Transformers Earthrise: Optimus Prime and Trailer by Hasbro

One of the gripes I have with collecting Transformers is the frequency in which Hasbro releases new figures of the same old characters. Sure, it’s nice to get updates, but it frequently renders my existing figures obsolete and I wind up selling them off to make room for the new and improved versions. It’s not a big deal when these figures are five or six or even ten years apart, but when it happens within the space of a year, it can be a little annoying. Case in point, we just got a kick ass Optimus Prime figure in Siege last year and here we are getting a new one in Earthrise. Ah well, at least that one was a Voyager and this one is a Leader Class right? RIGHT???

Well, technically. If you’ve been picking up the Leader Class figures lately, you are no doubt aware that the trend is to use that price point to release Voyager-sized figures with extra parts that incorporate into their alt mode. And that’s the case with Earhtrise Prime here. He’s a Voyager sized figure, but he comes with his trailer and that bumps him up to the higher price assortment. So did we really need another Voyager Class Prime this soon? Especially when the last figure was so damn good? Let’s have a look. I’ll note here that I was tempted to make this primarily a comparison review, but then I decided Earthrise Prime deserves his own time in the spotlight, so I’ll first take a look at him on his own and then come back to the comparisons at the end. Let’s start with the alt mode.

I gotta say, this cab looks GREAT and it’s classic G1-inspired Prime through and through. You get the usual panel seams on the sides, but the cab is so detailed with panel lines that it serves to downplay those seams. From the front we get a big slab of glorious Freightliner, complete with silver paint on the grill and bumper and some translucent blue plastic used over the windshields and the headlamps, and again for the windows on the sides. The smokestacks are short (obviously for safety reasons) but they look fine, the gasoline drums on the sides are painted silver, and you get some weapon ports on each side to mount guns. I dig the sculpted vents on top of the hitch-up and overall the red and blue plastic they used looks superb.

The trailer is a huge draw here and it’s none too shabby. Sure, it’s basically a gray plastic box on wheels, but to me Prime always feels incomplete when all we get is a cab. This trailer pegs into the cab, allowing for a pivot at the junction. At first it felt a tad undersized for the cab, but after messing around with it for just a short while, I found that not to be a big problem. It does, after all, look great hooked up and all decked out with that familiar striping and the Autobot emblem emblazoned into the sides. The tailgate sports some nice sculpted detail and drops open to form a ramp and allow access to the interior. The trailer also has a set of swing down legs so it can rest when Prime transforms, because unfortunately this toy trailer does not magically disappear and reappear like it often did in the Sunbow cartoon.

And yes, there is enough room to roll your average Deluxe Class car into that trailer, even if it is a bit snug. Some of the older Basic and Scout Class cars would make for a better fit. The trailer also transforms, but I’ll come back to that in a bit. Let’s move on to robot mode…

Transforming this figure is satisfying without being too fiddly, and I was genuinely impressed with the way the engineering packs and unpacks many of the panels that make up the cab. When all is said and done, you get an absolutely amazing robot mode. Prime has a poetically trim profile, which keeps all his truck kibble in check. When viewed from the front, I have absolutely no complaints. His stout barrel chest is comprised of the actual windshield piece from the truck, while his abdomen with the grill is a fake-out in order to give it that tapered look. All those great looking panel lines and tiny rivets in the sculpt come across in the robot mode as well. The backside isn’t quite as polished, but it ain’t too shabby either. I love the way the cab wheels are stored on his lower back, even if it isn’t something I’m used to seeing on my G1-style Primes, and the gas tanks look great on the backs of his upper legs. I dig the way the lower legs fill in, but I do wish those panels were blue instead of gray.

Most of the coloring from the cab mode carries forward and that red and blue plastic still looks great here in robot mode, as does the gray plastic. The silver paint is sharp and appears not only on the grill and smokestacks, but also on the lower leg vents, forearms, and some neat trim around his windows and wipers. The deco is rounded out by an Autobot emblem printed on his left shoulder.

The head sculpt is very similar to what we got with Siege Prime. My only gripe here is that the eyes can be tough to see with the naked eye, possibly because the brow ridge is a little too prominent. Fortunately, the heads can be swapped, and in the end I may wind up doing just that.

Prime comes with a new version of his Buster Rifle, which is a little beefier than the Siege version. It’s mostly black but does have some gray pegs, one as a grip and another coming out of the side. Prime’s hands are hinged at the figures, forming a peg-hole when closed so he can hold the rifle in either hand. The rifle can fold up in the middle and the side peg allows it to be stored on Prime’s back when not in use.

The figure’s chest can also open to reveal a removable Matrix. I love the amount of detail they sculpted into the Matrix Chamber and it’s all painted over with that lovely silver paint. The Matrix itself is a solid piece with a gold housing and a translucent blue center.

Transforming the trailer is very similar in design to the old G1-version. It splits in the middle and opens to reveal a few possibilities for play and display, although there isn’t a lot going on in here. There’s a repair drone, but no Roller or consoles or anything else. To be fair, in this mode, the trailer is pretty underwhelming. There is some nice sculpted detail throughout the interior and some peg holes to place weapons or store blast effects, but I would have liked something more. Even the repair drone lacks any paint and there isn’t a lot of detail on him. As a result, the open trailer serves best as a repair bay. It can be opened horizontal to lay a damaged Autobot down and have the drone work on him in robot mode, or they can drive up there and get serviced in their alt mode. The only issue here is that since the struts on the trailer just fold down, they don’t support the sides like the swing-out struts on the original toy did.

You can also stand it up and use it as a repair gantry, and I think this mode works best for the bigger figures, like Prime. It’s not the most exciting execution of the transforming trailer gimmick, but it’s not bad either. OK, let’s wrap up with some comparisons between Earthrise Prime and Siege Prime.

Now in fairness, comparing the two cab modes mostly comes down to preferences in style. Technically Siege is supposed to be Prime’s Cybertronian mode, but come on, it’s really just an Earth truck that looks like it’s been modified a bit for battle. The translucent blue plastic covering Siege Prime’s grill, the four cannon-looking ports on his bumper, and the slab that covers his roof lend him a wee bit of a sci-fi flavor, but it’s still just a tweaked Freightliner FL86 that somehow inexplicably evolved on another planet. I don’t dislike it, but I do like the look of Earthrise Prime’s cab infinitely more. It’s just so so clean looking and pretty. Both cabs are scaled exactly the same, but sadly Siege Prime doesn’t have a socket to allow him to pull Earthrise Prime’s trailer. You can kind of fake it, but it’s not meant to be compatible.

Choosing a favorite in robot mode isn’t quite as clean cut for me. Both are fantastic looking figures, and scrutinizing them together, I find there are things I would pick and choose from each figure to make an Ultimate Prime! When it comes to Siege Prime, I dig the sculpted circuit patterns behind his windshield, and his pelvic piece is more streamlined. I also like the fact that his legs are more blue on the insides, and he has the lights on the roof painted yellow. I guess the slab on his back also makes it look cleaner than his successor. As for Earthrise Prime, well he doesn’t have all that f’ugly and annoying kibble hanging off his arms, and that’s a HUGE improvement for me. I also think his chest looks overall cleaner. From behind, the gas tanks on the backs of his legs look cool and his lower legs fill out better than his predecessors. It’s a really hard choice, but I gotta go with Earthrise Prime for the win here.

If it weren’t for the trailer, I would have easily passed on this Prime, but only because the previous one came out so recently and I really dig its robot mode. With that having been said, I’m glad I didn’t skip him because I think this figure turned out fantastic. It’s almost like a Mini-Masterpiece Prime. The engineering is great, and both his robot and alt modes are absolutely brilliant. I think the only real crime here is that Hasbro sold me a Voyager Class Prime a year ago, which is basically already obsolete. Sure, the alt modes are different, but not different enough for me to care about hanging on to the Siege version. And yet, as much as I do love the trailer, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough there to properly elevate this Voyager Class to a Leader Class price point. Maybe some more paint applications inside the trailer would have helped. I’ll also mention the fact that this figure was extremely difficult for me to find. I had just about given up on getting him, when I just so happened to spot him at Target and snatched him up!

Best Prime Hasbro has put out in ages? Yup! Without a doubt!

GI JOE Classified: Roadblock by Hasbro

If you needed proof of how excited I am about Hasbro’s new 6-inch GI JOE Classified series, you need only look to the fact that I’m turning in my third Classified review in as many weeks. Hey, that’s pretty good for me! So far, I’ve checked out Scarlett and Destro, I’m still waiting on my Snake Eyes to show up, and today I’m opening up Roadblock! Out of my way you Cobra punk… I’m gonna kick Destro in the junk!

Have I told you how much I love the packaging? Yeah? Well here we go again! Literally, the only thing I would change here is to put the red, white, and blue back into the lines in the GI JOE logo. Otherwise, you get some bitchin’ character art on the front and right side panel, some specialty icons on the left side panel, and a great piece of artwork on the back teasing some classic JOE vehicles and some more characters. The packaging is collector friendly, and like the Star Wars Black Series, the figures are numbered based on release.

While Classified Roadblock is clearly a new design, it looks like Hasbro drew inspiration from the Real American Hero 1986 (v2) figure. Gone is his original camo tank top and instead we get a green tactical vest. It’s not the spitting image of the RAH design, but clearly the three red flaps, the left shoulder pad, the right pocket, and the knife and scabbard are all nods to that outfit. It’s true that the first version figure will always be my Roadblock, but with that having been said, I still dig this look a lot!

The vest is molded in soft plastic and worn over the buck, which gives him some appropriate levels of bulk. There are some excellent details in the vest’s sculpt, including what looks like a socket wrench on his right shoulder. I like that the colors are muted, with the exception of the gold, and the star on his pocket was a nice touch. Additionally, he has sculpted brown trousers with plenty of pouches and nice texturing. And finally some gold armor on his boots and left knee. That big gold knee-pad is really the only thing here I don’t care for. It’s not so much that it seems out of place, but that it’s so adhoc the way he just has the one. I know that by 1986, most JOEs just wore whatever crazy shit they wanted, but the one lone knee-pad seems contrary to military uniform design. But that’s just me nitpicking.

Roadblock has a sweet lion tattoo on his upper left arm and he’s got a pair of red and green gloves sculpted onto his hands. Overall, the paint detail on my figure is pretty sharp.

Hasbro has been doing a solid job with the portraits in this line, and I’m happy to say that Roadblock is no exception. He’s easily recognizable by me and I especially like the sculpting on his beard and mustache. Yeah, he does have a seam line running across his bald head, but it’s really faint and hard to notice with the naked eye.

The articulation here is quite similar to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends line. Indeed, the big departure comes in the torso where there are two ball joints: One in the waist and one again under the torso.

In addition to a little knife for the scabbard in his vest, Roadblock’s main accessory is his giant um… gun. Yeah, this giant laser(?) gun would not have been my first choice as a weapon. Hasbro’s got a ton of really good machine guns in this scale. Hell, they should have just pulled the one last seen with Crossbones in the Marvel Legends Thunderbolts SDCC set. I’m not saying this is a bad looking gun. It’s got plenty of detail, a nice silver finish, and some blue and red paint applications. If you’re a fan of that wacky sci-fi shit that eventually permeated the Real American Hero line, then this might be right up your alley.

The translucent blue plastic near the beam emitter is cool and the magazine (or in this case battery(?) is removable. He can hold it from the regular grip and trigger, but there are handles on the top so that he can also wield it like a chaingun, and I think that looks more credible, considering it’s taller than he is!

I’ll confess that my first thoughts upon seeing this figure teased was that he looked kind of generic. But once I got him in hand and started messing around with him, I found myself quickly impressed. Is he exactly what I would have asked for? Nah. I would have preferred the original RAH look and a conventional machine gun. But, this line is proving to be full of surprises and I’m willing to let my preconceptions go when presented with a fun and great looking figure like this one. Next week… Duke!

Marvel Legends (Banner Hulk Wave): Rock Python by Hasbro

It’s another Marvel Monday and I’ve got only two figures left to open in the Banner Hulk Wave before I can put this assortment to bed. This one has been something of an eclectic mix of characters from both the MCU and the pages of the funnybooks. And while there have been some strong figures in this wave, it’s had a few lows as well. And so, the good news is that today I’m expanding my Serpent Society team by one more member with Rock Python! The bad news, is this one of those lows I was talking about.

Here he is in the package, and I feel like I need to toss out there how much I love building teams in Marvel Legends and how much I appreciate Hasbro working their way through The Serpent Society. It’s a rich collection of costumed characters that should make for great action figure fodder. But with that being said, Rock Python’s suit isn’t one of my favorite designs in the comics, and I don’t think it translated all that well into an action figure. Also, I gave that Hulk arm to my nephew so I won’t be reviewing the Endgame Hulk BAF.

Straightaway, it’s obvious that Rock Python is another one of those budget-saving figures. Here you get a newly sculpted belt and head, and that’s it. The rest of the costume is accomplished through paint applications, and that’s fine. This is one of those characters that doesn’t require a whole lot of fresh sculpt to make him work. And I’m a lot more forgiving of Hasbro going the cheaper route with a guy like this than I am with Loki. And before getting too deep into my gripes with this figure, I’ll point out that I really like the coloring here. The pale blue and dark purple look great together. The paint lines around the tops of the boots and gloves are pretty sharp, and the segmented silver belt is decent enough. Alas, that’s kind of where my generosity ends.

The painted snake emblem on my figure’s chest is really rough with the paint chipping off and the darker blue showing though underneath. I’m not usually this critical of little paint blemishes, but since this makes up the bulk of the costume, it’s kind of a big deal. It comes across as looking dirty, or like this figure has been rattling around in a bin for a few years. Also, what were they thinking with that snake emblem? It looks like some kind of cutesy snake emoji, not an emblem to strike fear in the hearts of your Ophidiophobic enemies. I was tempted to flip back through some floppies to see if they really recreated it accurately, but then I honestly couldn’t think of the last book I read where Rock Python made an appearance. [Edit: Ok, I found some panels with him and yeah, Hasbro pretty much got it right. WHY SO CUTE???]

Moving on to the portrait, it’s just bad, or at least the helmet is. The lower half of the face is a pretty decent sculpt. There are some nice details in the facial lines, and I like M’Gula’s snarling expression, but I just can’t get behind that helmet. The eyes aren’t convincing and the whole thing just reminds me of a penis. A blue penis. With little painted eyes. Also, what’s with all the mold flashing on my figure? It’s hanging off the jawline and on the bottom surface of the helmet. This has been turning up on a number of my Legends figures lately, but it’s especially problematic here.

I’m going to pass on running through the articulation details, because I just can’t get motivated enough to do it where this figure is concerned. Also, there just isn’t anything we haven’t seen before in Marvel Legends. Instead, I’ll take the time to point out how tight and gummy the joints are on my figure. The swivels feel like they’re going to twist off and the hinges take a scary amount of effort to move. Conversely, the ab-crunch hinge is all loosey-goosey. I can flip his torso back and forth by grabbing him at the legs and shaking him back and forth.

I promise, I did not get out of the wrong side of the bed this morning. Nor did I burn my toast or get stuck in traffic on my way to work. Indeed, I didn’t sit down to write this review in any kind of a bad mood. Nope, this figure just left me cold. It’s not all Hasbro’s fault. Sure the paint is rough and the joints are janky, sure there’s ugly mold flashing, but ultimately, I just don’t dig this costume. The colors are nice, I’ll give you that, but when you look at some of the cool, deliciously goofy, or just bat-shit crazy costumes on display in The Serpent Society, this one just comes off as dopey. And not at all in the good way. But don’t get me wrong, Hasbro. I bought this figure so you would keep making Serpent Society figures. There’s a ton of great material waiting to be exploited and I want them all. But most of all, I really want you to start producing some of them snake ladies. Next week, I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at Union Jack!

Aliens Vs Predator Arcade: Chrysalis Alien by NECA

With only time for three reviews a week, my backlog continues to pile up and stretch way back into last year. One of the areas of my collection reviews that has suffered most is NECA, and I really feel like I need to throw them some extra love in the coming weeks. Way back in January I had a look at their Arachnoid Alien and Razor Claws Alien from Capcom’s 1994 Alien Vs. Predator arcade game. But there was one alien missing! At the time I couldn’t find the Chrysalis Alien anywhere, but just when I had given up all hope I spied him out of the corner of my eye while I was making a cat food run to Target. So let’s finish off this Xeno Trio and open him up today!

The packaging is right in line with what we saw last time. You get a collector friendly window box with a personalized portrait on the front. The interior tray is printed as a pixelated image to reference the video game… how cool is that? Yup, I love the colors and presentation here, but I simply do not have the space to line these boxes up on a shelf, so this box is going to have to go bye-bye once I get Mr. Chrysalis out of his tray.

If you read my previous review then you know I really liked Razor Claws and Arachnid, and yet it’s still easy for me to see why Chrysalis was the hardest to find. He really is that good! Even on a shelf of Xenos, his design stands out thanks to the armor-like carapace on his head and forearms. His body is a grayish-blue color with a nice black wash to bring out all that amazing detail in his exoskeleton. And despite the unique features, the rib-cage and the exposed ribbed panels on his legs and torso all perfectly evoke the Giger design that runs through every type of Xeno. This guy is also distinctive for not having some variation of those tubular protrusions coming off his back, instead it’s shrouded in two plates of reinforced exoskeleton. I find myself getting lost in this fella’s anatomy, turning the figure over in my hands, and marveling at the beautiful sculpting.

Chrysalis’ meat-hooks may not be as pronounced as Razor Claw’s, but he still features some sharp bone-colored claws, as well as raptor-like talons on his toes, and a scythe-shaped blade at the end of his long tail. Those bone-like guards on his forearms look to be perfect for deflecting Yautjan blades and his claws seem adept at ripping Predators and humans to shreds. His articulation includes the usual collection of rotating hinges, which make him an agile hunter, even if he can’t exactly roll up into a ball for the goofy spin-attack he employs in the game. His long tail includes a wire so it can be bent in various configurations, and while the tail can come in handy to support him in some extreme poses, he’s surprisingly well balanced on his own two feet. I didn’t have to use a stand for any of my shots.

The head sculpt is quite familiar, even if it is partially hidden under that impressive bone dome. The carapace features a raised crest running down the center like a spine and a mass on the front, which is probably perfect for ramming his pray. As always, he sports a toothy grimace, the jaw is articulated, and there is a secondary mouth in there that can be pulled out. I love all the sinews and details NECA sculpts into the Xeno mouths, and this fella is no different.

The Chrysalis Alien makes a fine addition to this amazing threesome of Aliens. It’s fun to just line them up on the shelf and explore all the little differences between them and see just how diverse Xenomorph anatomy can get. I’ve always been a fan of NECA’s video game figures, but since a number of them tend to be simple repaints, I have to pass them over because I can’t spare the space for repaints.  But here, it’s cool to see them craft three new Xenos around their appearances in this token-munching coin-op, and even cooler that they matched them up with three Predators from the game as well. And yes, I hope to be swinging back around to check out those Preds in the next week or so. Not to mention the human characters from the game as well.

GI JOE Classified: Destro by Hasbro

GI JOE is back in the toy aisles, sporting some new designs and a six-inch scale! Last week I checked out Scarlett and this week I was originally going to open up Duke or Roadblock, but then Cobra’s Weapons Supplier showed up at my door and I just had to push Destro to the front of the line. Sorry guys, you’ll get your turn.

Once again, the packaging kicks ass. We get some wonderful colors and artwork, which separates these boxes from the boring presentation of Hasbro’s 6-inch Star Wars line by leaps and bounds. Destro’s character art is freaking amazing, and I really dig the way it wraps around the corner of the box. Plus you get the iconography on the side panel showing the characters specialties. Destro’s appears to be all about making weapons and money!

And here he is freed from his box and ready to supply you with all your terrorist needs! While Scarlett was a complete modern redesign, Destro is more of a touch up, as he retains everything about his Real American Hero look that makes him so iconic. The black suit includes sculpted combat boots, knee-pads, and some reinforced patches on his chest, back, and shoulders. Destro has a metallic gray belt with some red accents, metallic gray bracers on his forearms, and red rockets mounted on his right arm. Oh man, I’m glad Hasbro kept those! Finally, he has a red holster on his right hip, which is attached to his belt, wrapping around his right thigh with a molded pouch. I love this look so much and I’m so happy that Hasbro didn’t mess with it.

But what makes this figure truly iconic is his portrait. The silver metal mask is a combination of organic curves and chiseled features with some subtle panel lining on top. It extends down to the base of his neck, where it is secured with a ring of bolts. His chest is exposed, and he flaunts his high collar with a red interior that’s evocative of a cobra’s hood. The look is tied together by his amulet and chain, which is sculpted as a separate piece and hung around his neck. Yup, that’s my Destro!!!

The articulation here is Marvel Legends through and through. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double-hinged, and there are swivels at the biceps. He has a swivel at the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and he is loads of fun to play with.

As for accessories, Destro comes with two guns and a briefcase. I was a little surprised he didn’t get a backpack, but what we got is still plenty good. His primary sidearm is very reminiscent of the weapon he carried during the RAH years. It has a long barrel, a scope, and a decidedly sci-fi feel to it. It sports some excellent detail and feature some red paint applications to give it some character and match it to his outfit. Destro has two trigger finger hands, so he can wield the weapon in either one, and it also fits in his holster.

His second weapon is a much smaller gold pistol, no doubt to be kept hidden as a back-up. Again, it has a strong sci-fi element to its design, and Hasbro packed a lot of detail into it’s sculpt.

Finally, Destro comes with a Cobra-branded briefcase. The Cobra emblem is sculpted into both sides, but only painted on one. Open it up and there’s a computer on one side and a bunch of money on the other. The computer side is pretty well detailed, but sadly they didn’t print any details on the money. His gold pistol can also fit inside the case.. The only downside of this case is that the hinge is just bendy plastic, so it will likely stress and probably break after a lot of opening and closing.

While Scarlett represented a complete modern redesign of her character, Destro here is just a touch-up. And a refreshing one at that! I can’t tell you how happy I am to see Destro appear sporting the design I’ve known and loved since I was a small child. It also sends a clear message that Hasbro is not looking to ignore the RAH roots. Indeed, Destro here is everything I could have hoped for in this line. He’s damn near perfection. We’ve also had some new revelations this past week, namely Gung-Ho and Cobra Commander, and I really like what I’m seeing. It feels great to want to shout YO JOE!!!! again!

Marvel Legends (Banner Hulk Wave): Loki by Hasbro

After a brief detour to check out Klaue from Black Panther, I’m back to working my way through the Banner Hulk Wave. And with four figures under my belt, I’m more than halfway done! And here’s where the character selection in this wave really starts to descend into a free-for-all. There’s no theme or anything, just a semi-random assortment of characters here. Today we are having a look at The God of Mischief… Loki… And it’s a very classic comic version!

Even if you take into account how far behind I am in my reviews of this line, it still took a long time for Hasbro to get a comic-based Loki figure out of Modern Legends. I mean, I’ve got at least two MCU versions of him (only one of which I’ve reviewed) as well as the female Loki from the A-Force set on my shelf at this point. Nonetheless, he’s finally here and about as classic a version of Loki as anyone could ask for. Even the packaging window cannot contain the magnificence of those horns! And just a reminder, that Hulk leg went to my nephew, so I won’t likely be reviewing the BAF in this wave. I guess that makes me a good uncle, and a bad toy blog host.

Yup! For all the fans who discovered Marvel through the movies, and you’re just into Marvel Legends for the MCU stuff, Loki here is going to be like a bucket of cold water. He’s pure comic cheese from the early days but if you’re looking for some Jack Kirby goodness, there’s a lot to love here. On the other side, Hasbro played it pretty of lazy with this figure. There’s absolutely no character-specific sculpting to be found on the body, instead his costume is achieved nearly entirely by paint and colored plastic. His boots and gauntlets are yellow, his body suit is green, and the gold scales that make up his undies and run up through the center of his torso, are all painted on. Now with that having been said, the coloring on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. The green and yellow go so well together and the gold gives it that extra little pop.

You do get two separate pieces of fresh sculpting: His plain band of a belt and his starburst-like gorget, as final accent to the body. So, clearly this is one of the wave’s budget figures, and I’ll be the first to admit that the paintwork looks fine, but this is Loki, dammit! He really deserved more original sculpting. We’ve seen Hasbro’s sculpted scale mail on figures like Green Goblin, and I think that sort of thing would have looked great if applied here. I must be misremembering him wearing a cape with this costume, but to be fair this one is even way before my time, but it was still a design that I can remember seeing now and then in my childhood. Since this is a basic buck, there are no surprises in the articulation, so I won’t run down all the points, but I will point out that this body features the swivels in both the thighs and tops of the boots.

The head sculpt gets major props from me for Loki’s maniacal grimace and overall devilish expression. Hasbro does enjoy injecting their comic villains with tons of character and Loki is another great example of that. He looks absolutely deranged! His form-fitting cowl features his trademark horns, protruding proudly from his forehead and curling upwards. Meanwhile, his golden locks spill out the back in a long ponytail. The only downside here is I worry about those horns getting all warped. With over 300 Marvel Legends figures, I wind up having to rotate a lot of them in and out of display, which means Loki here will spend part of his life in bagged in a storage tote. Needless to say I have to make sure he resides at the top of the heap to keep those horns from going all wonky while in storage.

The God of Mischief comes with one accessory and that’s his sword. Yup, while the modern Loki favors daggers and throwing knives, old school Loki wielded a more conventional blade. It’s a great looking weapon with a yellow hilt, an extended grip, and a cross-guard that kind of resembles a bird stretching out it’s wings. The guard reaches up the blade just a bit and has a green gem or stone painted on it. The broad blade is painted silver. I thought this looked familiar, and a little searching reminded me that it’s a repaint of the sword that was included with Angela as part of the Titus Wave.

After all this waiting for a classic Loki, I find myself a little underwhelmed with this figure. He’s not a bad figure, quite the contrary, I think he looks great. But a figure as important as Loki should have had more attention. It’s doubtful that Hasbro will take a second crack at this version of him any time soon, and I think that they should shy away from using A-Lister characters as the budget figures in a wave. But with that having been said, I still dig him a lot and he looks fantastic displayed alongside the 80th Anniversary Thor.

GI JOE Classified: Scarlett by Hasbro

Folks, I can’t tell you how great it feels to be sitting down to review a brand new GI JOE figure from Hasbro. I have been a strong proponent for Hasbro to apply this once great franchise to their now tried-and-true 6-inch scale figure formula. I’ve been hoping against hope that we’d see familiar classic Real American Hero characters mixed with the accessories and play-ability of SIGMA SIX. Finally Hasbro listened and we have the new GI JOE Classified series. The first wave consists of Duke, Scarlett, Roadblock, and Snake Eyes, and I’m kicking things off with a look at Scarlett. Did this line seem like it’s going to be all that I hoped it would be? Not exactly. Is she a great figure? Well, at the risk of spoiling the review… Heck, yeah!

For starters, Hasbro gets major props for this packaging, and since this is the first time seeing it, I’ll spend a little while with it. It’s a simple window box similar to their Star Wars Black Series, only now infused with some amazing colors and artwork. We get an original character portrait on the front and the GI JOE logo and character name at the bottom. My only complaint here is that the three bars after the logo aren’t in red, white and blue.

The left side panel shows that these figures are numbered and also introduces this cool iconography for the characters, which suggest their specialties, with some being more obvious than others. The right side panel has a beautiful montage of Scarlett in action. Saving the best for last, the back panel has a gorgeous piece of art showing off characters and vehicles and giving us a glimpse at what some other characters will look like in this line. I love how iconic the vehicles look, and I can only hope that we’re going to get a Trouble Bubble or RAM Cycle down the road. But that’s me getting way ahead of myself, because here we are at the very first wave. Let’s have a look at Scarlett…

I’m not going to lie, I was hoping for a straight up RAH revival that took the basic look of the originals and just infused them with more detail and tons of accessories. That’s not what we got here. Instead Scarlett’s design takes the broad strokes of the character and than goes off in its own direction. The result is a figure that is both familiar and different. This approach is likely to vary from character to character. With Scarlett, I was only fairly satisfied with what I saw in the original solicitation pictures, but with the figure in hand, I’m absolutely in love with it. Her outfit is a mix of tactical suit and armor. I can get a whiff of her old yellow-cream-colored tactical onesie, boots, and gauntlet in the yellow armor here. Her red shoulder pad has migrated to her left and evolved into a full on armor piece, but hey, she still has her row of shuriken-like weapons on her left gauntlet. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I feel like Hasbro might have retained an element or two from their Overwatch figures. Damn, I really need to finish reviewing those some day!

I do like the body sculpt here. Hasbro uses some subtle textures on the underlying suit for some areas, while others are smooth with quilted panel lines. The armor pieces feature various panels and raised areas, and the detail on her gloves is quite nice. She has a belt that hangs on her hips with a gold buckle and a sculpted pouch on her left hip. She also has a separate shoulder strap that supports the quiver on her back and a functional knife sheath on the front. About the only thing on the uniform I don’t care for is the left shoulder piece. The star looks great, but this piece pops up too awkwardly for my taste. I wish it cupped her shoulder more closely. As for the colors… she’s certainly a flashy figure and there are a lot of colors on her, far more than I’m used to seeing on Hasbro’s other 6-inch lines. The gold and yellow are vibrant, while the red and blue add a nice kick. It’s pleasing to look at, but I’d like to see this figure repainted with a more subdued color palate. And if I know Hasbro, I’ll probably get it.

The head sculpt is a total winner. She’s cute, with a confident expression. The hair is especially nice as it partially covers her right eye and spills out the back in a ponytail. I could have stood it to be more red than orange, but I’m not going to split hairs. HA! I really dig the printed facial features and the freckles are a nice touch. She even has little earrings, which I’d like to think are tracking devices or micro-explosives or some other kind of cool spy gear.

For articulation, we do get a few new surprises. Her ball jointed hips appear to be anchored with dog-bone-style joints giving them a little extra range of movement. Otherwise the legs follow the Marvel Legends model with swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Being a girl, Hasbro doesn’t believe Scarlett should have double-hinges in the elbows, so instead she gets rotating hinges in the elbows and no bicep swivels. Boo! Her wrists are on rotating hinges, and she only comes with the one set of hands. She has two ball joints in the torso, one in the waist and another under her chest. Nice! And finally her neck is ball jointed. It’s not a huge departure from what Hasbro’s been delivering, but there are some improvements.

Scarlett comes with four accessories and three of them are knives. I don’t usually associate Scarlett with packing a lot of blades, but knives are cool! Knives come in handy in a fight. I like knives! The smallest of the three fits into the sheath across her chest. It has a curved sculpted grip and something like a drop-point blade. It’s cast entirely in black plastic and she can hold it well in either hand.

The other two are a matched set and oddly enough these fit into the top of her quiver. These pieces of cutlery have similar handles and bigger, more imposing blades with saw-backs. They’re also sculpted entirely in black and I’m tempted to take a silver sharpie to their blades to give them a little more oomph. Maybe Hasbro blew the budget on the figure’s paint operations and didn’t have anything left for the knives. Or maybe they’re intentionally black so they don’t glint off the moonlight in night missions.

And finally we have Scarlett’s trusty crossbow pistol. It’s a chunky and detailed sculpt that breaks down into two pieces. And like the knives it’s also cast all in black plastic either for tactical reasons or to keep costs down… you decide!!! I like that it’s stout and not all frail and bendy. The two pieces do come apart sometimes, and I’m tempted to use a spot of glue to keep them together as I really don’t see any reason to ever separate them. There are no loose bolts to load into it, but she does have some sculpted bolts coming out the bottom of her quiver.

Scarlett’s new design is likely to make her a divisive figure, but she did manage to win me over and I’m hoping she will have the same success with other collectors. Her outfit is not what I was hoping for, but she is an absolutely fantastic figure showing off some great sculpting, quality paint applications, and fun articulation. I do wish the accessories rose to meet the days of SIGMA SIX, instead we get a decent assortment, but nothing mind-blowing. I’m still waiting on my Snake Eyes, which has been bumped back time and again by Hasbro’s own Pulse Shop. Indeed, I had all these figures pre-ordered on Pulse, but wound up cancelling them when they showed up on Amazon with that Fast & Free Prime Shipping. In the end, I wound up getting them in hand from Amazon probably a solid week before they would have ever even shipped from Hasbro. And that, Hasbro, is why when my Free Premier Membership with Pulse expires, I won’t be renewing it with a paid one. In any event, I’ll be back next week with a look at another one of these new JOES!

Transformers “Earthrise:” Cliffjumper by Hasbro

After taking a few detours back into the Transformers: Siege line, I’m switching back to a figure from the first wave of Earthrise Deluxe Classes. This time we’re checking out Cliffjumper, and man it feels like a while since this guy has had any love in the toy aisles! When I think about Cliffjumper, my mind goes to a smaller figure and, while that’s still the case here, Hasbro has upgraded him to a Deluxe Class. Was it justified? Eh, maybe. Let’s take a look…

We saw the Earthrise packaging last time with Hoist and I’ll just say once again how much I dig it. It’s collector friendly and I wouldn’t blame anyone for wanting to hang onto it for the bitchin’ artwork, but I don’t have the space to save a bunch of boxes, so I’m going to tear into it. He comes in his robot mode, but we’re going to start with his alt mode.

Cliffjumper is sort of faithful to his G1 roots, as he’s still a red sports car, but in this case with a bit of a Trans Am vibe. As such, this alt mode reminds me more of Windcharger than it does Cliffjumper. I was never really sure what Cliffjumper was supposed to be in his original super-deformed Minibot alt mode, but this isn’t it. That’s OK. I don’t mind Hasbro straying a bit with these designs. I do, however, kinda mind when they take a much smaller toy and release it in the Deluxe Class. Yes, Cliffjumper was originally a Mini-bot. And no, this toy isn’t small enough to be what was called a Basic or Scout Class in previous lines, but the size still feels wanting at this price point.

Size notwithstanding, I think this is a fine little alt mode. The red plastic looks great and there are some additional silver and black paint operations for the front and back. The wheels are also painted silver, the rear window is painted black, and the windshield and side windows are cast in translucent blue plastic. I’m not really a fan of different color windows, but whatever. An Autobot insignia stamped on the hood ties the whole thing together. Despite the usual seams, the car holds together pretty well and it feels solid.

As if to make up for the toy’s small size, Cliffjumper comes with a massive bazooka-style weapon similar to one he used when scouting with Hound in the original More Than Meets The Eye Sunbow miniseries. And this is a really clever modular design that can be broken down into several pieces and reconfigured to give him a version of the hydrofoil configuration used by the Autobots in the episode Atlantis, Arise! including turbine pontoons and skis for the front wheels. Cool! If only they used some of that engineering skill for the actual figure. Let’s get him transformed!

Broadly speaking, I think this is a pretty solid look for Cliffjumper, in that you get the car roof landing on his chest and the front of the car splitting to form the feet. One strange choice was to give him those circular, tube like biceps, which were seen on Bumblebee’s Sunbow model, but not Cliffjumper’s. I know, these aren’t really cartoon-based toys, but it makes me wonder if we’re going to see this toy recolored and remolded as Bumblebee in this line. I also find it odd that Cliffjumper has an Autobot insignia on his car mode, but not his robot mode. And to that point, I really wish they had printed it on his roof rather than his hood, because his robot mode looks naked without it. Oh yeah, and after just two or three transformations, the paint on my figure’s right shoulder is starting to chip.

Cliffjumper does sport a rather prominent backpack, which doesn’t bother me because it makes his back look tidy and it’s kind of stylish the way it angles outward behind his head. What does bother me is that this whole piece has to be removed for transformation and then reattached. I don’t mind this sort of thing if it’s on a complex figure or if it’s done for some mind-blowing reason, but when Hasbro does it as a basic step in transforming a small Deluxe Class toy? That rubs me the wrong way. If you don’t care for it, you can just leave it off the robot mode. I suppose you can also give it to him as a shield, but that wouldn’t be my first choice.

And then there’s them feets! The proportions on this guy are pretty good until you get down to his big clodhoppers. I actually really like the engineering for how the hood packs away the wheels to form the feet, but they’re just too big for such a small robot. At least we know he’ll always come in first in those Decepticon ass-kicking contests. None of these gripes are instant deal breakers, but they do start to add up.

At least the portrait is absolute perfection.  I love the rounded “helmet” with the horns and the way it frames his face. The silver paint looks fantastic as does the blue used for his eyes. The heads in Siege and Earthrise have really been on point.

And I do love the Bazooka! It features some brilliant silver paint, two hand grips, and it even has the bipod at the end to stabilize it. Of course, that didn’t help Cliffjumper’s accuracy in the cartoon when he used it to take a shot at Megatron, missed, and got his buddy Hound crippled as a result. Still, I gotta give him props to the writers for having him try to sneak-attack murder his enemy in a Saturday morning cartoon. When he’s not using the bazooka it can be stored on his back.

The weapon can also be broken down into a couple of big and beefy pistols and I dig the way these look a lot! You can also mount one or both on his backpack for a shoulder cannon, although it’s mainly just angled for taking out aerial Decepticons from the ground. Still, not bad!

After a whole lot of bitching, it may surprise you to learn that I don’t hate this figure. Not at all! I think Cliffjumper here would have ranked a lot higher in the context of some of the past lines, but Earthrise and Siege have been so damn good that maybe a figure that’s just decent feels a lot worse. I still think it’s kind of lazy to employ parts-forming in a toy this small and simple, but when all is said and done I really like this spunky little bot quite a bit.

Marvel Legends (M’Baku Wave): Ulysses Klaue by Hasbro

Last time on Marvel Monday, I started out saying that I was going to complete a review of the remaining figures in the Banner Hulk Wave, but by the end of the review I committed to having a look at Ulysses Klaue from the M’Baku Wave. Wow, way to undercut myself! Well, since I don’t want to make myself out to be a liar, at least not over something like this, let’s go ahead and check out Klaue from Black Panther! 

The M’Baku Wave almost passed me by completely. The only figures I found at retail were Killmonger and Klaue, which was a spot of luck because it was those two that I wanted the most. Will I ever double back to complete this Build-A-Figure? Who knows, maybe someday. There are some pretty solid figures in this wave, but I haven’t checked to see what they’re going for these days on the second-hand market. Klaue comes in the movie-branded package and with the huge torso for the M’Baku BAF. And since Killmonger didn’t come with a BAF part, this is actually my first piece  to build the figure.

Introduced in Age of Ultron, I was thrilled to see Klaue come back for Black Panther and not so thrilled to see him killed off. I think this may be the first time I saw Andy Serkis as a straight up actor rather than giving life to a CG character. Either way, I absolutely love his portrayal of Klaue in both movies. He was so bat-shit crazy and looked like he was having a great time being a bastard. But boy do I have mixed feelings about this figure! The body is pretty straight forward. Klaue is wearing glossy black boots, blue trousers, a white shirt with rolled up sleeves, and a blue and gray vest. So he’s basically wearing a suit, but has discarded the jacket. He’s got a sculpted pale blue tie and his collar is unbuttoned and disheveled. The issues I have here are basically in the torso. The vest is layered onto the figure in soft plastic so it looks kind of bulky. Maybe they did this to preserve torso articulation, but I think sculpting it as part of the figure might have worked better. And speaking of sculpt, the collar and tie just look bad. It’s a rough sculpt and the paint is sloppy. It almost looks like when someone without a lot of sills uses sculpey on a figure to do a custom. I do, however, appreciate that they printed all his tatts on his right arm and they even sculpted his watch!

Thankfully things look up when we get to the head sculpt. Serkis obviously had fun playing this role and he really hammed it up. I think Hasbro captured a lot of that in this crazy portrait. The likeness is definitely there and he’s all banged up with a bloody cut on his forehead and dirt and bruises on his face. The paint and sculpt on his teeth are especially well done. The printed detail on his beard looks terrible and splotchy when viewed up close with the camera, but it really does look fine when the figure is in hand and viewed with the naked eye.

The articulation takes some detours from what I’m used to seeing in my male Legends, although It’s business as usual from the waist down. I can’t speak to what’s going on under that vest, but it feels like it’s probably a ball joint. The double hinges that we usually see in the elbows have been replaced with rotating hinges, although he still has the usual bicep swivels. Part of the reason for the change in elbows is probably because of the rolled up sleeves, but the other is to accommodate the gimmick on his left arm.

His left forearm can be replaced with one that shows his prosthetic arm split open and revealing his sonic weapon. Anyone who happened to see Black Panther without seeing Age of Ultron, and wasn’t familiar with the comic character, probably had no idea what the hell was up when Klaue opened his arm and started shooting this thing. It was such a cool scene in the film and Hasbro did a nice job recreating it here. The detail on the mechanism inside the arm is great and they even painted each individual emitter.

And as if a hidden sonic arm weapon wasn’t enough, Hasbro also gave Klaue an automatic pistol, which he can hold in his right hand. Sadly he does not have anywhere to put it when he’s not brandishing it.

Klaue is a figure of highs and lows. He loses a lot of points for the sloppy work on his collar and the bulky vest, but everything else is done exceptionally well, However, in the end, I think the good outweighs the bad here. Besides, I’m just really glad Hasbro made him, because after the first Black Panther inspired wave had come and gone, I would have bet against it ever getting him later on down the road. Now if only the MCU had kept him around for one more film. Oh well! Next week, I’ll get back on track to finishing up the Banner Hulk Wave and then maybe I can take a look at a boxed set.

Star Trek “Starship Collection:” The Next Generation Edition (Part 1) by Eaglemoss

A little while ago I embarked on reviewing Eaglemoss’ Starship Collection with a look at the XL Enterprise-A. And before coming back to open some more of the larger ships, I thought I’d detour into some ships from the regular-sized fleet. And because these are smaller (roughly five inches long) and a little less detailed, I figured I’d cram as many as I could into one review. To get started, I selected five ships that I feel are the most iconic ships of The Next Generation, and also a pretty good survey of the different space powers. I’m also calling this Part 1 because, while I don’t know when Part 2 will come along, or what will be in it, I do know there will be plenty more TNG ships to look at later on down the road.

And here are they are! The Federation Flagship, The Romulan Warbird, The Klingon Vor’Cha Class Battlecruiser, The Ferengi Marauder, and the Cardassian Galor Class Cruiser. As you can see these come in two styles of packaging. The Enterprise and Warbird came in window boxes that are specific to the ship inside and include some nice artwork and a Collect Them All layout for the back panels. The other three ships come in generic boxes with no tops, just the clear cover for the plastic tray. I dig the window boxes more, but I have to respect the others that just let the models do all the talking. The Enterprise and Warbird come with booklets inside the boxes, while the others come with regular size magazines, usually in a bag with the box. The magazines are kind of hit or miss with me. I like the ones that focus on the ship, but clearly not all ships have enough backstory and details to fill a magazine so some just talk about the aliens or the stories they were featured in. Let’s start with the Flagship!

I’m going to save my long-winded opinions on the 1701-D, it’s design, and what the ship means to me for when I spotlight the XL version in the near future. For now let me just say that I’m blown away by the amount of detail Eaglemoss packed into this little ship. For the longest time, I didn’t collect this line because I just didn’t think the scale was capable of retaining the kind of details and quality of sculpt I was looking for. And we’ll see in a little bit that prejudice wasn’t entirely unfounded, but when it comes to this Enterprise, boy was I wrong! Just look at that saucer! Check out all the tiny windows individually painted either lit or dark! And escape pods! The crisp registry and sharp paint on the phaser ring! You even get some oh so subtle aztec-patterns. Granted, the Enterprise-D’s saucer is a pretty wide canvas to work on, but it’s still damn impressive.

They really nailed the profile of the ship as well. The tiny windows continue on to the Stardrive Section. You also get some purdy red and blue translucent plastic used in the warp nacelles and super tiny registry printed on the struts. If you look closely you can even see that they applied some of the subtle panel shading to the nacelles themselves. I’d also like to acknowledge that they did a nice job hiding the seams on this ship in plain sight by putting them in appropriate spots. The model is part metal, but mostly plastic and while it has a nice heft to it, those warp nacelles feel fragile!

The same red translucent plastic used for the fronts of the warp nacelles is used for the three impulse engines. And there’s a sharp red racing stripe bisecting the ship from the saucer all the way down to the aft torpedo launcher. You also get the Deltas and racing stripes on tops of each warp nacelle the name printed on the horizontal face of the struts, and the name and registry printed in front of the Primary Shuttlebay Door. Want me to complain about something? The Shuttlebay Doors could have been more detailed. That’s all I got!

The deflector dish is comprised of more of that lovely red and blue translucent plastic, and the ventral side of the ship shares all the great detail as the dorsal section, complete with individually painted windows, and registry printed on the underside of the saucer. And before moving on to the next ship, this is also as good a place as any to talk about the stand, which is very high quality and very well designed. The base is heavy and made of metal with a felt bottom. The device that holds the ship up grabs the saucer beside each of the saucer impulse engines and also has notches for the Stardrive Section to rest on. It’s clear so it tries to obscure the view of the ship as little as possible. I took some issues with this style of stand when I looked at the XL Enterprise-A, but for a ship this size, I think it’s a pretty solid design that also lets you detach the ship and handle it without much trouble. Let’s have a look at the Romulan Warbird next.

Oh boy do I love this design! Introduced in the Season 1 Finale, The D’deridex Class was fresh, original, menacing, and unlike anything we’ve seen before. And yet it has since become as iconic a Romulan ship design to me as the original Romulan Bird of Prey that I grew up with. And once again, Eaglemoss has done an amazing job recreating this behemoth battleship in a nearly pocket-sized scale. The green finish has a nice metallic sheen but it’s also washed over in some parts to help bring out some of the sculpted details and give it a bit of a weathered look, particularly along the rear edges of the top and bottom hulls. The ship always looked a little too new on the small screen, but this more seasoned version looks like it would have been at home on the big screen if the Warbird had ever made it into any of the TNG films.

There are panel lines a plenty on the outside and inside recreating a fanning feather-like pattern, as well as a segmented spine that runs up the center of the ship’s mighty back. It evokes the predatory bird motif without having to be quite as on the nose, and some might say cheesy, as the 1960’s Bird of Prey design.

And much like the Enterprise, the craftsman of this model didn’t spare any expense when it came to windows. The hull is positively littered with them and it goes a long way to illustrating just how gigantic this ship is. Just look at all the windows on the strut connecting the bottom of the forward section to the bottom hull. Wow, this is a big ship! I was hoping we would get a little of that translucent plastic in the warp nacelles, but here it’s just a greenish-yellow paint. It looks fine, but it could have looked better.

The stand here mirrors the particulars of the Enterprise stand, although this one is a lot less obtrusive, as it grabs the ship from behind and gives it an upward incline. As a result you can view the ship on the stand from some of its best angles and not have to worry about it getting in the way. On the downside, my stand will not stay in the base, which is only a problem if I forget and go to pick up the ship, as the clear piece and ship will come right out of the base. But stand malfunction set aside, this is a great model of this fierce Romulan Warship. And from one mighty Empire to another, let’s turn next to the Klingon Vor’cha Class Battlecruiser!

It’s no secret that TNG relied too heavily on the Klingon Bird of Prey. Oh, it’s an amazing ship design, but after being featured so prominently in Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Star Trek V, Star Trek VI, oh yeah and Star Trek: Generations, it was nice to see a brand new Klingon ship eventually turn up in TNG, even if we had to wait until the 4th Season to get it. And The Vor’cha was an excellent design that invoked familiar Klingon elements while changing it up enough to make it still seem fresh to me. The Vor’cha is like a D7 on steroids with beefier engines and where the Command Deck on the D7 was at the terminal end of the boom, here it’s tacked on top and preceded by a Weapons Pod that looks like the Klingon equivalent of a giant Type-1 Hand Phaser. Ok, I guess that would be a Type-1 Hand Disruptor. But hopefully you get the point.

Once again there’s some excellent detailing on this little ship, although I’ll say straightaway that it doesn’t look quite as sharp or polished as either the Enterprise or the Warbird. Of course, that just may be that the Klingon ships tend to look a little grittier and less refined. The hull features very traditional Klingon Shield Plates, particularly in the wings leading out to the warp nacelles and in the area surrounding the Weapons Pod. In addition to lots of individual painted windows, you get the emblem of the Klingon Empire printed on the left wing and what I presume is the ship’s registry printed in Klingon on the right wing. Both of these last two details are also present on the undercarriage of the ship.

The warp nacelles makes use of that lovely red translucent plastic in the nacelles and it looks great, particularly with some light piping through them. You also get some orange paint on the Emergency Plasma Purge Vents located at the back edge of each wing. And like the Warbird, the Vor’cha has a wash that not only helps pick out the details in the sculpt but also gives it a well-weathered look suggesting that this Battleship has seen some action.

The stand here is very similar to the one used for the Warbird in that it grabs the ship from behind and allows you to view it from some of its best angles without getting in the way. And happily this stand holds together quite well. While this model doesn’t look as crisp as the first two ships, it certainly has a rugged and seasoned flavor about it that suits a ship in the Klingon Navy. And now that we’ve covered The Big Three, let’s work our way down to a couple of the lesser powers… starting with the Cardassian Galor Class Cruiser.

I was tempted to not include the Galor in this piece on iconic TNG ships because to me this ship really didn’t become iconic until Deep Space Nine and the Cardassians didn’t even show up until TNG was more than half over. Nonetheless, it first appeared in this series, so I’m throwing it in. I’ll also confess I was rather excited to look at it since I’ve never owned a model or toy of this ship before. The Galor is a very cool design, resembling an earwig and automatically giving me the willies. My only real nitpicks with it is that it doesn’t have that one sweet spot for a beauty shot like most other ships do. It doesn’t look like much when viewed at level profile or from dead on. Nonetheless, this is another great model for the line. On the surface, I thought this ship lacked detail, perhaps because it’s hull isn’t covered in panel lines. But once I got in close with the camera, it’s still got the same level of detail as the other ships including tiny windows, insignia and registry markings.

I really don’t know much about this ship’s anatomy, so I perused a set of blueprints so I could better understand I’m seeing. I presumed the orange triangles are weapon, but those are actually called out as the Warp Engines. How that works, I’m not sure, but cool! The model uses red translucent plastic for the Main Disruptor cannon, which apparently doubles as a Deflector Dish. Again, I’m not sure how that works, but cool! I really dig the hatches tucked under the wings, which are apparently for offloading cargo or troops.

Once again, we have the same type of stand, only hear it’s designed to grab the ship from behind it’s wings. It does obstruct the view a bit, but that’s why it’s cast in clear plastic. And to be fair, there’s really nowhere else it could have grabbed the ship and adequately supported it. And that brings me to my last stop on this trek…

I was in love with the Ferengi Marauder the first time I saw it. It’s a shame the Ferengi didn’t work out quite as the writers had planned and we rarely got to see this ship, because I think it’s a really cool design. The model favors paint applications over actual sculpted detail, with most of the hull being smooth. And I’d say that’s probably a fair representation of the screen appearance. And like the Warbird, the painted windows on this ship do a fine job of portraying just how big this ship is supposed to be. Still, I don’t think it would be unfair to say that this survey of ships is offering diminishing returns when it comes to the amount of detail injected into them. I didn’t really plan it that way, but there you go!

The model makes use of translucent yellow plastic used for the warp engines, which can be seen from the sides and the undercarriage as well and look pretty damn sharp. You also get the emblem of the Ferengi Alliance printed on each side just above these engines. The weapon emitters at the tips of the wings look like little pincers, and the notches that run alongside the bottom edge of the ship’s aft hump are all painted.

Unfortunately, there are two things about this model that really bug me. The first is that when viewed from the front, the crescent hump that makes up the back section of the ship doesn’t look tall or steep enough. The screen appearance makes it look a lot more pronounced when compared to the Command Section. Now, maybe that’s just me or maybe a trick of the camera, because I’m sure these models are based on detailed research, but it just doesn’t quite look right to me. Secondly, and less subjective, is the white wash they used. It dulls the color of the hull and I can’t comprehend what kind of effect they were going for here. It bothers me a lot with the ship in hand and even in my pictures it looks like the results of harsh lighting. At least the other wash they did to denote weathering looks great. I’d be keen to see them take a stab at this ship in the larger XL line and without the white wash.

The stand grabs the ship from the front of it’s crescent and does a good job holding it and not being too obtrusive. I will, however, point out that, in the cases of all the stands, I worry about friction and how much taking the ships off and putting them back on will cause paint rubbing.

And there you have it, five iconic ships from The Next Generation all presented by Eaglemoss and, for the most part, they’re all very well done. Even the Marauder would be fine if they gave it a simple repaint. As a FASA miniature junkie from days long past, I’m always up for building me a fleet of little collectible Starships and Eaglemoss has me covered quite nicely with this series. These models are great examples of quality and craftsmanship and offer a fine alternative to fleet building if you’re looking for something more substantial than Micromachines and more varied than any other toy or model company has churned out. The magazines are a nice bonus, but they aren’t the high point of this line to me. The five ships I showcased today ran me between $17 and $25, which sure isn’t bad if you have that one (or handful of) special ship(s) you want to put on your desk. It does, however get rather pricey when you’re looking to Collect Them All, or at least a good chunk of them. On the other hand, it’s a big break from spending seventy-five bucks a pop for the bigger XL ships.