Transformers “Prime Wars Trilogy” Punch and Counterpunch by Hasbro

I’m supposed to be opening up another Terrorcon today, but then this fellow landed in my mailbox and I thought I’d bump him up to the front of the line. By 1987, I was 15 and I was already already getting out of buying Transformers. It was that strange time in my life where I felt I was too old to be buying toys to play with, and had yet to discover the joy of buying toys to collect them. As a result, a lot of the later and more gimmicky G1 releases passed me by. One of those was the very clever double agent known as Punch and Counterpunch. This character got a release a little while back thanks to a clever reuse of the the Classics Sideswipe-Sunstreaker mold, and now he’s getting a brand new, and all original, update thanks to this Amazon exclusive.

Exclusives often mean premium packaging, and that’s certainly the case here. Punch-Counterpunch comes in a collector friendly box with some bitchin’ artwork and a front flap that opens to reveal the figure through a window. He comes packaged in his robot mode as Punch with that weird Prime Armor Zodiac Wheel illustrated behind him on the tray. Before getting started, I should point out that this figure left the factory with a pretty serious QC issue, that being the shoulder joints assembled wrong. It doesn’t effect the figure in robot mode, but it does hinder the transformation. Thankfully, there’s a very helpful review on Amazon that explains how to do the fix. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require any tools. And with that behind us, let’s start with the auto mode!

Punch-Counterpunch is a snappy blue sportscar not too dissimilar from the original G1 toy only with all the curves and contours of a modern vehicle. I love the styling on this car and you get some nice sculpting in the form of hood vents as well as details to the front and back bumpers. The rear window is stickered silver, but the windshield and side windows are clear plastic, as are the headlamps. Some extra paint hits include the red wheels, silver vents just behind the front wheels, silver and black on the front grill, and red on the tail lights. The auto mode facilitates Punch-Counterpunch’s murky allegiances by forgoing any faction symbols.

There’s a peg port on the top of the car, so you can plug in his yellow gun, or you can attach the included Prime Armor. Using the Prime Armor isn’t my first choice, but I do like that they sculpted boosters on it. Moving on, let’s check out Punch!

Oh, man! Punch’s robot mode takes the squat and boxy G1 design and polishes it up to a fine shine. The proportions are great and the car kibble is neatly confined to being folded up into his lower legs or tucked off the back of his shoulders. He doesn’t have any actual feet per-say, but he stands fine and I don’t even mind the gaps that are in his legs below his knees. The sculpted detail on his chest looks great and really invokes the designs on the original toy. As for the coloring, the blue and yellow makes for a beautiful combo, and overall this update matches the deco of the original toy quite well, right down to the red hands and the silver and red paint hits on his upper legs. Gone is the original toy’s rub sign and instead, Punch proudly wears the Autobot insignia in the center of his chest.

From behind he looks pretty clean too, although here he’s displaying almost all blue, which is a little hint about his alter-ego. The two halves of the car front on his shoulders are more pronounced from this angle, but I don’t think they look bad at all. And because the backs of his legs are the fronts of Counterpunch’s legs, they look finished as well. All in all, this is a great looking robot, which is all the more impressive when you consider that he’s something of a Triple-Changer.

The head sculpt is also a very nice homage to that of the original figure’s noggin, albeit it’s a lot more stylized here. He still has the black top to his “helmet,” but the antenna are a lot more pronounced. His silver mouth plate looks great and he has a set of narrow aqua-colored eyes. The top portion of the “helmet” is hinged so that it reveals the eyes on this side of the head while obscuring the ones on the other. As a result, it does have a habit of flopping down sometimes, but it’s not a big deal.

Punch comes with a yellow pistol, which we already saw mounted on top of his car mode. It’s all yellow and matches his chest. I like the design of this thing and it has some nice sculpted detail going for it. I seem to recall the original toy having a double-barreled gun, so some of the purists out there may scoff at this design. So let’s transform Punch into Counterpunch and send him into Decepticon territory.

Changing Punch into Counterpunch is super easy. Punch’s back becomes Counterpunch’s front. Just re-position the shoulders so the front quarter-panels of the car are flared out, rotate out his fists so the blue ones are showing, and flip the “helmet” up on his head to reveal his eyes and cover Punch’s. Finally, you flip up the panel revealing his Decepticon insignia and he’s all ready to go. Just like Punch, Counterpunch is a fantastic update to the original G1 figure and there’s nothing going on here that would really suggest he’s hiding a completely different robot mode. The shoulders can get in the way of the arm articulation a bit, but they look great, especially with those red mag wheels facing front and center. I also love how they faked out his windshield on his chest while the real one is folded up into his legs.

While Punch’s deco featured a combination of blue and orange, Counterpunch is mostly blue, with just a bit of orange poking out. He’s also got some really nice purple paint on the panels of his lower legs. From behind, Counterpunch is just as clean as his counterpart. I also like to add the Prime Armor piece to his back because it’s sculpted to look like a jetpack, while also hiding a lot of the orange of Punch’s torso. It’s nice to finally have a use for one of these Prime Armor pieces, since the gimmick doesn’t do a lot for me.

Counterpunch’s head sculpt is pretty damn distinctive with a silver chin showing through his chunky armored blue face and a pair of red eyes peeping out from under his black “helmet.”

I think it would have been cool to get an extra gun for Counterpunch to use, but alas he has to make due with Punch’s yellow blaster. It seems like a bad idea, as it’s a pretty distinctive looking gun and I would think at some point one of the Decepticons would be in a battle and say, “Heeeeey, isn’t that Autobot using Counterpunch’s gun? And where the hell is Counterpunch anyway?” 

In addition to the Prime Armor piece, you also get a Prime Master named Prima. I like the silver and translucent blue deco on this little bot, but to be honest, if I’m not getting a Pretender Shell, than I really haven’t got a lot of use for these Prime Masters, other than maybe populating one of my Titan Class cities.

Despite not having a whole lot of attachment to the character, Punch-Counterpunch turned out to be a really amazing figure. The robot modes are engineered beautifully and with an equally great alt mode, it doesn’t feel like anything was sacrificed for this rather unique gimmick. Indeed, I’d dare say that I rank this figure among my top five or so recent Deluxes and that’s saying a lot! This release was an exclusive to Amazon and at $25, he was a bit more than your average Deluxe Class Transformer these days, but not so much so that it felt like I overpaid. Sure, the QC issue is inexcusable, but I’d be more critical of the shoulder problem if it weren’t so easy to fix. Currently, Punch-Counterpunch is sold out on Amazon, but they do have an option to notify interested buyers when he becomes available again.

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Replicade Sixth-Scale Centipede Cabinet by New Wave Toys

Good morning, Toyhounds… Today’s review is a bit different, as it straddles a fine line between collectible and video game. It’s actually both! And the subject of a Kickstarter that I backed last year by New Wave Toys. This Sixth-Scale fully operational Centipede cabinet is intended to be the flagship release in a series of Replicade cabinets and the Kickstarter was a huge success. Not only was it easily funded, but the project runners did a great job of keeping backers in the loop with plenty of updates and videos along the way. The original shipping date was supposed to be April, but it arrived to me this week. All in all, that’s not too bad a delay for Kickstarter projects. It’s easy to excuse delays when the project directors use the time getting things right and from the looks of it, it was time well spent.

The cabinet comes in a colorful shoebox style box, fully illustrated with a nice matte finish and plenty of pictures of what’s inside. Lift off the top and the goodies are wrapped in soft foam and plastic. The presentation is nice and professional and everything is collector friendly. The cabinet itself comes all ready to go, you just have to plug it in, peel the protective plastic off the screen and you’re ready to start blasting away at some goddamn centipedes.

Included in the box is a baggie with a micro USB charging cable, an instruction booklet, and a packet of miniature arcade tokens, which you can actually feed into the coin slots, or place on the deck to relay the message: “Back off, man, I’ve got the next game!” The unit can be played right away if you plug it in, otherwise it takes some time to charge in order to play off the battery. I originally charged it for an hour and found that it was still not enough. I was a bit worried the battery might be having problems, but I left it charge overnight and found that was all it took. There’s a charging light on top and when it turns from red to green, you know you’re good to go!

Also included is this die-cast Atari replica coin slot key-chain. It’s a satisfyingly heavy piece with textured edges and if you press in the face plate it lights up red. I love this thing, even if it is too heavy for me to ever use it for a key-chain. I’ll likely wind up displaying it somewhere near the cabinet itself. The key-chain was available as a $25 pledge reward, but it was also included with the cabinet at the tier that I backed. It also looks like it’s going to be included in the retail release of the cabinet. OK, enough with the extras… let’s get on to the main event!

Out of the box and measuring in at just under 12-inches tall, I have to say this cabinet is an impressive piece of design and craftsmanship. With so many cheaper playable mini cabinets on the market these days, this one really needed to stand out and now that I have it in hand, I can comfortably affirm that it does. From the shape of the cabinet to the choice of materials and attention to detail, these guys did their homework resulting in a replica cabinet that does its full-sized cousin proud. Everything about this piece exudes quality.

The marquee on the top lights up to call attention to the crisp and colorful transparency. It automatically comes on during the boot-up routine and will stay on until you power down the cabinet. There is an option in the menu screen to disable the light, but I don’t know why anybody would want to do that. The boot up is not your typical ROM boot up, but rather shows the New Wave Toys logo, followed by a screen that proudly proclaims the cabinet to be fully licensed by Atari.

The side panels are wood with beveled edges and the artwork on the sides is printed on, which was definitely the way to, as opposed to slapping on some stickers. The coloring is vibrant and reminds me of why I’ve always had a thing for early Atari artwork. Looking back, it’s like they were compensating for the simple graphics by drumming up the excitement with this stuff. It’s a lost art these days, but boy does it mash down on my nostalgia buttons. It’s a shame that most of the arcades I visited back in the day used to pack these cabinets so close that a lot of the time you couldn’t see the artwork.

And speaking of mashing buttons, the control deck has a nice satin finish with plenty of color. The deck features light up player select buttons, a fire button, and a track ball. During production, the development team posted videos about the challenge of getting the track ball to perform just right. They even added a sensitivity toggle in the menu screen. I think it works pretty damn smooth on the default setting, but the option is there to tweak its sensitivity up or down a notch. The construction here is all around solid with the buttons are all a perfect fit. The controls respond beautifully.

Indeed, I think I was most surprised about how comfortable this thing is to play. I was expecting a highly accurate scaled replica with the novelty of being able to turn it on and play it, but I didn’t really expect to spend a huge amount of time playing it. And yet that’s exactly what I’ve been doing since it turned up. Playing it doesn’t feel awkward or cramped at all, and before I knew it I was just lost in the game and trying to get my name on the High Score roster. And yes, the cabinet does save scores after you turn it off.

Below the deck you get the light up coin slots on a metal plate, and as mentioned earlier you can actually feed the tiny tokens into the slots. There’s a key sculpted permanently into the lock, which allows you to open it up revealing a little storage compartment inside. Pressing the left coin slot button will add credits to the game, while pressing the right coin slot button will bring up the options menu. In addition to controlling the track ball sensitivity and the marquee light, this menu also lets you adjust the volume and the brightness of the screen.

The back of the unit features the speaker, which puts out some very clear sound. The sound effects in Centipede are so damn iconic and they are reproduced beautifully by the machine. The default volume setting is where I keep it, but there’s room to turn it up even louder. The back also features a faux access hatch with sculpted keyhole and below it is a sticker designated this as one of the limited Backer Edition cabinets. The bottom of the cab has four rubber feet to keep it from slipping.

This initial cab has received some very positive (and well deserved) write-ups in some pretty prominent magazines and in addition to now being for sale at New Wave Toys’ website, it looks like some retailers like Best Buy, are offering pre-orders. If you can’t tell, I’m very happy with this purchase. I got in on the early bird tier of the Kickstarter, which means this beauty only cost $90. That’s quite a step down from the $160 it’s selling for now, but even at the higher price point it’s easy to see where the money went.  Every aspect of this little cabinet shows care and craftsmanship and I truly believe that this is a labor of love on behalf of its developers. I’m not usually a fan of people launching another Kickstarter project before the first is fulfilled, but I still took a gamble and jumped on their Tempest cabinet and with this one in hand, now I’m very glad I did.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Taskmaster by Hasbro

After two weeks of Marvel Monday Double-Features, I’m taking it easy today and going back to looking at just one figure. I’m also back to spinning the Wheel of Legends™, which isn’t actually a wheel, it’s just me rolling up my sleeve and plunging my hand into a box of figures and randomly drawing one out. This time I hit on Taskmaster from the Thanos Wave, which also happens to be my first figure from this assortment!

I was lucky enough to come across Taskmaster on the pegs while getting groceries at the local Target. I haven’t been so lucky with some of the other figures in this wave, particularly Iron Spider and Captain America, which have been eluding my toy hunts, and selling for scalper prices at most of the online retailers I visit. This is probably one of those waves that I should have just bought online in one shot, but I didn’t realize that until it was too late.

And here’s Taskmaster out of the box and brimming with all his Classic-styled goodness. Yup, it was only a couple of years ago that we got the previous release of Taskmaster, but that was a more modern appearance and as much as I loved that figure, this is the one I was truly waiting for. Who needs all that tactical armor when you’re this good at what you do? The dark blue body suit features painted orange sleeves, an orange and white area around the neck, and good old fashioned buccaneer boots and gauntlets both in white. Newly sculpted bits include a holster on his right thigh held on by straps, which feature sculpted stitching and gold-painted buckles. He has a single strap around his left thigh, and a waist belt with several pouches and a gold belt-buckle with his emblem on it. From the back, Taskmaster is just a wall of cape, and that’s a good thing, because Taskmaster without a cape never felt right.

Taskmaster’s hooded portrait is absolutely fantastic. The hood is borrowed directly from the previous release and here we get a better look at the sculpted gold cord that holds his cape around his neck. It’s also secured with a peg in his back. And, oh man, that head sculpt! The skull has a great finish that looks like decaying bone with a broad rictus grin and deep set eyes. The hood is not attached to the cape, which means it doesn’t curtail the neck articulation.

And speaking of articulation, here is everything I’ve come to expect in my Legends figures. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels at the thighs and tops of the boots. The ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. Taskmaster has a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge below the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. All the joints feel great, and Taskmaster even has some strong ratchets going on in those shoulders of his.

Taskmaster comes with both a sword and shield. The sword is a repack of the one included with Baron Zemo way back in the Mandroid Wave. The hilt has been repainted to be a little less yellow and more of a pale gold. My only complaint here is that there isn’t a loop or something for him to wear it. The shield is the same mold used for the previous Taskmaster’s shield, complete with a hinged clip and a peg. It works really well, but I worry that the clip will stress and break over time. He can still wear the shield on his back, but seeing as how I’d have to remove the cape to make that work, it’s not something I’m likely to do a lot.

Taskmaster also comes with a pistol, which happens to be the same mold they used for Paladin’s guns from the Sasquatch Wave. Unfortunately, I somehow managed to lose Taskmaster’s gun after opening the package. I’m sure it’ll turn up, but for the purposes of this review I borrowed one from Paladin. After all, he has two guns and just the one holster so it seemed only fair to have him share. Anyway, the mold is the same, but Taskmaster’s gun is colored to match his sword’s hilt, so it’s more of a pale gold than the one you see here in the pictures.

I didn’t think I could be this happy about getting another release of Taskmaster so soon, and yet here I am absolutely thrilled to have this figure on my shelf. I’ll go out on a limb and say that this is probably the version that most collectors were looking for and I think Hasbro’s intentionally strategic in the way they release these. With no Classic version out, more people were probably going to say, “Well, I’ll get this version in case they never do another.” But with this line, it’s becoming more and more apparent that no character is off the table. Not that I mind, the modern version is certainly no slouch, but this one is a terrific figure and it just scratches a certain itch.

Transformers “Power of the Primes” Cutthroat by Hasbro

It seems like all I’ve been doing this week is working and sleeping, but the weekend is here and I’m going to ease into it by taking some time to enjoy myself and open up a brand new Transformer! It’s been a while again since my last Transformers reviews, but I had some other things I wanted to get caught up on. That’s all done and now I’m ready to continue my look at the Power of the Primes Terrorcons. I should be able to stick with Transformers on Fridays at least for the next few weeks. A while back I reviewed Rippernsapper and today I’m opening up Cutthroat!

I don’t have much new to say about the packaging, except that I really dig the character art on the card. Cutthroat is shown in his beast mode and looking mighty fine. I’ll also toss out there how surprised and pleased I am that Hasbro can still get away with using the name Cutthroat on a children’s toy. Yeah, it has other, less violent, meanings, but it’s still a word that conjures up a pretty grisly imagine in my mind. I’d like to think this Terrorcon got his name not because he drives a hard bargain, but rather because he literally slices people’s throats with the sharpened edges of his metal wings. When I looked at Rippersnapper, I started with his robot mode, so let’s keep that trend going for the rest of the Terrorcons…

When I first glanced at pictures of Cutthroat I wrote him off as a quick-and-dirty recycling of Swoop. Getting him in hand tells a whole different story. There are certainly similarities, but so much of this guy has been completely reworked that the resemblances are fleeting. The arms and upper legs are the same, the torso has a similar shape, the combiner port is still buried in the back, and both bots wear their beast heads on their chest and their wings on behind their shoulders. But what impresses me is how much re-sculpting Hasbro did here. The wings are completely redone, as is the detail work on the torso. The lower legs are completely new as well. His profile may be similar, but Cutthroat is bulkier and decidedly less sleek.

He’s a damn clean looking robot from behind too, and you have a few different options on how you can position his wings. The deco on this figure is pretty out there, but it’s certainly faithful to the original toy. You get some dark green in the torso and lower legs, some purple in the wings, hands, and around the neck and chest, and yellow in the arms, upper legs, bird legs, and “helmet.” These are not colors that I would think to put together, but I can’t say as I hate it. Little extras like the silver and blue paint hits on the legs and silver up near the shoulders make for a nice touch.

I like the head design a lot, but it doesn’t scream Cutthroat to me. With that having been said, the yellow “helmet” looks great and the silver face and red eyes are both sharp and snappy. He’s got a bit of a grim expression, maybe a little pissed off, but he’s not quite selling me on being a vicious Terrorcon.

Cutthroat comes with two accessories, but only one of them really matters to me and that’s his gun. It’s a compact double-barreled rifle, which is a pretty good update to his original G1 weapon and he can hold it in either hand.

The other piece is his Prime Armor, which attaches to each side of the bird head on his chest and has a compartment to put a Prime Master figure in there if you like your robots with ridiculously beefy chests. I’d toss it away, but it doubles as a hand for Abominus, so I guess I’ll need it when I eventually combine these guys.

Cutthroat transforms into some kind of monster bird and once again I’m pleased by the way he sets himself apart from the Swoop mold. The beast head still folds up over the robot head and the arms still fold in at the sides, but instead of folding up onto the back, the legs just collapse to make a longer body. From the front he’s got mostly bird stuff going on, but the stubby tail in the back looks decidedly more reptilian. He has a notch on his back where you can stow his gun between his wings and it looks like it could still serve as a functional weapon for his beast mode.

The colors here are more or less the same as in his robot mode. As for articulation, you get ball joints where the legs meet the body and hinges about halfway down. The wings are hinged at the body so they can flap and hinged again about a third of the way in so they can close up or spread out. The mouth is hinged, but the neck can only look up so far, which isn’t always the best for flying poses, but it works fine for when he’s just standing around.

I mentioned in my Rippersnapper review that these will be the first versions of the Terrorcons that I’ve ever owned and so far I’m enjoying the hell out of them. Cutthroat is a great looking figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with. I love when Hasbro takes the old basic-sized G1 toys and beefs them up to Deluxes. It really fleshes out all new possibilities for these characters. Next week, I’ll tear open another of the Deluxes, because I’m anxious to get through these guys and combine them to form Abominus!

Street Fighter: Ibuki Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s been over a year since I last opened and reviewed one of Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo statues, and it’s been twice as long since my last Street Fighter Bishoujo. I haven’t given up on these wonderful works of art, but with the prices climbing higher and higher and my display space running out, I’ve had to be a little more picky about the ones I pick up. Nonetheless, Ibuki here has been on my want list ever since she was first revealed and I’m lucky that even after waiting all this time, I was still able to get her at a good price. The economy of Kotobukiya on the second-hand market isn’t always so kind.

Koto has been using black boxes for the Street Fighter releases, which really sets them apart from the white packaging of the DC and Marvel lines. There’s some wonderful artwork from Shunya Yamashita, on which the statue is based, and you get windows on the front, top, and side panels to let in the light and allow you a good look at the figure inside. Everything is collector friendly, and the only assembly required is plugging Ibuki’s pony-tail into the back of her head. Ibuki made her debut in Street Fighter III and I first encountered her in Street Fighter III: Double Impact on my beloved SEGA Dreamcast, where she became a favorite new fighter of mine.

And here’s Ibuki on the scene and looking mighty fine. She stands gracefully on the toes of her left foot with her right leg drawn up behind her. She counterbalances with her left arm oustretched and fingers held up, while her right hand is drawn to her neck, with a kunai, ready to strike. This line has offered some superb poses and Ibuki is yet another example of that. It’s a beautiful mix of elegance and kineticism and I think it captures the character perfectly, while also allowing for a few different “sweet spots” from which to admire her.

Koto’s Bishoujo statues often tend to feature colorful, glossy, and eye popping decos, and Ibuki here features none of that. Instead, you get various shades of brown, a little white, and a fair bit of skintone. It’s not a criticism, but just a fact of the character’s appearance, which is very faithful to her debut appearance. Ibuki is clad in a brown dogi, which consists of a sleeveless top and frayed shoulders, baggy pants with cut-outs at the hips, and which end just below her knees, all tied with a bow at the front of her waist. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of wrist bracers, a tight head scarf, and bandage-style wrappings on her arms and feet. It looks great, and I love the complexity in the outfit’s sculpt. From certain angles it almost looks like the dogi could have been sculpted over the figure itself, and that’s pretty cool.

The portrait is excellent. Ibuki offers a confident and playful smile with perfectly printed eyes and painted lips. The real showpiece of this portrait, however, is her distinctive hair. She has three long strands protruding from her window’s peak and hooking forward in front of her face, while two longer strands protrude from her knot-top and arch their way down and across her back. This is my first 3D representation of the character and I wasn’t sure how well this coif would translate, but the wizards at Koto did a fine job with it.

The base is a simple clear disc with a slope to support Ibuki’s foot. As usual, you get two different inserts to display on the base, one is a simple Street Fighter logo and the other features character art. These days I tend to display these statues with the character art, but I think either one looks great.

Ibuki here released at just under $60 and I was able to get her for a little bit less. I was often fond of saying that Koto’s Bishoujo line is one of the best values in collectible statues on the market. And that was back when you could get a figure like Ibuki for that price. Nowadays, they tend to release in the $70-90 price range, and while I still think they’re worth the price, the sense of good value is rapidly dissipating. I get it, prices go up, but that’s quite a jump, and with so many things competing for my collecting dollar these days, it means that I won’t be able to pick up as many as I used to. Recently I had to pass on the second versions of Chun-Li and Cammy, but that doesn’t mean they won’t still be turning up here from time to time. Indeed, all Koto has to do is put Elena up on pre-order and I’ll throw down some cash for that release right away!

Marvel Legends (Sasquatch Wave): Paladin by Hasbro

Welcome to another Marvel Monday, and if you haven’t been a regular, you should know that I’m very VERY far behind opening and reviewing my Marvel Legends figures. Last week I finally wrapped up the Sandman Wave and today I’m going to knock off another wave by opening up Paladin this morning and then coming back tonight to have a look at the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure. And then I’ll only be something like five waves behind! Holy shit… I better get started!

I guess Paladin is a generic enough moniker that the Hasbro lawyers had to slap “Marvel’s” in front of it on the box. But hey, at least his name is there. Back in the day this fella would have been sharing a slot with someone else in a box that would say something like “Mercenaries of Mayhem.” Either way, when it comes to Marvel characters, Paladin is not what I would consider an A-lister or even a B-lister for that matter. He does, however, manage to turn up a lot in the Marvel Universe. And while I’ve mostly encountered him through reading Daredevil as well as Heroes for Hire back during the Civil War, he’s crossed paths with a whole bunch of Marvel heroes and villains over the years, and he’s almost as old as me! And while collecting Marvel Legends has become all about universe building for me, I’ll still concede that he was the one figure in this wave that I was least excited for.

But that’s not to say I dislike this figure, because he’s actually pretty cool. Not everyone from the funnybooks needs a flashy costume for me to like them, but it sure helps when the character isn’t high on my list. And yet Paladin here manages to bust out from his generic design, thanks to some sharp sculpted details on Hasbro’s part. He is, after all, just a dude in a purple suit with some tactical gear and it would have been very easy for Hasbro to whip this figure up with a painted buck and make him the budget figure of the wave.

But they didn’t! The armored vest, which is sculpted as the torso, is a stand out piece of work including some really nice texturing, panel lines, and individually painted silver clips securing it on his person. Not that it’s new, it’s simply recycled from Blade, but it looked great then and it still does now. I also dig the segmented strip that runs down his spine. The legs (also grabbed from Blade) feature knee guards and some exposed ribbing behind the knees, and the armor is rounded out with some new black segmented boots and bracers on his forearms. Paladin also features a molded tactical holster secured to his left thigh with a pair of straps and silver painted buckles. I dig the look here a lot and the purple and black deco with the little hits of silver is certainly pleasing on the eye.

The portrait is pretty solid as well, even if the design is rather generic. Paladin wears a purple hood with a black segmented stripe running from front to back, and a pair of gold lens goggles. The lower half of the exposed face has some nice and sharp facial details and an appropriately grim expression. There’s some gold over-spray on the goggle frames, but nothing too terrible.

The articulation is fun and functional. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs and the tops of the boots, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso swivels at the waist, has an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. There’s some weird play in my figure’s hips. If you hold him by the legs, you can shake his upper half a bit, but oddly it doesn’t effect his hip joints at all.

Paladin comes with a pair of gold pistols that look like they might be from the same mold used for Nick Fury’s sidearm back in the Giant Man Wave. This time they’re cast in gold plastic. I like this gun a lot, it reminds me of a Luger and it sports some great detail. And while two guns are nice,  Paladin only has the one holster, so I guess he’s always going to have one at the ready.

Finally, Paladin comes with a tanto-style combat knife that tucks into a sheath on his right boot. The grip is painted black and the gold and guard are both gold.

Universe building! That’s what Legends is all about for me. So I’m perfectly fine getting a character that doesn’t mean all that much to me, so long as the figure is decent. And that’s certainly the case here. Paladin looks great and makes some sensible re-use from the Blade figure, while still managing to feel somewhat fresh. And that’s a wrap for the individually packaged figures in this wave. Come on back tonight and I’ll have a look at the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Sasquatch Wave): Sasquatch Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

I’m back this afternoon with the second half of my Marvel Monday Double-Feature! As always, I’ve been a good little collector and bought each of the individually packaged figures from the Sasquatch Wave, and now it’s time for my reward… The Build-A-Figure Sasquatch!

Sasquatch is about as simple as these BAFs can get. There are six pieces spread out over seven figures (90’s Deadpool didn’t come with any!), and those pieces include the arms, the legs, the torso, and the head. The pieces went together real easy and the end result a big shaggy orange hunk of Tanaraq.

Indeed, I absolutely love the way this figure turned out, but I feel a little bad because I don’t really have a lot to say about it. But that’s not the fault of the figure, as it does everything it needs to do quite splendidly. The sculpted shaggy coat on the body looks great and I love the gradations in coloring from orange to brown. The coloring looks especially nice on his chest and back. I also appreciate that they added a little extra carpeting around his upper back and shoulders. The right hand is sculpted into a fist and the left into a grasping hand, each of which offer up some nice options for posing him. The sculpting on the feet is pretty spectacular too. If I had to nitpick anything here, I’d say the darker color of the wrist hinges is a little distracting against the lighter color plastic of the hands.

The head sculpt is excellent even if the facial features are a little soft. I love the broad shape of the face and the high placement of the nose. The eyes are red with pink pupils and there’s a very little bit of shading around the face itself. The bushy eyebrows and mutton chops which frame the face are well done and I dig the way the rest of the hair blows back, allowing for a bit more range of motion in the neck articulation than he might have had otherwise.

Speaking of articulation, Sasquatch has it all where it counts. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, single hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and ankles, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. The chunky joints on this guy feel great and he’s loads of fun to play around with.

I think my biggest complaint here is that Sasquatch is going to look really lonely on my shelf and I wish he had been the BAF in an Alpha Flight inspired wave. Yeah, that would probably never happen and I’m certainly glad to have this figure, but it also brings back those bitter feelings over the ridiculously exclusive Puck BAF Wave. Hasbro gave us Northstar and Aurora in the 4-inch Marvel Legends line, so they are certainly a good bet to appear in the 6-inch Legends lineup eventually. We did get a Guardian as part of the old Hasbro Marvel Legends line back in 2008 or so, and while I’d be tempted to go back and pick it up, that figure has not aged well, so I think I’ll hold off. Besides, it looks like we’re getting a new Guardian figure pretty soon. I guess for now I’ll just have to keep Sasquatch on that miscellaneous BAF shelf that I have down near the bottom of the case.

As for this Wave, I think it was an excellent assortment of figures and I was thrilled to be getting most of them. 90’s Deadpool and X-23 were musts for my shelf, Cable and Deathlok turned out fantastic, I’ve wanted a do-over for Domino for a while now, and even Paladin, my least anticipated figure in the bunch, turned out to be pretty good. And while I wasn’t terribly keen on getting another X-Force Deadpool, he’s such a vast improvement over the last retail release, I’ll count him as a very nice surprise. Next week I’m going back to spinning The Wheel of Legends. Which wave will it wind up on? Lizard? Thanos? Sauron? Apocalypse? Cull Obsidian? OMG… I’M SO FAR BEHIND!!!

“Here we go… Deadpool-Sasquatch Team Up and… Holy crap, that’s a lot of AIM Soldiers over there. Not really our thing, but there aren’t any Avengers in this wave so it’s just you and me, Shaggy.”

“Hasbro didn’t give me any guns, so you’re just going to have to pick me up and throw me like a spear.”

“That’s it… don’t worry, they never see this coming.” 

“Woah, big guy. Watch the fingers. I ain’t buying you dinner.”

“YEEEEEAH!!!! HERE I COME, BITCHES!!!!” 

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nami (Code: B) by Banpresto

Banpresto has been continuing their Flag Diamond Ship line of 9-inch scaled figures featuring the ladies of One Piece in some rather fetching and unconventional outfits. Much earlier this year, I checked out their Boa Hancock and first version of Nami. Today I’m going to open up their second version of Nami, called Code: B. Let’s go!

The packaging here is standard prize figure stuff right down to the Jamma and Craneking logos. You get a fully enclosed box with some nice shots of the statue inside, along with the line’s mission statement in English, which has a round about way of saying the figures are pure fan service. No surprises there! Inside, the figure comes partially disassembled and wrapped in plastic. All you have to do is put Nami’s two halves together at the waist, put her right foot into the base, and place her sword in her hand.

And ain’t she pretty! The pose features Nami with a somewhat wide stance and cradling a telescoping sword-baton behind her neck with each hand. The outfit consists of short shorts and a tied off top, both matching black with teal trim. She also sports some black gloves, stockings, and little black boots with orange ties around them. Not exactly a conventional look for Nami, and that’s the point, but I think she looks great.

There’s some really nice detail to the outfit, including a sculpted cream colored belt with painted silver studs and buckle. It secures a flintlock pistol to her right hip and a holster for her other weapon on her left hip. The pistol includes gold painted fixtures and looks great. The top features silver painted buttons running down the front and some poofy ruffles to her shoulder sleeves.

While the outfit might be a bit of a departure, the portrait is 100% Nami. Her big eyes are neatly painted and she’s wearing a wry smile with her head cocked and offering a sideways glance. Someone’s about to get a smack-down. Her vibrant orange hair cascades down her back in two pony-tails with smaller licks curling up in front of her shoulders. Her weapon is an interesting design, as it has a katana-style hilt with a collapsing baton in place of a blade. I have to confess my ignorance here, because if this is a real weapon, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s a separate piece that fits into the grasp of her right hand with the other end cradled in her left. The tactical-style grip is textured and has an orange tie around it that matches the ones on her boots.

The base is a simple black rock that her right foot pegs into. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this base not supporting the statue, but mine actually works perfectly.

Banpresto seems highly committed to this series, as they have several more figures solicited for pre-order, as well as a few out now that I haven’t picked up yet. They seem to retail around the $25 range, which isn’t bad for what you’re getting. Sure, she isn’t the same quality as a proper scaled figure, but then with a respectable 9-inch scale and a price point at least $100 less than your average scaled figure, I’m really digging these a lot. The paint is solid, the sculpts are fun, and I’ve got several more due in soon, so you can bet you’ll be seeing more of the Flag Diamond Ship around here!

Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor Adventure Doll by Character Options

To know me is to know I adore Doctor Who, and I miss the days when Character Options was pumping out an extensive line of action figures from both Classic and NuWho. It’s so bizarre that they still hold the license and yet only toss out a figure or two a year these days. My guess is that they over-extended themselves when they were pumping out figures of almost every character to appear in each current series. There’s got to be a landfill of Grandma Connollys somewhere in England. In any event, I have no doubt they’ll get around to producing the Thirteenth Doctor for their 5-inch line, but in the meantime, they managed to get this “Adventure Doll” out before the premier of the new Series with The Doctor’s latest incarnation.

And here she is in her very non-collector friendly packaging. Thirteen comes in a large plastic bubble with a cardboard backing. The insert includes a TARDIS motif on one side as well as a shot of the TARDIS and the new series logo on the bottom. It’s an attractive presentation, very bright and colorful, but as I said, not intended for collectors. I’d almost feel bad about opening it, but mine got crunched a little on the top corner during its’ trip from Merry Old England, so I won’t feel too bad about razoring it open.

The back panel has a little blurb, but no real insight into what this new Doctor will be like. I’ll admit, I was not overjoyed with the casting here. When I heard the new Doctor was going to be played by an actress from Broadchurch, I had convinced myself it was going to be Olivia Colman and I was thrilled and excited. And then I saw the teaser with Jodie Whitaker and it was like a bucket of cold water was thrown on my enthusiasm. It’s not that I dislike Whitaker, but I think while making the bold move of casting a woman, the BBC still played it safe by going with a traditionally pretty blonde. I just think Colman would have been absolutely perfect as The Doctor. She’s a can be quirky and I think she’s got good range as an actress. Plus, she’s already had a cameo in Doctor Who, which would have put her in good company with previous Doctors like Colin Baker and Peter Capaldi. With all that having been said, there hasn’t been a Doctor yet that I haven’t eventually warmed up to, so I’m still willing to be open minded and optimistic. What’s that? Oh yeah, back to the review…

Here’s The Doctor freed from her package and I have to say for what this is I’m quite pleased with it. The term “Adventure Doll” really characterizes the feel of this figure, as it’s definitely not aimed at collectors, but I could see children running around and clutching this figure by the arm and going on all sorts of adventures.  She measures in at about 10-inches, which is something of an oddball scale. Character Options released a number of similar clothed figures for NuWho in the past, but they were proper Sixth-Scale, so Thirteen isn’t really going to fit in with many of those figures, although as we’ll see in a bit, she sort of works with some of the aliens. The outfit is done entirely in soft goods and includes a pair of bright blue pants, which are cuffed just below her knees, a black T-shirt with a rainbow pattern across the chest, and a long gray coat with a hood and rainbow stripes running up the front flaps. Her boots are plastic with sculpted blue socks showing.

The tailoring on the outfit is pretty solid and the ensemble fits the figure quite well. There are some concessions, like the pockets on the coat are just stitched on and not functional, however, the hood on the jacket can be worn up. Removing the jacket reveals white sleeves on her T-shirt and a pair of thin gold suspenders. Overall, I like the design here and it feels a lot more like a trademark look, which is something I missed during The Eleventh Doctor’s tenure. It hints at some of The Doctor’s more colorful wardrobes without going full on crazy Technocolor Dreamcoat like The Sixth Doctor did. Still, I can’t help but feel this design was inspired a little too much from Mork from Orc and I just can’t unsee it.

The portrait isn’t bad for a figure in this price range. I can certainly see a likeness to Whitaker in there. The paint is very basic, but it’s clean, particularly on the eyes and lips. They even included her interesting earring, which is the first I’m noticing it. Her hair is sculpted to cover part of her face, which looks good. If I had one complaint it would be the heavy handed paint on her roots. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.

The articulation here is surprisingly good. I will say that the integrity of the joints vary. The leg joints can be a bit loose and sometimes makes it hard to get her to stand, although I didn’t have to use a stand for any of the poses I shot, so it can be done. The arms feel OK, but the neck is curiously tight. When I first tried to turn her head, I was afraid I was going to snap it off. Even now, it still requires a fair amount of effort to get her head to turn.

In addition to her outfit, The Doctor comes with one accessory and that’s her new Sonic Screwdriver. It’s a very simple piece with a nice coat of silver paint. I’ll toss in here that I’m not at all a fan of this design. It does look more alien, but it’s looking less and less like an actual screwdriver with each new design. I always liked the idea that The Doctor just pulled his favorite accessory out of the TARDIS Toolkit one day and modified it to make it more useful. But throughout the course of NuWho it’s becoming more and more like a Magic-Wand-Slash-Tricorder and that’s never sat well with me. But that’s an old rant of mine, and not something to detract from this figure.

 

Finally, here’s a quick comparison of The Doctor with some of the aliens from CO’s 12-inch line, and I think in this case these figures work OK. I know the Cybus Cyberman aren’t really THAT tall, but I still wouldn’t have any trouble displaying Thirteen with either of these figures.

I found this figure on Amazon from a UK Seller for around $35 and jumped on it, despite the fact that I’m usually put off from ordering Internationally. Nevertheless, I’m glad I did, because it quickly went out of stock and I haven’t seen it offered anywhere else. Granted I paid something of a premium, as I would imagine this figure to sell somewhere around $25 if I found it on the shelf at a US Retailer, but as popular as Doctor Who has become here, I still don’t think the distribution on this one will be too extensive. Either way, I think she’s a fun figure and the moniker Adventure Doll fits her perfectly. Sure, I wish CO had produced her in a proper Sixth-Scale, but maybe they’ll release some other figures in this line to go with her. Eh… probably not.

Marvel Legends (Sandman Wave): Sandman Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Welcome back, Toyhounds, to a Marvel Monday double-feature. Earlier today I checked out the last boxed figure from the Sandman Wave, and now I’m finally ready to slap this guy together. So let’s get right to it…

Flint Marko is made up of a total of nine pieces scattered throughout this wave, that includes the torso, legs, and arms plus two heads and two swap out sand implements for his hands, allowing for a bit more customization than I’m used to seeing even on the Build-A-Figures. From the waist down he shares all the same parts as the Absorbing Man BAF from a few years back, and the torso is the same too, which isn’t too surprising as Hasbro did the same thing for their 4-inch Marvel Universe versions of Creel and Marko. Even the belt is lifted from the previous figure, but that’s fine because it all works. The brown trousers are coupled with his trademark striped green shirt, the belt has some nice texturing to it and has a silver belt-buckle and the shoes have a glossy black finish.

The arms begin transitioning to sand just below the biceps into a pair of enlarged forearms with some truly incredible sand texturing. The right hand is sculpted into a giant sand fist, while the left hand is grasping, making them perfect for poses with Marko battling it out with Spidey.

You get two portraits with the figure, the first is just a regular head and it continues Hasbro’s tradition of injecting plenty of personality into their villain head sculpts. Marko’s sneer is magnificent and there’s so much rage packed into this portrait. The various lines that make up his expression are very well defined and they even did a great job texturing his hair. If I had one complaint here, it’s that the paint could have been sharper on his teeth and along his hairline, but I really had to get in close with the camera to even notice either.

The alternative damaged portrait is even more amazing. He’s screaming with rage as the left side of his face took a hit and is revealing its true sandy nature. The way the sculpt transitions from skin to textured sand is beautifully done and I honestly think that this is the head I’m going to go with most of the time for display. The teeth are painted a little better on this one, but you can still see a lot of the flesh colored plastic bleeding through. I’m tempted to nitpick that the tongue isn’t painted, but I assume that’s because his head is supposed to be reverting to the color of sand, so I’m OK with it. Either way, this noggin is a masterpiece!

The articulation here is standard stuff for a regular Legends release. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels up near the hips, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists. There’s a swivel at the waist, an ab-crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

In addition to the extra head, you also get a couple of swap out hands in the shape of sand-weapons. One is a giant hammer and the other is a spiked ball. They can each be used on either arm. I was a little concerned that the elbow and shoulder joints wouldn’t be able to hold the weight of the big hands and sand-weapons, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem at all.

For a figure with so many recycled parts, Sandman still manages to impress where it counts, and while Creel came out first, I’d definitely give the nod to Marko here as the more fun of the two figures. And with Green Goblin, Shocker, and Jackal all in this wave, Hasbro sure has managed to cover a lot of ground when it comes to Spider-Man’s Rogue Gallery.

And that’s another wave in the bag. Hasbro continues to blow me away with the work they’re putting into the Legends line. The figures in this wave are solid across the board and represent an excellent assortment of additions to my already massive 6-inch Marvel collection. How long can they keep this up? Well, there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. On the downside, the distribution here continues to be a problem, and while Spidey-UK, Jackal, and Kamala where all easy to find, I never saw Green Goblin or Spidey 2099 at retail. I cringed at having to pay a little extra for these figures at the time, but when I look at what they’re going for now, I can see that I didn’t get beaten up too badly. Next week, I’m going to put the random reviews on hold again, as I just have one more boxed figure in the Sasquatch Wave to look at, so we’ll wrap up that assortment with Paladin and the Sasquatch Build-A-Figure!