of Power ladies. She’s Peekablue, and she may be half peacock, but she’s all woman. Wait, what?

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The packaging tells us that Peekablue is our “Watchful Feathered Friend” and sports the PoP sticker on the package. If I flip the package over and look at the other figures on the back, I can see that I’ve got a clean sweep. All of those are on my shelf. Yes, sadly that includes that terrible Double Mischief figure.

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It seems appropriate to be looking at a figure like this now at a time when a major retailer like Target is sanitizing their toy department and making it “gender neutral” by removing gender specific aisle markers and replacing blue and pink aisle paper with neutral brown. Hey, why not go all the way, Target? Put the Barbies in with the Transformers. Why are you still segregating them by aisles? I’m kidding… a little bit. It just seems like an empty gesture to appease some loud mouths concerned over something that I didn’t even know was an issue. I’m a 43yo male about to review Peekablue. Granted, she’s not sold in stores, but if she was, I wouldn’t care what color the aisle was I bought her from.

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So, Peekablue is a green haired chick with a full spread of peacock feathers on her ass. I got nothing. That’s it, folks. Thanks for reading. …OK, so seriously, as batshit crazy as this sounds, it’s just another day in Etheria or Eternia where hot chicks with animal parts can walk down the street and nobody thinks twice about it. I think what’s most creepy about this arrangement is that the bio points out that all of those patterns on her peacock tail are actual functioning eyes. Forget classifying this as a girl’s toy, the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s actual body horror. What’s that? Yeah, I suppose I should actually talk about the figure…

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Peekablue features a colorful outfit, with a blue top, boots, and arm bracers, a red belt, and yellow skirt. She’s got some peacock motifs sculpted into her top and boots, although at a quick glance they could look just as much like shells, I suppose. The skirt is a nice piece of sculpting and her belt features an eye sculpted in the middle. I wonder if that one is real too!

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The peacock tail plugs into the back and is hinged in two places so it can close up a bit. The sculpting and paintwork on this thing is especially nice. All the little feathers are sculpted in and there’s a shimmery blue and green deco with each of the eyes painted red and yellow. Surprisingly, the figure can still stand pretty well despite the huge peacock backpack.

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The portrait here is solid. It escapes the angular cheeked, flat faced sameness that sometimes characterizes the MOTUC women. She’s pretty, the paint is very clean and her cascade of green hair is wonderfully sculpted.

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Other than the hinges in the peacock tail, articulation is right in line with the rest of the PoP ladies. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, hinges in the ankles and knees, and swivels up at the top of the thighs. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, swivels in the thighs and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. She can swivel at the waist and the head is ball jointed at the neck.

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Peekablue comes with two accessories. You get the usual PoP shield, this time in blue with a yellow crystal. She also comes with what looks like a folding fan, but I imagine is supposed to be some kind of bladed weapon.

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I make it no secret that I love the PoP related figures and Peakablue is no exception. With a nice sculpt and a strikingly colorful paint job. She’s just so delightfully ridiculous and makes a great addition to the crazy members of The Great Rebellion. Not being a collector of the vintage line, I have no idea how many PoP characters are left for Matty to re-create as Classics, but I’m going to be a sad puppy when they’re finally done.

Marvel: Jubilee Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’ve never been a big fan of the Jubilee character. She was annoying as hell in the otherwise enjoyable animated X-Men series from 1992 and I guess that has unfortunately forever stained her character in my eyes. That’s OK, though, because I don’t have to be in love with a character to appreciate when Koto gives them the Bishoujo treatment and in this case I found myself actually excited to get my hands on this statue. After all, if I can find room on my shelf for Kitty Pryde, why not Jubilee?

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As usual, the statue comes in a white window box that features some gorgeous artwork from Shunya Yamashita and some pictures of the statue itself.  The “Coming Soon” teaser on the back is She-Hulk, which is the first comic-related Bishoujo that I’m passing on. There’s’ just something about her face that is off-putting for me. Maybe if she turns up for cheap I’ll give her a try. Anyway, inside the box, the figure is secured between two clear plastic trays and the only assembly required is pegging her into the base and deciding which glasses to put on her head. Not much else to say here, so let’s dig right in.

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Egads, there’s so much to love here, I don’t know where to begin. First off, the pose is great. Jubilee is standing with legs apart, her left hand stretched out to one side and her right hand drawn upward as if ready to unleash a fireworks show. Actually, I get a chuckle because if you put a microphone in her right hand it would look like she was doing an Elvis impersonation. I would have expected something a little more frivolous and playful for this character, but I do like what we got quite a bit. It’s definitely a mugged shot, but you still get a hint of energy.

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The outfit hits all the familiar points of Jubilee’s costume only diminished quite a bit, because skimpy outfits and Bishoujo go so well together. she’s wearing blue and white high top sneakers, a pair of teeny blue shorts with a belt slung low on her hips, a very small and tight tube top and her trademark yellow jacket, which has been cut in half. While there isn’t a whole lot to her outfit, what is here is packed with great detail. The sneakers feature individually sculpted and painted laces, with the top laces undone, and I really like how the legs actually disappear into the sneakers. It adds a lot of credibility and they don’t just look like part of the sculpt. The shorts feature all the wrinkles and stitching and the belt buckle is a well-defined “X” with another “X” pinned to her chest. The belt is actually sculpted in place, but I think it would have been neat if it was just left to hang loose.

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The jacket looks exceptionally good. It’s bright, glossy yellow and I love the way it whips up around her, complete with that stylish 90’s high collar and bunched up sleeves. Jubilee also features a black arm wrap on her left arm and some bangles and a black featureless glove on her right. The paint on her costume doesn’t miss a beat and, as always, the high gloss paint contrasts beautifully with the softer tones of her skin. There’s a constant war on my Bishoujo shelves between the forces of color and darkness Jubilee will definitely help balance out the color among some of the darker decos like Storm, X-23, Black Widow, and the like.

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The portrait here is nothing short of fantastic. It’s almost a shame that because of the angle of her head you need to be at eye level or lower to really appreciate how great Jubilee’s face turned out. The paint on the eyes and lips are perfect and she’s very pretty. The short hair is sculpted in layers and is certainly one of the more complex hair sculpts I’ve seen out of this line. The portrait is rounded out nicely by a pair of earrings and a choker collar with a pink “X” pendant hanging down. Right now, I’d have to say this ranks as one of my favorite Bishoujo portraits to date.

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You get two pairs of sunglasses, one rectangular futuristic style and one regular. Swapping them out is as easy as slipping them on and off of her head. I haven’t quite decided which ones to go with, but since changing them is so easy, I may just do a swap every now and again. The glasses are the only place on the statue where the paint is anything less than perfect. The pink paint is a little uneven on the rims and you do get a couple of flecks of pink on the glass itself, but nothing too bad.

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But minor paint flubs not withstanding, if there’s one place where this statue falters a bit for me it’s the base. Jubilee comes on a simple clear plastic disc base, nothing new there, but in this case it’s been yellowed and has sparkles added. It casts some interesting colors when viewed from some angles, but most of the time it just reminds me of old, yellowed plastic, which is probably the opposite of the look they were going for here. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but I do wish they had gone a different route. I tend to waver on the clear plastic stands, but I would have definitely preferred it to what we got here.

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And so Koto has worked their magic on me again, proving that I don’t even need a strong attachment to the character to appreciate the beautiful design and workmanship they put into these pieces. Jubilee is actually the 25th Bishoujo statue on my shelf, and 26 is already sitting in the corner waiting to be opened. It’s hard for me to think of a line that has been as consistently exceptional as this one.  As for price, it took me a little while to find this statue for under $60 and even then it was only by a few dollars. I fear the days of snagging Bishoujos for under that mark are almost behind us. That’s not to say I don’t still find good value in these pieces, but with Kotobukiya seeming to ramp up production these days, it gets more expensive to keep up. And considering that I’ve suffered the penalty of not keeping up before (crazy after-market prices), the pressure is on to pick these up as soon as they come out if I’m going to keep satiating my Bishoujo fix.

Marvel Legends (Ultron Wave): Giant Man and BAF Ultron by Hasbro

It’s been a long trip since starting this wave with Ant-Man many weeks ago, but now I’m finally up to the final boxed figure and, oh what the hell, we’ll check out the BAF today too just so that I can finally put this wave to bed. The final figure is Giant Man and he also gives us a right leg, the last piece needed to put together the BAF Ultron.

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And look! It’s actually Hank Pym! Yes, while all the packages in this wave have Ant-Man stamped on the top and very ant-y illustrations on the side panels, only a select few (Wasp and Ant-Man) of these figures until now could really be considered Ant-Man related. Unless you want to argue that the three villains have all had run ins with The Avengers, and there’s your rather tenuous connection. And since I don’t think we’ll be seeing a Michael Douglas figure anytime soon, Giant Man here is as close as we’re likely to get to Pym for the time being. I find all this pretty ironic since you could practically build an entire wave of figures just out of Pym’s knack for changing costumes and identities.

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Giant Man is a very simple figure, with his entire costume being achieved via a painted buck.. Normally, that would be fine, I actually really dig this costume, but unfortunately, the craftsmanship just isn’t here. The red plastic that they used for a good portion of this figure feels exceptionally gummy and it doesn’t seem to hold the black paint very well. There’s chipping to the black as well as some transfer from the black onto the red. What’s more, the lower boots are sculpted in black plastic and it bleeds through the red paint, which doesn’t match the rest of the figure well to begin with. You also get a cape hole in the back from whatever character this buck was originally used for. Besides looking a bit off, the figure feels rather cheap in hand, which is rather unusual for the Legends line.

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The real shame here is that as rough as the body is, the head sculpt is quite good. The definition in the face sculpt is fantastic and the paint lines are all crisp and clean. I especially dig the soft plastic antenna. This head really needed a different body to attach to.

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Articulation is standard stuff for this line. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double hinged and there are swivels in the biceps. THe legs are ball jointed at the hips, the knees are double hinged, the ankles have hinges and rockers, and there are swivels in both the thighs and at the tops of the boots. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. While he can take and hold a lot of good poses, the elbow hinges are all rubbery, which is always disappointing.

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I’ve got no problems with Hasbro painting costumes on bucks as opposed to throwing in a lot of new sculpting, but if you’re going to do it, you have to do it right. Giant Man, from the neck down, looks like a barely competant custom job and that’s too bad, because I was really looking forward to this guy, especially to use with my Universe scaled figures. But hey, at least he gave us a leg, so let’s put that sucker in and check out…

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ULTRON! Yes, this is indeed Marvel Cinematic Universe, James Spader Ultron and if you’ve collected this entire wave than you have the head, torso, arms, and legs needed to assemble him. He’s a big guy, easily a head and shoulders above your average Legends figure. It wasn’t until seeing this figure (and the Hot Toys one) that I realized Ultron was so damn big and it certainly justifies his existence as a Build-A-Figure. I’ve only seen Age of Ultron a couple of times and I’m really anxious for it to hit Blu-Ray so I can start scrutinizing it a lot more for details such as this. It’s a busy movie and there’s a lot of stuff to see.

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The sculpt here is pretty good with a lot of detail to the armor. Yeah, in some areas it doesn’t quite live up to all the fine points of the movie design, but for a Legends BAF it gets the job done and it looks really nice on the shelf. I do like that both of his hands are sculpted to look like they’re shooting beams out of his palms.

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I also really dig the head sculpt. What the body lacks in some details, I think the figure makes up for in the portrait, which captures the movie look perfectly. The paint does feel a little flat in some areas. You get a base grey plastic with some silver sprayed over some areas and a little red here and there. A more deliberate deco would have helped a lot, but again, what we got is serviceable and when the light hits it just right the silver paint does look exceptionally nice. I certainly like what they did here a lot better than if they had just sprayed the whole thing silver, or used the crappy looking plastic that they did for the last Legends Ultron.

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The articulation is overall pretty good. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinged elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the top of the thighs, double hinged knees, and hinged ankles with lateral rockers. Ultron can swivel at the waist and has an ab crunch hinge. The neck is ball jointed and hinged. The cut through the waist looks rather awkward when swiveling, but that can’t really be helped.

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The movie version of Ultron is a design that really needs a higher end figure to do it justice, but I think what we got here is pretty damn good. I can’t say as there are any figures in this wave that I would have passed on if it weren’t for needing the BAF part. It was overall a solid assortment, which happily added quite a few villains to my shelves while also expanding my Marvel Cinematic Universe Collection by two. I’d say that Giant Man was the biggest let down here, and it’s possible that a lot of that has to do with the QC on my specific figure. Either way, with this wave down, I’ve still got a lot of figures to pick up to stay current, including The Hobgoblin Wave, which I initially passed on, The Hulkbuster and Rhino Waves, which are just starting to trickle out, and I’m still considering going back and finishing up that Amazing Spider-Man 2 Wave just so I can finish up that Ultimate Green Goblin. Phew! You’re killing me, Hasbro, but don’t stop!