Star Wars Black Series (The Mandalorian): Remnant Stormtrooper and Artillery Stormtrooper by Hasbro

The Mandalorian may be in hiatus, but that’s not stopping us from getting some great figures from the series. I’ve checked out a few figures from Hot Toys offerings, but I’ve also got a small stack from Hasbro’s 6-inch Black Series and 3 3/4-inch Vintage Collection. And some of them are Stormtroopers! I LOVE STORMTROOPERS!!! I don’t open the Vintage Collection stuff, but I’ll get around to showing it off one day when I’m short on time, but the Black Series is all fair game to tear into!

At the beginning of the year, I took a look at Hasbro’s excellent new Black Series Imperial Stormtrooper from The Mandalorian. These new recruits are basically variants built off of that updated figure. The Remnant Stormtrooper has been out for a little while, but the Artillery Stormtrooper just arrived and as far as I know is an Amazon Exclusive! I’m going to start with the Remnant Trooper since I don’t have a whole lot to say about him.

As expected, The Remnant is just a dirtied up repaint of the updated Stormtrooper, and that’s fine! I’ll refer you to that earlier review for all the improvements on articulation and tweaks to the sculpt that this Stormtrooper body introduced. Here, the once pristine white armor is now marred with chipping and some very light brownish-orange spray. Everything just looks delightfully flatter and grungier than the regular Stormy, and shows off what happens when you can’t hop on The Empire’s website and order fresh replacement armor for your goons. The chipping is heaviest on the helmet and left shoulder, as well as the upper thigh pieces. There’s also a smattering of it elsewhere. I think the chipping looks great, but I thought it odd how little there is on the back. Indeed, apart from the heavy chipping on the back of the left thigh piece, the back of the armor is almost totally clean. It kind of looks like Hasbro just forgot to do the back, except for that one piece.

The newer helmet sculpt still looks great, although I’ve spoken to a few people who preferred the older one. To be honest, I don’t really have a preference, and I’m fine intermingling my Black Series troopers with each other. The painted details are pretty sharp, and as for accuracy, I’m not enough of a Star Wars gearhead to notice a lot of the subtle differences. Not to mention, I would imagine there were lots of variations in the screen used props over the years.

Hasbro has been pretty good about making The Mandalorian Stormtroopers accessible. And I was able to pick up three of these guys without any difficulty. It’s not nearly as many of the regular Stormies I got when they released, but this was a rare case where my good senses told me to be happy with three. It would have been cool if they varied up the distress to the armor, but I can appreciate how that would be costly for a mass-produced action figure, and the fact that these three suits just happened to chip in all the exact same spots doesn’t really phase me. I still wish they had kept the holster for the E-11 Blasters from the original Black Series Stormies, but otherwise I love these guy a lot! OK, let’s move on to the star of the show… The Artillery Stormtrooper!

This guy made his appearance in Episode 14, The Tragedy, and as his name suggests, he’s basically a mortar specialist. Once again, we get the new Stormtrooper with improved articulation and the lack of an E-11 holster, and distinguished by both the yellow markings on his armor and the yellow officer’s pauldron on his right shoulder. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I am not a fan of carrying the specialized armor markings from The Clone Wars over to the Imperial Stormtroopers. It felt like a cheap excuse to sell toys back then, and it still does. It’s the kind of thing I expect to see in a video game so the player can tell what kind of enemy they’re dealing with. And it’s especially weird to see it just appearing now in The Mandalorian after never turning up in The Original Trilogy. I think the yellow pauldron would have been enough, and it’s the main reason I’m skipping the Hot Toys releases of this guy and the Incinerator Trooper. And yet with all that being said, I still dig this guy well enough.

There are no notable changes to the helmet, apart from the added yellow markings, which looks like he’s dipped his face in a bucket of mustard. I do really like the sculpt and coloring on the pauldron! The subtle creases where the strap is pulling at it is a really nice touch.

His specialist equipment consists of a backpack and the mortar. The pack holds four “mortar shells,” which I think are just supposed to be the thermal detonators that the regular Stormtroopers wear on the back of their belts. Three of these are sculpted into the pack, but the one on the far right can be removed and loaded into the mortar. The horizontal yellow cylinder looks like it could be some kind of specialty shell, but I’m not sure. The pack plugs into the “O I” on the backpack and it stays put pretty well. There are some fixtures on the sides, which look like brackets, but it doesn’t appear to be designed to hold the mortar, which is a shame.

The mortar is pretty big and features a ball joint at the base and a hinged bi-pod. It stands pretty well and I love the fact that you can load it. “Fire in the hole!!!” Normally, I would have preferred to be manning the WEB Blaster, but after seeing how that thing can be taken out with one well placed shot to the power source, I’m thinking these mortars might be the better way to go. Your far from the action, and accuracy doesn’t really count as much. You really just have to worry about one of those filthy space wizards using The Force to toss the shell back at you. But what are the odds of running into one of those these days, right?

In addition to all the mortar gear, this fellow also comes with a standard E-11 Blaster, which is the same one issued to the Stormtroopers, both Remnant and otherwise. But seriously, is there a petition somewhere to bring back the holsters?

For someone who ran out of space a long time ago, I sure love to troop build! It’s totally irrational, but I just can’t help myself. I think it stems from back when I was a kid and the biggest pie-in-the-sky dream I could have was to have a dozen Stormtroopers for my Rebels to fight. And here i am now with no one to stop me! I’m content with just the one Artillery Stormtrooper, but I can’t say I wouldn’t pick up a couple more Remnant Troopers if they cross my path. Either way, these are great figures and a fine addition to anyone’s Imperial Forces!

Mythic Legions: Zazhar by The Four Horsemen

It’s another Mythoss Monday, and this time I’m going all the way back to that original Kickstarter! Well, sort of. Zazhar and Azhar were Demon brothers, which released as part of the initial Kickstarter, but neither made my original cut when I was tallying up the crazy amount of money I was spending on my Add-Ons. Seriously, it was a long night with a long list, and some very difficult choices… and I still wound up going over budget! Anyway… Zazhar eventually got a re-release in the third All-Stars Wave, so I grabbed him up and now we’re going to have a look!

Now, I say brothers, but in reality the two existed in The Netherrealm as the Demon King Azahzzar. But when he was summoned to Mythoss by the Poxxus (who we’re finally getting a figure of in the next wave!) the Demon King was split into two, with both Demons now serving The Circle of Poxxus!

From the neck down, Zazhar is almost a straight repaint of Belphegorr, the last Demon I looked at from this line. He’s got the same gauntlets and leg armor, the same belt and hip armor, and the same hooves. The only difference is TFH swapped out the furry-style loin cloth for this orange sash, which makes for a cleaner, simpler look. The armor pieces are all painted with a gorgeous metallic purple finish, which makes that pitted and nicked armor look a lot snappier. It also makes them look like they may be enchanted! Zazhar’s vibrant blue skin is beautifully painted, with some nice variations in tone and shading. I find this a lot more appealing than the yellow they used for his brother. You also get a slew of tattoo tendrils on his shoulders and snaking their way down his chest, along with some dots on his abs and arms. It makes for a tribal look that gives his demon bod lots of personality.

The figure comes with the same shoulders as we got with Belphegorr, again painted in that metallic purple finish. I’m a little torn on whether I’m going to display him with these or not. They look great, and make him more intimidating, but I also dig the bare shoulder look, as it shows off those tatts more.

The head sculpt here is phenomenal! I just love TFH’s unique take on their Demons, and this was the one that started it all. He sports a rather grim and determined expression, as opposed to the snarling evil cliche you might expect. I particularly dig how the horns are shaded the same color as his skin and look like just an extension of his skull. You get some really cool crevices running up his forehead and his two beady red eyes are framed by prominent sockets. And check out them ears!

Zazhar’s selection of weaponry is pretty standard stuff, making it rather obvious that he hails from the original Kickstarter. You get the usual brown belt, a cruciform sword with a gold hilt and silver blade, and a matching dagger. As usual, there’s only one loop on the belt, so you can use it for the sword or the dagger, but not really both.

I absolutely love this set of weapons, and I’m always happy to get more. These blades look great and still seem fairly utilitarian at the same time. But these knightly weapons really don’t feel like they belong with a Demon. Then again, this guy is supposed to be able to kill with a mere touch, so I’m not sure why he needs them at all. Maybe just for sport? I’d be tempted to give the sword and dagger to Cassia, and give her sabre to Zazhar, but mixing up weapons on these figures drives my OCD crazy!

And finally, Zazhar comes with the spear that every other figure got in that initial Kickstarter. It’s painted to match the sword and dagger, with a gold shaft and a silver blade. I think the spear suits him a bit better, but I would have preferred some more sinister colors.

Boy was I happy to see Zazhar make it into one of the All-Stars wave and allow me to have another crack at him without paying the insane prices these figures go for on Ebay. When I was placing my initial order, I was all about the Knights, Orcs, and Skeletons, and everyone else had to take a back seat. Now he’s in the collection, and the timing couldn’t be better, as Arethyr gave us a bunch of Demons, and Proxxus is up for pre-order in the next wave!

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Sixth-Scale Figure by Big Chief Studios

It’s been a rough few years for me as a Doctor Who fan. The Chibnall/Whitaker Era is the first time in my 40 years of watching the show that I can’t find anything to like about the current series and opted out. Yeah, it sucks. But with so many different takes on the renegade Time Lord, I guess it was bound to happen eventually. And yet, it’s hard to be too bitter, when there’s such a wealth of Classic and NuWho to go back to, not to mention some new merch trickling in to enjoy. Indeed, I’ve got a ton of 5.5-inch scale Character Options figures to check out, but Big Chief’s latest offering arrived this week and I’m bumping it to the front of the line!

The Good Doctor comes in a standard shoebox-style package with a lift off top. The deco is nice looking, but why did they have to go with the current era logo? I’m not sure if this is stipulated by the BBC in the licensing agreement, but it really sucks to be reminded of an Era I don’t like when buying Classic Who collectibles. It’s worse because this is a box I plan on keeping. Oh well. Ask me who my favorite Doctor is, and there’s a good chance I’d say it’s the one I happen to be watching at the moment. But if you really pressed me, Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor will always remain at the top of the list. He was actually the second Doctor that I ever saw (my first was Tom Baker as Number Four!), but I have such great memories of being a teenager and watching The Third Doctor’s stories for the first time on an old B&W TV set in my bedroom every weekend. I loved Pertwee’s performance, I loved that he was given a new adversary in Roger Delgato’s The Master, and I loved his sometimes uneasy pairing with UNIT. Needless to say, I’m excited! So let’s get The Doctor out and have a look!

The figure comes out of the box ready for action and looking fab! Well, I say ready, but you do have to make one small correction to his outfit. Reach into the jacket’s cuffs and pull out some of that white frilly shirt inside so that it’s extending out past the cuff. Otherwise he’s good to go. Big Chief had a lot of great Third Doctor outfits to choose from, but in the end they went for his debut look from Spearhead From Space, and I’m very pleased they did. It’s a complex look that suits his dashing nature. You get black dress shoes, black trousers, and a midnight blue coat, which is fastened with one clasp just a bit above his waistline. The frilly white shirt is recreated with its flashy ruffles and capped off with a black tie. And finally, you get the brilliant black Inverness coat with a red lining and working floral-style clasps. Big Chief has had some challenges in recreating wardrobes that don’t look too puffy. You get a little bit of that here in the collar, but otherwise this outfit shows some excellent sixth-scale tailoring and craftsmanship. I think they did an amazing job here.

Big Chief’s portraits have been hit or miss, and it’s been the one determining factor that has kept me from being All-In on these Sixth-Scale Whos. To me, their Matt Smith likeness still ranks among their best, and it killed me to pass on The Fourth Doctor, but there just wasn’t enough Tom Baker in there for me. Thankfully, they are back to form with this Jon Pertwee portrait. It’s an excellent likeness with an insane amount of detail paced into the facial sculpt. All the little lines are lovingly recreated here, and they did a beautiful job on his distinctive nose (which his son Sean wears ever so proudly!) Even his eyebrows look so good they could be useful on the planet Delphon where they communicate with their eyebrows! As for the expression, Big Chief went for a serious and stoic countenance, which suits The Third Doctor so well.
Sculpted hair was without a doubt the only way to go with this head sculpt, and once again I think they did a fine job. Yes, plastic hair means that the realism takes a bit of a hit, but it’s hard to argue with the loving attention that went into this coif. If I were to nitpick anything here, it would be the plastic used for the skin has a tad of a waxy finish to it, but that only really became noticeable to me when I got him under the studio lights.

There’s plenty of useful articulation under that outfit, including double hinges in the knees, and solid joints that can hold most any pose. That is, except for the neck, which is rather loose. He can hold his head up, but it doesn’t take much jostling to get it to slump. It’s a weird flaw to have, considering Big Chief has turned out a fair number of Sixth-Scale figures at this point, but it also isn’t a fatal mishap either just annoying. You get a nice assortment of hands, including some expressive ones for different posing options. One pair of hands are black gloved, the others are bare, and the left hands include his sculpted pinky ring. I was pleased to see that one of the relaxed hands serves as a karate-chop hand, perfect for showing off his skills at Venusian Aikido. Several of the hands are designed specifically for holding his accessories, so let’s dive right into those!

Big Chief rarely skimps on the accessories, and you get a decent assortment of goodies here. A lot of them are pretty small, but then The Doctor usually only carries what he can fit into his bottomless pockets. The one accessory I won’t picture here is the TARDIS key, because it’s so tiny that I’ve already misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up!

Two of the items here are weapons, which may seem odd inclusions for The Doctor, The Third Doctor was quite the action hero and occasionally had the need to take up arms. The first is the Ultrasonic Disintegrator Gun carried by the guerilla forces in Day of the Daleks. I love the design for this thing, and was very happy to see it in the box. The Doctor made good use of this weapon to take out some Ogrons.

The second weapon is the Sea Devil Heat Ray Gun, which is a very simple and unique design. None of the hands seemed especially well suited to holding it, which is kind of wielded like a clothes iron, but I was able to make it work OK.

The Metebelis Crystal was a recurring namedrop throughout The Third Doctor’s run, and it played a significant part in his ultimate demise and regeneration, making it a rather essential accessory. This is another one of those little items that I would have considered an unforgivable omission had Big Chief not included it.

Next to the TARDIS key, the smallest accessory is The Doctor’s wristwatch. It’s a very well detailed item considering how small it is, but it’s pretty hard to see it when he’s wearing it on his wrist.

You get Bessie’s remote control unit, which I believe turned up in The Daemons. It’s another very well detailed little accessory, missing only the lettering that was on the original prop that called out the functions of the buttons as Hood, Horn, and Lights, as well as the label Steer near the miniature wheel, and Modulation on the bottom gauge.

The magnifying glass is a pretty simple item, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s something they repurposed from one of their Sherlock figures. It didn’t seem to work perfectly with any specific hand, but again I was able to make it work pretty well.

And of course The Third Doctor saw the first use of the Sonic Screwdriver, so we can’t forget that! This original design remains the most iconic for me, although it didn’t change too much over the following years. I actually didn’t know it had the yellow and black striping for a while, because, as I mentioned earlier, I watched The Third Doctor’s entire run for the first time on a B&W TV set! I go back and fourth on whether or not I prefer the striping or the more utilitarian all silver shaft.

Naturally, you get a stand and this one is more or less the same one we saw with The Twelfth Doctor. I appreciate the effort that went into the design here. The mirror base is flashy and it has a light up feature. But, ultimately, I think the base is way too small, and the electronic feature doesn’t do much for me either. I would have preferred something simpler with a Classic logo on it. It’s worth noting here that this figure was limited to a run of 1,000, although there’s no stated limitation on the stand, only on the box where it is hand numbered. What number do I have? Hell if I can read it. It looks like it might be 312, but I honestly have no idea.

One last bonus is the illustrated insert is printed with a backdrop of the TARDIS console room and the fact that it’s a tri-fold piece of cardboard means it can stand behind the figure. I honestly love when companies include something like this. It’s such a simple little thing, but it goes a long way to make for a more compelling display.

While Big Chief still wavers a bit on their consistency, this latest release just goes to show how great they can be when they’re on their game. I had high hopes for The Third Doctor’s final release and now that I have him in hand, I can happily say I’m not disappointed. I think they did a fantastic job on the costume, and I’d argue that the portrait is the best one they’ve turned out since Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor. At $260, Big Chief is definitely asking Hot Toys prices, and while the quality is high, it’s not yet reached Hot Toy’s unbridled level of excellence. I’m guessing the higher price is also driven by the rather low limitation, and The Third Doctor sold out at Sideshow shortly after it began shipping. Roger Delgado’s Master is due to ship soon as well, and I can’t wait to be able to display these two together!

Happy Thanksgiving!

No new content today, folks, as I’ve got a long day at work and then I’m going to be hunkering down for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I’ve got some video games to play, some comics to read, and some pies and turkey to eat. I should be back on Friday with something new!

As always, I’m forever thankful for everyone that’s been stopping by and checking on my deranged fascination with toys and collectibles these past ten years or so. If you’re in the US, I hope you have a great holiday, if not, have a great day anyway!

By figurefanzero

Mythic Legions (Wasteland): Cassia by The Four Horsemen

It’s Mythoss Monday again, and I thought I’d let it roll with more of the Wasteland Wave! This was not a large assortment of figures, and since I skipped the Masters of the Universe homages, I’ve actually only got two more figures here to look at. Today we’ll check out Cassia!

According to her bio, Cassia is something of a disaffected wanderer, who abandoned her faction and is looking to hook up with the House of the Noble Bear. She’s praised as a veteran of some of Mythoss’ bloodiest battles, making her one dangerous warrior. Cassia’s got a lot going on with several display options, so let’s get started!

Here she is out of the box with her shoulders on, and repurposing a good deal of the body we last saw a while back on Juno, including that scalloped breast armor. From there on, her armor is a hodge-podge collection that looks like it’s been scavenged from piles of dead on the battlefield. She’s got something of a knightly belt with hip plates and a studded leather scale piece hanging down front and center, meanwhile her legs are armored from knee to toe in the rough and jagged Orc-type armor. What I find most distinctive is her use of two different style shoulder pieces, which sort of match the bracer on each opposite arm.

I’m not a huge fan of the mismatched shoulders, so I’ll likely just display her with one or the other, and use one of her three sword belts as a shoulder strap. And going with this option also allows her to wear her sword on her back, with the hilt peeking up over the bare shoulder. The rest of the armor looks great and offers a paint deco as diverse as the pieces themselves. The hips are silver with blue accents, the lower legs are black. Her left bracer is copper and her right is brown with copper studs and painted silver buckles.

Cassia comes out of the box with a sugar loaf style helmet, which we last saw on the female Templar, Delphina. I like the sculpt a lot, and here it’s recreated with a blackened iron look, copper reinforcing strips crossing at the eye slits, and silver painted rivets. It does, however feel a little out of place here. But then again, I think that’s the whole point. It’s just another piece of scavenged armor for her collection.

The alternate head suits her a lot more in my opinion, even if I’m not quite as fond of this sculpt as I am the full helmet. Oh, it’s not bad at all, but I think the exposed part of the face is a little soft. I do, however, like the copper finish on the helmet itself and the very realistic looking horns, which can be attached in a number of different ways. I also dig the ponytail that attaches to the helmet and spills out the back. How does she get all that hair tucked into the other helmet? It wonder!

If you’ve read my last couple of Mythic Legions reviews, you may remember me griping about how some of those figures didn’t feel like they came with as much stuff as I was used to getting. Well, Cassia here is an example of how some of these releases are loaded with accessories. I mean, we already got the extra head and three sword belts, but how about three weapons to go with her too! The first of which is a damn fine bearded ax. The graceful shaft has a sculpted wood finish, and the middle of the ax has a hammered copper look to it. This is a cool weapon, which she can wield either single or double-handed.

Next up, she has a rather crude looking scimitar, which we last saw with one of the Orcs. I’m happy to see this accessory again, because it’s just so damn distinctive. The grip and crossguard are sculpted to look like either claws or teeth, and the well-worn, nicked blade has a clipped point and a hole punched near the tip, perhaps to lighten the weight of the weapon. The swell in the blade makes it a little tough to pass through the loop on the belts, but it hangs pretty well if you just thrust it on the inside of the belt.

The final weapon in Cassia’s arsenal is the massive war hammer. This bruiser of a weapon turned up a lot in the initial assortment of Mythic Legions figures and while I may have been getting a bit tired of it back then, it’s cool to see it make an appearance. Cassia looks mighty and fierce wielding it, even if it does probably weigh almost as much as she does! The copper paint looks very nice, and matches some of her armor, and as always the sculpt on this piece is stellar.

And if all these goodies weren’t enough, Cassia also comes with a fur cape, which is an incredible little garment. I’m not sure how TFH made this look so damn good, but it genuinely looks like they shrunk down a bear pelt. It feels so soft and luxurious! It’s fitted with a hole to pass through the neck, so she can wear it sort of like cape, but it’s big enough to wrap all the way around her for those chilly Mythoss nights.

Cassia may be quite conspicuous as a mix-and-match figure, but I do enjoy how they leaned into it to make her look like someone who trades up armor as she finds it. I often imagine that your average warrior in a fantasy campaign would be constantly finding better gear to loot, and that this patchwork appearance would be the result, especially for a warrior like Cassia who has cast off her previous allegiances. She’s a great figure and comes with plenty of cool stuff! Indeed, there are enough display options here to create two distinct characters!

Transformers (Studio Series 86): Dinobot Slug by Hasbro

Seems like it’s been a little while since I last visited with Hasbro’s eternal line of convertobotformers, and boy do I have a huge backlog! I’ve got a lot of goodies to choose from, so many so that I’m going to have to do a Backlog Week where I can dig way back into the stack of overlooked bots. But after a quick scan of my shelf, and my attention was immediately drawn to the second Dinobot in the Studio Series line… Let’s check out Slag!

Yeah, yeah. For reasons, he’s now called Dinobot Slug, but I’ll be referring him to Slag for the remainder of this piece. You’ll note that the box also credits the inclusion of Daniel Whitwicky, but I’ll save him for the end. The box has some decent character art and the Transformers movie logo, but man am I tired of this overall box layout. The black background with the red generic lettered Transformers running up the side is so boring and lacks any semblance of creativity. Never in a million years would I have guessed that Hasbro would stick with this crap for so long. But I throw out the box anyway, so who cares! Let’s start with the dino mode!

CHONKS!!! When it comes to Dinobots, big and beefy wins the day… and Slag meets both of those criteria. Slag’s alt form is a Triceratops, or at least that’s what it was called when I was a kid. The scientists have been working overtime deleting my childhood dinosaur names, who knows what’s what these days. Whatever the case, I think Hasbro did a nice job on the alt mode here, although it does have a bit of a patchwork quality about it. That’s mainly from the mix of gray, black, red, gold, and white plastics. He’s got some solid proportions and a tank-like quality about him, despite the hollow hind legs. He’s based on the movie’s animated appearance, but there’s still a lot of great sculpted detail in his metallic hide. You get panel lines, pipes, hatches, vents, and all sorts of technological gizmos on display. I especially dig how his gun is used to fill out his tail.

The head has a nice satiny gold finish, which is repeated for the back ridges and tail, and the blue eyes are quite striking. He’s got white plastic horns protruding from the top of his head and a smaller upturned horn jutting up from his nose. The crest that frames his head is also left bare white plastic, which I’ll confess looks a little cheap, but I suppose it does match the coloring in the cartoon appearance. There’s no articulation in the neck, but the jaw does open, so that’s cool!

So, the dino mode gets my seal of approval, however, I will say that the engineering on this toy is a lot more complex than what I was expecting. As a rule, I always thought the original Dinobot toy transformations didn’t need to be messed with too much to make modern updates. The Studio Series Grimlock more or less holds that to be true. But Hasbro did some crazy stuff here, especially with Slag’s torso. I found it to be a bit frustrating to get him into dino mode the first time, and even after a few more tries it feels a bit more fiddly than it needed to be. Some might argue that a Leader Class should have complex engineering to justify the price, but here it was just a pain to get everything to lock together correctly, especially when compared to Studio Series Grimlock.

And speaking of which, here are the two Studio Series Dinobots together in their alt modes. With that said… on to the robot mode! In terms of scale and styling, I think they look amazing together! And just in case you want to see how much bigger Slug got than when we last saw him…

My opinion on the Power of the Primes Dinobots remains mostly unchanged. These were great looking figures, but woefully undersized. The PotP Dinos were especially small for Deluxe Class toys, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Leader Class is the only way to go for Dinobots! Now let’s check out Slag’s robot mode!

Well, there sure is a lot to love here, but I also have a few nitpicks so let me get them out of the way first. The dino mode’s hind legs would be expected to land on the outside of the robot legs, but here, they fold in to fill in the leg cavities and give Slag a cleaner look. I sure can respect that, but… I think that by taking the legs off the outside and concealing them, it makes his legs look a little scrawny compared to his upper body bulk. Is it a deal-breaker for me? Nah. It is however, my only real gripe with this robot mode. Indeed, I’m impressed by how polished the back looks, with the “wings” and the tail tucked in. It’s just a great looking figure all around.

The portrait is nicely done as well, with a sharp sculpt. It’s worth mentioning here that I love the red plastic used for the head and chest. It’s so bright and vibrant. It also contrasts beautifully with those big blue eyes. The chest piece is obviously faked out, as it’s not really the lower jaw of the dino head, but I think that was the right way to go here and it looks great.

Like Grimlock, Slag comes with a gun but no sword. Yeah, that sucks. The gun is a decent sculpt, but I wish it was cast in black plastic instead of the white. And while on the subject, I really would have loved to get an homage to the missile launcher that came with the original figure. Where did all the plastic they saved from not including a sword or missile launcher go?

It went to this piece of crap… Daniel Witwicky in his Exo-Suit. This is extremely similar to the Wheelie figure that came with Studio Series Grimlock. And while I wasn’t terribly impressed with that Wheelie, I find this inclusion to be a total misfire. There’s articulation at the shoulders and hips, but he’s stuck in a squatting position, as the figure is mainly intended to just sit on top Slag’s dino mode. I think what I hate most about this figure is that they couldn’t even give him a head sculpt or a sticker showing a face inside the open helmet, but nope… we just got a blank, featureless dome.

It continues to baffle me that Takara didn’t continue on with the Masterpiece Dinobots, especially with how many different releases they got out of Grimlock. But with a team of MP Dinos being only a pipe dream, Hasbro’s Leader Class offerings are the next best thing to me. Slag puts us at two Dinobots down and I really hope Hasbro keeps this train rolling. Indeed, I’m a little disappointed we haven’t seen a teaser of the next one yet. I’m rooting for Sludge, because if they do cut this run short, I want to make sure we at least get the original three. And since I can’t imagine what lame mini figure they would include with Sludge, how about you just make good on the missing swords instead, eh Hasbro?

Dejah Thoris “Princess of Mars” Premium Format Statue by Sideshow

I try my best to avoid picking up Sideshow’s Premium Format statues. They’re always stunning, but that beauty and craftsmanship comes at a price, not only in money but also in real estate. These things are big and it’s getting harder and harder for me to find room to display them. Today’s piece is the fifth Premium Format in my collection, and will likely be the last for a while, or at least until I move into a bigger place next year! It also happens to be one that I’ve been hotly anticipating ever since they first teased it. Straight from the pages of Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian novels, comes The Princess of Mars herself, Dejah Thoris!

Dejah arrived in what was possibly the largest Premium Format box I have received to date, which explains the unprofessional picture of it sitting on the floor. It’s colorful and shows off pictures of the statue, while also being unbelievably heavy at a whopping thirty-two pounds! I think I had the misconception of this piece being more reasonably sized because she’s reclining and not standing, but she still measures up at fourteen inches tall with a circular base that measures sixteen inches across. The assembly is a bit more involved than any of my previous PF statues, but there’s still nothing too crazy. The chair pegs into the base with keyholes, and there’s a blanket and a pillow that attach onto the chair in the same fashion. The figure comes in four pieces, which include the main body, the arms, and the head. Everything fitted together perfectly and once together, she makes for a sturdy and stable display. Still, carrying her from her display shelf to my photo setup was quite the ordeal!

And here she is all set up, and what can I say? Is there any doubt why I fell in love with her at first sight? I’ve been a reader and book collector for most of my life and Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series captured my imagination at a young age. Likewise, Dejah Thoris was probably my very first literary crush. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing different artists’ visions of her in their work, and it’s always been a dream of mine to own something like this statue, depicting the Red Princess of Barsoom in all her sultry glory!

Dejah reclines on a chaise lounge, atop a pile of pillows, each strategically placed to support her curvaceous form, while a satiny blanket spills off onto the floor. She has her right leg extended and her left leg tucked under it. Her left arm is drawn up to cradle her head with splayed fingers, while her right arm is extended behind her, partially concealing a Radium Pistol. I think the composition here is absolutely perfect. It conveys Dejah’s extreme sexuality, her cunning and self-reliance, and above all her absolute regality. Despite her skimpy attire and leisurely setting, she comes across as totally empowered.

All of that character is not only conveyed in the body language, but also the beautiful portrait. Dejah is sporting a rather serious expression, peppered with just a touch of courtly boredom. She looks like she’s tired of someone’s shit, and there’s a good chance that when her patience finally runs out, she’s going to make use of her pistol. The facial features are beautifully realized in the sculpt with some absolutely perfect paint applications. The lips, eyes, and eyebrows are all razor sharp. The glossy red they used for the lips is quite striking, and the eyebrows are sculpted as well as painted. The sculpted hair cascades to her shoulders, with a collection of strands partially covering the right side of her face. The other great thing about the portrait is the detail in all the jewelry. She has multiple earrings, and the tiara features some great scrollwork as well as a few metallic colored stones.

When it comes to her outfit, there’s not a lot of it. As a result, a great deal of Dejah’s figure is just reddish-brown skin conveyed though a spectacularly soft and even paint job. She wears a veritable web of gold chains, which connect to a waist chain and two golden cups to cover her nips. Some of this, like the waist chain, is sculpted onto the statue, while some of it is actual chain, giving it some great depth and realism. Her rather elaborate necklace features a purple stone dead center, she has a rather wide wrist bracer on her right hand, smaller bangles on her left, bicep cuffs on both arms, and various ring fingers. All fo the jewelry is painted with a sumptuous gold leaf paint. Down below she sports a rather skimpy G-string, secured with a mix of gold chain and pearls, she has several anklets, and even some toe rings.

The Radium Pistol is a great example of the steampunk-like depiction of Helium technology over the years. It’s design is quite reminiscent of a single-action open-top revolver from 19th Century Earth. It features a long and slender barrel, with a sculpted extraction arm underneath it, and a rather elaborately sculpted grip. Dejah clearly isn’t one for practicing trigger discipline, as her finger is looped through the guard and ready to squeeze off a round at a moment’s notice.

The base consists of a very thick and heavy disk, the surface of which is carved with a map of Barsoom with studs representing each of the Martian Cities. The chaise lounge locks into it with keyholes and remains very sturdy. Some amazing detail has gone into the individual pillows that Dejah reclines on. You get some ornate Eastern patterns, some gilt decorations, and plenty of tassels. It can’t be easy to make polystone look like soft and inviting cushions, but they sure got the job done here!

The base has one removable accessory, and that’s this rather ornate water jug. At one point, I thought this was an Exclusive piece, but in reality, Dejah didn’t have an Exclusive available. And that’s just as well, because it would have made a pretty lame exclusive. The jug doesn’t attach anywhere, so you can just rest it on the base somewhere and pray that you remember it isn’t fixed down the next time you move the statue. I dig it a lot, but the fact that I am only introducing it now suggests that it can be a little distracting from the figure. There’s room to place it in the front, as pictured, or in the back, where it can be less obvious.

I believe it was about a year between the time I pre-ordered Dejah and the time she finally showed up at my door. She’s easily my most anticipated Premium Format figures in my collection, and that means she had a year’s worth of anticipation to live up to. I’ll confess to having been a little apprehensive when opening her. Could she possibly live up to all that pent up excitement? Well, the answer is an astounding yes. I’m happy to say that Dejah met and exceeded all my expectations. Everything about this piece comes together so perfectly. The paint, the sculpt, the overall composition. I can honestly say, that there isn’t a thing here that I would change or want to make better.

Mythic Legions (Wasteland): Argemedes by The Four Horsemen

Welcome to the second installment of the still new and fresh Mythoss Monday! And it’s all the more timely, since The Four Horsemen just revealed pre-orders for yet another wave of Mythic Legions ready to girt on their swords and do battle with my bank account. I’m still far behind in my Mythic Legions reviews, picking through the now impressive history of releases, and today I’ve come up with Argemedes the Cyclops!

The Siege at Bjorngar assortment introduced the Ogre-sized figures to the realm of Mythoss. Not as large as the Trolls, but still standing tall above the regular-sized figures, we initially got three of these big bois: Kkurzog, The Ogre Legion Builder, and Bolthor the Tower. Argemedes followed soon after in the Wasteland assortment to round out the quartet. Unlike the regular Mythic Legions releases, these fellas come in window boxes, which are collector friendly and have some very nice wrap-around artwork!

Argemedes mixes things up a bit in that he is a Cyclops! Perhaps, he’s a smaller, distant cousin of the larger mono-eyed Brontus, The Arena Troll from The Coliseum Wave. Mythic Legions is a line that is built around mixing, matching, and repainting parts, and while it manages to achieve a pretty good amount of diversity, I think the parts sharing is probably most obvious in these Ogres sized figures. I’m not knocking them for it, but I just find it a lot more noticeable here if you gather them all together. If you stand Argemedes next to Kkurzog, you can see there are more differences in the paint scheme than the actual sculpt. They share the exact same bodies, hands, and feet, as well as the same wrist bracers. chest harnesses, and leg armor. The belts are nearly identical too, with only the disc in the center being different. Argemedes also has a much thicker and larger barbarian diaper to hide his trouser cyclops.

And while the recycled bodies really stand out here, I still think they did a nice job on the repainted bits for Argemedes. He’s given a sort of blue-gray skin with a paler shade in the chest. The armor bits are generally darker, emphasizing more blacks than browns, less silver, and mixing up some of the coppery bits. I have to say I’m still blown away by all the fine detail in the armore pieces. The texturing makes the leather bits look like real leather, and the hammered finish on the studs, plates, and buttons, is just so damn fantastic. There’s a little overspray of bone paint on the plates between his legs, but that’s the only place I can find fault in the paint quality. The rather ornate scrollwork pattern on the belt disc looks great, although this piece has now been used on three out of the four Ogres, making Kkurzog’s belt the most unique of the bunch. At least the wrist bracers are removable, so you can mix things up by removing one or both if you want to make these guys look different. Personally, I think they look too good to take off! I especially love how all the little straps, buckles, and fixtures are sculpted and painted.

Argemedes does have a brand new head, which makes him and his one big eye rather unique. The lower structure of his face is still very Ogre like, with the flat nose, broad mouth and prominent tusks. Maybe one of the Ogres got busy with Brontus and Argemedes was the result! He’s got craggy skin around his single blood-orange eyeball. The paintwork on the head is excellent, with some nice shading and the skin changing from blue to a creamy yellow around his nose and lower jaw. I also really dig the paint and sculpt that went into those tusks.

The helmet is a close fitting skullcap with thin cheek guards, which drop down in front of his pointed ears. The mohawk of boney spikes looks great and matches the bones that protrude from the arm and leg armor rather well. The helmet is removable, and it can even be worn by Kkurzog or the Ogre Legion Builder if you like. This was a nice surprise, I had expected it to be either part of the head sculpt or permanently attached. I prefer the figure with the helmet on, but the bald pate that can be seen with the helmet off also gives the portrait a lot of personality.

For me, the only real disappointing thing about Argemedes is that he comes with the same poleax that we’ve seen a few times with The Ogres already. It’s not a bad weapon, and I love how the shaft can be changed around to be different lengths, but when you’re reusing this much figure, it seems only fair to give him a brand new weapon. It’s not like any new weapon designed for this guy wouldn’t be used again and again further on down the line. It would have also been cool to give him some kind of crude shield. With that having been said, the ax head is still a beautiful sculpt and it does suit the big guy rather well.

I do love this figure class, and making one of them a cyclops was a great idea! Argemedes is another welcome addition to my Mythic Legions shelves, and he looks great in the back towering over some of the other figures. With that having been said, The Four Horsemen really need to invest in some new armor for this body if they’re still going to be making use of it. There just seems to be more of a variety of paint options with the smaller figures to make them work better with recycled parts. Not to mention these bigger guys cost more, so it would be nice to get some more bang for my buck. Based on some pictures, it looks like TFH are addressing this in future releases with new armor pieces and such, so it will be cool to see what they come up with.

Star Wars “Rogue One” Shoretrooper Squad Leader Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

I could go on and on, recounting all the things that I love about Rogue One! But today, let’s go with Reason #1,256: New Troopers! The film gave us some brand spanking new Imperial Troops, all of which were conspicuously absent from The Original Trilogy, but I’m sure they’ll get digitally inserted in an upcoming Extra Special Edition. And while the Deathtroopers were probably my favorite additions, the Shoretroopers that were introduced on Scarif are a close second! And here comes Hot Toys to prey on my weaknesses by releasing both a Shoretrooper and the Squad Leader as well. The regular trooper isn’t due to ship until early next year, but the Squad Leader arrived on my front stoop a couple of days ago! Time to hit the beach and kick over some Rebel sandcastles!

Here’s the part of the review where I lament the bland and boring packaging we always get with the Star Wars Hot Toys, so let’s just say I did and be done with it. You’ll note that nowhere on the package is it branded as a Rogue One figure, and maybe that’s because these fellows made an appearance in The Mandalorian. That’s also probably why they’re now being called Shoretroopers, instead of Scarif Stormtroopers. Eh, it’s all marketing in the end. But, it’s worth noting that the official copy on Sideshow’s website makes the link to Rogue One, so that’s good enough for me. Not that it matters, because I’m more or less all in on both Rogue One and Mandalorian Hot Toys.

The Squad Leader shares a similar suit to his rank-and-file underlings. The big difference is the lack of the ammo pouch and hip armor, and the addition of the black cloth kama that hangs down to about his knees, and covers his butt. The Leader also features some coloring to his upper armor, with light blue on the tops of his shoulders and a light blue bar running across the top of his chest. He’s also got a white band on his left shoulder, and a red bicep guard on his right arm with three yellow bars. Otherwise, his armor is a sandy tan color with some pretty heavy and convincing weathering effects. The paint on this guy is just great, and it’s backed up by some excellent detail, particularly in the shallow backpack unit.

As for the armor itself, the suit falls somewhere in between the full armor of a regular Stormtrooper and the abbreviated armor of the Scout Troopers. The Shoretrooper enjoys the extra protection of lower leg and forearm armor, but the rest offers more or less the same protection as the Scout has. As usual, the figure is comprised of an undersuit with the plastic armor pieces worn on top and held on either by elastic straps or friction. Above the waist, the body suit is black, but the exposed trousers are brown. About the only thing I don’t much like on this fella is are the boots, which strike me as looking more like brown loafers than combat boots. But, they are still accurate to the design, so it’s hard to fault the figure.

The helmet is also an excellent sculpt and the paint is once again on point. Hell, no matter where you look, the paint just sells this figure so well. You get scoring and abrasions, and just general soiling. It looks like this guy has seen more than his share of action. All it’s really missing is some dried seagull poop! The helmet design is obviously influenced by the Scout Trooper helmet, but the angular plates over the cheeks make it look quite distinctive, as does the reinforced blast shield, which rests above the visor on the forehead. It’s a shame that the blast shield isn’t articulated here, as it would have been cool to be able to drop it down over the visor. But to quote a certain farmboy, then they couldn’t even see… so how are they supposed to fight? I do feel like the neck is a little too long and thin, but that’s mostly only noticeable to me when the figure is viewed from the back.

Rank may have its privileges, but unfortunately it doesn’t mean the Squad Leader gets a lot of extra stuff. Indeed, a lack of extras seems to be a continued sticking point for me and these Imperial Troopers. In this case you get three pairs of hands: Relaxed, Fists, and Gun-toting… plus you get the gun for those hands to tote. Oh, but what a magnificent gun it is! Sure, the E-11 Blaster is iconic as all hell, but this E-22 reciprocating double-barrel blaster rifle is one sexy piece of ordinance. It’s a much beefier and far more intimidating weapon than the ones carried by their vanilla Stormtrooper cousins, and this is an absolutely beautiful sculpt. There are no articulated or removable parts on the weapon, but it does come with a shoulder strap, and features some very nice weathering.

What’s our last stop on every Hot Toys review? You got it! The Stand! In this case it’s the usual rectangle with a silver name plate on the front. You get an illustrated sticker that can be placed onto the base, or you can omit it in favor of what looks more like the deck plate of an Imperial Star Destroyer. There’s also an optional piece to give the base an angled front that is flush with the name plate. As with the packaging, the name plate does not have any Rogue One branding, but rather just says Star Wars and Shoretrooper Squad Leader. The stand consists of your standard adjustable crotch-cradle, which works well with the figure.

I love this figure! He’s a great addition to my Sixth-Scale Imperial Troops, and you bet your beskar that I already have the regular Shoretrooper on pre-order. In addition to the great sculpt, tailoring, and paint, there’s very little in the outfit to hinder his articulation, making him a lot more fun to play with than the more restrictive suited Hot Toys. But I will admit that the price is really catching up with these guys. $230 just seems high for a figure that comes with so little in the way of extras, and doesn’t have an actual portrait. I consider the likeness and portrait to be a huge part of a Hot Toys figure’s budget, and when they’re just doing a helmet, it seems like that should save on the cost a bit. Plus, I think this armor is mostly the same as the Assault Tank Commander, so they’re already getting multiple uses out of it. I seem to recall the last two Hot Toys Stormtroopers I bought were around $200-220, and I think this figure should have shipped around $10 to $15 less than it did. But what the hell, they still got me to buy it, so I guess they know what they’re doing.

Marvel Legends (What If?): The Hydra Stomper by Hasbro

In case you missed the memo, I’ve replaced Marvel Mondays with Mythic Legions reviews, so that’s why you’re seeing a Marvel Legends review on a Wednesday! Now, since it’s out of the regular Monday rotation, that means there’s no guarantee that I’ll be doing Marvel content every week, but I wasn’t about to go cold turkey straight out of the gate, was I? Today I’m checking out The Hydra Stomper, which is a single oversized Deluxe release, that is tethered in spirit to the proper What If? Wave, which I’ll be tackling soon enough. My guess is that this guy was a little too big to do as the Build A Figure, which is why Hasbro gave that honor to The Watcher. Hey, it all works out in the end.

While What If? can refer to the funnybooks, this Wave seems to be more specifically tied to the recent What If? animated series on Disney+. Nope, I didn’t watch it, I just can’t get into these Marvel Disney+ Series, but I’m not going to let that stop me from enjoying the figures. The Hydra Stomper is a suit of armor made by Howard Stark for Steve Rogers in a reality where Agent Carter became the Super Soldier. Yeah… I think I got that right. Anyway, let’s suit up and dive in!

Oh man, this is a big and meaty figure! I absolutely love the design here, which has a primitive look similar to Tony Stark’s Mark I armor. It also has a wonderful WWII military-style finish, which includes a uniform coat of matte olive green paint, along with some brown panels down on the feet, and some white stenciled military markings. There’s also a pale blue panel on the front in place of what would be the Arc Reactor in our reality, but in this case offers a window to the Tesseract power that drives this particular suit. The sculpt isn’t what I would call hyper-detailed, as it tends to favor smooth vacant spaces instead of a lot of complex panel lines, but there are some nice flourishes here, like the rivets and vents. I also really dig the grab bars that run up the left leg and along the left side of the torso to help Steve climb into this behemoth.

There’s a lot more detail present on the massive jet pack, which pegs into the back and includes hinges on each thruster tank to reposition them away from the body. The cables and supports all look pretty convincing and I dig the scorch marks painted along the the thrusters themselves. I would have liked a little more weathering like this on the figure as a whole to make it look more worn and realistic, but I suppose the simpler paint job is more in tune with the animation style of the series. One gripe about the jetpack is that it’s rather heavy and the peg isn’t substantial enough to keep it plugged in all that securely. It will stay put if I’m just repositioning the figure, but if I get into any major re-posing, it is apt to fall out.

The head gives me more of that Mark I armor vibe, with the squared off eyes and the bars over the mouth slit. You get more grab bars on the shoulders for lowering into the torso compartment, and there’s a rather stout antenna rising up over the left shoulder. A white star and the C-15 registry on the chest adds nicely to the military motif.

As a stocky, well-armored figure, the articulation here doesn’t always offer the best range of motion, but all the points are there, and I’d say that the figure has about the same level of movement that one might expect from the real suit. The shoulder plates are hinged so they don’t get in the way of the rotating hinges in the shoulders too badly. The hips are capable of some nice wide stances, with lateral rockers in the ankles to accommodate them. The elbows can’t quite do 90-degrees, but they come close. Balancing this big guy can be a bit of a challenge, especially with the jetpack on, but he’s still lots of fun to play with.

In terms of weapons, the Stomper has them built in to the right forearm. I imagine these were showcased in the series, but since I didn’t watch it, I’ll presume that one is a machine gun and the other is maybe a flame thrower? Sure, why not? Let’s go with that!

The Stomper comes with two sets of hands, one pair is for clutching and grabbing and the other is a pair of fists for punching… and more punching.

Finally, you get a pair of effect parts to peg into the jetpack to make it look like he’s flying. These pieces are a little understated, but they work well enough. I was hoping they were sized so as to double as weapon fire, but they are only designed to fit into the thrusters and will not plug into the weapon muzzle. Given a choice, I actually would have rather had an effect part for the gun.

The Hydra Stomper is a cool and fun figure by every possible measure. I think a little paint weathering would have gone a long way to make him look a bit more premium, but it’s absence is by no means a deal-breaker for me enjoying this figure a hell of a lot. When I first took this guy out of the shipping box, I was a bit taken back by just how big he was! After playing around with him for just a bit, I couldn’t wait to dig out my Hydra soldier pack and have him give them a good stomping! Hell, he can even make quick work of the Hydra Heavy Soldier, and that is by no means a small figure! I can’t even imagine how big the Hot Toys version is going to be, but imagine I will have to, because I’m not going to pony up the cash for that beast. We’ll no doubt see this figure make an appearance here again when I get around to reviewing the Agent Carter from the What If? Wave!