Star Trek The Next Generation: Lt. Tasha Yar by Playmates

It’s been a really long time since I looked at any of Playmates’ Star Trek figures from the 90’s. It tends to be a line that I forget about for a long time and then pick up again when I stumble across some figure that I need, or I think I need. Afterall, it’s a pretty extensive line of figures and while my collection is fairly large, there’s still a number of figures that I’m missing. I couldn’t for the life of me remember whether or not I had Yar, so when I stumbled upon her in a local comic ship, I took a chance and picked her up anyway. I got home and discovered… nope, didn’t have her. So this was a nice pick up.

The awesome thing about these Next Gen figures is that they’re usually dirt cheap so despite the fact that they’re old, I can still buy them carded and not feel bad about tearing them open. I’ve always liked the Next Gen cards. The animated style goes well with the stylized sculpts of the figures and Playmates loved to post advertisments all over the damn cards. Whether it was for Space POGs or video games on the Genesis or SNES, or what have you, these cards always looked like Las Vegas billboards to me. Nonetheless, the bubble displays the figure nicely and makes use of the collectible trading card to personalize the package to the character. The back panel shows some other figures in the line and has a little bio blurb about Yar’s past, which conveniently neglects to use the phrase “rape squads” probably because this is a toy aimed at kids.

Yar’s sculpt betrays the odd proportions that Playmates loved to inflict on these characters. The big stylized head isn’t unlike the big heads once found on the old GI Joe figures, so there’s some nostalgic factor here. Still, this Yar figure was a fairly late release, and the proportions and sculpt on the figures were getting closer to being more realistic and less stylized. By the time you got to the Voyager figures, they were looking fairly normal. The figure actually looks fine until you compare her with some of the other ladies in the line. Compared to Troi or Crusher, she’s a tad too big.  Yar was definitely one tough chic, but she was definitely not a big woman. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Playmates got the Denise Crosby likeness down, but it’s still better then some. I think the thing I like best about this figure as that she isn’t pre-posed like some of the earlier figures were. The uniform is pretty Season One accurate as seen in the gold piping around the collar and the pants cuffs. Nice touch!

Yar’s articulation is standard for the Next Gen line. Her head rotates three-sixty, her arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps and hinged elbows. Her legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees, and she can swivel at the waist.

It wouldn’t be a Playmates Star Trek figure without a scary and inappropriate collection of off-colored accessories. Actually, Yar’s accessories are downright normal compared to some. She comes with a phaser with that terrible beam attached (but not for long… where are my scissors?), a PADD, a tricorder and a flashlight, which is completely at odds with the palm beacons I remember them using in the series. Either way, Playmates played it cool with Yar’s accessories, by keeping them down to a minimum and giving her useful stuff, although most of it is still molded in dark red plastic. Um, yeah. She also comes with the standard comm-badge style figure stand and the aforementioned collector card.

Yar’s figure was released fairly late in the line, as Denise Crosby was already off the show by the time Playmates got The Next Generation license away from Galoob. Based on the biography on the back of the card, it was after she reprised her role as Yar in the episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” but before she returned to play her own half-Romulan daughter, Sela. Lest we forget that Ms. Crosby thought her acting chops were better than Star Trek deserved and then quickly found out that they really weren’t. She then became a born-again Star Trek actress alumni and started producing documentaries like Trekkies and Trekkies 2, while simultaneously haunting Star Trek conventions. I guess she learned her lesson, eh? All bashing aside, I picked this figure up for under five dollars, which was certainly not a lot of money to fill a vacant spot in my collection.

Marvel Universe: Ghost Rider by Hasbro

It’s an amazing thing, but even that shitty movie with Nicholas Cage couldn’t manage to kill my fondness for Ghost Rider. Granted, I haven’t been as big a fan as I once was, but I still love the character and was really excited to be getting him in the Marvel Universe 3 3/4″ scale. And while I think this figure should have warranted some kind of boxed set that included his bike, I’ll take what I can get for now and hope for an exclusive or something later on down the line.

Standard Marvel Universe packaging. The character art is mighty fine and the bubble shows off the figure really nicely. Ghost Rider’s package is still part of the Dark Reign of Norman Osborne, so you get the HAMMER motif instead of SHIELD. Not much else to say here.

Let’s start with the head sculpt, because it is fan-friggin-tastic. Granted, Hasbro had a lot to work with here, what with it being a flaming skull and all, but this could have just as easily been a trainwreck. The skull itself is immaculately sculpted and the translucent orange flame makes for a cool effect. The slight orange tint to the skull helps carry the flaming effect along. His body sculpt isn’t terribly spectacular, but it certainly gets the job done and at least it relies as much on sculpt as it does paintwork. I like the high collar and the the black paint wash over the dark blue works well. I tend to think some sculpted chains on the figure itself, or possibly some sculpted in softer plastic to wrap around him would have gone a long way to make him even better, but that might be something reserved for a larger scale figure. Either way, there’s no question, Hasbro nailed the likeness here.

Marvel Universe’s articulation continues to impress me, at least for the male characters. Ghost Rider features ball joints in the neck, shoulders and hips. He’s got swivels in the biceps, wrists and thighs and hinged elbows and double hinged knees. He swivels at the hip and has universal movemen tin his upper torso. If there are more points of articulation to be found in a 3 3/4″ figure, I can’t imagine what they might be.

Ghost Rider comes with his little cache of secret documents including his file card. He also comes with a personalized figure stand and his chain/whip, which is partially made of the same translucent orange plastic that makes up his skull flames.

Hasbro produced a pretty distinctive and excellent looking figure here with Ghost Rider, but then again he’s not just another costumed super hero. He’s definitely among my favorite figures in the line so far, and that’s saying quite a bit. Owning him has motivated me to dig out some of my back issues and trades and give some of them a re-read. If nothing else it might help me in my quest to try to forget the Ghost Rider movie ever existed.

Vintage Vault: Sectaurs Mantor and Raplor by Coleco

It’s time to take another look at that amazing and somewhat lost line of figures by Coleco: The Sectaurs. Last time we looked at Zak and Bitaur, this time it’s another one of the good guys: Mantor and Raplor. Mantor was something of an Obi-Wan type character for the line. He played the part of wise advisor, martial arts expert and the keeper of the secret order, Keepers of the Way. Honestly, I don’t remember much about any of that from the cartoon or comic and it’s not really reflected in his weapons, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

When compared to Zak, it’s easy to see that Coleco reused parts to keep the cost of the line down. It’s just another interesting comparison between this line and Mattel’s Masters of the Universe. Mantor’s legs and arms are the same as Zak’s only repainted. The white on my Mantor’s biceps and thighs is showing a slight hint of yellowing, but considering the age of the figure, it’s not bad at all. At first glance, it might seem like the torso is a reuse as well, since they are extremely similar, but on closer inspection the sculpted muscle lines are completely different. Mantor has that really distinctive looking head sculpt that is unmistakeable for this line. It’s fairly smaller than Zak’s and not as squishy and rubbery.

Mantor originally came with his removable belt and harness, a crossbow and pistol and the same shield as Zak. Unfortunately, mine only has the shield. Since my Zak has two weapons, I let Mantor borrow his pistol, but one day I’m going to have to hunt down his crossbow. The belt and harness is made of soft rubber and features a clip on the back to hold the crossbow and a sculpted quiver with bolts hanging off his belt.

Mantor’s articulation includes three-sixty rotation in the head, ball joints in the shoulders and hips and hinges in the knees.

Raplor is Mantor’s Insectoid companion. He’s got a cool sculpt and paint job and mine has held up really well over the years. His action feature is a grappling hook on a string that you can pull out and retract by winding it around the removable spindle on his back. When I got mine out of storage it took me about an hour to get the string all unknotted and detangled. Raplor’s natural enemy is the cat, as my cat attacks repeatedly attacks his grappling hook and string at every chance he gets.

And that’s all I’ve got to say about this pair. As with Zak and Bitaur, I think these figures hold up really well and depending on how nit-picky you want to get with being complete, you can pick up Mantor without losing much money. Next time we look at the Sectaur’s we’ll tackle one of the real draws of the line, the big beast riders.

DC Return of Supergirl: Corrupted Supergirl by DC Direct

As a rule, I try to stay away from any of the DC Direct figures that overlap with Mattel’s DC Universe Classics line. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I really can’t afford the money or space to collect both, so if there’s any chance of a character or variant appearing in the DCUC line, that’s the figure I’ll buy. That having been said, I didn’t see much chance that Supergirl was going to turn up in DCUC as one of Darkseid’s Furies, so I felt perfectly safe buying this one figure out of the set of four. Now, to be fair, Superman and Batman comics fall pretty far down on my list of comics to read, and seeing as I’m usually behind on even the comics on the top of my reading list, I make no apologies at not having read this story arc in comic form. [More than anything, I blame that on trying to get through all of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books before the TV series starts, but that’s another story. -FF] I did, however, check out the movie adaptation: Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and I thought it was pretty good stuff.

The packaging here is pretty blah, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from a lot of DC Direct stuff. The card is generic and bland, with only a sticker on the bubble to distinguish this one from the other three figures in this line. The whole thing is also way too big for the figure, and while it definitely shows off what you’re getting, the figure seems small and unimpressive amidst all that air space. I do like the way they used the figure stand in lieu of actual art on the card. It’s a very clever idea, but it doesn’t save what is otherwise a really boring package.

Once out of the package, the figure speaks for itself. Kara’s design is defintely very stylized to reflect the distinctive comic art. She’s cast off her red and blue hero’s outfit for her new bad girl motif, complete with leather leggings, platform stripper heels and a skimpy bikini top. Oh yeah, she’s also got claws strapped to her arms and an iridescent cape made of really soft plastic. I’m particularly fond of the head sculpt here, which uses a cool windblown sculpt for her hair and some creepy gold reflective paint apps for her evil soulless eyes. The paint apps on my figure are pretty clean, as there’s no slop or bleeding to speak of.

Supergirl gets by with a passable, but not exceptional, nine points of articulation. She has a ball jointed neck, and ball joints in her shoulders, which might as well just be rotational joints, because they don’t give much lateral movement. Her legs rotate at the hips and she has hinges in her elbows and knees. She benefits from not really being pre-posed, so you can do a fair amount with the articulation she has. It’s par for the course with most DC Direct figures, so if you’re expecting anything close to DCUC poseability you’ll be disappointed here.

The only accessory included with the figure is the stand. It looks great, and it’s pretty essential since Supergirl has virtually no chance of standing on her own without it.

As a one-off, I’m pretty glad I picked up this figure, but then I got her for a fraction of the original retail. I’m mildly tempted to go after the regular Supergirl from this little assortment, just because the sculpt is distinctive enough to set her apart from my DCUC one. DC Direct certainly does a nice job with their sculpts and paintwork, but I’ll still take the added articulation of my DCUC figures over these any day.

Doctor Who: “The Sontaran Experiment” Collector Set by Character Options

So, in the past six months or so we Doctor Who fans got a lot of figures we didn’t think we were ever going to get. We got the Delgado and Ainley Masters, we got a Special Weapons Dalek [well, some bastards did, anyway -FF], classic Davros, our first classic Companion, and even our first figure from the 1996 Fox TV movie. And yet even with all of that, CO can still manage to surprise me. Today, I am holding in my hands the toy version of the Sontaran Spaceship from the 1975 episode, “The Sontaran Experiment.” It’s basically a big rubbery silver golf ball and it alone proves to me that there is nothing… nothing… in the world of Doctor Who that is completely out of the question when it comes to CO and their toys. If we can get this, anything is possible.

The package is huge and glorious and its existence seems to defy all reason. If you’ve picked up any of the Classic themed boxed sets over the last year, you’ll be familiar with the overall design and artwork. The box uses the blue swirly timefield introduced for the Series 5 toys and the Doctor Who logo introduced at the start of the 2005 series. The cardboard insert has a backdrop still from the episode, which includes a classic Doctor Who quarry representing future Earth and the robot used by Sontaran Field-Major Styre to capture and experiment on the human colonists in the episode. As with all of these sets, a little careful snipping and you can save the insert to use as a diorama to display your figures. The window shows off the contents: The Sontaran Spaceship, the 4th Doctor and Field-Major Styre himself. The back and side panels show off stills from the episode and include a short synopsis of the story. I may never display it again, but the package is so cool, I opted to save it.

I’m guessing that most collectors did not buy this set for The Doctor figure, so I’m going to get him out of the way first. I’m sure I’ve said before that I’m not big on collecting variants of each Doctor, but it’s become inevitable that I wind up with them in my collection, as they are frequently packed into these sets. I already have CO’s first 4th Doctor release as well as “The Warrior’s Gate” release, I could have done just fine without yet another 4th Doctor figure in my collection. [Yes, folks, I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone, as I’m complaining about owning too many Tom Baker Doctor Who figures. It’s not lost on me that 20 years ago I would have sacrificed kittens to the devil to have just one Doctor Who figure as awesome as this one. -FF] That having been said, I really like this one. This figure features a combination of reused parts, new paintwork and some new sculpting. The base figure is a repaint of CO’s first 4th Doctor figure, but the jacket is newly sculpted. The scarf is basically the same in both paint and sculpt, but unlike the original 4th Doc figure, which came with a serious hatless head and a grinning hatted head, this one has a serious face with a hat. It does, however, use the same peg, giving you some more mix and match options for your original 4th Doctor figure. He also comes with his Sonic Screwdriver. All in all, if I have to get stuck with a figure I didn’t want, this one is not too shabby.

Field-Major Styre is an amazing figure and CO managed to capture all the retro-awesomeness of the classic Sontarans in this guy. Don’t get me wrong, I like the modern series Sontarans enough to have purchased nearly a dozen of the figures, but I still have a special place in my heart for this original design. Collectors who are only familiar with New Who may be surprised to learn that the classic Sontarans weren’t so short, but their faces haven’t changed much at all. CO did a fine job reproducing the slight differences in the older version. I was actually about to cry foul on the figure’s fully formed fingers, but then I realized that there have been some changes to the Sontaran’s hands over the years and this figure’s digits are accurate to what was seen in the episode. The quilted leather armor is wonderfully recreated here as are all the little details like the silver belt with control box and even the tiny probic vent in the back of the neck armor. In addition to his removable helmet, Styre comes with a faithful reproduction of the infamous Sontaran ping-pong gun! Simply, awesome. If CO ever wants to release this figure on a single card, I would happily buy up a bunch of them.

And then there’s the Sontaran Spaceship. Outside of the various incarnations of the TARDIS, this is the first vehicle CO has delivered with the action figure line, although, in execution it’s more like a prop than an actual vehicle for the figures. The ship is sculpted in a dense rubbery plastic and it has some decent heft to it. The exterior is the spitting image of the design seen in the episode and if you pick it up there’s even sculpted engine thrusters inside the ring that it stands on. It’s mostly an even silver color, although there’s some paint spray along the bottom near the base to simulate mud splatter from its landing. The door opens, but there’s where things start to fall down a bit. Rather than make it a hollow like the TARDIS, there’s a slight indent with a poorly sculpted and completely non functional chair. CO really dropped the ball (har, har)on the interior of this ship. Not even a sticker with some controls or instruments or anything. I would have much rather the whole thing had just been hollow and unfinished, but I don’t want to come down on CO too hard. I’m still happy they made it, and it looks great on my shelf with Styre emerging from behind the door.

At about $60-65, this is indeed a “collectors’ set” as in you really need to be serious about your Who toy collecting to justify the price. It’s two figures and a big ball, and no matter how you break it down, it’s hard to see where the money went. It’s also worth noting that one of the two figures is one that most collectors don’t really need. I feel horrible complaining about the contents of a set that is this obscure and therefore so thoroughly awesome in its obscurity, but rather than give us another variant of the 4th Doctor, I would have much rather CO chose to pack a different figure into this set. Maybe that goes without saying, and I’ll confess to be totally surprised at how much I ended up loving this particular 4th Doctor figure, but there was so much more potential as a second pack-in figure for this set. Sarah-Jane, Harry Sullivan, a second Sontaran, even the robot, any of them would have made the price of this set a lot easier to swallow. But that’s ok, CO, I’m just really glad to have it.

Lego Kingdoms: Outpost Attack (#7948)

It was a bitter-sweet morning at Wally World today as I made my weekly trip for groceries and picked up Outpost Attack the last Kingdoms Lego set that they stock and I still need. There’s still a couple Kingdoms sets I need to get, but I’m going to have to hunt them down online. This poor set had a tough act to follow as the last one I put together was the Prison Tower Rescue at more than twice the price point and about a 165 more bricks. Was Outpost Attack doomed to be a disappointment? Let’s find out.

The box proclaims Outpost Attack is comprised of 194 pieces, which include three minifigs a catapult and the outpost tower itself. The box contains an instruction booklet, a small sheet with two stickers, and two numbered baggies of bricks. This is the first time I got a set with only two bags and had them numbered. Baggie number one contained the parts for the minifigs and the catapult, while the second baggie had the parts for the tower. The build didn’t take me that long. It was well under an hour, but I still found it to be fairly satisfying and while the tower is undertandably short compared to the Prison Tower from the last set, it’s construction was a bit more complex than I was expecting.

As I said, you get three minifigs with this set and man, am I having fun collecting the Kingdoms minifigs. This time around you get two Lion Knights who are defending the Outpost and one lone Dragon Knight who is doing all the sieging by himself. Two of them are basically the same figure, only colored for each side. They both have pike helmets, the other Lion Knight is a crossbowman who also comes with a quiver of bolts he can wear on his back.

The catapult is a larger, more complex version of the one that came in the Knights Showdown set, which I looked at a few weeks ago. It’s basically the same idea, but it hurls a much bigger brick and thanks to a construction gimmick in the tower you can use it to blast a chunk out of the front of it, but more on that in a minute. You get the bricks to build two projectiles and the catapult holds two Dragon Knight shields.

The Outpost Tower is fairly simple, and it’s got a false back just like the Prison Tower so you can get in there with the minifigs and use it as a playset. It’s a nice looking structure, albeit very functional. There are clips two hold two included halberds on either side of the main gateway, there’s a socket to mount the crossbow at the very top and there is a flagpost with flags. It would have been cool to toss in a portcullis, but it probably would have required too many additional bricks.

The breakaway wall gimmick just involves the center wall with the window not being secured in anyway. If you aim your attack with the catapult just right you can blow it right out the back. It took me quite a few tries, but I nailed it twice and it worked really well. The wall holds in there pretty well too, so you don’t have to worry about it constantly falling out when you don’t want it to.

For a $20 set, I was really satisfied with this one. It was a fun build and it seemed more substantial than some of the other $20 Lego sets I own. I’m really tempted to get a second one of these sets so I can mount them back to back and make a bigger and more fleshed out structure. Considering it’s only a $20 set and I’d be happy to get the extra catapult and minifigs, the prospect is looking more and more appealing to me.

[As a nice little surprise, it was announced at Toy Fair today that Lego would be releasing four brand new Kingdoms sets in 2011! This made me a very happy camper! I only hope they’re fairly substantial and not just the impulse sets. -FF]

Transformers Energon: Terrorcons Divebomb and Insecticon by Hasbro

Welcome back for more terrific Terrorcons. Last time we looked at Battle Ravage and Cruellock, now it’s time for the last two: Divebomb and Insecticon. Like their Terrorcon bretheren, these guys are Scout Class figures with alt modes based on cybernetic style beasts. Divebomb is a falcon or an eagle or some kind of bird of prey while Insecticon looks like some sort of dung beetle. Let’s take a look…

I have absolutely no idea what kind of cyber-birdy Hasbro was going for with Divebomb’s alt mode, but I do know I love it. I’m particularly fond of all the mechanical details in the sculpt, like the air intakes and the fans on the wings. His wings are ball jointed where they meet the body and are hinged about halfway across, giving him a good deal of poseability in his beast mode. His legs are also ball jointed and hinged at the talons. I can’t believe we’ve gone this long without seeing a Laserbeak style repaint of Divebomb, but I can only hope that one day it may still happen. Maybe when I’m ambitious enough I’ll take one of the five or six of these guys I own and give it a try myself, but my past luck customizing Transformers has been less than stellar.


With such a great beast mode, you might expect Divebomb’s robot mode to be really crappy, but it turns out to be my favorite of all the Terrorcons. In fact, it gives off a major Gundam vibe to me, at least in the legs. He’s definitely not what I would consider a conventional looking Transformer. He’s got great poseability and he has an awesome pair of energon blades that attach to his arms. I also like that his robot head has a slight bird motif to it, just to carry the theme along. Divebomb is an amazingly fun figure and very well rounded for being a Scout Class.


And last up is Insecticon. I haven’t heard a lot of opinions about this figure, but the few I have heard seem to suggest a real love him or hate him attitude. I’m definitely of the love him version, despite the fact that he’s such a squat little guy in his robot form and definitely lacks the dynamic articulation of his peers, but I’m getting ahead of myself. His cyber-beetle mode is great. I love the sculpting in his legs, complete with hydraulics and the teeth in his mechanical pincer. His legs are all on ball joints and his pincer can move up and down. His energon drill attaches to his head and nearly doubles him in size, although it’s pretty ungainly and I tend to prefer to display him in bug mode without it.

Like I said, he’s pretty squat in his robot mode and a lot of that is due to his interesting transformation. He’s got a crazy looking face sculpt and not much use in his stubby arms, although he can hold that huge drill as a weapon, and it still looks just as ungainly. But in the end, I honestly think that this is a fantastic homage, not so much to the original G1 Insecticons, but rather the three less popular G1 Deluxe Insecticons.

And that finishes off the Energon Terrorcons. These guys are still fairly easy to find on Ebay and shouldn’t set you back a lot of scratch. If you buy them loose, just make sure you get all the Energon goodies with them, because they make up a huge part of these figures’ overall fun factor. I used to have a bad habit of picking up extra Terrorcons when I was out on toy hunts and couldn’t find anything else to buy, but like I said yesterday, there aren’t many army builders to take advantage of in the Transformers universe, so it was always hard for me to resist.

Transformers Energon: Terrorcons Battle Ravage and Cruellock by Hasbro

[Ugh, it’s been a dicey week for me, what with some long hours at work and a lot of hardcore drinking to fuel me through it. It’s taken its toll on Figurefan in the past few days, but I’m coming out of it and I’m ready to crawl into bed for about twelve hours and emerge refreshed and ready to go. In the meantime, it’s been way too long since I’ve looked at any Transformers, so today I’m going to do the first of a two part look at the four of the Energon series Terrorcons. -FF]

I really loved the Transformers: Energon toys, but don’t ask me to tell you a lot about the Energon cartoon. I’ve tried to watch it many times, but I usually wind up wandering away to do something more meaningful and interesting like scrub out the bottom of my refridgerator or organize my sock drawer. One of the cool things, however, that was introduced in the series was the Terrorcons, a sub-line of drones that were dispatched to hunt down energon and swarm around like a plague of locusts. The Terrorcons were basically the Decepticons answer to the Autobot Omnibots. The toys consisted of four different molds, and a fair number of repaints, and today we’re going to start out by looking at Battle Ravage and Cruellock.

I remember being ridiculously excited about getting Battle Ravage back when he was first released. Besides looking like a really cool figure, he was the first time that the G1 Ravage design had been revisited with any success. Getting a Ravage figure that transformed into an actual robot was a pretty cool idea too and I still like to display him with some of my other lines of Transformers. His beast mode features a really good level of articulation and the design is a great balance between beast and robot. The head sculpt is particularly awesome and I love the spiked ball that forms his tail. Ravage has an energon star that mounts on his back and two energon weapons that mount on his shoulders, one fires a purple missile and the other is a pretty darn good replica of G1 Megatron’s fusion cannon, albeit cast in translucent yellow.

Transforming Battle Ravage is pretty simple, and probably entails exactly what you might expect from a small beastformer. His back legs become is robot legs and his front legs become his arms. It’s not terribly imaginative, but it works and the little flip that the torso does to reveal the head is kind of cool. Ravage can hold his tail as a weapon and his energon weapons can be mounted on his shoulder or held in his hands. Battle Ravage is a really fun little figure and really demonstrates a lot of what I loved about the Energon toys.

Next up is the ridiculously named Cruellock. While you can draw the obvious thread back to Grimlock, Cruellock isn’t quite the clear cut homage that Battle Ravage tries to be. Granted, he is a robot dinosaur that transforms into a robot, so the connection is definitely there. I like Cruellock well enough, but not nearly as much as Battle Ravage. In dinosaur mode, ok let’s call him a raptor, he’s nicely sculpted and I really like the way the energon parts look on him. But his pelvis is loose and wobbly and his head is pretty obviously visible right under the dinosaur’s mouth, even if it is turned around. He’s still a fun figure, but not terribly stable.

Transforming him involves a lot of the pretty basic stuff as Battle Ravage. His raptor feet become his robot feet and his raptor arms his robot arms. The clever part just involves pushing his pelvis together, which pushes his raptor head back and reveals his head. Meanwhile his tail splits apart and the energon piece becomes his sword. I’ll grant that there’s some impressive little mechanics at work here for what is essentially a Scout Class figure, and while his robot mode does look good, it’s pretty obvious that there isn’t much to the transformation, especially with his raptor head and tail hanging off the back.

It’s easy to quibble over little things about both of these figures, but the truth is that I still can’t help but love them both. They’re relatively simple, but loads of fun and look really good in both their cyber-beast and robot modes. They’re energon weapons also give you a little leeway to mess around with trying different combinations. These guys are also fun to army build, something you don’t get to do a whole heck of a lot in Transformers collecting. I found a lot to love in Energon, but if I could bring one element of it back to get more toys, it would definitely be more Terrorcons. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the other two figures in this sub-line: Divebomb and Insecticon.

Marvel Universe: Wolverine and Jean Grey by Hasbro

So, I picked up a case of Marvel Universe figures the other day. Actually, I pre-ordered them last year and they finally came in. I just got tired of hunting for some of these figures and even though it netted me doubles of Classic Cap and Modern Thor, I think it was still worthwhile. It also netted me that shitty looking, and yet oh so desireable Phasing Vision, which I promptly put up on Ebay so I could get the proper one. Today, we’re going to kick off looking at some of the figures in this case with two of the assortment’s X-Men, Wolverine and Jean Grey.

It’s the same old MU packaging we’ve been seeing for a while. This pair are still part of the Norman Osborne reign with the HAMMER insignia, as opposed to the SHIELD insignia on the older and now the current packages. The character artwork on the cards is as awesome as ever and the figures are really displayed well in the bubbles.

Wolverine is a decent looking figure, and pretty much exactly what I expected. His classic costume is well executed, mostly via paint apps and with a sculpted belt buckle and separate straps for his legs. There’s a wee bit of slop here and there around the blue and yellow borders, but I’ve definitely seen worse. Wolverine’s claws are produced in soft plastic, so as not to break easily. The real shining point of this figure, though, is the head sculpt, which Hasbro really nailed. I doubt we’re going to see a better one in this scale any time soon. The only thing I’m not crazy about here is the really weird sculpt of his neck and shoulders. It’s always been a bit weird on Hasbro’s modern GI Joes, but it’s really off putting here when you view the figure from the side.

And then there’s Jean Grey. From the neck down, I’m pretty happy with how she turned out. She uses the basic female body for the line with some sculpted detail to make up her shoulder pads, belt buckle, and arm bracers. The yellow and blue look good and overall the paint apps aren’t at all bad. From the neck up is a little bit of a different story. It’s hard for me to put a finger on exactly what’s wrong with her head sculpt. On the one hand it looks too small and the face is a tad wild eyed and generic. I also think they should have gone a different route with her hair sculpt. Between the hair and the shoulder pads it looks like she’s hunching really awkwardly. I’ve seen a lot of hatred for this figure among collectors circles, and while I can certainly see where it all comes from, I can’t say that I really hate her. Did the character deserve better? Yeah, most definitely. What we wound up with is just kind of average and awkward.

Both figures come with the Top Secret packet containing her file card and and secret document. They also both include figure stands, which is always a welcome treat. Wolverine doesn’t come with any other accessories, but Jean Grey comes with a little ball of energy that can fit over her hand.

All in all this is a decent pair of figures, but neither one really blew me away, which is disappointing because I’m usually a pretty easy sell on X-Men figures. Wolverine edges out Jean as my favorite of the pair, but I can’t summon up the hatred that some people seem to have over Jean Grey. I’m certainly not sorry I added them to my collection.

Tron Legacy: Clu’s Lightcycle (Diecast) by Spin Master

Sorry to do this to y’all, but I’ve got to do a bit of a quickie today. I’m working some pretty insane hours this week and it’s not leaving me a lot of time to get home and work on Figurefan. Anywho, I searched through my pile of fairly recent acquisitions and I came up with this one that fits the bill for something that I could do justice in a short amount of time. I was planning on not looking at any of the smaller scale diecast Tron toys until I had a handful of them to review all at once, or at least one of those three-packs, but since I picked this one up a few days ago, I figured I’d just go with it.

I love the packaging here, but it’s definitely more nostalgia tugging at my heart strings than anything really super special about the simple blister card. It’s the neon Tron logo and the awesome card art of the lightcycle racing in action that really appeals to me. In fact, I actually considered keeping this thing unopened because I really have no intention of displaying it loose and it would have looked so nice hanging on my wall. Maybe if I get enough of these things, I’ll actually pick up one of those Recognizer collector cases. The package proudly and optimistically boasts this as part of, Series 1, hoping that enough of these things sell to keep the line going. A couple of months ago, I would have doubted it, but with images of the new figures and even the Light Jet toys, I think Spin Masters isn’t going to abandon this property so quickly.

Out of the package, this little lightcycle doesn’t hold too many surprises. It’ s very well sculpted, the paint apps are nice and it rolls along beautifully. The diecast also makes it satisfyingly heavy. Naturally, this is the same sculpt that has been repainted and released as Sam’s Lightcycle and Clu’s Sentry’s Lightcycle. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, you really do need a bunch of these to slam into each other’s imaginary light walls. It also stands up really well on its own.

This tiny little lightcycle costs about four bucks. It’s honestly not that bad, considering the price of some of those little Star Wars Titaniums. This thing is much beefier and heftier then any of those. I don’t know that you absolutely need this in your Tron collection, but if you’re a more casual fan that doesn’t want to invest in the larger Lightcycle and the figures, than you could do worse than picking up some of these to sit amongst your desk toys.