Star Trek: Warp Factor Sisko, Dax, Chief O’Brien and Jem’hadar by Playmates

I spent some time digging some random shit out of totes today, and I came up with some figures that I had almost forgotten even existed. The Star Trek Warp Factor series. I still have fond memories from the 90’s of hunting down Playmates 3 3/4″ Trek figures, mostly from The Next Generation, but I had forgotten all about these larger scale figures and so I thought I’d take a look at some of them here today. My totes are really badly sorted, so lets just go with the random four I came up with: Captain Sisco, Chief O’Brien, Jadzia Dax, and a Jem’hadar.

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These figures come on pretty nice cards, although the cardbacks on these seemed to be really vulnerable to creases and… yep, warping. Ha! I own quite a few of these figures still on the cards and I don’ think there’s a really good one in the batch. The front does a good job of showing off what you’re getting and the back panel has a bio card for the character and a few pictures of other figures. If I recall correctly, this line cast its net far and wide across the corners of the Trek universe, and no franchise was spared getting the Warp Factor treatment.

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The sculpts on these figures are not bad at all, or at least not bad for Playmates standards. Let’s face it, most of their 90’s era Trek figures went more for a stylized look rather than realism and these figures are no different. I think Sisco’s sculpt is the best, they really captured his likeness well, and after that its a close race between O’Brien and Dax. I think Dax gets a little edge here because O’Brien’s noggin seems way too big. Either way, they’re all pretty good. The uniforms look good and I like how they took the time to sculpt O’Brien’s sleeves rolled up a bit. I do think they could have made Dax’s spots a little clearer. The Jem’hadar’s likeness is ok, but then he’s just a generic alien. He does have a cool tube coming out of his neck to pump in doses of that white shit that they were addicted to. It also looks like he has flowers molded on his uniform. Weird. Either way, I really hate this figure because  he’s pre-posed, but I’ll get to more on that in a minute.

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The articulation on these four are a really mixed bag. O’Brien and Dax come out on top. Their heads rotate, their arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps and have hinged elbows. Their legs rotate up at the groin, have swivel cuts in the thighs and are hinged at the knees. Not bad, not bad at all for figures of this vintage. Sisco is curiously missing a lot of the others aritculation, which is surprising. He’s got no arm articulation below the shoulders and no swivel cuts in the thighs. He looks really bad standing because his legs are pre-posed in a ridiculously wide stance. The reason here is so that he would look better sitting down (more on that in a minute) whereas neither Dax or O’Brien can be seated without spreading their legs really wide like they’re doing some kind of freaky yoga. Seems like you can’t have it both ways with these figures.

The Jem’hadar’s articulation is useless. He has all five points of articulation that a vintage Star Wars figure would have, plus a hinged elbow in his left arm. What the fuck? Why? If you’re going to put a hinge in one arm, why not the other? What’s worse is that his right arm is bent really tight and all I want to do is straighten it. He looks like he’s made to be holding a weapon that he didn’t even come with. Oh yeah, he can swivel at the waist, which none of the other figures can do. His legs are bent a little at the knees and one foot is bent so you can pretty much pose him in a slight action stance, but nothing else.

You would expect big figures like these to come with all sorts of cool gear, like tricorders and phasers, or disrupters, but no, Playmates decided to give each one a big accessory and stiff them on everything else. Sisco comes with his Defiant command chair, Dax comes with the Defiant’s helm station, O’Brien comes with an engineering station and the Jem’hadar comes with some weird control columns, which makes me hate him even more. Sisco’s chair is easily the best of the bunch, but it pretty much has to be since the only decent way to display him is sitting in it. But hey, at least he looks really great sitting in it. Its also made entirely of plastic and not some half plastic, half cardboard construct.

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Yeah, because Dax and O’Brien’s console stations involve you folding cardboard cutouts to make up their stands, which works ok, but still feels kind of cheap. And while O’Brien’s was easy to make, you practically have to be an Origami Wizard of the First Order to get Dax’s to come out right. Don’t get me wrong, the plastic portions of these consoles are very cool, especially with the beautifully detailed stickers applied to look like the controls. Although, I’m thinking the stickers should have come pre-applied because without them the carded figures look like they have random hunks of plastic next to them. Oh yeah, and keeping consistant with his shitty figure, the Jem’hadar’s consoles suck. They don’t even lock together or anything so they just wind up toppling all over the place. I hate this fucking Jem’hadar figure.

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I appreciate what Playmates was trying to do with these consoles, but using cardboard on part of them was just half assed. I would have rather either paid a few dollars more to get a proper console, or just got some fucking phasers and other shit instead. Remember the 3 3/4″ figures and how much shit they came with? Sure most of it was molded in some crazy color like neon orange or purple, but at least they had accessories. Dax and O’Brien would have been excellent if they had just come with some weapons and accessories. And with a little better tooling and articulation, Sisco would have been able to stand without looking like a total jackass. As a result, even the best figures of this bunch leave me disappointed. Still, I’m kind of intrigued now to check out some more of these.

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Masters of the Universe Classics: Battle Cat by Mattel

Matty made a lot of He-Man fans happy this month, while pissing off a whole bunch of them at the same time. That seems to be Matty’s superpower. That’s right, I’m talking about the release of Battle Cat. It was a figure that surprised many, angered some because it was not included in their subscriptions, and frustrated a whole lot of others to no end as they participated in the debacle to order him online back on the 17th. Oddly enough, I was able grab one without any problems, but I get the feeling I was in the minority. Whatever the case, Battle Cat arrived today, and he is a spectacular figure on almost every level.

I rarely give a crap about packaging, but Battle Cat’s presentation was really well done. Like all the other MOTUC figures, Battle Cat came in a white mailer, which was much bigger than I expected and dwarfed Trap Jaw’s little box that came in the same shipment. Inside the mailer we get a window box with a green stoneface motif similar to the cardbacks of the line. The back panel of the package shows off some of the other figures released (which you can’t buy anymore so it’s basically like a giant tease!) and features a bio-card for Battle Cat/Cringer. The box really showcases the figure remarkably well, and even I was ever so tempted to keep the packaging… for a few moments anyway before tearing into it like a wolverine to get at the goods inside. Getting him out of the box, two things instantly struck me: Damn, this guy is big and he has some serious heft to him.
Up until Battle Cat was announced, I really wasn’t expecting this figure or at least certainly not so soon, and so I didn’t spend a lot of time developing expectations. But even if I had, I think this release would have blown them all away. I would have expected some articulation, but this Battle Cat is so far removed from the static vintage original, it really is this MOTU fan’s dream come true. Each of Battle Cat’s legs feature three points of articulation, his neck is articulated, as is his tail at the base, and even his jaw opens and closes.

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I went with mentioning the articulation first, just because it really blew me away and its one of the best aspects of this update from the vintage piece, but the sculpt is equally amazing. The face, the fur, the proportions, everything about this beast just looks great. Unfortunately, the paint is notably chipped on my Battle Cat’s two right fangs, which is a letdown for a collector toy this expensive. Fortunately it is easily fixed with a little touch up, but this is the first time I’ve had any real quality control issues with my MOTUC figures. And even with the little paint hiccup, the sculpt is still damn impressive. I mean, they even took the time to mold the pads onto the bottoms of his feet! I love that!

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Battle Cat’s armor consists of two pieces: His helmet and his body armor and both are removable. The helmet actually just lifts off and when on it rests on the contours of his face. I think I would have liked a strap underneith, because the weight of the helmet does tend to push the neck joint down. It also has a habit of coming off when I’m playing around with him. I also think I would have liked it if they painted his eyes on the helmet, but then again it might have looked weird. I guess I’ll defer to Matty on that one. The body armor is molded in one piece and does have a strap that runs under Battle Cat’s stomach and snaps on the other side. The saddle is molded into the armor, and herein lies my only other gripe with the figure.

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Sure, He-Man can ride in the saddle, but he doesn’t look entirely comfortable. His ass doesn’t actually make contact with it and his legs look a little awkward hanging down. I think TFH might have been able to mold the saddle a bit better for a more comfortable fit, but in the end, the main problem here is that these figures probably weren’t designed with ride-on beasts in mind. Then again, it could be a scheme for Mattel to release yet another He-Man figure down the road with a more limber crotch to better mount his cat. Eww. That sounded all sorts of wrong. Granted, I’m being pretty picky here, and just a wee bit conspiratorial. THe truth is that He-Man can sit on the thing, and he does stay put pretty well, and he looks really majestic at it, too!

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With a lot of the MOTUC figures, I think we can all agree that calling them a good value would be stretching things a bit. Quite frankly, they are expensive. But I honestly think, when all is said and done, Battle Cat here was a pretty good value. At $35 (assuming I split the shipping between him and Trap Jaw), you get a lot of great figure here. He’s big, he’s hefty, he’s beautifully sculpted, amazingly articulated, and well, except for a few teeth, his paint apps are fantastic. This is a wonderfully crafted figure and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you MOTU fans from way back get a little misty eyed when first holding him.

One thing’s for sure, this line of figures never ceases to amaze me. And with that said, next time we’ll look at Trap Jaw.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Lockdown by Hasbro

Today I’m taking a look at Lockdown. I’m guessing a lot of you Transfans recognize him from the Animated line. Now, I never collected the Animated toys beyond two or three figures, but I always admired Lockdown’s car design when I saw him on the pegs. I’ve always had a thing for Decepticon cars and this one… well, this is one badass loking ride. Maybe the guys over the Transformers brand really dug him too because, somewhere along the line, Hasbro decided to give this figure a rebirth as part of the Revenge of the Fallen toys, and while its a strange idea to take a figure from another line and reinvent him, the result is a really awesome figure.

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Lockdown comes on the standard ROTF deluxe card. This may be the last wave of figures we see mounted on these cards, although the new ones shown at Toy Fair aren’t all that different. Why there’s a NEST sticker on the bubble, I don’t know as that should just be reserved for Autobots. Also, I usually don’t bother commenting on the little bio blurbs on the back, but in the case of Lockdown, I thought there were two interesting tidbits. First off, despite his Decepticon allegiance  he’s also a bounty hunter. Secondly, the bio lists Ratchet as being Lockdown’s main target. Ratchet? Who the fuck would put a bounty out on Ratchet? Did he give someone a bad lube job? Wow that sounds dirty. And how hard could Ratchet possibly be to capture? Strange stuff, indeed!

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I don’t know why I love Decepticon cars so much, but I have ever since the Stunticons were first introduced way back when. Lockdown’s car form is amazingly unique and distinctively Decepticon. He’s like one part vintage Corvette and two parts Road Warrior. The spoiler and elongated hood, and exposed engine give him a sleek muscular sportscar look, while the front scoop and copious helping of spikes make him something Mad Max would be happy to drive. The car’s body is brown with green two-tone accents. The windows and windshield are clear (always a plus in my book) with a red-orange tint and there’s a little gold trim on the ground effects and quad exhaust pipes. I really dig the spikes coming out of the wheels. The only thing I don’t care about on this car mode is some of the robot kibble scrapes bottom a bit when you roll it along. Maybe I just don’t have him locked down properly… HA!

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Lockdown is really easy to transform, once you figure out how to unlock his solid car mode. Once you do, wow, what a great robot form! His left arm is a claw and the engine attaches to his forearm as a gun. His right arm ends with a hook, which is cool, but both his hand and hook are soft rubber, which is kind of disappointing. His head is fantastic. He looks grim and almost zombie like and his head features double ball joints to give him an unprecedented amount of articulation for a figure this size. And speaking of size, Lockdown is probably the tallest deluxe class figure I’ve seen. Just as a point of comparison, the recently released Brawn figure barely comes up to Lockdown’s shoulders! And that’s with his chicken legs fully compressed.

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As great a figure as Lockdown is, I really don’t think he fits in the Revenge of the Fallen line. Besides being over-sized for a deluxe, he doesn’t quite have the same aesthetics of the ROTF figures. He almost looks like a cross between the Classics and movie lines and on that point, there’s something about him that makes me think of the G1 Junkions. It’s probably the non-symmetrical shoulders and the spiked tires he wears on his hips. Either way, it works for me!

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So, yeah… this was an interesting experiment on Hasbro’s part. I’m curious to see if they try this with some other Animated figures. Maybe dropping Ratchet’s name is a hint that the Animated Ratchet design could get some kind of similar retooling? As a stand alone figure, he’s really great and I highly recommend him, especially if you’re like me and skipped the Animated line as this gives you an opportunity to incorporate one of Animated’s coolest figures into your collection. In fact, even those collectors who are passing on the movie toys entirely may want to give this Con a second look.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Man At Arms by Mattel

I realize some of you Matty subscribers get pissed off when Matty reissues figures because you think it drives down the value of your original releases. That may be true, I haven’t researched it, but as someone who got into this line just at the tail end of last year, I am so happy that Matty is giving newcomers second chances at some of these figures. This month the re-issue figure  was Man At Arms, and despite some serious bugs in the ordering process, I was finally able to grab him and add him to my collection. And man, what an awesome figure he is!

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As expected, the body is completely recycled from He-Man only painted green with a blue belt and wrist bracers. Of course with all his armor he really stands out as a unique figure. His trademark orange armor consists of four pieces: A vest, a left shin guard, and two plates for his left arm. His chest and back piece is an amazing sculpt, with the hoses and wires on the front with some assorted paint apps. The back has a molded rolled up rucksack and clips to hold almost all of his weapons, which is just one of the things I love so much about this figure. Its also awesome that Mattel made his arm guard into two pieces so as not to interfere with his elbow articulation.
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Man At Arms comes with two interchangeable heads to solve the infamous mustache dilemma. They are essentially identical save for the mustache on one to make him more Filmation accurate, so you can decide whether you want to pay tribute to vintage figure or cartoon. Either way the sculpts are great, complete with blue helmet with orange trim. And if you’re curious, yes, I prefer the mustached Duncan. The heads pop on and off with no problems and they remain nice and tight when attached, so no bobblehead worries. Of course if you happen to have a lot of money lying around, you can always pick up a few extra Man At Arms to display with the non-mustached head as Palace soldiers. Personally, at $30+ per figure, army building in this line is a bit beyond my means.
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Like his adopted daughter Teela, Duncan comes with an embarrassment of accessories. Besides his extra head, he comes with a big orange mace, a silver short sword, a silver laser pistol and the 200x version of the Power Sword. Everything but the Power Sword can be stowed on his backpack, making him a walking arsenal. While the mace is a little bland, the sculpting on the other weapons is excellent, especially the Power Sword, which by the way is now owned by my previously swordless Battle Armor He-Man.

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I had really high expectations for this figure, and I’m happy to say he lived up to all of them. Even if I had to go the Ebay route and spend a lot more for him, I think he still would have been worth it. Obviously, he’s an important character, and Mattel certainly paid the proper respect to him with a lot of careful attention and extras. Between the awesome sculpting on his heads and armor, his slew of weapons and ability to store them, and the bonus sword for my BA He-Man, this figure is just plain awesome and a fantastic homage and update to the vintage original.

 

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Dune Runner by Hasbro

I’m really getting down to the bottom of the barrel on the current Transformers line. With so few new figures turning up I’ve found myself picking up ones that I’ve passed on a bunch of times just so I can get my fix. That’s not to say these are bad, its just that back when this line first came out I swore to myself I would be very selective, and now I own about 90 percent of the main line. So while out doing my weekly grocery run at Walmart the pickings in the toy aisle were so slim, I decided to pick up Dune Runner here, one of the last few figures I still don’t have. Let’s see what this little Scout Class Autobot is all about…

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Dune Runner is a military-style dune buggy. I think I passed on him before because he reminded me so much of that Deluxe class dune buggy that was released at the tail end of the first movie line. If I wasn’t motivated enough to get that guy, why buy this one? I want to say his name was Armorhide, but some of this movie stuff is just a big blurr to me. Either way, Dune Runner’s vehicle form looks like a cross between something out of GI JOE and Halo. But, like all of ROTF’s Scout classes, he’s packaged in robot form, so we’ll start there.

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Dune Runner has a pretty nice, complex and, super detailed robot form for a Scout Class figure. In fact, I think this guy could have been upscaled to a Deluxe and he would have gotten by just fine without any additional work. He has a nice clean, humanoid profile with the front of the vehicle becoming his feet, the roof forming his chest plate and the sides forming his arms. He has a slender gatling guns mounted on each shoulder and they’re mounted on double hinged arms so you can aim them all over the place. I absolutely love his little head sculpt. Its a great mix of classic and new design, complete with a blue visor for eyes and a cool helmet. The head seems like a Beachcomber homage. I don’t know if that was intentional, but it certainly fits since they’re both dune buggies.

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I really dig the coloring on this figure too. The buggy parts are all green, his inner parts and limbs are black and he’s got some pale blue, metalic blue, silver, gold and yellow trim. There’s just a ton of color on this figure, albeit mostly subdued military tones. He has military style ID numbers painted on his doors, a silver Autobot symbol on his chest and a NEST insignia. You know how a lot of times Hasbro will release preview photos of figures with all sorts of great paint apps that are ultimately cut from the final release to save cost? (*cough* Long Haul *cough*) Well, Dune Runner looks like all the initial paintwork was kept in for the final release.

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Articulation includes balljointed neck, shoulders and upper legs, double-hinged elbows and hinged knees, and as I already mentioned those arms that hold his gatling guns have three friggin points of articulation allowing for all sorts of great firing positions. Dune Runner can just as easily target Decepticons in the air as he can on the ground in front of him.

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His transformation is pretty straightforward, although his dune buggy mode isn’t entirely solid. Sometimes, I do have some trouble getting the doors locked in tight and other times it all comes together just fine. The detail and paint apps in his buggy mode are just as amazing as his robot mode. There are spotlights molded on the front bumper and above the windshield, tiny rivets everywhere and the gatling guns on the back are still poseable in lots of positions. Hasbro has even detailed it with molded shocks on the front and back wheels and tiny vents and exhaust pipes on the back. It’s incredible work for such a tiny vehicle.

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It just goes to show you, you never really know about a toy until you have it in your hand. I passed on this guy lots of times, and now that I own it, I have to say he’s probably the best Scout that Hasbro has turned out in years. I’m almost tempted to say he’s wasted on this small scale, but then there’s something so impressive about having a Scout class figure with this much detail, paint quality and articulation. Being a Scout also probably puts him in better scale with the Deluxe cars. If I was still a kid, I’d probably have this figure in my pocket all the time, he’s just that much fun. Great job on this one, Hasbro!

Doctor Who: 12-inch RC Dalek by Character Options

Dalek toys have been around since almost as long as the Doctor Who series itself. Yeah, it took decades for the longest running sci-fi show to get a respectable line of action figures, but all that while, the Daleks had their own good thing going, riding the gravy train of mass merchandising madness. Granted nearly all of this great swag was confined to Great Britain, and it was inconsistant at best with its share of really crappy toys. I know of the Dalek toy history exclusively from research and photos. I’ve never been lucky enough to own one until CO came along, unless you count the little loose Dapol Dalek I’ve had for a while. Either way, the wait was well worth it. Character Options is now turning out quality Daleks as well as all sorts of great Doctor Who toys and figures and this 12″ RC Dalek is just one of my many dreams that CO has made come true.

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Now, I will freely admit, the 12″ RC Dalek is not the ultimate in Dalek toys. No, there’s actually an 18″ motion sensor Dalek out there that probably trumps this toy in its awesomeness, but that’s ok. There’s time enough to track that one down too. Right now I’m here to bask in the glory of this guy.

I love CO’s packaging on these bigger toys, because its so in-your-face huge. Even if I wanted to display this toy in the box, there’s no way I could, it wouldn’t fit on any of my display shelves, but then even out of the box, the Dalek itself barely does. Besides being huge, the box is blindingly bright with its yellow-orange firey motif that I suppose is meant to simulate some kind of temporal vortex energy that could burn your face off. There’s lots of photos of both the toy and clips from the series, and some good blurbs. Its almost a shame to tear this box apart to get to my Dalek… almost.

Unlike the 12″ RC Davros, the Dalek isn’t actually screwed down to the packing so you won’t actually need tools to get it out. There are a shitload of twisty ties, though, but after a lot of twisting, shredding and mauling, I was left with a Dalek in front of me and about three pounds of wrecked cardboard at my feet. Getting the Dalek out for the first time was an awesome event indeed. I carefully inspected it to find that there were no quality control issues, no paint slop, nothing to gripe about. This guy was perfect. Few people outside of Whovians have ever even heard of Character Options, but Hasbro sure could take a lesson from them in terms of overall product quality.

Keep in mind that when we say 12″ Dalek, this is not a 1:6 scale Dalek, its actually bigger then that. Since a Dalek is a bit shorter than your average person, this Dalek will be out of place with any of the 1:6 scale Who figures you may already own. My 1:6 scale Cyberman looks scrawny in comparison. That may disappoint some, but I’m happier to have the bigger Dalek as a stand alone piece, even if it can’t interact with my other 12″ Doctor Who figures.

This version is the generic every day soldier Dalek. I say that beause its surprising how long it took me to find one. E-tailers seemed to all be offering the Supreme Dalek or the Imperial Guard Dalek or Dalek Thay, but all I wanted was a regular one. Its obviously based off the current series modern Dalek design, which I love because its so close to the original designs, only with lots more detail and the modern coppery gold color scheme looks great.

Without its electronics, the Dalek doesn’t do a whole lot. You aren’t supposed to turn his head or eye stalk because its hooked into the RC mechanics and you might fuck it up. Seriously, it says so right in the booklet. His sucker and blaster arms are on ball joints, though, and can be moved about. I was a little disappointed the sucker arm doesn’t extend, on a toy of this size, it really should have had a telescoping arm. You can, however, rotate his midsection independently of his head and skirt so that he can shoot at things behind him. This gimmick was first showcased in the episode “Dalek” but was never seen again.

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In “Try Me” mode, you can press one of the Dalek’s sensor globes and his eye will light up and he will speak one of his phrases while his “ear” lights light up with each syllable. Its fantastically done and very realistic. This is the mode I leave him in most often because i can get a quick threat out of him while walking by the display case, and it doesn’t drain his batteries too badly. My only gripe is that when he says Exterminate and it makes the sound of his blaster firing, his “ears” shouldn’t light up in synch with the blaster noise, only when he’s speaking. Minor gripe? You betcha, but that’s how awesome this toy is. Here’s a complete list of his quotes:

  • Multiple spectrum scanning now engaged!
  • Hault or you will be exterminated!
  • We are the supreme beings!
  • Seek, Locate, Annihilate!
  • Obey The Daleks! No other warning will be given!
  • You are an enemy of the Daleks.
  • Exterminate!!! [Blaster Fire Sound]

The remote control feature is actually pretty great. The control unit is almost identical to the Davros one, only its copper colored and has a different sticker in the middle with the Dalek’s phrases. It has a standard two-lever control system, and it works just like driving a tank. Throw both forward or back to move the Dalek in those directions. Mix it up to turn him around. Even though I hardly ever use the remote control features for my 12″ Davros, the Dalek is just more fun and I’m not sure why. When he’s on full On mode, his eye stays lit all the time and when you roll him forward or backward, his head rotates from side to side and his eye raises and lowers as if he’s searching for fools to exterminate. Oh yeah, don’t stare directly at his eye light, its bright as all fuck and it might burn your retinas. Seriously, it hurts!

I think the average MSRP for this guy on initial offering was $69.99. When he was first released he went for closer to $100 in the US by scalpers and importers, but now his price has cooled off a bit. I was able to get one for $39.99 and I was certainly plenty happy with that. Of course, he required me to reshuffle all my Doctor Who figure shelves to make room, but it was well worth it.

Terminator Salvation: Hunter-Killer with T-700 by Playmates

I’m not sure what will hurt the Terminator license more in the long run, the terrible movie that was Salvation or the fact that Playmates won the rights to produce the figures and toys. Either way, since the movie stuck with a lot of the traditional Terminator designs developed in the actually good movies, I was a bit interested in seeing some of these toys. Yeah, I realize these toys have come and gone from the shelves, but thanks to that bargain bin clearance toy graveyard known as Ross, I was able to grab a couple of these for next to nothing.

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If you are unfamiliar, the Hunter-Killer, is the VTOL aircraft used by Skynet to hunt down and kill humans. It was shown in flashbacks (or are those flash-forwards?) in Terminator and Terminator 2. The original prototype was also shown in Terminator 3. My first impressions is that this thing is pretty small, not for the 3 3/4″ scale, but for the original price tag. Seriously, Playmates? $24.99 for this thing? It must be pretty awesome when you get it out of the box. Hmm… doesn’t feel heavy enough to have diecast in it. Doesn’t say anything about batteries, so we know there’s no electronics.

See, the problem is that it isn’t pretty awesome. In fact, besides being small, its got a lot of other problems, the biggest of which is that its completely unpainted. Ok, now you can argue with me until the end of time as to whether or not this is how the vehicle was intended to look. I don’t care. The fact is that the package shows a metallic-silver toy. The box holds a vehicle that is simply unpainted brown plastic. I realize the toy clause, “actual product may differ from photos” and I also realize that at least they put it in an open window box, so you know what you’re getting, but this is re-god-damn-diculous. This is a fucking unpainted toy, plain and simple. We pay twenty-five bucks for this thing, and Playmates pockets the money they saved from not painting it? What a bunch of jerks!

Beyond that, the sculpt is actually very good, which is probably why the lack of paint pisses me off so much. There’s tons of detail in the hull plating and in the underlying wires and circuitry. If I ever get the ambition up and decide to spray this thing with a nice silver enamel paint, it will probably look unbelievable. As it is, its like taking a great looking Testers model kit and putting it together without any paint. It looks unfinished.

Besides the fact that at $24.99, Playmates should have been able to paint this toy and still make a huge profit, the Hunter-Killer doesn’t do a whole lot. The VTOL rotors rotate, which is cool. There are two firing missiles, which is ok, I guess. And the landing gear folds up. But apart from that, the only thing it does is have a hatch that opens to store a 3 3/4″ T-700 figure that comes with it. The figure sucks. Its made of bendy plastic, and like the Hunter Killer itself, the figure is completely unpainted and cast in the same brown as the HK. The sad thing is, that this is probably the exact same figure that they slap on a card and sell for $6.99. The fact that the figure goes into the HK makes me wonder whether Playmates knows a good goddamn thing about the franchise at all. The HK was a fucking machine, it didn’t need another machine to fly it. Unless, its just stored in there to deploy, which I think is pretty stupid too.

If you actually bought this thing at a store and at full retail, I really hope you had the backbone to take it back. Or at least put a brick in the box and toss it through a window at the Playmates, Inc. Home Office. [Disclaimer: FigureFan does not condone violence toward any person or corporate entity, any statements made to that effect are made purely for entertainment purposes only. Kids, don’t throw bricks! – DZ.] Its an insult to kids and toy collectors that Playmates can sell a blatantly unfinished toy. And even if it were the right color, the price tag is still way too high. Look at the GI Joe Bravo vehicles. They’re so much better and more substantial than this thing, come with much better figures, and they retail for under $20. Yes, I realize that Hasbro owns that license, but you can’t tell me that Playmates had to pay through the nose for Terminator, because frankly I can’t believe they could afford to.

That’s it. Deep breath and I’m done.

Star Trek: Hot Wheels USS Enterprise and USS Reliant by Mattel

I’ve always been a fan of the starship designs in the various Star Trek series, but the original films were always my favorites. Designs like the Motion Picture Enterprise, The Reliant, The Excellcior were all just so cool. Its obvious that the various toy companies who have held the Trek license over the years have had different ideas on how to market these massive vehicles and I can appreciate the problem. When they make them really big (like Playmates or Diamond Select has), they become pricey as well as difficult to collect and display, and apart from the lights and sounds, these ships don’t really do anything to make them exciting toys. Its not like they have any moving parts or firing missile launchers and there’s no way to make them in scale to interact with figures. On the flipside, in the 90s Micro Machines tried to shrink them and make them highly collectible, but in turn they lost a lot of their detail. Not to mention the bendy plastic meant storing them often resulting in the bad kind of warping. It was like Star Trek meets MUSCLE figures. There was the Johnny Lightning line, too, which was a pretty good size, but poor distribution made them almost impossible to find.

Well, here comes Hot Wheels, of all brands, to try their luck at the franchise with a small selection of collectible plastic and diecast metal ships. Hey, if Matchbox could make Voltron toys back in the day, why not Hot Wheels and Star Trek? The initial waves include the Original Motion Picture Enterprise as seen in the first three Trek movies, The Reliant, as seen in Wrath of Khan, the Enterprise-D, as seen in The Next Generation, and a Klingon Bird of Prey as seen in just about every film that had the Klingons in it. They are supposedly releasing one of the 2009 Movie Enterprise, and while I’ve yet to actually see it in stores, it has been up for sale at a few online retailers. The Romulan ship from the new movie is also scheduled as Coming Soon, but I’ll gladly buy anyone reading this an icy cold Coke if that ever happens. There’s simply no way that mess of a ship design could be rendered in plastic and diecast on this scale. It just wouldn’t work.So far, I’ve picked up both the Reliant and the Enterprise.

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All in all, I think the scale on these is about perfect. The Enterprise measures about five or six inches long, making them almost twice the size of the Johnny Lightning Starships. They’re just big enough to show off the finer details. The Enterprise’s primary hull is diecast and the rest is plastic, while the Reliant’s saucer section is diecast and the rest is plastic. The diecast is just enough to give these models some heft and the plastic used is quite good and sturdy and not cheap and bendy.

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There aren’t a lot of paint apps on these, but that’s because both ships are pretty uniform in color. The Enterprise does have some greyish blue near the deflector dish and where the nacelle struts enter the primary hull. I’m not a big fan of this two-tone as its not screen accurate, but it doesn’t look bad, either. Both ships have some paintwork on their warp and impulse engines and shuttle bays. The lettering and numbering on the hulls is inked directly on and it is clear and crisp.

The Enterprise and the Reliant are both in scale with each other, but that’s not the case with all the ships. The Bird of Prey seems a bit oversized, although to be fair, there were supposed to be various versions of that exact same design. The Enterprise-D, on the other hand is way out of scale with these two. It should be much bigger. This was a big deciding factor in me not picking up either of those ships.

All the ships come with plastic black stands with a Starfleet insignia. The stands connect with the ship with a ball and socket so that the ship can be positioned in a number of directions. Its a nice touch, but I’m not sure it was really necessary with ships this small, since you can easily pick them up, take them off the stand, or just move them around.

Ultimately, the only downside on these models is the price… $14.99 is just really, really steep. I realize diecast is expensive, and these are pretty nice models, but I just can’t equate one of these being worth fifteen bucks, and I think that sentiment will sink this line before it gets too big. In fact, I honestly doubt we’ll see any more of these released past the new movie Enterprise, as it seems like a lot of retailers are clearancing these out. I can’t say as I’d be devastated, since I’ve been picky in the ones I’ve purchased thus far, but it would be cool to see The Excelcior or the Constitution Class Enterprise released before the line dies.

Star Trek (2009): 1:6 Scale Captain Christopher Pike by Playmates

I don’t pull a lot of punches when talking about Playmates these days. Sure, their Ninja Turtles are awesome, and sure the 1990’s 3 3/4″ Star Trek figures were great for the 90’s and even today still have their special charm. But these days, generally speaking, they suck as an action figure company. I have, in the past given them some props when they deserved it, but nevertheless, they spend an awful lot of time at the business end of my whooping stick. Well, when Toys R Us started clearancing out their Trek figures, I decided to pick up one of the 12″ figures. I only wanted one, so I wasn’t going to get Sulu or McCoy, and Kirk was out because he looks like he has the head of a 13 year old boy. It came down to either Alpha Spock or Captain Pike. Considering Pike was more indicative of the series as a whole, as he had the Starfleet uniform and equipment, and seeing as how a Pike figure is a pretty unique item, I went with Pike. Imagine my surprise to find that this is a pretty nice figure.

Normally, I care nothing about packaging unless its an exclusive or a 12″ figure. I just like to put my large scale figures back in their boxes for storage and display. And with that said, Playmates has some very nice packaging for these 12″ figures. Its got a simple, nice big window to show off the figure, some photos and blurbs and the like. But I’ll be damned if this packaging didn’t piss me off as I tried to open it. Unlike any sane or rational company that has their boxes open from the top or bottom, these open from the side. Once open, you can slide the inner tray out and start cutting the figure free from the gaggle of twisty ties and clear rubber bands that hold him in. Even if you do get him out without damaging the package, you’ll soon notice that the stand is trapped under a sealed blister on the back of the tray. Bastards! I suppose I could cut it out with a razor, but considering Pike here will spend most of his downtime in the package, I’m leaving it in place for now.

Ok, so lets get the head sculpt out of the way. It looks pretty good… if only it were supposed to be someone other than actor Bruce Greenwood. Its a good sculpt on its own, there just really isn’t that much of a likeness. The graying paint apps around his sideburns are a nice touch, though, and actually the sculpted hair on the whole is pretty good. All the paint apps on my figure’s face are quite good, with no noticeable slop. This is certainly passable for a mass market release, but what does upset me a bit is that the sculpt on the figure is noticeably different than the one pictured on the back of the box. There’s no attempt at chicanery here, since you can clearly see what you are getting through the window, but obviously something happened between the initial prototype sculpt and the final figure. For a thirty dollar figure, I think they could have done a little better in this department. But at least it doesn’t look downright silly, like Kirk’s head.

The outfit is fairly simple but very good. His gold Starfleet shirt is very close to movie accurate, and complete with rank fringe and an insignia that are actually sewn in and not just stickers like some of Playmates previous 9″ scale Trek figures. The pattern on the shirt adds an authentic, quality feel to the shirt and while the black undershirt is faked by being sewn in around the collar, you could barely tell unless you were looking for it. The pants… I’m not too sure about. They’re brown, and I’m almost positive they are supposed to be black. I own the movie on Blu Ray, I should probably know this, but I’m sure someone out there can confirm or correct me on this point. The boots are rubber with some nice little details on them.

For a mass market figure, the articulation on this guy is not only excellent, but rather surprising considering it is a Playmates product. Its not quite at the same level of Mattel’s recent twelve-inchers used in their Ghostbusters and DC Movie Masters lines, but its close… oh so close. The main thing missing here are the floating plates that create enhanced shoulder movement in the upper chest. Now keep in mind, folks, Mattel’s figures retail for sixty dollars and Pike was half that price at his initial offering. Either way, I’m very happy with the articulation here, but then I don’t buy a lot of figures in this scale, so I may not be as picky as the next guy. His hands are molded to hold his equipment, and they do that quite well.

Pike isn’t loaded down with accessories, but he definitely comes with all the essentials. He has a phaser, a communicator, a utility belt that holds them both and can be removed, and a pegged figure stand in the guise of the Starfleet insignia. The phaser is absolutely fantastic. I have the Playmates prop roleplay toy for reference, and it really is like they shrunk it down for this figure to use. Obviously, there are no electronics or moving parts, but the sculpt and paint apps are excellent. The communicator is ok, but nothing special and it doesn’t open. For the price point, a tricorder would have been welcome, but I can’t recall him using one in the movie, so I won’t gripe too much.

With the general level of quality exhibited by this figure, its hard to believe its put out by the same company that did the shitty 3 3/4″ and 6″ Star Trek figures or pulled the now notorious, “fuck you, you’re never getting a complete playset” bridge scam. At the $30 price point, you are probably getting what you pay for. At the $14.98 clearance price, I feel like a got a great value. Its really too bad the head sculpt on the Kirk figure is so bad, otherwise I’d pick it up in a second at the discounted price, although I must admit, I’m really tempted to go back for either Alpha Spock or the Quinto version. Either way, its just really cool to have a Captain Pike figure in my collection.

Wonder Woman: Donna Troy and Circe by DC Direct

And I’m back to wrap up my look at DC Direct’s Wonder Woman figures. If you read the last entry, than you already know how impressed I was with the first two figures in this series. Despite less than stellar levels of articulation Wonder Woman and Agent Diana Prince were both awesome figures. Today let’s find out if the last two ladies in the line, Donna Troy and Circe, hold up. Let’s start out with Donna Troy as Wonder Woman.

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Drawing from a story arc where Diana retired and her sis, Donna took over the golden lasso as Wonder Woman we get a really cool new take on the Wonder Woman outfit. Donna is wearing a full set of Amazon armor, which is absolutely striking and still manages to show off some skin. Unlike her sis’ more colorful outfit, Donna’s is gold, brown and silver, with some antiqued coppery pieces thrown in. Her gold plated boots reach up to just below her knees, where she has a pair of sculpted knee plates. Her thighs are bare but she has a sort of skirt made up of soft plastic faux-leather strips similar to what is often depicted on gladiator armor. She has a one-piece very similar in sculpt to her sister’s, but it is most definitely not a reuse of parts as besides the gold and silver paint apps, its got subtle unique differences. She has two silver bracers, two black bands around her bicepts, elbow guards to match her knee guards, and a pair of ornately sculpted pauldrons on her shoulders. She has a molded, soft plastic cape down her back, red on the outside and with a white lining. Also noteworthy, the knee and elbow guards are separate pieces that clip into the hinges of her joints and thus are designed to be removable. She also has a hook to hold her lasso. Suffice it to say, the sculpting on the armor is amazing and the mix of metallic gold and silver against the antiqued pieces really make for a great looking figure.

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The head sculpt here is a knock out. Its decidedly different then her sister’s, but still drop dead gorgeous. The immaculate paint apps on her eyebrows, eyes and lips are stunning and her molded black hair is a little shorter than her sisters, allowing for better neck articulation.

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And speaking of articulation, Donna has the exact same 11 points as her sister. That’s a rotating neck, ball joints in the shoulders with only limited lateral movement, hinged elbows and knees, legs that move up and down at the pelvis, and swivel cut wrists. Donna benefits from being sculpted with absolutely no preposing, so her points of articulation are far more useful then the two Diana figures, and her cape is small and flexible enough so as not to get in the way.

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Donna comes with three accessories: A sword, a gilded cord lasso and the same round stand that came with the two Dianas. Her sword is straight edge broadsword with a sculpted eagle crossguard and a big spherical pommel. It can be held in her right hand hand and her left hand is sculpted into a fist. The lasso is the same that came with Wonder Woman. Donna can also hold her coiled lasso in her useful hand, but there’s nowhere to hang her sword on her person.

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Next up is the evil sorceress Circe. This figure is a great contrast to the bright and shiny colors of the previous three figures. She’s dark and nasty looking, but no less beautiful. Circe is wearing a nearly all black outfit that includes boots and leggings, which appear to be one piece, and a bustier with antiqued sculpted breast plates. She’s also got arm-length black gloves and a long flowing purple cape that is molded as if blowing off to her left side. While no doubt darker, Circe’s outfit has some excellent sculpting and even makes use of both matte and shiny black finishes to make her outfit a bit more dynamic. The only thing I don’t like is the blotchy mess on her front. I think its supposed to be an ornamental belt buckle, but it honest to god looks like either someone threw up on her, or she dumped her omelette into her lap while eating breakfast this morning.

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Her face sculpt is pretty, but her expression and pupiless eyes clearly show her to be evil. So, I guess that makes her pretty evil… zing! Once again the paint apps to her face are applied with laser like effectiveness. Her long red hair is sculpted blowing to the side in line with her cape, which some people will no doubt take issue of.

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Circe has the same articulation as Donna, but in this case, a good deal of it is pretty useless. Her cape interferes with some of her leg articulation, and the fact that is sculped blowing off to the side, it really limits what you can do with her in terms of convincing stances. Her arm articulation, however, is still appreciated and interestingly enough, she does have more lateral movement at the shoulders than all the other figures. Its just the sculpted hair and cape that make this figure seem more like a statue than the other ladies.

Circe comes with the same stand as the other three figures in the series, which really must piss her off, what with having to stand on something that advertises her mortal enemy. She also comes with a little sickle-type knife that fits snugly into her left hand.

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And that wraps up the DC Direct Wonder Woman line. At some corners of the net, these figures still go for a pretty penny, but hunt enough, and you can also find them at amazing deals. If you are buying them ala carte, Wonder Woman tends to command the most at around $15-20. The other three can easily be had for under ten. Try to get them in a complete set like I did, and you’ll probably be averaging $10-13 per figure when you factor in shipping. Whichever way you decide to go, you really can’t go wrong with these lovely ladies in plastic.