DC Green Lantern Classics: Low and Maash by Mattel

Pressing on through the initial wave of Green Lantern Classics comes two members of the terrifying Sinestro Corps, Maash and Low. Mattel got creative with this pair by including interchangeable heads and arms so that you get all you need to display whichever figure you want. Of course, if you want to display them both, you still have to buy two, since they share the same body. It’s a cool idea, but it got a little confusing when all we had were the pre-order product images to go by and some retailers weren’t so sure how this was going to work. It seemed like we might be getting an extra figure, but in reality that wasn’t the case.


The figure comes in the Green Lantern Classics packaging, which we’ve seen a few times now so it should be getting pretty familiar to you. The figure is theoretically available packaged as either character, although since the one I have is the only packaged version I’ve seen in person, I can’t confirm that. Either way, mine was packaged as Low with the Maash parts mounted beside the figure and clearly visible through the bubble. The figure is packaged in a pretty dynamic pose, but mine escaped any joint warping, I’m happy to say.


Since the figure is packaged as Low, I’ll start from there. The body is fairly generic and relies on paint apps for the Sinestro Corps costume. The only real exception to that are the sculpted bracers on his wrists and the silver belt. The paint apps are, however, pretty sharp except for a bit of slop around the shoulders. The bright yellow looks great contrasted against the black, which is probably why I always loved the Sinestro Corps uniforms. Low is a worm-like parasite, so I’m not sure it’s accurate to refer to his head. It’s just a big tube with a mouth full of teeth. Fun fact! He reproduces by laying thousands of eggs in you! He does have blue clawed hands along with his sculpted yellow power ring.

Pop off Low’s head and hands and replace them with Maash’s and you’ve got a whole new figure… well sort of. That operation of popping the parts off really makes me nervous, though, as the post for the neck is really thin and I was pretty sure I snapped the pegs off of the hands, even though I didn’t. I’ve only swapped the parts out once, and I don’t plan on doing it again until I get a second figure and can get the situated permenantly. All that aside, Maash is pretty damn creepy as his head is made up of three conjoined twins with three faces stacked on top of each other. He’s like a totem pole turned flesh.

The articulation here is strictly old school DCUC, with none of the new double hinges. The arms have ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the biceps, hinged elbows and swivels in the wrists. The legs have universal movement at the hips, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The torso swivels at the waist and features an ab crunch hinge. Both heads will turn to some degree, but not as much as with the more human figures.

Mash and Low come with one of the pieces to build the Collect & Connect Arkillo figure. You don’t need to hunt down each packaged variant as they all come with the same piece.

I’ll always welcome another member of the Sinestro Corps into my collection, so it’s no surprise that I really love both Maash and Low. I’ve heard some grumbling among collectors over Mattel’s methods here, but I think it was a pretty cool idea. And, yeah, I will eventually be picking up a second one so that I can display them both at the same time and don’t have to worry about snapping off any of those posts while swapping out the parts.

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Doctor Who: “Vengeance on Varos” Peri and Sil by Character Options

A little while ago, when I looked at the “Claws of Axos” set, I commented that getting figures of the Ainley and Delgado Masters meant that classic companions couldn’t be far behind… and here we go. While those releases made me confident we’d see a classic companion at some point this year, I won’t sit here and tell you that I had any inkling the first would be Peri. Not that getting Peri is a bad thing, I just thought it odd that CO chose to base the first classic companion set on this particular episode. In a lot of ways “Vengeance on Varos”represented everything that critics said was wrong with Doctor Who in the mid 80s. The episode featured institutionalized torture, horrible medical experiments, and loads of gratuitous violence. But hey it also had Sean Connery’s son, so it wasn’t all bad.

The figures come in a window box very similar in size and design to the aforementioned “Claws of Axos” set. The figures are held in a tray with twist-ties and have a nice diorama backdrop that you can keep to display the figures in. The back panel has a nice blurb recounting the story of the episode. The package is very collector friendly too, should you decide to play around with them and then return them to the box for display purposes. The art and style is a mix between the blue deco introduced with Series 5 packaging and the older logo introduced with Series 1 back in 2005. Overall, it’s a nice compact little presentation that’s very pleasing on the eye and yet unassuming enough that it only just hints at the unending flood of classic companion figures that I hope are headed our way over the course of this year. Ok, so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at the figures.

I’m going to start with Sil because I’m just as excited to get him as I am Peri. At a time when Doctor Who was still plagued by a lot of unconvincing rubber suit monsters, Sil was an amazingly convincing looking alien and a damn memorable character to boot. Hailing from the planet Thoros Beta, he’s sort of part humanoid and part slug. The sculpt that CO devised for Sil is right up there with some of their best work, and that’s saying a lot, as they captured his appearance perfectly right down to his insane stare and his tongue flicking out between his teeth. It’s just marvelous. On the downside, CO opted to make him just one big marvelously sculpted hunk of plastic with zero articulation. At first this disappointed me, but the more I think of it, the more I realize that there was really no way to keep him in scale with the 5″ figures and give him any useful articulation. Besides, at least he’s removable from his tank.

The tank is a nice piece on its own. It’s hollow, but completely enclosed and has various control panels sculpted into the sides. The liquid seen in the front of the tank is just a glossy sticker, which looks ok, although there are a few minor wrinkles in mine, and I’m afraid it might start peeling off over time. There’s also a small discrepency as the top of the fluid level is sculpted much higher than where the surface appears on the sticker. I’m really nit picking here, though, as the overall presentation is fine and Sil looks great sitting on it. Wow. I have a Sil figure. I can still hardly believe it. Then again, it’s still hard to believe I have an army of Cybermen, Daleks, and any number of other classic Who monsters and figures loading down my shelves. Man, it’s a great time to be a Doctor Who fan!

And then there’s the lovely Perpugilliam Brown. Say what you will about the reign of the Sixth Doctor, but I enjoyed it. And besides Colin Baker’s deliciously bombastic performance, a good part of that enjoyment came from his interplay with Nicola Bryant as Peri. I wasn’t a big fan of her fake American accent, but I sure as hell loved everything else about her. Obviously, the figure is modeled after her appearance in“Vengeance on Varos” wearing a low cut and very tight top with shorts, which apart from it being blue is pretty much what she wore in every episode, so CO should have a field day releasing repaints of this figure. Yeah, I would have preferred “Planet of Fire” bikini-clad “…could be platinum!” Peri, but then again I just got my Kiss-o-Gram Amy so I should probably quit while I’m ahead. Anyway, the sculpt is extremely well done and the likeness is definitely there, even if she does have a bit of a vacant stare.

It probably goes without saying that I’m absolutely thrilled to have this set. Besides getting two more outstanding classic Who figures, it’s also what this milestone release represents that gets me excited. The classic companion figures are here and more will no doubt be coming. I’m sure that CO will run into some snags here and there securing rights, and I’m also sure that some classic companions may remain off limits, but the floodgates are opened, and I can’t wait to see what pours through next. Leela? Lethbridge-Stewart? Romana I and II? Oh, it’s going to be a good year.



Vintage Vault: Sectaurs Zak with Bitaur by Coleco

If you grew up in the 80’s there’s a good chance you remember the Sectaurs line of figures. It never actually reached the heights and popularity of lines like Masters of the Universe, but with its own cartoon (ok, mini-series) and one of the coolest playsets of the era, The Hive, it was no slouch either. I never owned a single Sectaurs toy as a kid, but I sure spent time drooling over their page in the Sears Wishbook at Christmastime. Those of you who are familiar with this line will likely remember its most unique characteristic being the creepy gloved bug steeds that the figures could ride on. We’ll get to some of those eventually, but today we’re going to look at one of the regular figures: Zak, Captain of the Royal Guards, and personal chum to the line’s main goody-goody, Prince Dargon himself.                          

One day I may invest in a packaged Sectaur figure, but for now I’m just picking up the loose figures in good shape to slowly build my collection. In other words, I don’t have a boxed figure to show you, but you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find a picture if you’re curious. The figures came in window boxes with a baggie holding their weapons and gear, and beside them was their tele-bonded Insectoid buddy. Zak’s buddy is Bitaur.                            

The Sectaurs are nice, sizeable figures, which are pretty much perfectly in scale with Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line. Zak’s body is generally simple in sculpt, but I really dig the way this guy’s armor looks. The toso armor has sculpted muscles and a cool blued steel, almost metallic finish, with flaired shoulders. The head sculpt is really distinctive too. The face is human, except for the vacant and creepy blue bug eyes. He’s got a sculpted helmet with two rubbery antenna protruding up over the forehead. The head is actually made of very soft rubbery plastic, which you can easily squish between your fingers. Overall, Zak’s sculpt is mighty good for a toy of the age and I think it holds up really well.                            

Zak’s articulation is typical of most Sectaurs figures. It may not be up to today’s standards, but it was pretty solid for its day. The head turns three-sixty, the shoulders are ball jointed, but there’s no other articulation in the arms. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have hinged knees. The added articulation in the legs is designed so that they can mount their big bug steeds, but it also helps to make the figure a lot more fun to pose.

Zak comes with a nice amount of weapons and gear. For starters, he has a holster belt with a shoulder strap. The entire rig is made of soft plasic and can be removed. It’s sculpted very well and looks great on the figure. Zak’s weapons are all cast in gold plastic and include a rifle, a pistol and a shield. The shield fits into either of his hands with a grip. The rifle actually came with a shoulder strap originally, but mine is long gone. The pistol can be stored in the holster on his belt rig. One of the many things I loved about the Sectaurs line was the imaginative way it mixed swords, shield and laser guns, yep, just like Masters of the Universe.

And then there’s Zak’s Insectoid buddy, Bitaur. Bitaur is a pretty simple toy that kind of looks like a six legged alligator. He has a decent sculpt, which includes a red spiked collar. He has a biting gimmick that is activated by pressing the button on his back. Get it? Bitaur? There’s no other articulation on the figure and not a lot else to say about him. If you want to get into collecting this line, you’re going to often find the figures without their Insectoids. Hunting the Insectoids down separately shouldn’t pose too big a problem, but you might want to ask yourself if it’s really worth it. I’m happy to own them with the figures, but I don’t think that they really add much to the figures themselves.                                

I picked up Zak and Bitaur for about $20 shipped, which I thought was a pretty nice deal since they’re in pretty good condition and except for the rifle strap, they are complete. Like I said earlier, I always wanted to collect this line and now that I’ve started to get some, I’m extremely impressed with how well they hold up against other figures in my collection, which obviously can’t always be said about vintage figures. Their designs are imaginative and distinctive and the fact that they fit so nicely in with the MOTU Classics figures has given me even more incentive to track them all down.

DC Green Lantern Classics: Black Hand and Manhunter by Mattel

It seems like ages ago since I got the first wave of Green Lantern Classics. In reality it’s only been about a month, but I really expected to have gotten a chance to look at them all here by now. I’m going to try to rectify that over this weekend by finishing off the wave. January was a crazy month for me and DC Universe Classics as I acquired about fifteen new figures and had to put in a new shelving unit just so I could have them all out on display. And right now these GL Classics occupy the top shelf, because they are both topical and awesome. 

Anywho, we looked at the packaging last time with the Kyle Rayner and Abin Sur figures. This is the same dealy-o. It sort of looks like the same old DCUC packaging only possibly sponsored by Mountain Dew. The cardbacks are green, the background artwork is Green Lantern specific, and the insert in the bubble has a huge faction symbol for each figure. The bubbles also have a more dramatic cut to them. Luckily, Mattel didn’t go nuts with packaging either Manhunter or Black Hand in any seriously dynamic poses, so I didn’t have any problems with joint warping, as I have with some other recent DCUC figures.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Black Hand’s appearance in the DCUC lineup and now that he’s here I am not disappointed. As someone who’s murdered his entire family in cold blood and made his costume by sewing together body bags, he’s a pretty hardcore figure for Mattel’s standards. There’s a lot to love here, it’s hard to know where to begin. So, let’s start with the fact that Mattel could have been content with just using a generic DCUC body and painting on all of the costume details, as they often do. But not here. No sir. Not only does Black Hand have his emblem sculpted onto his chest, he also has unique sculpting on his leg straps, his arm bracer and the studs on his left wrist. In fact, even the borders of his costume between the black and the blue have sculpted seams. As near as I can tell, everything on this figure is unique to the character. His right hand is exposed, which is the one you don’t want him touching you with, and the black ring is prominantly sculpted as well. The head sculpt is wonderfully detailed and has a really cool, grim expression. The paint apps on my figure are absolutely perfect and the brilliant metallic silver really looks amazing against the darker black and blue of the costume.

Black Hand has the updated DCUC articulation, which includes a ball jointed neck; arms with ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, DOUBLE jointed hinges in the elbows and swivels in the wrists. His legs feature universal movement at the hips, DOUBLE hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs and hinged ankles. His torso swivels at the waist and features the ab crunch hinge.

Next up is the Manhunter robot, which is another really excellent figure, and one that I’ve been waiting to hit the DCUC lineup for a while now. This guy relies a lot more on paint apps for his overall appearance, but there’s still a good deal of original sculpting here. Both his boots and his forearms are original as is his cowl and head. The head is dome shaped with a cool angry expression sculpted on the silver painted face, which I really dig a lot. The figure is mostly red with blue painted striping and blue boots and bracers, with a little green thrown in for good measure. The colors really work to make this figure pop. Purely from an issue of style, I’m conflicted on whether the Manhunter should have been bulkier, and possibly a little taller. He sports a relatively lean body, and part of me wishes he was a little more powerful and hulking. And yet, I love the way the figure looks so much, I’m not sure I would want to see anything changed.

Manhunter’s articulation differs from Black Hand in a few areas. His head, which is technically ball jointed, is mostly limited to turning from side to side because of the shape and the cowl. His arms only have single hinges in his elbows, although his legs do have the new double hinges.

Both figures come with parts to build the Collect & Connect figure Arkillo. The Manhunter also comes with a green lantern accessory.

Black Hand and the Manhunter both fill important holes in my DCUC collection, and they’re much appreciated even if taken out of the context of the upcoming movie. The Manhunter probably should have been released a while ago, and even Black Hand would have been welcome last year at the height of the Blackest Night furor. But with figures this good, I’m not about to quibble about when they were released, I’m just thrilled to have them.

Doctor Who: Paradigm Daleks by Character Options

Finally, the five New Paradigm Daleks that were introduced in last year’s Victory of the Daleks have been released in figure form… I mean widely released… sort of. All of these figures, except the white Supreme were already available as scattered releases, many of which were exclusives and really hard to get, ie. expensive. The orange Scientist Dalek was part of an SDCC exclusive two-pack, the blue Strategist and yellow Eternal Daleks were both originally released as store exclusives, and the red Drone was originally released as part of the six-figure Underhenge Set. I would have bet anything that these were going to come out together as a boxed set instead of a single carded wave, but then since both the Drone and Strategist Daleks have already been released in single carded versions, CO probably opted to go for a full wave of individual releases so as not to further piss off collectors. Afterall, I’m sure there are people who spent some cash getting the exclusives. But if you did take the time to track many of these down already, then it might come as some small comfort to know that even this wave was issued Stateside in pretty small allocations. I had the entire wave on pre-order even though I already own two of the Drones and the Strategist, and in the end I was mighty glad I did, because all my regular sources sold out pretty quickly.


The packaging is what has become standard for the Series 5 figures. It’s very similar to the packages that the previous Strategist and Drone Daleks came in. The big differences are the back of the card, which just shows the five Paradigm Daleks and has a blurb about them from the episode. The front of the card has a bubble that says, “The New Dalek Paradigm is Here!” and another that says, “5 To Collect!”

I’ve already reviewed this mold no less than three times, [actually, it’s four times if you count the Stone Dalek. -FF] so forgive me if I’m a little brief here. I do want to point out that while I’m still kind of iffy on this design on the small screen, I absolutely adore the way they translate into figure form. Maybe it didn’t help that they were only seen in a Dalek ship that looked like the boiler room of my old high school and that they were practically scraping the top of their domes on the ceiling. Toss some of these New Paradigm Daleks on a planet extreminating the crap out of inferior fools, and I might like them a lot more on the small screen. Either way, they make for brilliant looking toys.


I’ll also point out that the quality of the paint on these figures truly is outstanding, especially when compared to the dodgy paintwork on most of the classic Dalek releases. My Paradigms have virtually no slop, smudging or bleeding. Just beautiful glossy paint that really makes the newness of the designs stand out like brand new cars that just rolled off the floor of a dealership. Even the goofy organic eye in the stalk has grown on me quite a bit.

I’m really happy to finally own a full set of these Daleks. The total cost of the pre-order with shipping put these guys at about $17 a piece, which is defintely more than I like to pay for Who figures. Then again, if I can pay $28 with shipping for a Masters of the Universe Classics figure from Mattel, then $17 for an import figure from my all-time favorite show doesn’t seem so bad in comparison. It doesn’t bother me at all that I now own three of the Drones, since they’re just army builders anyway. I could probably have done without two Strategists, but I’m not going to pick nits. I do still think that CO should run off another batch of these, though. It isn’t every day the Daleks get completely new designs, and whether you love them or hate them, they’re some of the most important releases in the line of New Who figures and I really think they should be made accordingly available.

GI JOE The Rise of Cobra: Sand Serpent with Star-Viper by Hasbro

My last trip to the Ross Toy Graveyard netted me a cool little surprise, and by surprise I mean it was something that I didn’t even know existed: A repaint of the Rise of Cobra Night Raven. The ROC Night Raven was, of course, an homage to the original Real American Hero toy as well as the jet that was seen at the end of that horrible, horrible Rise of Cobra movie. The toy didn’t seem to be very well received by fans, but in fairness, the original Night Raven was a work of art that still inspires awe in me to this day. The new version… eh, not so much. It also didn’t help that at $40 it was way over priced, just like most of the ROC vehicles. What’s weird is that at stores in my area, the ROC Night Raven seemed to show up, go on clearance, show up again, and it was just all over the place.

Anyway, as you can see from the box, this is not the Night Raven, but rather the Sand Serpent. I like the name, although I was rather dubious as to whether slopping a desert camo deco on the toy was going to make it sell any better. So why did I buy it? Well, just look at that price tag. $15? How the hell am I not going to buy it? Getting back to the box, it’s the same basic packaging as the Night Raven and it has a little window to show off the lamely named Star-Viper figure that comes with it. The front shows some artwork of the vehicle in action and the back panel shows off photos of the toy itself. Technically, the package is pretty collector friendly, but the jet comes in two halves and once you lock them together, you’re going to be hard pressed to get it back into the box. It also comes with a bag of missiles, an instruction sheet and a butt load of stickers. What doesn’t it come with? Batteries.


Once I had this thing snapped together and had all the wings in place, it’s easy to see that the design doesn’t really hold a candle to the vintage Night Raven. I was, however, surprised by how decent the camo deco looked. I kind of expected it to be horrible and obnoxious, and while it certainly isn’t as good as the original black, I still found it to be perfectly tolerable. The design of the aircraft is very angular, and a bit bizarre, but it’s definitely a nice sized toy with a number of play features, some good and some bad.

Probably my favorite thing about the toy is the way the cockpit drops down for access. It’s pretty innovative and it makes for a nice break from just popping open the canopy to get the pilot in and out. It works with a lever located behind the canopy that raises and lowers it remotely. The jet also has three sets of rather chunkly landing gear that are essential to allowing the cockpit to drop down. There are also missile clusters located on the wings that hold six missiles each. From here on in, though, the play features get a little dodgy.

There’s a handle that drops down that you can hold to fly the jet around. I like this idea well enough, as it’s similar to the one Kenner used on the old Star Wars Imperial Shuttle. By pulling the trigger on the handle, you fire the missiles that are queued up in each launcher while the lights around the missiles activate with the sounds of weapon fire. To fire the next missile you have to pump the jet like a shotgun. Yeah, it really is as goofy and weird as it sounds, but then again if I was a little kid, I would probably think it was awesome as I pelted my brother with an endless stream of projectiles.

The electronics require three AA batteries and include the aforementinoed lights in the wings and three different sound sequences. Each sequence is activated by either pressing one of the three buttons between the rear dorsal wings or by pulling the trigger on the handle. One clip is garbled pilot communications, another is a series of sensor beeps, and the last is an extended flyby sequence. All of the sound clips are nice and loud.

I don’t have a lot to say about the Star-Viper, apart from his goofy name. He’s an ok pack-in pilot figure, but nothing much beyond that. His helmet is pretty huge and he’s got some really ungainly breathing apparatus.

In the end, I’m pretty surprised at how much I like this toy. Sure the shotgun gimmick is stupid and it probably adversely effected the sculpt and design, but all in all, it’s a nice sized, well constructed, and cool looking jet and the electronics are none too shabby. At $15 the price is definitely right too. I’d still recommend picking up the Night Raven over this one, assuming you could have it for around $20 or less, but you could do a lot worse than grabbing the Sand Serpent here, should you stumble upon it at your local Toy Graveyard.

Thundercats… Hoooooooooly shit!

So, I had every intention of posting another review today, but I didn’t get home until late and it’s safe to say that I’m fairly drunk. It’s the same story as the last two days, but the difference is that those days I already had my posts written and the photography finished. So, rather than try to turn out some half-assed review today before I pass out, I thought I’d just pop in and talk briefly about the photos that are circulating around the web showing off the new character art for the up and coming Thundercats remake as well as the accompanying toy line.

I want to say that I wasn’t holding up a lot of hopes, for either the new show or the new toys, but then I’d be lying. Even though I have little faith in the cartoons of today (Avengers being the big exception) and I had no faith in Bandai turning out toys I would want to purchase, I couldn’t help but get excited and hope that it was all going to be done right. Well, photos have leaked onto the web from the London Toy Fair and I am absolutely stupified by the awesomeness on display.

I’m not going to repost the images here, mainly because they weren’t supposed to be leaked, but you can probably find them pretty easily if you look. The character art shows Lion-O, Cheetara, Tyrga and Panthro and I absolutely love the art for these characters. There’s no mistaking who they are supposed to be and yet they are all definitely a pretty fresh take on the originals. I am 100 percent happy with what I see. That’s not to say that the cartoon might turn out horribly, but at least with the character art on display here, it’s started in the right direction.

As for the toys. Some time ago I said that all I wanted was some 3 3/4″ figures, that were reminiscent of the original character designs, and a Thundertank that they can ride in. And we’re getting both. And I just pee’d a little. The figures were a little small in the photo, but they look like they do a good job of recreating the new art styling. There were two vehicles shown, a Thunder Bike and the Thunder Tank. They were both shown boxed, and the Thundertank was shown loose. In addition, we were treated to a roleplay style Sword of Omens, that looked like one of the best role play toys ever made.

I know it’s going to be a little while until these toys come out, and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing better pictures, but I can say right now that I’ll be purchasing everything that was on display in that booth. This is one happy Thundercat fan.

Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: Bludgeon by Hasbro

It’s been a while since I last looked at any Transformers, but that’s because the new ones still haven’t shown up in my area yet. Nonetheless, I’ve still got a few sitting on my shelves that I never did get around featuring here and one in particular goes all the way back to the Revenge of the Fallen line. I only just picked up Bludgeon a few months ago. He’s an homage to the old G1 Pretender character and while I’ve never been a fan of the Pretenders, I’m glad I finally got around to buying this guy because he’s a very interesting and in some ways innovative figure.

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Here’s a blast from the past… it’s the old ROTF style packaging. I never much cared for it, mainly because the Egyptian style hieroglyphics on the back don’t really scream Transformers to me. Yeah, it’s a tie-in to the dopey movie, but I’d much rather have my grid-pattern back. I do, however, enjoy the fact that the appropriate faction symbol is shown rising out of the Transformers logo. The package also shows off the NEST emblem, which means this figure was released at the tail end of the ROTF line, along with a number of releases of characters that were never actually in the movie. Bludgeon is one of those figures, although he really belongs as part of the Classics/Universe/Generations collection. I’m guessing he wound up here just because there was nowhere else to really put him.

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Bludgeon is packaged in his tank mode, so let’s start off with that. He’s an older and more realistically styled tank then we’ve gotten out of Transformers in a little while. I really love the sculpted detail on this toy, as there’s barely any part of it that doesn’t have some detailing. You get sculpted rivets, hatches, vents, and even tools. And holy crap, Bludgeon also has real rubber treads, which is pretty rare in Transformers tanks and always a big plus in my book. The turret rotates 360 degrees and features two non-firing missile pods and a machine gun by the top hatch that also rotates 360 degrees.

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The bulk of the tank is a comprised of a very appropriate olive green plastic with some white parts showing, mainly on the weapons. There are some unfortunate neon orange sections peeking out here and there, but not quite enough to ruin the overall military motif. Lastly, there’s a Decepticon emblem stamped toward the front of the apron.

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It’s worth noting that the box lists Bludgeon as having an “advanced” transformation, and he does at that. The first couple times transforming him was a real pain in the ass. He’s got some very innovative movements, particularly in his legs and pelvis. Once I figured out what was going on, I found getting him from tank to robot mode pretty easy, but getting him back into tank mode is still a fidgety affair for me. His transformation also involves revealing his two weapons: A katana sword and a tanto. The katana is stored in his main cannon and just pulls right out. You can do it either during or after transformation. As for the tanto… I’ll get to that in a few ticks.

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In robot mode, Bludgeon’s design will likely strike people as brilliant or garbage. The homage to the G1 character design is certainly obvious. He’s patterned after a samurai warrior with a skull mask, which is pretty creepy. The high points of the figure include the way the rubber treads disconnect and hang down off his hips and shoulders. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before in a Transformer and it’s pretty cool. I’ll also go on record and say that, unlike the tank mode, the neon orange in the deco works fine for me in the robot mode. Another strong point is the articulation. You get plenty of hinges and swivels to work with. On the downside, the tank plates on his hips really get in the way of decent poses, and those ankles really scream out for some lateral rockers.

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The tank turret lands on his back and you can position the barrel straight up, or tilt it diagonally to the side and treat it like a scabbard for his katana. The turret also opens up to reveal a small scabbard inside holding the tanto. While I really enjoy the engineering at work here, it seems like a lot of effort to go through just to store a little weapon. It’s also not really necessary since he has slots on his left hip armor to carry both edged weapons.

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Seeing as how I’m not a fan of the Pretenders and I don’t have a Samurai fetish, I’m definitely not the TransFan that Bludgeon is aimed at. That having been said, I dig him in a quirky way and it’s impossible for me not to respect the effort and imagination that went into this figure. He’s certainly one of the coolest and most distinctive releases to come out of this Expanded Universe RotF line, except for maybe Mindwipe, for whom I will have an eternal soft spot in my heart. Now, if you happen to be one of those weirdos that think the Pretenders was just awesome, then you’ll probably go absolutely nuts over this figure. It’s an unexpected homage and a love letter to fans of the waning days of Generation 1. Sure, he isn’t an actual Pretender, but the homage to the character is one hundred percent solid all the same.

DC Universe Giants of Justice: Flash by Mattel

Are you a Barry Allen whore? Do you need something to go with those Flash bedsheets and comforter and Central City themed wallpaper in your room? Is your army of Justice League Unlimited Flash figures just not cutting it? Well, here’s the item for you. While I was pretty much oblivious to Mattel’s Giants of Justice line of figures, I do remember shots of The Flash here circulating from the SDCC of twenty-ought-nine. I didn’t really pay it much mind though until it turned up on clearance at TRU for an irresistable $5.98. Seriously, a 1:6 scale Flash figure that was technically an SDCC exclusive? Why wouldn’t I buy that? Um, because you have no space for it. SHUT UP!!!

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The packaging is a window box with the familiar DCUC deco. It’s very similar to the style Mattel uses for the DC Universe Classics 2-packs, only a lot bigger. It’s also sort of collector friendly. You can get the figure out just fine and return him to the package for display, but getting the display stand out is trickier since it’s sealed behind a bubble on the back of the cardboard insert. A little razor blade action can’t even help you, because the bubble is glued to the backdrop of the tray. I’m leaving mine alone because this figure will probably spend most of its time displayed in the box. The back panel has a nice little bio blurb. I mentioned earlier that this figure was technically an SDCC exclusive, but it’s worth noting that it doesn’t say it anywhere on the package.

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In terms of sculpt, this isn’t bad, but it is pretty basic. The muscle tone is well done, particularly on the figure’s upper body. From the neck down, The Flash’s costume does’t require a lot of unique sculpting, apart from the sculpted wings on the boots and heavy treads on the soles. The hands are balled into fists, which works fine for running poses. The red suit features a decent paint wash that helps to pick out the detail in the muscles. The emblem on his chest is a tampo, which means it’s nice and crisp. The yellow used for the boots is particularly vibrant, although there’s a little slop around the tops.

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The head sculpt is very basic, although probably roughly on par with the DC Universe Classics release. It just looks a lot simpler when it’s blown up to this scale. Again, not bad, but nothing spectacular. The mask is actually part of the sculpt and his ear wings look pretty good.

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So how about that articulation? Well you’re getting considerably less than you are with a 6-inch DCUC figure. I suppose that’ll seem odd to some since a larger figure should warrant better articulation. Then again, considering that a lot of these larger pieces tend to be statues, you aren’t making out all that bad either. Flash’s head turns from side to side, his arms rotate at the shoulders and are hinged at the elbows. His legs rotate at the hips and are hinged at the knees. He also swivels at the waist and… that’s it.Yeah, the shoulders do look like ball joints, but they aren’t. You can still get him in a nice running pose with the help of the stand, but considering the size and original cost of this figure, I think most collectors were going to be expecting more.

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I really dig The Flash, but it still feels like an oddity to have this one big lone Flash figure in my collection as a stand alone piece. I can’t emphasize enough that the main reason I bought this figure was just because it was dirt cheap and basically an impulse buy that I threw into my cart while buying a number of other figures. I know, that’s not a ringing endorsement for the figure, but it is still a solid piece, particularly if Barry Allen is your thing, or if you happen to have any of the other Giants of Justice figures. On the other hand the original retail on this guy was $39.99, which even factoring in that he started life as an SDCC Exclusive, is still pretty outrageous for what you’re getting, even if you are specifically in the market for a big Flash figure.

Marvel Universe: Spider-Woman by Hasbro

It’s pretty rare for me to be anywhere near a current wave of Marvel Universe figures, as I’m often too busy scrambling to pick up the figures from three waves back to even take much notice of the new releases. And yet, I’ve had some luck these last few days and managed to grab a couple of the current wave at reasonable prices from merchants on this new Interweb thingie. One of those figures was Spider-Woman, so let’s take a looksy.

Spider-Woman comes on a standard Marvel Universe card… oh, but wait! The dark reign of Osborne has apparently come to an end because the Hammer logo has returned to that of SHIELD. Don’t take it so hard, Norm, you had a good run. Apart from the return of the SHIELD logo, there isn’t a whole lot that’s new about the packaging here. It’s functional, it looks good, and the character artwork is solid. Now let’s shred it to pieces so we can get to the figure.

Honestly, just about every figure in this wave looks amazing, so to say that Spider-Woman was one of the ones that to me really stood out, well that’s just saying something. Even with a reuse of the basic MU female body, Jessica’s a fantastic looking figure. The head sculpt is great, although the sculpted hair, as usual, inhibits the neck articulation. But what really shines on this figure is the amazingly crisp paint apps. Paint hasn’t always been consistant on this line, you can just take a look back at my Ms. Marvel figure to see that, but it seems like Hasbro has started to address the issue in this wave.

Based on the product images, I couldn’t figure out how Hasbro was implementing the web wings, so getting to see that they were flexible plastic held on to her arms by straps was a pretty cool revelation. It was the best way to go to have her maintain her arm articulation while giving her this signature look.

Spider-Woman comes with a figure stand, but no matter how hard I shook the package, I couldn’t get the file envelope to drop out. Yeah, starting with this wave the file cards and classified documents are gone. I’m sort of bummed out by this. It’s not like I really displayed them or anything, but considering that the MU figures don’t usually come with any accessories and frequently reuse parts, I wouldn’t think Hasbro would really need to cut costs so badly as to remove a little printed card and slip of paper. I love these figures, but I still need all the help I can get to justify how much I usually have to spend to get them.