Marvel Legends (Tri-Sentinel Wave): Wolverine and Cyclops by Hasbro

Howdy, Toyhounds! This week I’ve got Marvel Monday right back where it belongs… on a Monday. I had a fairly relaxed weekend and plenty of time to open some toys, so let’s jump right in with two more figures from the House of X-inspired assortment of Marvel Legends X-Men figures! Last time I had a look at Professor X and Magneto and I came away a little lukewarm, if I’m being honest. Let’s see how we make out with Wolverine and Cyclops!

Once again I really dig the packaging this time around. The boxes are perfectly branded to the books, complete with the futuristic X-Men logo on the front and the characters’ names in the Krakoan language beneath it. The figures themselves also look quite stunning against the backdrop of the red and white illustrated panel behind the clear tray. And if you lift your eyes to the top, you can see that when all is said and done we’ll be building a Tri-Sentinel, although Wolverine does not come with a BAF part. Let’s go ahead and start with him!

Wow, do I love this figure! The design takes the classic coloring of Wolverine’s brown suit and mixes it up with the tactical accents of his X-Force suit, and the result is something rather spectacular. Now I’m not saying I prefer brown and mustard to blue and yellow, but I still dig it a whole lot. Gone are the flared boots and in their place rugged combat boots with matching heavy gauntlets. I’m pretty sure this figure just recycles all the body sculpt from the Wendigo Wave Wolverine, which in turn borrowed a lot from the Juggernaut Wave Wolverine. Damn, I’m really terrible about keeping all these Wolverines straight! There sure have been a lot of them!

At least the belt looks new! It’s a simple brown belt with a leather-like texture and a red and yellow X-branded buckle. The belt is sculpted separately but fits the waist quite snugly and stays in place. Also worth mentioning are the beefy battle claws! We’ve seen some rather frail and anemic claws on Wolverines in the past, but these are just great. They’re nice and straight, not too bendy. Sure, you only get the one pair of popped-claw fists, but that’s all I need!

Only one set of hands, but two heads! You get a younger Wolverine portrait with Logan grinning a broad and toothy grin. I dig this portrait a lot as it looks like Wolverine is smiling as he’s imagining what he’s going to do with his adversary’s entrails, but he’s not letting anyone else in on the joke. The paint around his skin and the cowl could have been a little tighter here, but the sculpt is top notch stuff. Just look at how deep the eyes are set! Awesome!

And you also get future Wolverine where he’s sporting a beard and looking a lot more grim, dour, and crotchety. Hey, Mother Mold… Come get your damn Sentinels off my lawn, bub! Everything I said about the paint and sculpt on the previous head rings true here. The paint around the cowl could have been a little sharper, but everything else is fab. They didn’t go nuts on the beard, but I think it looks good. And yeah, this is likely the head I will be using to display on the figure most of the time.

Here at FFZ we recognize that Legends Wolverine Fatigue or LWF is a real syndrome, but it’s just not one that I happen to suffer from. Wolverine always makes for a fun figure, especially since he’s always got those extra shoulder crunches. Whenever I get a new one, he usually hangs on my desk for a while before getting retired to a shelf or tote. I just love playing with them, and this figure is no different! Let’s move on to Cyclops!

Cyclops’ costume got a rework in this book as well and while I wasn’t especially impressed by it in the comic panels, I have to say I’m really liking the way it turned out on this figure. The dark body suit has very little in the way of sculpted detail, but those bright blue stripes look really spiffy. Cyclops is also sporting a pair of silver arm bracers and an X-branded belt with some pouches. I never really think of Scott as a pouch kinda guy, but the belt looks good and I guess he has to carry around his smug self-righteousness somewhere. The tiny snaps on the brown pouches are painted silver and the buckle is red and silver. Like Wolverine, Cyclops only comes with one set of hands: A right fist and a left visor activating hand. Which brings us to…

A pretty solid head sculpt! There’s nothing crazy going on here, but the lower half of his face looks great. Unlike Wolverine, there are sharp lines between his face and the cowl, and the visor looks like it might be sculpted separately from the head.

Cyclops comes with a second head with gritting teeth, some effect parts around the corners of the visor, and a slot for the really big effect beam. I dig the way this looks, and despite being pretty substantial, Scott can still stand just fine with it inserted into his head. Pretty damn cool!

I really wasn’t expecting too much out of this pair, but once I got them opened and in hand, I fell in love with them pretty fast. Neither is my favorite look for the characters, but they do make for some cool variations. And besides, it’s nice to have figures from one of the best Marvel books that I’ve read in quite a while. Yeah, that’s not exactly high praise, considering my stance on Marvel’s offerings these days, but it was meant as a compliment! As for next week’s Marvel Monday, I may be taking a slight detour of the 3 3/4-inch variety before getting back to the Legends and the rest of this wave…

Transformers (Studio Series 86) Kup by Hasbro

With so many great toys hitting the shelves these days, it’s really hard for me to decide on what to squeeze into my paltry three reviews (or less) a week. I really wish I had the time and energy to go back to the early days of FFZ and churn out five reviews a week, but honestly I don’t even know how I ever managed that. For now, I’m especially thrilled with Hasbro’s original Transformers movie nostalgia trip, so let’s dig into another one of the Studio Series figures with everyone’s favorite crotchety old Autobot, Kup!

I’ve ignored the Studio Series releases for so long, because they were all based on the Bayformers, but now they’re featuring the old G1 bots and I couldn’t be happier. What makes a Studio Series figure? Hell if I know. There is a little extra effort put into the packaging in the form of a cardboard stand and backdrop, but otherwise, I guess it’s just a sub-series that allows Hasbro to mine characters that don’t fit into the whole Siege-Earthrise-Kingdom narrative. Whatever that is. In the end, I don’t care what they call them, as long as they keep them coming! We’ve had three versions of Kup in modern Transformers lines, including one as part of Generations and the more recent release in Titans Return. Let’s see how the latest one fares, and we’ll start with the alt mode!

In the movie, Kup was a Cybertronian truck and this is a damn fine translation of that design to plastic form. I was never sure whether this was supposed to be a pickup-style truck with a bed for payload, or if it was supposed to hook up to a trailer of some sort, but either way I really dig what we got here. The sculpt features a decent amount of panel lines, and I especially like the canopy that doesn’t show off the interior of the cab, because it’s a Cybertronian vehicle. The design has the front wheels exposed, and the back wheels concealed underneath. Also, both of Kup’s accessories can attach to his vehicle mode giving him some extra firepower, and what looks like it could be a gas tank.

Kup’s truck mode gets by without a whole lot in the way of paint applications and instead making use of gray-blue and off-white plastic for a color scheme that closely matches what he had in the movie. You do, however, get Autobot insignia stamped on the hood and again on the sides. All in all, this is a cool and compact, rugged little space truck. It holds together fairly well, although sometimes I have problems keeping some of the seams closed up all the way. Let’s get him transformed and check out his robot mode!

Transforming Kup is slightly more complex than I had anticipated. The first time it felt a little fiddly, but after a few times, it really isn’t that bad, and it does a few pretty clever things. The result is a great looking robot that certainly captures a lot more of the animated design than the original toy ever did. The 86 animated designs introduced a lot of curves, particularly found int he rounded arms and legs, and that’s exactly what’s on display here. The coloring carries over from the alt mode, with just a little bit of rusty orange paint accents in the forearms and his “belt buckle.” Ironically, the front wheels which were on display in his alt mode are now hidden inside his torso, while the concealed back wheels are now seen in his lower legs. When viewed from the back, he does have some ugly empty compartments in his forearms and lower torso, but all in all, nothing too bad.

I might as well mention now that he’s built to be pulled apart, probably to recreate the underwater squid attack from the movie, where he got an arm and leg ripped off and Hot Rod had to put him back together. This is a cool gimmick, I guess, but his arms tend to pull out when I’m posing him. I fear that the connections may get even more loose over time.

The head sculpt is pretty good, but I’m not sure it’s the slam dunk that we’ve been getting on the other figures. I think the facial sculpt is just a little soft and they kind of flubbed the crest on his “helmet.” But man, I’m really nit-picking, because it sure ain’t bad. It’s just that so many of the other head sculpts have been pitch perfect, I think there’s a little room for criticism here.

As we’ve already seen, Kup comes with a pair of accessories, which include his gun and his energon goodie dispenser. The gun is pretty non-descript but the goodie dispenser was a cool surprise. I honestly wasn’t expecting that!

And before wrapping up, here’s a quick comparison of the recent Titans Return Sergeant Kup & Flintlock with this new Studio Series model. And I’m happy to say that I can comfortably find room for both of these figures in my collection. The Titans Return version is certainly more beholding to the original toy, especially in the deco, while the Studio Series goes for an animated accurate version. And it’s still cool to me to have a Kup with the Headmaster gimmick. Ultimately, I like SS86 Kup’s robot mode a lot better, but I’m still rather fond of Sergeant Kup’s vehicle mode with the driver compartment for Flintlock.

And that’s Transformers for ya! A few of years ago I was perfectly happy with my Kup figure and now he’s being overshadowed by a new one. This is an excellent figure all around and I’ve been having a blast playing with him at my desk during my down time. The next Studio Series figure I check out will probably be Blurr, and my Hot Rod just shipped out, so I’m excited for him to arrive!

Marvel Legends (Tri-Sentinel Wave): Magneto and Professor X by Hasbro

That’s right… Welcome to Marvel Monday on a Wednesday! As I’m fond of pointing out in some of my Marvel Legends reviews, I stopped being a regular reader of Marvel Comics a while back when they decided to stop focusing on things like decent art, good stories, and respect for established characters. As always, there are exceptions to the rule, and I did poke my head in a couple years back to read Jonathan Hickman’s House of X because… well it was Jonathan Hickman and the art looked pretty good. I enjoyed it enough to eventually pick up the collected hardcover edition, and naturally I was pretty thrilled to see the book getting a full wave of Legends. Enough so that I pre-ordered this one, instead of hunting them down individually. So here we go, embarking on this wave with the two heavy hitters first… Magneto and Xavier!

House of X is full of all the standard Hickman-isms that I’ve grown to love. You get high concept stuff about evolution, the rise and fall of empires, secret knowledge, time travel, and lots of great nuggets of world-building, sometimes leaked between the pages of the actual story. I get that some people don’t dig his style of story telling, but I do. It keeps me invested in the story and getting the most out of it means my reading has to be less passive and more aggressive. The package branding looks great and even includes the characters’ name scrawled in the Krakoan language! I really wanted to keep these boxes, but in the end, space is too much of a limited commodity around here so into the bin they went! Let’s start with Professor X…

Cards on the table, Xavier’s appearance creeped me the hell out in this story. He’s out of his wheelchair sporting a lanky body in a tight body suit with the latest version of Cerebro worn pretty much all the time and covering most of his head. The combination of lanky body and giant head piece makes him look like some kind of cyborg-meat-lollypop and I just find it unsettling. And yeah, considering what Xavier gets up to in this book, that’s probably exactly what the look was going for. And while this figure conveys that look pretty well, it also means there’s really not a lot to it at all. From the neck down you get a completely generic black buck with no paint apps or detail at all.

At least they used one of the more articulated bodies, complete with those lateral crunches in the shoulders. You also get an extra pair of gesturing hands: One regular pointing hand and one “I’m pointing at my head because I’m concentrating” hand. On the downside, the joints on my figure are extremely soft and gummy, especially in the knees. It took me a bit of time to straighten them out enough so he would stand.

And while Hasbro banked a ton of time and effort on the body sculpt, the Cerebro head sculpt is quite excellent! The bulbous silver head piece includes a mess of wires and gizmos on the back, and a giant blue X-branded visor on the front.

You also get a head without Cerebro and with some psionic effects radiating from Xavier’s head. It’s a nice bonus to add some value, but it doesn’t do a lot for me. Ultimately, this figure accomplishes what it needs to do, but unless you’re a big fan of this story, I’m not sure it’s going to be worthy of a pick up. Sure, Cerebro looks awesome, but the rest of the figure is so drab and generic. I’m happy to have it, but I’m curious to see if it’ll be a peg-warmer around these parts. Moving on to Magneto…

Unlike Professor X, Magneto retains a lot of his classic costume design in this story, but he trades in his darker colors for a white-and-black outfit. And just as Xavier saved Hasbro the cost of a lot of new sculpting, much of Magneto here is just a repaint. I was, however, surprised to see some new stuff here. The boots and wrist bracers are different from the previous Magneto releases, and he also has a new belt with an X-branded buckle and some pouches. The cape, however, is a straight repaint from the his appearance in the three-pack with Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.

I was expecting the head sculpt to be a straight repaint from that three-pack version as well, but it looks like it’s been reworked here. His Barbute-style helmet has been reshaped in a few areas, but unfortunately the paint on mine is pretty sloppy. It’s not too bad when viewed with the naked eye, but the closer you get, the worse it looks.

Magneto does not come with any effect parts or an un-helmeted head, but he does come with three pairs of hands, which I thought was oddly excessive. The token fists and power-casting hands are to be expected, but the third pair of accessory-holding hands seems pointless, since he comes with nothing to hold. Whatever the case, I found this figure to be a lot more photogenic and fun to play around with than Professor X. Sure, his look is a lot less imaginative than Xavier’s, but as an action figure, Magneto gets the nod as the better figure.

I was extremely excited for this wave, but I’ll confess that it feels to be off to a rocky start. I want to like the Professor X figure a whole lot more than I do. I can’t fault the design, as it looks just like his appearance in the book, but it just doesn’t make for a great figure. Magneto, on the other hand, at least isn’t a total quick-and-dirty repaint, and I’ve found that I like this look for him a lot. Next week, I’ll keep the reviews on this wave rolling along. I doubled up today because I knew I didn’t have a whole lot to say about these two, and I’m not sure if next week I’ll tackle another two figures or just focus on one!

Marvel Monday bumped to Wednesday!

Hello, ToyHounds! Work had me running around crazy this weekend with some extra projects, some of which are spilling into Monday, so like the title says, I’m going to bump Marvel Monday to Wednesday for this week! Here is a picture of my cat’s crazy long legs to help assuage the disappointment!

Hope you all had a better weekend than I did, and I hope to catch ya back here in a couple of days!

By figurefanzero

Mythic Legions (Arethyr): Malephar by The Four Horsemen

The latest assortment of Mythic Legions figures, Arethyr, arrived at my door a couple of weeks back and I’ve been chomping at the bit to start digging into them. I know, I haven’t finished reviewing the last couple of series, but I decided to push these to the head of the line and work backwards. So, let’s jump right in and have a look at Malephar!

Apparently Arethyr’s arrival in Mythoss opened all sorts of dimensional rifts and a bunch of horrible little demons spilled through. This swarm of lesser demons is commanded by our boy Malephar. I’ve said it before, but one of the things I love most about the ongoing waves of Mythic Legions is all the new races and factions that are being added. We started with basically knights, skeletons, orcs, and trolls, and now we’ve added vampires, elves, and demons. Mythoss is a virtual melting pot of fantasy tropes, and that really helps the line’s world building.

Malephar utilizes a Goblin body, making him one of the smaller inhabitants of Mythoss. There are a couple of ways to kit him out, but I started with your basic demon look, which means he’s got his wings and tail. The wings attach to the sockets where the shoulder armor usually mounts, that’s easy enough, but it took me some research to figure out that there’s a removable butt-plate that allows the tail to be plugged in. The armor features a dark finish, which, along with the sculpted nicks and pitted finish, makes it look old and battle worn. Still, the individual rivets are painted silver, and he’s got some gold chainmail showing through the gaps in his elbows and knees. The sculpted straps and buckles are also individually painted. Malephar has an armored neck protector piece with spikes, leather scale armor protects his tiny demon junk, and instead of Goblin feet, he has tiny hooves.

The blue wings are hinged where they socket into the body, allowing for some decent articulation. There are also articulated tips, and while these look fine from the front, they don’t look so great from the back. I would have rather they left these out, as that extra little tweak in articulation isn’t worth the trade-off in sculpt, at least not to me. The tail is bendy, but it doesn’t have a wire to hold it in different positions. It also falls out constantly, making it an annoyance when I’m playing around with him.

TFH have turned in some truly spectacular head sculpts for the monsters in this line, and Malephar is no different. His blue skin is gnarled and bumpy like a reptile, with down-swept ears and horns that curve down and away from his face at the tips. And boy, the iridescent purple paint used on the horns is magnificent! The nasty little portrait is rounded out with a wide mouth full of sharp, yellowed teeth. This head sculpt is just packed with portrait, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it turn up later on with red skin.

Malephar comes with shoulder armor, but you have to sacrifice his wings to attach them, so popping the shoulders on and plucking out the tail offers a second display option. The shoulders look great, but I don’t know that it’s worth nixing one of his more distinctive characteristics to put them on. Where do the wings go when he wears his shoulder armor? Magic? Sure, why not? Probably best not to think too hard about it.

And finally, Malephar comes with a helmeted head, and here’s where I think the figure works best with the shoulders and not the wings. Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider this to be the same character because there’s no way that big honkin’ demon head could fit into this helmet, so I’d say this guy is more of a demon foot soldier. Either way, the helmet is very cool and matches the armor quite well. Let’s move on to weapons!

For starters, Malephar comes with two weapons that he can wear on his standard-issue black belt. The first is a cool little short sword. This thing has a chunky, stout blade and not much of a crossguard. The blade has something like a clipped point and is painted in silver, while the grip is a deep coppery color.

Next up is his axe, which I think I’ve seen before in one of my previously reviewed figures. The handle is sculpted with a wood finish, but everything except the blade is painted in the same deep copper as the sword grips. The blade itself is painted in silver. It’s a beautiful weapon, and I think it compliments the sword nicely.

Finally, every demon needs his pitchfork, and Malephar does indeed come with a rather large one! Again, it feels like I’ve seen this one before, possibly with one of the Gladiator figures, but I think it suits this little guy quite well. Yeah, it’s really way too big for him, but maybe it’s more suited to wield when he’s flying about.

Every figure in Mythic Legions has been a treat, and Malephar certainly doesn’t buck that trend. My only gripe here is how easily the tail falls out. If I had bought more than one of these little guys, I would probably glue it into place on one of them, but for now I’ll likely just deal with it. The fully armored look is cool, and I’d love to see it return as a Legion Builder somewhere down the road, because I can’t see myself displaying Malephar any other way but with his wings and tail and exposed head.

G.I. JOE Classified: Flint by Hasbro

I really like Hasbro’s pacing on the Classified line. The releases have been spaced out nicely and not making me lose my mind like the rapid-fire releases of Marvel Legends. Some may say that’s because so many releases are exclusives that are impossible to find, but it’s really just a handful. Not that it makes having a character like Major Bludd be so elusive any better. Anywho… this has been an easy to manage line to collect and after a little bit of quiet time, I got a couple of new figures to look at last week.

Here’s Flint in yet another example of the awesome Classified packaging! In 1985, it seemed like you were either a Duke guy or a Flint guy. I had friends who tossed Duke aside for Flint once he showed up, but I actually stuck to Duke as my defacto leader. After all, I had the mail-away Duke and waiting an eternity for that figure to arrive created a strong bond between us. So even when Flint joined the ranks a few years later, he often stayed at HQ while Duke reveled in the adventures. Keep in mind, as a kid, I’m not sure I realized at the time that Flint technically outranked Duke, so that was just me playing favorites.

Classified Duke looks to be based mostly on that original figure, and I’m all for that! It’s a cool blending of classic military look with a little modern flavoring. He retains the camo trousers and the black shirt with rolled up sleeves. He also has the two green suspender-straps, gloves, and his black beret. The trousers are now augmented with black matte knee and shin armor, and his suspender straps are lined with individually painted shotgun shells, along with some extra sculpted pouches. The pouches and straps are sculpted as part of black chest and back armor with green trim around the edges. Everything about this Classified design pays respect to the original and just adds some embellishments.

I really dig the brown gun belts, which include a gold buckle, some more pouches and a brace of stocked ammo loops. He also has a functional holster strapped to his right thigh and a scabbard on his back for his primary weapon. Dammit, I love when a figure can carry all his weapons! The black watch on his right wrist is another great little touch. Like the other JOE’s, Flint has a silver device with a pale blue paint app, which I presume is supposed to be a light. In Flint’s case it’s sculpted onto his left shoulder strap, and I still have no idea what these are intended to be.

I think the portrait turned out great. Flint has a strong jawline, and a characteristic scar running down his left eye. He’s got one brow slightly arched and he’s offering a hint of a smile. He looks battle hardened, but at the same time like a friendly fellow who’d be fun to have a beer with and hear war stories from. “So, there I was in candy forest, wrestling with The Baroness in her bikini and Cobra Commander comes up and tries to clobber me with a giant candy cane. I shit you not!” I love that they made the beret removable. It fits him really well and looks so good, I could easily be convinced it was part of the head sculpt, if I didn’t know better.

Flint comes with two weapons, the first being his pistol. It definitely has a sci-fi element to it’s design, as seems to be the case with a majority of the weapons in this line. Still, it’s not too crazy and I suppose it could pass as a modern design. Part of me thinks Hasbro is going sci-fi with these weapons to avoid controversy, but then so many of the Marvel Legends weapons have been realistic designs, so maybe it really is just a style choice.

Next up is his shotgun, which is obviously a reference to the original figure coming with a shotgun, but that’s where the similarities end. I’d call this a Model C, where the C stands for Chonks! It’s a boxy and chunky pump action scatter gun with no stock, a rail on the top, and four extra shells stored near the back. I actually dig this weapon a lot, and like the pistol it isn’t so out there in design that I couldn’t imagine it being a modern real world weapon. His left hand is sculpted so he can cradle the fore grip, but it can also double as a second gun hand, if you want Flint to dual-wield.

The shotgun is also hinged, so it can break open for loading, which is a magnificent little touch! I love seeing articulation and functionality on weapons in this scale.

Classified Flint gets a big YO JOE! from me. He’s what I consider a perfect example of taking an original design and injecting just enough newness to make it distinctive for a modern line. And to me, that’s when this line is at it’s best. My only minor gripe here is that I wish he came with a backpack, but at the same time, I don’t feel like they cheaped out on him either. Opening Flint has made me excited for checking out his other half, Lady Jaye, and I hope to get around to her next week!

Spider-Man and Mary Jane Maquette (Exclusive) by Sideshow

It’s been a week, but I’m back and ready for action… and something a little different for this Marvel Monday! When Sideshow solicited their new maquette based on J Scott Campbell’s cover for The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1, I may have sprained my button pushing finger on that pre-order button. And then the waiting came. And I mean WAITING! My pre-order was placed in November of 2019, and about a year and a half later this statue finally showed up. I’ll concede that my patience has been wearing thin with Sideshow and pre-orders these days. When I first got into this game, it seemed like six months was the standard, and now over a year is not uncommon. With the exception of a Must-Have piece like this, I’m going to start rolling my dice and trying my luck with buying after release. But I digress! Let’s get to the goods!

You can dig around in FFZ’s past to find that my love for J Scott Campbell’s work runs deep, and I’m always happy to see him turn his talents to Marvel characters. I probably have at least a half-dozen of his Mary Jane covers, all signed, but sadly I don’t have the cover of Renew Your Vows #1 that this work is based on. I do, however, have it as a signed 7×11 art print, and I’m pretty content with that. Still, the front of the box also has a recreation of the art for reference, along with a rap-around red brick deco of the NY apartment, which looks quite nice! The box is absolutely huge, clocking in at close to Premium Format proportions, while the statue itself measures only about 12-inches tall, making the figures close to sixth-scale. The boxes large size comes from the fact that this statue comes spread out in a lot of pieces. Yes, there’s assembly required, but it’s all done with one connecting rod and a lot of magnets. In the end, I had not troubles fitting anything together.

And here is the piece all set up and I am absolutely in love. The composition sees MJ reclining on a comfy purple armchair, propped up on a couple of blue pillows, with one leg out and the other folded back under it. Meanwhile, Peter squats on the back of the chair, unmasked but still in his Spidey outfit. Their arms are intertwined, framing MJ’s face in the center. I was especially curious to see how they were going to engineer that web of arms, and the execution was quite clever, and the connections are for the most part fairly seamless. Spidey is secured to the chair with a peg, but MJ simply rests in molded indentations in the chair, and yet it still feels solid, even when I was transporting it from the studio to the display shelf. It is a satisfyingly heavy piece, mainly because the sofa is a solid block of polyresin.

The attention to detail in the costumes aligns perfectly with the art. MJ is wearing a long t-shirt, cut-off jean shorts, and a pair of Spider-Man themed knee socks, while Spidey dons his classic blue and red suit. Every detail, including the web pattern is incorporated into the sculpt and the paint lines are immaculate. They did a nice job applying some blue shading to MJ’s white top, and I really like the gradient colors in the chair. Indeed, everything about the colors here just pop like crazy! I’m particularly in love with the vibrant blue used on Spidey’s outfit.

Both portraits are a real triumph and a credit to the sculptor, Steve Schumacher. He also did the Abby Chase Premium Format, and I also own his Domino Premium Format Figure. It always amazes me when someone can take the very distinctive art stylings of Campbell’s and translate it so perfectly to three-dimensions. I love Peter’s wide, beaming grin. It’s almost smug in knowing that he has indeed hit the jackpot. Meanwhile, MJ is just looking as gorgeous as she always does when JSC sets to drawing her. The paint application on both portraits is just about flawless.

There’s no actual base for this piece, the chair serves alone in that capacity, and I think that was a great idea. It sits slightly off the ground on four stubby legs, and remains perfectly stable with no wobble to worry about. I do, however, recommend displaying this one toward the back of the shelf, as MJ’s one leg does reach out pretty far in front and it would be a shame to catch it on your arm when walking by. The bottom of the chair has an illustrated finish, along with the hand-numbered statement of limitation. Yeah, I really should have snapped a picture of that before putting this thing together, but I was just too excited to do it. Mine is number 244 of the 1200 piece Exclusive run. So before wrapping, up let’s take a look at what makes this the Exclusive!

The Exclusive includes the little stuffed tiger that’s depicted in the original art. It’s an adorable little fellow and it’s designed to just sit right between MJ’s rump and the chair’s arm. Lucky bastard! This tiger really hit the jackpot! In reference to the cover art, the absence of the tiger is a bit conspicuous, so I’m not sure it was the best incentive for exclusive. I would have probably rather the tiger be included with the standard edition and we got a metal art card with the Exclusive, but then the Exclusive is still available at Sideshow, so anyone jumping on this even after release will be able to get it.

It’s tough for a collectible to live up to a year and a half’s worth of anticipation, but this maquette managed to pull it off. The paint and sculpt are both absolutely sterling, and the quality control is positively above reproach. I don’t think there was a single month in all that time where I didn’t find myself on Sideshow’s site and drooling over the pictures. And on the positive side, the $525 price tag is a lot easier to swallow when amortized over eighteen months. It’s great to have another killer piece for my ever expanding J Scott Campbell display.

Out of Town!

I’m going to be Out of Town for the first half of the week, and since this was a working weekend for me I didn’t have time to front load any content. I definitely won’t be uploading anything Monday or Wednesday, but I’m hopeful for Friday! In the meantime, I’m handing the whole operation over to my cats. Enjoy!

By figurefanzero

Grimm Fairy Tales: Liesel Van Helsing Bishoujo Statue by Zenescope

If you’ve been a visitor to FFZ for a while, you no doubt already know that I have a special place in my heart for Zenescope comics. They were my safe haven when the Big Boys of Comics were playing politics, intentionally antagonizing their fans, and basically just turning out bad art and junk stories. As a contrast, Zenescope presented me with guilty pleasure and a means of escape that I look forward to a couple of times a month when my order shows up. They taught me to really enjoy comics again. By last count I have something like 850 floppies and trade paperbacks from The Big Z: A number that is enlarged by the amazing number of variant and limited collectible covers Zenescope turns out for most issues. Zenescope has dabbled with collectibles over the years, producing a few Sixth-Scale figures, and more recently a series of Bishoujo-style 1/7 scale statures by way of Kickstarter. Previous releases included Sela Mathers and Robyn Locksley, and this time around we’re getting Liesel Van Helsing!

There’s no denying that Zenescope took a page from Kotobukiya and their line of Bishoujo figures, many of which have been based on the characters of DC and Marvel comics, and that is immediately evident in the packaging. Liesel comes in a large window box with the figure itself nested between two clear plastic trays. The art that inspired this piece, by Jason Cardy, can be seen on the front as well as the side panels. The top panel has the Grimm Universe logo and the back panel has some copy about the character. Van Helsing tends to rival Robyn Hood for the title of my favorite Zenescope character, with the winner usually being whoever’s book I happen to be reading at the time. The statue comes out of the box fully assembled and ready to go, so let’s check her out!

And here she is… Van Helsing done up with a bit of Bishoujo cuteness. This Vamp-hunting Victorian out of time features a sculpted outfit that includes black knee-high boots, a pair of very tight, and very short black shorts, a red and black corset, white gauntlets, and a black long-sleeve jacket, with a red interior, that sweeps out like a cape. They omitted her trademark fishnets and I can certainly understand why, as they would be difficult to reproduce here. And even without them this outfit works as a very iconic look for the character. The pose looks like it’s straight off of a floppy cover, as Liesel stands with her feet wide apart, her crossbow drawn up in her right hand, while her left hand steadies her steampunk top hat. And while the pose is quite calculated and composed, Liesel’s wild hair and blowing jacket give it just the right bit of excitement.

While the costume is overall fairly simple in keeping with that anime style, there are still plenty of little flourishes of detail. Her boots have sculpted straps and buckles as well as rivets reinforcing the toes and heels. Likewise, her corset is secured with four sculpted belts, each buckled down the front. She has a brace of bolts for her crossbow lined up on her right hip, which is counterbalanced by a pouch on her left hip and another down on her left thigh. The coloring is a mix of matte and slight gloss for a bit of contrast, and the quality of the paint applications is quite solid. The skin tone is still a bit too waxy for my tastes, as opposed to the warm and more even plastic skin tone seen on the Kotobukiya figures, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker for me.

The portrait succeeds in painting Liesel with the pretty girl anime style, complete with large green eyes and small pouty lips. She has a slight air of determination as she sizes up her latest adversary. Her hair blowing wildly from under her stitched hat with the steampunk goggles. The crossbow has a great anachronistic look to it. From the modern pistol grip, to the old time wood finish, to the contemporary scope, it really characterizes Liesel’s steampunk heritage and practice of mating Old World thinking with modern technology in her inventions.

As with the previous releases, Van Helsing’s base is a simple black disk, which works well for this format. The statue doesn’t really need an environment for context, and the simple design doesn’t detract from the figure itself.

As I said when reviewing the previous two statues, these pieces are not in league with Kotobukiya’s own pieces, but Koto’s been in the game for a long time and the MSRP on their pieces have been ever on the rise. Zenescope, on the other hand, is still new to the game, and I think they’re doing a pretty bang up job on these. Last time, Van Helsing was teased on Robyn’s box, but there’s no such teaser here, so I’m hoping that this line will continue. I don’t see why it wouldn’t, as the Kickstarters have all well exceeded their goals, and Zenescope has been using the opportunity to merchandise a number of Add-On books and other extras. There are no doubt plenty of choices for the next one, from Mystere to Red Agent, Belle the Beast Hunter, Gretel the Witch-Slayer, Black Knight, or even Cinderella the Serial-Killer Princess! But to be fair, I think Skye Mathers really should be next, and it would be nice to display her next to her late mom, Sela.

Marvel Legends (Mr. Hyde Wave): A.I. Tony Stark by Hasbro

Last week turned into a shit-show with work, so I wasn’t able to make it back with Friday content. The first half of this week is going to be no better, but I’ve managed to eek out a little bit of time for Marvel Monday. I needed to find something quick and easy, and the figure calling out to me from my pile of backlog was this very recent release of A.I. Tony Stark, a figure that I absolutely love for what it isn’t even meant to be!

Behold, the first, and probably last, figure that I’ll be reviewing in the Mr. Hyde Wave! I actually really do want that Hyde Build-A-Figure, but I have zero interest in the Shang-Chi movie, and I’m sure as heck not buying all those figures for the BAF parts. Based on how they’re clogging the pegs at Target here, I may get the opportunity to scoop them up on clearance for the BAF, but for now I’m sadly writing Mr. Hyde off. And while we’re on the subject… Why is A.I. Tony Stark even in this wave? It’s kind of weird because we’re actually getting Riri Williams in another wave, so why not put them in the same assortment?

And speaking of Riri… I’ll go ahead and clarify that I bought this figure as beautiful classic Iron Man and not as A.I. Stark from Invincible Ironman, a book which is a prime example of why I don’t read Marvel these days. I tried the first couple issues to see if I was missing anything, but it was pretty damned insufferable. But don’t get me started on that… look! Look at this beautiful figure! The smooth contours, the sexy curves, the immaculate look. There’s no complex panel lines or impossible sequences of shifting plates! Oh, I still dig Tales of Suspense Iron Man, but to me, this was the look I was first introduced to, and for me it will always remain his most iconic design.

We got a Classic Iron Man back as part of the 80th Anniversary releases, and this one looks to be a lot of the same figure. I’m ashamed to say that I have that one, but still haven’t gotten around to opening it. That previous release has extra effect parts, two variant helmets, and an unmasked Stark head, but what it doesn’t have is this lovely ketchup-and-mustard paint deco. Yeah, they went for gold instead of yellow on that one, and it’s certainly a great looking figure, but I’m always going to favor the yellow here. Besides the one-two punch of condiment colored deco, you also get the baby-blue arc reactor and a little more of the same on those upturned restraining-bolt-looking nipples! This figure is quite simply a feast for my eyes and takes me back to my childhood.

The helmet sculpt is excellent, with the face plate being sculpted separately from the rest of the helmet. That not only makes it look like it could come off, but it adds some wonderful depth to the eyes and mouth, which are painted as part of the head beneath it.

The A.I. Stark head is pretty nifty for what it is, basically a previous Stark head sculpt cast in translucent blue plastic. I don’t know that I’ll get any use out of it, but given MCU Stark’s pension for using armor as puppets, I kind of dig that I can use this head to retcon that into this suit design.

You do get a couple of repulsor blast effect parts, also cast in translucent blue plastic. These are actually four pieces, with the projection being separate from the blast. Naturally, you also get two extra hands to work with the effect parts. My only gripe here is the repulsor hands aren’t hinged at the wrists, which feels kind of cheap on Hasbro’s part. But, whatever!

The 80th Anniversary Iron Man can be a bit pricey these days, so if you missed it, this release should be a welcome one. It’s not as complete as that one when it comes to extras, but I can’t fault the figure for that, because it’s based on a very specific version of Tony from a modern book. And hey, if you happen to be a fan of Invincible Iron Man, then you’ll definitely want to pick this one up to go with your upcoming Riri Williams. Not judging! As for skipping this wave, I fear that may be happening a bit more frequently in the years ahead. I know that Hasbro has an Eternals wave coming down the pipe, and I’ll likely be skipping those too. Unless, they decide to mix them up with comic versions, and then I’ll be all over those!