DC Icons: (#14) The Joker by DC Collectibles

DC Collectibles is ramping up their DC Icons line to epic proportions in 2017 (seriously, there are a ton of these things coming out!), but for now, 2016 has been experiencing some delays in the last two waves. And yet, here we have The Joker from “A Death in the Family.” I don’t know what the deal was with him, but he slipped out to online retailers about a month before his wave was due to hit the pegs. I was going to wait and pick up the whole shebang when it shipped, but in the end, I just couldn’t resist getting him early.

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The package design is exactly the same as what we’ve been seeing all along. You get a nice, clean window box with a spiffy angled edge. The side panel has the figure’s name, number, and the source comic he’s based on. Everything is collector friendly and if space wasn’t such an issue, I’d certainly be keeping these packages. Sadly, they have to go to make room for more figures. So, let’s get him out of the box and check him out!

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Damn, I love the look of this version. For a character that has spanned comics, cartoons, TV and film, it would be impossible for me to pick a favorite incarnation of The Joker, so many of them have their merits. I could definitely pick a least favorite, but why pour gasoline on that fire? With that having been said, this figure takes some of my all time favorite elements of the character and blends them together into a why-so-seriously great look. The purple high collared trench coat, the pimp hat, orange waistcoat, striped trousers, and spats is the epitome of Joker outfits for me, and I particularly love the long and lanky body that this guy is built on.

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Complaints? I have a few. The way the waistcoat is painted on below the ab-crunch doesn’t look all that great, but I don’t see any other way around it. There are also a few stray marks of paint on my figure’s coat, but nothing too bad.

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The head sculpt here is fantastic. I love how they did the mouth. You can see straight between the teeth and there’s all kinds of detail in there, including his tongue. The paint on the face is pretty solid too, so long as you don’t get in too tight. He’s got some sparkly eye makeup and the bright green they used for his eyebrows and hair is perfect.

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The articulation here is consistent with what we’ve been seeing. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s an ab-crunch hinge in the waist, and the neck is ball jointed. You get a total of five hands with the figure, but they aren’t complete sets. The figure comes with a set of fists, but the other three are all right hands. Here’s my biggest complaint with the figure, but first, let’s look at the two accessories.

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First, you get this nifty crowbar. There’s a hand designed to hold it, although the crowbar tends to slide in the grip. There’s a gap between the fingers if you want to pass it through and have him hold it that way, but I think it looks a little awkward.

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And then there’s my favorite accessory, the Thompson sub-machine gun. This thing is absolutely fantastic. I mean, just look at the paint apps and sculpt on this little weapon and compare it to what Hasbro is doing with their Marvel Legends weapons. It’s night and day. I think this is even better than most of the incredible small arms NECA is putting out with their figures these days. And that’s high praise indeed! Unfortunately, DCC included what appear to be two slightly different right gun holding hands, instead of a left hand to grab the front grip of the gun. They were already including an extra hand, so why make it an additional and unnecessary right hand. I’m baffled by this.

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Hand issues notwithstanding, this Joker is another top notch addition to my DC Icons shelf. This entire line has been quality from day one, and it’s exciting to finally be expanding on some of the more tightly related characters in the DC Universe. The Joker looks great alongside Harley or facing off against Batman. The fact that DCC is expanding this line next year pleases me to no end, and I’m particularly excited to pick up Firestorm when the rest of this wave finally hits.

By figurefanzero

Transformers Titans Return: Monxo & Wolfwire by Hasbro

The Titans Return Deluxe Class love-fest continues today with Wolfwire and Monxo. Seriously, Hasbro? Those are the names your going with? I’m hard pressed to say which is worse. I thought now that we’re finally back to Hasbro making these characters instead of third parties, we could cool it with the wacked out names, but nope. Somewhere along the way Hasbro misplaced some trademarks and instead of Weirdwolf and Monzo, we get Wolfwire and Monxo. Does it really matter? Nah, because as we’re about to see, these are some great toys and in the end I can call them whatever I want.

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Cue the gratuitous packaged shot! Wolfwire comes packaged in his robot mode with Monxo attached as his noggin, but I’m going straight for the alt mode first!

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“Just one thing. You can only have the heads of the animals!” Cyclonus’ words from Rebirth give us a clue as to why we’re seeing so many animal based Decepticons in this line. Because, yes, Wolfwire’s alt mode is a cybernetic wolf and it is an absolutely beautiful homage to the original G1 toy. You’d have to look to Fansproject’s Quadruple-U (and pay a whole lot more) for a better treatment of this alt mode. And that’s not intended as a left-handed compliment, because Hasbro did a beautiful job with this guy. He is absolutely striking and so much fun.

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The sculpt here is exactly what I was looking for. He’s got that delightful mix of curves and hard angles, the key ingredients that make up any great cybernetic animal. I just adore the sculpted rocket packs on the tops of his front legs. The deco is very faithful to the original, with some beautiful yellow and blue plastics, some pale gray, and a little silver and red paint to make things pop.

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Hasbro really nailed it with the wolf head, from the serrated edges on the ears to the recessed textured red panels on the sides. It even has a hinged jaw that reveals translucent red teeth. Brilliant! Did I mention the tiny Decepticon emblems on his upper legs? Beautiful!

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Monxo is your standard little head-robo. He’s blue and gray and as we’ve seen so far in this wave, Hasbro has nixed the paint apps from these tiny guys, which continues to bum me out. You still get points of articulation in the knees, hips, shoulders, and head, all of which are related to the transformation.

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Despite being a wolf, Wolfwire still has a cockpit area for Monxo to sit and it’s quite roomy. The whole top of his back panel hinges upward and there’s some red tinted plastic to make up the canopy and a little sculpted seat.

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You can also tab Wolfwire’s chunky gun onto his back to make a gunning station for Monxo or another little head guy.

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Transforming Wolfwire into his robot mode features a couple cool moves to shrink the torso, drop the upper hind legs down to his lower robot legs, and, as expected, the tail pulls out to become his sword. The end result is a robot mode that is every bit as good as his wolf mode, and that’s certainly saying something! He’s a little bit stocky in the torso, but the proportions are still very good. You get some useful heel spurs that fold out of his animal feet to steady him, and those glorious rocket packs wind up on his shoulders. Like the other Titans Return Deluxes, he has a faked out chest panel, which covered the tech specs on the original G1 figures. The deco retains the same beautiful color palate as his wolf mode.

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He definitely sports some wolf kibble on his back. The upside down wolf head forms his backpack and his cockpit hangs off like a tail bone. Here you can also see his back wolf feet hanging off his forearms. Still, it’s nothing too bad.

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Monxo makes for a decent head, although I think the face sculpt could have been a little sharper. The red paint is beautiful, but it’s hard to make out the details in the face.

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We’ve already seen Wolfwire’s big gun. I do feel it’s a tad over-sized for his robot mode, but no quite so much that it looks ludicrous in his hands.

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And finally, you get the tail sword, a nice sculpt with some red paint apps. He can also wear it on his hip.

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I don’t like to throw around the word perfect a lot, because few figures really are, but Wolfwire comes pretty damn close. I literally love everything about this figure except his new name. The coloring, the sculpt, the transformation, and the overall fun factor makes this a splendid update to one of my favorite G1 Headmasters and another addition to my collection of great Deluxe Class figures from this Titans Return line. I never want this line to end! Next week, I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at Highbrow.

Mythic Legions: Sir Ignatius by The Four Horsemen

My, how time flies. I’ve only got two more Mythic Legion Wednesdays before the long and impatient wait for more figures to arrive. That may be as soon as next month, but for now, I’m checking out the last of my heroic knights in this line, Sir Ignatius. I know I proclaim a new favorite just about every week, but this one truly is my favorite knight in the line. After looking at sixteen of these figures, I’m going to forgo a look at the packaging and jump right to the figure. Not only because there’s nothing more to be said about it, but also because I was a little short-sighted and already put the packages for these figures into storage.

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Behold, Sir Ignatius, for he is 100% pure sex poured into a suit of armor! Yes, from the neck down, the parts are almost completely recycled from Sir Gideon and Sir Owain. The only difference here is that Ignatius has the segmented scale-style armor piece protecting his crotch, whereas Godfrey had the sash and Owain had the more ornamental plate. What makes Ignatius so striking, however, is that amazing new deco. The base plastic is a gorgeous pearlescent shade that really makes him stand out on the shelf. It’s coupled with some sumptuous gold leaf paint and just a little bit of metallic purple, which sounds crazy but works! As always, all the tiny fixtures and rivets are painted as is the chain mail exposed in the joints.  The only part of the deco that dims Ignatius’ Deco of Righteous Glory is the scale piece over his crotch, which is more of that purple.

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As always, the shoulders come detached from the figure and peg into the sockets in his back. These are repaints of the shoulders that came with Sir Gideon. He looks fine without them, but all the better with them installed. I can’t help but think Ignatius could have used a cape. The body here features the standard Mythic Legions articulation, which basically means a whole lot of rotating hinges. The modular design also means that you can take the figure apart at pretty much any joint and swap in parts from other ML figures if you want.

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As blindingly awesome as the body on this figure is, I still think it’s the head that impresses me the most. The helmet is none other than the one from the sinister Gorgo Aetherblade, also used on The Blood Armor, and the new coloring here makes for a total transformation of the piece. What was once a visage of true evil now looks like a Holy Ass-kicker. I love the contours on this helmet as well as the raised pieces around the eyes. He looks like a medieval Boba Fett. Gorgo’s antlers have been replaced with Sir Gideon’s wings and here they have been repainted to pure gold and add to Ignatius’ majestic countenance. Simply stunning!

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When it comes to Ignatius’ arsenal, there isn’t a weapon here we haven’t seen before, but by now that’s to be expected. He comes with the usual brown belt that can be worn around his waist or as a shoulder strap. The sword is the smaller, and less frequently seen, single-handed blade. This time it’s been painted with a black hilt and a silver blade.

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The shield is the same piece we’ve been seeing all along, this time painted with a gold surface The coat of arms is a griffon, wearing a crown, and with a cruciform sword in the center of it. It’s basically a palate swap with Sir Owain’s coat of arms. The shield pegs into a clip, which attaches to the figure’s wrist.

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And finally, we have the often seen spear, but what’s this? It’s actually painted? Yeah, if you’ve been with me throughout all the Mythic Legions reviews, than you may remember my main complaint about this piece is that it’s always been left all silver. Here we have the shaft painted black and I think it looks great.

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Sir Ignatius is without a doubt my favorite knight in this line. And now that I’ve looked at all the ones that I own, I can say that with a bit of finality to it. The amazing armor sculpt that we’ve been seeing since the beginning is elevated ever higher by some truly great looking plastic and an amazing color scheme. I realize that Sir Gideon is meant to be the main hero of the line, but it’s Ignatius that looks like a true paragon of virtue. With these two standing alongside Sir Owain, T4H have delivered three of the finest armored knight figures the toy world has ever seen. And if that sounds like hyperbole, then you really need to get these in hand and have a play with them, because these figures are quite simply Top Shelf. And with that having been said, I have just one more lone Orc to look at next Wednesday!

Evil Dead 2: Ultimate Ash by NECA

It’s a truly great time to be an Evil Dead fan, but for reasons that I’m going to save for next Tuesday’s Feature. Today, I’ll just say it’s a great time to be a NECA fan, because they give us figures based off of cult classic movies, which most toy companies wouldn’t touch. I could say it’s because they’re too niche, but over the decades, Evil Dead has obviously fought its way into the pop culture hall of fame. The moment I saw Ash here show up on NECA’s Ebay Store, I started chanting, “I’m gonna get you… I’m gonna get you…”

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As always, NECA’s Ultimate figures come in beefy boxes illustrated with original movie poster or concept art. In this case, it’s that delightful skull with eyeballs that I associate with the original VHS tape that I had. I’m sure I’ve recounted my lifelong battle with insomnia here before. It started when I was a teenager and movies like this one often helped me get through those long and weary nights. It may sound odd, but it was like I could relate to the heroes in these horror flicks, as I too was trying to survive another night for the relief of dawn! Anyway, the box features an opening front flap and everything is collector friendly. There’s a ton of display options with this figure, so I’m just going to try to look at the accessories and extra parts by following Ashley throughout the course of the first half of the film or so.

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Ash comes straight out of the box already messed up, and I mean that in a good way. Let’s face it, it doesn’t take long for the Deadite shit to hit the fan in Evil Dead 2, and Ash here already has plenty of it all over him. He comes donning his familiar blue button down shirt, now smeared with white demon goo and given a very nice sheen of paint to make it look drenched.

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His pants and Timberlands are caked with mud and the stitching and texturing on the plastic fabric are amazingly realistic. They also did some particularly nice detail on the shredded left leg of his pants. No matter how many times I hold one of NECA’s figures, I’m always in awe of the love they put into every little detail. Just look at his boots. The laces and the treads are just fantastic. The body features what has become pretty standard articulation for this line, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. The wrists are ball jointed, and you get ball joints in the waist and neck.

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The portrait features Ash with the bewildered and horrified expression that he has for a good deal of the movie. At least before he decides he isn’t going to take it anymore and starts kicking some ass. He has the bloody forehead from the wound that I believe was sustained when he went through the windshield of his car and hit a tree. Then again, he has so much blood on him at any given time, it could be from anything. It’s a great likeness to young Bruce Campbell, and while it is a very specific expression, I’d say it works for a good deal of poses and display options.

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Naturally, two of the most iconic props in the movie are included as accessories. Call it the Naturom Demonto, the Necronomicon Ex Mortis, or just the plain old Book of the Dead, it’s the book that started it all. While this little version is not bound in flesh and inked in blood, it comes straight from the Castle of Kandar and it’s a nice little reproduction for this scale. The other accessory here is Professor Knowby’s Panasonic tape recorder with the recording of the incantations. Recordings that you should never play, because then stuff like this happens…

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“Hello, Lover!” Yes, you get poor Linda’s head. She didn’t stand a chance in this film, as Ash was forced to decapitate her with a shovel a little more than five minutes in! How many movies can top that? On the other hand, Linda had more screen time after she was dead, and became a whole lot more interesting. The… um, head sculpt here is really well done, with some especially fine detail work and paint evident in the teeth. The neck stump is also fully detailed.

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Linda’s head is also present in the scene with one of the best/worst examples of ADR ever… “WORK SHED!” And yes, the work shed is the scene that introduces us to the iconic chainsaw, an accessory that is sadly absent from this box. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if something shows up next Tuesday to remedy that. Of course, at this point, Ash gives up the chainsaw anyway in favor of…

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The shotgun! “Old double-barrel, huh? Blow your butts to kingdom come! See if we don’t!” Only to drop it rather quickly, because he has more pressing matters at hand. HA! 

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Yes, next up, we have the possessed hand. Apparently all those bites from Linda didn’t do him any favors. The regular hand pops out at the wrist and you can pop in this one. “It went bad, so I had to lop it off at the wrist.” 

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The severed hand arm is replaced at the elbow, similar to NECA’s T-800’s damaged arm and features Ash’s stump wrapped in a dish rag and duct tape. This is a great looking piece, and it’ll likely be the way I display the figure most of the time.

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You also get a second possessed hand. Overturned bucket and copy of A Farewell to Arms, not included!

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Now, if I were to axe you what other accessories you want, what would you say? You in the back who said chainsaw… get the f’ck out. We already addressed that issue. No, it’s the hatchet and it’s covered in green Deadite goo.

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And last, but certainly not least, the set includes a second portrait for possessed Deadite Ash, and holy hell is it a great piece of work. In terms of overall detail and paintwork, I think it beats the regular portrait. Damn, I’m really tempted to pick up a second one of these figures now so that I can display both heads.

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Wow, this is a fun figure and certainly worthy of the “Ultimate” moniker. I know that quite a few people were pissed off that the chainsaw wasn’t included and I seem to recall Randy took a bit of heat about it on Twitter. In a perfect world, I would have loved to see it in there, but let’s face it, this isn’t the only Ash we’re going to be getting so there’s plenty of opportunities to get that particular accessory into the collection. One thing I’ve learned is that NECA is really good about planning these things out, and if one accessory had to be jettisoned to include some others, it meant that there was a plan for it later down the road. I’m fine with that, because I love everything we got in this box, and there’s nothing I would want to give up. And as I’ve hinted a couple of times, next Tuesday, I’m coming back with a look at my first pair of figures from the Ash Vs. Evil Dead series.

Marvel Legends (Giant Man Wave): Nick Fury by Hasbro

Marvel Legends continues to crank out bucket loads of 6-inch scale plastic comic book heroes and villains, making me a very happy and broke Marvel fan. But what really amazes me about this line these days is its willingness to take risks. Hasbro has not only been dipping into obscurity fairly often, they’re not afraid to confuse the hell out of moms, dads, and casual collectors alike. Case in point… in a wave that is more or less dedicated to the Marvel Cinematic take on Civil War, we get a very classic comic version of Nick Fury.

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The package is everything we’ve already seen before, so I’m not going to dwell on it for too long. The window box features some nice blue-tinted character art on the side panels and is sort of branded for the Civil War film. Well, it says Captain America on the front. Regardless, when little Timmy says he wants a Nick Fury figure and mom or dad goes to the store and finds a box that says Nick Fury and Captain America, little Timmy may be vexed that he’s not getting a Samuel Jackson. That’s probably why I only ever see middle aged dudes searching the Marvel Legends pegs these days. And that’s a beautiful thing. And yes, I do realize that in this day and age a good chunk of those moms and dads may also be Marvel Comics fans, but I think my point is still at least somewhat valid. Where the hell was I? Oh yeah… Nick Fury!

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Oh, hell and yes! This is the Fury that I grew up with and has been and still is the very definition of badass. Nothing against Jackson, I think he does a great job in the role, but I wish they had kept a little more of this classic uniform for the MCU rather than go for the tired and cliched black trench coat thing. Here, Fury features a dark blue buck with white boots and gloves and the SHIELD emblems printed in silver and blue on his shoulders. He’s also loaded with belts and pouches! These pieces include a rig on his right thigh, which includes a functional holster, two belts on his waist, and a shoulder rig with a holster that contains a gun sculpted into it. The white on the boots and gloves is both clean and bright, with no bleeding like we usually see on figures with white over dark bucks. The rest of his white gear features a nice paint wash to pick out all the sculpted details.

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The standard portrait here is a almost a home-run. It’s iconic Nick Fury with his graying hair, five-o’clock shadow, and eye patch. The sculpt is top notch, while the paint has just one issue. They left the area under the hairline unpainted and when you’re looking up at the figure from below, it looks kind of weird. Everything else is great.

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The figure features plenty of articulation, but I’m sorry to say that some of the joints here are a bit loose, floppy, and or gummy. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in both the thighs and the tops of the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. So, where are the issues. The neck is extremely loose and the hinges in the knees and elbows are gummy. The ab crunch also has a little too much play in it for my liking.

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Fury comes with a gray pistol that appropriately looks like a cross between a Luger and a laser pistol. It fits nicely into his thigh holster. A rifle would have been nice, but I could pretty much complain that any figure needs more weapons. In this case, instead of more weapons, we got two alternate heads.

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First off is this helmeted head, which I presume is to turn Fury into a SHIELD trooper. It’s a nice idea, but army building this figure probably isn’t going to be easy, as it’s been tough to get at regular price. Granted, it’s come down quite a bit since its release. Either way, this head looks a little too much like GI JOE meets HALO for me to get excited about it on a Marvel Legends figure. I’ll bet customizers will go nuts over it.

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Next up we have a Dirk Anger head, which is a delightful way to troll the casuals. This is a pack-in that both befuddles and delights me and offers further proof that Hasbro is willing to take risks. Was anyone really asking for this? I can’t imagine they were. Am I ever going to display this on the figure? Nope. And yet I’m kind of happy we got it. It’s just a cool and outrageous little bonus.

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As you can probably have guessed, I was super excited to get a classic Nick Fury on my Marvel Legends shelf. And while I have a few issues with the figure, there’s nothing here that keeps me from enjoying it. Some tighter joints and a little more paint to fill out that hairline and this would have been a five-star release in my book. As it is, it’s still plenty good, and it may very well wind up being my favorite figure in this wave. Next time on Marvel Monday… I’m doubling up on Nuke and Red Guardian so I can get through all these goddamn figures a little quicker!

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DP: “OooOoooOoooh… Lookit all the POUCHES!! Saaay, that thigh rig looks familiar!!”

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DP: “YOINK… Gotyergun Fury!!!”

Variable Action Heroes (One Piece): Luffy D. Monkey by MegaHouse

I make no bones about my love for One Piece. It’s my favorite go-to show for when I’m up late drinking, and I’m just as fine watching it sober with my coffee the next morning. I’ve looked at a vast array of different figures from the show’s colorful array of characters, and… nope. I can’t lie like that. I’ve mainly only looked at Nami figures. Well, today, I’m breaking that trend and looking at the Variable Action Hero version of Luffy, everyone’s favorite rubber-man. Luffy is actually my first Variable Action Hero figure, so I’m super excited and curious to see what these are all about.

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The figure comes in a colorful and collector friendly window box. There are a couple of trays to hold the figure and the extra bits and lots of photos of the figure in action on the back panel. The packaging features just enough English copy to be friendly to us Western collectors. What are Variable Action Heroes? Well, I guess the best way to describe these would be as larger scale Revoltech figures. Luffy comes in at just under 7-inches, which makes him seem huge when compared to most of my other articulated Japanese figures, but apart from the larger size, there’s a lot about him that feels familiar.

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Luffy features his red pirate shirt with flared cuffs, four brass buttons, and he wears it open in the front to show his chest scars. Below that he has his yellow sash tied around his waist, and his ragged cut blue pants that end right at his knees. Luffy’s ensemble is finished off by his sandals. The sculpting here is soft, but still pretty solid. You get some nice muscle definition in his chest and abs, and all the usual rumples and wrinkles in his clothing. The coloring is very basic, but it matches the somewhat simple look of the anime art quite well. All in all, he’s a colorful and great looking figure.

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Naturally, Luffy comes with his prized straw hat… actually two versions it. One features a plastic cord so that he can wear it around his neck. The other is designed to peg into the top of his head, which involves swapping out the regular head for one with a tab on the top and smoothed out hair. Both options work great, but I think I prefer him wearing the hat behind his head.

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You get three different and very expressive portraits for Luffy and these are swapped out in the exact same fashion as any Figma or Figuarts. Just un-peg the top front hair piece and make the swap. The expressions include a slightly pissed off look, a really pissed off look, and a totally psycho, I’m going to gum-gum kick your ass! These are all great, but I really would have liked at least one face reflecting Luffy’s more happy-go-lucky persona. The figure feels a little bit incomplete without it.

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Luffy also comes with three sets of hands. You get two fists, two flat hands, and a set of relaxed hands.

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The articulation here makes for a very fun figure to play around with. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles. The elbows and knees are double hinged. There are ball joints in the waist and torso. The neck is double ball jointed. And finally, you get hinges in the middle of the feet. The jointing here doesn’t feel as solid or sophisticated as a Figma or Figuarts, but at the same time, they don’t pull apart as easily as the one sad Revoltech figure in my collection. Also, while the joints will support just about any stance or pose, they do feel a little floppy and loose in hand.

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These figures tend to run close to $100 at most e-tailers, which honestly feels a bit steep, but then I tend to expect to pay a premium for anything from MegaHouse. I picked this one up from a very cool dude over on Twitter for about $65. I like the figure a lot, and it’s great to not only have Luffy finally represented in my collection (I mean, seriously, it was well overdue), but also to finally get to see what the VAH figures are all about. I can almost certainly see myself picking up a VAH Nami at some point soon, either the first version or the upcoming repaint. As to whether or not I’ll be going after some more members of the Straw Hat Pirates, that remains to be seen.

Cover Girls of the DC Universe: Black Canary by DC Collectibles

It’s DC Friday again and I’m giving the action figures a rest this week to check out another statue. I’ve actually got a few DC statues waiting on deck for the spotlight, but since I’m getting a little backlogged on the lovely Cover Girls of the DC Universe, let’s go with Black Canary, a relatively recent release from that line!

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There isn’t much to say about the packaging that I haven’t said a dozen times over. The goods come in a fully enclosed box with some shots of the statue and adverts for Catwoman v2 and Power Girl on the back. Inside, the statue is sandwiched between two styrofoam bricks and the only assembly required is to peg the feet into the base. If this is your first time checking out one of these statues with me, they’re cold cast porcelain and generally about 9 to 10-inches tall, depending on the pose.

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And in this case, Dinah is standing tall and proud, right leg slightly bent, left hand resting on hip, and with a shattered megaphone in the other. She’s totally mugging for the camera, and those are the poses that I tend to enjoy most in this line.

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Her costume is definitely New 52 inspired, but I don’t recognize the exact appearance. It has some similarities to her Birds of Prey costume, but this one is sleeveless. My guess is that this is from her solo book, which I never got around to reading. I’ll be honest, it’s not my favorite look for the character. I’m happy to defend a lot of the New 52 costume designs when I think it’s warranted. In this case, I dig the costume, but it just doesn’t scream Black Canary to me. See what I did there? Her one-piece features some nice sculpted wrinkles, textures, and stitching. All the decorative accents in the boots are also part of the sculpt and the same is true for her gloves.

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The stockings are actually string fishnets, which is the first real time I’ve seen mixed media on these statues, unless you count Catwoman v1’s whip. This could have been a risky move, considering the mixed results we’ve seen with stockings in DC action figures, but I’m happy to say they look fantastic here. The seams are fairly well concealed down the inner legs and the stockings convincingly disappear into the boots and one-piece.

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The portrait here is solid. She’s pretty, but I don’t know that I would recognize her from just a head shot. The hair sculpt is a little chunky, but that’s often an issue with these porcelain statues. I’m not a big fan of how the hair seems to levitate a bit above the shoulders, but again, I’ll blame the media. I definitely like the muscle definition in her biceps. The skin tones are also pretty good, but my statue has a rather annoying light scratch across her left shoulder.

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Which is a good segue into the paint. I’ve been overall very pleased with the paint quality in this line, and I now own about a dozen of them. Paint can so often make or break a statue, and that’s especially the case when you’re looking at pieces in the lower-middle price range like these Cover Girls. Unfortunately, Black Canary’s paint isn’t up to par with the rest of my DC ladies. The quality of the paint itself is fine. I like the metallic sheen to the blue and it looks great when contrasted with the bright yellow. The problem here is in the care of application. There’s no single glaring paint defect that made me think I could do better if I exchanged it for another, but the lines could and should have been a lot cleaner and there are just too many gloppy brush marks for my liking. Maybe it’s a case of the yellow paint being more susceptible to problems against the blue. This is a piece that looks fine when viewed casually on the shelf, but begins to break down a bit when you get in really close.

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And that brings me to the megaphone. I’ve actually waffled back and forth on my feelings about it. On the one hand, it’s a visual and somewhat humorous, way to reference her canary cry and the way it’s blown out looks cool enough. On the other hand, it’s a little obvious and perhaps an unnecessary prop. I mean, I’m laying down eighty to a hundred bucks for a statue of Black Canary. It’s safe to say that I’m aware of her signature power without needing a visual aide. It kind of feels like the type of gimmick from the Bombshells statue line. In the end, I guess I’m OK with it.

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The base is the same type of oval platform that this line has been using since it changed over from the diorama style bases. Dinah’s has a little canary emblem at the cardinal points. The yellow surface paint is clean and even, but my statue had some scuff marks on the black paint along the edges. They all rubbed out very easily with a damp Q-tip, but it begs the question, who’s checking these before they get boxed.

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As always, the bottom of the base is hand numbered with the limitation. Mine is 2798 of 5200.

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These gals tend to retail at about $99, but can usually be had for less soon after they hit the shelves. Canary set me back about $70 shipped. If this was your first time with me looking at a Cover Girls statue, you shouldn’t take this one as par for the course. As I said earlier, all of my Cover Girls are great looking ladies for the money. Even Black Canary here isn’t terrible. There are some strange choices here, but in the end she looks great on the shelf next to Katana and Poison Ivy. Truth be told, I’ve seen similar paint issues on far more expensive statues, particularly in the waning days of Bowen Designs. That doesn’t mean, however, it should be acceptable. The paint quality is so important on pieces like these and the standards really need to be high. My hope is that this is only a hiccup in quality and not a trend. We’ll find out in a couple of weeks when I swing back to this line to check out one of the Cover Girls’ oddest character choices yet, Red Lantern Bleeze!

Transformers Titans Return: Vorath & Mindwipe by Hasbro

“The powers are darkness are a more powerful weapon than all the toys your science can muster!” …Mindwipe! As a kid, I only got to know him from “The Rebirth,” but man did I love him. He talked like a Transylvanian Count, could mind control his adversaries, and he turned into a freaking robot bat. Sadly, I never owned the original G1 toy, but now after all these years, I’m finally getting a brand new version of him from Hasbro. Needless to say, I’m excited!

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Let’s not waste a lot of time on the package, eh? He comes carded in his robot mode, but I’m going straight for the bat mode.

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Meh… he’s OK. He is indeed a robo-bat, but I’m sorry to say not a terribly exciting one. There just isn’t a ton of play-ability to this mode, nor are there a lot of display options. He’s designed to pretty much stand there on his little bat feet with his wings spread. The wings are hinged in several places, thanks to the transformation, so you can fold them in towards his body, but that’s about it. The head is designed to look straight ahead, so getting him into a flying pose where he’s looking ahead of himself instead of down isn’t going to happen. There also aren’t any really exciting places to plug in his weapons in this mode, which is a first for this line.

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There are, however, some rather impressive sculpted details on this figure. The wings have a lot going on with textures and patterns. The deco is quite attractive too, with a lot of those prime Decepticon colors, black and purple, and a little reddish-brown mixed in as well.

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And that face! Awww, he’s so cute! The bat head sculpt is great, even though it’s cast in a soft plastic, and I adore the hinged lower jaw with the tiny silver teeth. I just really wish there was some articulation in the neck.

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Vorath is your typical little head-changer robot. He’s got articulation in the knees and hips (even though his legs are fused together), as well as in the shoulders and neck. Looks like Hasbro isn’t painting these guys at all in this wave, and that’s a real bummer. I can barely tell which side of his head is supposed to be facing front.

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Mindwipe’s cockpit is in the center of his chest with a translucent purple door that hinges down. I have to say, I really dig the way Vorath sits in him like he’s controlling a giant bat mech. And GOD-DAMMIT! His head is turned backwards in that picture. I didn’t even notice it until now. Thanks again, Hasbro for not painting faces on these anymore.

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Fortunately, Mindwipe’s robot mode makes up for the somewhat lackluster bat mode. At least, it does as far as I’m concerned. The transformation features a few cool things, like the way the wings roll up to form his legs. The lower legs are a bit bulky for the rest of the bot, but I still really dig the overall look of this guy. Once again, the color palate is fantastic. Lots of purple and black, a little of that brownish-red, and his knees have some beautiful silver grills on them. As far as color schemes go, this is pure Decepticon goodness.

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Sure, he has a bat head hanging off his back, but otherwise, he’s surprisingly free of bat-kibble. Even the stubby wings on his shoulders are faked out and just there for show. They also have a lot of cool details sculpted into them. The soft plastic wing tips don’t peg in too strongly to form the backs of his legs, but it doesn’t really seem to effect the stability of the figure.

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And what Vorath lacks in paint apps on his robot mode, he makes up for by making a fantastic head for Mindwipe.

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Mindwipe comes with two weapons. We’ve usually seen them by now, but since I don’t really like any of the places to plug them into his alt mode, I haven’t busted them out until now. The first one is a sort of claw-blade-shield-thing that plugs into his forearms. This is the piece that can also double as a gunner station for Vorath if you sit him in it and plug his other weapon in. There’s not much use for it on this figure, but you can plug it into one of the other guys if you’re into all that kinky robot part sharing, ya freaks!

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The other weapon is a simple gun.  This thing is pretty cool. It’s compact and looks great in his hands.

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Do I sound disappointed in Mindwipe? I dunno. Maybe I am a little bit. I wouldn’t rank him up there among the best in this line so far, but he’s certainly not among the worst either. I think I probably expected too much out of the bat mode, which is perfectly serviceable, but not nearly as fun as some of the other alt modes I’ve seen in this line. Still, I think the robot mode washes away all sins. Mindwipe looks great in his robot mode and he’s a decent homage to his G1 namesake. If I want something a little more substantial and sophisticated, I can always turn to my Sigma-L from Fansproject. In the meantime, this guy will look just fine on my expanding Titans Return shelf.

Mythic Legions: Bronze Dwarf Legion Builder by The Four Horsemen

I’m sad to say that Mythic Legions Wednesdays are drawing to a close. Today I’m embarking on a look at the first of the final three figures that I have left from my initial Kickstarter Backer add ons. I’ve opted to go with the Bronze Dwarf Legion Builder, only because it’s been a while since I last looked at any of the Dwarves in this line. So let’s not delay. Time is short… and so is this figure! That’s a little Dwarf humor!

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The Legion Builders are the less expensive figures in this line and are generally designed for either troop building or customization. I only picked up three of the Legion Builders, with the first two being the Gold and Silver Knights. The packaging is still identical to the regular releases. The figure comes on a collector friendly card and bubble and there’s a little bio blurb printed on the bubble insert.

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One of Mythic Legions’ best accomplishments has been the ability to mix and match parts from their catalog to create fresh and new figures. In the case of this guy, however, the fully armored body is a straight reuse from the previous two Dwarves I looked at, right down to the upturned toes in their boots. As a Legion Builder, there’s very little here in the way of paint operations. The armor is all a very deep and rich bronze with a slight glittery finish. Thankfully, these beautiful and detailed sculpts still hold up well without the extra paint.

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The figure includes a pair of shoulder armor, which peg into the back. These are the same pieces included with Bothar Shadowhorn and here they’re painted to match the rest of the armor. They also offer a quick and easy way to customize the figures, if you happened to pick up a few of these guys to populate your Dwarf army. Put one on, put them both on, leave them both off, it’s nice to have options! I still say T4H or someone out there needs to produce a chunk of plastic to plug up that rectangular slot in the backs of these figures. And if they put a peg socket on it, the figures could wear their shields on their backs. That would be awesome!

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The head is the only new piece of sculpting here, and by that I mean it’s the first time I’m seeing it, but it was used for a couple of other Dwarves in the line. It’s a fully enclosed helmet with a very distinctive Norse style and plates designed to resemble a sort of stylized beard. Or at least that’s how I see it. The helmet includes a large set of antlers, which are the same pieces we saw back at the beginning with Gorgo Aetherblade. These are painted in a rather nice shade of gold and offer the only real diversity in the coloring on the figure. Either way, this helmet makes him look like a total badass. While this fellow is indeed a Dwarf, he still offers all the same articulation as the larger figures as well as the same modular design that allows you to break the figure down at the joints. Indeed, from the waist up, the Dwarves use the same parts as the other figures and only the legs are shortened.

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The Bronze Dwarf comes with the usual array of weapons that we’ve seen before, this time all just painted gold. I’m still not sure how I feel about the all gold weapons. On the one hand, they don’t seem appropriate for a rank-and-file Legion Builder, but I think the point is that you can customize them yourselves. On the other hand, these make for some pretty cool treasure pieces. or magic weapons, or something like that if I ever get around to setting up a diorama or proper display for these guys. Anyway, the sword is the longer, double-handed one and includes the brown belt so he can wear it on his hip or across his back.

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The shield is left blank on the front, allowing people with painting skills (people other than me) the ability to put their own crest on it.

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And finally the ubiquitous axe, which can be converted to either a single or double bladed weapon. Even though these are the larger weapons and designed for the full sized figures, they still work surprisingly well with the Dwarves. Still, it would have been cool if we got some smaller scaled Dwarf weapons also.

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The regular Mythic Legions figures were $33 as Kickstarter Rewards or $35 each as pre-orders, but these Legion Builders were only $18 or $21 respectively. That’s a pretty huge difference and offers up a great idea of just how much those intricate paint operations can cost. Still, even without the added decos, this figure looks pretty solid along side my regular painted Dwarves and with only three of these guys on my shelf, I’m instantly regretting not picking up more. Next week, I’m swinging back to have a look at the last Orc!

Star Wars “The Force Awakens:” Rey and BB-8 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Oh boy, it’s my first Star Wars figure from Hot Toys, something I swore I would never be doing because the last thing I need is to expand my Hot Toys collecting into a franchise as prolific as Star Wars. I had quite the internal struggle over whether or not I should do this, because it’s such a dangerous rabbit hole to fall into and up until now I’ve been able to resist it. Ultimately, I decided to go for some of The Force Awakens figures, because I really enjoy the movie a lot and I especially loved the new characters. And because it’s such a tight cast of characters, I reasoned that I didn’t have to worry as much about going in too deep. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry about Hot Toys making a Constable Zuvio, right? RIGHT??? Yeah, well let’s see how that works out. My plan for now is to just stick with the main heroes, and so today I’m checking out Rey and her little droid friend, BB-8. I probably should have broken this one up into at least two parts, so I’ll apologize in advance for how long today’s Feature is going to run. There’s just a whole lot to look at here.

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The figures come in box which is considerably wider than a regular HT box, but not quite as big as the two-packs that they’ve done. The top of the box lifts off to reveal an illustrated cardboard insert, and that lifts off to finally reveal the figures inside. The presentation is pretty minimalist, and everything about this package just screams functionality over flash. And that’s probably for the better because just look at the condition this thing came in from Sideshow. It irks me to no end that they continue to drop these $200+ collectibles into un-padded mailer boxes. mine has a nice ding on the front panel and a crunch to the lower left corner. There’s also all kinds of scratches and scarring, which obviously didn’t come from it’s time in transit. This was no exclusive incentive here, so apart from the reward points, I might as well have gone elsewhere. Of course, it’s more the principle than being pissed about box damage, as I only keep these boxes to have somewhere to put all those extra bits when I’m not using them. And believe me this set has a lot of extra bits. The number of extra hands alone for this figure has reached ridiculous proportions. So while the presentation here may not blow me away in the sense of art design or other flash, it’s hard not to be impressed when taking that first glimpse of the open tray and all its contents. Let’s start with Rey as she comes out of the box.

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As is often the case with Hot Toys’ figures, Rey looks like she just stepped off the screen wearing her desert garb. It’s not a flashy costume, not by any means, but the craftsmanship and tailoring that went into it are nonetheless amazing. In fact, it’s kind of neat to see how much loving detail they can put into an outfit as drab and simple as this one. The fabric is very light and hangs so naturally on the figure that it looks like the full size outfit was shrunk down to sixth scale. It consists of an underlying tunic, loose fitting pants that reach just below her knees, and a belted sash. She has cloth wraps on her arms, a sculpted plastic bracer on her left wrist and a pair of sculpted, textured boots. The fabric is tan and mostly ragged cut in a few areas to make it look weathered and worn from Jakku’s harsh climate.

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Little details on the costume include the plastic, medieval style belt and the cloth pouch on her right hip. It’s interesting how this whole outfit manages to invoke the look of Jedi robes. A little bit of fashion foreshadowing? Or maybe it was just a coincidence.

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The body they used here feels perfectly proportioned for Daisy Ridley. I don’t tend to talk about the articulation much with my Hot Toys figures, because a) I’m never really sure what’s going on beneath the costumes, and b) because those costumes are usually too restrictive to make use of that articulation. Rey, on the other hand, holds few secrets and even fewer restrictions. The articulation here is fantastic and the figure is loads of fun to play with thanks to the forgiving nature of the outfit. HT went for some of that realistic rubbery skin texture for her shoulders, and upper torso, but the rest consists of a lot of trusty action-figure-y hinges and swivels. Some may be put off that in extreme poses the pants don’t always cover the knee joints, but I’m fine with it. About the only thing here that feels restrictive are the ankles and that’s because her boots don’t allow for the full range of the ball joints.

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Hot Toys rarely goes astray with their portraits and I’m extremely happy with how close the likeness we got is to the beautiful Ms. Ridley. As always, the skin tone is so realistic it’s downright eerie, as is the paint on the lips and the slight flash of teeth. The expression is a nice compromise between being too neutral and too expressive. I think it works well for a lot of poses, although something a little more determined would have worked well here too. It’s worth noting that the exceptional skin tone carries forward to her shoulders and neck area.

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I’ve come down on both sides of the rooted vs sculpted hair argument, but in the case of Rey’s rather complex trinity of buns, I think there can be no doubt that sculpted hair was the way to go here. I particularly love the way they were still able to give her the two wisps of hair that fall down on either side of her face. Of course, Rey is more than just a pretty face. She’s a strong-willed and independent warrior, so let’s check out some of her weapons!

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Rey comes with her staff, which is a substantial piece of plastic for what it is, and features a lot of detailed sculpting. I don’t think we know a whole hell of a lot about this weapon, other than it’s a quarterstaff that she patched together out of the junk she scavenged. Actually, that’s probably all there really is to know about it. No need to over-complicate it, fans! She obviously knows how to use it pretty well in combat and it no doubt doubles nicely as a walking stick while traipsing through the dunes of Jakku. It has a cloth strap, which is secured to it by two metal clasps and she has a pair of hands dedicated to holding it.

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Next up is the little blaster pistol that Han gave to her in that lovely little scene outside the Falcon. While I personally felt that some of the weapon designs in TFA were a little foreign to Star Wars, I really like this little gun. It looks like something that Han either cobbled together or just had stowed away in the Falcon’s glove compartment. It’s like when you know you’re friend is in trouble so you slip her that old .38 you have under your mattress. No? That’s just me? OK, then.

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Finally, Rey comes with Luke’s lightsaber. OMG… SPOILERS!!! The hilt is beautifully recreated in this scale and it features a translucent blue blade, which can be easily removed so the weapon can be displayed either engaged or not. As great as the hilt looks, it’s hard to deny that the removable blade feels a lot like a Hasbro accessory. I know that sounds harsh, and I can’t think of anything they could have done differently, so it’s really fine. I know what you’re thinking… What about some LED’s dammit. This figure was ‘spensive!! No, there is no light up feature in the blade, but when I eventually get to looking at the Hot Toys’ Finn and Riot Trooper two-pack, you’ll see why I’m not upset over the lack of electronics here.

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Of course, she also comes with a fairly standard figure stand. The post features an adjustable wire crotch cradle and the hexagon base has the Rebel (or is that Resistance?) logo on it. The front edge features the Star Wars logo and both characters’ names. If there was nothing else to say about Rey, I think she still would be a very worthy purchase, but I’m not done yet. Hot Toys included everything you need to convert Rey to her Scavenger look from the beginning of the film.

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Yeah, I had no idea there were so many different elements to the costume change and once they’re all on, it almost feels like an entirely new figure. I dig the design of this costume so much. It feels like there’s a little Lawrence of Arabia and a little Wrath of Khan in there, and yet it still looks so undeniably Star Wars. The extras for this costume include her head wrap, goggles, cloth sash, cloth belt, backpack, and left shoulder armor. Not to mention an entire second collection of gloved hands. Getting everything on isn’t too bad, except for the head wrap, which I’ll get to in a bit…

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Because of the layered nature of the outfit, there are some additions that aren’t all that apparent once everything is on. The sash, for example is mostly obscured by the head wrap and backpack, but it’s great that, in the pursuit of accuracy, it’s still included. The cloth belt has snap fasteners and actually serves the purpose of securing the sash close to the figure’s body. The backpack is particularly noteworthy because of all the little bits and bobs it has on it. There are all sorts of canisters and tubes and now I really want a copy of the Visual Encyclopedia so I can know what all these things are supposed to be.

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The front left shoulder strap of the backpack also contains a canister on a short chain. The shoulder armor piece is sculpted in plastic to look like a heavier weave over a reinforced material. It also includes plenty of sculpted belts and buckles, but it is secured around the arm by a pair of elastic strings. It’s easy to slide on because the arm will actually detach at the bicep swivel, so you don’t have to slide it all the way up the arm and mess up the wrapping.

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As I said earlier, the head wrap, which is actually more of a hood, was a bit of a chore to get on, mainly because it’s a very tight fit and it needs to be positioned a certain way starting on the back of the figure’s head to get it to sit right. The other issue here is avoiding damage to those two wisps of plastic hair on either side of the figure’s head. They have a tendency to poke through the cloth, which doesn’t seem to damage the cloth any, but if they get caught, I imagine they would be easy to break off. Once on, there’s a very narrow slit for Rey’s eyes and the goggles simply go over this gap with the help of some elastic strings. The goggles feature some fine details and the eye lenses are tinted translucent green plastic.

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The other tough part is getting the material stretched down to hook under her chin if you want to display her with that beautiful portrait exposed. I would be a little cautious about doing this very often for fear of rubbing the gorgeous paint on the face. Still, the effort is certainly worth while here, because I think the figure looks outstanding in her Scavenger outfit, with or without the mask.

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Just put her staff in her hand and she’s all ready to go rummaging through downed Star Destroyers and AT-AT Walkers to earn herself another quarter portion. And with all these independent pieces of the costume, there are lots of great variations for display. The sad part is, that since I want to go with the look she had for the majority of the film, I don’t know how much use I’ll actually get out of the Scavenger outfit. I’ve never wanted to double up on a particular Hot Toys figure as much as I do right now, because it would be great to display her both ways. Luckily, I’m not that crazy.. yet. Oh, hey… let’s not forget about BB-8.

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I wasn’t expecting much from the BB-8 pack in. In fact, when I got the shipper box in the mail, I was at first taken aback by how large it was and only then remembered that the little droid was included. Oh, yeah! That’s where that other $65 went! I shouldn’t have underestimated him, because he’s actually a fantastic figure and he feels very high quality in hand. The antenna need to be pegged into the head, the head comes separate from the body, and it connects only via magnets, so you can position the patterns and compartments on the body any way you like. This becomes important when we get to the pair of attachments. There also a very simple light feature that’s turned on under the head and lights up his eye and sensor. The blue LED in the sensor is very bright, but the red one in the regular eye is barely noticeable to me.

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The figure features a shiny and smooth surface with some deep cut panel lines. The orange and silver paint looks very sharp and there’s just the right amount of weathering and sand build up on him for my tastes. He’s not filthy, but he’s not-straight-from-the-factory clean either.

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There are two compartment covers on BB-8’s body that can be removed in order to put on his attachments. I’m not totally sure what the first attachment is, but if I remember correctly it’s the receptacle he stored the data device, which held the map fragment.

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The second attachment is a little articulated arm. While these are great little extras, I will admit to being a little disappointed that he didn’t come with his “thumbs up” lighter. Seriously, Hot Toys, how did you drop the ball on that one?

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As you’ve already seen, BB-8 comes with a molded mound of sand with a concave area for him to rest in.  The sand piece is sculpted so that it will mate with Rey’s stand and you can display the two side by side, which works very well, especially if you’re going for the Scavenger Rey look. However, it’s worth noting that the stand isn’t absolutely necessary to display him.

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Yes, thanks to a free-rolling counter balance inside BB-8’s body, he does a pretty good job of righting himself when standing on a smooth surface. That’s not to say I would be entirely comfortable keeping this expensive little ball that way all the time. I’d rather have the peace of mind knowing that he’s not going to roll off the shelf, because if that happened I don’t think that even Rey could straighten his antenna again. And yes, he looks pretty good resting beside Sideshow’s R2 and 3PO.

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If you can’t tell, I absolutely love these figure, but before wrapping it up let’s do some bean counting and talk value. Or at least, as much as one can possibly talk about value in relation to Hot Toys prices. Rey and BB-8 retailed for about $290 and should still be available at a lot of retailers. Rey is also available alone at $225, which compared to a pretty bare bones release like Princess Leia at $209, still costs out pretty well when you throw in all the extra stuff for the Scavenger costume as well as the lightsaber, staff, and pistol. Of course, that means that BB-8 represents around $65. He’s a great looking piece, he’s weighty, he’s got electronics, and he’s got some attachments. Even at about half the size and complexity of Sideshow’s R2, he feels like a much more finely crafted product. That having been said, I don’t think even Hot Toys would try to get that price for him alone, and hence the bundle. As a result, I wouldn’t call this set a great value, certainly not when you compare it to the Finn and Riot Trooper set that I’ll be looking at in a couple of weeks, but it feels like a solid value as far as Hot Toys figures are concerned. I would have been thrilled with Rey even if I got her alone, but I have no regrets about picking up the bundle. Now, I keep wondering what’s the hold up with Poe? We haven’t even seen him yet. I keep checking, and while I’m there, hovering over the Buy It button for Kylo Ren. Maybe that’s their evil plan.