Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Bumblebee by Hasbro


I’ve been slowly working my way through Hasbro’s line of non-transforming Transformers figures, and overall I’ve been pretty happy with this line. Sure, I’ve had some nitpicks here and there, but so far I think the good has definitely outweighed the bad. Let’s see if we can continue that trend with Bumblebee!

Well, I can’t say as I wasn’t warned in the comments of my last RED review, but when I took this guy out of the shipping box, I was kind of shocked at what I saw. Why is he so freaking big? Why does he look so much more cheaply made than the others? Yup, before I even open this guy up, I’m having my doubts. That can’t be a good thing!

So, out of the box and in hand, I’m finding a little to like here. Like the others, he’s a hefty figure, thanks to the oddly dense plastic Hasbro has been using. He’s even a little more so, because he’s so chunky. Overall, he looks pretty good on his own, although I wish they had stuck a little closer to the Sunbow design. His forearms should be tubes, not rectangular, and I think they could have done a better job stylizing his chest. Still, I’m not hating the aesthetic. There’s a bit more sculpted detail here, than on the other figures, as seen in the panel lines and vents in his legs.

The coloring on the body is nearly all from the black and yellow plastic, although you do get an Autobot emblem on his chest. Hasbro also added in some silver dry brushing to look like weathering. I find it to be a really weird choice, as it’s used so sparingly that it’s like an afterthought, and it’s not present on any of the other RED figures I own.

Speaking of weird, the chest piece is removable and doing so reveals a whole painted and detailed slab. It looks like they had to do this to make a hinge in the torso work, but if you use that hinge to bend him over, the chest just pops off. So why bother? It would have been cool if it was designed to look like his inner workings, for repairs and such, but it’s just a slab. And adding this one point of useless actually hurts the figure, as even if I don’t use it, the chest piece can shift out of position. WHY???

On the flipside, the spare tire on his back is removable, which I guess is pretty neat. He can throw it at Decepticons if his gun runs out of power!

The head sculpt is pretty good, and while I had some issues with the body, the portrait is definitely Sunbow bumblebee. The facial features are a bit soft, but other than that I can’t complain. I like his big blue eyes and his little smirk too.

With the exception of that chest hinge, articulation here is solid, and he is indeed fun to play with. The arms have rotating hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and the wrists are on hinged pegs so that they can be swapped out between a set of gun-holding hands and fists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. He can swivel at the waist, and the neck is ball jointed.

Bumblebee comes with a few accessories, the most notable is his blaster, which includes two firing effect parts. The sculpt is a tad soft, but it’s an interesting design and it fits well in either of his hands. The effect parts are cast in translucent yellow plastic and peg into the muzzle of the gun.

And finally, he comes with an Energon Cube, which is a welcome bonus, especially since the one that came with Megatron was permanently attached to one of his hands.

I don’t hate this figure, but it’s a very strange entry into this series. Other than it being a non-transforming Transformer, it doesn’t really feel like it belongs with the others. It’s not at all to scale, and it even feels like some of the design elements are different. As a stand-alone figure, it’s not bad, but then I can’t help but think, if I’m going to own a stand-alone non-transforming Bumblebee figure, it should be something more special and higher quality than this. Maybe I’ll make him a desk buddy for a while, but he sure isn’t going to be displayed on a shelf with the other RED figures. And that makes me wonder what other oversized oddities this line has in store for us. Well, I’m only collecting the G1-style figures, so that means I just have Soundwave left to check out, and then I’ll be caught up.

Marvel Legends Iron Man Helmet by Hasbro

It’s been a busy weekend for me, and I’m a little pressed for time on this Marvel Monday, so I thought I’d stick with something that would be a little quick and easy. Hasbro has been using the Marvel Legends moniker to release some toy versions of full-size MCU prop replicas, and while I’ve been able to resist a number of them, I’ve been snapping up most of the wearable helmets. I actually already reviewed the Ant-Man Helmet a little while back, but the one I’m looking at today was actually my first purchase in this line. Let’s check out the Iron Man helmet!

As with Ant-Man’s helmet, this one comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of the toy inside. The pictures on the box appear to be re-worked a bit, but I’m not going to complain too much because the look of the actual item isn’t too far from the pictures. The helmet comes fully wrapped in plastic to protect the finish, which is most welcome! While the helmet does not require any assembly, you will need a screwdriver to get into the battery compartment if you want to make use of the electronics.

Out of the box, this thing is pretty impressive for a toy! It is a fully enclosed piece and can be worn and removed just by slipping it on over the head. I’ll get to more on that when we open her up. On the outside, it seems like a pretty good recreation of the on-screen prop. One of the things I miss about the early Iron Man armors is the fact that the helmet was a physical object and not just something that magically appears thanks to the help of CG special effects. As with the real deal, this helmet is more about smooth curves than it is about hyper-detail. As a result, panel lines are used sparingly, there are a few faked out bolts, but not a lot more to distinguish the sculpt. And that’s fine by me!

But what impressed me the most at first sight was the quality of the paint. Let’s face it, mass produced toys are not usually known for their precision of paintwork. Hasbro has gotten a lot better, but when you consider something this big, there’s a lot more room for things to go wrong. Amazingly, the finish on this is damn near flawless. The gold used for the face plate is perhaps not quite as luxurious as it looks on the box photo, but it is very nice. It goes for more of a sumptuous satin finish, rather than something bright and reflective, and I dig it a lot. The red on the other hand, does manage to achieve that lovely new-car shine that Stark’s suits tend to flaunt. It’s similar to some of the better finishes they’ve used for the Legends MCU Iron Man figures. I have to scrutinize this thing pretty closely to find any imperfections. Mine has a slight blemish behind the left ear, which really only shows up under bright light, and I can’t be certain it wasn’t something that happened after it had been on display.

The electronics include the light up eyes, which are clearly visible even under the bright studio lights, offering a cool, blue hue when fired up. These will sometimes activate when I pick up the helmet, but always when I remove and replace the face plate.

Removing and attaching the face plate also sets off a litany of sound effects, like servos firing and clamps releasing. It’s very well done and sounds as if all sorts of stuff is going on inside the helmet. The face plate comes completely off and then can be attached in the up position, where it is held fast by magnets. No, it’s not actually sliding up there, and it’s recommended to remove all contact between the two pieces before putting it in that position so as to avoid scratching the finish. The face plate is extremely secure whether in the up or down position, and it makes me wish that Hasbro had used similar magnets to hold the back plate on their Ant-Man Helmet. That one uses a pair of weak friction hinges, which fail every time.

Inside, the helmet does have some finished details, but it also has some more practical stuff going on, like the straps that come in contact with your head. These are adjustable and the helmet, while snug, does fit fairly well on my adult-sized cranium. Still, I will admit that It does get a little claustrophobic in there after a while.

The face plate is also detailed with some interior sculpting on the back. I like the hexagonal patterns, the gears in the cheeks, and the vocalizer plate right where the wearer’s mouth is positioned. The eye slots are surprisingly large on the inside, and yet don’t seem out of scale on the outside.

This helmet set me back about $99 when I got it back in 2019, and if you hunt hard enough, you can probably still find some retailers selling it at that price, although others seem to be asking a good $30 more in some cases. Ultimately, I’m extremely pleased with how this came out, and I’d say that it’s easily the best quality of any of the Hasbro helmets I’ve picked up, and that includes both Marvel and Star Wars. Not only does it look pretty close to the real thing, but the engineering and use of magnets makes it feel a bit more like a premium collectible than a high priced toy. Sure, you can do a lot better, if you want to invest an additional $300-400, but this one suits me just fine! And yes, these chrome paper towel holders make excellent display stands!

The Witcher: Eredin Breacc Glas by McFarlane

Well, looky here! I actually made it back on a Friday for some hot and tasty end of week content! It wasn’t easy to carve out the time, but I’m glad I was able to. And hopefully, I can start to make this a habit again. Today I’m digging into another McFarlane release from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and it’s the leader of The Wild Hunt himself, Eredin Breacc Glas!

Needless to say, I was pretty impressed by Geralt when I reviewed him a few weeks ago. So much so, that I quickly set about picking up some of the other figures in this line. The packaging is pretty much the same as we saw last time, sans the Gold Label. You get a collector friendly window box with a stylish red backdrop behind the figure, and a photo of the figure on the back. Nothing mind-blowing in terms of art design here, but I have to respect McFarlane for letting the figure do all the talking. Let’s get out The King of the Wild Hunt and have a look!

This character design feels like it was tailor-made to get the action figure treatment, and McFarlane did a fine job with it. Eredin’s nightmarish armor is fully realized in what is a pretty complex and layered sculpt. The crimson armor is designed to summon up the horrific image of a flayed man, with bronze accents giving off the hint of exposed bone amidst the quilted and armored plate red meat and muscle. And it is quite glorious! Easily my favorite thing here is the breast plate, which is not only adorned with a rib-cage like motif, but also has rib-like spikes protruding over it. These are cast in soft plastic, so as not to be brittle and breakable, and it just looks simply amazing. His forearms are protected by crudely hammered bronze bracers full of pitting and rough texture, while a series of brown “leather” strips cascade down from the center of his belt, both front and back. Intricate details include the sculpted rivets on his armor plates and stitching on the belts and straps.

The skeletal visage is carried over to his back, where more brass fixtures mimic his spine and the back of his ribcage, meanwhile his right shoulder is protected by a collection of boney barbs and a tattered textured cloak. The cloak is cast in soft plastic and is designed so as not to impede the arm’s movement.

Eredin’s head is fully enclosed in a helmet with a skull-faced visor that reminds of General Kael from Willow… and that ain’t a bad thing! The bronze colored helmet has its share of cuts and crags, no doubt the remnants of many battles. Nothing of Eredin’s face can be seen through the black void of the eyeholes, but his black coif of hair can be seen cascading out the back of the helm. The headpiece is punctuated on top by a series of tall spikes forming a crown.

The packaging claims Eredin sports 22-moving parts, and that certainly comes across in just how fun a figure he is to play with. Articulation points include rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. The knees have single hinges and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There are swivels up in the thighs and the toes of his boots are hinged. Finally, you get a ball joint under the chest and another in the neck. The jointing on these McFarlane figures feel satisfyingly solid and chunky.

Eredin comes with one accessory and that’s his rather distinctive sword. This piece of plastic cutlery is a lot more impressive than either of the blades that came with Geralt, thanks mostly to a great paintjob on the blade and hilt. The turned grip is painted crimson to match his armor, and is extended to allow for double-handed wielding. And thankfully, the figure’s articulation is up to the task! The vicious looking blade includes multiple angles to the edge and a jutting spike, and I really dig the rather utilitarian hand guard that plunges parallel with the grip. It’s a great looking piece that clearly favors function over aesthetics in its design.

And finally, you get a figure stand, which is easily the least impressive thing in the box. Yup, it’s the same one that came with Geralt, complete with The Witcher III branding. It’s simple, small, and totally inconsequential. But it does a decent job of holding him up, and I’m never going to complain about getting a stand.

I absolutely have to keep resisting the urge to plunge into McFarlane’s DC figures. I just can’t open that floodgate again. I’ve been wronged too many times! BUT, THAT REBIRTH SUPERMAN SURE IS TEMPTING!!! So, it’s nice to have a small and manageable line like The Witcher to sample what has been some truly excellent work by McFarlane. And just for an added treat, when I went to hunt this figure down along with Ciri, I found him on clearance for about $11. Not too shabby, as I would have been perfectly happy with him even at the full $20. I don’t think I’m going to go nuts with all the repaints of Geralt that McFarlane is pushing out, but I’ll likely keep grabbing any new sculpts that come my way.

Ultimate Voltron by Super7

I did some reorganizing in the closets this weekend and found some stuff that I never got around to reviewing and set aside a small stack of goodies. Among that pile is Super7’s stab at creating a stylized and articulated 7-inch version of the Legendary Defender of the Universe, Voltron, for their Ultimates line!

Everything about this packaging screams premium! You get classy angled edges and a swank glossy black sleeve with foil lightning bolts surrounding a foil Coat of Arms. Lifting off the sleeve reveals a foil window box with Voltron and his accessories filling out the inner tray quite nicely! The rainbow Voltron logo is situated below the figure and the back of the package has the opening narration of the cartoon series. Everything is collector friendly, and that’s a wonderful thing, because this is a figure I intend to display in the packaging. Let’s get him out and have a look!

Obviously, this is a Voltron figure that does not separate, which allows for creating a sculpt with all the stylish flare of the big robot’s animated appearance. And I’m happy to say that Super7 took full advantage of it! The limbs are devoid of the more unsightly lion kibble, with those details softened and blended into the robot. The arms are a bit more rounded, while the legs are left more boxy. Meanwhile, the torso is perfectly proportioned. And while the goal here was to create a simpler and more animated look, there’s still plenty of nice detail, particularly in the lower legs, the “belt,” the chest crest, and of course the head sculpt. Along with a solid sculpt, the colors are vibrant with a mix of metallic and matte finishes to offer some nice contrast.

Unfortunately, as I really started to scrutinize the figure, the cracks in the foundation began to show themselves. There are some weird imperfections in the plastic, like creases and blemishes showing some problems with the molding process. Likewise, the paint application shows a lot of inconsistencies. It’s sharp in some areas, messy in others. There are a number of flubbed areas where brush strokes and swirls can be seen. No single one of these nitpicks is terrible, but when they all form together, the figure just doesn’t stand up to careful inspection.

But where this figure really flops is in the articulation. Now, Super7 is a stand up company, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did a complete run down on the articulation when they solicited it. But, I bought mine from an online retailer, which simply listed it as Super Articulated. What I got was profoundly disappointing. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, there are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and rotating hinges in the wrists. All that is pretty good, although the shoulders tend to look rather awkward when angled out. It’s the legs that really hurt the figure. The hips have front and back rotation, and that’s it. No lateral movement at all. The figure is sculpted with a bit of a wide stance, but again… that’s it. The knees are hinged. You do get rotation in the waist and the neck. Voltron can achieve some decent looking modest poses for display, but sadly I did not find him to be a fun figure to play around with.

As for accessories, you get two extra hands, with the lions’ mouths open. Why Super7 didn’t just hinge the mouths is beyond me. Maybe they felt the hinge wouldn’t hold the accessories well, and that’s fair enough. The regular lion hands have soft mouths to grip the accessories pretty strongly.

Naturally, Voltron comes with his Blazing Sword and Shield and these accessories are absolutely gorgeous! The sculpts are great and they are actually vac metalized so they have stunning silver finishes. As mentioned, the grippy lion head hands hold them extremely well, although the joints in the shoulders and elbows aren’t always up to the task to hold their weight for long.

And finally, you also get a Summoning version of the Blazing Sword with a blue hilt and a glow-in-the-dark blade. Necessary? Nope! But it sure is a heck of a nice bonus!

I was really excited to finally open this figure, but I’m sorry to say it did not live up to my expectations. You get some stellar packaging and a figure that looks pretty good just standing on the shelf, but I found him to be frustrating to pose in any meaningful manner, and in severe need of some lateral hinges in those hips. Added to that, the strange imperfections in the molding, and some sloppy paint just doesn’t reflect the $45 price tag. There’s definitely some stuff to like here, but not enough to make this a happy purchase.

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

Yes, last week I flubbed my Friday content again. I promise you, it’s coming back, but it may be sporadic for a while. But at least Marvel Mondays have been pretty consistent and now that I’ve had a look at all the packaged figures in the Super Skrull Wave, it’s time to pop together me some Super Skrull!

Most BAF’s have six pieces: Four limbs, a torso and a head. Super Skrull has all those, plus an additional head, an effect part, and two additional arms! Otherwise, everything is pretty standard here. The extra head and arms sort of make up for the fact that this guy is not big, and there’s really nothing about him that prevented Hasbro from releasing him as a regular boxed figure. Heck, even with those extra pieces, he should have worked out.

that’s not to say Kl’rt isn’t a beefy figure, because he is, but we’ve had bigger boxed releases. He is a pretty simple figure, with most of his costume achieved through a rather attractive combination of black and metallic purple coloring. He also has a bit of blue wash over the black bits. He does have some new sculpting for his V-shaped tunic, which flares out at the shoulders and was mostly likely purchased at the same store that Yellowjacket shops at. Of course, the reserved amount of new sculpting here only takes into account his regular arms, and not the ones powered up with The Fantastic Four’s powers.

As mentioned, you get two portraits, one offering a sinister, toothy grimace, and the other a bit more serious. The former offers a lot more personality, but I rather like the grim visage of the later one as well. Both sport some excellent sculpting for the facial detail, including those horizontal ridges in his prominent chin, and his long elf-like ears. He also sports a form-fitting skull cap as part of the head sculpt. The piercing yellow pupil-less eyes are well-done, and there’s a wash over his green skin to bring out some of those lovely details.

Super Skrull’s articulation is standard stuff, and that remains the same no matter which arms you decide to display him with. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double-hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, swivels in the biceps and the tops of the boots, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in his waist, an ab-crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

The extra right arm exhibits the powers of both Sue Storm and Reed Richards. It gradually becomes translucent from the elbow on and the forearm is stretched and the fist is oversized. It makes for a pretty cool combination of effects.

The extra left arm transitions into orange stone just above the elbow and ends in a giant fist, thus exhibiting Ben Grimm’s powers.

And finally, you get a large flame effect part to attach to either regular arm to show off Johnny Storm’s powers. All of these power-stealing effects are pretty well executed on the figure and makes him a lot of fun to play around with. And unlike the recent Dr. Moira figure, Super Skrull’s arms are easy to pop off and pop back on again, which is one of the benefits of making him a Build-A-Figure.

This is one of the rare cases where I was probably more excited for the Build-A-Figure in a wave than I was any of the particular figures. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for getting as many versions of The Fantastic Four as I can, but having added the Walgreens figures to my collection not all that long ago, these black-and-blue costumed figures weren’t terribly high on my list. Doom turned out to be a surprise as to how big an improvement he is over the last one, and while She-Hulk is an excellent figure, I was mainly waiting for the green one to show up. On the other hand Super Skrull was a figure I was very happy to see getting added to the modern Legends line up. And while I would still argue that he could have been done as a boxed release, I’m just happy to have him!

Transformers (Robot Enhanced Design Series): Coronation Starscream by Hasbro

While haters gonna hate the idea of a line of Transformers figures that don’t transform, I’m a pretty big fan of the Robot Enhanced Design series. Sure, Hasbro and other companies have been getting closer and closer to developing cartoon-accurate versions of these characters that can transform, but the RED figures let them go all the way. Megatron and Optimus Prime were pretty good, I still have to double back and take a look at Soundwave, but for now I’m bumping Starscream to the head of line!

Technically, he’s Coronation Starscream, which means he comes with the accessories needed to display him based on that comic-relief scene in the ’86 movie where he proclaimed himself leader of the Decepticons, donned a crown, cape, and shoulderpads, and had the Constructions make use of their hitherto unknown collective skill at playing the trumpet. It’s a great scene, but I must not place as much stock in it as a lot of other fans, because the coronation parts included are not a selling point for me. So, let’s get them out of the way first…

The plastic shoulderpads plug into the backs of Starscream’s shoulders and the purple cape pegs in between them. It’s bizarre how similar it is to the technique used by The Four Horsemen’s to secure capes to their Mythic Legions figures, but it works. You also get a crown. The crown is kind of goofy in how large it is, and it’s a shame they couldn’t have given it a lick of gold-leaf paint to make it stand out more, but if you want to display an Emperor Starscream, I guess this works well enough. And now, I’m tossing all these parts into a bin, because I’ll never use them again.

Ahh, there’s the Air Commander that I know and love! From a sculpting standpoint, I think this figure looks great. They rounded out the edges, and gave him that sylized look that the transforming figures can’t quite get totally right. You get some panel lines for detail, but enough simplicity to keep it in line with his Sunbow counterpart. You do get intake fans in his chest, instead of vacant holes. It would have been cool to have these removable, but I don’t dislike them at all. As for the coloring? Well, the red and blue bits look great, but the gray is a bit too dark for my taste. I was actually a bit shocked when I first saw him in person at how dark the gray really is under normal lights, albeit it looks much better under the bright studio lights. I’ve grown a little more used to it, but it’s never going to be exactly what I wanted. The gold paint for his canopy looks fine, and I haven’t yet made my mind up about the scorch marks on his null rays.

From the back, Starscream really benefits from his non-transforming design. He’s clean and sleek with some well-toned thruster calves and his wings are finished on the backsides as well, along with some darker gray paint.

The head sculpt is excellent, and I like the smarmy smile on his face. As a person of German heritage, my people have a word, Backpfeifengesicht, which roughly translates, “A face that is badly in need of a fist.” I don’t know what the Cybertronian word is, but Starscream’s got it. And I mean that in every complimentary way. The paint is a little sloppy, but the eyes do have a nice reflective quality that at some angles almost looks like light-piping.

While articulation isn’t usually a big issue in tranforming Transformers these days, the RED concept allows for a bit more refinement when it comes to jointing. Starscream features a lot of great potential with plenty of rotating hinges, double-hinges, and swivels in strategic places. The wings are designed to hinge and not be an impediment, and he even has a the ability to rotate and bend in the waist. Which leads me to the soft joints. I mentioned in my reviews of Prime and Megsy that the plastic used here is kind of weird. It has a dense and solid feel to it that makes for a satisfyingly hefty figure. But, strangely it also makes for some really gummy joints, which is disappointing. Starscream does come with two pairs of hands: One set of fists, and a pair of relaxed open hands.

Last on the accessory list are a pair of purple energy blasts, which fit onto the barrels of Starscream’s null rays. These look really good, but the null rays don’t always handle the added weight. The weapons peg into Starscream’s arms in a very strange way, with the peg being on the arm and an extended socket on the weapons. It’s not a very deep connection, and they tend to fall off a bit too easy. Add the effect parts, and they tend to droop or fall off completely.

Re-reading this review, I was kind of surprised about how much nit-picks I had. Oh yeah, I also feel Starscream is a bit too tall when displayed next to Megatron. Damn… there goes another one! But, I was surprised, because I really don’t hate or even dislike this figure at all. There are a few odd design choices, I’m not a big fan of the plastic they’re using, but all in all its a fun figure that hasn’t diminished my love for the line. On the contrary, I’ll be the first one pounding the pre-order button when Hasbro inevitably repaints him into Thundercracker and Skywarp. And again, when he’s remolded into Dirge, Thrust, and Ramjet. But I’ll draw the line at Acid Storm. Shit, no I won’t.

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Doctor Doom by Hasbro

Yeah, once again I missed posting new content on Friday last week. Sorry about that. Wednesdays and Thursdays toss me some weird work hours, so it’s bound to happen now and then. But, it’s a spanking new week and I’m about to open the last figure in the Fantastic Four themed assortment of Marvel Legends. Are you ready for Doom???

I sure as hell am!!! I’ve been a fan of The Fantastic Four since I was a wee lad, and Doctor Doom was a big part of my love for Marvel’s First Family’s book. He’s remained one of my all-time favorite Marvel villains. The iron-fisted monarch of Latveria was last seen in Marvel Legends all the way back in 2012, in the very early days of the line’s reboot. He’s also been seen again since in a Retro Carded release. I had plenty of good things to say about the 2012 figure, so let’s release doom from his Capitalist Retail Prison and see how this one stacks up!

I was expecting a somewhat retooled figure, but what we got is a completely new one. And I guess that’s to be expected since it has been almost ten years. TEN YEARS!!! This is a more modern version with a lot more realism applied to the detail. So, if you like a more clean and classic look, you may still want to hang on to the older release, but even still, I think this one is a vast improvement on almost every level. He still looks as iconic as ever with his hunter green tunic, hood, and cape, and his armored limbs. The tunic has some great looking sculpted folds, and it’s textured throughout to make it look pretty convincing for plastic fabric. The wide belt has an ornate gold buckle, and a functional holster on his right hip. The holster is possibly the only thing about the older figure that I prefer over this one, because it had a strap on the top flap that fed through a loop, rather than a peg. This one is still fine, though, and even has an D monogram on the top flap.

The cape on the previous figure was cast in one piece with the hood, and that was not such a great idea. It meant that the hood popped up any time the cape bumped on the floor, or the figure rested its weight on it. It also meant that the hood didn’t turn with the head. Here, they’re separate, and that’s definitely the way to go. Like the tunic, the cape is textured and has some excellent sculpted folds to make it look like fabric that is falling about the figure naturally. IT does extend all the way to the floor, but can be angled backward for those wider stances, and not be too obtrusive. It actually helps support him in some poses. The cape hangs around Doom’s neck via two sculpted golden chains and two large medallions. It looks great!

The armor is beautifully colored with a metallic silver finish. The plates are a mix of smooth curves and angled folds. There are sculpted rivets and hinges, and I really like the way the knee and elbow guards are designed. You can also see sculpted chain mail peeking out inbetween the plates.

You get two choices when it comes to portraits, and I’m a bit torn on which one I prefer. One strikes me as a more classic look, and it features the sculpted rivets holding the plates together, and a more rounded hood. The other is all smooth, sans rivets, and has a more sinister expression thanks to the eye holes having a downturned brow. Even the mouth hole is scowling. The mask was removable on the previous figure, but that’s not the case here on either head. The hood here billows out more near the bottom, giving it an Emperor Palpatine kind of vibe. Ultimately, I think I will go with this one for display. I like the rivets, but this one has a more villainous visage.

Articulation is mostly standard stuff, although it’s worth noting that the torso articulation is concealed as a ball joint under the belt, whereas it was under the chest and clearly visible on the older figure. Also unusual is the neck piece, which is ball jointed where it meets the body, and then ball jointed and hinged where it meets the head! The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists. You get two pairs of hands, which include one set of fists, a gun-holding right hand, and an evil graspy left hand.

Doom’s one accessory is his pistol, which is very similar to the one issued with the previous Doom, but it is still a new sculpt, and cast all in black. If you’re looking for a Doom with more accessories, you might want to look into the Retro Carded release. And yeah, I’ll get around to looking at that one eventually!

Doom is easily my favorite figure in this wave, and I’ll likely be displaying him with the Walgreens versions of The Fantastic Four. And eventually, I’ll have the Haslab Galactus looming behind them all. Don’t forget, kids… the Big Boi’s campaign ends tonight! The sculpting on this guy is just top notch, and they did a beautiful job on him all around. On the downside, he was impossible for me to find at the stores around here, and I wound up having to pay a bit extra for him from a second-hand seller online. I was apprehensive about doing that, since I already had the older version, but now that he’s in hand I think it was totally worth it! And that’s a wrap for the boxed figures in this wave, come on back next Monday and we’ll have a look at the Super Skrull Build-A-Figure!


Halo: 12-inch Master Chief by Jazwares

I’ve had a bit of an unintentional video game theme going these last couple weeks. First it was Pac-Man, then The Witcher, and now Halo. Well, I wouldn’t read too much into it. I stumbled upon this figure for a crazy low price and decided to make it an impulse buy. Ages ago, I had that Joyride Master Chief figure, which was excellent, but did not survive a shelf-dive. Sadly, his leg exploded against the shock of the carpet, and he was beyond fixing. Sobbing, I turned to The Ebays to replace him, saw how much it was going for now, and gave that shit a big HECK, NO! But hey, now I’ve got The Chief back in the collection. Let’s see if this cheap sum’bitch is any good.

Straightaway, this release reminds me of those cheap 12-inch figures that Hasbro has done for Star Wars and Marvel. They’re sometimes referred to as Shampoo Bottle Figures, I guess because they’re hollow and cheap, and feel like the novelty themed recepticals that you might find containing kids shampoo. Most of those are terrible, some are OK, but this one looked a little better. But make no mistake, cheap this figure is! I got him off Amazon for $11, although I think the MSRP is around $20. And yes, that is about twice as much as Hasbro’s Shampoo Bottle Figures, so maybe it’s not fair comparison. The packaging is consists of a very long and narrow window box, that’s barely big enough to contain his Spartan might, but is otherwise serviceable. There’s a J-hook so he can hang from a peg, but I’ve never seen this guy in the Toy Aisles around here.

Out of the box, this figure actually impresses me. Now, let’s qualify that a bit, because my expectations were pretty low. The sculpt is excellent. Sure he’s got some unsightly seams, but they’re not any worse than any number of other figures on the market these days. And all the detail in the armor is certainly there. The plates have panel lines, and all the little bits and bobs that I remember seeing from the last time I played a Halo game, albeit that was probably five years ago. The green looks a bit bright under the studio lights, but in hand under normal lighting it looks fine. The undersuit is black with some texturing, and you actually get some silver dry brushing on the armor to signify wear and tear. It actually looks about on par with the stuff Hasbro was doing on their Transformers Siege figures. Take that how you want, but I think it looks fine. If I’m going to nitpick anything here, I don’t remember Master Chief having such small feet, but I’m really reaching for something to complain about.

The helmet also looks pretty good, with more of those silver abraisions on the green finish. The gold paint used for his visor looks excellent. I should also note that while the figure is hollow and not all that hefty, it doesn’t feel like junk either. And there ya go, Jazwares! Feel free to use that as a pull quote for the box!

What surprised me the most about this guy was his articulation. I was expecting retro five points of articulation, like Hasbro’s big bois, but this guy actually has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees, and swivels in the wrists, and in the neck. He’s fun to play with, although give me a little articulation and I just want more. He would have been amazing if they sprang for a waist swivel and some ankle tilts. Still, what’s here is great, and he has a pretty decent balance.

Master Chief comes with one accessory and that’s his trusty assault rifle. Sadly, the weapon is not as impressive as the figure. The big fail for me was having it silver. Jazwares may have been trying to add a little more color to the package, but I would have much rather they left it black, and it would have saved them some money too. It’s fairly well detailed, even if the sculpt is very soft. It fits perfectly into his right hand, and it even has a peg that allows Master Chief to carry it on his back.

There have been plenty of good Master Chief figures on the market over the years, so if you’re looking for a nice collectible you can sure do a lot better than this guy. But, if you’re looking for a big, rugged Master Chief toy to knock around and have some fun with, I think you could do a lot worse than this guy. Hell, if Hasbro’s 12-inchers were more like this in terms of quality and articulation, I’d probably actually own some of those. Jazwares has a few other Halo figures in this line, but Master Chief is enough for me. He was definitely worth the $11 I paid for him, and hell, I’d even go so far as to recommend him at $20.

Marvel Legends (Super Skrull Wave): Grey She-Hulk by Hasbro

If you came by Friday looking for new content, than you know I took a long weekend away from toy bloggery to recoup from a long work week. But here I am, back in the saddle, somewhat rested and ready for Marvel Monday! I’m up to the second to last figure in my jaunt through this Fantastic Four-themed wave of Marvel Legends, so let’s check out some hawt Shulkie action!

I’m not terribly familiar with this version of She-Hulk, other than she went all Grey and savage after duking it out with Thanos? I think that’s right. Anyway, considering that we’ve already had a Marvel Legends Red She-Hulk way back near the beginning of the current series, and now Grey She-Hulk, my obvious complaint is that we still don’t have regular GREEN She-Hulk, but that has since been remedied by a one-off release, which I’ll get around to looking at in the weeks ahead.

But grey or not… Wow what a figure! Jennifer looks like she’s sporting all new sculpting, and she is ripped! Literally and figuratively! This tall girl features the remnants of her tattered blue jeans sculpted onto her legs, and the top half of her shredded blouse covering her shulkies. The blouse is sculpted separately out of soft plastic and attached to the figure, which really gives it a wonderful bit of added depth, as opposed to if it were just sculped as part of the body like the jeans are. Not that they’re bad. They actually have some decent texturing and the paintlines between the blue denim and her grey skin are pretty sharp. She-Hulk is sporting a serously tight six-pack, and the bare feet are possibly also new sculpts. About the only thing I don’t like here are the slashes of neon green paint, which look like an afterthought, and don’t do much for what is an otherwise great looking effort.

And as good as Shulkie’s bod turned out, the portrait is every bit its equal! Hasbro did a fantastic job with this head sculpt. This head puts the SAVAGE in She-Hulk while still managing to retain Jennifer’s beauty. She’s brandishing the best set of choppers her law firm’s dental plan can buy, and I really dig the wrinkle in the bridge of her nose and the severe eyebrows that join it. Her eyes are green and lack pupils adding to her fierce visage. The hair sculpt is also worthy of praise. It’s wild and chaotic and looks amazing. You get some green wash mixed in with the black to match her green lips. And yeah, unfortunately you also get a rather prominant neon green slash across her nose, which I could have done without.

There are no big surprises in the articulation, and what we got is generally pretty good. I’ll pitch my usual fit over the use of rotating hinges in the elbows instead of double-hinges like the guys get. I realize that Hasbro probably does that because the gals arms are thinner, but that’s certainly not the case here. I’m also not crazy about the designs of the hinges in these elbows as they can be rather unsightly. Everything else is business as usual, though, making Shulkie a fun figure to play around with.

Jennifer comes with two sets of hands: Fists and grapple hands, and both are quite welcome. I thought I remembered Hasbro teasing a second head with this figure, but it isn’t here. It did, however, turn up in the Green She-Hulk. I guess that makes sense given this one comes with a BAF part, and the Green Shulkie does not.

When I bought this figure, the Green version had not yet been revealed, although I knew it was inevitably coming. I assumed that when it did, I would feel cheated that I had to buy this one to get a BAF part. But, this is such a great figure, that it’s hard to really feel bad about having it in my collection. Sure, I absolutely wish that Green She-Hulk was in this wave and this Grey version was the one-off exclusive, but I’m not going to get too upset about that. This figure just looks so good, that I don’t mind owning two of the same sculpt.

The Witcher: Geralt of Rivia (Gold Label) by McFarlane

I remember buying the original Witcher game, hoping to slum it with the graphics turned all the way down, but even then my computer at the time just laughed and spat out the disc. A short while later, The Witcher II came to the Xbox 360, and I rejoiced, as I would finally get to sample the series I heard so much about. But after jumping in, I quickly felt like I was dropped into the middle of the dense lore and missing out on a lot of backstory, so I decided that I would shelf the game until I could eventually experience the first. Time passed and eventually even my new mediocre computer was capable of running the original Witcher, which was at that point a rather old game. With all the settings turned up, I quickly lost myself in the deep and rewarding game world, and it was everything I hoped it would be. And the rest is history. I still haven’t made the time to play Witcher 3, but I have since enjoyed the hell out of the comics and the TV series was… well, it was OK. And that brings us to McFarlane’s Geralt figure!

his is the Gold Label release, which is proudly called out with gold foil on the top left corner of the box. What’s that mean? I dunno. It seems like just a repaint of the regular version. I think these were supposed to be some kind of premium chase figures, but I got mine on clearance at Gamestop, so I’m not sure how difficult that chase was. They had both versions, but I went with this one just because I thought the more colorful deco showcased the sculpt a little better. The window box is collector friendly, unless you want the stand, which is secured to the back of the insert under a sealed bubble. For that, you’ll have to rip and tear!

And here he is, Geralt of Rivia, looking intimidating as all hell. Straightaway I’ll say that I absolutely love the sculpting they did here, but then McFarlane has always been known for delivering great sculpts! As I already intimated, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time in the first two games, but have still yet to crack open my copy of Witcher 3. That having been said, his armor appears to be patterened after the suit he starts the game with, and the one featured in most of the game shots I’ve seen, so I’m at least passingly familiar with it. The sculpt features some intricate detail in the chain mail, as well as some textured quilting in the upper legs. There’s stitching recreated on the leather bits, and boots, and the armor is layered onto the figure to make for a very complex and convincing look. When it comes to detail, it seems like nothing was overlooked. The torso armor is sculpted in soft plastic and wrapped around the figure, concealing the articulation in the chest. It’s executed very well, without making the figure look too bulky or throw off his proportions. Other cool little additions are his tiny amulet and the trophy hook hanging from his belt.

On his back, Geralt has two functional scabbards for his swords. These are partially open on the side facing his back, which is unfortunately a little unsightly, but they acommodate the swords very well. The scabbards are also the only place on the figure where the paint disappoints a bit. It just isn’t as sharp as it could be. The original version of this figure was quite drab and dark, but this Gold Label release features a more colorful tan and brown deco, which as I said earlier, really brings out the detail in the sculpt. The boots are black, he’s got a reddish-brown belt, and the silver paint used for the chainmail and the fixtures, is quite striking. I may still look at picking up the regular release, but right now I’m pleased that I went with this one.

They did a beautiful job on this portrait, recreating a solid likeness to the in-game model. The rather intricate hair sculpt is cast separate from the rest of the head, making for a clean hairline. His scar is carved right into the plastic, there are some subtle lines in his face, and the facial hair is quite remarkable. But beyond an excellent sculpt, the paint really turned out to be amazing. From the gray used for his hair to the gloss on his bottom lip, the life-like eyes and the razor sharp deep crimson gash, everything here is just superb. Even the skin tone is nuanced.

I was most curious to see what the articulation was going to be like, since the last time I was collecting McFarlane figures, they were little more than semi-poseable statues. Well, that certainly isn’t the case any more. The articulation here is well thought out and feels great. The double hinges in the elbows and knees are chunky and allow for tight bends. I was especially surprised to find there were even hinges in the toe of the boots! He’s capable of wide stances in the legs and his arms have the ability to reach back to draw his swords. My only gripe here is that the neck doesn’t allow for the head to look up enough. And that’s probably mostly because of the long hair.

Naturally, Geralt comes with his two swords. The “silver” sword features a sharply downturned crossguard, whereas the “steel” sword has the straight guard. These each have painted grips, but unfortunately the blades and hilts were left as bare gray plastic. I really think these needed actual silver paint to make them look more snappy, especially for a premium Gold Label release. Heck, even if they just painted the silver one to distinguish it, that would have been cool. The sculpts on the weapons are fine, and the blades aren’t too bendy, but they just look rather unfinished without the extra paint.

Geralt’s hands are sculpted so that he can wield the swords in either hand, or dual wield at the same time, for those particularly desparate battles against both humans and monsters! The articulation also allows for him to wield either weapon two-handed, which is excellent!

Other than the swords, Geralt comes with bubkis, so he’s a little light on the accessories. I would have liked to see a magic effect part or maybe some daggers. He does come with a branded figure stand, but it’s pretty small and unimpressive. Maybe I’ll dig into my Marvel Legeds effects parts to give him an Igni spell.

I was really close to passing on this line, since I’m trying to limit myself to what I’m already collecting, and not expand into new areas. But, when I’m face to face with a great looking figure on clearance, you just know it’s going to come home with me. And I’m glad I made that decision, because this is an all around wonderful figure. Yes, the unpainted swords irk me, but it’s nothing I can’t fix with a silver Sharpie. In the end, the best compliment I can pay Geralt here is that after playing around with him for about an hour, I went ahead and bought the rest of the line!