Star Wars Black Series (The Mandalorian): Greef Karga, Kuiil, and The Armorer by Hasbro

Last week I doubled down on Transformers reviews, and I’ve decided that this week I’m going to do the same with the Star Wars Black Series. Hell, I’m going to do better than that. I’m going to knock out three figures today, and at least one more on Friday. I’ve just got so many of these SWB packages piled up and waiting to be opened, it’s starting to get frustrating! So let’s go crazy and check out some figures from The Mandalorian! And yeah, these will be somewhat brief because I’m tackling three figures.

Hasbro hasn’t gone all that deep with the figures from this series, but they at least gave us a good sampling of the main and side characters from the first season. It feels like an eternity ago that I last watched this series, but that’s probably because I deep-sixed my Disney+ after the end of WandaVision. As much as I loved the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, I think it had closure enough to move on, using Boba Fett as a spring board to move on to something else. Especially since I’m bummed we won’t be getting the Rangers series with Cara Dune. Either way, I’ll likely pick up my subscription again after The Book of Boba Fett premiers, but for now, I’m just not that interested in what Disney is selling. I am, however, still excited about most of these figures. Let’s start with Kuill!

If I were to go back in time about 20 years and tell Past Me that we were going to have a Star Wars TV Series with Nick Nolte playing an Ugnaught, Past Me would have punched me in the balls for being a lying sack of shit. And who could blame me? The idea is crazy! Who could have foreseen any of this stuff? Anyway, I loved Kuill and I was very sad to see him die. OH, COME ON. THAT’S NOT A SPOILER. IT HAPPENED FOREVER AGO!!! Well, at least Hasbro immortalized him in plastic, and did a damn fine job at that! I really dig the complexity of the outfit here, as it feels rather layered. The orange tunic is sleeveless, showing the rumpled sleeves of the brown shirt under it and has a belt piece with an extension of the tunic below it. He’s got some puffy brown trousers, which are tucked into his Blurrg riding boots. The belt has hip pouches, he’s got a worn, rugged backpack, and the outfit is tied together with a scarf around his neck and shoulders, which is sculpted separately from the figure.

And man, what a great head sculpt! Hasbro usually does a bang up job on the aliens in the SWB Series, but I still think this one is especially nice. His deep set eyes are surprisingly expressive, and they did a particularly great job sculpting his whiskers. His goggles are sculpted in place, so you cannot move them down over his eyes, but you know what?

I had no idea that the helmet was removable! It really does fit the figure so well, that I thought it was either part of the head sculpt, or it was secured on with glue. This was just a wonderful little surprise. Did I know that Ugnaughts have tiny pointed ears? Feels like I’m discovering that for the first time right now!

In addition to the removable helmet, Kuiil comes with his little blaster rifle. This highly detailed piece of kit has some brown paint for the wood on the stock, and a sling that looks like it’s probably removable. He can sling it over his shoulder, or ready it for action. Honestly, the only downside I can come up with for this figure is that they didn’t make him a Deluxe and bundle him with a Blurrg to ride. Either way, Kuiil gets an A+ in my book! Moving on to Greef!

Greef Karga, played by the always charming Carl Weathers, is a cool character and I was happy to see him get carried over into the second season and right his wrongs toward Mando. I was pretty damn sure that he was going to be a major baddie in the series, and certainly never expected to see them team up! The figure is a very solid effort, but nothing about Karga’s character design is terribly interesting to me. Sure, you could argue the same about a lot of characters from the Original Trilogy, but their outfits have long since become iconic. Greef’s hasn’t, so it’s really just a brown suit. But don’t get me wrong, the texturing on this figure is excellent, and there’s some nice detail to be found, like the quilted pattern on his gauntlets, the wraps on his boots, and the double-holstered gun belt. I also like the cape, which only hangs over his right shoulder and is secured with a belt that runs across his chest and under his left arm.

Alas, I don’t think the head sculpt is one of Hasbro’s better likenesses. It’s not terrible, but it’s just kind of soft. Also, there’s a weird glossy finish to his face, which makes him look like he’s wet. It’s probably sounding like I don’t dig this figure, but that’s not the case. I actually dig him a lot and he’s going to look great on the shelf with Mando and Dune.

Karga comes with twin pistols, which look like someone took the grips and backs of .45’s and gave them sci-fi fronts. I don’t know if it was intentional, but this reminds me a lot of how most of the guns in Star Wars were just modified versions of real firearms, so I’m a big fan of these. Ok, that’s two down and one more to go!

The last figure I’m looking at today is The Armorer, and if I’m being honest, I probably would have been fine skipping this figure entirely. She’s OK. There’s nothing specifically wrong with her, but with storage and display space at an all time premium around my place, I’m not sure I really needed her. She kind of strikes me as being like an upscaled 3 3/4-inch figure, although I can’t really put my finger on why. There’s certainly enough detail in her outfit, like the quilted pattern on her gauntlets and shoulders, or the stitching on her apron. I also find that I like the look of the sculpted half cape a lot more than the softgoods one that came with the Pulse Exclusive version. Although it does drop off of her with the slightest bit of encouragement, to the point where I may just glue it on.

The helmet sculpt is nothing special, as the visor isn’t terribly convincing. It just looks like that part of the helmet is painted over. Maybe gloss finish would have helped. The gold finish does have a decent worn patina to it, and I do like the metallic paint they used for her cuirass. Even still, this figure is doing much for me.

The Pulse Exclusive came with a few extra accessories, whereas this retail release just comes with her hammer and tongs. These are decent enough pieces, and she can hold them pretty well. Obviously, I would have liked to get the extra stuff, but even with them, I wouldn’t have been any happier paying an extra ten bucks for the Exclusive.

I didn’t mean to end this trio of reviews on a downer, and honestly, The Armorer is not a bad figure at all. Maybe she just doesn’t stack up as well to Kuill and Greef, both of which are quite excellent. And with three more figures opened and up on the shelf, I feel like I’ve made a tiny bit of progress with my backlog of Black Series figures, but there’s still a lot more to come. I haven’t yet decided what figure (or figures?) I’ll be checking out on Friday, but it will definitely be more from the 6-inch Black Series, and I’ll probably stick to The Mandalorian. So come on back at the end of the week!

Marvel Legends (80th Anniversary): Colossus Vs Juggernaut by Hasbro


I’m back from a 4-day staycation where I holed up inside my lair, had groceries delivered to my door, played a lot of video games, and opened a bunch of toys. Yeah, it was a good time! But now it’s Monday and in order to offset the horror of going back to work, I’m going to check out another Marvel 80-Years set from Marvel Legends! Oh look! It’s more X-Men!!!

This set is either a cheap shot or a godsend, depending on whether or not you completed the Juggernaut Build-A-Figure from about five years back. If you did, then you’re pretty much double-dipping to get a proper Classic Colossus. If you didn’t, then this set saves you from having to donate a kidney to get the Cain Marko BAF. I’m from the former group, as the Juggernaut Wave was so damn solid that I pre-ordered the whole shebang so I wouldn’t miss any. That’s not to say that this version of Juggsy is entirely the same figure, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself, so let’s start with Colossus!

We last saw Piotr in Marvel Legends back around 2017 in the Warlock Wave. That was an excellent figure, but it was a more modern look for the character and I’m an old fart that almost always prefers the Classic. Needless to say I was thrilled to see this gorgeous bastard get released… and I do mean gorgeous! The sculpt is excellent, but it’s the paint job that really makes this figure sing to me. The bright red and yellow of the costume contrasts beautifully with some of the snappiest silver paint I’ve seen Hasbro use in a while. Sculpting includes the segmented lines on his metal skin, the extended fronts on the tops of the boots, and the upturned points on the shoulders. He sports an X-branded belt and some wrist bracers, all of which are sculpted separately from the rest of the figure. A lick of gold paint on the belt really ties everything together perfectly.

The head sculpt is superb, with sharp facial features including a solid jawline, prominent brow, and texture-less hair. The expression is fairly neutral, although it definitely looks like Piotr means business. The same gorgeous silver paint used for the body is also seen here and it really brings out all the contours in the portrait.

Colossus is a big boy, but he still sports most of the usual points of articulation seen in this line. In fact, the only real departure here is in the elbows, where he has only single hinges in place of the usual double-hinges we usually see on the Legends dudes. It’s worth noting that the scrumptious silver paint had some of the joints on my figure frozen, so I had to do a little gentle, and some not-so gentle, persuasion to get his left elbow moving. The same was true for the hinges in all four hands. Yup, you get two sets of hands with the figure: Fists and grabby hands. If I’m being honest, this set was almost worth the price of admission for Colossus alone, but a lot of people are probably just as interested in Juggernaut!

And I doubt those people will be disappointed with this bruiser! There probably aren’t a lot of characters you could pack in with Colossus that makes him look small, but Juggsy is sure one of them. I won’t spend a lot of time on this figure, as I already reviewed the BAF. From the neck down, the sculpt is exactly the same as the the Build-A-Figure, and that sure ain’t a bad thing, as Marko remains one of my favorite BAFs to date. A careful eye will see that the belt has been omitted this time around, which does give BAF owners a bit of exclusivity to their figures. It also gives this figure a cleaner look, which we’ll soon see is in keeping with the new helmet. The coloring, on the other hand has been changed. The paint around the abs is more or less the same, the boots maybe a bit lighter, but what was dark brown on the BAF is now much lighter reddish-brown here. I can’t really say whether I like it better or worse, it’s just different.

This version of Juggernaut comes with an extra pair of hands, so you get the fists that came with the BAF and a pair of open hands. The left hand is pretty relaxed while the right hand can be made to grab other figures. It actually fits pretty well around one of Colossus’ arms to pick him up, but I wouldn’t want to do it too much and risk rubbing that beautiful paint.

The head sculpt is entirely new, and that includes both the helmet and the face within. The helmet this time is smooth and not all pock-marked like the BAF’s was. Again, it’s just personal opinion as to whether it’s better or worse. As I mentioned earlier, I think they were going for a cleaner, more classic Comic look here, hence the lack of belt and smoother helmet. The holes for the eyes and mouth are a bit smaller here and there are some bolts sculpted around the bottom edge of the helmet.

What’s really cool here is you get a separate head with a removable shattered helmet, and this really made it less painful to me to have to buy another Legends Juggernaut. The portrait is great, although there is a little mold flashing on my Marko’s chin that needs to be shaved off. Otherwise, the face is painted up with bruising around the right eye and his bottom lip, showing off the injuries he received when his helmet was shattered.

The damaged helmet adds a little more sculpted texture in the way of scrapes and gashes to the left side, while the right side is completely blown out revealing the bare metal underneath the brown paint. Yeah, the sculpted damage is a little odd in the way that it’s bent outward and not inward, making it look like the result of an explosion inside rather than force from outside, but it still looks pretty damn cool. Inside the top of the helmet, there are some sculpted guides to help it sit firmly on the head and line up the one remaining eye hole with the left eye of the head.

No buts about it, this is one fantastic box of plastic! Did Classic Colossus deserve his own solo release? Of course he did. But if this is the way Hasbro has to make it cost effective to release characters, I’m totally fine with that. They clearly made an effort to change things up on Juggernaut to make him stand out over the Build-A-Figure, to the point where I genuinely didn’t mind adding another one to my collection. And considering what the BAF was selling for on the secondary market (at least for a little while), it’s nice to see this set put a version of that figure in circulation again. This set has been off the shelves for a bit, but it with some online retailers taking pre-orders again, it looks like Hasbro is putting it back into circulation.

Transformers Kingdom: Cyclonus by Hasbro

These days, I’m not one to double-up on a single franchise in a week, but it feels like I’ve been rather negligent when it comes to my convertorobots lately. Also, since I reviewed Scourge yesterday, it seemed only fitting to check out another one of the Decepticon’s reformatted top brass. So let’s have a look at Cyclonus!

OK, this is weird. We got Scourge as part of the Studio Series 86 line, but Cyclonus comes from the Kingdom series. I really wish they would keep all the 86 Movie figures in one damn line, especially since we aren’t getting those cool cardboard display bases and backdrops with these Kingdom figures. Also, I’m not following the narrative with Kingdom, but I find it’s weird mix of regular G1 figures, Beast Wars figures, and now 86 Movie figures to be off-putting. I’m skipping the Beast Wars characters, not because I have anything against them, but because I’m compelling myself to be more selective these days because of limited space. As for the packaging? I’m not as keen as the character art here, but it’s not terrible. Let’s start with Cyclonus’ alt mode!

We sure haven’t seen this sleek star cruiser too often. By my reckoning it was eleven years ago with the Universe 2.0 Cyclonus. Holy crap! Eleven years!!! I remember being pretty happy with that figure at the time, but as with a lot of Transformers from that era it did not age well. And while it’s alt mode was definitely a nod to his movie design, it doesn’t come close to this sexy purple spaceship. The design here is a little busier than the smooth simplicity of Scourge’s alt mode, but I think it still fits in with the animated movie aesthetic pretty well. Maybe it’s a touch more angular than the cartoon model, but overall I’m pleased with what they did. The coloring gets by mostly with colored plastic. I dig the purple, blue and silver deco, and the translucent orange cockpit looks great.

Truth be told, I really only have one complaint and that’s the side panels under the cockpit area will not lock in flush with the rest of the body. Indeed, the one on the right side won’t even lock in as well as the one on the left. After fiddling with it for ages and giving up, I’ve found that I’m not alone with this issue and decided to just accept it as it is. Cyclonus does have three retractable landing gear, which is a nice little touch! Also, while it’s really part of the transformation, he has hinged flaps on the backs of his wings.

Cyclonus has a port on the top where you can attach his rifle to give him some extra armament. I’m not usually a fan of sticking guns onto my vehicle modes, but this one actually looks pretty decent.

Transforming Cyclonus is a pleasure, and while there’s nothing terribly mind-blowing in the process, I do think the way his nose cone packs away is pretty clever. I think the best compliment that I can pay this figure is that when viewed from the front, I could easily be convinced that this is one of those non-transforming figures. The robot mode really does look that clean and tight, and wonderfully proportioned. Flip him around and you can see some panels folded and whatnot, but it’s still a pretty damn clean backside. I think the engineers did a fabulous job balancing the robot and alt modes with this guy.

Cyclonus’ coloring remains mostly the same as his alt mode with a whole lot of that snappy purple. Indeed, I’d say the purple came out a bit more pale in some of my pictures, where it’s actually a smidge deeper in hand. His gray bits have an almost pearlescent gold hue to them, which is rather cool and unusual. The articulation is also excellent, making him a solid figure that’s fun to play with.

I have nothing but praise for this fantastic head sculpt. They did a beautiful job capturing that movie aesthetic with his face, which is quite angular, but has a slightly organic bent to the mouth. The red eyes are transparent and feature some very nice light piping thanks to the window in the back of the head. As for his bunny ears? Well, I guess you either love them or hate them. I love them! I do wish his Decepticon insignia had been given the silver outline to make it stand out more against his purple chest.

As we saw with his vehicle mode, Cyclonus comes with a pretty beefy rifle, which he can hold in either hand. I don’t really have a mental image of what his gun looked like in the cartoon. At least it wasn’t something that was ever iconic to me. But judging it just on the design here I like this one a lot.

I don’t know why Hasbro has shunned Cyclonus for so long, because he sure is a formidable looking Decepticon! Maybe that sexy spaceship alt mode was too hard to work with. Either way, they sure did him justice with this figure. He looks great besides Scourge in either mode, and I’m rather excited to get the new Galvatron to put all three of them together.

Transformers (Studio Series 86): Scourge by Hasbro

About five years ago I reviewed Scourge from the Titans Return line, comparing him to the previous Scourge figure from Generations. It’s funny to look back on that one, as I pointed out that while I had nothing but good things to say about Generations Scourge, Titans Return Scourge completely blew him away as an update. And that’s one of the problems with collecting Transformers. Because here I am to say that Studio Series Scourge is so damn good, that he will now be replacing my Titans Return version. Dammit!

Hasbro has been pushing the Studio Series as something of a premium line, and it shows with the packaging. Sure, it’s still a window box with the figure on a plastic tray, but inside the box is a pretty cool tri-fold backdrop and a cardboard pedistal for him to stand on. I’m not sure I’ll be using these for display, but I will at least be saving them while I think about it. Either way, it’s a nice option to have! This is my first dip into this sub-line because previously they have been all about the Bayverse Transformers, and I have no interest in them. But now they’re focusing on the 86 Movie and all bets are off! Scourge comes packaged in his robot mode, but we’re starting with his alt mode.

Scourge’s alt mode is a flying space boat pulled straight from the movie and for the most part it looks great! He’s mostly smooth with organic curves and just the right amount of panel lining to straddle that line between sufficient detail and an animated style. I had no qualms with Titans Return Scourge’s alt-mode, but it was really a different take on this design, while this one is shooting more for accuracy. Things do turn a bit ugly when this space-boat is viewed from behind. Unfortunately, Scourge’s backside looks unfinished and you can see the bottoms of his filthy feet, but I suppose there was only so much they could do with this price point. As for coloring, Scourge gets by mostly with just the two-tone plastic and a big Decepticon emblem stamped on the top. There is a tiny red paint hit on the front point of the middle engine cannon, but he didn’t really need any more coloring in this mode to make him look complete.

If you’re a fan of Scourge being able to pop his head out while still in vehicle mode, this toy has you covered. You just flip down the panel that’s covering his face and there he is! I’ll confess, this isn’t a big selling point for me, but different strokes for different space-boats!

Scourge does have ports on the sides if you want to mount his rifle and further weaponize him while in his alt mode. Again, it doesn’t do much for me, but it’s always nice to have options. Also, you get an effect part that can plug into his cannon or rifle, creating a purple energy blast.

Transforming this guy isn’t exactly a chore, but it isn’t terribly fun either. There’s no grace or clever engineering at work, as a crunched down version of the bot mode is pretty much hiding under the panels that make up the alt-modes hull. But I’m not going to complain about how we get there, when this robot mode is as spectacular as it is! Scourge cuts quite a presence on the shelf with his organic curves, bold chest, and majestic wings. He’s perfectly proportioned and they even included his fingernail polish, which Titans Return Scourge was sadly missing. Like his alt-mode, the robot mode is a little unsightly when viewed from behind. It would have been cool if those two hanging panels could have been locked together to form some kind of backpack, but it’s nothing that comes close to ruining the figure for me.

The wings and panels do make Scourge more than a little back-heavy, but he does have hinged heel spurs, which can be angled to give him a little extra support. And that’s a good thing, because this figure is loads of fun to play with and pose.

The head sculpt is also a huge improvement over little Fracas that served as the head for the Titans Return Scourge. Not that that one was in any way bad, but this one just takes it to the next level. I suppose the larger scale helped, as did not having the head be a tiny robot. It’s funny, but at first I was never a fan of giving Transformers “facial hair” but it’s become so iconic for Scourge that I wouldn’t have it any other way. His mustache and beard have a nice purple coat of paint and his eyes are painted red with a bold black border.

As we’ve already seen, Scourge comes with a rifle, which he can only hold in his right hand. It’s kind of weird to see a relaxed hand on a Transformers figure, but I kind of dig it. It adds some possibilities for poses and gesturing.

And so Studio Series Scourge is a bittersweet addition to my collection. I’m not really ready to start retiring most of my Titans Return figures, but putting them side-by-side it’s incredible to me how much difference five years can make. Sure, this one is a higher price point, bigger size, and isn’t confined to the Headmaster gimmick, but it’s undeniably a huge improvement on all fronts. I’ll likely be keeping most of the Titans Return figures as their own thing, but if Scourge is any indication, it looks like many of them will be getting superior replacements soon.

Marvel Legends (80th Anniversary): Hulk Vs. Wolverine by Hasbro

Yeah, yeah. I don’t usually miss a Marvel Monday, but I sure did last week, eh? I have no real excuse, other than I was a lazy do-nothing shit on Easter, and just hung out with the cats stuffed my face with food and watched Star Trek all day. We’ll just call it an impromptu Holiday Vacation. So, picking up where I left off, I’ve been going through some of the Marvel 80 Years boxed sets and today I thought I’d roll out one of the big ones. Celebrating The Incredible Hulk #181, which introduced us to The Wolverine!

Alas, I was only two years old when this issue hit the news stands, and I was probably more occupied with not shitting myself than reading comics. Or reading anything. Indeed, I wouldn’t actually read this one until I was already well acquainted with Wolverine. Although, this one might have introduced me to Wendigo, but I can’t remember. The box is big and beefy and while it isn’t terribly flashy like some of the X-Men sets I’ve looked at recently, it doesn’t need to be. The figures in that big window do all the talking. Let’s start with The Hulk!

It’s crazy to think that with all the Marvel Legends figures that I have, this is the first comic-version of The Hulk in my Legends collection. Yup! There are three MCU versions of The Hulk up on my shelves, but dozens upon dozens of Iron Mans and Captain Americas, and Web Heads, but just this one lonely Hulk. But his singular look has remained pretty standard over the years, so I guess that makes sense. And nope, I don’t even have a Red or Gray Hulk either. But that’s OK, because this figure is so damn gorgeous, it’s all the Hulk I need!

In terms of sculpt, you just get acres and acres of muscle, which is a given because he’s THE FREAKING HULK! On top of all those muscles, you get some veins popping in his arms, and some nice detail in his giant feet. Most of the real detail in the sculpt here comes in his semi-shredded pants, which have actually survived the transition surprisingly well. Apart from some splitting here and there, they don’t fall to rags until below the knees. You also get the remnants of his shredded shirt, which did not survive nearly as well as his trousers. This piece is sculpted in rubbery plastic and pretty much just lays on his shoulders. I dig it a lot, but tend to cast it aside once I start playing around with this big boy. But as great as the sculpt is, I’ll confess it’s the colors on display here that just tickle my retinas and make me all giddy. The brilliant green mixes with the metallic purple sheen of his pants to create a feast for the eyes. Why are his pants metallic? I have no idea, but it was clearly the right call to make.

The portrait is nothing short of perfection. The face features a broad nose and beady but surprisingly life-like eyes, accompanied by a wall of teeth. The rage is literally drawn right on his face with deep lines, creases, and a wrinkled brow. Meanwhile, the sinews in the neck bulge to meet his strong slab a jawline. Egads, I adore this head sculpt. It’s absolutely phenomenal.

The articulation is right in line with what we’re used to seeing with the bigger figures and Build-A-Figures. You do only get single hinges in the elbows, but considering his bulky arms, that’s to be expected. Double hinges in the knees, however, do make him a rather agile giant. The big differences here is the addition of lateral hinges in the back of the shoulders, allowing him to shift his arms back more. Hulk comes packaged with one fist and one grabby hand, but you also get an extra of each so you can mix and match till your heart’s content. Let’s switch over to Wolverine!

Despite being introduced to him in the 80’s, the 90’s Jim Lee Wolverine has long since supplanted any early versions of Logan as my personal iconic image of the character. Now, with that having been said, I still love this early look. Not that it’s that different from the neck down. He’s still got the yellow suit with the blue boots, gauntlets, undies, and shoulder bands going on. He’s still got the tiger stripes and the red belt. But this just looks a bit more unpolished and savage to me. It’s very likely that opinion is colored by looking back on it from his future appearances, but it’s still a look that I can get behind. So much so, that even with the dozen or so Wolverines on my Legends shelf, I’d still rank this one pretty close to the top.

Of course, the biggest departure here is the head and this crazy proto-hood. It instantly reminds me of a luchadores mask, and that ain’t a bad thing. The brow-wings aren’t as pronounced and I kind of dig the “whiskers” that run from his nose down the sides of his mouth. The combination of eyes and teeth make him look absolutely bonkers in the sense that I’d instantly piss myself if he was coming after me. It’s both a great and historic look for old Logan and I’m very happy to finally have him in my collection.

Naturally, Wolverine comes with two sets of hands, one being regular fists and the other having popped claws. My figure’s claws aren’t all perpendicular with each other, and I’m afraid to straighten them too much because I don’t want to stress those tiny stems. But all in all, they aren’t bad. The articulation includes the shoulder crunches, which as far as I’m concerned are an absolute must for the character. Everything else is pretty standard stuff. While his elbows are double jointed, I still can’t get any more than about 90-degrees out of them, which is a tad disappointing, but when you’ve got bulging muscles like these, it goes with the territory. Otherwise, this figure is loads of fun to play with.

Can this set be both obvious and genius? I think it can! At least I can’t think of a better way to get my first comic-based Hulk onto my Legends shelf. And it was especially nice to not have to collect an entire wave to get him! Both of these figures are a direct hit for me, which is why I pre-ordered this one the moment it got solicited. Surprisingly, this set is still available at a number of retailers for about the original price it sold for, leaving the opportunity for anyone who slept on it to nab it without getting raked over the coals by secondary sellers.

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!