Doctor Who: The TARDIS Talking Bank (Second Series) by Character Options

[This coming Saturday starts Series Six of Doctor Who and for the first time, we Yanks won’t have to suffer a delay as BBC America will be broadcasting the series on the same day that it airs across The Pond. If you don’t already know that, then you probably don’t care and this week is going to be lost on you. But for everyone else who has the good taste to share my love and adoration for all things Who, I’m kicking off a Doctor Who Week. Now, I’ve looked at a fair share of Doctor Who figures and toys here on FigureFan over the last year or so, but I’ve got plenty in my collection that haven’t yet been featured. So sit back, grab a bag of Jelly Babies, adust the temporal spacial settings on your whastsitwhosits as we count down the days until The Doctor returns. -FF]

When I grew up watching Doctor Who the lack of decent Who toys meant that I had to make my own TARDIS. Seriously, I made it out of balsa wood, glue and blue paint using measurements taken from my dog-eared paperback edition of The TARDIS Technical Manual. Nowadays, you can’t swing a dead Cybermat without hitting a stack of different TARDIS toys. Here on Figurefan I’ve looked at a number of the ones released for use with the figures, but today we’ll look at one that’s a little different. It’s a bank!tarbank1

The first thing to note about the TARDIS bank is that it’s smaller than the Flight Control TARDIS’ and so it isn’t quite in scale with the Character Options figures. It’s close enough that I was able to use mine as a stand in for the figures until I was finally able to get my first Flight Control TARDIS, but it is noticeably smaller and probably closer to being accurate for a 4″ scale of figures. Aside from that what we have here is an excellent replica of the 9th/10th Doctor’s TARDIS that is capable of keeping your spare coinage. Unfortunately, this TARDIS isn’t bigger on the inside, so the amount of spare coins you’ll be able to keep in here isn’t all that much. The coin slot is located behind the front doors and there’s a plug in the bottom to get your monies out. Also behind the front doors is a graphic of the 10th Doctor standing with Rose against a backdrop of the TARDIS interior.

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The coolest thing about this bank is that it features electric lights and sounds and even some voice clips from the series, or more specifically from the Series Two premier episode “The Christmas Invasion” By pressing on the front doors, they spring open and you get a random voice clip of the 10th Doctor, which includes:

  • Did you miss me?
  • Remote control… but who’s controlling it?
  • No second chances. I’m that sort of a man.
  • Here we are then. London… Earth… The Solar System… I did it!
  • I’m him. I’m literally him. Same man, new face. Well… new everything.

Close the doors and you’re treated to the sound of the TARDIS’ grinding engines and the lamp on top flashes.

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If for some reason you don’t want to take the plunge and invest in the bewildering number of Doctor Who figures that are out there, this bank makes a perfectly fine desktop display piece that can usually be had for a fair amount less than the figure-friendly TARDIS toys. Of course having this in my collection served a much bigger purpose back when there was only one Flight Control TARDIS on the market and it was rather pricey and hard to come by. It’s not a must-own piece by any stretch of the imagination, but then can anyone really ever have too many TARDIS toys?

Lego Atlantis: Atlantis Exploration HQ (#8077)

I’ve featured a fair number of the Lego Atlantis sets here on FigureFan, but they’ve all been small to midsize sets. Today we’re finally looking at one of the meatier ones. I’ve actually had this set built and sitting on my shelf for quite a while now, so today’s entry is long past due. Let’s take a look at the Atlantis Exploration Headquarters.

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It’s a big box, and it’s practically bowed out on the sides from the contents. Ok, so at 473 pieces, it isn’t exactly top of the line, but it certainly falls into the hefty high-mid range category. The box contains two instruction booklets, one sticker sheet and four numbered baggies of bricks. The first bag builds the minifigs, a one man sub and the support structure and the other three bags all go into building the HQ itself. Keep in mind this set only has three minifigs, which seems a little light for its size, but it seems like the bricks were well invested back into the set. This was a fun and satisfying build, taking me about an hour and a half.

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The minifigs aren’t bad, but they aren’t anything special either. You get two divers and a Manta Warrior. One of the divers is the same Dr. Fisher we saw in one of the previous sets, the other is the Captain, whose name I can’t remember right now. They’re basically the same figure with different heads. They each come with a helmet, oxygen tanks and flippers. The Manta Warrior comes with a weapon. You also get a yellow Atlantis treasure key. Needless to say Manta Warrior is my favorite minifig in the batch.

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The playset itself breaks down to three basic parts. You have the base, you have the little one man sub and you have the HQ itself, which transforms into a submarine. Let’s start with the base first. It’s more like a skeletal support or superstructure than anything else, as it’s main function is to hold up the HQ when it’s deployed in HQ mode. It does, however, have a couple of cool play features. There’s an articulated crane with an operators station where one of the minifigs can sit. There’s also a raised platform where you can park the minisub, or any of the other smaller Atlantis vehicles as well. The only downside of the base is it tends to be a little on the fragile side, so if you’re planning on moving the set, I recommend converting the HQ to the submarine and carrying the two pieces separately. I learned that the hard way!

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When deployed in HQ mode, there’s two wings with workstations for the divers. The one on the right has a computer terminal with a fish to analyze. The one on the other side has more computer banks and a clip that holds a metal detector. There’s a central tower that has four articulated spotlights, and the walls of the HQ feature two flick-firing missiles and two double harpoon cannons. The harpoon guns can also be removed and equipped by the minifigs. Cool! In typical playset fashion the front of the HQ looks like the exterior and the back gives you access to the inside. The HQ mode looks great viewed from either side.

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Of course one of the recurring themes for the Atlantis series has been vehicle transformation, and in this case the HQ transforms into a submarine. The HQ is designed so that it just rests on the three supports, so you can just lift it right off of the base. The transformation is simple enough, as you just fold in the sides and peg them together and fold down the top. Even with the simple transformation, the resulting submarine looks awesome. The front dome opens up so you can put in a pilot figure. What’s really nice is how solid this thing is when it’s in sub mode. You don’t have to worry about it falling apart when you handle it. Now the divers can prowl around the sea and come back and dock at the superstructure when they’re done.

All in all, this is a pretty amazing set and definitely my favorite addition to my Atlantis collection. Not only was it lots of fun to build, but the playset aspect has the potential for loads of fun and the transformation gimmick works great. It’s also a fantastic set to have if you own a lot of the smaller subs and want some place for them to dock and hang out. The HQ cost $45 at Walmart and I’m more than pleased with what I got.

Tron Legacy: One Man Light Jet by Spin Master

I mentioned back when reviewing the 3 3/4″ Quorra and Jarvis figures how I was surprised to see that the Tron Legacy line survived to see Series 2. That’s not a slam against the toys, but movie figures flopping and dying a quick death just seems to be the trend these days, and let’s face it Spin Master ain’t Hasbro, so I think the odds were stacked against this line from the beginning. Nonetheless, not only did we get a second series of figures, but we got some brand new vehicles as well. Today we’re going to take a look at the Series 2 One Man Light Jet.

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The Light Jet comes in a solid box, no window or “Try Me” feature this time like we saw in the Series 1 Light Cycle and Light Runner. It’s a pretty compact little box, as the vehicle comes partially unassembled. All you have to do is attach the wings and insert the missiles and you’re good to go. The wings are removable again, so you can return the vehicle to the box for storage if you want to. Just like Sam Flynn’s Light Cycle, the Light Jet comes with a stand-in non-articulated figure to pilot the jet, but you can swap this guy out for one of the 3 3/4″ figures if you have them. This is a great idea in case you just want the vehicles and don’t want to bother with any of the figures. On the downside, getting the figure into the vehicle is a project and a half. His legs just don’t want to go where they’re supposed to. But once he’s in, all is well. You also get two missiles. [DCUC Flight Stand not included! -FF]

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The toy seems pretty accurate to the film, although I was surprised to see the sculpted panel lines like on a real vehicle. Since the jet itself is supposed to be a computer construct, would it really have these? Even at 1080p on the Blu-Ray, I couldn’t see them on the screen version of the vehicle, but I’ll concede they do add very nice detail to the toy. I’ll write it off to the fact that the new System was supposed to be a lot more realistic than the primitive one seen in the original Tron. Features include articulated back wings and two forward firing missile launchers. As with most of the Tron toys, there aren’t a lot of paint apps at work here, just orange to simulate the lights. I will say that this is the best paint used on any of the toys to date. Yes, there’s some unfortunate rubbing/chipping on mine, but the bright neon color makes the faux light effect work really well. I wish they had used this paint on the figures.

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And speaking of lights, yes the Light Jet has them. Pressing the button on the back of the jet will cause the lights to come on and stay lit for a fairly good amount of time. The lights are situated underneath the rear of the jet and under each of the pilot’s armpits. They’re bright enough, but their positioning limits their visibility, so the effect isn’t as great as it could have been.
The Light Jet retails for about $20, about the same as Sam Flynn’s Light Cycle. It’s a decent price for a toy in this assortment, particularly when you add in the lighting effects. I’m glad Spin Master gave this vehicle a toy version since it was one of the cooler new vehicles introduced in Legacy, and since I’m certainly not going to get a Recognizer in the 3 3/4″ figure scale, I’ve got to settle for what I can get. But most of all, this toy makes me really happy that the Tron Legacy toys made it to see a Series 2.

Indiana Jones: Jungle Cutter Vehicle by Hasbro

A recurring theme in the Indy movies has been to include some cool and unusual vehicle as the background to one of the set-piece action scenes. Raiders had the Flying Wing, Last Crusade had that awesome tank, and Crystal Skull had the Jungle Cutter. Can’t think of what you would consider Temple of Doom’s contribution, but there’s always one nagging exception to every rule. The Cutter was one of only three larger vehicles that Hasbro decided to reproduce for the 3 3/4″ line, and while I would have rather had one of those amphibious jeeps from Crystal Skull, the Jungle Cutter here is no slouch and definitely toy worthy.

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The vehicle comes boxed in a great looking package with the traditional Indiana Jones style deco and a great art rendering of this rather unique looking vehicle in action. The back panel shows off a photo of the toy itself and points out some of its features. As with all three of the vehicles in the line, the box is designed to convert into a diorama, along with a bonus fold up cargo crate, which is a great little bonus if you’re willing to mangle the box, which I am not, as the box is otherwise fairly collector friendly. The toy comes with the two blades detached and you can easily take them off again to fit it back into the box for storage.

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Basically, the Jungle Cutter is a military-style tracked vehicle with a plow and two monstrous circular saw blades on the front. The treads are molded and the vehicle rolls along on wheels that are concealed underneath. Rolling the vehicle along causes the front blades to spin, which is a pretty cool feature. The sculpting on this thing is really nicely done. There are a lot of panel lines and simulated hatches, including sculpted latters leading up to the control cabin. The front of the vehicle has two molded rollers with simulated grinding teeth to chop up whatever trees it sucks in and two chutes on the back to spit out the sawdust. All of the military markings and lettering are painted onto the toy and there are no stickers to be applied.

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The control cabin has a seat that will fit most of 3 3/4″ figures, a control panel with levers and one side has a flexible plastic tarp with a window, while the other side has a molded rolled up tarp to allow for easy access.

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The spinning blades are spattered with paint spray to simulate mud, as is the plow. The Jungle Cutter has one really weird action feature, where pressing one of the smokestacks will shoot the plow off like a missile. I’d like to think that this is some kind of misguided attempt to simulate the vehicle exploding, but more likely Hasbro intended it as some kind of goofy secret weapon. It’s all good, though. So long as you don’t hit the fire button by accident, you can pretend it doesn’t exist.

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The Jungle Cutter retailed between $20-25 originally, which is about what Hasbro was asking for their Star Wars ehicles in this same size class. It’s not bad, as this is a good sized toy. Nowadays you can still pick it up in that price range from online retailers, or if you hunt hard enough, a lot less. The sculpt is very well done and I really like the way the blades spin when you push it. It’s certainly a cool and unique vehicle and considering its scale, it offers up all sorts of possibilities for customization across other lines. I can easily see Cobra modifying one of these things for some evil scheme of deforestation.

[And that wraps up Indiana Jones week. Obviously, this has been only a small portion of the line and its toys. I will most certainly be revisiting it again in the future to look at some more, but I want to get a few odds and ends in over the weekend before the new week starts on Monday. -FF.]

Indiana Jones: 3 3/4″ Colonel Dovchenko and Irina Spalko by Hasbro

Hasbro brought Indiana Jones back to the toy aisles with the aim of producing figures from all the Indy films. But let’s face it, love it or hate it, the release of Kindom of the Crystal Skull was the only reason any of these figures were produced at all. In recognition of that fact, I thought I’d devote at least one day to looking at some toys exclusively from that film: The Russians! There were three single carded Russians released in the line. We got Colonel Dovchenko; creepy psychic chick, Irina Spalko; And a standard Russian Solider. Unfortunately, I never once saw the Russian Soldier on the pegs, so we’re going to have to leave him out for now, but let’s check out the rest of the Russian forces. I don’t have any of these carded, but just go back and look at the carded Indy’s from a few days back and you’ll know what to expect.

rusks5“Russians… I hate these guys.” Oh, wait, that was the Nazis. It’s kind of hard to hate on the Russians. I’ve devoted a great deal of my academic studies specializing in US and Russian relations and studying Russian history in general, and it’s tough not to be sympathetic toward them as a people. Bottom line, they don’t make great evil demons like the Nazis do. Nonetheless, considering the context in whichKingdom of the Crystal Skull took place, I think the Russians were a natural choice for the new baddies of the film, even if they couldn’t possibly manage to fill the Nazi’s jackboots. But enough about that, let’s look at the figures…

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Ok, so Dovchenko wasn’t all that memorable a villain. He was certainly no Belloq and no Mola Ram. I guess he was at least on par with Vogel from Last Crusade, who was pretty forgettable himself. I’m guessing most people probably just came away remembering Dovchenko as the guy that got eaten alive by ants. Still, all in all I think Igor Jijikine (Russian character actor and sometimes video game voice contributor) did a fine job playing him. And honestly, I thought his “oh, for love of god, shut up!” line was probably the best in the movie. Although that might be saying more about the movie than the actual line.

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Like a number of the Indy figures, Dovchenko’s sculpt is excellent from the neck down, but has some issues with his head. The head itself is pretty well done, and a fairly good likeness, but his sculpted officer’s cap is just way too big. It looks like Jiffy Pop is about to burst up through his head. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, and in fairness it only looks really bad when staring at it from directly in front. The uniform is nicely recreated here and overall, I’m pretty fond of this figure even with his big hat. I would note that the sculpting on the sleeves does unfortunately inhibit the elbow joints quite a bit. Dovchenko came with an automatic pistol and an AK-47 with a collapsed stock. The AK-47 is a particularly nice accessory, complete with a detailed sculpt and paint apps for the wood.

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Next up is Irina Spalko. I don’t really care for Cate Blanchett as an actress, and I really didn’t like this character in the film at all. Her Russian accent bothered me a lot more than Harrison Ford’s did in K-19, and that’s saying something considering all the flack poor Ford caught about that performance. Anyway, I couldn’t figure out whether Lucas and Spielberg were trying to make Spalko into some kind of sexy femme fatale, but with that bizarre Romulan haircut, I was having none of it.

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Nonetheless, Hasbro did a very good job bringing her to 3 3/4″ figure form. Considering Hasbro’s past issues with female head sculpts, Irina made out pretty good here. The likeness is passable and the paint apps are fairly neat. Her uniform is also really well done right down to the fine detail on her buttons and belt buckle. I really like the scabbard too, even if it doesn’t actually hold her rapier. Spalko comes with an automatic pistol and her rapier. The rapier is pretty close to the one that came with one of the Mutt Williams. Whatever I think of the character, I’ve got zero complaints about this figure.

I had originally planned on looking at the Jungle Cutter vehicle today as well, but I didn’t have time to photograph it, so there’s a good chance I’ll be doing that one tomorrow to end out Indy Week. There’s always a possibility I’ll get really motivated and even toss it in as an extra bonus feature, but to be fair, Friday I hit the corner pub pretty hard after work, so chances are I’m only going to get one more entry in before turning things over to the weekend.

Indiana Jones: Deluxe Indiana Jones with Horse and Indiana Jones with Ark by Hasbro

So, in addition to the scads of Indys (and Mutts) that were clogging up the pegs, Hasbro released Indy four more times by way of the Deluxe boxed sets. These sets featured a figure and a small playset or vehicle or some other such item. Two of these Deluxe Indy sets featured traps similar to the ones encountered in the Temple in the beginning of Raiders. I didn’t buy either of these on principal, because I didn’t want to get two more of the same Indy figure. I did go ahead and buy the other two sets, which we’re going to look at today, both of which are based off of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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My all time favorite scene in Raiders begins when Indy steals a horse and goes after the truck with the Ark on it. In fact, this is one of my favorite action sequences in any movie ever. As a result, there was no way I wasn’t going to pick up that horse, even if it meant getting an Indy figure I didn’t need. Although, in fairness, there are enough unique points on this figure to make him worth owning.

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Yep, once again, we see Indy in his iconic getup with leather jacket and fedora. The biggest differences on this version of Indy are his gloved hands, which are screen accurate, and the fact that his satchel isn’t molded to his chest so it can hang behind him as he rides the horse. Apart from that, there isn’t a lot of differences between this figure and the other versions of Raiders Indy. From the neck down this is a great sculpt and an awesome figure. From the neck up? Well, his fedora is still sculpted to his head and I’m not all that crazy about the paint apps on my figure’s face, as he looks rather wall-eyed. He comes with a coiled whip to hook onto his belt and a revolver. All in all, not bad.

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The horse is excellent, and gave me pause to consider the fact that in all my years of collecting figures in this scale, I never owned one with a horse, unless you count the one Kenner released in the original Raiders of the Lost Ark figure line way back when. Unlike the old Kenner version, this one forgoes the galloping gimmick in favor of just good articulation and great sculpting. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the upper half of the horse’s back legs are on backwards, as it looks like the knees are on the back. The horse comes with a molded plastic blanket and saddle and all the trappings of his harness and reins. He’s basically white, although there are some paint apps for his feet, and what I assume are to be mud or sand on the lower portions of his legs. Pretty much any of the Indy figures can comfortably mount the horse.

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The other Deluxe set, Indiana Jones with The Ark, contains another one of those variant Indy’s. This time he’s dressed in an Arab disguise as he was when he went into The Well of Souls. Underneith it all, this is a reuse of one of the previously released Indy bodies, but the newly sculpted head and the softgoods robe really work well and make this a great looking figure. He comes with an uncoiled whip, a revolver and a satchel, which fits on over the robe.

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The Ark itself is a beautiful sculpt, nicely scaled and yes you can open it and fill it with sand or vengeful angels or whatever you want. The only thing that bums me out about this Ark is what it doesn’t come with, mainly the carry poles. The sculpt is missing the slots that were designed to fit the carry poles and the poles themselves aren’t present, which is a step backward from the old Kenner one. I would have at least settled for, a cardboard fold together crate to put it in? Ah well. It still makes for a great display piece.

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Both of these sets retailed for about ten bucks, when they were released, but later they readily available on clearance too. Either way, they’re definitely worth the price. The Indy together with the horse makes a great display piece, one that I tend to keep out somewhere even when most of my Indy collection are away in totes. And as I pointed out earlier, its the only 3 3/4″ scale horse in my whole collection. As for Indy with the Ark, the Disguised Indy isn’t what I would consider an essential figure, but he’s nice to have. And The Ark sure is a must-have for collectors of this line.

Indiana Jones: 3 3/4″ Indys by Hasbro

So what was the big issue with Hasbro’s Indiana Jones 3 3/4″ figure line? It was Indy himself and the fact that the case assortments were loaded down with different variations of the whipcracking hero. Ok, it wasn’t all Indy clogging the pegs. Mutt certainly didn’t help either, but either way by the time new waves of figures were coming in, the pegs were too clogged with Indys and Mutts to allow new figures any real estate. Nonetheless, today we’re going to take a look at four of the principal versions of Indy as featured from each of the four movies. We’ll save my favorite one of the bunch for last, as it will likely surprise you.

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The packaging for the Indy line is downright fantastic. The figures came on simple generic cards, but boy are they gorgeous. You got the iconic logo and Indy’s mug on every card with an illustrated whip snaking around the bubble. Each card uses a simple insert in the bubble to identify the figure and the film it’s based on. The bubbles are nice and big with room to show off the figure, often in a bit of an action pose, all the accessories, and the cardboard crate that included the “hidden artifact.” It’s unlike me to have a lot of carded figures from any line, but as it so happened it was cheaper to buy a whole case of figures to get the scarce Temple of Doom wave then it was to actually by those figures on Ebay, so I’ve got a number of these things kicking around.

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First up, let’s look at Indy from Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s in the iconic outfit with a jacket that consists of a rubber vest with the arms sculpted to look like the jacket’s sleeves. It works pretty well and looks fine. The fedora is sculpted onto his head, which also looks fine, but unfortunately limits the display value. The head sculpt is ok, not great, but I guess it’s passable for a figure in the scale. The biggest issue I have with this figure (and I do mean BIGGEST) is the massive holster on his belt. It was a good try on Hasbro’s part to give us a working holster with a flap, but it just doesn’t work on a figure in this scale. It looks ridiculous and spoils the figure. The accessories include a revolver that fits in the massive holster, a coiled whip which can be hooked on his belt, an uncoiled whip, and the Fertility Idol. The uncoiled whip is a great reason to own this figure, as most of the other Indys only came with the coiled one. The Fertility Idol is no slouch either. But thanks to that damn holster, this is not the definitive Indy you want in your collection.

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Next, let’s jump ahead to Indy from The Last Crusade. He’s still in his iconic outfit with the same type of jacket sculpt and the fedora is still sculpted onto his head. The head sculpt on this one is marginally better and the paint on mine is pretty good, especially on the eyes. The big difference here is the chest sculpt, as he’s wearing a tie under the sculpted strap for his satchel. You’ll notice that the big holster issue has been fixed, and the figure looks a lot better for it. Besides, this figure doesn’t come with a revolver anyway. He does come with an MP-40 submachine gun and a coiled whip, which can be hooked onto his belt. I like this one much better than the Raiders Indy, it’s definitely a nice figure, but he’s lacking the basics in accessories and the tie is a little too scene specific to make him my go to Indy.

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Jumping back to The Temple of Doom, we get the first major variant Indy. He’s missing his jacket, his outfit is shredded and he’s all beat to hell. It’s certainly not an Indy figure for all occasions, but it sure fits the character’s appearance by the end of the second film. There’s some really nice sculpting on this guy, like the bandages on his hand, the Sankara Stones inside the satchel, and the shredded fabric of his shirt. Once again, the fedora is sculpted onto his head and the head sculpt is about on par with the Last Crusade Indy. Not bad, certainly passable. This time around, Indy comes with a coiled whip and his machete. The machete is pretty soft and prone to warping, but it straightens out pretty well.

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For figure number four, we appropriately come to the fourth film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and another one of the major variants. It’s Indy without his jacket as seen during the jungle chase. For the first time, we’ve got an Indy without his fedora sculpted to his head. In fact, this figure doesn’t come with one at all. The sculpt is pretty nice, though, with a lot of good detail in his outfit and a pretty good head sculpt to boot, complete with peppered gray in his hair to show off that this is geriatric Indy. This version comes with a coiled whip to hook onto his belt and the Soviet-issue rocket launcher.

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And that brings us to my favorite 3 3/4″ Indy of the line, and yes he’s from The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull assortment. Now, I don’t have the same hate for the fourth film that a lot of people do, but it is at the bottom of my list. [It’s actually second to bottom on my list as it can boast being 100 percent Willie Scott free. -FF]  But the reason I like this figure so much is that it’s still the best generic and iconic Indy of the bunch. The sculpting on the jacket is easily my favorite of all the figures, and the huge revolver holster problem has been fixed. But best of all, the fedora is actually removable on this figure, which gives him a wide number of options for display. Yes, he’s got the older head sculpt with the grey hair, but then that could just be dust from all the tombs he’s crawling through. This version of Indy came with a coiled whip, a revolver, and a swappable left hand holding the Crystal Skull. The torch in the picture wasn’t included.

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That’s not to say that these are all the Indy figures that Hasbro’s 3 3/4″ line had to offer. Indy was also packaged several times over in the Deluxe Assortment. Two of these figures included the traditional version with a little playset featuring some sort of trap to navigate. The other two? Well, we’re going to check out those tomorrow.

Indiana Jones: Electronic Talking 1:6 Scale Indiana Jones by Hasbro

[If a theme week had a name it must be Indiana Jones!

Why? For no reason whatsoever, other than I don’t think I’ve ever featured Hasbro’s Indiana Jones line more than once or twice here on FigureFan and my recent acquisitions have been pretty slim these past couple of weeks. Indy is a line that had a rocky run, where early quality control issues coupled with terrible case assortments caused it to die earlier than most fans were expecting. And while many consider the line to be a failure, I’m not one of them. I got a bunch of great figures and toys out of this line, and overall I was more than happy with what we got.Most of what we’re looking at this week will be from the 3 3/4″ figures, but I thought I’d kick things off and get one of Hasbro’s 1:6 scale figures out of the way first. It’s worth noting that one of my most favorite toys of childhood was the Kenner 1:6 scale Indiana Jones figure that I got for Christmas one year. Obviously, it was back in the days before the Interweb, and I didn’t even know the thing existed until I unwrapped it. So picking up a new Indy figure in this scale was a real nostalgia trip for me, and that’s what a good deal of this blog is all about anyway. -FF]

Back when Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released, there followed a torrential flood of Indiana Jones merchandising. Hasbro had the license to produce the everyday toys for the toy aisles, but a whole number of higher end collectible companies also landed limited rights to produce figures of their own. If you were in the market for a 1:6 scale Indy figure, you certainly had no limit of options and a wide range of prices to choose from. All of these figures had their good points, and yet all of them also had at least one or two glaring problems that kept me from blowing a stack of cash on any one of them. In the end, I decided that if I was going to buy a 1:6 scale Indy that I wasn’t going to be completely satisfied with, I might as well take the low cheap road. So, let’s take a look at Hasbro’s attempt.

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The packaging is typical of what I expect from a mass market figure in this scale. You get a window box that is pretty collector friendly, although the accessories have to be removed from the back of the cardboard insert. Most of them are just twisty-tied on it, but the Fertility Idol is sealed in a bubble, so I opted to leave it there. I like the deco of the box, especially the illustrated map background on the insert tray. Although I could have done without the adverts for Hasbro’s National Geographic Win A Trip contest. It doesn’t play well years later. There’s a Try Me hole in the window so you can reach in and poke Indy’s chest to make him talk, which is great if you plan on keeping him MIB or just want to entertain yourself while you’re in the store waiting to check out. More on this gimmick later.

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Out of the box, I think this figure makes a pretty good first impression. He has a removable softgoods outfit and a plastic removable fedora. The body is pretty close in line with Hasbro’s mass market GI JOE bodies in this scale. That is to say the articulation is pretty good, but not up to snuff if you’re used to picking up a lot of figures in the $100+ scale or even the more affordable Triad Toys figures. I realize that articulation is king when it comes to 1:6 scale figures, and I do not collect a lot of figures in this scale, so I’m bound to be a lot more forgiving than the enthusiasts out there. The head sculpt is not bad, although it’s definitely been compromised a bit to include the moving mouth gimmick. It seems a little rounder in the face, and while it’s impressive the neck still has articulation with the gimmick, the neck seems a tad short. It’s not quite Harrison Ford, but maybe close enough to be his stunt double. Even still, I honestly think this sculpt is more acceptable than at least one or two of the higher end Indys I’ve considered. I definitely applaud Hasbro’s decision to not sculpt the hat onto the head. The paint is pretty good everywhere except on the eyes, which are rather sloppily done.

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While the sculpt might be hit-and-miss, Indy’s iconic outfit is a home run. The pants and shirt and boots are spot on and the leather jacket is really good, albeit a bit chunky in the arms. At first I was bummed that the hat was plastic and not felt like it was in the old Kenner figure, but then I caught some pictures of the old Kenner figure and without my nostalgia I realized it didn’t look so hot. In the end, I think going with plastic was the better idea. His belt includes a loop for his whip and a removable holster for his revolver. I do really wish the shirt closed a little higher up on his chest to conceal the speaker in his chest, but this can be easily fixed with some tape or a simple stitch.

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Indy comes with the basic accessories. You get a revolver, a coiled whip and an uncoiled whip, and the Fertility Idol. It’s not a huge number of accessories, but not bad. Besides, it’s plenty easy to find a 1:6 scale assortment of WWI or WWII era weapons on the cheap. The whips are made of rubbery plastic and are both really well done. The issue I have here isn’t with the accessories but with the figure’s hands, which are not designed to hold any of this stuff really well. Hasbro really should have gone with the hinged fingers they’ve done on this scale of GI JOE figures in the past. You can get him to hold the stuff, but not really well. This is undoubtedly where the multiple hands usually included with the higher end figures helps out.

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The electronic gimmick is pretty good, and doesn’t hurt the figure too much. The button is situated really low on his stomach, so activating it is like poking the Pillsbury Doughboy in the tummy. You can keep pressing the button to make Indy’s mouth move, but it’s kind of a creepy looking effect. The sound on the voice clips is nice and clear, and while the package proclaims this figure is from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the voice clips are sampled from all of the original three films. The quotes include:

  • My name is Indiana Jones
  • Snakes, Why’d it have to be snakes?
  • Oooooh, Rats!
  • I hate these guys
  • I think we got a big problem!
  • Archaeology is the search for facts.
  • Trust me
  • I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go
  • Fortune and glory kid, fortune and glory.
  • That’s why they call it the jungle, sweetheart.
  • No ticket!

Indy retailed at $29.99, which wasn’t bad. It was certainly the cheapest of the 1:6 scale Indy figures by a long shot. It’s not perfect, but for a mass market figure I think Hasbro did a pretty fine job. I definitely would have preferred less electronics in favor of better hands, but apart from that I don’t have a lot of complaints about this figure at all. The best thing about this figure is that he’s still easy to find online and can often be picked up for less than his original retail. If you don’t want to drop $100 or more on one of the “better” figures, this one is a decent compromise.

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Lego City: Prisoner Transport (#7286)

So, after more than a week of remaining Lego-Free here at Figurefan, I’ve decided to do a Lego weekend before moving onto whatever it is I decide to go with on Monday. I probably should have used today to look at the last Lego Atlantis set that I built, but I’m rather excited to begin my first forays into Lego City, so I’m going to spend the weekend looking at two of the Police themed sets from this series. We’ll start with the smaller one and move on to the bigger one tomorrow.

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The box shows off what you’re going to get inside and proclaims this is a “Modular Build, Easy Start.” I have no idea what that means, but I’ve seen it on a number of the Lego City sets. There’s nothing challenging here, but I didn’t find building this set any different than other sets in this size and price range. Anyway, the box contains an instruction book, a sticker sheet, and two numbered baggies with a total of 173 pieces. Once everything is built you get two minifigs, a motorcycle, a police barricade, a box of junk police equipment, and the prisoner transport vehicle. Let’s start with the minifigs.

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The minifigs consist of a police officer and a criminal. I’m used to my minifigs being knights or space police or fish-men, so these guys are pretty normal by comparison.The policeman is ok, but because Lego is a European company he doesn’t really look like any cop that we’re used to seeing here in the States, and he doesn’t come with a gun. He does come with a lot of stuff, but I’ll get to that when I discuss the box that goes in the vehicle. The criminal comes with a striped shirt that implies he just got out of prison and is wasting no time commiting more crimes, as he has a backpack and a stolen stack of loot. The motorcycle presumeably belongs to the criminal. It’s a nifty little piece, which thankfully came with an extra kickstand piece for me to give to my Pharaoh’s Quest motorcycle so it’ll stop flopping over.

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I don’t have a whole lot to say about the truck itself. It sits one figure up in the front by taking off the roof and the rear section has a seat for the prisoner with bars on the windows and door. It’s a bit weird just having the one seat in there, as if it was designed to transport Lego Hannibal Lector. Nonetheless, the truck was pretty fun to build and it rolls along great. The oddest thing about it is the hinged shutter-like doors on the sides that give you access to a compartment for the crate of junk equipment. It’s kind of an odd addition to the design and with the shutters up for some reason it reminds me more of an Ice Cream truck than anything else. I guess if you play with these things the equipment is a nice bonus, but I kind of think it was tossed in to up the sets brick count. There’s a hinged spotlight on the back and a rotating spotlight up top. It seems like with just a few modifications you could turn this thing into a number of different vehicles. I’m seeing a News Van and possibly some kind of Animal Control vehicle.

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This set cost $20 at Walmart, which quite frankly I think is pushing things a bit. The truck is substantial enough and you do get two minifigs and a bunch of stuff, but maybe I’m just not seeing as much of the play value or coolness factor because it’s a Lego City set and not a bunch of Knights or Aliens or Divers fighting Fishmen. I just know that I spent less for some of the Atlantis sets with higher brick counts than this, and I guess that just bugs me. Although, I will admit, this set seemed to use a lot less tiny pieces than some of the sets from other lines that I’ve built. Even still, it’s a fine set, and it’ll go well with the Police Station if I ever decide to pony up for it.

Transformers Armada: Megatron with Leader-1 by Hasbro

Here we are at the final feature and I’m sure someone was wondering if I was going to get to Optimus Prime or Megatron in this week of Armada indulgences. Well, I purposely excluded Prime because one day I plan on doing a whole week dedicated to the Big Guy. I don’t have any such festivities planned for Megatron. It’s not that I have anything against the guy, I just don’t think he has the same cohesive line running through his various toys that would make for an interesting themed week. Nonetheless, Armada saw Megatron return as his most logical possible form: A tank. And unlike his G2 mode, this time, it’s a Cybertronian tank. And unlike his more recent Bayformer tank mode, this one actually looks like something other than a pile of razorblades.

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Yes, Armada Megatron is a tank, and while he’s without a doubt a sci-fi inspired Cyberton war machine, he still conforms to all the characteristics I come to expect from a tank. In other words, he’s a tracked vehicle with a big ass cannon. Works for me. So what if he has beetle pincers on the front as well? Why not? The turret spins around and fires off a missile and he has an additional dual missile launcher on top of that as well. Megatron features electronic lights and sounds and a terribly annoying and decidedly un-Megatrony voice chip that proclaims, “Decepticons, Attack!” Mmm’kay. Other gimmicks include a fold out launching ramp, which works well for little jet Minicons, and a hatch or prison to capture other Minicons. The green and neon orange color scheme doesn’t really scream Megsy to me, but it works really well for this toy.

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Transforming Megatron is laughably easy. You basically just straighten out his legs, fold out his arms, reveal the head and do a couple other tweaks. There’s no great secret as to how his conversion process works, and yet this is one of those figures where the lack of complexity in the transformation doesn’t bother me, because I like both forms so very much. In robot form, Megatron is really well proportioned and beautifully sculpted. Some may take issue with the way the pincer claw become what are essentially robo-antlers, but I think he looks majestically bad ass and I really dig his face sculpt. My only real gripe here is that I would have rather the cannon detach and re-attach to his arm, rather than peek out between his arm and torso like it does. Do what you will to Megatron, Hasbro, but you should always keep the arm cannon. Megsy also has this odd little gimmick where attaching a Minicon to his left arm and sliding it forward pushes a hidden dagger into his hand.

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Megatron also has a horribly shitty “Attack Mode” which consists of bringing the tank turret to his front. It serves no purpose other than to look ridiculous and give you an excuse to misfire the sound effects a couple hundred times. He will also combine with parts of Tidal Wave, but this gimmick looks even worse and I really don’t want to take the time to humiliate my Tidal Wave figure for no good reason.

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Megatron’s Minicon with the Go-Bot name is Leader-1 and he ranks up there with my favorites because he’s very simple and yet works wonderfully in both his attack vehicle and robot modes. Hell, in robot mode, this little guy has better articulation than most Armada toys. But the best thing about him his the way he can easily convert to a gun. Afterall, the idea of the Minicons is the bigger Transformers get more powerful by attaching Minicons to themselves. But I’m not all that convinced that sticking a bunch of cars and jets on their bodies is all that useful, unless their just using them as batteries. Leader-1, however, actually adds firepower by becoming a set of guns, and you can play around with all sorts of different permutations.

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As expected, Megatron was repainted and re-released, only not as Powerlinx Megatron, but as… yep, you guessed it… Galvatron. While I really like both toys, I do like Galvatron’s color scheme better and tend to refer to him as Megatron, mainly because I usually can’t remember which is which anyway.

[And that’s a wrap for Armada Week Extended. This weekend I’m going to hit a couple of Lego sets I built over the past couple of weeks. Not sure yet what to do with next week. I’ve got a few more themed weeks I’d like to try, but I suspect next week I’ll just be playing it by ear. So, until tomorrow… I’ve got a Tron Legacy Blu-Ray that needs watching. -FF]