GI JOE Classified: Zartan by Hasbro

Ah, Zartan! He was one of my favorite characters back in the day. His figure was cool enough, with his color-changing skin and his swamp skimmer vehicle, but I think it was his appearance in The Revenge of Cobra mini-series that really sold me on the character. He was a mercenary, he was leader of a biker gang, he was a master of disguise, and his daring rescue of Cobra Commander from Blackwater Prison is still among my favorite GI JOE Sunbow moments. Needless to say, I was hotly anticipating his appearance in the new Classified series, and was happy that Hasbro didn’t keep me waiting long.

OK, so I’m a little mad at Hasbro for not releasing Zartan as a Deluxe with his swamp skimmer. The Chameleon hasn’t gotten a lot of love over the years, and it would have been the perfect vehicle for the 6-inch scale. But I suppose that’s not out of the question for a future re-release. Besides, one look at this figure in the package, and all was forgiven. The character art on the package is amazing, and the looks to be no slouch either. Let’s get him out of his box and check him out!

Most of the Classified figures have been marrying old and new design elements, but Zartan feels like he has his feet firmly planted in tradition. Indeed, he kind of looks like he borrows elements from the original figure and Sideshow’s Sixth-Scale version, which happens to be my favorite look for the character. He dons a pair of dark brown trousers with chunky combat boots and while he isn’t wearing a shirt, he does have armor on his chest, shoulders, and a pair of armored gauntlets. There’s some excellent attention to detail here, including the texturing on his trousers, the sculpted straps holding his armor pieces on, and even the tiny sculpted rivets that secure his chest piece. He’s got a belt that hangs around his waist, as well as a sculpted one with a Dreadnok-themed skull buckle. Everything about him looks rugged and ready for action!

The portrait is also excellent! The original figure and cartoon always had me wondering whether that thing on his head was a hood or his hair, but that’s been long since answered and here we can easily tell he’s a bald man wearing a hood. The hood is pretty rigid and stays on well. It features some reinforced areas that resemble some kind of reptile scale hide. Zartan is also sporting a brown scarf around his neck, which can be removed.

With the hood off, we can get a better look at the head sculpt. Zartan is sporting a little smirk and some really nice definition to his facial features. He’s also got a little Robert Z’Dar action going on with his chin. Naturally he has his iconic eye tatts, painted in a glossy black, and his eyes have a not-quite human appearance to them.

Zartan’s belt includes a sheath for his rather large combat knife. The sheath is textured to resemble alligator hide and the curved grip includes a finger loop, which works with the trigger finger on his right hand. The black blade is a nasty piece of business, with a slight swell to the edge and a serrated back.

His belt also has holes to peg in these two… I dunno, trophies? One is a snake’s head with its mouth wide open and about to strike, the other looks like a monkey hand. I’m really not sure if these are supposed to be trophies or part of some kind of swamp mojo fetishes, but they look cool and add a lot of character to the figure. And if you don’t like them, you can easily remove them and toss them in a bin.

Next up is his trusty pistol, and the design of this one is clearly influenced by the sidearm that came with the original figure. It’s a rather boxy looking design, and I absolutely love it. Sadly he has no holster for it, but it can be clipped to the side of his backpack. Backpack? Let’s check out the backpack!

The backpack is another accessory heavily influenced by the original figure. It’s large and bulky and contains one of Zartan’s masks. This large and boxy piece of kit opens to reveal some beautiful sculpted details, including some licks of red paint on the interior. The mask fits snugly in the compartment and can be worn by Zartan in conjunction with his hood, just like on the original Real American Hero figure. Nope, clearly that is not Zartan. It’s just some other guy wearing his clothes!

As far as I’m concerned, Classified Zartan is another direct hit for this series! Hasbro kept pretty faithful to his original design, while mixing in some gritty realism, and the result is spectacular. There’s some beautiful detail work on his armor, his accessories are all on point, and he looks great when displayed with Classified Cobra Commander and Destro. And yes, I’d still like to see a Deluxe version of Zartan with The Chameleon, although if we do get him packed with a ride, it’ll probably be just a recycled motorcycle from the Marvel Legends line.

Boglins: King Drool by TriAction Toys

For me, The 80’s will long be remembered as the decade that put action figures on the map, but it also brought us so many other kinds of memorable toys. The Boglins snuck in at the tail end of the decade when I was in my mid teens and getting out of toys, albeit only for a brief hiatus. Still, I was tuned in enough to remember the commercials and being curious about them. These rubber puppets capitalized on a number of popular gimmicks of the day, including the gross-out genre, the puppet oeuvre, and little nasty creature flicks that were popular at the time. A little research told me that they were first shopped to Coleco for their Sectaurs line, but eventually wound up as their own thing from Mattel. And now, these “Outrageous Creatures That Come Alive In Your Hands” are back, thanks to TriAction Toys and a successful Crowdfunded effort. Let’s take a look at King Drool!

Like the original Boglins, Drool comes in a package made to look like a combination cage and live animal shipping crate. The box itself is cardboard, but the bars on the front are plastic. There’s illustrated sawdust on the bottom of the crate’s interior and the Boglin inside quivers and jiggles when you move the box, making it seem rather alive. The back of the package has a little history of the Boglin creatures and some illustrations of their evolution as a species. The same three big boys made a return in this rejuvenated line, including Dwork, Vlobb and Drool. The box also teases smaller Boglins. These started out on Kickstarter with a $50 buy in, but have since gone up for pre-order at various retailers and are supposedly going to be made available at some brick-and-mortar retail locations as well.

The package is sort of collector friendly. A zip-tie holds the cage door shut. Snip it and it can be lifted open. A few more strategic wire-tie snips will allow you to remove your Boglin from the box without damaging his home. There is an outline on the bottom of the box to cut out if you want to be able to work him as a puppet while he’s still in the crate. Either way, you will have to cut into the compartment at the bottom of the crate to remove his tail and the hardware used to attach it. He will fit in the cage with his tail on, and I rather wish they had included it on him from the get-go. Just take note that it’s in there, because nothing on the box actually discloses that information.

Out of the box, I’ll confess that my first impressions were a bit mixed on this guy. As a recreation of the original toy, I think they did a fine job. No, I never owned one, but I’ve checked out some pictures for comparisons. Drool’s body, which is basically a giant head, is hollow rubber for you to insert your hand into, but it holds it’s shape quite well without being filled up with one of my giant paws. I am using a makeshift stand for most of these pictures, as one was not included, and without it he just kind of slumps on the ground like he’s dead or dying. I like the rubber they used, as it is very jiggly and creepy, and I’m glad to see the arms and hands are solid rubber, which makes them sturdy, but not at all rigid. I would have appreciated bendy wire being added to the appendages to make them poseable, but if it wasn’t in the original, you aren’t getting it here. The shoulders sport disks to cover up where they attach to the body. These may look like rotating joints, but they most definitely are not. Finally, there is a very notable seam where the tail attaches, and while it does attach quite firmly, I really would have preferred the seam not be so apparent.

The coloring of this beast is mostly left to the sickly gray-yellow color of the plastic, with some additional spray around the eyes and the tail for variety. You also get some reddish-pink paint on the interior of his mouth and white for the one big tooth. Again, I think the coloring here does a good job reflecting the quality of the original toy, but I’ll bet some people can do some really killer premium custom jobs on these beasties and make them truly shine.

Of course, Drool is a functional puppet, and as such he has a few fun mechanics at work. The most basic is the mouth, which is worked like any normal puppet with your fingers inserting into the top and bottom of the mouth to make it open and close. I’ll note here, that the body cavity is still designed for small hands, and the mouth is rather shallow, which sort of limits the effect of it opening and closing. Much more interesting are the eyes, which are not only plastic and beautifully painted, but also glow in the dark. The Boglin’s peepers are fixed to a lever system, which allows the eyes to shift left and right, and it works very well. There are also levers above each eye, which is supposed to make him blink or wink, and these are a little dodgy.

If it seems like I’m lukewarm on my new pet Boglin, I think it only fair to say I was expecting something a bit more premium for my fifty bucks. Granted, ten bucks of that went to shipping, brings the price in line with the $40 MSRP, which seems to be the going rate at most retailers offering pre-orders. To be fair, this is a really nice recreation of the vintage toy, I was just hoping for some improvements. I mentioned wire in the arms and fingers, but a simple stand would have gone a long way too. There’s also some question over what will differentiate the Kickstarter Boglins from the regular trade release. My box says “First Edition” on it, although many of the packaged pictures being offered for pre-order also show the same. I did get an enamel pin with mine, but considering we helped bring this project to life, it would have been cool to get something a little more substantial to make these Limited Editions. With all that having been said, there’s no doubt the folks at TriAction Toys delivered on their Kickstarter, and I have absolutely no backer’s remorse. Ultimately, I think these would have a good chance at success with a $30 price tag. At $40 they may be a bit harder to sell, although I’m happy enough with mine, that I wouldn’t rule out picking up Dwork and Vlobb as well.

I’m not sure what, if anything, will differentiate the Kickstarter Boglins from the regular retail ones. My box does have First Edition on it, but I’ve seen some pre-orders online showing the same thing on their boxes. Although, those retailers may have just bought stock through the Kickstarter. Mine did come with an enamel pin, so that might be the big backer bonus.

Masters of the Universe Origins: Land Shark by Mattel

I was supposed to have this review up for midweek, but to be honest, I started playing Hades on my Switch and it has been monopolizing a lot of my time. But, here I am just in time for the end of the week with a fun new toy from the MOTU Origins line! When I finally buckled and decided to start collecting a Masters of the Universe line ALL OVER AGAIN, it was ultimately because of the potential for vehicles and playsets. Sure, we got a few in the Classics line, and they were fantabulous, but with Origins‘ focus being more on play, and with it being a smaller scale, I was hoping we’d get a lot of vehicles, and it looks like that’s happening. With only a few waves out, we’ve already seen the Sky Sled (I’ll review that one soon!) and had a pre-order for Castle Grayskull. And now we get The Land Shark!

Land Shark, Land Shark! Land Shark, Land Shark! I’m a 48 year old man and I can still recite the commercial for this thing by heart. Sometimes I sing it to myself at work, so people will stay away from me. And how about this packaging! This tank-shark-hybrid comes in a long window box with an extended back flap featuring some gorgeous vintage-style artwork. And just in case this wasn’t enough to get your MOTU juices flowing, the back of the package shows Castle Grayskull! Where am I going to put that? Who the hell knows!!! I really still haven’t found a place for my Classics Grayskull. The Land Shark requires just a bit of minor assembly as it comes out of the box. The tread and gun on the far side have to be snapped into place. It also comes off again fairly easily if you want to put it back in the box.

And here it is out of the box and ready to roll out and chomp some ass! I have to imagine that even on Eternia, a planet of bat-shit crazy vehicle designs, the Land Shark still garners the reaction, “Holy shit, look at that!” What we have here is basically a half-track with a functional shark head on the front of it and dual laser cannon mounted on the sides. It’s easy to say that it looks ridiculous, but if someone was coming at me with this, I would probably be paralyzed with a combination of bewilderment and abject fear. I’m just being honest. But then, I’m a guy living on planet Earth. For all I know, Eternians drive these things to work. If the combination of war vehicle and shark isn’t enough to stand out, Skeletor also decked this thing out in the most outrageous colors he could imagine. With blue treads and mauve shark bits, gray guns and orange teeth, this thing would still stand out, even in a parking lot full of shark cars.

Now, if you’re expecting anything like the few vehicles we got in the Classics line, well this ain’t it. This is definitely more simple toy than highly detailed collectible, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The treads are just part of the molded side pieces with no paint applications, indeed this is a toy that relies entirely on covered plastic over paint. The sculpted detail is kept to a minimum, but there are still some nice flourishes, like the panel lines and tiny bolts in the shark’s body, as well as some sculpted vents and hatches, and texturing on the seat. The guns look great on the outsides, with tiny shark motif barrels, but they are left hollow and unfinished on the insides.

The Land Shark makes use of stickers for the more highly detailed areas, and I dig that! The controls sticker on the dash board are well illustrated, making this thing look like it’s a lot more complicated to drive than it should be. The back of the vehicle has stickers showing what appear to be some kind of turbine engines, as well as more vents and pipes. The exposed engine block on the back makes this thing easy to get fixed and back on the road for more chomping.

While the treads are just faked out sculpts, the toy does have wheels concealed underneath and rolls along just fine. It even has a mechanism that makes the shark jaws chomp as you roll it along a smooth surface. Apart from that, the cannon on each side of the vehicle can raise and lower so they can shoot straight ahead or at any Wind Raiders that are trying to strafe it from the sky.

The vehicle is designed to hold one figure in the seat, although there are places on the back where you can stand a co-pilot or gunner. I’m not sure that’s intentional, but it works well enough. Skeletor can grip one of the handlebars with his right hand, but not so much his left. It’s not only that he doesn’t have a left grabby hand, but he has to lean in a bit to grab the right one. That’s OK. He probably needs that free hand to push all those damn buttons on the dash board.

There’s a lot of room in the shark mouth for figures to get chomped on. It looks like the design is intended for figures to go in legs first, but either way works. This thing is just all kinds of fun!

I got my Land Shark on Amazon for $29.99, which seems to be the MSRP, although now they’re playing their usual game of cranking up the price as it goes in and out of stock. Checking at the time I’m writing this it’s up to $55. Now, this is a fantastic toy and I love it to bits. I’m seriously smiling ear-to-ear as I have Skeletor chase He-Man and his friends down with it. But… I wouldn’t go higher than thirty bucks on it. Now that Origins has been freed from Walmart’s greedy exclusive grasp, I think these toys are going to be a lot easier to find at various online retailers. But with that having been said, I’m still pre-ordering them whenever I can, because you never know these days.

Marvel Legends (80th Anniversary): Quicksilver, Magneto, and Scarlet Witch by Hasbro

Before starting up another wave of Legends, I thought I’d tackle a few more of the Marvel 80th Anniversary boxed releases. Last time I checked out one Maximoff, this time I’m taking on two more, as well as their one-time (now retconned out) Papa! To the packaged shot!

This set is so gorgeous, and it’s really not doing anything all that special. Just take three great looking figures and spread them out above the X-Men logo and BAM! You’ve got some attractive presentation! But since I’m taking on three figures today, I’m not going to hang about talking about the packaging too much. Instead, let’s tear this baby open and we’ll just take the figures going from left to right. Starting with Quicksilver!

Unlike the other two figures here, this is Pietro’s first appearance in the modern Legends line and he’s looking great. I do love the look of this suit, even if it is achieved entirely through paint instead of original sculpting. And yup, they went with the blue suit over the green, and I’m totally fine with that. The blue and silver deco is very pleasing to the eye. In addition to the mostly blue body, you get pearlescent plastic for the boots, hands, and and a decent paint match for the rest of the gauntlets. He’s got some black undies, and a silver lightning bolt painted as a belt and shoulder strap. In terms of spray-on costumes, this is about as simple as it gets, but it works well and I’ve got no complaints! OK, there are a few minor chips in the lightning bolts, so I guess that’s one complaint.

The head sculpt is decent, but here I do have a few gripes. First, it looks a little chubby, but maybe that’s just me. More importantly, I wish they gave him his more iconic hair. I can’t tell if this hair is recycled and that’s why they didn’t, but it seems like a big oversight to me. Otherwise, the sculpt is well-defined and the paint is sharp!

Quicksilver only comes with a pair of swap out hands, with the fingers held tight and flat for running. I’m also happy that they used a more articulated buck, which includes not only the extra swivels in the lower legs, but also the lateral crunches in the shoulders. Otherwise, the joints are tight and this figure is a pleasure to mess around with. Moving on to Magneto!

We last saw Magneto a few years back as part of the Apocalypse Wave in his more modern costume, but this time Hasbro went for the classic look. I really liked that previous release, but I absolutely LOVE this one. This is my favorite look for the character and this figure pulls it off so well. The one-two punch of crimson red body suit with purple boots, gauntlets, belt, undies, and cape look swonderful, and I really dig the cut-outs on the boots and gloves. The cape is both majestic and cumbersome, and to be fair I’m not sure they could have pulled off one without the other. The heavy bolted piece that crosses above his chest isn’t enough to counterbalance all that plastic hanging behind him. Fortunately, the cape is long enough to help serve as a stand in a lot of poses.

Last time, Magneto came with both helmeted and un-helmeted heads, this time we get two helmeted heads with different expressions. The first is a fairly neutral expression, the second is full-on psycho relishing in his powers. The helmets are superb, and sculpted separately from the head to give it some nice depth. It’s also painted over in the same red and purple to match the rest of the costume. The purple paint on the trim could be a little tighter, but you have to get in pretty close to notice any issues. And while I love the face sculpts on both figures, the paint for the teeth on the second one could have been better. The teeth are brushed over with some white and the spaces between them are just left flesh colored.

Magneto comes with two sets of hands, fists and power wielding hands, and he comes with those ubiquitous energy funnels that we saw last time with Polaris and Havok. I hope whoever designed those babies is working on commission! Here they are translucent purple and they look really good! Moving on to our last stop, Scarlet Witch!

It’s been over five years since a comic version of Scarlet Witch turned up in the modern Legends line. That was such a great figure, I really had no desire to replace her. But Hasbro has come a long way since then and this new version is a vast improvement in a lot of ways. To be fair, this is a slightly different costume with different coloring, so whether this one is better or worse, may come down to personal taste. Here, Wanda is wearing a full pearlescent reddish-pink body suit with scarlet paint used for the boots, gloves, one-piece, and cape. The deco is more limited here, but it still looks quite striking. The cape plunges in the middle behind her neck, and fans out toward her feet. Perhaps one of the most obvious differences with this figure is the re-sizing. The previous Scarlett Witch is an absolute giant compared to this release.

But for me, the high point of this figure is the head sculpt, and WOW, what an amazing job Hasbro did on this one. There’s a quality to the sharpness of detail in the hair, contrasted with the soft features of her face that just blows me away. Her headpiece and hair look as if they are sculpted independently of one another, which makes for some wonderful complexity to the entire portrait. Her eyes are haunting, her lips are razor sharp, and I do believe this may be one of the best portraits Hasbro has turned out for any of their comic-based Legends. This is quite simply top-tier work.

Wanda comes with a pair of Hex Power effect parts, and imagine my surprise, they aren’t the energy funnels! Nope, in this case we just get some translucent red pieces that can be snaked around her wrists. After pointing out how many times Hasbro is using the other ones, I still have to admit I like them a bit more than these, but these are OK.

I can remember pre-ordering this set the moment it was solicited, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. It’s great to finally get Quicksilver in this modern Legends line, and while we already had a Magneto and Scarlet Witch, the Magneto is the Classic look that I wanted, and Wanda is just a surprisingly vast improvement over a figure that I already liked quite a bit. This set just hits all the points with both essential character selection and excellent execution of the figures. I can’t recommend it enough! In retrospect, I wish I had tackled this set in three parts, because each figure could have used my full attention in their own review.

Mythic Legions (All-Stars 3): Lord Draguul by The Four Horsemen

Well, looky here, Toyhounds! It’s a three-review week! I dug deep to carve out enough time to make this happen, and I gotta say that it feels good. Probably won’t last, but let me savor the moment! OK, enough savoring… The Four Horsemen have sent out final address confirmation emails, and that means that a ton more Mythic Legions figures will be on their way soon, including some big horsies! And so I gotta shift into high gear and start opening some more of these beauties until the plastic flood hits. A little while ago I checked out Dorina Onoris from the third round of All-Stars figures. She was designed as an homage to She-Ra and you can’t have She-Ra without Hordak, right? Well, the same assortment of figures also gave us that very homage in the form of Lord Draguul.

Billed as an ancient hero from the Vampyric Wars and rival to Lucretia’s power, Draguul isn’t actually linked to Dorina in his bio, but he still sounds like quite the badass! When I first set eyes on him, I immediately connected him with Baron Volligar from the Covenant of Shadows assortment because of some familiar parts. And while there is certainly a lot that’s borrowed from that figure, there’s a nice mix of other bits and bobs to make this guy his quite distinctive. Give me a minute to get him opened and armored up and we’ll take a look!

Draguul’s armor makes for quite an intimidating visage. From Volligar, he borrows his shoulders, neck armor, waist and hip armor, as well as the gauntlets, grieves and boots, with the rest of the arms and legs left bare to expose his blue skin. But as we’ll soon see, that’s not really his skin, but more like some kind of body suit. T4H also made the bold choice to borrow the cuirass and helmet from heroic Sir Owain and mix it with Volligar’s dragon crest. Finally, the ensemble is completed with a barbaric loin Orc loincloth. It’s an interesting mix, and I think it comes together quite well! I also love how many sharp and jagged points the armor has. When I was swapping out the heads, this figure was poking at my hands left and right. Ouch!

Here, much of armor pieces borrowed from Volligar are left in black and gray, but you do get the addition of red trim in the channels of the cuirass, as well as some more on the grieves. And because T4H can’t help but go the extra mile, the tiny rivets on his hip armor are each painted silver, as are the fixtures on his loin cloth. The colors certainly all conspire to evoke the color palate of Hordak. Indeed, I think it’s the coloring that does it more then anything else with this figure. And even if I had no interest in the homage, I’d still have to admit that the mix of colors here is just gorgeous. Draguul also comes with a rather unique cape, which not only attaches via the shoulders, but also fit around his wrists. It’s shorter than most and creates something of a batwing motif. I dig it a lot!

Owain’s helmet is a rather traditional knightly design, which looks surprisingly great in these sinister colors. The same black and gray from the rest of the armor is mirrored here with similar red trim striping up the center of the helmet and meeting the crest. The visor is sculpted in the down position, but T4H did supply us with an unmasked head to swap out.

I’ve gushed and gushed about how much I love the Mythic Legions Vampyre design and here I’m going to do it all over again. The squished nose and long ears are clearly based off those of a bat. The sunken beady eyes are blood red, as are the two exposed fangs. And all of it is given a delightfully creepy light grey skin tone. This head is pure poetry in plastic!

Draguul comes with a couple of weapons and a shield. The first weapon is his hand ax, which is a mighty handsome bit of kit. The blade is sculpted to look like wood with an spiked end piece at the bottom of the handle, and a rather shapely single-bladed head at the top. The bits that are supposed to be metal are painted black and you get some silver painted rivets on the ax head and blade socket. It also comes with a tiny blue skull, which can be fitted on the top for decoration. It’s a cool bonus that points to Filmation Hordak, but I’m not sure if I will actually display him with it or not.

The shield is absolutely gorgeous, both in sculpt and paint. I believe this one comes from the Elf Weapons Pack and has been repainted in black, grey, and red to match Draguul’s armor. I didn’t pick up that Weapons Pack, and I do believe this is the first time having this shield in hand. I love it, and hope to see it bundled with some figures in the future.

And finally, Draguul comes with a crossbow, which makes sense, since pretty much all the Horde members had crossbows. We’ve seen this piece a few times already. It has a real string, the stock is painted brown, and the fixtures are painted silver. I would have preferred a black and grey deco to match his armor, especially since the Horde crossbows were very personalized, but it’s still a nice looking piece all the same.

As with Dorina, I think Draguul turned out fantastic and he certainly stands firm on his own merit for people who aren’t interested in his intended homage. Add to the fact that he’s a Vampyre War Hero and he quickly goes to the head of the list of favorites. I’d be hard pressed to decide whether the Vampyres or the Goblins are my favorite recent additions to Mythoss, but either way I think these guys are awesome. And with Draguul here waiting in the backdrop to challenge Lucretia’s power, I feel like I need a few more Vampyre Legion Builders for the coming Civil War!

ReAction ThunderCats (Wave Two) by Super7

The good news is, I’m actually here on a Wednesday with some midweek content. The bad news is it’s a quick and dirty look at some packaged figures that I won’t be opening. For the record, I’m really enjoying lots of different licenses from Super7’s ReAction line, and they are to date the only figures I collect with the intent to keep them carded. I love some of these lines so much, I just want to share them even though I’m not playing around with them and delivering a full on review. At the same time, it’s frustrating because I want to tear them open and play with them. But ultimately, I think more than half the charm of these releases lie in the packaging and overall presentation. On the other hand, if Super7 wants to get me to buy doubles and open them, all they need to do is release a Cat’s Lair and some vehicles, and I’d have no choice! And then I’m reminded that I’m still making the toy equivalent of car payments on that Ultimate Thunder Tank.

Anywho, as you can tell by the title, this is the second wave of ThunderCats ReAction figures and I’m starting off with a shot of the back of the card’s “Collect Them All!” panel to show what figures were included in the previous wave. Or you can just check out my review for the complete rundown. For the uninitiated, ReAction figures are basically old school 5-Points of Articulation figures patterned after the old Kenner stuff. It’s basically a big What If? or What Could Have Been? Funko had the ReAction license for a while, and while some of them were decent, like the Universal Monsters, most were just crap. Super7 has been making out a lot better, and I own far more of these than I have shown off here. I really have to fix that!

The first assortment gave us Lion-O, Panthro, and Cheetara, and this one delivers on the final adult ThunderCat, Tygra. The character art for each of the previous ThunderCats has been nothing short of fantastic, and Tygra’s card isn’t going to upset that winning streak. I particularly love the way his bolo whip disappears behind the bubble, leaves the card, and reemerges. As with the previous wave, the figures are nested in trays inside the bubbles so they don’t rattle around in there. The body sculpt here is a bit soft, but that fits in with the animated look. The portrait, on the other hand is excellent. They really captured Tygra’s look perfectly, and all the paint is nice and clean. Tygra’s bolo whip is actually made of string and has a plastic handle and plastic balls on the end. Will Wilykit and Wilykat be a two-pack in the next wave? My guess is that they’ll be single-packed with their hoverboards. But what about faithful old Snarf? Will he get a card of his own? Only time will tell!

We got two Evil Mutants in the first wave, Slithe and Jackalman. This time, Monkian joins the team of baddies! I’m fine with that, but poor Vultureman seems to never get any love these days. Hopefully we’ll see him in Wave Three! Monkian is a solid figure, but his head sculpt isn’t quite all that I hoped it would be. I don’t think it’s bad for this style of figure, but I think Jackalman made out a lot better. I will say the detail in the mouth is pretty well done for the scale. The card art, on the other hand, is much better than we got for Jackalman. Monkian comes with his spiked flail, and the ball is actually connected to the handle with a chain, which is totally rad!

The first wave gave us powered up Mumm-Ra, so here we get withered old Mummy Mumm-Ra. This figure was probably a lot more difficult to do, because of the robes. Naturally, they took the old school Kenner route by sculpting the robes as part of each leg and it works well here. The bandages are a little too neatly sculpted, but I think they probably did the best they could given the scale and simple style of the figure. I do like the head sculpt and the way the hood hangs over the face a bit. Mumm-Ra comes with his staff and it looks pretty good. I started with these three figures, because I think they were all a given for this wave. The rest are surprises of varying degrees.

First up is Jaga, and I think this was the least surprising. Jaga is a pretty big deal in the cartoon and he appears in a lot of episodes, especially for someone who’s killed in the premier! I like this figure a lot. Once again the body is fairly simple but fits the animated look. The little studs on his wrist cuffs are a nice touch, as are the sculpted tops of his boots. The head sculpt is a great match for his cartoon counterpart as well. The cape is vinyl, but I thought it interesting that they didn’t go the Kenner route and attach it with shoulder loops. Instead it hangs around his neck. I’m not sure how the shape will hold up once he’s out of the package, and I may never know! Jaga comes with a pretty generic looking sword. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing a translucent spirit version of Jaga in the near future. In fact, I’d bet a cartload of Thundrillium on it!

The penultimate figure here is Grune and he gets the dubious prize of being my least favorite figure in this assortment. I was just never a big fan of this character in the original series. I liked him a little better in the 2011 reboot, but still not a whole lot. I think this figure looks OK. The shoulder armor is well done, and I really dig his mace, but that’s about it. His portrait isn’t bad and certainly shows off some pretty good detail for the style and scale. I’m not a fan of the card art on this one, either. He looks goofy and deranged. Not a total dud, but definitely bottom of my list so far.

And that brings us to the biggest surprise of the assortment, both literally and figuratively. I would never have guessed we’d see Snowman of Hook Mountain so early in this line, and yet here he is. And he’s quite spectacular! He’s a chunky guy, and in that sense, he kind of mirrors Slithe from the first wave as being bigger proportioned than the rest. I think they absolutely nailed this figure. He looks great, the colors are perfect, and I really love the card art. He comes with a spear and even his helmet, which is suspended off to the side of the bubble. My only gripe here is that they missed an opportunity to release him with Snowmeow, similar to the He-Man/Skeletor with BattleCat/Panthor that they gave us in the Masters of the Universe ReAction line. Yeah, that might have been more than they wanted to invest in the character, but it would have been cool.

And there you have it. Another six figures, and I’m quite pleased with what we got. These are going in clamshell protectors and eventually they will be hung on my wall along with the first wave. It’s killing me not to open them, but every time I’ve opened ReAction figures in the past, I’ve regretted it. And unfortunately, the pricing on these, about $18 a pop, makes me unlikely to run out and pick up doubles. Unless of course those vehicles and playsets get announced. Then all bets are off. Will there be a third wave? God, I hope so! We definitely need Vultureman and the Thunder Kittens. We need Snarf in some form. And they need to start digging into the Berserkers. Let’s get Willa and some Warrior Maidens! Lets get Lynxana and Mandora! Oh, I could go on and on!

Marvel Legends (80th Anniversary): Havok and Polaris by Hasbro

Last week I wrapped up another wave of Legends with a look at the Strong Guy Build-A-Figure, which means I’m free to do whatever I want on Marvel Mondays until I commit to starting a new Wave. I also opened up this Polaris and Havok set to snap a picture of them with Strong Guy, so I decided I’d go ahead and take a proper look at them this week! And since I missed uploading content last Wednesday, it seems only fair to deliver on two figures today.

It feels like forever ago since I picked up this set. I don’t think it was an exclusive to any retailer, but I can’t remember where I got it. It’s part of that crop of 80th Anniversary releases and features a nice, colorful box that shows off the figures wonderfully. If I had space to save packaging, I surely would have kept this one, but I don’t and so I shredded it like a madman to get at the figures inside. Both of these characters have already been released in Legends, but I was still excited to get them in their proper 90’s blue-and-yellow X-Men regalia! Let’s start with Havok!

Holy Hell! What a difference the costume makes! We last saw Havok way back in the 2016 Warlock Wave, which featured his somewhat bland and more modern look. That was a relatively cheap and easy figure that got by mostly with a painted buck, whereas this 90’s version required a lot more effort and every bit of that shows. A cursory survey leads me to believe that some of this uses parts from the body of the previous Havok, only now it’s been painted up in that glorious royal blue. Of course, the jacket sculpt is new, as are the arms with the rolled up sleeves. This figure also borrows the yellow bands from Scott Summers for the thighs and tops of the boots. I’ve found that these stay in place slightly better than the previous figures, but friction can do only so much, and I found them sliding down during posing.

The jacket is absolutely fantastic, with the sculpted teeth and oversized ring pull of the zipper, the padded shoulders, the beefy lapels, and the quilted interior of the popped collar. Likewise, the colors are superb. While the black jacket should subdue the blue and yellow of the costume, the added yellow on the zipper, and faded blue wash on the shoulders and interior collar more than make up for it. Plus you get some yellow piping on his belt, the red and yellow X-logo on the left chest of the jacket, and the yellow insignia on his chest peeking out as well. Everything about this costume screams excitement and color and it’s everything that was missing from the look of the previous figure. No doubt about it, Hasbro really hammered this one home!

Even the portrait sculpt here is a huge improvement. I’m such a huge fan of this sort of cowl, with the top cut out to produce a plume of hair and the cut contours around the face. To be fair, the paint could have been a little sharper on my figure, but there’s nothing tragic here.

Havok comes with the same energy disks as the previous figure, only this time they are cast in yellow plastic. Hasbro sure gets their mileage out of these accessories, as they recycle them a lot. Still, it makes sense to use the same ones for the same character. And overall I do like these as effect parts, even if the clips don’t always support them well and they sometimes wind up just dangling on the arms.

Obviously, everyone is going to have their own favorite look for a character, and I won’t fault anyone who prefers the simple black suit, but even if I didn’t prefer this gorgeous 90’s costume, I’d still have to admit it makes for a more stunning action figure. OK, let’s move on to the other half of the set and check out Polaris!

As with Havok, we last saw Polaris in that same 2016 Warlock Wave where we got her in her more modern green and caped costume. Now unlike Havok, I actually liked that look for her quite a bit. Especially the Scarlet Witch style headpiece. Both that figure and this one get by mostly with a painted costume, but I thought the green costume was at least interesting and creative. So do I prefer this one? Yup! You betcha!

At a glance, I’m seeing what I think are a lot of recycled parts from the previous Polaris, with the notable difference being the upper body that now includes straight, pointed shoulder pads, a high collar, and that oversized ring zipper pull that seemed to be all the rage with some of these X-Men. Otherwise, the outfit also includes cuffs for the ankles and wrists, and a belt, all of which are separately sculpted and worn by the figure. And of course, you get that beautiful one-two punch of royal blue and vibrant yellow, along with a little red for the X-logo on her tunic. I love it!

This Polaris may be a product of the 90’s, but the portrait screams 80’s to me. If you want hair bigger than that, you’d have to look to a certain Inhuman. Sure, Polaris’ coif looks like radioactive ramen noodles, but I ain’t hating it. The detail in the squiggly sculpt is very well done and boy that neon green adds a lot of pop to what is already a pleasing color palate. It’s also sculpted to hang just a bit above the shoulders so as not to inhibit her neck articulation too badly. Yeah, the rest of the portrait is excellent too. Polaris is a real cutie with lips and eyebrows to match the green in her hair.

It takes balls to reuse these effect parts as many times as Hasbro does. It takes bigger balls to reuse them for different versions of the same characters. But it takes ULTIMATE balls to reissues them again for the same two characters, TWICE IN THE SAME SET! This time they’re cast in a different shade of green from the last time Polaris had these. I joke, but they’re fine.

While I’m definitely late to the game in opening and reviewing these 80th Anniversary Sets, I’m very happy to finally be getting around to them. These have been some of Hasbro’s best work in a line that is already quite impressive on any given day, and this Polaris and Havok pair up is dripping with everything I love about Legends these days. It’s a bittersweet thing that my modern Legends collection has grown to the point where it’s not feasible for me to display all of the hundreds of figures at once, so I’m looking at using just a couple shelves to rotate figures in and out, maybe once a month. I only bring that up now, because I’m pretty sure one of those shelves is going to be populated by the 90’s Jim Lee X-Men figures, sparing this pair from being put away in one of the Totes.

By figurefanzero

Masters of the Universe Origins: She-Ra by Mattel

It’s been another one of those weeks where work is cutting into my ME time. And what happens when I try to be a good host and come here to generate some content? I find that WordPress snatched away my precious Classic Editor and is forcing me to work with this new horseshit. Well, we’ll see how it goes. I’m an old man with more alcohol in me than patience, but let me try to dig deep and make this happen and visit with the Masters Origins line. So far I’ve been reviewing the Origins figures in pairs, but I really don’t have anyone to pair She-Ra up with, since Hordak isn’t out yet, so let’s give her the spotlight today all by her lonesome. She’s the goddamn Princess of Power and I guess she deserves as much.

I have to say that getting these Origins figures unlocked from the confines of Walmart’s tyrannical exclusivity deal has worked wonders for me being able to find them. Pre-ordering the figures from actual collector-orientated retailers means that they actually get fulfilled. And even if they didn’t, my local Target has had the most recent wave coming in and blowing out on a regular basis. Anywho… She-Ra comes on the standard Origins card with a Princess of Power sticker on the bubble. The back has some character artwork at the top as well as a look at the other figures in the assortment and a few of this figure’s features.

Out of the package, She-Ra is looking damn fine. I’ll confess now that I have no first-hand experience with the vintage She-Ra figures, and the only Princess of Power figures I own until now has been the Masters Classics line, and a few of Super7’s ReAction figures. So, I was pretty excited to get her in hand and see what she was all about. And while She-Ra does share some parts from the first two Origins ladies, Teela and Evil-Lyn, she also introduces plenty of new sculpting. Indeed, the only recycling that I can see here consists of the forearms with bracers and the upper legs.

Her one-piece has a floral pattern on the front with a blue gem in the middle, along with a lick of golden sculpted feathers pointing toward her right shoulder. The lower legs feature new boots, which are sculpted and colored to match the arm bracers quite well. She also has a plastic belt piece with a glittery hologram-like foil sticker on it. And yes we actually get some soft goods with this figure in the form of a silver mesh skirt and a red cape with silver mesh shoulders fringe. The addition of fabric to this figure is a wonderful touch and it makes her stand out as something special. I wonder if they will be adding softgoods to the other Etherian ladies.

The portrait is a little more doll-like to me than Teela’s, but it’s not bad. Her long yellow sculpted hair is executed well, and it doesn’t hamper her neck articulation nearly as bad as I assumed it would. She-Ra’s tiara is colored to match her belt, bracers, and boots, and has more of those sparkly stickers on them. The tiara clips onto the head and can be removed if you wish. It can also be turned around into an eye-mask sort of thing. This gimmick was seen in the Classics line and I presume it’s carried over from the vintage figures. I appreciate the effort, but I’m not a fan of how it looks at all. The back of the package suggests it’s part of her Adora disguise. Personally, I hope we get an actual Origins Adora figure released.

She-Ra comes with three accessories: Her power sword, her shield, and her hairbrush. At least she should come with three accessories. I swear mine was missing the brush. Sure, it’s possible that it fell onto the floor and got confiscated by one of the cats, but I didn’t see it when I opened the baggie of accessories and I haven’t seen it since. The power sword is cast in the yellow-gold plastic to match her outfit and includes a blue stone in the center. It’s a lot smaller than He-Man’s Power Sword, but it scales well with her and she can hold it in either hand.

The shield is based off of the vintage design, and it’s colored to match the sword, complete with blue stone in the middle. There are some nice Art Deco style dsigns sculpted into it. The back has a handle grip that allows her to hold it pretty well, but I think I would have preferred a clip. Like Teela’s shield, this one is pretty small.

I’ll confess, I wasn’t expecting anyone from Etheria to turn up in Origins this quickly, but that doesn’t mean She-Ra isn’t a welcome surprise. I realize that the vintage She-Ra figures were as more fashion dolls as they were action figures, so it’s interesting to see what Mattel has done with them to bring them in line with each of these series. As I mentioned earlier, the addition of some fabric costuming feels like it honors the fashion aspects of the vintage line while the sculpting and articulation makes her look right at home with her fellow Origins figures. Even if you’re all about Team Eternia and aren’t keen on embracing the Etherian off-shoot characters, I’d still recommend giving this figure a try.

By figurefanzero

Marve Legends (Strong Guy Wave): Strong Guy Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Well, last week turned out to be a bust with me being too busy to get back here again with more content after Marvel Monday. But it’s a new week, and that means new opportunities to carve out some time and get some more reviews done. As promised, I’m back for this Marvel Monday to wrap up the Strong Guy Wave with the titular Build-A-Figure himself. Let’s plunge into some more X-Factor love and check out Guido!

There were seven figures in this wave, and since your average BAF only requires six pieces, that means one figure often ships without a part. However, in this case everyone brought something to the party! The extra piece comes from Strong Guy’s massive torso requiring a back piece. So no skipping out on figures here, you have to buy those Deadpools. YOU HAVE TO!!! Still, there’s nothing tricky about hammering this guy together and all the connection points fit well and are super sturdy. And that wasn’t a problem for me, because not only did I love every figure in this wave, but I’ve been hotly anticipating getting Strong Guy into my collection for a while now. And man, he does not disappoint!

Guido sports an appropriately disproportionate body, which is seriously pumped on the top half, like we’re talking Juggernaut levels of pumpitude, and relatively normal sized legs with tiny feet. Yeah, he’s freakish looking, but I’m not about to call him out on it! Much of the body is painted blue to depict an under suit, with the massive yellow vest making up his upper torso, complete with a giant X-Force disk on the left side of his chest, a sculpted zipper running across the right side of his chest, and a slightly popped collar. His already massive shoulders are further reinforced by segmented silver armor plates, perfect for taking down walls or tackling foes into oblivion. More yellow is added to the mix in the form of his belt and X-Undies, his massive gauntlets, and dainty ankle cuffs. Actually, they’re normal-sized, but they look dainty on him. Hasbro did an absolutely splendid job on the costume here! He carries just enough sculpted detail to give him that singular cartoony look, and that eye-pleasing one-two punch of deep blue and vibrant yellow never goes out of style!

As for Guido’s tiny head, well Hasbro probably didn’t have a lot of trouble packing this portrait with personality, thanks to Strong Guy’s distinctive mug. His bald pate is punctuated with a little curl of white hair sprouting right in the middle of his head. His pince-nez goggles are painted silver with the lenses painted in red matte, and his beaming smile advertises a full boat of slightly yellowed teeth. A prominent, dimpled chin and pair of tiny ears rounds out Guido’s melon quite nicely. This is a great head sculpt and it makes me smile every time I look at it.

Despite his wonky proportions, Strong Guy manages to pack in all the usual points of articulation I’m used to seeing in these Build-A-Figures. The massive arms have rotating hinges in his shoulders, elbows, and wrists. His legs have ball joints up in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. His upper chest is set on a ball joint, as is his neck. While I knew this guy was going to be fun to play around with, I had expected high levels of frustration getting him to stand, but much to my surprise, them little feets support his upper bulk quite well. Indeed, there were only a few poses where I had a tough time getting him to stand. Not bad for what should be such an obviously unbalanced figure.

Strong Guy was a perfect fit for the Build-A-Figure treatment, and even as a hotly anticipated character of mine, he does not disappoint. This is what BAFs are all about… big, beefy hunks of plastic that simply wouldn’t work in a single Legends package unless released as some kind of Deluxe. Even when displayed at the back of an X-Men shelf, amidst a sea of blue and yellow uniforms, Strong Guy stands out. He’s simply a fun and wildly creative design that makes for a perfect action figure. I suspect he’s going to be my desk buddy for a while before he joins his friends.

And that’s finally another Wave of Marvel Legends in the bag, and a mighty solid assortment at that. With some great character additions including Maverick, Tom Cassidy, Sunspot, and wait… Thunderbird??? Awwww SHIT! If only I had put Warpath in that group shot instead of grabbing his brother Thunderbird by mistake. What can I say, other than it’s been a long working weekend, and I was too tired to dig out all the figures and do a re-shoot. And for the record, that’s twice in one review, because I meant to have Forge in that other group shot, but grabbed Bishop instead. Sheesh, I’m clearly getting out of practice. Anywho… Shiklah certainly wasn’t on my short list, or my long list for that matter, but she’s such a great looking figure, who cares! Pirate Deadpool is fun, and while I didn’t think I was going to care at all about Deadpool in his X-Men colors, truth be told I think that figure turned out great and I dig it quite a bit. Since I’m between Waves now, next week I’m free to review whatever I want. And since I opened them for a shot in this review, I do believe I’ll be checking out the Havok and Polaris two-pack.

Marvel Legends (Strong Guy Wave): Shiklah and Jeff by Hasbro

Greetings, Toyhounds. I hope you all had a good weekend. Mine was spent hanging with the cats, drinking heavily, playing some video games, and eating a lot of garbage. When will I learn, eh? But now it’s Monday… that special day of each week where I tear into another Marvel Legends figure, slowly chipping away at the never ending deluge of this ridiculously prolific line. And just to show you how ridiculously prolific, today we’re looking at Shiklah, sharp-tongued Succubi, one-time Mayor of Monsteropolis, and Deadpool’s wife. Yes, we’ve got a figure of Deadpool’s wife. Just to clarify… T-Ray? Nope. Deadpool’s wife? Affirmative! I would have bet cash money on getting Weasel or Blind Al before this one.

It’s always nice to be able to relate to a Marvel figure based on a more modern character. I was still reading Marvel Comics in general, and the 2012 Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn Deadpool series in particular, when Mr. and Mrs. Deadpool tied the knot. Looking back on it, it’s easy to see some of the rot creeping in, but all in all I was still enjoying this comic a lot and was totally oblivious to the dark days at Marvel Comics that lie ahead. That having been said, I sure as hell wasn’t asking for this figure. Was anybody asking for this figure? Well, let’s rip this package open and maybe before the end of this review, I’ll be happy Hasbro did this. Oh yeah, she also comes with the last piece I need to build the Strong Guy BAF and Jeff the Landshark.

I may not have asked for her, but Shiklah is still a damn great looking figure, sporting one of the costumes she wore in The Wedding of Deadpool, and subsequent appearances, but sadly not her hawt red wedding dress. Actually, to be fair this outfit look is a lot more interesting. Shiklah is decked out in what I can only describe as some kind of Gypsy-Goth fusion and I love it. She’s got a purple body suit with a subtle printed scrollwork pattern over it, along with black thigh-high high-heeled boots and black sleeves painted onto her arms. Yes, most of the costume is achieved with paint and printing, and it looks fantastic, especially with the gold leaf trim painted at the tops of her boots, sleeves, and chest. The colors on this one really sing beautifully, especially when contrasted with the mauve color of her skin.

In addition to the painted costume, Shiklah is also sporting some gold plastic cuffs on her wrists, a gold belt with red baubles that hangs on her hips, and a rather extravagant necklace, which matches her belt. All of these accessories are sculpted separately and worn by the figure and they look mighty nice. Also worth noting is her cloth cape. I guess you’d call it a cape, although it actually attaches with elastic to her wrists rather than around her neck. If you are a Gypsy Fashionista and know what this is called, by all means drop me a line. I’m at a loss trying to remember whether we’ve actually seen Hasbro use softgoods in a Marvel Legends figure before. It seems like they must have, but if so it’s obviously a rare thing, so that alone makes this figure pretty special. The gold circlets on the edge of the cape were actually gold disks hanging off of it in the comic, but this is a pretty good substitute for the scale. The cape looks best when she has her arms up or outstretched, otherwise it just kind of drags on the ground, but it’s still pretty spiffy.

I rarely ever have anything bad to say about Hasbro’s Marvel portraits, and this figure is no exception. I absolutely love this head sculpt.  Not only is it very expressive, with her sultry demon eyes and devilish smirk, but there’s just a lot going on here in terms of detail. She has a headband made of golden disks sculpted across her forehead as well as large gold disk earrings. Her hair mostly cascades down her back, but also has some strands framing each side of her face. Her mauve skin is complimented by purple lips and markings around here eyes that cascade down her cheeks almost like tears. And lastly, she has a gold bat hair clip. This is wonderful stuff!

Shiklah’s articulation is standard stuff for a Legends lady, and that means a lot of rotating hinges. You get them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and ankles. The knees are double-hinged, you get swivels in the thighs, there’s a ball joint under her chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Her high heels can make it a little tricky to get her to stand, but I was surprised how often I was able to make it work without getting too frustrated. And while Shiklah doesn’t come with any accessories, it’s lots of fun to whoosh her cape around. But yeah, where’s her dragon, Hasbro? Where the hell is Bug? Was there no room in the package for a little plastic animal buddy?

Well, obviously there was! Because we also got Jeff in there. Now, I don’t want to beat up on Jeff because of what he isn’t, so let me just say that he’s a fantastic little bonus figure. And that’s coming from someone who has never read a single book he’s appeared in. Yeah, that shouldn’t be too surprising, since a little research tells me that he debuted in 2019 and I had kicked Marvel’s floppies to the curb and stopped reading sometime before that. Still, I was aware of him, as he got passed around from Bloodstone to Gwenpool to Deadpool. Of course, Jeff is a landshark, and by that I mean a shark with feet. Yup. He’s completely static, just a magnificently sculpted lump of plastic, but damn he’s cool.

I have to hope, that even collectors who have no interest in Shiklah as a character, will acknowledge that Hasbro poured the love into this figure and did a damn nice job on her. There are toy companies out there that wouldn’t invest the same attention to the head sculpt of one of their main characters, let alone a bit character like Shiklah here. And that’s why I freaking adore Marvel Legends. Anything is possible, and no matter how seemingly insignificant the character, it’s likely going to be crafted as if it’s the most important character in the whole franchise. My only gripe here is that Jeff should have been included with another figure, and Shiklah should have came with Bug, since this was really the only chance we were going to get the ugly little bastard. In the meantime, come on back next Monday and we’ll put this assortment to bed with a look at the Strong Guy Build-A-Figure!