Marvel Legends (Lizard Wave): Gwenpool by Hasbro

Writing about new Marvel characters is often tough for me, as it more often than not turns into a mean-spirited rant about how much I hate the comics that Marvel is publishing these days. Fortunately, Gwenpool has been a sort of the exception to the rule. Yes, she’s technically part of the trend that has put me off Marvel’s comics these days, but she actually happens to be a pretty fun character. And while I’ve only read a few issues of The Unbelievable Gwenpool here and there, the ones I did read tended to be pretty good books. I’m pretty sure I remember hearing that her book got cancelled recently, which is a shame because if nothing else, it was better than half the other books Marvel is turning out these days. But even if that is the case, I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Gwenpool.

And here we have Gwen in her box and looking pretty spiffy against her hot pink themed background and with her snazzy logo down below. She’s obviously a product of the wild, breakout success of Spider-Gwen coupled with the cult of rabid Deadpool fans. But what really sells Gwen as a fun character is her self-awareness at being in a comic book, and her perceived lack of consequences that comes with that knowledge. She’s more than a lazy copycat character and more than a “What if” fugitive from another Earth. Everything about this character is on the nose, and I think that’s what makes her work for me so well. I’d complain that they didn’t shove a little PVC Howard the Duck into the box, but there’s already plenty of stuff in there, so I’ll hold my tongue and get started with this review!

Rather than just slap a pink version of Wade’s costume, Gwenpool’s creators gave her more of a stand out look and Hasbro did a nice job bringing it to action figure form. The costume represents a decent mix of painted details with some new sculpting. Most of her long sleeved one-piece is achieved through some sharp and vibrant white and pink paint, and the white even has a cool pearlescent sheen to it in some areas. She does have newly sculpted arm bracers, as well as sneakers and shin guards over her socks. The legs are bare with an even flesh tone painted on.

Her brown belt is a separate piece and includes her trademark pink “G” belt buckle. The belt features plenty of sculpted pouches, and even a place for her to keep her cell phone. The cherry on top of this outrageous outfit is her big fat cuddly penguin backpack, which includes slots for her to keep her katanas. Everything about Gwen’s costume is beautifully done here. Hasbro obviously poured a lot of love into this gal, and it shows! The articulation is pretty standard for your average Marvel Legends lady. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest and the neck features both a hinge and a ball joint. My usual gripe about the lack of bicep swivels stands, but I can still get a lot of nice poses out of her.

Gwenpool features two different heads. One is a regular smiling head, the other has her sticking out her tongue as if she’s licking her lips. It’s a nice extra, but to be honest, I would have much rather they included an unmasked head. I wound up having to go to Diamond Select for that look, but that’s a review for another day. Besides, I get it, this head didn’t require an entirely new sculpt and it does add plenty of personality to the figure. Both heads feature more of that pretty pink and white paint and the exposed portion of her face is nicely sculpted with some sharp paint.

Along with the extra noggin, Gwenpool comes with three sets of hands, and two of these pairs are very specific. In addition to the katana holding hands, she has a pair so she can make a heart shape with her fingers. The third pair consists of her left hand holding up a two-finger peace symbol, and one to hold her cellphone. The cell phone is a simple black slab of plastic. I’m tempted to say they should have just sculpted it as part of the hand, but then you couldn’t keep it in the nifty spot they provided on her belt. The extra hands are fun and they certainly suit the character, but don’t even get me started on Marvel and their annoying habit of having all their goddamn characters snapping selfie’s all the time. It’s almost as trite as the recap pages using Tweets or social media posts in books like Squirrel-Girl, or using a Youtube show as the basis for an ongoing plot in She-Hulk.

In addition to the cellphone, Gwen comes with her twin katana swords and these are excellent sculpts. While her right hand seems like it’s sculpted more to hold a pistol than it is a sword, she can still hold the pair of them pretty well, and she’s tons of fun to pose with them.

I’m not looking to get a lot of new Marvel characters on my shelf, but I’ll confess that I was quite happy to see Gwenpool turn up on the Marvel Legends roster. And now that I have her in hand, I have to say that she doesn’t disappoint. Everything about this figure feels really fresh and fun. The newly sculpted parts look great and the paint is sharp, clean, and fits the bill perfectly, so long as you don’t mind your anti-heroes looking like an ice cream truck, I think Gwenpool is going to be a welcome addition to a lot of collections out there! And just a quick reminder, this week starts my randomization of Marvel Legends reviews, so don’t expect another figure from the Lizard Wave next week. It could happen, I’m just not saying it’s going to happen! It’s probably not going to happen.

DP: “That’s not even how you hold that. You’re never going to hit anything unless you…”

** POP! **

DP: “OOOooooOOowwww! Right in daddy’s Chalupas!

DP: <groan.”You better make a run for the border, because when I get feeling back in my Chimichangas…”

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Vitruvian HACKS (Series 2): Male Orc Conqueror by Boss Fight Studio

While I may be almost caught up on Mythic Legions, I’m still swimming in Vitruvian HACKS figures, both from Series 1 and 2, that are waiting to be opened and reviewed, so I thought I’d end the week dipping back into the fantasy-inspired Series 2 with the last figure I have to review from the first wave. Let’s check out the Male Orc Conqueror!

As always, the regular HACKS releases feature a colorful portrait-orientated card with a plastic bubble and overlay that hugs the sides and allows for the best of both worlds: A traditional carded look, while still being totally collector friendly. BFS hasn’t messed with this presentation since Series 1 and I hope they never do! And just look inside that bubble! This guy comes packed with a ton of stuff, making him feel more like one of the Ultimate Exclusives from Series 1, than a regular release. If you read my review on the Knight of Accord, you’ll have a good idea about what to expect here, as this fellow is basically the Orcs answer to that figure, with the same types of extras. I’ll note that the word “Male” doesn’t actually appear on the card, but BFS has used it in their catalog listing to distinguish it from the Female Orc that followed.

Here’s Mr. Orc out of the package and stripped down to his bare essentials. Unlike the Series 1 figures, which featured separately sculpted outfits, the bulk of the Orc’s outfit is sculpted as part of the buck. This includes the chest and back plate, which has a cool hammered metal finish, sculpted olive green trousers, and the basic boots. Articulation, however, remains unchanged from the Series 1 figures, and while I would really like BFS to add swivels in the thighs, what we get here is still plenty good.

Additional separate pieces provide his wide belt with sculpted fur and the large medallion belt buckle, the wrist wraps, and the furry fringe at the tops of his boots. There are also two spiked plates that tab into the slots on the sides of his legs. The chest harness is also a separate piece. All the detail here is quite exquisite for a figure in this scale, right down to the tiny sculpted buckles meant to hold on his thigh straps. And while the colors on the outfit tend to be drab, the green skin adds some flash to the overall deco and the steel paint for the armor looks quite nice.

There’s also a pair of spiked shoulders that can be pegged into place and a fur half-cape that an go with them. The shoulders stay on securely, and be careful about those spikes, because they are sharp!

You get two head sculpts to choose from, which is very welcome, because rather than representing a single character, this figure is meant to be customized in different ways to build your Orc army. The stock head features a full beard, as well as great little details like the nose ring and the protruding lower teeth. The alternate head is clean shaven and without the nose ring. Both feature some very sharp details, particularly in the pointed ears. The paint is overall pretty sharp and clean, although my bearded had has a slightly wonky eye. It’s nothing too bad, but if you happen to be picking up this figure at a convention, you might want to check out the eyes before buying.

In addition to having two heads to build off of, you also have a number of helmet combinations to work with. First off, you get an open-faced helmet with knobs on the sides to attach one of the two face-plates, and also works quite well as a helmet all on its own. This system works the same as it did for the Knight of Accord, which is to say it doesn’t work all that well. The masks have holes that are supposed to peg through the knobs on the mask, but the ends of the knobs are too big for the holes. Also, the holes on the mask are located near the edges and I’m afraid if I force them, I’ll tear the edge of the mask. As a result, these will hold onto the helmet fairly well in an opened or closed position, but they won’t hinge up and down as intended.

Both of the masks are beautifully sculpted and look very Klingon to me with those stylized forehead ridges. Indeed, they look so damn Klingon, I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the intention. Both of the masks have a skull vibe going on, designed to strike fear in the hearts of all who cross blades with them. One features a fully sculpted beard.

The other piece of headgear is a full helmet with some rather sinister looking wings and cheek-plates. This piece is sculpted with the same hammered finish seen on the chest armor, and a mohawk of nasty and crude looking spikes. I like the design of this helmet a lot, but I also think it would fit more on an evil knight than it does on an Orc. If I do wind up troop building some of these guys, I’ll definitely reserve this helmet for the leader. And speaking of troop building, between all these different helmets and the two heads, you could probably buy a half-dozen of these Orcs and have no two look alike, and we haven’t even come to the weapons yet. So let’s talk weapons!

The Orc comes with a sword and shield, and each of these are wonderfully crude weapons certainly befitting of a savage Orc. The sword looks like someone took a farming implement, gave it a couple of wacks with a blacksmithing hammer to shape it into a something a little more befitting of butchering manflesh and handed it out to the next Orc in line. It’s jagged and primitive edges give it the no no nonsense look of a cleaver for the rank-and-file soldier and that’s pretty much perfect for this guy. The blade’s finish has a nice metal sheen to it and the grip features a sculpted wrap that looks like it’s meant to be animal hide.

The shield is without a doubt the showpiece of this figure’s accessories, as it is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s a circular type with sculpted wooden planks, which have seen better days. They’re riddled with slash marks and have whole pieces taken out of them from the rigors of battle. The edge and center are sculpted to look like hammered metal, and they too have some pretty major wear from use. The attention to detail is every bit as strong on the inside as on the outside, where you get reinforcing metal strips bolted across. The shield is held using a simple grab bar, which has a beautiful woodgrain finish painted onto it, and there are also some loops, which could be used with a string so the Orc could wear the shield on his back.

If swords aren’t your thing, the Orc Conqueror also comes with this nifty battle hammer, which looks like a cross-section of a tree with metal spiked caps on the ends and a pole stuck into it. It’s crude, it’s vicious looking, and the detail is off the charts. The bark on the tree-section is beautifully sculpted and painted and the hammered-spiked caps feature sculpted rivets. The handle has a sculpted wrapped grip, and there’s another spike at the end of the shaft. This thing is the perfect Orc weapon, it looks devastating, and I only wish the shaft were a little longer so he could better wield it using both hands.

Finally, the figure comes with the usual black Boss Fight Studio stand. These are always a nice bonus, but the figure stands fine on his own, so it’s not necessary, unless you’re setting up all your figures for display and don’t want to risk them toppling into an avalanche.

The Conquering Orc makes for another great addition to the Vitruvian HACKS Fantasy Series. There’s no denying that the folks at BFS put a lot of love into this guy, from his head sculpt to his outfit and weapons. The attention to detail is superb and the options for display are many. I could easily pick up four or five of this figure and outfit them as a squad of unique looking Orc soldiers. But of all the things to love here, I think my favorite is the fact that this figure looks like someone took one of my beloved old AD&D miniatures and gave him articulation and removable accessories. I have to imagine that’s exactly the feeling they were going for, and it’s exactly the sort of thing which will keep me coming back to collect all this line has to offer.

Mythic Legions (The Coliseum): Rahmulus by The Four Horsemen

Ah, there’s nothing like opening up a new Mythic Legions figure to give me a little boost of happiness in the middle of the week. As I mentioned last time, I only picked up two regular figures from The Coliseum assortment, and I checked out the first of those, Raygorr, last week. Today I’m opening up Rahmulus. I picked this guy up, mainly because he uses some of my favorite parts from other figures, and I also really dig the gritty deco. Let’s take a look…

I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging and to be honest the bio here is a little on the dull side. Apparently, Rahmulus fought in the Coliseum beside his twin brother, until his sibling disappeared. Now Rahmulus plots to escape the Coliseum and find his lost brother. The bios in this line have always been hit or miss for me, and this one is definitely a miss. Based on the backstory, I’m guessing the name Rahmulus is a play on Romulus as in Romulus and Reemus from ancient Roman mythology, so that’s kind of cool. Hey, they can’t all be gems. Besides, I don’t need backstory to enjoy the figure.

And Rahmulus is indeed a beauty, there are a lot of easily recognized parts on this guy. The legs feature standard knight armor from the knees down and bare legs above the knees. The chest and back plate go all the way back to Gorgo Aetherblade, and was also used on the gladiators, Vitus and Pixxus. Instead of the ornamental gladiator belt worn by those champions, Rahmulus features the segmented leather scale armor skirt worn by some of the knights. His hands feature knight gauntlets, but the right arm is fully armored, whereas the left arm is left bare. Rahmulus features only one piece of shoulder armor, on the right, and he has a brown sword belt worn over his shoulder that allows his sword to be worn across his back.

The coloring here is comprised mostly of brown and black, with some cool flurries of other colors to keep things interesting. The leg armor has high gloss black and gold up near the knees and the boots gradually get brown and muddy as they go down to the toes. The skirt also features a gradient shift from black at the top to brown at the groin armor. All of the rivets are neatly painted in gold. The left gauntlet is glossy black with red and gold accents, while the right sleeve of armor is gold with red accents and gray chain-mail exposed in the joints. The torso armor is glossy black with red and gold striping, and the shoulder is brown with red and silver accents. I really like the way the glossy black paint on the armor is laid on like a thick lacquer and the tanned skin tone is nice and even throughout.

The Greek-style helmet is the same one we saw on Pixxus and Vitus, and it was probably this head more than anything else that instantly sold me on the figure. Besides just adoring this sculpt, I think it looks fantastic in the glossy black paint with the gold borders and scroll-work. The bright crimson comb on the top looks quite brilliant as well. For some reason, I thought I remembered an un-helmeted head coming with this guy, but that’s not the case. I was probably mixing him up with one of the others in the assortment.

You may remember that I felt Raygorr came up a little short in the accessories, but Rahmulus feels like he made out a little bit better. Both figures came with a sword and a sheild, but beyond that Raygorr only came with a dagger, but Rahmulus comes with a spear. I suppose you could argue that Raygorr came with an extra sword belt and two shoulders as opposed to Rahmulus’ one of each, but now we’re really starting to split hairs. The sword is actually the same one that came with Raygorr, only this time with the hilt painted entirely in black.

The shield is a real treat, because it’s not the usual heater-type shield with the groves in the side. Nope, this is the same circular shield that came with Pixxus, and when I say the same, I mean exactly the same, right down to the brilliant gold paint job. I’m not complaining, because even with all the Mythic Legions figures I have, I only owned one of these shields, so I’m quite content to have two now.

And that brings us to the spear, which is the same one that came with Vitus and Pixxus, this time painted with a black shaft and a silver tip. I’ve got no complaints about any of these weapons, they’re great, but I sort of wish T4H had dipped a little bit into the Weapon Kits from the first Kickstarter for this assortment of figures. Those are mostly only available now at crazy prices and it feels like some of those weapons haven’t gotten much circulation, whereas so many of the ones from the first Kickstarter figures have now been bundled over and over again.

While Rahmulus lacks a bit of the “wow factor” I got when I opened Raygorr, I still think this is an incredibly solid figure with a very cool deco. I love the selection of parts they went with here and I can practically see Rahmulus swinging his weapons against his foes in the dusty pits of The Coliseum. I won’t like, I’m already feeling those sharp pangs of regret about not getting more figures from this assortment, but I don’t feel any regrets over the two that I did choose. Rahmulus is yet another great addition to this line, and playing around with him is just making me want the Advent of Decay figures to get here all the sooner. In the meantime, I have one more figure to open from this assortment, and I hope to get to the big guy next week!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Okoye Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

As promised, I’m back tonight to wrap up the somewhat Black Panther themed wave of Marvel Legends with the Okoye Build-A-Figure. Technically, I could have reviewed this figure last week, since the Iron Man I opened this morning did not include any BAF parts, but since this is the last Legends Wave that I’ll be reviewing consecutively, I decided not to mess with tradition.

And here she is all laid out and ready for assembly. The figure consists of the torso, the limbs, the head, and two weapons. This is one of those BAF’s that could have easily been a packaged figure, because she’s so small. I always see a number of fans come out of the woodwork and complain when Hasbro does this. I get it, I still think this wave should have been all from the movie, but if they released Okoye as a packaged figure, I’m not sure what they could have done for the BAF. Maybe the Wakandan throne? Anyway, let’s get Okoye together and check her out.

The first thing that impresses me here is how little of this figure is recycled from Nakia. Without close inspection, I was assuming there would be a lot of shared parts, and while it definitely looks like some of the parts here are likely re-sculpted, there’s enough new sculpting to make it look like a new figure. The upper legs appear to be directly shared, which goes back to how odd I thought they were on the Nakia figure. At least here they’re painted black and not in her skin tone, so the decorative patterns look like part of her leggings and not like they’re carved into her skin. I also like the streamlined look of Okoye’s boots, making her legs look a lot more sleek and graceful. Those clunkly accordian-style tops on Nakia’s boots didn’t do her any favors.

Like Nakia, Okoye uses a soft plastic sculpted belt with the lower half of her coat and it’s pretty convincing in making it all look like one piece. I like that the back of this piece is detailed to look like several layers overlapping, and it’s designed so as not to hinder the leg articulation too badly. The plastic garment features all sorts of ornamental detail etched into it along with a little gold wash to help it stand out. Okoye’s segmented bracers looked to be borrowed from Nakia at first, but these have pieces that extend up to her elbows, so there was definitely some tweaking done here. These are left in a bare gold plastic, which looks OK, but not nearly as good as the gold plastic used for her shoulder armor. It’s a shame they couldn’t spare some of that paint for these.

Hasbro has been killing it with all the MCU Black Panther head sculpts and Okoye here is no exception. This portrait is a tiny work of art. The smooth contours of her face are so beautifully done, the paint is wonderful, and the tattoos on her head look amazing. It’s so hard to believe this is the same company producing those noggins used in the 6-inch Star Wars Black Series.

The articulation is identical to what we saw with Nakia. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and yes, I’d still rather see Hasbro go to double hinged elbows and bicep swivels for the ladies. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. She has a ball joint under her chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Okoye comes with two weapons: A long spear and a spear head with a very short shaft. The long spear has a textured staff with a spearhead that’s split in the middle giving it a rather distinctive look. Both her hands are designed for gripping, so she can comfortably wield this weapon in either or both of her hands.

I don’t recall the smaller spear-type weapon from the movie. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a unique weapon or a broken piece of s spear. The shaft here is a little too slight to allow her to get a firm grasp on it, so it tends to wobble loose in her hand a bit, but I was still able to get her to hold it fairly well.

I have to hand it to Hasbro, the MCU Black Panther figures have been some of their best work to date. Scoff if you will at the fact that Okoye didn’t need to be a BAF, but I don’t care. I’m not privy to the business decisions that made Hasbro go this route, but so long as we got her, I’m cool. I will, however, keep harping on the fact that the comic-based figures in this wave should have gone elsewhere in favor of Shuri, Klaue, and Everett Ross. Yeah, we’re getting Ross in a two-pack, but what about the other two? I don’t see a big opportunity down the road to release any of these figures, unless they roll them into future releases of the 10-Year MCU Anniversary figures. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether that will be an ongoing thing or not.

On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll start randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews as I continue to hack my way through the pile of backlogged figures in the corner, and there is a lot of them, so what figure will be turning up next week? Your guess is as good as mine!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Invincible Iron Man by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, it’s the last packaged figure from the Marvel Legends Okoye Wave and it is… Iron Man!?! Oh, Hasbro! Well, I guess you’ve been so good about cutting back on your Iron Man releases, I’ll give this one a pass. And in fairness, Hasbro made it so you don’t have to buy this one in order to complete the Okoye BAF, but even so, I couldn’t resist picking this one up when I saw it on the peg. There’s just so much cool extra stuff in the package!

I believe this is Tony’s armor from a recent run of the “All New, All Different” Avengers, or something like that. As most of you know I’ve been on a sabbatical from Marvel’s current books until they get their collective comic book house in order. But hey, I don’t need context to appreciate another variant of the Iron Man armor, especially when it’s a comic-based one. So, let’s get him open and see what he’s all about!

In the comics, it seems like the more advanced Tony’s armor gets, the simpler it looks. That’s definitely the case here and I really dig that. From memory, this suit reminded me a whole lot of the Extremis Armor figure we got way back in the Terrax Wave. When I put them side by side, it’s maybe not quite that striking, but there are similarities. The limbs here are a little bulkier, the torso less stylized, and he doesn’t have the shoulder armor. I like the economy of panel lining, as most of it resides in his abs, and the crystal-style Arc Reactor is pretty cool. He also has a cool looking spine sculpted into his back.

The coloring here is predominantly red plastic. There’s a little of that swirly effect in it, but not too much. Indeed all the red here has a nice, bright new car luster that makes for a snappy looking figure. Gold paint is used sparingly on the toes, inside of the thighs, the biceps, and the fingers. You even get a bit of matte gray under-suit showing around the neck and under the arms. Also, you may note that the pegs in the elbows aren’t painted to match the gold areas. This bugs the hell out of some people, and I get that, but it doesn’t really bother me at all. There are no repulsors sculpted into the bottom of the feet, but for all I know that’s part of the armor design and not an oversight.

I’m a little iffy on the design of the helmet. The eyes have evolved into almost non-existent slits and the face plate has a sharp angle running down the center. It’s certainly different, and I’m thinking it might grow on me the more I mess around with him. I do like the blue used for the eye slits, as they almost give off a glowing effect under the right lighting.

You also get a really cool comic-based Tony Stark head, which really sold me on this whole package. It’s a beautiful sculpt that borders a bit between comic and animated. It’s got some pretty sharp paint and the sculpting for his hair is especially well done. Gotta dig that pompadour! All in all, I think this noggin looks fantastic on the figure.

The articulation holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and I can sort of get him into an acceptable ground pound pose… well, with an emphasis on the “sort of.”

Iron Man comes with two sets of hands, and these include fists and the open hands for firing off his repulsor beams. He also includes a set of blue blast effect parts, which can peg into the open hands. The effect parts work OK, but they do droop a little because they’re made of soft plastic and that ruins the effect a bit.

Lastly, you get this big cannon that clips onto either of Tony’s arms. At first, I thought this thing looked like one of the goofy oversized missile launchers that Hasbro loves to pack in with their 4-inch figures, but I’m guessing it’s supposed to be something that deploys and retracts from the suit. I actually like this thing a lot and you can plug the effect part into the end of it as well. It’s pretty fun.

I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but this figure turned out to be quite a nice surprise. I don’t think the armor design is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m happy to be getting some more comic-based armors, and while I wouldn’t want this to be an everyday look for Tony, I can get behind it for special outings. Granted, I’m a pretty easy sell when it comes to Marvel Legends. I’m probably as close to a completionist as you can get without actually being one, so it’s not like this one was a hard sell, but I’m definitely glad I picked it up. Come on back tonight and I’ll have a look at the Okoye Build-A-Figure!

Mythic Legions (The Coliseum): Raygorr by The Four Horsemen

Advent of Decay is the next big set of releases for T4H’s wildly popular Mythic Legions series. I have about 35 figures coming to me from that Kickstarter and that’s not even everything. Unfortunately, it’s been delayed a bit and is now expected to arrive sometime in the mid to late Summer. In the meantime, T4H did a much smaller interim assortment called The Coliseum, which consisted of seven figures and one new Deluxe Troll. I was a little strapped for cash when these pre-orders dropped, so I didn’t go too deep here, but I did pick up two figures and the Troll. I may try to pick up a few more when the remaining stock goes up for sale, but those items usually go fast. Anyway, today I’m opening up what I suspect might be my favorite of the bunch, Raygorr!

T4H has yet to shake up the package design since the first figures shipped, and that’s fine by me. Raygorr comes on a generic Mythic Legions card with a large bubble, which can be opened without damaging anything. There’s an insert at the bottom of the bubble with the series logo and a little bio blurb on the side. The blurb on the insert tells us a little about Raygorr. Nicknamed “The Dragon,” Raygorr came to The Coliseum from a distant land and with a unique fighting style. Other contenders in the Coliseum are slaves made to fight for their lives, while Raygorr apparently goes for sport or some secret nefarious purpose. He’s just your everyday mysterious badass.

And oh boy, does he look the part! As you probably know by now, Mythic Legions uses a clever system of interchangeable parts, which allows T4H to mix and match to make new figures. In this case, Raygorr uses the torso and tabard from Sir Gideon, the belt, and bare arms and legs from Vitus, the boots and gloves of the Orcs, and the helmet and shoulders from Gorgo Aetherblade. It’s an eclectic mix that works beautifully and continues to prove that T4H still have some great looking combinations up their sleeves.

Naturally, everything has also received a fresh coat of paint, and I really dig the color combinations here. The tabard is crimson and matches the trim on his shoulders. The boots, gloves, neck guard, and helmet are all a striking deep metallic blue with some lighter blue to give it a little more variety. The belt is a mix of tan and brown with some lovely gold paint on the giant belt buckle and on the fixtures. Finally, the skin is cast in a tanned flesh color. The paint T4H uses on this line has always had a premium look to it, and that trend continues here.

Also evident here are all the extra little touches in the sculpt that I really appreciate. The armored boots and gloves have pitting and nicks from battle. The belt is textured to look like real leather with some frayed and worn edges, and the sculpting evident in that belt buckle is a work of art all on its own.

You have two display options for Raygorr’s helmet. He comes out of the package with these giant black horns, and I think they look great. And since they’re socketed into the helmet, you can even change the angles.

The other option are these bitchin’ wings, and these are what I’m going to go with most of the time. There’s something about this look that just sings to me. I think it makes him look like both royalty and a mighty warrior. Almost like some kind of Duke of War. Hmm… Anyway, the two tone blue coloring on the helmet really looks fantastic. Personally, I would have given him a couple of red eyes peering out from the black void of an eye slit, but either way, this head sculpt just looks grand.

Raygorr does show up a little light on the accessories, but what he does have is plenty good. For starters, he comes with not one, but two of the ubiquitous Mythic Legions brown sword belts. One comes on the figure, worn as a shoulder strap and I’ve opted not to use the other, because I don’t want to cover up that beautiful belt he has. His sword is the same sculpt that I first saw bundled with Gorgo Aetherblade. It’s a classical fantasy design with gold hilt and grip and a stout silver blade. If you opt to give him the brown waist-belt, he can carry it there. You can also remove one of his shoulders and have him wear it across his back. It looks pretty good slung back there, but I prefer he keep both his shoulders.

Next he comes with one of the cool little no-nonsense daggers. This one has a gold guard and pommel and the grip is painted blue to match his boots and gauntlets. There’s a loop on his main belt that he can tuck his dagger into. The loop is a little too snug to work that well with the sword, but you could probably make it fit if you really wanted to.

Finally, Raygorr comes with the typical Mythic Legions shield. The shield includes a pegged wrist clip, so you can angle the shield however you want and independent of the position of the arm. The border is painted silver with a red front surface and a black dragon emblem to advertise Raygorr’s nickname. The accessories here are all great, but it’s worth pointing out that these figures typically come with one more big weapon, like a spear, battle axe, or extra sword. But I’ve got a lot of extra weapons from this line if I really wanted to give him something else, so I’m not complaining.

The way The Coliseum was presented made it feel like a thrown-together ad hoc line of filler to bridge the gap between the two Kickstarters, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at this guy. I’ve now opened and reviewed over 25 Mythic Legions figures and this line continues to impress me. And despite being entirely constructed of parts pillaged from previous figures, Raygorr still feels like he was designed from the ground up. That’s the genius of T4H and their eye for design. I’m not going to say that Raygorr is among my favorite Mythic Legions figures, because I say that almost every time I open a new one, but… Oh, OK. He’s one of my favorites.

Transformers Titans Return: Caliburst and Slugslinger by Hasbro

Woah, what’s this? A Transformers review? And the very week after I do away with Thursday content? Yeah, it just kind of worked out that way. While hunting the aisles for the new Power of the Primes figures and coming up empty, I actually stumbled upon Slugslinger, the [second to the] last Titans Return figure that I needed and I was pretty damn happy about it. Lets’ take a look!

And here’s the Titans Return Deluxe packaging once more for old time’s sake. Yeah, it hasn’t changed much for Power of the Primes, but not having to show the Titan Master head attaching to the body does give them a little more to work with when it comes to the character art. As usual, you get the Generations logo in the upper right corner and the Titan Master’s name takes priority over the main robot. I always thought that was a little weird. I really don’t have anything else to say about the packaging, so let me get him out and transformed and we’ll start with his vehicle mode.

Of course, Slugslinger is based on his G1 namesake, along with his Targetmaster, Caliburst, who has now been re-made into a Titan Master. Hasbro was really experimenting with some cool and original ideas at this point in the G1 timeline and Slugslinger’s distinctive twin-nose and cockpit configuration is a fine example of that. Everything about this jet is a wonderful recreation of the original G1 toy, just a little sleeker and more detailed. And if this jet mode looks more than a little familiar, that’s because the legs that form the engines are recycled from Misfire and Triggerhappy and hence the transformation is very similar as well. Keep in mind, I’m not complaining. If you’re going to borrow from other Deluxes, you might as well borrow from two of the best. I also dig the uniformity it gives these three and they look great flying in formation together.

The deco stays pretty close to the blue and gray plastics used for the original toy. The blue here is a little bit darker, but it looks great I’m not going to split hairs. You get tinted blue canopies over the cockpits and some tampos for detail on the tops of the engines and on the wings, including some crisp Decepticon insignia. If you’re not a fan of symmetry, the weapons can be attached under each wing, although I really wish they had made it so you could attach their combined mode to the top of the jet, like you could with Caliburst and the original toy. The sculpt is pretty solid, with lots of panel lines and other little details, and you get some tiny foot pegs in case you want to have some Titan Masters riding on his back.

As I mentioned earlier, Caliburst was G1 Slugslinger’s Targetmaster, but here he’s a Titan Master and he turns into Slugslinger’s noggin. He stands a league above most other Titan Masters as Hasbro actually spared some paint for his tiny face. He’s cast in the same blue and light gray plastic as Sluggo and he ranks pretty high among my favorite little head robots. So which of the two cockpits does he ride in? Neither, because those two are fake outs and there’s a third cockpit centered behind them. That’s the one that opens up to give Caliburst a place to sit. If you can’t tell, I really dig this alt mode, but let’s see how he fares in robot mode.

Hell, yeah! The robot mode not only looks fantastic, but also has just as many wonderful nods back to the G1 toy as the jet mode does. Most notable are the very distinctive four circular devices on each side of his chest. These give off a cool battlemech vibe to me and between those and the dual nosecones rising up behind his head, there’s no mistaking who this is supposed to be. The blue and gray plastic that makes up his deco looks just as good here as it did in his jet mode, and the tampos on his lower legs and shoulders do a fine job of recreating the look of the stickers on the original toy. This is the way to do it, Hasbro… tampos! Never stickers! I hope you learned your lesson with the Voyagers Class figures from this line.

The head sculpt is where this guy varies most from the old toy, as it’s more stylized here, particularly the eyes. The original toy had a visor, but here you get two very narrow and angled peepers that go well with his mischievous grin. The “helmet” is smoother and less detailed than the original Sluggo’s head, and it’s possible that older fans will take issue there, but I think it works fine.

From the back, Slugslinger still looks pretty good, so long as you’re like me and enjoy your robots having jets hanging off their backs. That’s not sarcasm… I really do enjoy jets on my robots’ backs! The dual cockpit assembly folds down a bit in the transformation so that they still creep up over his shoulders, but not too high. I think the wings would have looked better flipped forward, but what’s here is faithful to the G1 toy and who am I to argue with that? Slugsy does suffer from some hollow leg syndrome, but I’m not going to hold that against him.

Slugslinger wields two very distinct looking weapons. One is a blue double-barreled gun with squared off barrels, while the other is a gray, single barrel blaster. I think both are excellent looking weapons, and offer up a bit of variety to the usual guns from this line, which are often just two halves of a combined gun.

Of course, they can still be combined into one beefy gun, and I think I like this option the best. Instead of two halves going together, the gray one mounts on top of the blue one. I think G1 Caliburst would be proud.

I don’t know if it’s because he released pretty late in the line, but Slugslinger was a tough little bot for me to track down. He’s been available at some online stores for a while, but going for way above retail at my usual haunts. I was getting ready to pay premium for him, so imagine my delight when I happened to run into him on the pegs at Target, especially since this line has been gone from stores for a little bit now. He’s yet another variation on an absolutely fantastic base figure and when grouped up with Misfire and Triggerhappy. I’ve said it many times, but I’ll say it once more, the Deluxe Class figures in this line were absolutely fantastic. Some of the best Transformers Hasbro has put out in years, and I’m still sad to have seen it end.

I’d say that’ll finally do me for Titans Return, but I still have a certain Leader Class figure to track down.

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Black Bolt by Hasbro

I’ve got just a few more figures in the Okoye Wave before I switch over from looking at consecutive figures in each wave to randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews. It seemed only right to wrap this wave one before I make the change and I should be able to do that by next week. So today let’s check out the second to the last packaged figure in the somewhat Black Panther themed Okoye Build-A-Figure Wave: Black Bolt! I’ve had this one sitting around forever, so I’m pretty excited to get him open and see how he turned out.

Last time I gave poor Sub-Mariner a lot of shit for not being Shuri. I don’t feel right doing the same thing here, because I was thrilled to see Black Bolt getting the Legends treatment. Sure, they could have tucked him into another wave and given us more MCU Black Panther figures, but whatever the case, I just can’t be upset over getting this figure. I imagine if that ill-fated Inhumans series had turned out better, we might have gotten an entire wave of Inhumans Legends, but considering how bad the show was received, I’m surprised we got the ones we got. Anyway, he comes with his shouting head on the figure, but let’s start with the regular head.

Here’s Black Bolt out of the box and my first reaction is to be a little underwhelmed. Overall, I think the suit is pretty good. The buck is cast in a dark blue plastic with silver paint to make up the various striping. The paint lines are clean enough, but there some slop on the silver up near his right shoulder where it looks like some hair or other foreign matter got in under the paint. It’s nothing terrible, but a little vexing nonetheless. The gauntlets are formed by plastic cones slipped over the forearms, and I’m n+-ot really happy with the way these look. They’re too chunky and make his fists look extra small to me. They also don’t help the wrist articulation much.

The wings were always going to be a compromise here, and I guess I’m OK with the direction Hasbro went with them. They are firmly attached to the figure, so at least I don’t have them popping off every time I touch the figure like the MCU Spider-Man figure. They actually don’t look half bad when his arms are at rest at his sides, even though it’s not what they’re supposed to look like, I kind of dig the blade-like effect. But obviously, they’re intended to look their best when Black Bolt is standing with his arms straight out at the shoulders, and they do indeed look nice when the figure is posed this way.

I haven’t pulled out the figures to check, but I feel like Black Bolt’s head is a re-working of one of the older Captain America figures. It has a similar soft facial sculpt to it. Whether or not that’s the case, it strikes me as kind of generic and boring, particularly when viewed from the front. The cowl does look good and the eyes are painted well. I also like the tuning-fork on his forehead. Despite being cast in soft plastic, it seems like it won’t have too much problems with warping.

The alternate screaming head is much better, but I still don’t think this is among Hasbro’s better work in the line. That’s not to say it’s bad. I actually like how they did the open mouth with the blue paint to suggest the power emanating from within. The whited out eyes look cool too and the translucent blue energy effect coming off the fork looks fantastic.

The articulation here holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the thighs and lower legs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. I’ll note here how much I wish they had gone with hands that weren’t fists. I think clutching hands or relaxed hands would have worked so much better.

Wow, it feels like I came down really hard on this one, but Black Bolt is not a bad figure. Maybe this was a case of my high level of anticipation working against him. A sharper head sculpt and a different set of hands would have gone a long way toward making me love him more. As it is, he definitely gets the job done, and chances are I’ll be displaying him with his shouting head most of the time anyway. I’m still happy to have this one in my collection and now Medusa doesn’t have to be lonely anymore.

Star Wars Black: Imperial AT-ST and Driver (Walmart Exclusive) by Hasbro

It’s hard to believe that it was five years ago that I reviewed the Vintage Collection AT-ST from Hasbro. FIVE YEARS AGO!?! While that toy had a number of good points, like the expanded driver cabin, I came away without being terribly impressed with it, mainly because it didn’t stand on its own very well at all, and the deco leaved something to be desired. When Hasbro re-released it as a Walmart Exclusive as part of the Star Wars Black Series, it was an easy pass because of the crazy price. I seem to recall they were asking sixty dollars for this thing! But when it later hit a certain online toy e-tailer for $25, well I couldn’t resist giving it another go. Oh, and keep in mind, while I’m referring back to the Vintage Collection release a lot, this toy first saw release way back in 2009 as part of the Legacy Collection.

It’s hard to beat the Vintage Collection packaging of the K-Mart Exclusive AT-ST, and this one doesn’t even try. It comes in a window box, so you do get a good look at the toy itself, but the minimalist black and red Black Series deco does nothing for me. There’s some monochrome art on the front and the cardboard behind the tray has some faint background scenes, but it just feels like lazy package design. Thanks to the high price point, these must have been a retail disaster for Walmart. They even had an entire endcap of them at my local Wally World, and that place almost never has any Hasbro Exclusives. They were on clearance too, but nowhere near as low as the price I got mine for. Unlike the VC version, there’s no assembly required here and the toy comes right out of the box and ready to go. I rarely ever start out reviews with comparisons, but lets just go for it.

Here they are side by side, with the new Black Series version on the left and good old Shitty-feet from the Vintage Collection on the right. Does that nickname refer to the fact that it can’t stand on his own or the fact that it actually looks like it’s been standing in feces? You decide, there is no wrong answer. I had planned to take more pictures for comparison, but I literally could not get the VC version to stand for more than a couple shots before getting really frustrated and tossing it aside. They are identical molds as far as I can tell and the only real differences are in the decos. The new one is cast in a much paler gray plastic and has what looks like a sandy spray on its feet, legs, and head. There’s also no battle damage on the SWB version, and it has a completely black butt.

Which deco do I like better? Well, it can’t be that easy can it? To be honest, I prefer the darker gray plastic of the earlier release, and I do like the scorch mark on the head. The old deco would have been a slam dunk as the favorite if it weren’t for the heavy mud on the feet, which I think looks really bad. The paler gray plastic on the new one looks a little cheaper and the weathering spray isn’t all that convincing to me. In the end, neither is perfect and ideally, I would have liked a compromise between the two. Each AT-ST definitely looks like its been hanging out in a different environment, so the VC release could clearly be from Endor and the newer release looks like it has seen action on a barren planet. Maybe even Jedha? That’s kind of cool. On the other hand, if you plan on picking this one up to beef up your Imperial ranks, I don’t think they display well together because of the obvious differences in weathering. OK, so let’s get to the Star Wars Black version all by itself…

Straightaway, I have to say the stability on this toy is a hundred times better than what I got on my VC version. I don’t know if they just tightened up the joints or redesigned the ratchets, but this baby will stand and even pose with very little difficulty and that fix alone makes it a very welcome re-release. The detail on the sculpt is great in some areas, but feels a little wanting in others. I said it back when I reviewed the previous release, and I’ll reiterate here that I’m still amazed at how well the original Kenner toy holds up in that regard. As a result the detail here doesn’t feel like a huge leap forward over the original vintage toy. I don’t think that’s a slight against this toy, but rather just shows that the original was so well done. With that having been said, you get some nice detailing on the sides of the legs and the back of the head.

That’s not to say there isn’t improvement. Gone is the hokey Kenner walking gimmick and in its place is a pretty cool and complex network of articulation for the legs. The tops of the legs don’t connect directly to the body, but rather to articulated struts that can move away from the body. This adds a cool element of stabilization that would probably have to be present for this fictional vehicle to work well. In addition to that, you get ratcheting joints in the tops of the legs, at the first bend, again down near the ankles, and again at the ankles. I’ll admit, the toy could have really used some swivels or rockers at the ankles to make it able to stand in more extreme poses, but it gets by pretty well as it is.

The head design features two different cheek weapons. On the right hand side, there’s a grenade launcher and a cluster of blasters on the left. Both of these can rotate. The windows also have hinged armor plates that can be left open or buttoned up for combat. The stock chin gun can rotate left and right and raise and lower to target enemies ahead or below. You also have the ability to swap out this gun with a dual missile launcher. Yup, this is the same option that the Vintage Collection version featured. I think the original idea was to make it more kid friendly by giving it missiles and a firing gimmick. but I actually think this works well as just a different weapons load out. The missiles are kind of fun, but I prefer the one that comes attached to the vehicle in the package.

The top of the head is hinged so the entire plate can be opened to allow easy access to the drivers’ cabin. Apart from the added articulation, the biggest draw of this modern AT-ST over the old Kenner one is the expanded cockpit that can seat two drivers very comfortably. The cockpit itself features some great detail, including seats, controls, and foot pedals. The sides of the cockpit feature some pre-applied stickers with more instruments and screens.

The smaller hatch on the roof will also open to allow one driver to pop his head out and there’s a railing around the roof to prevent careless accidents at the Imperial workplace. Wait, the Imperial engineers put railings on this thing but not on those two-foot wide elevated walkways on the Death Star?

Unlike the Vintage Collection release, this AT-ST does include a driver figure and that’s certainly a nice bonus, but for the original price of this thing, they should have thrown in two. I’m pretty sure this guy is a repack of the Vintage Collection AT-ST Crew two-pack, released sometime around 2012. It’s a decent figure, albeit a tad generic looking.  He’s wearing pale gray jumpsuit with some nice sculpted rumples and pockets, black boots and gloves, a standard issue Imperial belt, and he has a chest harness with shoulder straps. The helmet is removable and he has a pretty good head sculpt hiding under it. He also comes with a standard E-11 Blaster, but no holster to store it. The articulation is kind of a mixed bag, in that he has full on rotating hinges in the limbs and a ball joint in the chest, but the t-crotch feels like a bit of a throwback. Still, he gets the job done, and I may have to hunt down one more of these guys.

Overall, I like this toy a lot. It’s a great sculpt and it’s loads of fun now that the crappy legs from the Vintage Collection release have been fixed. Unfortunately, the bland colored plastic and unconvincing weathering do tend to put a damper on things. Either way, I don’t know what they were smoking when they slapped the original $60 MSRP on this thing, but I can’t come close to justifying that kind of money, even if it is a pretty good toy. At $35 or $40, these might have actually found their way off Walmart’s shelves and into collectors’ shopping carts. But at $25, I’m overall satisfied with the purchase. The deco might be a step back, but at least I don’t have to prop a doll stand up under it if I want to keep it on display.

Vitruvian HACKS (Series 2): Cerisier (Sakura Elven Assassin) by Boss Fight Studio

Did you pop in here yesterday and wonder where I was? Are you wondering why I’m here posting on a Wednesday? Well, in case you missed the Easter memo, my weekday updates for April are happening on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the occasional Anime Saturday post when I have the time. Today, I’m dedicating myself to getting caught up on my Vitruvian HACKS reviews before the mother lode from that other Kickstarter, Mythic Legions hits later in the Summer and buries me in figures. I’ve got a good mix of the newer Series 2 figures as well as the many Series 1 figures I’ve yet to review. This time, I’m having a look at Cerisier, a Series 2 release that was exclusive to Boss Fight Studio’s webstore last year.

Most of the Series 1 HACKS Exclusives that I looked at last year were released in partnership with Kokomo Toys and those shipped in illustrated cardboard boxes. But this BFS webstore exclusive comes in the regular carded packaging with a landscape-orientated card and bubble. The packaging is totally collector friendly and features some nice character artwork on the front of the card and a “Collect Them All” style layout on the back as well as a pretty cool little bio that tells us Cerisier is one of the Queen’s Elite Corps of archers, who bathe daily in dark ink, can see in the dark, and have their voices magically removed. Badass! There is no explicit call-out on the package that Cerisier was a webstore exclusive, but the figure is also not pictured on the back with the regular releases.

From the neck down, both the body and costume of this figure is a straight repaint of Aiyana, the Autumn Elven Archer. That’s not a bad thing, because both are excellent sculpts and the re-coloring goes a long way to make this figure feel unique. The gray skin tone gives her a sinister and shadowy visage and the autumn colors of Aiyana’s costume have been replaced with some brown, pink and white. Yeah, the color pink doesn’t really scream shadow assassin to me, but I still dig it. The detail in the costume sculpt is still quite amazing when you consider it’s done in the 4-inch scale, and little details like the sculpted leaves that make up her skirt and the thin painted cord that’s meant to secure her leg wraps go a long way to make this figure look extra special.

As always with these figures, Cerisier’s costume is all comprised of separately sculpted pieces and is completely removable, which links in with the customization aspect of this line. The standard female HACKS buck features some solid articulation too. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed.

The head sculpt is new and I really like this one a lot. It’s more angular than Aiyana’s and I’d dare say prettier as well. I really dig how pronounced the pointed ears are here, and just the fact that there are variations in the ears among the HACKS elves. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece and pulled back tight, which would seem practical for an assassin. She also has some flowers sculpted into her hair, which are painted pink to match her top. What? Assassins can like pink! We’ve already established that!

Most of Cerisier’s accessories are new, but she does come with repaints of the same two daggers we saw with Aiyana. She can wield them in both hands, and there’s also a slot on the back of her skirt where she can store them.

Cerisier’s main weapon is her crossbow, which is a classic medieval style weapon with a lever-like trigger in the handle and a stirrup mounted on the front of the bow. There are three loose bolts included, which can be loaded into the weapon, but there isn’t a lot to hold them in there very securely. Still, I was able to get them to stay put for a number of different poses without any trouble.

She also comes with a quiver to hold her extra bolts. This quiver is sculpted with a hook that can hang off the slot at the back of her skirt, provided you aren’t using that slot to hold her daggers. Nope, Cerisier can’t carry all her weapons at once.

And, as always, the figure comes with a standard black Boss Fight Studio figure stand. The pegs on these stands don’t work all that well with the barefoot characters, because the foot pegs aren’t that deep, but I was able to make it sort of work. You don’t really need the stand, though, because Cerisier stands quite well on her own. I’ll also point out that she comes with an extra pair of hands with the axis of the wrist hinges changed, so one pair bends side to side and the other forward and backward. These are also pretty standard on all of the HACKS figures.

Cerisier is another solid figure in the HACKS Series 2 foray into the fantasy world. I’m a big fan of the elves, and I plan on picking up all of them, but then I’ve pretty much been all in on this line anyway. I think Cerisier also makes for a perfect exclusive, since she does reuse a a lot from one of the existing regular releases. If you weren’t able to track her down, but you have Aiyana you then aren’t completely missing out, but I’d still recommend her for a pick up if you’re collecting the line. At the time I’m writing this, she’s even still available through the Boss Fight Webstore. At about $25, the price of the Series 2 figures has gone up a bit, but that may have to do with the fact that the first series was Kickstarted and these are being sold through pre-orders. Either way, I think these figures are still well worth it and it’s a line that I’m enjoying a lot.