Transformers Siege: Refraktor by Hasbro

It’s impossible for me to explain why I was so obsessed with Reflector in the old Transformers cartoon. Maybe it was because his appearances were a bit rare. Maybe it was because he wasn’t readily available as a toy. I’m not even sure I was aware at that age that he was a mail-away figure in the US. It’s also possible that I was fascinated by his very nature of being three robots referred to as one, not to mention the first team of robots that could merge into a single alt form. I often wondered about how that worked, and what a cool alien/sci-fi concept it was. But in the end, it was probably because there were so few Decepticons in the early days, and Reflector bolstered their numbers by three. And sometimes even more than that, thanks to some animation gaffs.

And that brings us to Refraktor! A figure that is just as interesting as his predecessor. Hasbro released him as a single character with its own alt mode, but advertised on the back that you could buy two more if you wanted to make use of their camera mode. Also, I’ll point out now that I’m going to be calling him Reflector during this review, because if I try to call him Refraktor, I’m probably just going to mess it up half the time anyway. Let’s get his bullshit alt mode out of the way first!

I think this is supposed to be a spaceship, and to be fair it isn’t all that bad. It gives me a little bit of a Sweeps vibe, especially since I have three of them. The Energon Sharkticon also comes to mind, since I used to army build the hell out of those. But to be honest, it strikes me more as a seafaring gunship. Maybe even a hydrofoil, since the landing gear looks like a set of skis. In the end, I don’t hate it, and it’s kind of cool to give these guys something a little more practical to transform into. Especially in a line called Siege. And they do look kind of cool in battle formation. Let’s just move on to the robot mode!

One of the things that struck me most about Reflector in the old G1 days was that he was one of the few Decepticons that didn’t advertise his alt mode with a lot of kibble. It was genuinely tough to figure out what the hell he turned into. It also made him look like a generic rank-and-file Decepticon warrior, which was pretty appealing too. I think Hasbro did a wonderful job with this update. It continues the Siege aesthetic of infusing the sculpt with loads of detail. That’s especially the case here in the arms and behind the clear chest panel. The coloring is pretty damn great too. Purple is always a good choice for Decepticons and it mixes well with the bare grey plastic. You also get some snazzy silver paint hits on the leg panels, feet, and the frame of his chest panel. A little splash of red on the forearms and knees, and a Decepticon emblem on the left shoulder rounds out the deco quite nicely.

From behind, Reflector doesn’t look nearly as polished. There are plenty of hollow compartments and some exposed screw-heads. But at least there isn’t a lot of kibble. Even the skids from his alt mode fold neatly into his leg compartments. There is a way to help spruce up his back view, but I’ll come back to that in a bit.

The head sculpt is extremely faithful to what I remember from the Sunbow animated version. He has the same rounded “helmet,” narrow eyes and broad mouth. The silver paint on the face looks especially good, as does the red used for the eyes, which are pretty much flawless. No question, Hasbro has been killing it with their portraits in this line, and Reflector here is no different.

The one real difference between the three robots in the cartoon was the aperture being present in one and not the other two. Here that’s easily achieved by pulling it off. Yeah, it leaves a peg hole there, but I’m OK with that. I’m sure some Third-Party company will release a bag of plugs to cover these up and charge $20 for them. No, seriously, nobody do that. I will probably be the one dumb enough to buy them.

Reflector relies heavily on two rather large pieces for his alt modes. The large cannon simply turns into a gun for his robot mode, while the other can be used as a shield. I dig both of these accessories a lot. The gun is big and beefy and has a rather distinctive low-slung armor plate. The shield is rounded and has a notch out of the top that reminds me of a riot shield. The shield piece can also be pegged onto the back, but it isn’t meant to be, which means it can fall out pretty easily. I think this is the biggest shame about the figure design, as it looks really good on the back, gets it out of the way when not being used as a shield, and it would have been really easy for Hasbro to have seen this opportunity and make it work. When I display these guys in robot mode, I will likely have two with the guns and shields and one with just the gun. Of course all of these pieces can also be combined together for the camera mode, so let’s check that out.

The camera mode is achieved by transforming each of the figures into the same folded up block and then sticking them together so that the middle one faces front. Next the three shields combine together to form the lens and the three guns combine to form the tripod, which then attaches to the camera using one of the aperture pieces. It’s very clever and overall it looks pretty good, but it’s not nearly as detailed a camera as the old G1 toy. And I’m totally OK with that, because the sacrifices were made to allow each of the bots that form it to look identical. Maybe Hasbro could have tossed in a few extra pieces to tack on and make it more convincing as a camera, but I’m totally fine with it the way it is. Also, it’s roughly the right size to give to one of the Titans like Metroplex or Fort Maximus, but really too big for any of the smaller bots.

Never in a million years did I ever think Hasbro would revisit these guys. Hell, even the first time the early pictures of him, I didn’t think the camera mode was going to be ab option. As a result, I can’t  tell you how many times I almost pulled the trigger on one of the many third-party Reflectors on the market. In the end, I’m glad I didn’t, because Hasbro’s Deluxe Class treatment scratches that itch perfectly, and for a lot less money. These guys were a bit hard to find at first, because most everyone was looking to grab three of them, but I was eventually able to get all three online for a couple of bucks under retail, and that ain’t too shabby. They’re a great little team, and I think they look fantastic when displayed with the Siege Decepticons.

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Star Wars: Stormtrooper 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

I was already well behind on my Hot Toys reviews before the site went on hiatus, so now I’m buried even deeper. But since the new Stormtrooper arrived this week, I thought I might as well bump him to the head of the line and check him out. A while back I maintained that I wasn’t buying any Original Trilogy Hot Toys, because that rabbit hole runs too deep, and to make that work, I’ll just point out that this guy will go with my Rogue One Hot Toys. Hey, I used that same argument to justify getting Vader and Tarkin, so why not? Today I will be looking at the standard release, although there is also a Deluxe version available.

The packaging for Hot Toys’ Star Wars offerings are really nothing special. They use the same black format with a picture of the figure to do most of the talking. Although here they added a little wrap around for the front lid that offers a splash of color. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t prefer something a little more special with my expensive figures, but that’s OK. These boxes mainly just go into storage anyway. And if there’s one theme of today’s review, it would be simplicity. Under the lid you get a standard plastic tray that holds the figure, stand, extra hands, and a couple of accessories. Apart from removing some protective plastic, the Stormtrooper comes ready for display.

And boy is this figure simple! And that is in no way meant as a slight, because it is indeed almost refreshingly simple. Reviewing Hot Toys figures is often intimidating for me. They are complicated to set up, sometimes difficult to handle, and giving them their proper due is seriously time consuming. Costumes need constant adjusting, little bits and bobs fall off during shoots, and I’m often afraid that I’m going to break things. But none of that is true with my new Stormy! And here’s where I should also point out that even with as many goddamn Stormtrooper figures I’ve owned over the years, I’m still no expert on the particulars of their armor. This looks great to me, but there could be some inaccuracies that I’m not seeing. I also do not own the previous Hot Toys Stormy, so I can’t do any in depth comparisons on the improvements here. So why should you even keep reading? Hell, I dunno. Just let me enjoy my new figure.

As simple as the figure is, it’s still an underlying articulated buck that’s actually wearing the armor, and that obviously sets it apart from most of the other Stormtrooper figures out there. The figure is first dressed in a very soft fabric bodysuit, which can be seen in the joints and between the armor plates. This is a big departure from the leather-like bodysuit that Hot Toys First Order Stormtroopers wear. The result is that the underlying suit doesn’t really hinder the articulation at all, even though the armor plates themselves in some cases do. The armor pieces themselves consist of upper and lower legs, sleeves for the forearms and biceps, shoulder pieces, a codpiece and a butt plate, a wrap-around for the abdomen, a chest and back plate, and of course the helmet. The boots are sculpted plastic and the armor pieces on the backs of the hands are sculpted as part of the hands. And you do indeed get a nice assortment of hands, including a set of weapon hands, fists, relaxed hands, a “stop” hand, and a hand designed to cradle the blaster. The armor pieces have a nice glossy finish to them, and are some very subtle weathering marks here and there.

The belt is plastic on the front and fastens in the back with elastic and velcro, which holds it on surprisingly well. There’s a leather-like holster that hangs off just behind his right hip, and this houses his E-11 Blaster and features a retaining strap that is secured by a magnet. The holster is very easy to work with and I don’t have any concerns about the strap tearing. Besides the blaster, which we’ll check out in a second, the only other actual accessory included is the cylinder that goes on the back of his belt. I think this is referred to as a thermal regulator, and it attaches onto the belt with two metal hooks, which also helps conceal the velcro patch that secures the belt. I’ve found that the belt itself can ride up a bit on the figure when I’m posing him, but otherwise it fits fine and looks great.

The helmet sculpt also looks excellent, but here’s where I will once again defer to experts, who may be able to point out all kinds of things wrong with it. For me, the detail is all there from the blue vents on the sides to the breathers on the front. I especially like the green tint on the goggles. It’s subtle enough, but in the right light it looks brilliant. The neck area under the helmet also has a ribbed rubber gorget over the cloth bodysuit.

The E-11 Blaster is a beautiful little weapon. I can’t even imagine how many times I’ve owned this blaster in the 3 3/4-inch and 6-inch versions, but this feels like the first time I’m actually seeing it for all it can be. The detail is every bit as amazing as I expect from Hot Toys accessories. The sculpted hands that are designed to hold it work quite well, although I find it easier to get the weapon into the hand, wrap the trigger finger, and then attach the hand to the wrist post.

The blaster also has an articulated stock, which folds out from under the barrel. It’s a nice touch, even if I’ve never really cared for the way this thing looks extended. It’s also frightfully fragile, which gives me even less incentive to fold it out. That’s it for the accessories, and yes I’m fine with that, as I wasn’t expecting much going in. There are a few more things that I think Hot Toys could have thrown in, like maybe a rifle and a pauldron, but none of those things were included in the Deluxe version either.

And finally, Stormy comes with a pretty standard figure stand. The base is rectangular and designed to look like the deck plating of an Imperial ship. The name plate simply reads, “Star Wars Stormtrooper,” and the post is the usual crotch-cradle design, which works fine with the figure. And herein lies the big difference between the regular and Deluxe releases. The Deluxe version includes an LED Death Star backdrop panel to put behind the stand. It’s a very nice addition, but at $243, that makes it $55 more than this regular release? Nah, I’m good, thanks!

It’s hard to find a Hot Toys figure for under $180 these days. Hell, even the First Order troopers were each over $200. Granted, there aren’t a lot of extras in this box and there’s no actor likeness to sculpt, but it still feels like a pretty good value. Enough for me to pick up another? Well, probably not, but I wouldn’t rule it out entirely. I’ll also point out that It’s kind of amazing that even after all of these years I can still get excited about a Stormtrooper figure. I’ve had entire of legions of these guys in the 3 3/4-inch scale, many of which have long since turned yellow and useless. I was quite pleased with Hasbro’s 6-inch Black Series version and grabbed up as many as I could find. It seems only fitting to add the Hot Toys version to my collection. The real reason I picked this one up was to put him in the back of a Rogue One display, which I will inevitably assemble once I get Director Krennic. For now, he’s hanging out between Tarkin and Vader, two figures that I desperately need to get around to reviewing.

Marvel Legends (Deadpool Corps): Deadpool and Scooter by Hasbro

This week I’m back on track with Legends on this Marvel Monday, and since I’m still working on the archaeological dig that is my Toy Closet backlog, I just grabbed the first thing that fell and hit me on the back of the neck while I was rummaging around in there. Oh look, it’s Deadpool with a scooter! And damn, that hurt!

I’ve only looked at one of these Deluxe Riders so far, and that was Black Widow and her motorcycle. I liked it a lot, and I’m expecting good things here as well. The set comes in a large window box that shows the figure, the scooter, and the bevy of other accessories and extras within. It definitely looks like something special, and I enjoy how Hasbro laid out the tray with Deadpool chasing the scooter. Let’s start with a look at the Deadpool figure!

Obviously, we’ve seen a lot of Deadpool figures in the modern Legends line. Some may say too man, but I’d say those people are wrong. My casual eye tells me this is a mix of the Juggernaut Wave Poolsy and the Sasquatch Wave X-Force Pool. Most distinctively, he has the armored pieces on the shins and forearms from the former, and the simpler chest of the later. The armored pieces are now painted all black, so they still look a bit different from their original appearance. I’m not sure if Hasbro was going for a specific comic look here, but most likely I think they’re just trying to come up with new combinations so dopes like me can justify buying the character again and again. I’m going to skip articulation, since we’ve seen this buck so many times now, I’ll just be lazy and refer you back to one of the other reviews, conveniently linked above.

For the belt and harness, Hasbro dug deep, going all the way back to their original X-Force Pool release, all the way back from 2012! And that’s a figure that is now best forgotten. The harness itself is cast in silver plastic, the chest shield is left a simple red, but he’s got his patented Deadpool emblem on his belt buckle and the pouches on the belt are all painted in a deep brown to convey rich Corinthian leather. Yeah, the combo is a bit kit-bashy, but I’ll concede that it works well together.

The scabbards and swords are recycled from the Sasquatch/Juggernaut Wave figures, and they work quite well here. The blades and guards are now gold, which I presume was just to mix things up a bit. I’m not a huge fan of the cut-outs on the scabbards that allow the tips of the swords to show through, but I do like these swords a lot. And it’s a good thing, because this Pool comes with no guns. He does, however have the combat knife from the Juggernaut figure, which still fits into the sheath on his lower right leg. Also, the scabbards are removable from the harness, which is something you may want to do if you’re going to have him riding the scooter with Dogpool.

The head is new, and Hasbro is going for pure comic effect here. Deadpool has both eyes popped wide and you can see his mouth open through the sculpted hood. If you were jonesing for an astonished looking Deadpool portrait, you can look no more. I’d argue that this was a rather specific expression to go for when only including one portrait, but I’ve got so many Deadpool heads to choose from, I can always swap it out if I want. Ok, let’s talk scooter…

I can’t remember when or where Pool’s red scooter originated, but I was delighted to the nod to it in Deadpool 2. And this is a really decent recreation in the 6-inch scale. It’s simple, but it’s designed to fit the figure well enough and even features peg holes on the running boards to help Pool stay put. A little assembly is required here, specifically popping in the rear view mirrors and clipping on the horn. They can be taken off again to go back in the box, but I fear clipping and un-clipping the horn may result in a breakage down the line. The rest is pretty basic. The front wheel does turn with he handlebars, and there’s a kickstand to keep it upright. There’s a detailed speedometer, and you also get a sheet of stickers so you can customize it.

Also included in the box are Dogpool and Squirrelpool. These aren’t so much figures as they are just display pieces. Both of them feature rotating heads, but that’s the only articulation there. I was actually surprised that they worked that into the tiny Squirrelpool. These do feature some very nice detail. I love Dogpool’s helmet, and Squirrelpool has his tiny swords on his back. The paint is pretty sharp on these as well. Both are sculpted in a very specific poses to be riding on the back of the scooter, although Dogpool can just sit with his paws up, almost like he’s begging, and Squirrelpool can stand on the ground on all fours. Squirrelpool is designed with a peg in his tummy that pegs into the hole in Dogpool’s back. These can be a little unsightly if you choose not to display them on the scooter, but that’s kind of the whole point.

Before wrapping up, I’ll note that the set also comes with a Hydra Bob head, just in case you happen to have the Hydra Trooper or the Hydra two-pack. Sure, it’s basically just a smiling Hydra head, but still definitely a cool bonus!

I like this set. It’s fun and it adds just enough stuff so that I don’t mind buying another Deadpool to get it all. And I do appreciate that it is a new figure, albeit a kit-bashed one, rather than just a straight repack. Although it would have been a good way to get that original Juggernaut Wave Deadpool back into circulation, as it remains one of my favorite Legends figures to date. I love it so much I have two, or at least I did until I gave one to my nephew. I don’t think this set is a must-buy for most, but as a Pool fan, nobody had to twist my arm to buy it. I picked it up for about $35 and I got no complaints.

Overwatch Ultimates: Lucio by Hasbro

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back with a third review for the second week in a row. Sure, things can derail at any time, and it’s really tough to scrounge the time to do these, but I feel like I’m finally starting to get back into the swing of things. And there… I’ve just jinxed myself! Anywho… As promised, I’m back with another one of Hasbro’s Overwatch Ultimates figures. Last time I checked out Sombra and now I’m opening up Lucio, the Brazillian DJ turned Freedom Fighter! And just to remind everyone, I have never played Overwatch, but I really dig its character design and I have watched most of the cinematics, because I’m crazy like that. So if I sound woefully ignorant about some of the details of these characters, that’s because I am!

I just talked about the packaging a few days ago, so I won’t dwell on it much more. It’s attractive, it embraces the style and color pallet associated with the game, and it’s totally collector friendly. If you like to keep your figures and accessories in the boxes and line them up on a bookshelf, then you should be really happy with these! Just compare this bright and snappy package to Hasbro’s own Star Wars Black Series, and let’s just say that there’s a reason I pitch all those boxes right away, but I’m going to try to hang onto these.

If you ever needed a great example of how Overwatch’s sometimes wacky character design just oozes personality, well look no further than Lucio here. I would stop short of calling him distinctive, because Lucio actually looks like he’d be right at home in Jet Set Radio on the Dreamcast. So much so, it’s almost impossible for me to believe that he isn’t a direct homage. Seriously, when I’m playing around with this figure, I catch myself humming Sweet Soul Brother.  From the icon on his shirt to the hard-light blades that he zips around on, everything about Lucio is beautifully executed in a figure that is both a killer sculpt and as colorful as candy. I mean, just look at this dude! The design gave Hasbro plenty to work with, including the complex robotic design of his legs, which includes a mix of lovely blue armor plates, lime green kneepads, and a gray framework underneath. Not to mention a couple of cables that run from the front to back. Are these all part of what’s powering those slick skates? I don’t really know, but they look amazing. I’m particularly fond of the translucent green plastic that makes up those hard-light blades.

I dig the iconography on his shirt, which is very reminiscent of the previously mentioned Jet Set Radio, and he wears a backpack that I presume is part of his audio gear. The yellow unit houses a golden speaker-like disc, and even his belt-buckle has a little sound wave pattern etched into it. As great as the sculpting is on this guy, I have to say it’s the coloring that really sells it. It’s so bright and dynamic and celebrates all that is so damn visually appealing about the game.

Lucio’s portrait is equally well detailed, thanks to his DJ rig, which includes a mic and headphone on his left ear and a translucent green visor that covers his eyes. The portrait is sharp and it’s capped off by a ridiculous set of chunky dreads. Ok, these are probably the one facet of the figure that doesn’t match a lot of the character models I’ve seen as closely as I would have liked. And while I’m on the subject of nitpicking, I got me a QC beef. My figure has some unfortunate yellow paint splatter on his visor. Yeah, it’s one of those problems with buying a figure sight-unseen online. I just have to decide whether it upsets me enough to return him and get a better one, because it does not seem to want to come off.

Lucio sports some improved articulation over Sombra, and I’ve come to expect those differences between Hasbro’s 6-inch male and female characters. That means Lucio benefits from having double hinges in his elbows, and swivels in his biceps. The ball joint in the torso is also not impeded by any soft plastic covering. All this means he’s a remarkably fun figure to play around with. I’ll also note here that he comes with two extra hands, both of which are lefties. One has him gesturing with two fingers, and the other is balled into a fist. Let’s move on to accessories!

I’m actually starting with the effect parts, because these are actually great. You get two translucent green tracks for his skates. They simply fit around the base of the skates and while the figure can stand quite well without them, they do add a lot of stability. Most of you know that I’m not a huge fan of Hasbro’s effect parts, but these are really well designed and I can’t imagine I’ll be displaying the figure without them. And thank god these are so good, because Lucio only comes with one additional accessory.

Ah, but yeah it’s an important one… his Sonic Amplifier. This chunky piece of tech includes a cable that plugs into the notch on Lucio’s right bicep. It’s very well detailed and includes a blue painted shield on top, which matches his leg armor, and a green painted emitter on the front. It fits perfectly in his hand and completes the package quite nicely. Yes, the cable is prone to pulling out of his arm from time to time, but at least it goes back in really easily.

As much as I liked Sombra, I have to say I’m digging Lucio even more. This is a fun character design that has made the transition to plastic form without skipping a beat. Plus, there’s just something about the coloring here that scratches my itch. It’s rare for me to collect a line of figures based on a property that I don’t really consume, but that just goes to show how appealing this line is to me. I’m only two figures in, and I’m already dedicated to picking up whatever Hasbro decides to put out.

Overwatch Ultimates: Sombra by Hasbro

Oh yeah, did I mention I’m collecting this line? Did I also mention that I’ve never played the game and probably never will? I honestly fell in love with the character design and personality of this game the very first time I watched the teaser and some of the cinematics. But I’m not one to play multiplayer FPS games, so I knew it was never going to be something I actually played. How else to indulge in the characters? Well, with action figures of course! I while back I looked at Figma’s release of Tracer. She was a great figure, but I wasn’t prepared to go too deep at that price point, so I was glad to see Hasbro answer the call with their own line. And just to keep things moving along, I’m going to try to check out two of the figures from the first wave this week. And we’re starting with Sombra.

The boxes are very attractive with the die-cut character art on the front panel and the partial window, which wraps a bit to the side panel. The gray, white, and orange colors match the familiar palette that the game employs. The back panel features some more character art, some stats about the character, and some shots of other characters from the wave. The box is totally collector friendly, and for some reason I’m actually thinking of hanging on to these boxes, even though I’m sure I’ll just end up throwing them out in a few weeks when I get frustrated over the lack of space. OK, let’s have a look at Sombra! Who is Sombra? You’ll never know!

Hacker supreme, Olivia Colomar comes sporting her delightfully distinctive battle dress, all of which is reproduced in soft plastic and laid onto the figure. It allows for some very nice detail and some beautifully vibrant colors, including lavender, purple, silver, and aqua. I particularly dig how the There’s no doubt Hasbro invested a lot of love and attention to her costume. Her legs are painted with long purple stockings and her shoes are sculpted so that you can make out her toes. There’s also a very cool gradation between the purple on her legs and the aqua of her boots. My only complaint here is that while the dress does look good, the fact that it’s laid onto the figure makes it a bit bulkier than it probably should have been.

The portrait is especially nice as well. I think they’ve captured all of Sombra’s cuteness, even if she does look a bit younger than her game model. Her hair sweeps off to the right side of her head, curling up at the ends and terminating in a playful purple. The exposed scalp on the left side shows a pattern in her shaved head, and the paint on her eyes and lips is executed beautifully. She even has the hint of a scar protruding through her left eyebrow.

The articulation here is more or less right in line with Hasbro’s Marvel Legends females. That means 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 lateral rockers. It’s kind of hard to see what’s going on under that dress, but I’m guessing there’s a ball joint under her chest. Alas, the heavy dress does curtail a lot of movement there. The head is attached below the neck, and here too it’s tough to get a lot of movement because of her high collar. Moving on to accessories…

Sombra comes with her machine pistol, which I can best describe as a sci-fi infused Uzi on steroids. The weapon features plenty of detail and some blue paint apps on the black plastic. Both her hands are sculpted with trigger fingers, so she can comfortably hold it in either hand. The magazine extends way past the grip, but it is not removable. No big surprise there.

Next up, she has her hacking effect part. This is designed to work with either of her second pair of more relaxed hands. There are tiny holes in one end to pass her fingers through. The effect stays on quite well and I’m glad they didn’t opt to sculpt this as part of the hand, because having the extra pair sure is nice.

And lastly, she has her Translocator, giving her the power to teleport to wherever she can toss it. There isn’t a lot to say about this piece. It’s a simple sculpt and cast in black plastic. There’s a little lavender paint on the top, and she can hold it in pretty much any of her hands.

Sombra gets nothing but kudos from me in terms of sculpt and paint. She’s a beautiful looking figure that really captures the spirit of the character and the game’s art design. What’s more, with the gun and translocator, she comes with everything I would expect to be included, plus the effect part, which was a nice surprise. If I had any nits to pick here, it would be that I wish the dress were a little less bulky and restrictive. All in all, I’m still very happy with how this figure turned out, and she’s certainly made me excited about opening some more. At the $20 price point, these fall right in line with Hasbro’s other 6-inch lines, like Marvel Legends or the Star Wars Black Series, in terms of quality and value. Give me a few days, and hopefully I’ll be back with a look at Lucio!

Marvel Gallery: Black Cat by Diamond Select

Welcome to another Marvel Monday, and as you can tell by the title, today I am giving Marvel Legends a rest in favor of one of Diamond Select’s new(ish) Marvel Gallery statues. No, it’s not going to help me get caught up with my stupidly huge Legends backlog, but truth be told, delivering three reviews last week didn’t give me enough time to prepare a Legends review today, and checking out these statues doesn’t take me nearly as long. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy checking them out!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I reviewed DST’s Supergirl Gallery statue, so I won’t spend a whole lot of time on the packaging. Suffice it to say these come in attractive window boxes, with clear plastic on the front and top panels, as well as the sides. These offer plenty of light to see what you’re getting, and while I buy these online, I recommend picking them up at a local comic shop if you can. That allows you to check the paint, and make sure you aren’t getting a dud. With that having been said, I’ve had pretty good luck with mine. The box is collector friendly, and Felicia doesn’t require any assembly.

And here she is out of the box, on the shelf, and looking pretty fabulous. This is definitely one of the most unique entries to the Marvel Gallery line, as most of the releases tend to focus on the figure with the base seeming like an afterthought. But not here! Black Cat crouches on one knee atop a Spider-Man themed safe, presumably one that she just cracked open. Perhaps Web Head himself has entered the room, because she’s frozen in what could be a defensive stance and ready to pounce. Let’s have a look at Felicia first!

I definitely dig the pose here. It’s very dynamic and works extremely well for the character. She looks like she may have just jumped back atop the safe after opening it, and is ready to go a few rounds with a rival. This is definitely classic Black Cat, with the slick bodysuit, garnished with the tufts of white fur around the forearms, lower legs, collar, and plunging neckline. The suit itself doesn’t feature much detail, but it does have a very nice blueish-black sheen to it that mimics the coloring right out of the comic panels. The sculpt shows off all of her curves, and even a little bit of musculature under the suit.

My one real complaint here is something I’ve seen before, at least a few times in the line. If you haven’t guessed, it’s the seams that ring her shoulders and her right leg at the pelvis. Obviously, these are where the statue was assembled, but it’s disappointing that they aren’t able to apply some kind of sculpty to conceal these better. Is it a deal breaker for me? Meh, not really. Not in a budget line like this one. But it’s something that I’m probably always going to notice when I’m admiring her.

I think the sculptor did a nice job on the portrait. She’s pretty, easily recognizable, and the paint on her lips and eyes is all quite clean. Her domino mask is actually part of the sculpt and the paint lines around it are also very crisp. The silver tag hanging off of her collar is a nice touch too.

The safe represents nearly half this statue’s height and it really elevates the composition here. The door is partially opened showing the contents inside: Bundles of cash, gold bars, and scattered gems. There’s even few bundles of cash that look like they’ve spilled out onto the ground. The front of the safe is painted with a Spider-Man motif and features the dial and lever. You can even see the two locking bolts protruding from inside the door.

Even with the unfortunate seams from assembly, I’d still say this statue is quite a worthwhile piece. It’s one of the more compelling examples of creative composition this line has shown. And at about $40, the quality here is very good for a statue in this price range. Indeed, I’d dare say that if I didn’t know better, it could pass for something a bit more costly. I’ve been really trying to curtail my Gallery statue purchases lately, because I am running out of space for them, so it’s a testament to how good these are that I can’t seem to stay away.

Halloween (2018): Ultimate Laurie Strode by NECA

Earlier in the week I checked out NECA’s Ultimate Michael Myers figure, based on his appearance in the most recent film in the Halloween franchise. That release was quite special in its own way, as it marked the long overdue return of the Halloween license to NECA’s loving, and abundantly-skilled, hands. But today’s figure? Oh boy, this one is a release that was against all odds. It’s not only Laurie Strode, but it’s Laura “elderly, survivalist-wack-job, ass-kickin, and unbelievably amazing” Strode. Yeah, it’s a great time to be a horror action figure collector, my friends!

I don’t think it would be accurate to call Jamie Lee Curtis my very first celebrity crush, but she’s gotta rank in rather closely. I cut my teeth on the first two Halloween films at a shockingly young age and I’m not ashamed to admit that JLC sure made me feel all funny down there. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed her films. Fast forward to the 2018 Halloween, and her wonderful character arc just made her all the more appealing. Older, Grittier, and a total badass. One time hot Final Girl blossomed into I-Ain’t-Takin’-No-More-Shit-Granny and she has never been more awesome. We just talked about the Ultimate packaging a few days ago with my Michael Myers review, so I won’t spend any time on it here, other than to say how much I love the art on the front panel. That’s it… let’s just jump right into the figure.

Laurie comes sporting the latest offering from the Survival Chic catalog. I honestly couldn’t even remember much about what she wore in the film, but I’ll happily accept this as screen accurate because I know NECA does their homework and always has an eye for details. She’s got a pair of black trousers with stitch lines running down the sides, and partially tucked into her woodland boots. And I might add the sculpting on the laces and individually painted eyelets just shows you how much love NECA pours into these figures. Whenever I can admire details in an average, everyday costume like this, that’s how I know they are masters at their trade.

Working our way up, she’s got a thin brown belt with a knife sheath on her right hip, a dark blue t-shirt, and a jacket which makes use of the old trick of using sleeveless soft plastic and sculpting the sleeves onto the arms. Like the boots, the jacket sports all sorts of great details, from the sculpted pockets and wrinkles, to the stitch lines and carefully painted silver zipper tracks. She even has a tiny cross hanging from a chain around her neck, both of which are part of the body sculpt. The articulation here is basically the same as we saw with Myers, and yes that does include the double rotating hinges in the elbows. As some of you may know, Hasbro’s elbow articulation gender inequality in their Marvel Legends figures is a big sticking point for me, and it’s nice to see that Laurie here doesn’t take a hit just because she’s a woman.

But the gushing doesn’t stop there, because now we get to the portraits, and wow are these great. I think the likeness is instantly recognizable, although I will say I think it looks better from an angle than when viewed from dead on. If I were to nitpick, I might suggest that it could have used some more age lines, especially since these are very apparent in the art from the box. The film did not play down JLC’s age, and I really respected that about the film and the actress. But when the figure looks this good, why complain?

The secondary head looks more or less identical, with the one exception being the granny glasses. I’d argue that these are some of the best executed glasses I’ve seen in this scale. Now, did I really need a second head to display her with or without glasses? Nah, if the extra head weren’t in there, I wouldn’t have missed it. Did NECA throw it in anyway? You bet your ass they did! They cool like that. What other extras are in the box? Let’s have a look!

NECA bundled enough weapons in here to make their own Ultimate Sarah Connor jealous. She also comes with a right hand that is sculpted with a trigger finger to work with all the guns, and a left hand that is designed to cradle the long arms. The first of the guns is her Smith & Wesson Model 66. This is the one she was using for target practice in the yard. The sculpt is ridiculously well detailed for such a tiny weapon, and includes some really nice silver paint and brown paint on the grips.

Next up, we get one of my all-time favorite rifles, the Winchester Model 1873. This one really appeals to the Western lover in me, and it was great to see it make an appearance in the film and in this figure’s accessory list. Once again, you get some wonderful detail in the sculpt, and the paint includes an authentic finish to both the metal and the wood.

And finally, Laurie comes with her own boomstick, and another iconic beauty, the Mosberg 500 shotgun. This one is easily the simplest sculpt of the three firearms, but it’s still quite accurate and her left hand is sculpted to fit the pump action slider very well.

And just when you think we might be done, Laurie comes with one more weapon, and that’s this little survival knife. It fits into the sheath that hangs off the belt on her right hip and the sheath itself is a magnificent little piece of work. It features a retaining strap for the hilt, sculpted stitching, and teeny-tiny rivets, which are individually painted in silver. The kicker is that this entire thing is only visible if you peel back her jacket flap, which just goes to show you how much love NECA puts into these figures. The knife itself is very small, and Laurie comes with an extra right hand sculpted specifically to hold it with a tight grip. I dig the finish on the blade. It looks like it might be intended to be a Damascus blade.

What more can I say, other than, “HOLY HELL, WE GOT A LAURIE STRODE FIGURE!!!” What other company would take the risk of making a figure like this? I can’t think of many. And all I can say is I hope she sells well enough to justify it. NECA did a beautiful job with this one, and I consider an essential companion figure to the 2018 Michael Myers. What’s more, I’m so happy to see this license back in NECA’s hands and I’m eagerly looking forward to the classic Halloween II version of Myers that’s supposed to be shipping sometime this month. Keep them coming, NECA, and I promise to even buy versions of The Shape from the movies I hated.

Halloween (2018): Ultimate Michael Myers by NECA

Since I’ve been back to semi-regular content, I’ve been trying to spread the love around to the offerings I collect from various toy companies that are piling up on the floor of my Toy Closet. I’ve also been trying to combine some reviews when possible to help me not be so far behind. This week, I thought a return to NECA was long overdue. I’ve got tons of new NECA figures to look at, so today let’s open up the Ultimate version of Michael Myersfrom the recent 2018 film. I had originally intended this to be a dual review of both Myers and Laurie Strode, but I found that I had a fair amount to say about each of these figures, so I’m breaking it up into two reviews, which will hopefully both post this week.

I’ve been a dedicated fan of NECA’s Ultimate line, so it should come as no surprise that I was beyond excited to get this figure. As always, these Ultimate releases come in what appear to be enclosed boxes, but actually have opening front flaps to show off the figure and accessories inside. The front panel looks fantastic, there are lots of pictures of the goodies inside, and the box is collector friendly. Yup, these are some of the few figures that I keep in their boxes, not only to keep all the accessories together, but also because NECA’s Ultimates look great lined up on bookshelves. And oooh, look at that sticker! There’s a flickering pumpkin inside!!! As for the film? I really enjoyed it. I don’t think it was mind-blowing, or in any way exceptional, but it was refreshing in its simplicity, especially when you consider what a shit-show the Halloween franchise had become. It’s been a long time since I cared about these movies, and I feel that the new one set things back on a positive track. So let’s get this box open and check out The Shape!

I have to imagine that even people who didn’t care for the movie, would still have to concede that Myers never looked better. And as usual, the same can be said of NECA’s version. Granted, from the neck down, this isn’t a terribly complex or flashy sculpt, it’s a just a dude in a boiler suit, but it’s still loaded with details. You get wrinkles and rumples, pockets, stitching, and all that jazz. Exciting? Maybe not, but it sure looks great, right down to the meticulously sculpted work boots.

The high collar of the suit gives way to the iconic mask and this portrait is fabulous. The expressionless visage of the Shatner mask has chiseled creases and wear making it look as frighting as ever. As time wore on, the mask began to take on more detail, which lends itself well to the HD age of film. I also really dig the way the shock of hair is swept back and the mask ends high enough so you can see Myers’ real neck protruding from it. And then you have what might be a sticking point for some classic Halloween fans, and that’s the eyes visible through the holes in the mask. There’s some wonderful depth here that really makes the mask feel like it was layered onto the head and there’s a face sculpt under there. And let’s not forget, this is Myers as he appears in the 2018 film. A film that dared show a glimpse of Myers unmasked.

But, let’s say you don’t like the visible eyes, and you just want a pair of vacant black pools where his peepers should be? That’s right, you get an alternate head to suit your preferences. It’s actually a completely different sculpt, with subtle changes in the mask itself, and the hair is a lot less unruly. And the eyes are actually still in there, they’ve just been painted over to make them harder to see. Normally, I would prefer the blacked out eyes, but to be honest, I think the first mask just looks loads better, and it’s probably the one I will go with for the display. It’s certainly the one I went with for a majority of the pictures in this review.

The articulation here is very good, and it even holds a few surprises in the elbows. NECA is usually content with giving their figures rotating hinges in the shoulders, but Myers here has double-rotating hinges! Yeah, they’ve done this before, and it’s nice to see them doing it again. It allows for a much tighter bend in the elbow, and overall better posing. As for the rest, the shoulders are rotating hinges, and the wrists are ball jointed… or so I thought! They’re actually pegs on tiny ball joints, similar to what we get with a lot of Sixth-Scale figures these days. Not bad! The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. I’m not sure what’s hiding under the rubber boiler suit in the torso, but it does feel like there’s some movement in there. Finally, he has a ball joint in the neck. Let’s move on to the accessories!

First off, Myers comes with a modest assortment of killing tools. These include a bloody hammer, a fireplace implement, and his rather iconic butcher knife. He also comes with extra hands to help him hold each of these. Actually, you get both a right and left accessory holding hand, so he can dual wield if you like. Extra weapons are always nice, but there’s only so much I can say about these. The very iconic butcher knife is my favorite. To me, it’s as much a part of Myers, as Jason Voorhees’ machete is to him, or Leatherface’s chainsaw is to that demented freak. As for the others, the poker is very thin and frail, and I probably won’t be pulling it out much just for fear of snapping it. The hammer is great, and I appreciate the bloody paint apps, but it’s still just a tiny hammer.

Myers also comes with a left hand with two of the fingers blown off. God bless ya, NECA. You really do think of everything!

Also included in the box is the severed head of the police officer from Laurie Strode’s protection detail that Myers decapitates. And wow is this a delightfully gruesome piece of work! I’d dare say that this is one of the most grizzly accessories I’ve seen included with a horror figure. I dig how it’s been hollowed out and carved up like a Jack-O-Lantern, complete with the eyes taken out. Yup, this is pure nightmare fuel cast into plastic and lovingly painted.

Next up is the grave-marker of Judith Myers, which is a nice addition to the little collection of headstones that NECA has been giving to us with some of their Ultimate horror figures. This one is very thin and lightweight, but it looks fine, and will make a nice addition to the display when off-set behind him on the shelf.

And finally, you get the accessory that’s so damn good, they had to call it out on the package with a sticker. At first, I assumed this would be the iconic Jack-O-Lantern from the credits, but in a really nice callback, it’s actually Vicky’s pumpkin with the heart-shaped eyes and nose. You know, the one that wound up in the fishtank! The lighting effect is activated by pushing down ont he top of the pumpkin and it really is superbly done.

Who doesn’t love Halloween in August, eh? Finally seeing Michael Myers done by NECA feels so right and this is yet another Ultimates release that they knocked right out of the park. The sculpt and articulation on the figure itself are both great, and the entire package is elevated by the wonderful accessories. There’s enough here for plenty of fun, as well as some great display options. And to think, when I pre-ordered this figure, I imagined it was going to be the only Myers that we get out of NECA because of licensing issues. Of course, they have since shown off the Halloween II version of The Shape, and that one has me very excited. But hell, even if they couldn’t swing that deal, I still would have been perfectly happy with this figure representing Myers on my Slasher Shelf! And what could possibly be cooler than this? How about a figure of Laurie Strode from the 2018 movie as well? Yup, we got that too, and I hope to be back by the weekend to have a look at that figure!

Marvel Legends: Captain Marvel (Starforce) by Hasbro

Hey hey, it’s another Marvel Monday, and today’s review is going to be kind of, sort of, random. I couldn’t get into the main stack of unopened Legends because there’s so much backlog piling up in my Toy Closet, but I do have a bag of more recent acquisitions on top. So, I reached my paw into that sack and pulled out the Starforce version of Captain Marvel as Vers. Yeah, that’ll work. Today has also reminded me that I have to start cataloging which Legends I have waiting to be opened, or I’m going to start buying doubles by mistake. Yeah, I have a problem.

I want to say this is a Target Exclusive, because that’s the only place I’ve seen it, but there’s no sticker or anything to call it out as such. It’s also not officially part of the Captain Marvel-inspired Kree Sentry Wave. But this package makes up for lacking a BAF part by cramming a whole bunch of extra goodies, as well as the ability to change it into an entirely different character! The package does identify her as Captain Marvel, rather than Vers/Minn-Erva, but at least it states she’s in her Starforce costume. Let’s take a look!

As Vers, we’ve pretty much seen this figure before. It is indeed a straight repaint of the Captain Marvel we saw in the Kree Sentry Wave. And that’s not a bad thing, because I love the suit design, and I particularly love all the sculpted detail that Hasbro put into it. From the panel lines to the details of the belt, and the starburst in the center of her chest, everything looks great and matches that hyper-detailed style that the MCU loves so much. And since the bodies are identical, I’ll just refer you back to my original review of Captain Marvel for the particulars on articulation.

Obviously, the big change here is the coloring, which eschews the red and blue for the Starforce green and black motif. I think it looked pretty great on Yon-Rogg and it looks really nice here as well. The metallic green paint looks incredibly sharp and has a beautiful sheen to it. It pairs with the black and silver trim and makes for a figure that really pops on the shelf. The paint lines on my figure are all pretty crisp, without any notable flubs to speak of. It is worth mentioning that the silver lines coming away from the starburst are painted to look thinner than on the Captain Marvel costume, which does set the two suit designs slightly apart. I’ll assume this was done on purpose, but to be honest, I’ve only seen this movie once, so I can’t remember all the particulars of this costume.

Vers comes with two heads, and yes they are the same two that came with the original release. The hooded portrait has been repainted to match the suit, and still features that faint smirk, as well as the sculpted shock of hair that forms her mohawk. Like the suit, there’s some fantastic detail sculpted into the helmet. The alternate unmasked head looks as good as ever. I think this figure would have been a worthwhile pick up as things go so far, but I haven’t even gotten into the extras. Let’s check out Minn-Erva.

As Minn-Erva, the figure offers a new head sculpt, an ammo strap, and a rifle. You also get two extra hands to hold the weapon, and these are definitely intended for Minn-Erva because the fingers are painted blue. The bandoleer strap rests on her left shoulder, has what I presume are some kind of power cartridges for the rifle, and it looks like it has either a holster for a pistol or a pouch to carry more stuff in. The sash is sculpted to blow a bit back, behind her head and shoulders. I wouldn’t say that these pieces totally transform the figure, but they do offer enough distinction to make it work as another character wearing a similar uniform.

The head sculpt is great, but also a bit perplexing. It doesn’t really look like they were going for the MCU version of the character. Maybe they didn’t get likeness rights, but it comes across looking like a modern version of the comic character. With that having been said, it’s a damn fine sculpt, I like the styling of the hair and the exposed area on the left side of the scalp line. The paint looks good, although there’s quite a bit of slop along the top edge of my figure’s mask. It’s not something I really notice with the figure in hand, but it does stand out in the close up shots.

Her other accessory is her Kree rifle and I dig it a lot, both in design and execution. It’s got a very slender and almost organic profile to it. And while it’s cast in a silver plastic, it does have some metallic blue paint applications to give it some more detail. It also has a scope sculpted onto the top. Minn-Erva can hold the weapon comfortably in her right hand and the trigger finger threads easily through the guard. Her other hand allows her to cradle the barrel or steady it for precision shooting.

It would have been really easy for Hasbro to just slap a repaint of the Captain Marvel figure into a box and call it a day, so it’s nice to see they didn’t take the lazy route here. In fairness, I probably would have picked this figure up even had that been the case, but I’m very happy to have the extra options. Some might take issue with the Minn-Erva head sculpt, but it still works well enough for me. And who knows? If this one turns up at a good enough price, I may eventually buy a second so I can display both characters on the shelf.

DC Gallery: Supergirl by Diamond Select

It does my heart good to be coming back with a third review this week. It makes me even happier to relive the old days with a DC Friday review! I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of Gallery statues I buy from DST, because they were getting out of hand, but this past month, they’ve released a bunch that I simply could not resist. Today, I’m opening up one of those, and it is indeed… Supergirl! In case you’re unfamiliar, these are roughly 9-inch scale, budget-priced PVC statues, and DST churns out a lot of them!

We’ve already seen Supergirl twice in the DC Gallery line, both of which were based off the animated Justice League Unlimited series, with one for regular release and one as an SDCC Exclusive. If you’ve been with me for the three dozen or so Gallery Statue reviews I’ve done here on FFZ, then you should be readily familiar with the packaging. These statues come in collector friendly window boxes, with windows on the front, top, and side panels. This particular box is a little larger than most of the Gallery statue boxes in order to incorporate the rather dynamic pose. The statue inside is nestled in a clear clamshell, letting you see what you’re getting from almost every angle. In this case, the box itself is nice and colorful, with some beautiful character art on the back (even if it doesn’t match the statue at all!) and her S-Shield printed on the back of the interior tray. All that is great because I am currently displaying these statues in their boxes. Let’s get Kara out of the box and check her out!

The statue comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display, and looking mighty fine! For the most part DST has been producing these statues with fairly static and reserved composition. That’s certainly not the case here, as Supergirl is seen bursting forth from a fiery explosion and ripping a chain in half. No doubt, an eeeevil chain! She has one leg drawn up at the knee with her other leg trailing down and touching the base. The pose shows off both her power and the grace of her curves beautifully. Straightaway, I’m going to say that this is one of my favorite poses this line has done, and it’s also one of the better poses I’ve seen on a Supergirl statue recently. It exhibits some great keneticism and excitement, and it just captures the character perfectly.

I’m also very fond of the costume style they chose here. She sports the blue long-sleeved crop-top and skirt, yellow belt, red boots, and the flowing red cape. As is routine for these statues, all of the details of the costume are incorporated into the sculpt, right down to some subtle wrinkles. This goes a long way to bring the costume to life and it often helps keep the paint in line too. And the coloring is also very much on point. The shades of red and blue go great together and include nice subtleties like a glossier finish on the boots and a matte finish on the cape. The S-Shields on both her chest and the back of her cape look nice and crisp. The skin tone is warm and even, but my one nit-pick would be that it’s a little too glossy for my taste. It’s not so bad under normal lighting, but my studio lights make her look like her skin is wet and glistening. Eh, maybe that’s not so bad.

I was a little unsure of this portrait from the initial solicitation shots, but I think it turned out quite good in person. Indeed, I like it even more than DC Collectibles’ Cover Girl version of Supergirl, and that one is no slouch either. The paint on the eyes and lips are sharp, and I like how her mouth is slightly parted to show that it took the tiniest bit of effort to rip apart that chain. The hair sculpt isn’t terribly dynamic, but it does kick off to the side a bit to offer a little windblown look. I’m not sure this portrait is based on any particular art, but she’s pretty and I think it’s an overall  good look for Kara.

Bases have not always been the best thing about DST’s Gallery statues. It’s not that a lot of them are bad, but they’re just kind of there. That’s sort of the case here. Supergirl’s base is serviceable and lends itself well to the action pose. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but I’m assuming it’s just a ball of fire from an explosion. I suppose it could just as easily be a fiery comet or something. Not knowing what it is doesn’t really compliment the sculpt that much, but I’m willing to accept it as an abstract construct.

And before wrapping it up, I thought I’d toss in a shot of Gallery Supergirl alongside the previously mentioned Cover Girl Supergirl by DC Collectibles. Obviously, the costumes and styles are different, and this is a PVC statue as opposed to cold cast porcelain, but I think the Gallery statue holds up remarkably well against the competition. Plus, the PVC material is a lot more durable.

Once upon a time I used to call Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line the best value in statue collecting. Well, two things have happened for me to revoke that praise. First, Koto has raised their prices a lot. Second, DST’s Gallery line has come along. And while the quality here isn’t on par with Koto’s, at around forty bucks, this is an extremely nice display piece for the money. A lot of thought went into the composition, the sculpt is excellent, and the paint only shows a few minor rough patches, which aren’t even worth it to me to complain about. As always, I would recommend buying these in person whenever possible, so you can scrutinize the paint you’re getting, but this one came to me in the mail, and I did just fine with what I got.