Marvel Universe: Spider-Man and Green Goblin by Hasbro

I’ve had a real love-hate relationship with Hasbro’s Marvel Universe line. The figures are awesome and the fact that they’re now 3 3/4″ and in scale with so many of my other collections is nice bonus too. So what’s to hate? The fact that I can’t buy them anywhere in my area.

Target is always out of stock and Walmart still hasn’t finished their toy reset from August and have absolutely ZERO Marvel or DC figures, apart from the 15 pegs of the same three Iron Man 2 figures. Toys R Us? It’s so far away, that I’m lucky if I get there once a month. The result is that I have to go online to buy these things, and they are damned expensive when you go that route, especially when you factor in shipping. It’s not uncommon to have to plunk down $10-15 for a single figure, plus shipping, and that’s just ridiculous.

Still, I had managed to collect about a dozen of the single carded figures and the much easier to find Secret Wars comic two-packs, before getting so frustrated I called it quits. Unfortunately, the recent releases have brought me back and I’ve been making up for lost time and trying to pick up the figures that I missed out on. It’s been a good week, as I’ve picked up seven figures in the last couple of days and over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be pushing to get all caught up, starting with some of the figures that I’ve had kicking around for a little while.

So, today I thought I’d kick off Marvel Universe week with a look at Spidey and Green Goblin. I picked up both of these figures a while ago, so I don’t have any in package shots. Suffice it to say the card styles for MU haven’t changed much. Each figure came with a Top Secret envelope with a filecard and a little letter. As these were relatively early releases, neither figure came with a display stand [curse you and your stingyness, Hasbro!!! -FF], although Green Goblin’s sled makes for a good substitute.

Spidey is simply fantastic, and this guy remains one of my favorites in the MU line so far. Hasbro could have easily gotten by with a generic body and a good paintjob, but they went the extra mile with the sculpt and give Spidey a lot of personality. Most notably, the web design on his suit is sculpted in, as are the spider emblems on his chest and back, and his eyes. His right hand is sculpted with two fingers out in web shooting position, and his left hand is in a fist. The elongated neck and ball joint system looks fine from the front, but it looks a bit odd from the sides. It’s just an oddity that goes Hasbro’s current 4″ figure bodies.

The paint apps consist of gloss for the red parts with a two-tone blue matte for the rest. The contrast is nice and when combined with the black linework on the web and spider emblems, the color on the figure really pops. There’s a tiny bit of slop here and there on the linework, but considering the scale, it’s still an exceptional paint job.

Spider-Man has 19 points of articulation: He has a ball jointed head. His arms have universal shoulder joints, swivels in the biceps, hinged elbows and swivels in the wrists. He has a balljoint in his chest and a swivel in his waist. His legs feature universal hip joints, double hinged knees and ankles with swivels and hinges. There’s no doubt Hasbro packed a lot of articulation into this small scaled figure, but I’m still not convinced that the double knee joints they introduced with the GI JOE 25th Anni. figures are all that much of an improvement over a regular hinge.

Spidey came with one accessory: A strand of web that plugged into his arm. I didn’t like it, and I relegated it to some random accessory baggie a while back, so I coudn’t include it in the photo.

On the flipside is Norm Osborne, aka Green Goblin and the sculpt here is really amazing. The green on his arms and legs are textured and his head sculpt is wonderful, complete with bug eyes, big ears and an overall disturbingly bizarre expression like a green man-rabbit on crack. His fringed boots, gauntlets and jester hat cap off the overall look of the figure wonderfully. The paint apps are pretty simple here. He’s got gloss purple on his outfit, gloss green on his head, and a matte green for his arms and legs.

Goblin has the exact same points of articulation as Spider-Man, although my figure has a few issues worth noting. His ankle hinges are really stiff, and I’ve only managed to get one to work, the other is starting to stress the post, so I’ve given up on attempting to get it to work for fear of breaking it off. He also doesn’t have a lot of range of movement in his hips, and the ball joints are apt to pop out if you try to make his pose too exaggerated.

While Spider-Man came up short in the accessories department, his counterpart has some cool toys of his own. Goblin has a separate brown shoulder bag, a bright orange pumpkin bomb that pegs into his left hand, and his sled. The sled is a really nice bonus, since he didn’t come with a stand. There are two stirrups to slide his feet into and he can stand on it very securely.

I won’t deny that I’m a huge Spidey fan, and that goes a long way in making these two of my favorite figures. But then it also made me less forgiving of these two then I am on some of the other Marvel characters. So it goes a long way for me to say how much I love the way this pair turned out.

 

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Nightmare on Elm Street: 3 3/4″ Freddy Krueger by Mezco

Ok, I’m already over Halloween. Why? Because I have to spend Halloween night setting up Christmas displays. So, kiddies, just one more horror-themed entry before I’m ready to move on to next week’s agenda. Today we’re looking at one of Mezco’s short-lived Cinema of Fear series of 3 3/4″ slasher movie icons. Mezco turned out three different figures in this series: Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and our good friend, Freddy, which we’re looking at today. I’ll be perfectly honest, the biggest draw for me was to actually get a Freddy figure in this scale. Maybe I envisioned a time when GI JOE would finally defeat Cobra and have to take on The Bastard Son of A Thousand Maniacs. Maybe not. But we’ve never had him in this scale before, so it’s certainly a curiosity.

The packaging here is as no frills as you can get. Freddy comes mounted on a simple bubble with a tiny generic card suitable for little more than hanging it from a peg. There’s a blood splattered sticker on the bubble to specify the figure included. The back panel shows photos of the three figures. Mezco obviously wasn’t concerned about presentation on this one. It’s serviceable at best.

The sculpting here is a bit odd. It’s not quite realistic and not quite a caricature. Let’s just call him stylized. His feet seem kind of big and his legs are a disproportionately short for his torso and arms, and he’s in a permanently hunched over position. Other then that, his body type is pretty good, as he’s appropriately lean and his trademark glove is spot-on awesome. The head sculpt is ok, but definitely a bit on the goofy side. It also obviously scared the shit out of my camera, because I could not bring it into focus to save my life. It’s certainly not Robert Englund in makeup, but it’s still pretty obvious as to who it’s supposed to be. Freddy has bulging eyes and a demented looking grimace and his hat is also removable.

The paint job is passable, although the arms of Freddy’s sweater aren’t striped, which seemed like a pretty big oversite to me. His trousers have some added brushwork on them to make them look dirty.

Besides his hat, Freddy comes with a nice bloody figure stand and a… garbage can lid? It’s admittedly been a while since I’ve seen the original Elm Street films, but back in the day I watched them like a junkie, and I still can’t figure out why they would give him a garbage can lid as an accessory. He can’t really hold it either. Odd.

Freddy has pretty good articulation for a figure in this scale. He has balljoints in his neck, shoulders and hips. He’s got hinged knees and elbows, a hinge in his left wrist and a swivel in his glove hand, which can also easily popped off. It’s not up to snuff with Hasbro’s modern figures in this scale, but it’s not too shabby either and you can certainly get Freddy into some nice poses.

I’ve wanted this figure for ages, but he was impossible to find in my area, and I didn’t find a good deal on him on the Interweb until last week and even then he set me back about $12.99, which is no doubt a premium for a figure in this scale. I was actually fairly disappointed upon first opening him, mainly because of the stylized nature of the sculpt, but he has since grown on me quite a bit. Still, I guess you have to be a pretty big Elm Street fan to justify buying this little guy.

Doctor Who: Werewolf by Character Options

I suppose I could have culled any number of monsters from my Doctor Who collection as good filler for a Halloween entry, but there’s one in particular that just really grabbed my attention and that’s the Werewolf from the Series 2 episode, Tooth and Claw. Werewolves in the movies are a tricky thing. Everyone has their own interpretation of what they might look like, and depending on how good your design is and how good the special effects budget is, a Werewolf can either be really cool or completely suck. The beastie in Tooth and Claw was definitely really cool, and this figure does it every justice.

Sorry, no in-package shot of this figure, but he came on the older style cardback that Character Options used for the earlier releases, and if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. There isn’t a lot to it, and the cardback itself is completely generic with only an illustrated paper insert in the bubble to individualize the package to the figure. The one nice thing about this older style of packaging is that you didn’t need a hacksaw to get the figure out like you do with the newer clamshells.

Stop laughing, you sickies… that’s his tail!

The werewolf is a pretty big figure, although I suppose it depends a lot on how you display him. He can stand upright and in this stance he towers above most of the regular sized Who figures. But he has a lot of lupine characteristics to his structure, so he’s perfectly fine with standing on all fours too. Either way he looks great, although his head joint could have used a bit more upward movement to make his wolf-posture a little more convincing.

The sculpt is really excellent, although his exposed joints do interfere with the quality a bit. I do think there could have been a bit more fur sculpted on him, as he tends to have a smoother look to a lot of his skin. Still, I absolutely love the head sculpt. The detail on the mouth is amazing, complete with intricately detailed teeth and tongue with high gloss paint apps to round out the whole package. The appearance is genuinely viscious. There aren’t a lot of other paint apps on the figure, although you can see some bluish veins running across parts of his body.

His articulation is fantastic. The head is ball jointed. The arms have universal jointed shoulders, hinged elbows and hinged wrists. The legs are universal jointed at the hips and have two hinges, one in his knee and one again in his reverse doggie knee, and a third hinge in the ankles. He’s also got a ball joint in his waist. You can really get some great poses going with this guy.

The crazy thing about this figure is that he was a real pegwarmer. At least he would have been if Doctor Who figures could actually be found on pegs in this country. I’m not sure if it was because he was just a one-off monster or perhaps some people didn’t care for the episode. I realize he wouldn’t be as popular as a Dalek or Cyberman, but this is a figure that should have sold well on his merits alone.

Even though he’s an older figure (long in the tooth? HA!), he’s still available at a lot of Doctor Who figure e-tailers. I remember paying about $7.99 for mine, and you can probably do even better than that if you shop around. So you can really afford to buy a whole pack. And even if you aren’t a Doctor Who fan, this is still a really great generic Werewolf figure to have, if you happen to be in the market for one. And hey, it’s almost Halloween, so why wouldn’t you want a Werewolf figure?

 

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 1:6 Scale Leatherface by McFarlane

I wanted to do a few things for Halloween week. I mean, I’m already going to watch a different favorite horror film every night this week and eat half of the bag of bite-sizes Snickers that I bought for the trick-or-treaters, but I aslo wanted to throw out some Halloween themed toy reviews. Unfortunately, I don’t have all that many horror themed figures, which kind of surprised me, since I’m such a fan of the film genre. Once upon a time I had a whole bunch of McFarlane’s horror creations, but not so much these days. So I figured, I’d just do what I can. Let’s go right for the jugular, with the biggest and most impressive horror piece I have left. McFarlane’s giant tribute to Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

I’ve had this guy for quite a few years now, so the packaging is long gone. I do remember it came in a huge window box, which I probably would have saved. But this figure, or statue if you prefer, usually gets tossed into a storage tote along with my assortment of spook-decor after Halloween is over. I tend to give McFarlane a hard time because they spent a long time trying to pass off semi-articulated statues as action figures, but this 1:6 scale Leatherface is standing proof that McFarlane new how to craft a great looking statue… er, figure… whatever.

The figure itself is simply amazing. All too often, we’re used to seeing these large scale statues turn out to be just soft, hollow rotorcast. Not Leatherface, here. He’s a hundred percent solid plastic. If I threw Leatherface at your head, it would most certainly hurt like a bastard. He’s got all the heft of a nice chainsaw. Although his shirt and apron are actually separate rubbery plastic, which you can feel come away from the core body. Every inch of this sculpt is pure love. The skin mask almost looks like it’s removable, and there are a ton of wrinkles in his shirt, apron and trousers. Even the rings on his fingers are present, and of course, Leatherface is classy enough to wear a necktie along with his mask made out of human skin. It’s just an all around freakishly great likeness. The chainsaw is pretty huge and it is fully removable from Leatherface’s hand. It’s also chock full of detail, especially around the blade and the controls on the handle.

The paint apps are nothing to sneeze at either. Granted, this isn’t a bright and cheery figure, but there’s a ton of excellent detail work. The individual stripes on his shirt are painted on, and the wash on his mask, particularly around the eye holes is fantastic. The dried blood on the chainsaw is just the icing on the gore cake. There could be some slop here and there, but truthfully, this guy is so nasty, how would you even know?

As expected with McFarlane, this figure has just a few points of articulation. His head can turn and he has swivel cuts on each arm. He’s basically designed to be holding the chainsaw aloft in one hand, although you can have it facing outward or turn it back in toward himself. I think I would have preferred him holding it in both hands, or perhaps even above his head like he’s doing his trademark chainsaw dance. But this is still a decent enough stance.

McFarlane also went all out with the backdrop. Leatherface comes with a base that is nicely sculpted and littered with bones and an old rusted skinning knife. There’s a gallows that towers above him, which comes with a couple of hooks and a winch with a real tattered looking piece of twine rope. There’s a nice delapidated wood grain texture on the gallows, and it just adds a ridiculous amount of height to this whole display. Oh yeah, the set also comes with an extra severed arm that you can place whever you like, or just save it for later to snack on.

I seem to recall Leatherface retailing for around $29.99. At least that used to be the price point of these bigger McFarlane pieces. I’m pretty sure I got this guy at Spencer Gifts during one of their post-Halloween sales and I don’t think I paid more than $15 for him. Either way, he’s well worth the money. A lot of work went into bringing this guy to life.

In retrospect, it’s funny I own this and not a big Jason or Freddy Krueger, because Leatherface is my least favorite of the Big Three of slasher horror icons. Of course, that’s probably a compliment, since I can sit back and laugh at Jason and Freddy’s antics, but the Texas Chainsawmovies are just fucked up and uncomfortable to watch. And that’s what true horror should be about. Either way, the reason I hung on to this as long as I had is because it’s just so damn impressive and no doubt an example of some of McFarlane’s finest work, before they turned into a company that now seems content to just churn out sports and Halo figures. Sigh.

Doctor Who: TARDIS Playset (Series 5) by Character Options, Part 2

So, the tension and recriminatinos are over. The playset is assembled. How is it? Pretty darn cool. CO managed to capture a lot of this new console room’s crazy architecture and multifaceted mystery with the use of some plastic and cardboard really well. It’s scaled pretty well for the figures, although it is by no means an actual recreation of the dimensions from the show’s set. For example, there’s significantly less room on the deck around the console. My guess is that CO was more interested in showing off the vertical, multilevel orientation of the new console room. Still, everything is pretty well represented.

One of my favorite things about the set is the way the console deck is raised and has all the space underneath. The 9th and 10th Doctors spent a fair amount of time in the crawlspace under their console, but that playset was designed with the console sitting on the floor. Here, you can actually have The Doctor tinkering underneith it all. The swing is also present, although the instructions contain a strange line about it being where The Doctor goes to contemplate things. In reality, it’s just a place for him to sit while performing maintenance on his sentimental old thing. The crazy curving floor is nicely recreated with the cardboard backdrop, and there’s actually a staircase that leads down to this area.

In fact, there are a lot of staircases in this new console room. It’s definitely not K9 accessible, unless like the Daleks, he’s overcome his inability to climb stairs. Most of these staircases just lead off to nowhere, so where they go is up to your imagination. One of the biggest liberties CO took with the layout of this console room is the relationship of the external doors. Here, they’re illustrated on the cardboard wall, along with the ubiquitous coat rack, on a lower level. In the show, the doors are orientated a lot closer to the flight deck. I do wish the giant viewscreen on the wall was better implemented. It’s the one The Doctor used to talk to the Dalek ship in Victory of the Daleks. The illustration on the wall for this feature is sort of just tucked in the side.

Naturally, the console is the most detailed piece of the set. I really love the way it extends above and below the deck, as it really conveys the idea that there’s some great mechanism at work here. The console and Time Rotor shaft can easily be removed from the playset as one piece.


The console is well represented, especially considering how many tiny bits of junk are on the actual prop. CO did a fine job shrinking it all down to this scale while still maintaining the highlights of the detail. The typewriter is there, along with the wiper fluid resevoir, handbrake, bell and the phonograph speaker. There’s even a socket to insert the Sonic Screwdriver. Each of the console panels are clear plastic laid over wires and circuitry to give the controls a more complex look.

The Time Rotor is the one thing I’m not terribly keen on in the new console room design, but it’s still recreated here really well right down to the blown glass interior. Nothing inside the Rotor moves, but it does look nice. The viewscreen, on the other hand, can be rotated around the console to face in any direction.

The real controversy over this set was CO’s decision to leave out the electronic lights and sounds featured in the previous console set. It’s an understandable sticking point considering that this set is roughly about the same retail price as the earlier electronic one. I won’t deny that I’m disappointed. Even a sound chip in the console with the familiar VROP VROP of the engines would have been nice. When you get down to it, as impressive a piece as this set is, it’s hard to see where all the $65 went. But chances are, if like me, you grew up starved for Doctor Who toys when you were a kid, you won’t balk too much at the price.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no buyer’s remorse. I would get it again in a second. It’s simply awesome. But while the playset is very solid, I don’t think it would survive very long as an actual playset. In other words, if I was a kid, I would probably end up beating the hell out of this thing. So if you get one, be sure to keep it pristine, because I don’t think there will be many of these in great shape ten years down the road.

Doctor Who: TARDIS Playset (Series 5) by Character Options, Part 1

It’s a crying shame, but US toy companies don’t believe in making playsets anymore. There are still exceptions, and some companies, like Hasbro, have managed to blur the line between vehicles and playsets to throw us a bone now and then, but it sure ain’t like the good old days. Thankfully, our friends across The Pond at Character Options haven’t given up on the playset yet. A few years back they gave us an amazing playset based off the 9th and 10th Doctor’s TARDIS console room, and now they’ve done it again for the 11th Doctor. Granted, this time around, CO had to scale back on the bells and whistles (not to mention the lights), but the result is still a really cool piece.

It should also be noted that the TARDIS console room’s design for Series Five has been met with some mixed emotions by fans. It’s different, it’s multistoried, and it seems to defy logic and reason. But above all, it could not have been simple to design and build a playset based off of its M.C. Escher meets Doctor Seuss environment and I think CO did a remarkably good job translating it.
Pardon my carpet, but I couldn’t get a good shot of the box against my usual neutral backdrop. The playset comes in a fairly sizeable box that does nothing to hint at just how big this set is when completed. It’s nicely illustrated with plenty of photos of the playset complete and displayed with and without figures. I was expecting a window-box with at least the console set up, but once I looked at the mess of parts inside the box I saw that such a presentation would have been impossible. Still, CO makes no bones about showing you what you’re getting on almost every panel of the box.
I suppose I could have taken a few snaps of all the parts laid out and ready for assembly, but I think this shot does it just as much justice.

Holy shit. It looks like they just poured the parts in there. If you bought that second hand at a toy convention, you bet your ass you’d want to dump it out and check out all the pieces first. It’s a pretty scary site, considering how much there is to assemble and the fact that a good amount of this playset is made up of delicate cardboard backdrops and floor panels. In fact, it’s impossible to overstate how important it is to be careful taking this set out of the box. One misstep, one bad crease, and you could be looking at a disfigured console room. The transparent floor is particularly thin and comes in its own baggie, which could easily be discarded if you aren’t paying attention. This playset really is like a trip back in time to the old 1970’s Mego Planet of the Apes or Star Trek sets where plastic and cardboard collide. And even those sets usually used heavily lamenated cardboard. It’s delightfully nostalgic, but at the same time, it could be unbelievably disappointing for someone who isn’t expecting it.

And therein leads me to mention a bit about the assembly process. In retrospect, I should have taken a Xanax before doing it, because I was seriously nervous about screwing up. It’s a pretty unforgiving assembly and the instructions could have been a lot better. There are over a dozen pieces that make up the console room’s structure. The floor and the walls all require you to carefully lay in the cardboard and secure it under tabs. It’s very difficult to do without mangling the edges, but with patience and care, it comes together just fine. The design is actually ingenious at parts, the way the plastic framework supports the cardboard. The end result feels a lot sturdier than it has any right to be, and everything locks in really well. You can easily move the set once it’s completed, without worrying about it falling apart. Still, there are some edges of the cardboard that aren’t reinforced by plastic, so the potential for crunched edges or corners is there. It would have been cool to have some long plastic edging to cap off these panels.

Now that it’s all together and sitting proudly (and safely) up on a pedestal in my Library, I’m going to breath a sigh of relief and have a stiff drink to calm my nerves. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a detailed look at the playset and all its different goodies.

Transformers Animated: Optimus Prime by Hasbro

Concluding my Trifecta of Cheap Animated Transformers from Ross is my look at Voyager Class Optimus Prime from the TF: Animated series. Even before I started buying any of these Animated figures, I was pretty sure I would wind up with Prime here sooner or later, as the one constant display in my Den is a shelf with all my Optimus Primeseses. For a while I was content with just displaying the smaller Activators Animated Prime, and until I get a bigger shelf, he’ll have to continue to represent Animated in my Prime display. I simply have no room on the shelf left for this bigger version. I made the faux pas of shredding the package before taking a shot of it, so I’ve got no In-Package picture for you. Suffice it to say, the figure comes boxed in his truck mode and looks really nice amidst the bright colors of the box. The back shows the toy in both modes and has some assorted facts about Prime’s character. Animated Prime seemed to me to be more influenced by G1 Rodimus in his overall archetype. He was a bit of a loser who didn’t want the job, but he eventually stepped up and turned out OK in the end. Let’s start with his alt mode…

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Prime’s truck mode is a bit at odds with the cartoon. He looks like a truck cab with a light bar on top and a little gun sitting on the back. In the cartoon he seemed to vacillate between being a full fledged fire truck and something more like this toy form. Then again, I’m no expert as I’ve only seen a smattering of episodes. Either way, the discrepancies don’t really bother me as I like this toy’s alt mode a lot. He has a creative and super-stylized look and the red, blue, and gray colors look great and give this new design a familiar feel. The extra yellow paint hits on the bumper and the recessed head lamps are a nice touch. Unfortunately, my figure has a tiny bit of paint chipping on the front, though.

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As with Lugnut, converting Prime requires you to remove a fairly sizable piece from his back. These become his axe and gun. Some may cry foul and parts-forming and all that jazz, but I’m cool with it because they come off to become weapons. Unfortunately, I’m just not a big fan of these weapons, but I’ll get to those in a bit. Bottom line here is that the engineering on this toy doesn’t stray too far from Prime’s toy roots. The hitching area becomes the legs, with all four wheels cleverly packing into the ankles, and the arms and head all fold out from the cab.

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Nonetheless, I’m surprised at how much I love this Prime’s robot mode. It helps that it is nowhere near as exaggerated in proportions as his animated counterpart. He’s definitely got some stylized deformation going on, but it’s not as extreme as I thought it might be. The proportions are pretty good and articulation is serviceable. The coloring is beautiful with that same classic Prime red, gray and blue that we saw in the alt mode. There’s even a little more of that yellow to make him pop. I really like the circuit etching behind his windshield, too.

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Prime’s head features a classic-style mouth shield, which can drop down to display a regular mouth, which is more in line with his animated counterpart. It’s a pretty spot on likeness for the Animated look.

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As mentioned, Prime comes with two weapons: His axe and gun. The gun is kind of dopey and doesn’t look like it’s really designed to be held. Apparently it can be filled with water and squirted to further the idea that he’s supposed to be some kind of firetruck. Meh.

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The axe is ridiculously huge, ungainly and doesn’t look too good to me. Then again, I’m guessing kids will love it.

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Despite the goofy weapons, I still really like this Optimus Prime more than I have any reason to. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I like to display the various versions of the character, and this guy certainly adds to that diversity. It’s a beautiful blend of stylized new ideas with the tried and true design that I’ve known and loved since I was a kid. And speaking of which, I’m guessing that kids who are fans of the show will probably adore this figure as he captures the character pretty well. Either way, I’m pretty glad I picked him up.

*This Feature was updated with new photos on 6/12/16.

Star Wars: Jabba’s Throne by Hasbro

When I unloaded the bulk of my Star Wars collection a few years back one of the few things that really bothered me was letting go of all my figures from Jabba’s Palace. I had almost all of them and no matter what, even when I was phasing out of Star Wars, I always had this part of my collection display on a shelf, huddled around my 2004 Saga Collection Ultra Jabba. When the Great Liquidation came, some lucky SOB got to take the whole thing away in one fell swoop on Ebay, but I got a really good price and everyone was happy. Every now and then rumors would come out about Habsro making a new Jabba and throne and I really hoped that wasn’t going to happen, because it meant that a) I would buy it, and b) I would have to rebuild my whole collection of Jabba’s denizens again. Well now it happened. Shit.

I took a little consolation in knowing that this set was a Walmart exclusive [seriously, Hasbro? A release this important and it’s a Walmart exclusive? First complete Jabba set since the original and you don’t think it needs a wide release? Sometimes, you really suck! -FF] and I had little chance of ever seeing it on the shelves, and I was unwilling to pay the ridiculous Ebay scalper prices on it. Nonetheless, I bookmarked the perpetual Sold Out page on Wally’s website and checked it now and then, and ultimately hit paydirt. I guess my timing was pretty good, because it was Sold Out again about an hour later.

The packaging is a simple box with a window to show off the Oola figure. It’s colorful, it looks nice, but I just really don’t like getting Original Trilogy toys in Clone Wars themed boxes. Slide out the tray inside and you see Jabba, his throne and a couple baggies of parts. What’s missing? I think Hasbro missed out on a great opportunity to include one of those “package converts to a diorama” gimmicks that they’ve been doing with Star Wars and GI JOE lately. A cardboard backdrop for this set would have been really awesome.


So, let’s start with loathesome worm gangsta himself. I absolutely love this Jabba sculpt! It seems unfair to pick on the vintage one, but so far all the Jabbas that have come and gone have all seemed a little off. Not quite right. Kinda meh. This one really nails the character really well, particularly the face, complete with droopy eye and all. Jabba is admittedly a bit on the smallish side, but not so much that it spoils the figure. At least not for me. I good portion of Jabba’s body is hollow, so he doesn’t have the heft that some collectors might have hoped for, but it holds a very detailed sculpt and the rubbery style makes him feel creepy and real. If you scrutinize the sculpt, you can see all kinds of cool little details, like suckers along his body, a scar on his tail, and even the little tattoo on his right arm.


Jabba’s got some decent articulation for this style of figure. His head rotates, his shoulders have universal joints, and his elbows are hinged. Swivels in the wrists would have been welcome, but are not included. He also has a poseable tail… at least according to the package. Unfortunately, the whole poseable tail thing isn’t happening. There’s supposed to be a bendy wire in there that holds the tail into whatever position you put it in, but it just doesn’t work at all. I can get a few slight variations, but ultimately, Jabba’s tail just keeps sticking straight out. Not really a big deal for me, but it would have been nice to be able to curl it around so that it’s all on the throne and not hanging over the side.

Of course, the 2004 Saga Collection Jabba didn’t come with a throne, so this is the first time I’ve had a complete Jabba and throne since owning the vintage one as a kid. My last Jabba had to suffer the indignity of reclining on a couple of stacked video tapes with a piece of cloth draped over them. Yeah, it was ghetto. It’s really awesome to have a proper throne again, and Hasbro did a great job designing and sculpting this one. The prison gimmick we saw in the vintage throne is gone. I’ll admit, I always thought that was a cool, albeit inaccurate, play feature. [It was also a pretty horrible concept, because the obvious torment was that the prisoner would be stuck down there while Jabba farts and shits on you all day. Yikes! Seems like Han got off easy just getting frozen in carbonite. -FF] The new throne has a really nice stone appearance, complete with sculpted gargoyle heads running across the front. It’s also on wheels, so you can roll it forward and backwards.

Instead of sculpting all the doodads onto the throne, Hasbro included it all as accessories. I love this idea, since it gives you some options to customize the throne if you want. The set comes with two baggies of throne stuff, which includes eight colored pillows, a filthy rag to drape over the side, his bong, armrest and hose, and Salacious Crumb. The Salacious Crumb figure is pretty small, but he is actually articulated in his arms and legs.

You also get Jabba’s green Orion Twi’lik slavegirl Oola. The one he had before she became Rancor Chow and he upgraded to Leia. This is a brand new figure, which is a huge improvement over the old POTF2 version in a lot of ways. She has a softgoods style net outfit as well as a really long string attached to her neck collar. She also sports really good articulation, including a balljointed neck, her arms have universal joints in the shoulders, balljoints in the elbows and swivel cuts in the wrists. Her legs rotate at the hips and have ball joints in the knees and hinged ankles.

The price of the set weighs in at just under $40. Is it a good deal? Well, you do get a lot of stuff, and while I’ve heard more than my share of collectors’ bitching about one thing or another, I think Hasbro did a fine job on this one. Still, it definitely feels a bit on the pricey side, especially if you have ot pay the $10+ more that it seems to be going for on Ebay. And therein lies my only real complaint with this set. I would tend to consider this one a must buy for any Star Wars figure collector and as such, it should never in a million years have been a limited, exclusive release. That was just wrong. And while your experience my vary, I’ve found that Walmart’s exclusives are the hardest to get a hold of, which makes the insult even worse. The fact that I own this set is just because I happened to be diligent enough to check the site every day and got lucky.

Transformers Animated: Lugnut by Hasbro

It’s Part Two of Cheap Transformers from Ross’ Toy Graveyard. This time we’re looking at Animated Lugnut. If you aren’t familiar with the cartoon, don’t worry about it, it seemed like the Decepticons were hardly ever in it anyway. When the ‘Cons did happen to turn up, Lugnut was one of the few characters that was pretty much wholly original and not based on a G1 character, although he reminded me of Shockwave because he was purple, had one eye, and was pretty much one hundred percent loyal to Megatron. Let’s take a look…

As we saw with Blitzwing, Lugnut comes in a pretty nice looking window box with some jagged, eye-catching edges and a simple animated style. The back panel shows photos of the toy along with details of its features and some tidbits about Lugnut’s character. He’s packaged in his jet bomber mode and he is a hell of a lot easier to get out than Blitzwing was… thank God for that.
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Lugnut’s aircraft mode is pretty cool, so long as you dig the super-deformed elements at work here. The wing-mounted engines are HUGE, as are the bombs hanging off the bottom of the wings. Everything else is more or less in proportion. I do really like the design of the nose, with the multi-faceted windshield and the rotating turrets on each side. There’s a third rotating turret on his back, and his landing gear can retract. The purple and blue color scheme works really well for a Decepticon and the hazard stripes on the bombs are nice touch and give the deco a little pop. It’s worth noting that the bombs are part of his robot form and are not detachable.
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The package exclaims that Lugnut features “mechanized auto conversion.” Um, yeah, this doesn’t work so well, and trying to do it manually makes me feel like I’m breaking the figure. Nonetheless, once he’s converted, Lugnut’s robot form isn’t too bad, although he’s definitely more stylized than Blitzwing. His upper half is all bulked up, while from the waist down he’s scrawny and short. I’m sure this is all part of the intended animated look, but if you aren’t into this style, I don’t think this figure will work for you. On the plus side, he has very good articulation, and I actually like the way his forearms feature both claws and what appear to be laser cannons.

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Some may cry foul at the fact that when transforming Lugnut, a rather large part of his tail section is removed for the process. I’m not big on having to remove parts like this, but in this case it does serve a purpose and in reality, you can leave it where it as on his robot mode if you prefer. It just adds to the bulk of his back kibble. The reason for detaching the tail section is because it becomes a huge Mace . It’s impressive looking and actually deploys itself by banging the bottom of the shaft on a hard surface… or in the case of mine… it sometimes does that. Unfortunately, it just sort of plugs into the socket of Lugnut’s “hands” and he can’t really wield it all that well.

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Lugnut is one of those figures I would never have bought at full price, but getting a Voyager for the price of a Deluxe seemed worthwhile, or at least too good a deal to pass up for a Transformers whore like me. I didn’t expect to like him a lot, but he does have some decent qualities and I can see him being a lot of fun for kids and fans of the toon. The best thing I can say about him is that he’s a spot-on recreation of his animated counterpart, and that should go a long way to please the fans, even if it doesn’t mean so much to me.

Vintage Vault: X-Men Rogue by Toybiz

I’m a BIG X-Men fan. So much so that I was even able to sit through multiple viewings of all those shitty movies. But my real love has always been in the 90’s cartoon series, the comics and the old Toybiz action figures. I’m in the process of rebuilding my old collection of X-Men figures, so in the coming weeks, I’ll be liberally peppering this blog with looks at some of these figures. I thought we’d start with Rogue. Not the best figure to start with, but once we get this major disappointment out of the way, it’s all uphill from there… almost.

I loooove the cards on these figures. The artwork is great, they’re bright and colorful, just like a comic book figure package should be, and they’re not ashamed to advertise the figure’s gimmick, no matter how useless or annoying it may be. They’re also pretty simple, with a nice big bubble displaying the figure. The reverse side shows the gimmick at work, features a blurb about the character, and lots of photos of all the other X-Men figures you NEED to own. The figure also comes with a collectible character card, which is cool, but it always seemed stupid that you didn’t get a card based on the figure you just bought. Instead it was a random crap shoot. What sense does that make?

Moving on to the figure… oh, Toybiz, how do you flub this major a character? The saddest thing about Rogue is that 90 percent of this figure is really fine. The body sculpt is great, the outfit is classic and well recreated complete with jacket and separate removable accessory belt. Her stance is wide, but she isn’t terribly preposed, which is great because preposed figures is one of my big pet peeves. The colors are pretty much spot on, too.

So what’s the problem? Rogue is a butter face, as in everything is fine butter face. Look, I understand that this is a line for kids, not for collectors, but still, how could anyone at Toybiz signed off on this head sculpt? The hair is fine, but look at the expression on her face. She looks like Tammy Faye Baker scared out of her mind. She looks like one of those Real Ghostbusters figures where you press a button and the eyes pop out in sheer terror. I don’t know what kind of look they were going for here, but it sucks.

Rogue’s articulation is pretty basic. Her right arm rotates at the shoulders and her legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. Her right arm is hinged, but that’s all you get here. Her hair and jacket collar sculpt prevent any neck movement as her head and body are sculpted in one piece. Her left arm does rotate at the shoulder, but if you move it around a lot, you risk messing up the action feature.

The action feature is a Power Upper Punch. You press the lever on her back and her left arm springs up. Yeah. Not exactly the first thing I think of when I think of Rogue, but then considering her primary power was sucking the life force out of people and absorbing Mutant powers, it’s kind of hard to replicate her specialties in an action gimmick.

Despite the awful expression on her face, it’s hard to hate this figure. There’s a lot to like here. She’s fun and colorful and she fits in really great with the other X-Men figures. The crazy thing is that Toybiz used almost the exact same sculp to create a Deluxe large scale version of Rogue, but we’ll check that one out another time.