Marvel Universe Infinite: Platinum Hulk by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By figurefanzero

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

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

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“Hey, my eyes are up here!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transformers Generations: Goldfire (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor Who: Daleks (3 3/4” Scale) From “Asylum of the Daleks” and “Day of the Daleks” by Character Options

If you haven’t heard by now, Wave 3 of Character Options’ 3 3/4” Doctor Who figures have officially become a Walgreens Exclusive, which is pretty cool because prior to that deal the figures were not available at any brick-and-mortar stores in the US. On the other hand, I’ve had no troubles getting the figures from my preferred Who online retailer and so I was a little worried how this deal would effect the US distributor (Underground Toys) and their ability to supply to online US retailers. Turns out it didn’t complicate things at all and I was still able to pick up most of the wave online. Today I’m checking out two more Daleks in this series, one from Classic Who and one from Series 7 of NuWho.

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Here they are both in the packages, which have been redesigned for this wave. While the re-branding has received a fair amount of criticism from collectors, I kind of like it. It’s bright, attractive and as quirky and kitchy as the show it’s based on. The Asylum Dalek is pictured on the back as part of the Wave, but the Classic Gold Dalek is something of a mystery because the Classic Dalek in this wave is expressly listed as the “Genesis of the Daleks” even on the back of the figure’s own card. Interesting! Maybe the Classic Dalek is a rotating slot of variants? I just don’t know, but I’m not going to complain about getting an extra variety of evil 70’s pepperpot. Both of these little fellas are repaints of figures that I’ve already reviewed HERE and HERE, so there isn’t a whole lot new to talk about, so I’ll pad things out by discussing the episodes a little bit. Let’s start with the Asylum Dalek…

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“Asylum of the Daleks” aired in 2012, (holy hell, has it been that long already?) and is one of my favorite NuWho Dalek stories. It’s creepy, it gives us some truly scary Daleks, and Matt Smith looked like he was having a blast doing it. It also gave us Jenna Coleman in that red dress and had a mind-blowing twist at the end that I sure as hell didn’t see coming. But perhaps best of all, it gave us all a sense of relief that the Skittles Daleks revealed in “Victory of the Daleks” weren’t going to replace the regular RTD Daleks after all. The Dalek zombies were a cool new idea that seemed like a great amalgamation of the 1960’s Robo Men and the 1980’s Duplicates that the Daleks have used in the past. Sure, some things about the story didn’t make a lot of sense (How is Skaro still around? A Dalek Parliament? Really??) but it was still a cracking good episode as far as I’m concened.

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What we have here is a regular NuWho Dalek repainted to look all warn and neglected. CO used some kind of heavy, greasy paint for the weathering and man, it stinks! I mean that literally. When I opened the package, it smelled like this guy really has been rotting in an asylum for a couple of hundred years! Apart from the initial odor shock, the weathering looks amazing and it even supplies some panel lining, which brings out the sculpt in a way the regular Dalek figures never quite did. You also get a symbol painted on the side of his dome. I don’t remember ever seeing these in the episode, but it looks good and it’s another nice little touch to separate him from the regular Daleks. It would have been nice to see a little more distress here, like maybe a missing ear light or a few missing sensor globes, but, for what is a quick repaint, this one works pretty well. You get the same old articulation, which includes a dome that can turn 360-degrees, an eyestalk that hinges up and down, and two arms that are on ball joints. The undercarriage has three wheels, two fixed and one that rotates 360-degrees.

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“Day of the Daleks” first aired in 1972, which coincidentally is the year I was born! It features a great time travel story about guerrillas from the future coming back in time to assassinate a politician and prevent their rather unpleasant future from ever happening. It’s a Third Doctor story, starring the late great Jon Pertwee, and prominatly features both UNIT and the Daleks, hell it even featured the rarely seen Ogrons… what more could you want? “Day of the Daleks” marked the first return of the Daleks to the show in about five years. Rumor has it that no one on staff knew exactly how to recreate the voices and so the Dalek voices heard in the episode are pretty annoying, out of character, and off-putting.

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The figure is a straight repaint of the “Genesis of the Daleks” release that I looked at just a couple of weeks ago. The body of this one is all metallic gold with black sensor globes and black trim around the skirt. It makes for a pretty attractive looking Dalek, but the paintwork on this one isn’t as good as it could have been. There’s some chipping around the neck rings and a little scuffing on the dome itself. I’ve thought about possibly trying to touch it up with a metallic Sharpie. It also looks like a couple of his rear sensor globes are leaking. But in fairness the Dalek props that were used in the show were often beat to hell, so I kind of think the scuffs add character to the figure. The articulation on this Classic Dalek mold is identical to the NuWho Dalek.

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Both the NuWho and Classic Dalek are easily the best molds that this 3 3/4” line has produced so it’s no surprise that these repaints would be great figures. These fellas set me back about ten bucks each, which feels about right to me considering that they are technically imports. I’m not sure there’s a lot more that CO could do with the NuWho Dalek in terms of repaints, but I’ll be interested to see the Classic figure reappear. I wouldn’t mind getting him in the original grey and powder blue coloring with the mesh slats replaced. In the meantime, I’ve still got two more figures in this wave to check out, so next time we’ll check out the 3 3/4” versions of Amy Pond and The 10th Doctor.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Entrapta by Mattel

Once again, I find myself hurrying to get last month’s Matty figures reviewed before the new ones arrive. I just got the ship notice for October’s figures so it’s long past time I wrapped up September’s offerings. I already looked at Club Eternia’s Rio Blast and today I’m going to check out Club Etheria’ Entrapta! My knowledge about the ladies of The Great Rebellion can be hit or miss, but in this case I knew absolutely nothing about Entrapta. I didn’t even know she was a character, so apart from what little I’ve read about the figure, I’m going into this one totally in the dark.

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Hey, hey! It’s the MOTUC packaging! Wow, Entrapta is a member of The Horde? I honestly thought she was a good gal. Interesting. Most of the villains in the Masters Universe tend to advertise the fact by either being grotesque monsters or dressing like they’re evil. Sure, Scorpia is hawt, but she’s still got claws and a stinger tail. Scorpions are evil, everybody knows that! But based solely on Entrapta’s looks, I would have definitely pinned her for a goody. Anyway, her tag line on the package, “Tricky Golden Beauty” sounds like a service you might covertly order at one of those less reputable massage parlors. It also doesn’t suggest she’s a villain, nor does it really advertise her gimmick, which is the ability to grab people with her hair. The bio says she has the longest hair in the land, but she might want to get out a yardstick and double check that with Double Mischief, because that figure had some damn long hair.

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Here she is out of the package and… Oh… OK. I see it now. She’s got a very understated Horde skull dead center on her bosom. Apart from that, the purple and pink color of her outfit, mixed with all that gold, and I’d be sure this chick would be kicking up her high heeled boots at a tea party and hob-nobbing with the chicks from The Rebellion. In case you can’t tell, I’m really fixating on Entrapta’s allegiance. I’m over it now, though. I’ll try not to bring it up again.

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So straightaway I absolutely love this figure. The pink paint is really vibrant and it goes well with the purple. It’s also cool that they used matte paint for the skirt, but a snazzy metallic purple for her top. And the gold… oh, the gold! Hasbro used a nice and vibrant shade of metallic gold paint for her boots, gloves, tiara and her collar and it really makes this figure pop like crazy on the shelf. I also love those boots. They look like something out of a 70’s sci-fi exploitation flick. Hey, Barbarella, come get your boots… Entrapta has them! Seriously, though, this is one bitchin deco!

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The portrait here is attractive and now that I look at it, I suppose she does have a tiny hint of an “I’m angry and evil” expression on her mug. I’m pretty sure I mentioned last time about how the female faces in this line are starting to blur together for me. I think it’s something about the structure of the cheeks and a bit of flatness to the face. It doesn’t look bad at all, but there’s just a sense of sameness in the females that has been more or less there since the early days of Teela and Adora. There’s a tiny bit of mold flashing around the jawline of my figure, but the paint on the face is sharp and clean. The lips and teeth look particularly good and I like the slightly cocked eyebrow.

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Of course, I’ve already mentioned that Entrapta’s pride and joy is her “ultra long” pink hair. Obviously bubble gum is her kryptonite. Just stick a wad in her hair and it’ll take her forever to find it, let alone get it out. I was a bit apprehensive about the whole hair thing considering how terrible Double Mischief’s hair turned out, but Entrapta’s coif is much better executed. The saving grace here is that it isn’t one giant elephant trunk of hair hanging down the back, but rather two rather unwieldy pigtails that have gotten totally out of control. Each cluster of hair is hinged at the head with a rotating hinge joint and surprisingly enough, you can actually pose the hair up and out and it’ll stay there… at least for a little while. She even has some swivels toward the ends of the hair too! My figure does have a bit of a bobble head, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re sporting your own weight in hair on the back of your head.

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Entrapta comes with two accessories. First off, you get her staff, which continues her whole bling thing. Yes, it is indeed painted in gold and it has a vague Ankh-like configuration which I dig a lot. It’s pretty utilitarian, but who says every magic staff has to have gargoyles and shit carved all over it, eh? Secondly, you get her shield, which is the same old shield we’ve seen the PoP figures come with since the beginning. This one is painted purple and has a purple crystal in it. Yeah, a little variety would be nice, but I honestly like this shield design so I’m cool with it. It also matches her deco nicely, and if there’s one thing the chicks of Etheria know how to do, it’s accessorize! Can’t you just picture Entrapta getting ready to go out and terrorize a village and ask Catra, “Does this shield go with these boots?”

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Do I really need to keep running down the articulation on these figures? I do? Alrighty then. Entrapta’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels way up in the hips. She can swivel at the waist and has a ball joint in the neck. All in all pretty standard stuff, plus the two hinges and two swivels in the hair.

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Before wrapping up, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the little running QC problem that a lot of the Entrapta figures seem to be suffering… the dreaded crushed left hand! It is indeed smushed on my figure as well and I could see it the moment I took the package out of the mailer. In the end, it’s a slight cosmetic blemish, as the hand is soft enough that it can still hold accessories. In fact, if you put her staff in her smushed hand, it looks fine. Sure, any QC problems on a $30 collector figure are unacceptable, but in this case it isn’t enough to ruin the figure for me. I just write it off to an injury caused by a horrible hair combing accident.

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For me, the Princess of Power figures have been outshining the regular Masters figures lately and Entrapta here is another example of why. She’s easily one of the most visually interesting and appealing Etherian ladies to land in my collection. The coloring is great and while the hair could have been a disaster, like it was with Double Mischief, they managed to do it quite well here. The fact that she’s a Horde member was quite a surprise for me, but she does indeed look great when displayed with Hordak and her fellow evil doers. This month’s Club Etheria figure should be Sweet Bee and I’m pretty damn excited to be getting her next!

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack

It’s one of the most devious marketing concoctions that I’ve ever seen: The combining of two of the three things I spend most of my money on… collectible figures and video games. Of course, Skylanders did it first and while I admired the concept, I was able to keep otherwise disinterested. Then Disney got into it with Infinity 1.0, and while I was surely tempted by getting a set of The Incredibles and playing their adventures, it wasn’t enough to get me to buy the whole setup. But that third thing I mentioned spending money on? Comic books. And with Marvel now brought into the fold of Disney’s figure based gaming system, Infinity 2.0, I could no longer sit by on the sidelines. In fact, I barely lasted longer than a couple of weeks from the launch.

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Obviously, video games aren’t something that I review here, but I’m making an exception because these are also figures based on one of my favorite properties. I’ll give some impressions of the game at the end, but for the uninitiated let me at least try to explain what this whole Infinity 2.0 thing is all about. The Starter Kit comes with the game disc, the portal, the three figures (Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow), the Avengers Play Set piece, and two Power Discs. The portal is the interface you use to unlock the content tied to the pieces and it lights up when you put the pieces into place. There’s one hexagonal space and two circular. The hex space is for either the Play Set piece, which is basically the main game you’re going to play, or Power Discs that are tied to the Toy Box, which is sandbox type area where you can play other games or make your own with a comprehensive editor. It’s kind of like a cross between Animal Crossing and Minecraft with mini-games and the ability to create and script your own mini-games. Everything you do in the Play Set game unlocks stuff or gives you currency that you can use in the Toy Box. Sound complicated? It really is until you’ve spent some time sussing it out.

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Right now there are three Play Sets available: This Avengers (included with the Starter Set), Ultimate Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. The later two each come with two figures. Individual figures are also sold and each one is tied to a specific Play Set. The game limits what figures you can use with which Play Sets although with Crossover Coins you can make a couple exceptions. For example in The Avengers Play Set, there are 10 coins for Rocket Raccoon and 10 for Nova and if you collect them all you can import those figures into The Avengers Play Set, but that’s the limitation of the crossover. On the other hand, any 2.0 figures, and 1.0 figures, for that matter can be used in Toy Box. So, if you have a Marvel related Toy Box game, you can still buy yourself an Elsa from Frozen or a Lightning McQueen from Cars and use them in it. The figures are actually just stylized statues, roughly four inches tall, but they are much better quality then I was expecting. I heard some early reports about really bad paint, but I went with the first set I picked off the shelf and they are absolutely fine in hand. The same goes for the one individual figure I bought. Let’s take a look at the three…

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Iron Man is pretty cool, but he’s definitely my least favorite figure of the three. I don’t think the style works for him quite as well as the others and the coloring on him seems a little dull. Still, there’s some good detail on him and it’s a classic pose. Just because he comes up bottom of this batch doesn’t mean that I don’t still dig him a lot. The base portrays a broken piece of concrete with the interace disc on the bottom so he can sit on the portal.

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Of the three characters, I’ve spent the most time playing as Iron Man in the game, and he is tons of fun. He flies, hovers, and has some vicious combos that change it up between melee and close range. The animations for his attacks are really fluid and look great. I love the way he’ll punch one guy, blast another with his repulsor and smack another one without missing a beat. Once I got him leveled up and followed a very offensive path on his skill tree, he was a veritable killing machine.  Also, his special move, an area-clearing missile barrage, is so damn satisfying and hasn’t gotten old yet.

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Thor is a particularly nice piece quite chunky too. I really dig his pose a lot, as he stands drawing Mjolnir back a little and has his cape swishing all about him. He has the same shattered concrete style base, but it’s angled upward a bit to help the composition of his heroic pose. The paint on this figure is the weakest of the three, but that’s only because there are a few black smudges on his cape, otherwise it’s still pretty good.

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Of the three characters, I’ve played as Thor the least, but I’m going to remedy that this weekend by starting a new game and spending some quality time with this Asgardian. I’ve got nothing against Thor, it’s just that I happened to start with Iron Man and Black Widow and they just happened to monopolize my time. Like, Iron Man, Thor can fly and his ranged attack, while slower because he has to wait for Mjolnir to return to him, is still pretty powerful. He also has some pretty lightning attacks and some great quips.

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Black Widow may be my favorite figure of the bunch, partly because I love her kinetic pose and partly because I think she just looks adorable as a Disney-fied character. Hey, Black Widow is a Disney Princess now! She’s got her iconic stinger bracelets and even a gun holstered on her hip. Yes, folks, this is a Disney statue packing an automatic pistol! The paintwork on this one is really exceptional too. Yeah, she’s mostly black, but it’s impressive how they were able to get to those hard to reach bits, like the hourglass emblem on her belt buckle.

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As a playable character, she’s easily the most limited since she can’t fly, but I find that makes her interesting in her own right. She needs to rely on summoning motorcycles to get around fast and can utilize strategically placed trampoline pads to get to the tops of buildings. Of course, you could just wait until you’ve unlocked one of SHIELD’s flying motorcycles to help her get around too. Her combat is fast and fun, although you actually have to unlock her ability to dual wield pistols. Special moves include a cloaking skill, called “The Widow’s Veil,” and her “Widow Sting,” which unleashes a satisfying chained electrical attack!

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I haven’t messed around with Toy Box yet, but I’ve played through The Avengers game once and have started a new one with different characters. The gameplay is very reminiscent of a LEGO game, and that isn’t a bad thing. You basically roam an open city and take on missions, nearly all of which are just excuses to make you fight lots and lots of Frost Giants. The story progresses a bit with some boss encounters and as you fight your character levels up and you can spent points on unlocking new skills or improving existing ones. You also collect currency to spend on stuff in the Toy Box. The main game is not very deep, it’s a tad buggy, and the occasional herky-jerky frame rate is inexcusable for how simple the graphic style is, but man is it fun. Each character is distinct enough to make it worth playing through separately, although you can swap out figures to change characters at any time. While most of the time death isn’t really punished, there are some fights where if you die you’ll have to swap out your dead figure for another one. I really dig that.

At $75, I don’t think the price here is unreasonable, considering a lot of new games are starting at $59.99 and this one comes with the figures and the USB portal. On the other hand, if you’re already an adopter of Infinity 1.0, I imagine it would be irksome to have to pony up for another Starter Kit. Consolation may come in the fact that Disney made some vast improvments to the Toy Box and in the end, that’s probably where most of the time will be spent long after the three Play Sets have been beaten to death. I really dig the figures as collectibles, and I can see myself going all out with buying them. At about $15 each they aren’t such a great value solely as collectibles, but when you add in the unlockable content I think it more or less costs out. I didn’t really get into the Power Discs at all, but I’ll save that for next weekend when I check out another one of the figures.

Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse: Cryska Barchenowa Pilot Suit Statue by Kotobukiya

Last month I took a look at the first of Kotobukya’s 1:7 scale statues based on the lovely lady mech pilots of Muv Luv Alternative Total Eclipse. I meant to get back to these sooner, but my receivings pile runneth over and I’ve had tons of new stuff to look at. Let’s remedy that today by checking out my second acquisition in this line, Cryska Barchenowa, the elder of the infamous Scarlet Twins!

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Cryska comes in the same style window box that we saw last time with Yui. The deco is more pink than yellow and the box is landscape orientated to reflect the horizontal composition of the statue. There’s no character artwork from the series, instead the deco relies solely on photos of the statue. I suppose that’s appropriate, since the windows are rather small and so you don’t really get a good look at the entire piece until you open up the box and get her out. While the box is bi-lingual up to a point, it isn’t as Western friendly as Koto’s Bishoujo and ArtFX packages The statue comes nestled between two clear plastic trays with some minor set up required. All you need to do is put the gun in her hand and lay the figure on the base. As usual, the box is totally collector friendly.

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The composition on this piece is an interesting choice. Cryska is reclining on the ground with one hand propping her up and the other holding her sidearm. I like it a lot, but one could argue it doesn’t necessarily suit Cryska’s cold and strong-willed personality. On the other hand, the addition of the gun helps bring it back home and gives me the vibe that this is her posing for the TSF Pilots Calendar. Hey, in the series, the pilots all went out to a tropical island for a photo shoot, why not do one in their suits as well? Either way, it’s certainly a fine display of cheesecake, although not nearly as gratuitous as Koto’s last treatment of Cryska clad only in a red bikini and stockings.

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As with Yui, Cryska is tightly encased in her pilot suit, which is a tantalizing mix of skin tight rubber and somewhat bulkier armored parts. In this case, however, I think Cryska’s sensuous curves far outshine the downplayed angular bits that make up her boots, gloves, and shoulder armor. Plus, Cryska’s two greatest assets are pretty much staring the beholder right in the face. Best not to linger, she is an Esper after all and she knows what you’re thinking. Still, the contrast works beautifully and I like to think that the design reflects the synergy of pilot and machine that is stressed so much in the anime.

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The portrait here is quite nice, with Cryska’s face beautifully framed between the chin guard of her suit and her tussled purplish hair. Yes, I really love how they did the coloring on her hair. Her large eyes are beautifully painted as well.

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Speaking of which, the paintwork on this statue is gorgeous. The base color of the plug suit is a very pale purple with a brilliant glossy sheen. Next up you have a matte purple for the legs and armor bits and trim. The arms feature both matte black and navy blue, and there are some mint green points located around her armor. I also can’t help but love those suggestive tattoo-like markings down near her nethers. The geometric patterns on her back and butt are quite nice too.

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Cryska’s base simulates ruined concrete and perfectly matches the style of the one used for Yui. This one isn’t as elaborate as it just has one small piece of wall jutting up. Also, unlike Yui’s base, this one has no pegs to attach the figure to. She just lies right on top of it. You do still get some pieces of rubble to place around the base if you so desire. I’ve opted to leave these out for the time being.

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Cryska retails for about $80, which granted is considerably more than Koto’s Bishoujo offerings, but I still think it’s well worth it for the quality and craftsmanship that you’re getting. Since buying these statues, I’ve been having a blast re-watching this series on Cruncyroll, albeit with my busy schedule, now I’m reduced to just a couple of episodes a week so it’ll take me a while to finish it again, but I’m enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first go round. Cryska is a great character and her mysterious nature was a big part of what kept me coming back for more during my initial viewing. Koto produced a beautiful statue here, which makes a fine stand-alone piece, but really begs to be displayed with the other ladies. Speaking of which, next week I’ll circle back and check out the other half of the infamous Scarlet Twins, Inia.

 

Transformers: Masterpiece Wheeljack (MP-20) by Takara

It’s always a treat when I can grace Transformers Thursday with a Masterpiece Transformer and I hope to be doing it at least two more times before the end of the year! This time, however, we’re gathered around to look at everybody’s favorite eccentric scientist, Wheeljack. I loved Wheeljack in the Sunbow cartoon. He was clearly out of his mind, but that didn’t stop the Autobots from letting him have his run of their lab equipment. Let’s just say that if you were a captured Decepticon, you probably didn’t want to wake up strapped down to a table in his laboratory and hear Wheeljack utter the phrase, “I have this theory about making a Cybertronian Centipede!” It’s hard to believe that this release marks the 20th release already, but then I pretty much consider the line rebooted with MP-10, so it’s perhaps not as prolific as it seems. Nonetheless, as amazing as the Datsuns were, it’s pretty damn cool to be getting a brand new mold, especially one that doesn’t lend itself to so many different characters.

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If you’ve been collecting the current MP line then you should know what to expect from the packaging. Wheeljack comes in a compact and enclosed box with a deco that matches the other Autobot releases. Inside, the figure comes in his alt mode in a clear plastic tray with his accessories (gun, missile launcher, and missile) laid out above him. You also get an instruction booklet, a profile card, and a baggie containing the mirrors.

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I’ll be honest, my classic car knowledge doesn’t extend beyond American Muscle Cars and my weird fixation with Jaguars, so Wheeljack here is the only reason I know the name Lancia. Still, it was a drop dead sexy car back then and it still is today. Next to maybe the Lambor Brothers, Wheeljack was always my favorite alt mode among the Class of 84 Autobots. As one might expect, this Masterpiece version is a gorgeous recreation. Everything packs together tight and solid and one detail I love is the side view mirrors that come separate. You just twist them off the sprue and plug them in and you even get a second pair in case you lose or damage the first. Nice!

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Even though the paint on my MP figures have been pretty good, I still haven’t shaken my anxiety over Takara’s QC after the horror show that was my first MP Sideswipe. I was terrified to see how the paint on this one was going to turn out. In the end I had nothing to worry about because the paintwork here is just about flawless. There are maybe one or two small areas where the lines could be a little sharper, but to find them I really had to scrutinize this guy closely. Takara defintiely seems to have gotten their act together to the point where I doubt I’ll be worried about it again. The white plastic used for the base color feels nice and looks good. The white paint used in some areas is a good match. I’ve got zero complaints about this alt mode… it’s damn near perfect!

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When I looked at the promo shots of Wheeljack, I thought I had his transformation all figured out, but there are still some pleasant surprises to be had. It’s definitely based on the engineering of the original toy, particularly the way you pull out the front of the car and unfold the arms from the back. Still, there’s a lot of cool new stuff happening here to help along with the better proportions and articulation. He actually stumped me a few times on my first go through and getting him back into car mode the first couple of times took me a little time and patience. Thankfully, there’s no scary moves and once I saw what was happening, particuarly with the torso, I found it to be quite clever and intuitive.

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And there’s Wheeljack in all his robot mode glory. Straightaway the most impressive thing about this guy for me is how clean his profile turned out. Everything packs away so neatly into his humanoid form leaving absolutely no car kibble, unless you want to count the tiny mirrors on his legs, but I don’t. Even his back only shows off the top back of the car neatly folded into his back, the two halves of his spoilers on the backs of his forearms, and the doors folded into the backs of his lower legs. It’s sheer poetry. In fact, if I were to level one complaint about this guy, and it’s such a tiny one, it would be that he packs away almost too well leaving him looking rather thin from the side. Wheeljack’s “wings” are integral to his transformation. They just unfold and angle into position. His missile launcher, on the other hand, is separate and just needs to be plugged into his shoulder and you can apply it on either side.

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The deco is pretty much the same as what we saw in his auto mode with all his glorious racing colors still present on his chest and lower legs. The biggest change here is all the black showing up in his hips, thighs, and forearms. I particularly love how the lettering from his car mode winds up across each of his feet. The whole thing is topped off with a neatly printed Autobot emblem right on his chest.

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The portrait is excellent, with his silver bands running across the lower half of his face and his narrow blue eyes. I’m on the fence over whether or not his “ears” would have looked better in transparent blue plastic. They look fine as they are, but going the other route may have added a little more something. Nevertheless, it’s a great headsculpt supported with an excellent paint job.

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Wheeljack’s articulation hits all the right points. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and his four fingers are hinged as one piece. The legs have universal movement in the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and feature some very generous lateral rockers to keep Wheeljack’s big feet planted firmly on the ground no matter how wide his stance. Lastly, you get a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck.

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In addition to Wheeljack’s missile launcher you also get his little pistol. I really like the sculpt on this little guy as it feels like the kind of last resort weapon that a scientist might carry. It has tabs that plug into the groove in either of his hands and he holds it very well.

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Besides being just an all around excellent figure, I think what surprises me the most about MP-20 is all the work that Takara put into what is essentially a one-shot deal. Lambor was a quick turn around as Red Alert (not to mention Tiger Tracks and the G2 version) and the Datsun mold easily filled three slots with an additional repaint as Bluestreak. Wheeljack? Well, he’s just Wheeljack. Yeah, they’re repainting him, giving him a new head, and calling him Exhaust, but I have to imagine that release is going to have limited appeal. I certainly have no interest in it. And so it gives me added hope that no figure is truly off the table, even if they aren’t a mold that can be milked over and over again.

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With Takara’s release schedule it’s tough to know which MP figure I’ll be checking out next. I do still have the second production run of Red Alert still on pre-order along with another run of Optimus Prime himself. After that, we’re looking at Bumblebee and the big guy, Ultra Magnus. It’s quite a fun (and expensive!) time to be a Transformers collector. Of course it helps that I saved some money by abstaining from the Age of Extinction line.