Doctor Stephen Strange 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Wasn’t it cool seeing Stephen Strange in Thor: Ragnarok? Not only was he a great little addition to that film, but his appearance makes my long overdue review of Hot Toys’ Sixth-Scale Doctor Strange figure a little less out-of-date. It also proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt how much I love the portrayal of Strange in the MCU while not really loving the Doctor Strange movie. Oh, I enjoyed it well enough, but it didn’t quite have the “Wow, I want to see this over and over again” feeling I get from most of the other MCU films. It was a solid origin story, but I felt that the Inception-style effects didn’t really fit, and they sure leaned heavy on that. Now with all that having been said, there were two things I did absolutely adore about the movie: The casting and the costume design. Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play the role of Stephen Strange, and seeing him in Ragnarok just cemented that feeling for me. Likewise, they really nailed his costume perfectly, probably better than any other MCU character to date. There was never any doubt for me that this character needed a space of honor on my Marvel Hot Toys shelves. Let’s check this guy out!

Hot Toys has not really been wowing me with their presentation lately, so it’s nice to see them change things up just a bit with this figure. At heart, it’s still the same old window box wrapped in an illustrated sleeve that we usually get, but they had some fun with this one. The sleeve is a trippy kaleidoscope of images from the film that reflects the infinite reaches of the various dimensions and plains of existence available to The Sorcerer Supreme. The center has a circle set in an angled square, which can be turned to unlock the sleeve and open it to reveal the window box inside. It’s a simple little gimmick, but it goes a long way to show me that Hot Toys wanted to deliver a little something extra for this release, and I can appreciate that. Inside the box, the figure comes on a standard molded plastic tray with his myriad of accessories laid out around him, and I have to say, this guy really does come with a lot of great stuff! Let’s start out with the base figure and a few of those accessories…

As I already mentioned, I think the movie nailed Strange’s costume design perfectly and that gave Hot Toys a lot to work with when tailoring the costume for this figure. The tunic features a finely crafted set of pleats on the front and it fits the figure perfectly, even when draped over the long-sleeved shirt and trousers. The stitching is immaculate and the combination of vibrant and darker blue material looks quite striking. The fabric arm bracers feature a Nepali flair, complete with fringe coming off the backs. As great as the costume looks, it’s also not terribly restrictive, making Doctor Strange a pretty fun figure to play with and pose. Everything about this costume is rich with love and attention to detail!

The boots include sculpted stitching, treads on the soles, and sculpted laces. They also include cloth wraps made of the same vibrant blue material as the tunic. You also get some braided Nepali loops and fringe. The boots are sculpted in one piece, which means the ankle hinges in the underlying body are completely hindered. Hot Toys still seems to be waffling back and forth over whether or not to put ankle joints in the boots. They did it with both Daredevil and The Punisher, but here they didn’t. I’m not too upset about that, because the added articulation would probably have messed up the cloth wraps over time, but it does mean that his feet won’t be flat on the ground in those wide stances.

The elaborate belt is a real showpiece on this figure and as much a part of the costume’s magnificence than anything else. It’s actually a network of belts! First, you get the wide belt, dare I call it a “Cumberbund?” This piece is made of a leather-like material with some excellent stitching and texture. On top of that you get two woven belts with sculpted plastic loops. There are two larger circular fixtures, one on the front, positioned near his left hip, and one on the back, and on the back, the belts terminate into a glorious fringe. Below all that are two narrower leather-like belts. I never thought I could get all worked up over belt designs, but these are just amazing and they all conspire to give Strange a smart and trim look.

The belt includes a few loops, which can be used to hang the included Sling Ring. I should say Sling Rings, plural, because you get two of them. It’s been a while since I saw the film, but I thought he only had one. At first, I considered maybe Hot Toys included an extra in case you lose one, but in the instructions, they show where to hang both on the belt. Either way, I’m only going to display him with one, and not in the spot where the instructions say to put it. I’m a rebel!

In addition to the Sling Rings, the Eye of Agamotto is also included to accessorize Strange’s wardrobe. You get two of these powerful amulets, one with the Eye open and one with it closed. Contrary to what was seen in the film, I’m opting to display him with the open Eye. Both pieces hang on red and black string and they each feature some beautiful sculpting as well as a nice mix of gold and copper paint. The opened Eye is painted with a vibrant metallic green to give it an almost ethereal glow.

And that brings us to the portrait and it’s pretty fantastic. Cumberbatch is certainly a distinctive looking fellow, and I have to imagine that makes it easier to sculpt a recognizable license. This makes two excellent Sixth-Scale Cumberbatch portraits on the market, the other being set atop Big Chief’s Sherlock Holmes figure. Of course, Hot Toys goes above and beyond by creating likenesses with a spark of life and I think they’ve done a bang up job with it here. As usual, the skin texturing and paint is very realistic and the paintwork they do for the eyes continues to astound me, even with so many of these figures on my shelves. Hot Toys hasn’t always been able to work their magic with facial hair, but in this case I think they nailed it. The goatee is both convincing and immaculate. The hair sculpt gives him those distinctive high bangs, and the paint showing the graying “wings” on the sides of his hair is spot on. I couldn’t have asked for a better portrait!

Of course, you can’t have Doctor Strange without his Cloak of Levitation and here’s another piece of the costume that Hot Toys went crazy on. The checkered lining looks both ornate and ancient at the same time, and the patchwork nature of the outside of the cloak matches the on screen costume beautifully. There’s also a generous wire running throughout that allows you to pose it as if it has a mind of its own. The only issue I had with the Cloak is the popped collar. It looked so crisp and perfect in Hot Toys’ official prototype shots and in person not so much. Now granted, the softer style allows the collar to be displayed up or folded down, as he wore both looks in the film, but since I’ll likely be displaying him with the collar up all of the time, I would have liked it to be a little more stiff. Maybe starch would help, but I doubt I’ll risk it. The cloak features some sculpted and painted ornamental plastic pieces just below the collar and it’s worn, quite securely, simply by folding it around the figure’s shoulders and neck.

All Hot Toys figures come with a collection of extra hands, but it’s hard to think of a character where they were more important than with Strange. Not only is the entire driving force of the movie centered on his hands, but hand gestures are the key to his powers, and so you get plenty of options here! The hand sockets can be a bit tight, and this is one instance where I found it useful to remove the wrist peg from the arm, then swap out the hand and put the peg back in. Also, the Sling Ring can easily be placed on the fingers of one of the left hands.

Strange also comes with a couple of sets of effect parts. Now, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of these with Hot Toys figures. No matter how well they’re done, I think that they tend to look rather fake when compared to the lifelike qualities of the figure. This was definitely the case with Scarlet Witch’s hex effects, and it’s more or less true here as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they include these, as they can be fun to play around with, but they still feel like better quality versions of something packed in with a Marvel Legends.

The first set consists of a pair of neon green rings and a mandala piece for the hand. The rings go over the forearm and the mandala has two grooves for his fingers. It doesn’t attach very firmly, instead it more or less hangs there, but I didn’t have any trouble with it staying on for the pictures. The sculpting on these pieces is quite nice, and given the right lighting, the plastic does give off a bit of a glow. Again, this is a cool bonus, but not something that really blows me away.

The other effect set includes these two large mandala shields, which have similar notches in the back for the fingers. These hold in place a lot better than the smaller green disk, and overall I like the look of these more. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re more iconic or because the coloring is better, but I think these look great. Will I display him with these? Probably not, but they’re nice to have.

Easily my favorite accessory in the box is The Codex Imperium. Not only do I have a thing for antique books, but the detail Hot Toys packed into this little Sixth-Scale edition is mind-blowing. It’s a real book with a working catch. It can be opened and the individual pages can be turned, all of which include tiny printing and illustrations. Talk about going above and beyond!

Hot Toys has been making a habit of including illustrated backdrops with some of their figures lately. We saw this most recently with Daredevil and The Punisher. Doctor Strange comes with a larger tri-fold backdrop. It looks nice, it works pretty well for pictures, but it’s not really big enough to frame the figure very well, especially not with Strange’s billowing cloak.

Also in the box is the same style of large stand that I last saw way back with Falcon from Winter Soldier. In fact, it’s the same stand with just a different graphic on the face and a different name plate on the front. Just like Falcon’s stand, it features a spring-loaded claw to grasp the figure around the waist, but instead of the flexible post, it comes with an acrylic one to simulate Strange levitating. This is a ton of fun to mess around with, and I appreciate the added value and gravitas that this stand brings to the table, but just like the Falcon stand, it’s too big for my display shelf, so Stephen will have to go on a generic stand for now.

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty smitten with this figure, and I’m probably not the only one. Not a lot of Hot Toys figures sell out quickly these days, but Doctor Strange is one that went to the dreaded Waitlist on Sideshow pretty damn fast. He’s also sold out at most major online retailers. And it’s easy to see why. At $235, Strange is easily one of the best values I’ve seen out of Hot Toys in a while. Between the over-the-top craftsmanship and detailing in the costume, to the generous helping of extras and the elaborate stand, this is one release that I didn’t have to scrutinize in order to see where the money went. Additionally, Marvel Studios nailed the outfit straight out of the gate, so it’s hard for me to imagine there will be a lot of changes for future appearances. And even if they do change up the costume, this is most certainly the iconic look for the character, and most definitely the one I wanted on my shelf.

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DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Cyborg by Mattel

Just last week I was lamenting the fact that I’d probably never complete this Justice League Movie wave because Cyborg and Flash are impossible to find at a reasonable price. Then a buddy of mine came through by finding me a Cyborg for a cool Andy Jackson and I found myself one step closer. And since my hopes of getting Flash are still pretty low, I’m just going to go ahead and check out this guy today so I can move on. I’ll preface this review by saying that I really liked the way they handled Cyborg in the movie, but I think his look needed a lot of work. Some elements of the design didn’t work for me, and the quality of CG in his full body shots were pretty embarrassing.

There’s nothing new for me to say about the packaging. You get a great look at the figure inside, and some cool pictures of Cyborg from the movie on the front and side panel. It’s collector friendly, but even if I was a stickler for keeping boxes, these are pretty bland, so there’s not much to motivate me here to keep this one. DC Multiverse did get a package design makeover for the most recent wave, and I think it’s a big improvement. Hopefully, I’ll be looking at some figures from the Clayface Collect & Connect Wave soon.

With Cyborg out of the package, the biggest surprise here for me is that I think the design works much better in plastic than it did on screen. I was not a fan of the crumpled tinfoil look in the CG, but I think it looks pretty cool here. It has a jagged and primitive look to it, which is a neat sort of proto-form, that could get more refined as Cyborg improved and advanced his new body. The sculpt really carries the day, with plenty of detail, particularly in the exposed skeletal structure of the abs and biceps. The curves and symmetry of the detail in his back really is quite beautiful. The paint is no slouch either. The combined deco of gray plastic with some very nice looking silver paint looks great, and the added hits of red paint makes for a pretty cool looking figure, despite the economy of colors.

The portrait is pretty solid too. The likeness isn’t astonishingly good, but there’s something of Ray Fisher in there. The paintwork on the remaining human face and hair is well done. In the closeups, I’ve noticed a fair amount of over-spray on the silver paint transferred onto the skin, and likewise some brown paint slopping over the silver. It’s not really apparent when I have the figure in hand, but suffice it to say the paint lines could have been better.

In addition to the Steppenwolf C&C parts, Cyborg comes with an arm attachment, which can be swapped out with either the left or right hand. It looks like it’s either a weapon, or maybe a hacking tool. It features the same great silver paint with a little blue to pick out some of the details in the sculpt. The tip has a few short appendages and there are two tubes visible inside. It reminds me of the Borg attachments seen in Star Trek. I love that they included this piece, and I’ll likely display it on him most of the time.

The articulation is pretty standard for what we’ve been getting in this lineup. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and swivels in the middle of the forearms where the hands detach. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the lower thighs. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the head. This is one of those rare occasions where I don’t mind the lack of chest articulation. I think an ab crunch hinge would have thrown off the sculpt a lot. Besides, I don’t need my Cyborg to be super articulated.

The Justice League movie wave has been a real mixed bag. We’ve had some great new figures like Aquaman and Mera, a pretty solid Batman, and some recycled figures that felt way to lazy for a major toy company working on a major motion picture license. Cyborg definitely fits into the better end of things, but the end result is still a real odd looking bunch when you display them all together. It’s a shame because it detracts from the better figures. And with that ringing endorsement of Mattel and the DC Multiverse line, I’m going to wrap up this wave for now. I’ll revisit it again if I ever do find that Flash figure, but otherwise I’m ready to move on to other things for the next DC Friday.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Prime Masters (Wave 1) by Hasbro

If you’ve been reading my Power of the Primes reviews, you may have noticed that I’ve been peppering them with a general lack of interest in the whole Prime Armor and Prime Master gimmick. But don’t take that as a personal attack on the Prime Masters themselves, because I actually love these little guys and plan on buying every goddamn one of them. Why?

Well just look at them! They’re like a cross between Pretenders and Targetmasters. These little buggers replace the individual packaged Titan Masters assortments from the last line. I only picked up a few of those, and I don’t think I ever reviewed any of them, because they didn’t interest me a lot and I didn’t think they made for interesting reviews. Oh, I loved the Headmaster gimmick in Titans Return, but I was never big on buying different heads to swap out with the ones that came with the figures. But these? These are some tiny bots that I can really get behind. Each package features three components: The Prime Master figure, the Decoy Armor, and a weapon that attaches to the armor. The result is that there’s a lot of playability packed into these five dollar packets. Let’s start with Vector Prime…

Vector Prime’s Decoy Armor is based on G1 Metalhawk. I should at this point declare that I was already out of Transformers by the time The Pretenders hit the market, and while I’ve admired them and learned a lot about them since, I’m not all that familiar with Metalhawk. I want to say that’s because he didn’t get a US release, but I’m treading on unfamiliar territory there. Anywho, just check out the awesome paint and sculpting that went into this Pretender Shell! Keep in mind these aren’t all that much bigger than the Titan/Prime Masters. The blue plastic is quite brilliant and looks great with the silver, red, and yellow paint apps. I also dig how the helmet has an open face so you can make out the Prime Master’s face inside it. Have there ever been toy suits of armor for figures as small as these? I doubt it. The legs are static, but the arms can rotate.

From the back, we can see his weapon attached on a hinge for storage. It can be removed and Vector Prime can hold it while he’s in his Decoy Armor. Granted, it’s really big for him, but that’s because it also doubles as part of a the Decoy Armor’s Targetmaster gimmick. But before we get to that, let’s open up the armor and have a look at Vector Prime. Damn, these tiny guys are complicated!

The armor hinges open at the feet to reveal the little fella inside. The Prime Masters are basically the same as the Titan Masters in scale and articulation. You still get ball joints in the head and shoulders, and hinges at the hips and knees, but with the legs fused together. Vector Prime’s black and blue plastic matches that of his Decoy Armor, and you actually get a little silver paint on his teeny little face. These Prime Masters transform exactly like the Titan Masters, only instead of changing into heads, they change into little box-like chips that can be inserted into the Prime Armor that comes with the larger figures. Now you can transform the Decoy Armor into a gun and place Vector Prime in it. And since he didn’t come with any weapons, I’m going to use Grimlock to showcase the Targetmaster Gimmicks today.

“ME GRIMLOCK SAY HASBRO MARKETING GENIUS. NOT GIVE WEAPONS IN PACKAGE. MAKE YOU BUY TINY BOTS FOR WEAPONS!”

I think Grimlock may have a point. He might have been light on weapons as an incentive to pick up these packs. But even if that’s so, damn I love this! The Decoy Armors’ weapon modes are a tad large for Deluxes, but they’re very well suited for Voyagers or Leaders. Vector Prime’s armor makes a pretty good looking single-barrel gun, and you can stick him on top in his chip mode, or keep him in the armor. Brilliant! Moving on to Micronus…

Micronus’ Decoy Armor is based off of G1 Cloudburst, and here’s one that I actually remember. The shell is a little less rounded than the original release, but the resemblance is certainly there. Again, it’s a really nice sculpt for such a little toy and the coloring consists of some bright red plastic, black plastic, and some white and blue paint apps. Like Vector Prime, Micronus can be seen peeking out through the face hole in the armor and his gun hangs off the back for storage or can be equipped in either of the Pretender Shell’s hands.

Open up the Armor and out comes Micronus. His deco shares that of the Decoy Armor’s red and black plastic, and his little face is painted blue. How about the Targetmaster mode?

Micronus’ Armor changes into a double-barreled gun, which looks pretty damn good in Grimlock’s hand. And if you’d rather have Micronus plugged into Grimlock’s Prime Armor… go for it. Moving on to the final figure of the trio… Liege Maximo.

Liege Maximo is the lone Decepticon of the bunch and his Decoy Armor is also the most familiar to me as Skullgrin. Wait, he’s a Prime, but he’s a Decepticon? I gotta be honest, I don’t understand all the hows and whys of this whole Prime Master thing. I just know that Pretenders make me happy and this little Skullgrin doubly so. The blend of gray and neon mauve plastic is outrageously beautiful, with some white paint added to pick out his belt and skull. The sculpting on this guy is also fantastic.

A peek at the back reveals Maximo has a rather unconventional weapon stored there. Pop it off and put it in the Armor’s hand and it becomes… I dunno, a big slashing claw? Sure, why not!

Pop open the Decoy Armor and you can see that Liege Maximo shares the Pretender Shell’s amazing deco. I think he’s my favorite of the bunch because the sculpt on him just looks so crisp and the face paint is especially well done.

I’ll be honest, Maximo’s weapon mode doesn’t do a lot for me. It kind of just looks like a rake or something. Grimlock is not terribly impressed either, but the silver paint is sure nice. Besides, you didn’t come with jack-squat, Grimlock. Beggers can’t be choosers, so take the hot-pink claw thingie and like it!

Holy shit, these are some fun little toys! I know that the Titan Masters came with little vehicles, but in the end they were just Headmasters without proper bodies and were kind of lost on me. But here, Hasbro went in an entirely new direction and it pays off for me big time. When you consider that a big part of the Prime Master gimmick consists of big ugly armor pieces and pretend powers written down on the backs of cards, I really dig that Hasbro packed so much more playability into these little guys. The Pretender Shells are an impossible homage… Something I never thought Hasbro would ever revisit again in a million years, and yet here they are alive and well and swinging on the pegs down at my local Target. And if tiny action figures in armor isn’t enough, incorporating the Targetmaster gimmick into it as well just goes above and beyond. Keep making these little buggers, Hasbro, and I promise I will buy them all!

Playmates Voltron: Legendary Defender… Let’s Form Voltron!

Happy Hump Day, Toyhounds! I’m checking in with a little bonus Wednesday content today so that I can wrap up my review of Playmates’ Voltron Legendary Defender Lions, because the Classic ’84 Lions have hit stores, and this Netflix set is really just old news now. Yesterday, I had a look at the Black Lion and today I’m finally putting these five kitties together to form Voltron… Dyna-Thrusters are go… Let’s go Voltron Force!!!

And here he is, and straightaway, I’m very impressed with the way he turned out. He’s big, he’s heavy, he looks mighty damn good, and he’s a surprisingly stable robot that can be played with like an action figure without worrying about him coming apart. I’ll talk more about the playability here in a bit when I get to articulation, because there are some caveats. He’s certainly not as well proportioned and streamlined as the Utlimate Voltron, but that’s to be expected considering this one is actually formed from the separate Lion toys. We’ve had more than a few combining Lion Voltrons over the years, and overall I’d rank this one up with some of the best of them. It’s always a question of the right amount of compromise between the Lion toys and the combined mode, and I think this one did just about everything right.

When it comes to transforming the Lions and putting him together, there’s nothing terribly complex, although there are some things that are really neat. I absolutely love the way the legs on the Green and Red Lions completely fold away. The front legs store inside their respective Lions’ bodies and the rear legs are hidden nicely too. The result is a very streamlined look to the arms, which is more than I would have expected considering the price point on those guys. If you have the electronics set to On, Black Lion will comment on every step of the assembly. It acknowledges which Lion is being plugged in and calls on the next Lion to join. Sure, it can get annoying, but it’s also really damn impressive. And if you get tired of hearing it, there’s always an OFF button. I had every intention of doing a video of the electronics, like I did with the Black Lion, but wrestling with this guy on camera proved to be way beyond my patience. When separating the Lions, the legs simply eject by pushing the buttons on the backs of the knees. The arms have to be pulled out, and sometimes that can require a lot of force.

As I discussed in the reviews of the individual Lions, the paint and coloring on these has been fairly good with little flubs here and there, and all that carries over to the Voltron mode as well. The various colored plastic of the torsos and limbs are all nice and shiny, and the silver and gold paint looks especially nice. It would have been really cool if they could have painted all the gray plastic in that snappy silver, but I get how that would have been expensive, and probably would have had rubbing issues when it came to the combining. Here’s hoping the gray on this one won’t yellow over time like the shitty plastic Mattel used on theirs. One thing I do find a little hard to excuse, however, is the lack of paint on Voltron’s face. It’s a key area of the figure and it’s not all that big a surface. I think it would have looked so much better had they painted it silver instead of leaving it that bare gray plastic, and I don’t see how it would have broken the bank. It’s a shame, yes, but not a deal-breaker, and I had the same issue with the Ultimate Voltron figure too.

So let’s talk articulation. There are some useful points here and some not-so-useful ones. If you’re talking playability, I’d say there’s a ton of fun to be had here, but in terms of poseability, then not so much. Voltron looks great standing there on the shelf, but as soon as I try to get him into some cool poses, I find out that he really is a lot more limiting than I had hoped. From the waist down, things are actually not bad. The hips offer the possibility of a wide stance, the knee ratchets are pretty strong, and you do have those swivels in the thighs. One thing to note while posing the legs is that the front legs on the Blue and Yellow Lions do not lock into place and since these serve as heel spurs, this can be good and bad and bad news. The good news is it lets you tweak them for stability in different poses. This helps since there are no ankle tilts. The bad news is, sometimes they will give way under the weight of a pose. In fairness, I had the same problem with Matty’s far more expensive Classic Voltron, so it’s not something that is unique to this toy.

The articulation in the arms is a lot more problematic. The shoulders do not articulate at the points where the Lions connect, but rather further into the chest where the Black Lion’s shoulders are. This can look awkward and throw off his symmetry on certain poses. But my big problem is in the elbow hinges, which are constantly at odds with the compacted hind legs of the Lions. You can’t bend the elbow far at all before it bumps up against these, and that’s disappointing, because it practically renders the whole joint useless. You can, however, get some decent lateral movement out of the shoulders. There’s no articulation in the torso, which is to be expected, but the lack of rotation in the neck really bothers me a lot.

As for his accessories, Voltron’s Shield plugs into the Green Lion so it can be worn on his shoulder. The Sword is completed from the two parts that came with the Red and Green Lions.  The Shield looks great, but I’m not at all a fan of this Sword. Part of that has to do with the design, as it’s really the one thing I think they screwed up when designing the Legendary Defender version of Voltron. Everything about this guy is so sexy, but that swrod was a swing and a miss. The toy version doesn’t help matters, as it just looks cheap and flimsy and the clear plastic blade is prone to showing scratches. He can, however, hold it quite well.

I also dig how you can attach the Red and Green Lions’ weapons to give some some added firepower.

It may sound like I’m coming down really hard on this figure, but the truth is I’m actually pretty happy with it. I think Playmates walked that fine line between creating some great Lion toys and making a solid looking combined mode, and that isn’t at all easy. Not to mention they did it in a way that allowed this set to be sold off the pegs in the local toy aisle, as opposed to as a more expensive adult collectible. In the end, I can’t emphasize enough the subtle difference between playability and poseability. This is a fun toy to play with, even with some of the limitations in articulation. He stays together very well and he’s just a gloriously hefty amalgamation of plastic robot lion goodness. But if you’re looking for a Voltron that can pull off some great poses on your shelf, than the Ultimate Voltron is definitely the direction to go. For me, having both really is the only answer.

Voltron: Legendary Black Lion by Playmates

I was hoping to have finished my look at Playmates’ Voltron: Legendary Defender Lions before the end of last year, but that didn’t pan out. Hope y’all didn’t think I forgot, because I didn’t. I just got side-tracked in the craziness that was 4th Quarter. But I recently started picking up some of Playmates’ Classic Voltron Lions and that proved to be just the ticket to motivate me to wrap up my look at these guys from the Netflix series. Fair is fair, I can’t start opening those until I’ve wrapped up my reviews of these kitties. So, let’s check out the Black Lion today, and tomorrow I’ll come back and have a look at Voltron himself. And in case you missed it, here are my reviews of the Yellow and Blue Lions, as well as Red and Green.

While the previous Legendary Lions came on huge carded bubbles, Black Lion comes in a window box, which offers a great look at the toy from multiple angles and also has a Try Me hole so you can fire off some of the electronic phrases & sounds. Personally, I wish all the Lions came packaged like this one. Technically, the package is collector friendly, but it would probably take a lot of patience and determination to get Black Lion out without mangling the tray. There are a lot of rubber bands and some zip ties holding him in place so a Blazing Sword, or razor comes in handy. The back of the package shows you a picture of the toy and also the proper way to connect all the Legendary Lions together to form Voltron.

Out of the box, I find this guy to be pretty damn impressive. Obviously, he’s the biggest Lion in this pride, and the stylish wings on his back give him an even larger appearance. As with the other Lions, the quality of the plastic here feels really good in hand, and thanks to both the size and the electronics, he has a nice heft to him. Playmates has been able to maintain a uniform aesthetic throughout the entire set, while still instilling a little bit of individuality to each of these big cats, and that’s certainly true of The Black Lion as well. I think they’ve done a nice job recreating the animated models in toy form. He features that same great mix of angles and curves that walks the fine line between paying homage to the originals and yet still managing to look fresh and new. The coloring on the toy is mostly achieved through the plastic, which is predominantly a mix of black and gray. The black has a nice sheen to it, whereas the gray is a bit more matte. The red plastic used for the wings looks great, and you get some snappy silver paint as well.

The majestic wings attach to the body with rotating hinges, so you have several options on how you want to display them. I kind of dig them straight up and back, but they look pretty cool when they’re angled too. The tail on this kitty isn’t as bendy as on the others, and it’s designed to stay so that it’s curving up and away from the body, which looks really good. Overall, the leg articulation is similar to the other Lions, although you lose a bit of it in the hind legs so that they can serve as Voltron’s hips. The rotation at the tops of the legs doesn’t any further forward than you can see above. Also the middle hinges in the hind legs are designed to only bend backwards. In the end, this guy isn’t quite as poseable as his peers, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with him.

The head sculpt is very nicely done and gives this big cat a lot of personality. The paint is overall pretty solid, but there’s a little white slop on my Lion near the nose. I’m still satisfied with how he turned out. These are, after all toys, and not very expensive ones at that. Black Lion’s mouth will open, but you’ll see Voltron’s face peeking back at you, so it’s best to keep it closed.

As with the other Lions, this guy comes with a pilot sled that can be stored in a hatch in the belly. As I’ve said before, this gimmick doesn’t do a whole lot for me, but it doesn’t hurt the toy either, so I’m fine with it. There’s also a button on the side of the Lion that allows you to fire off some of the phrases and sounds, as well as light up his chest. Likewise, there’s an On/Off switch on his back in case you want him to be quiet. Here are some of the sounds and phrases he says…

There may be a few more in there, but after a while he started repeating, and I think you get the idea. The chest light isn’t all that apparent in the Lion mode, because it’s pointing at the ground and kind of hidden underneath him, but it’s mostly designed for the combined Voltron mode.

The Black Lion seems to be selling at most places for around $30. I paid $25 for mine, and it feels like a pretty good deal. Playmates did a beautiful job with this kitty and, like the others, he’d be a damn fun toy even if he didn’t combine with the others to for The Big Guy. Looking back, I remember being happy enough with the Ultimate Voltron that I was considering passing on this version. But now that I have a complete set, and I see how great they look all lined up, I can confidently say that I’m very happy that I decided to collect these. It’s also good to know that there are proper Voltron toys on the shelves for the kids to enjoy, because these would have blown my little mind back in the day. Come on back tomorrow morning and LET’S FORM VOLTRON!!!

Marvel Legends: Spider-Man and Mary Jane by Hasbro

I was really hoping to have time to bust out another Marvel Hot Toys review for this week’s Marvel Monday, but I got really busy with work and it didn’t pan out. So, let’s have a look at a stand-alone Marvel Legends set, I’ll try to hit the Hot Toys figure next Monday, and then we can dive into a new Wave. Sound good?

Oh boy, did I have a tough time getting this one at a decent price. I’m sure you’ve heard me say it over and over again, but there haven’t been any Toys R Us stores in my area for years, and as much as I’m into collecting, I don’t have the time or patience to drive an hour just to visit the nearest one. That puts me at the mercy of the InterWebs for my TRU Exclusives. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes not so much. I missed out on this one a bunch of times before finally scoring, and it’s been sitting around forever waiting to be reviewed. I won’t dwell on the packaging, because it’s a typical Legends boxed 2-pack. It’s collector friendly, it shows off the figures quite well, you get character art on the sides and a TRU Exclusive sticker on the window. Let’s just kick off with a look at Spider-Man!

If you pick up enough of these two-packs, you should be used to seeing some recycling. It’s just how Hasbro tends to cost out some of the figures that would might not otherwise make it to the pegs. In the case of this set, Spider-Man is a repaint of the Spidey from the Hobgoblin Wave. And that’s not a bad thing, because the Pizza Spidey body was an excellent figure and pretty well received by fans, so if you missed out, here’s a chance to at least get a variant of it. This version features one of Peter’s fairly modern tech suits, hence the blue-green glow that’s sprayed onto his chest symbol and the eyes, which really make this suit stand out as being unique.

Now, I’m not going to lie, having the glowy bits there doesn’t make this one of my favorite looks for ‘Ol Web Head, but it’s still a pretty cool variant to own. I really dig the coloring on this figure. The red and blue really pop and the black webbing is very well defined. The quality of the paint application is overall pretty good. There are some flubs here and there that are evident when you get in real close, but nothing stands out when I’m just looking at figure in hand. One of the common complaints with the previous release was that the pegs for the hinges aren’t painted to match the suit, and that’s still the case here. It’s not something that really bothers me.

In addition to the regular masked head, you also get the unmasked Peter Parker portrait. It’s a fantastic sculpt and definitely something that’s been on my Legends wish list for a while. Previously, we’ve had the half-unmasked head, and the Ultimate Parker head, but this noggin is a great little bonus and I’ll likely be either displaying it on this figure all the time, or perhaps picking up one of the Vintage Carded Spider-Man figures and using it on that one.

The articulation here is pretty fantastic, thanks in part to those lateral shoulder crunches. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, pegged hinges in the wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. Of course, you also get the usual selection of hands to go with the figure, including “thwippy” hands, splayed finger hands, and fists.  Let’s move on to Ms. Mary Jane…

As solid a figure as Spidey is, I have to imagine that Mary Jane is the real draw of this box for most collectors. That was definitely the case for me. With how many Spider-Man themed Legends waves we’ve had, it’s hard to believe it took this long to get MJ. She actually saw a 4-inch Marvel Universe release a few years back. While MJ has become anything but the classic Girl Next Door in the comics, Hasbro went back to her roots for a pretty conventional look here. Rather than going for the swanky nightclub owner, MJ is slumming it here in her simple jeans and black t-shirt, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The paint for the outfit is fairly simple, although there’s some nice variation in the blue to create that worn blue jeans look. The waist of the jeans does feature some sculpted detail, like the belt loops and the button. The ensemble is rounded out by a pair of simple painted black shoes. This is an example of a very minimal amount of sculpting working quite well to create a band new look.

The portrait here really elevates the figure. The paint applications for the lips, eyes, and eyebrows is all precise and crisp, and I like the additional of the freckles. The hair is also excellent, not only in terms of sculpt, but the paint, which starts our a vibrant red at the top and darkens as it gets down to her shoulders. Hasbro has come a long way when it comes to creating pretty female portraits, and MJ here is a great example of that.

Despite being a normie in the Marvel Universe, MJ still features some solid articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. MJ features a fist on her left arm and one of those spell-slinging hands on her right arm. I really would have liked to get an extra set of hands for this one, but I suppose I can still be content with what we got.

MJ comes with one accessory, and that’s her purse. Oddly enough, this is a recolor of the satchel that came with The Hobgoblin from the Space Venom Wave. It’s a clever re-use, although the shoulder strap does look a tad big and bulky on MJ’s slighter buck.

The retail for this set was $39.99, which is standard for these two-packs and right on target when you consider the individual figures are about $19.99 each. I probably would have let this one go if I hadn’t eventually found it at regular retail price, but I’m glad that I ended up finding it. The Spider-Man certainly wasn’t a must-have for me, but it’s a solid variant and a great looking figure. Plus, the unmasked Parker head really sells it. A comic-based Mary Jane, on the other hand, is a figure I’ve wanted in this scale for a long time, so she made it worth the purchase all on her own.

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman by Mattel

It’s the first DC Friday of 2018, but I’m still working on unfinished business from 2017. Remember that movie last year that was overall pretty fun, but everybody lost their shit over? No, not The Last Jedi. The other one. Yeah, Justice League! Well, at the tail end of 2017, I started reviewing the Justice League Wave of DC Multiverse, and now I’m picking up where I left off. Let’s double up today with Batman and Superman! Aw, hell, let’s throw Wonder Woman in there too and knock out the whole DC Trinity. Strap in kiddies, because like the movie, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

The figures come in the standard Multiverse packaging. It’s functional, it’s collector friendly, it has some nice shots of the characters from the movie on the front and side panel. It also notes that these are both part of the Steppenwolf Collect & Connect Wave, and I’ll have more to say about that at the end of the review! Let’s start with Superman…

Oh look, it’s 2013 all over again! I say that because I’m pretty sure this is just a re-dress of the Mattel’s Movie Masters Man of Steel figure that I reviewed almost five years ago! There are some obvious re-sculpted bits to update the costume, but it’s a real shame that Mattel couldn’t roll out a brand new figure for a huge summer blockbuster license. And while I didn’t buy any of the Batman V Superman figures, I wouldn’t be surprised if that Superman figure was the recycled connective tissue between these two. There’s some decent stuff here, like the texturing on the costume and the coloring is pretty good, but the real problem is that he looks like he’s pretty small and scrawny when lined up beside his fellow Justice League members. Yup, it’s almost like he’s from another line entirely. Funny how that works.

The old Movie Masters figure had a plastic cape, but here it’s been replaced with cloth. I’m generally in favor of soft-goods capes, but the execution here isn’t so great. For starters, there’s a huge disconnect between the sculpted plastic pieces of the cape that attach to his shoulders, and the actual cloth cape that cascades down his back. And like the figure, the cape feels rather undersized and a little cheap.

The head sculpt is different from the Movie Masters figure. I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse, but mainly just different. It’s not a bad sculpt in and of itself, but I can’t see much likeness to Cavill. At least they dumped the badly painted five-o-clock shadow from that older figure. The sculpt and paint here are both very basic, almost like it’s meant to be a comic version of Superman wearing the DCEU costume. Once again, Mattel needs to check out what Hasbro is doing with their MCU Marvel Legends figures and up their game accordingly.

The articulation is passable, but not great. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in both the knees and ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist and a ball joint in the neck. The lack of any kind of chest articulation is quite an oversight. I’d like to blame that on the fact that this is a recycled buck from five years ago, but Mattel was putting ab crunch hinges in their DC Universe Classics figures way before that.

Mattel, I know your’re capable of better than this. Your Justice League Aquaman and Mera figures were pretty damn good. But you’re licensing a major DC Comics summer blockbuster here. It’s f’cking Superman from a Justice League movie. Do you think you can at least try, instead of rummaging through a drawer to find an old figure you can dress up to save a couple of dollars? And Warner Brothers, why are you still licensing to these people when they clearly don’t give a shit half the time. I’m a bit angry now. Let’s move on to Batman…

Batman comes wearing his tactical bat suit and he looks pretty damn good. Is this another recycled figure? I honestly don’t know because I didn’t buy any of the BvS figures, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here and say Bats here is new. The suit features some excellent texturing and some pretty good attention to detail. You get all the reinforced armor plates, serrated edges on his gauntlets, and some sculpted straps and buckles. The varied deco also makes for a more interesting figure than if he were just all black. Here you get a matte pale blue under-suit with some glossy black bits, as well as some silver and copper for the armor. Overall, I’m really happy with the sculpt here.

Like Superman, Batman features a soft-goods cape, but this one uses a more leather-like material. It doesn’t match the sculpted shoulder attachments perfectly, but it’s a lot closer than the stuff they used on Supes’ cape. In fact, my only issue here is that the bottom edge came out of the package creased, so you can’t see the scalloped pattern because it’s folded up on itself.

While the suit is excellent, the head sculpt here is a little bit of a letdown. The cowl looks OK, but the exposed face is pretty soft. Also, I thought it was an odd choice to have him wearing the goggles. This feels like a head they should have used on a figure packed in with a Batmobile, rather than the main representation of the character in the wave.

Articulation here is almost identical to Superman. The big difference is that Batman actually has an ab crunch hinge, which is what makes me think that this is probably at least a new figure. It’s not a fantastic figure, but it’s got a lot of good stuff going for it, and here’s one where I feel like Mattel at least tried with a decent sculpt and a pretty solid deco. Moving on to our last stop… Wonder Woman.

Hooray, back to recycling! I’m not sure what’s worse, recycling a figure that’s so old that some people might not notice, or one that just came out a year or so ago. Yes, Diana here is a straight repack of the Toys R Us Exclusive from the Wonder Woman movie, and a figure that I reviewed last month.  The only difference is that she comes with a new sword and no shield. The advantage here is that I think this was an excellent figure, so if you missed out on her, here’s a chance to pick her up again without having to hunt re-sellers or hopelessly out-of-date Toys R Us stores.

At this point, I’ll just refer you back to the review that I linked above. But before wrapping up, there’s a picture of the two figures together. I actually like the head sculpt and paint on the previous release a little better, but this one looks fine. She also comes with her golden lasso.

And there you have it… Mattel’s idea of making the most out of netting a huge license like Justice League is to recycle two out of three figures. It’s lazy, it sucks, and it’s pushing me back toward not wanting to collect Multiverse anymore. Need I remind you, that they also have a line of BASIC Justice League figures, so these are the $20 ones aimed at collectors. Oh, but wait… there’s more! The Flash and Cyborg appear to have been woefully short packed in this assortment and both figures have been impossible for me to find, outside of scalpers asking twice as much on Amazon and Ebay. I enjoyed the movie well enough, I sure as hell ain’t paying a premium for DC Multiverse figures. And so, my Collect & Connect Steppenwolf is destined to remain in pieces, and my DCEU Justice League incomplete, unless those figures start turning up at my local brick-and-mortars. And there ain’t much chance of that.

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Grimlock by Hasbro

With this being my first week of regular content since the New Year, what better way to kick off 2018’s Transformers Thursdays with a look at the very highly anticipated new Voyager Class Grimlock? I actually got this guy in right around the turn of the year and I’ve been chomping at the bit to open him up ever since. I’m also just a wee bit nervous, because not everything I’ve been hearing about Grimmy has been good. Will PotP Grimlock be Bozo or King? I guess I’m about to find out!

This is the first boxed figure that I’m reviewing from PotP and as you can see it’s not much different from Combiner Wars or Titans Return. The character art is great, but I’m really ready for Hasbro to change up the packaging deco for the next Transformers line. I was never a big fan of this layout. It just feels bland and boring and generic, and it’s getting more than a little stale for me. But who cares about the box? I’m just going to trash it anyway. The figure comes packaged in his robot mode and as we’re about to see, that was a good choice on Hasbro’s part. Let’s jump right in to Grimlock’s alt mode.

Oh, boy. So, I knew I was going to be in for a rough ride here, but I’ll say straightaway that the T-Rex mode is at least instantly familiar. Unfortunately, It’s also a veritable symphony of good and bad execution, and the emphasis is leaning toward the bad. I’m tempted to say that I’d be fine with the main body if the legs didn’t seem to jut out so far to the point where they’re really awkward looking. Then again, I think a lot of that has to do with how wide the body is. He looks like he’s wearing a pair of big gold diapers, and they’re starting to sag. Let’s just say that the proportions on this T-Rex are a mess. I think he looks passable when viewed at a three-quarter turn, but looking at him dead on, or from above, or from either side makes me want to ball up my fists and scream, WHYYYY? And the answer I keep coming back to is simple: Because they made him a Combiner. That tail is chunky because that’s where the Combiner’s leg ports are. Those legs are so horribly misshapen because that’s where the Combiner’s shoulder ports are. I didn’t ask for Dinobot Combiners, but I’m not earnestly against the idea. But in this case, a lot was sacrificed in favor of a Dinobot Combiner gimmick, and I can’t say I’m very happy about it.

Proportions aside, assuming I’m able to overlook them, there’s some great stuff going on with this sculpt. There’s plenty of panel lines, vents, circuitry, and other doodads that really makes the detail come alive. I’d also argue that the head is spot on perfect, as are the tiny little arms, which are ball jointed into his body. It’s true that he’s really damn f’ugly from the top top down, but I’m surprised at how little that bothers me. The deco is also brilliant. Like the other PotP Dinobots, I really dig the mix of gray, red, and black plastic, along with those gold sections under clear plastic. Add in some foil stickers, and you get a deco that perfectly invokes the G1 Dinobot aesthetic, and matches Slug and Swoop pretty well. He scales fairly well with them too.

I do have some problems getting the seam running down his dino chest to close up all the way. Some silver paint for the arms and teeth would have been cool, but all in all, there’s some stuff to love on this T-Rex and just about all of it is from the chest and arms up. But I don’t think it balances out with the awkward, clunky proportions. Let’s move on to his robot mode.

And here is where the figure starts to shine a bit. The big barrel-shaped gold chest covered in clear plastic works for me, although I would have liked a little something between it and his pelvis. I think it’s called abs and Grimmy here just doesn’t have any. Regardless, I think the arms are great. They look powerful, I love the high shoulders, and while the diminished claws didn’t help him much in T-Rex mode, they look OK here on his wrists. It’s below the waist where things get a little dodgy. The legs could have used a bit more bulk to them. They look fine on their own, and I like the way the colorful foil stickers invoke that G1 spirit, but his lower half is a touch too scrawny for that powerful upper body. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a deal-breaker for me, but there’s room for improvement. Maybe he would have benefited from some actual feet.

The back of the figure advertises how the transformation doesn’t stray too far from the old G1 engineering. The T-Rex neck and head still flops down the center of the back, the chest opens up into “wings” and the tail, instead of folding up the sides of the legs, go to the back to serve as heel spurs. About the only thing out of place here is that giant hip plate, which is obvious Combiner kibble.

The head sculpt is simple, but wonderfully slavish to the G1 design. Here’s one thing that I wouldn’t have changed at all.

And just as things were getting better, Hasbro punches me right in the balls with the decision to not include any weapons. Nope, no weapons. No sword, no gun, nothing. It’s an omission so ridiculous, that I can scarcely believe it. You do get a couple of Combiner parts in there, and a power chip called the Dinobot Enigma. But if you want your Grimlock armed, you’re just going to have to steal the sword and gun from his fellow Dinobots.

The Combiner Parts double as Prime Armor and can attach to him at various points. The most useful place seems to be on his arms, as it gives him some claw-like thingies. They look OK and they’re probably fun for the kiddies. The Dinobot Enigma is basically like a Prime Master that doesn’t transform. Or maybe like a Dinobot Matrix? Either way it fits into any of the Prime Armor pieces you have. You can probably tell that I’m not at all vested in the Prime Armor power gimmick, although I do applaud that it’s a feature that actually requires kids to use their imaginations. And don’t you worry… I’ll be looking at some of them Prime Masters coming up real soon. Hey, before wrapping up, let’s take a quick look at him with the last Voyager Grimlock, from the Generations Fall of Cybertron line…

When it comes to the robot mode, I’ll take FOC Grimlock over this one in a heartbeat, but in fairness they are two pretty different looks. I like the deco on PotP Grimmy a little better, as it really does a splendid job matching the G1 aesthetic. But with that having been said, the proportions and overall sexiness of FOC Grimlock still impresses me. Not to mention he comes with a sword and a shield, which he’s probably going to have to learn how to share.

The T-Rex modes tell a very different story. I had really good memories of FOC Grimlock’s T-Rex mode, but dear god, it has not aged well. While PotP Grimlock looks bloated and ill-proportioned, the FOC version looks like a hollowed out husk of a T-Rex. As many problems as I have with this new Grimlock’s alt mode, I have to say it looks like a goddamn work of art beside the older FOC figure.

In the end, Grimlock here is disappointing, although the pretty decent robot mode helps keep him from being a total disaster. There’s a hint of greatness in his alt mode, at least in the top half, but when you get down to the legs, the whole thing just falls apart for me. It’s a real shame, because the original G1 Grimlock toy looked pretty damn great in both robot and T-Rex mode, so modernizing it should really just be a matter of adding articulation and cleaning up some of the proportions. And yet here we are with a modern update that looks worse because of the Combiner gimmick. Now, obviously, I won’t pass judgement on the Dinobots as a Combiner Team until I have all the figures to combine, but as things stand now, I’m not very happy with this trade off. Am I being too hard on this new Grimlock? I dunno. You tell me.

Mythic Legions All-Stars 2.0 Final Eight Revealed!

The Four Horsemen have finally revealed the lineup for their All-Stars 2.0 Pre-Order and it’s made me a very happy camper. These are eight previously offered figures that will be once again made available to collectors later this month.

The eight finalists were drawn by fan votes, but all that matters to me is that Carpathias made the cut. This popular and illusive vampire was one of the figures that I had to pull from my original Kickstarter Add Ons, because I ran out of money and running out of money is stupid and lame, and I really wanted him. Of course, he was also one of the figures that shot up in price on the secondary market, but then you could say that about a lot of the Mythic Legions figures. The fact that T4H added more vampires to the second Kickstarter made me want him all the more.

Anyway, the complete list consists of Vorgus Vermillius (The Blood Armor), Attila Leossyr, Bog Goblin, Carpathias, Attlus the Conqueror, the Standard Skeleton Legion Builder, Pixxus, and Jorund Runeshaper! It looks like T4H are also tacking on two extra figures as first time offerings, and teasing the possibility of adding on two additional Legion Builders as well.

I’m only missing two out of these eight, so in addition to Carpathias, I’ll likely be picking up the Bog Goblin as well, and probably one or two more Skeleton Legion Builders. Besides Carpathias, I suspect Pixxus will be the other offering most people are happy to see. He’s a beautiful figure and another that has skyrocketed on the second-hand market.

If you’re looking to pick up any of these figures to fill out your collection, or your looking to dive in to Mythic Legions for the first time, these figures will be going up for Pre-order on Friday, Jan. 19th at 3pm EST at StoreHorsemen.com. Pre-Orders will be open for three weeks. 

Star Wars Black (The Last Jedi): Maz Kanata by Hasbro

How about The Last Jedi, huh? It’s really bringing the fan community together! That was sarcasm. I’m honestly surprised at how polarizing it’s been, because personally, after two viewings I’m still pretty mixed on it. There were parts I loved, parts I hated. I didn’t like it nearly as much as The Force Awakens or Rogue One. Overall I found it to be an enjoyable but really weird movie, and not worth losing my shit over by attacking other fans who didn’t love it and/or hate it enough. Apparently I’m in the minority on that one. What’s all this got to do with Maz Kanata? Well, she had a cameo in the new movie, and oddly enough Hasbro chose now to give her a figure, rather then back when she had a slightly bigger role in The Force Awakens. Let’s take a look…

There isn’t a lot to say about the packaging, as it hasn’t changed much this past year or so. Black box, monochrome art, red backing behind the tray. Maz is figure #49 and the copy on the back clearly places this figure from the period after her castle was destroyed in The Force Awakens. Strange, since she comes with the accessories seen in that movie instead of maybe the jetpack she wore in The Last Jedi. As much as I liked Maz in TFA, her cameo in The Last Jedi just didn’t work for me. I’d argue that it might have been worthwhile to keep her in the audiences’ minds for an appearance in the next movie, but I highly doubt the continuity in this trilogy is being planned that carefully.

But all context aside, this is a fantastic little sculpt! Her little vest and belt are sculpted from separate pieces and there’s some wonderful texturing on her shirt, as well as detail on her bracelets and boots. The excellent sculpt is backed up by some very nice coloring, including brown trousers, and a teal shirt. The gold and silver bracelets and some rather colorful paint applications on her boots make the figure’s deco quite striking. I just love everything they did here.

The head sculpt here is equally impressive, and continues to reinforce the fact that SWB’s sculpts and paint tends to excel with the aliens as much as it often fails with the human characters. They’ve managed to capture personality, as well as all little wrinkles, in her face and her skin has an almost metallic coppery sheen to it. It even looks like they added some gloss to her bottom lip. The paint on my figure’s eyes could have been a little more even, but I’ve definitely seen worse.

The hat and googles are also pretty damn neat. The goggles are pegged into the sides of her head, so you can actually slide them down over her eyes and they look great in either position. It’s a simple little gimmick, but I’m really happy Hasbro made the effort to do it.

While Maz may be small, she doesn’t lack in articulation. She has rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles, as well as ball joints in the hips and neck, and swivels at the thighs and the waist. There’s not much missing here then you’d find in a regular sized figure, except maybe a torso ball joint.

Maz comes with a few pretty cool accessories, the most notable being the old trunk that she kept Luke’s lightsaber in, and yes, she also comes with the lightsaber to put in it. I really dig the sculpting on this chest. The wood looks ancient and warped, the fixtures holding it together have a hammered metal finish and feature sculpted rivets. The only downside here is that the hinges are not really hinges, but just soft, bendy pieces of plastic, so I imagine that opening and closing it a lot will eventually cause them to stress and break. It’s just an all around great looking piece, but I’ll confess that it’s probably going to end up getting re-purposed to either my Mythic Legions or LJN Advanced Dungeons & Dragons collections. You can never have enough treasure chests in your fantasy action figure lines! The lightsaber hilt is the same old thing we’ve seen countless times in the 6-inch Black Series.

Maz also comes with an old DH-17 Blaster pistol, which feels more like a rifle when wielded by someone with her tiny stature. We’ve obviously seen this accessory before, but I have a soft spot for this design, so I’m always happy to get another.

I think Hasbro did a beautiful job on this little lady, but is she worth $20? Well, in fairness I got her on sale for $11, so I’m pretty happy. But I do think the value here feels a little better than that of the other small 6-inch Black Series figures like Yoda or the Jawa. Part of that comes from the sizable trunk accessory, but a lot of it also comes from the excellent articulation, as well as the top notch sculpt and paintwork. It would have been cool to get this figure back when The Force Awakens was out, but better late than never, I suppose! It’s just a shame that Hasbro never gave us more figures of some of the characters hanging out in Maz’s castle. Maybe later on down the road, they’ll fill in some of those spots.