Transformers Reveal The Shield: Lugnut by Hasbro

Hasbro’s Reveal The Shield Transformers have been turning up at Ross stores lately, so I’ve been making more frequent trips there hoping to find Grappel, or possibly even some of the carded Deluxe figures. Last time I found Deep Dive, but I took a pass on him because I already own Seaspray and while I love him, I decided that I don’t need two versions of that mold. Yes, folks, I’m a recovering completest! This last visit I still struck out on Grappel, but I did find Lugnut and decided that he was worth checking out for the price.

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I don’t know that I ever saw too many Reveal the Shield boxed figure at retail, but then again I never saw any of the carded figures either. Lugnut comes packaged in his robot form and the box’s design is pretty close to the ones used for the Hunt for the Decepticons toys, complete with the one jagged edge. It’s a nice presentation and includes the figure’s bio on the side panel and shots of Lugnut in both modes on the back. The biggest drawback here is that Lugnut was a total bitch to get out of off of his tray, and that’s even with me not caring how bad I mangled it. I’m going to start out with Lugnut’s aircraft mode, because that’s how I roll…
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Lugnut’s alt mode is a fictional heavy bomber with a bit of a vintage twang to him. If you haven’t guessed yet he’s also a direct homage to his namesake from Transformers Animated. Remember when Hasbro re-sculpted Animated Lockdown for the Revenge of the Fallen line? Well, this is the same thing. This design reminds me a lot of what Hasbro did with Hunt for the Decepticons Highbrow and in fact the two figures compliment each other really well in their aircraft modes, although in this case Lugnut comes across as looking a bit more realistic and less like something out of a Capcom game.
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Lugnut is mostly military green, and the nose art is a really nice touch, as are the hazard stripes around the engines, which are a direct reference to the Animated Lugnut’s deco. As the name of the line suggests, Lugnut features a vintage-style rub sign on his wing, which reveals his Decepticon logo when rubbed. Lugnut’s registry numbers “LU-6 NU-7” even spell out his name. Cool.
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Transforming Lugnut is fairly easy, although there are some spring-loaded elements that just tend to get in the way if you aren’t doing all the steps in the right order. In principal, he transforms very similar to Animated Lugnut, with a little more complexity, and the resulting robot mode is fairly close in overall profile to that earlier figure, particularly with the way the nose of the bomber splits open to form his chest. He also has the same basic proportions as Animated Lugnut, with a bulky upper body, long arms, and shorter, diminished legs.
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On the downside, this Lugnut doesn’t handle his back kibble quite as well as his Animated counterpart. The original Lugnut had the option of removing a large piece of his aircraft tail for use as a big weapon. That’s not an option here and so this Lugnut has an awful lot of crap hanging off his back.
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I’m impressed by how the wings transform into his arms and appear to get bulkier. His three-fingered claws are a lot better fleshed out that Animated Lugnut and there’s even some articulation in those fingers, which is cool. The huge cartoony bombs from Animated Lugnut are replaced by engines on this more realistic counterpart and he wears them on his shoulders, rather than on his hands. They make for an extra imposing robot form. Yeah, he’s got the proportions of a gorilla, but I think it works in his favor.
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Lugnut also share’s his animated counterparts cyclops head and even has a bit of articulation in the mouth.
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Lugnut was one of the few Reveal The Shield figures I found at retail when they were first released and I passed on him each time. Finding him for half price at Ross, though, was a different story, and all in all I’m glad I picked him up because I overall I do like him, and I absolutely adore his bomber mode. I have a feeling that Lugnut has one of those robot modes that a lot of people aren’t going to dig so much. It’s not clean, it’s not well proportioned, but it does have a lot of character.
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Masters of the Universe Classics: Megator by Mattel

I’m not exactly an expert on the vintage MOTU toyline, so I’m not ashamed to say that I never knew the 12-inch giants even existed. As Dirty Harry once said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Back when Matty introduced the first of their Classics versions of these figures I passed on Tytus. Megator, on the other hand looked a lot cooler. Maybe I just prefer my giants to look like monsters rather than regular dudes, so despite my reservations about the $40 price tag, I decided to go for it anyway. It didn’t hurt that Megator was plenty easy to get, even when I logged on that night to buy my stuff.

I gotta be honest, I wasn’t prepared for just how big this guy is, especially when he’s in the package. The last larger MOTUC figure I bought was Shadow Beast, and this guy really dwarfs him. The packaging maintains the green Greyskull stone deco of the regular sized carded figures, but this is a window box, rather than a card and bubble. The box dubs him an “Evil Giant Destroyer” and there’s a cool “The Powers of Greyskull” sticker on the window, which I don’t recall seeing before. I’m not usually a MIB collector, but I probably won’t be displaying Megator with my regular MOTUC figures, so I was able to carefully remove this guy from the box without mangling it and he’ll likely be living in his box on my shelf of other boxed 12-inch figures. Needless to say, I’m happy the packaging is collector friendly.
Megator’s design gives him something of an easy sculpt. As far as his body is concerned, he’s just a green guy in a furry diaper and a leather harness. Still, the muscles are sculpted very nicely and I think the different shades of green make for an outstanding looking figure. The harness is soft plastic and features some nice detail work that include tiny rivets and a skull motif. The harness clips together behind his back, and is pretty easy to take off if you so choose.
And then there’s the head. I’m not crazy about it and I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s not terrible, it just looks maybe too cartoony to fit in with a lot of the more realistic modern sculpts. The hair is sculpted, which fits in with the rest of the MOTUC line, and its soft enough to not terribly hinder the neck articulation, but I just don’t think it looks all that great. Thankfully, just like Man-E-Faces, Megator came with a secret accessory, and yep, its an extra head. While I didn’t care about Man-E’s extra head, I think Megator’s extra head is so much better than the one that came with it. The sculpt is more hideous and generally better looking than the in-package head and the rooted hair works much better for me than the standard head’s sculpted hair.

One of the reasons I didn’t pick up Tytus was because I hated his weapon. Yep, that terrible hammer-slash-vacuum thing. Megator, here comes with a much cooler weapon: A giant spiked ball on a chain. The ball is almost half the size of a regular MOTUC figure, so he could really do some damage with it.
Megator’s articulation isn’t up to the standards of the smaller figures. The head is ball jointed and pops off pretty easily to do the swap. The shoulders are ball jointed, but you don’t get a lot of lateral movment there. His elbows are hinged and he has swivel cuts in his wrists. His legs swivel at the hips and are hinged at the knees. The only thing I’m really missing here are hinges in the ankles. Apart from that I’m ok with the limitations.
Megator turned out to be a really cool figure, even for someone like me who doesn’t care about the vintage toy’s history. Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate all you vintage MOTU collectors being thrilled to finally have a toy version of this guy that is affordable and fits in with the modern line. But as far as I’m concerned, he’s just a crazy looking giant and that’s good enough for me. I can’t say I’m really thrilled about blowing almost $50 on him including shipping, especially when Mezco can put out such an amazingly sweet and significantly bigger Lion-O for $35.

Doctor Who: Silent (With Open Mouth) by Character Options

Once again, I find myself a little underwhelmed by CO’s choices of figures for the current series of Who and that’s why you aren’t likely to see all the figures in the recent waves featured here on FigureFan. I know, it’s a crazy concept that I’m cherry picking Doctor Who figures, but I really don’t need an 11th Doctor in Stetson, or the 11th Doctor in Straight Jacket, of Young Amelia Pond. Seriously CO? No Black Spot Pirates? No Kovarian? And still no Rory? Jeez. Nonetheless, there are some worthy and good looking figures in the mix and I was pretty excited to pick up one of super creepy Silents in their new action figure form.

      
The figure comes packaged in the same style as the Series 5 figures. I still really dig these cards. They look great and their much easier to get into than the clamshells used prior to the Series 5 package changes. The back panel shows just how weak this wave of figures is. The five figures include: Two Silents, Young Amelia who isn’t even from Series 6 [Ok, fair enough, she turned up in the most recent episode. -FF], 11th Doctor in his Stetson and Nephew the Ood. I’m only planning to pick up Nephew and a couple more Silents. Luckily the next wave looks a little better.
So, the one thing I was iffy about when I first saw the pics of The Silent figure was the proportions. The Silents just didn’t look this tall and oddly proportioned on the screen, but now that I have the figure in hand, I really don’t care if it isn’t accurate because the elongated proportions of the figure looks so damn creepy and unsettling that I’m completely won over. The sculpt is simple enough, as the body is just a wrinkled black suit, but the bublous head is just awesome and I’m very happy with the open mouth variant. The skin tone looks more like the color of silly puddy, whereas I remember the screen versions being more grey, but accurate or not, it looks fine.
The Silent’s articulation includes the new ball jointed shoulders that I first saw used with River Song and Leela. In addition to the ball jointed shoulders, the arms feature swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists and hinges in the elbows. The legs feature universal movement in the hips, swivel cuts in the thighs, and hinges in the knees. The neck has a swivel cut, but the head really barely turns at all.
After a huge buildup (“Silence will fall!”) I can’t say The Silents have turned out to be the best Who villains introduced in the new series, but then we haven’t seen the last of them yet, so I’ll reserve final judgement for a little while longer. They were, however, definitely creepy and the figure conveys every bit of that creepiness. Are they screen accurate? Not entirely, but I’m still so very happy with this figure, that I will definitely be buying the other variant, as well as a couple more.

Player Select: Soul Reaver Raziel (Reissue) by NECA

I don’t usually plug online stores or other Interweb sites here, but I do like to give credit where credit is due. I’ve wanted this Raziel figure FOREVER (which in quantitative terms is at least around 10 years or so) and I owe the fact that I finally have him in my collection to the folks over at Infinite Hollywood.  I try to hit Infinite Hollywood at least once a week and it’s almost always worth the visit, but a week or so back they featured this figure and mentioned that NECA had re-released it. I immediately went fleeing to a few online toy retailers until I was able to find one and order it. So, what’s the big deal? Well, on a personal level, I’m a huge fan of the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver games and I’ve wanted a Raziel figure for the better part of a decade. On the more practical level, if you didn’t snap him up when he was first released, Raziel become a pretty expensive figure to get on the second hand market. I’ve literally hovered over a Buy It Now on this guy for $100 before backing down. So thanks to this great tip I was able to pick him up for a laughable ten bucks. Ten bucks! TEN BUCKS! Had I known he was this good, I probably would have paid a premium for him years ago. Let’s check him out…

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I try to always talk about the packaging first, and a good thing too since I can get the only bad thing about this figure out of the way first. Ok, so the packaging isn’t really bad, but kind of blah. Raziel comes in a huge bubble on a fairly utilitarian cardback. It’s got the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver title on the top and some serviceable backdrop artwork to frame the figure. If you’re a MOC collector, the packaging may not serve you all that well. There’s a pretty big and unnecessary illustrated insert inside the bubble that blocks the lower half of the figure from view. The insert does list Raziel’s accessories and that the figure has 24 points of articulation, but NECA could have easily put that on a side insert to better preserve the in-package presentation. To make matters worse, Raziel is a really heavy figure and the card doesn’t seem to hold up all that well under the weight of the bubble. Getting a card that isn’t bent to hell may be difficult. Of course, none of this matters to me, as I shredded the package like a rabid cat to get to my new figure.
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Keep in mind, while I’ve drooled over tons of pictures of this figure online over the years, I’ve never actually seen it in person. So three thoughts came to mind as I first removed this figure from the shipping box. One, it’s huge. Much bigger than I expected. Two, the sculpt is amazing. And I mean… daaaayyym amazing. Three, the paintwork and colors used for the plastic are incredibly vibrant. This figure immediately impresses and delivered a wow factor that I seldom experience even among some of my favorite figures. The quality of the plastic is excellent and I’m thrilled with the texturework on his claws and muscles. His torn and attrophied wings are very well done, as is the cowl that covers his missing jaw. Not to forget the head sculpt, which is absolutely spot on, and of course his cowl is removable so you can check out poor Raziel’s horribly mutilated head in its entirety. Aesthetically, this figure really is perfect to me.
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NECA usually impresses with their sculpts, but not so often with their articulation. While I think they’ve been generally better than McFarlane in this department, the truth is NECA turns out their fair share of statue figures. Apparently Raziel here is the exception, because like the package states he sports 24 points of articulation, making him a bona fide action figure rather than just a display piece. Some of his ball joints are a little funky and take a bit of coaxing to get into the right position, but in the end Raziel is more poseable than I could have possibly hoped for.
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Raziel comes with all the necessary accessories, and a few unnecessary ones. You get his Soul Reaver sword, which fits snugly onto his hand and includes a second spiraled piece of plastic that wraps around his arm to simulate the spectral tendrils of the Reaver that bind the sword to his essence. The blade is cast in a semi translucent blue plastic which nicely simulates the blade’s otherworldly nature in the game. You also get a torch, which was a pretty commonly used accessory in the game. Those unnecessary accessories I mentioned are the extra set of non-articulated claws. I’m not complaining, but I really don’t see the benefit. The articulated claws that come on the figure are just fine.
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If you’re even half as fanatical over the Soul Reaver games as I am, you really need to get yourself this figure. I think it’s damn near perfect and that’s coming from someone with a lot of high and long held expectations. NECA delivered with an amazing sculpt, excellent articulation, and really superb coloring and quality. And the price tag is just as amazing. Raziel here can hang with just about any $20-25 figure on the shelf and come out on top. I’ve given him a place of honor standing beside my computer. It’s a spot reserved for newly acquired figures that I just can’t stop staring at or playing around with, and I think he’ll probably stay there for a while now. So, hey NECA, how about Kain?

Playmobil: Treasure Transporter With Row Boat (#4295)

Arrrr! I know I promised ye pirates today, but I might have fibbed a little. Actually, I wanted to feature the two pirates sets I have on consecutive days and I haven’t decided what I’m posting about tomorrow yet, so I opted to look at this Playmobil set instead. Technically, it is part of the Pirates line and we know this because it’s got the adorable little Playmobil pirate face on the box right next to the set number. But these guys look more like Conquestadors to me. I suppose we could get into a whole semantics argument over the meaning of the word pirates, but let’s not and just move on.

This set comes in the standard and very iconic Playmobil box. Have you noticed how I keep capitalizing Playmobil and its never capitalized on the packages? Sorry, just can’t help myself. Once again, the front of the box shows the toys in action and the back of the box shows a picture catalog of everything you get inside. Unlike the larger sets, which open up easily after cutting the tape, you practically have to tear your way into these smaller boxed sets, much like a Lego set. There’s that Lego-Playmobil comparison again. I can’t seem to escape those. I just realized that I didn’t take a picture of the contents after opening the box, which I’m a little peeved at myself over. Suffice it to say the boat comes loose and you get a couple of baggies of figures and accessories, along with an instruciton book and catalog.
The figures are really cool, and as I said, they look more like Conquistadors than Pirates, but either way, they’re obviously hauling a crap load of ill-gotten loot so they’re fair game for either the Playmobil Pirates or the Playmobil Royal Navy. As much as I do like the figures, I do miss the way the vintage Playmobil sets actually had vac-metalized armor and helmets whereas the armor on these guys is just printed on and their helmets are just a matte silver. Not a deal breaker, but just me longing for the way things used to be. Each figure comes with a baldric and a sword to put into it. I haven’t seen a lot of other current Playmobil sets featuring Conquistadors, so I’m not sure if this set is just a one-off fancy for the Pirate line, but I’d love to see more coming, especially a large sized Spanish Galleon.
       
The little boat in this set, is definitely not a Galleon, but just a row boat that’s just big enough for both figures and their treasure chest. You assemble it just by putting in the boards that form the seats, snapping on the flag and putting in the oars. The treasure chest is the same one that came with the Deluxe Soldier 2-pack we looked at earlier this week and there’s a baggie of gold coins to fill it with. Surprisingly, the coins are vac-metalized. Cool!
So, this little set may seem all that impressive after the Soldiers Boat from the last Playmobil feature, and the figures in it don’t necessarily fit in perfectly with the pirates and the royal navy figures in the series, but I still like them a lot and the boat and treasure certainly make a nice addition to the whole line up and can be used to expand any of the Pirates sets. Plus, the set retails at just under fifteen bucks, and it’s hard for me to argue with that!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Man-E-Faces by Mattel

Last Monday was a Matty Sale Day and Mattel had a number of items worth looking at. In addition to offering second chances on Beast Man and Gygor, the two new MOTUC figures were Man-E-Faces and Megator. Today we’ll start out with Man-E. He’s not one of my favorite dudes from Universe, but there’s no denying he’s a pretty high profile character and he was no doubt very high on a lot of collectors’ want lists, especially after getting releases like Battleground Teela and The Faceless One. Despite his demand, Man-E turned out to be a pretty easy figure to get, as he lasted a couple of days. He also came with a secret accessory! Oooh! What could that be???

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Man-E comes in the standard MOTUC packaging, which still looks everybit as awesome as it did last month, and the month before that, and so on. If I were a MOC collector, I’d be pretty pissed, though. My Man-E is packaged with his helmet askew, half turned to the side with his face barely visible. I don’t know how many shipped like this, but I do know a lot of collectors keep these carded. If you’re one of them, good luck. I hope your’s was packaged better than mine. The secret accessory is packaged under the insert so if I had avoided toy forums for the last bunch of weeks I would have been really surprised when I ripped open the package. But I didn’t. So I wasn’t.
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And there’s the Man… er, E-Faces. The keen eyed collector will instantly notice that Man-E owes his legs to Trap Jaw’s parts. You’ll also notice that Matty had to really rethink their “no gimmicks” rule with this figure, as by nature, Man-E is basically one big gimmick. So let’s get that gimmick out of the way first. In case you were worried that in order to change Man-E faces you’d have to take apart his whole head and put in a different face plate (I’m looking at you two, Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor!!), fear not. Man-E’s gimmick works the same way it did on the vintage figure. You turn the knob on the top of his head and it rotates through the three faces: human, robot, and beast. The faces are a bit sunken into the helmet, but you can still see them pretty well and I think T4H did a fine job recreating each one for the modern line
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But wait… order now and you’ll get three more bonus faces! Now how much would you pay? Yes, the secret accessory is another head with three more faces. To swap them out you pull off the knob, pull off the helmet, swap the head plug inside and put it all back together. It’s actually much easier than it sounds. The new heads consist of He-Man, Orko, and Skeletor. Orko? Really?? I don’t tend to complain about extra accessories, but I can tell you right now that my extra Man-E head will be tossed into the bottomless pit of extra MOTUC accessories that I don’t give a shit about. I will also point out that the ability to swap out the heads made Man-E’s helmet a little unstable and bounces around while rotating the heads. In the end, I would have rather Matty nixed the extra head and permanently attached the helmet to the figure. See, the extra head is an example of the gimmick hurting the figure, and I thought that’s what Matty was trying to avoid.
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But enough about Man-E’s faces, the figure in it’s entirety looks fantastic. The sculpt and proportions are great and while I may catch some hell from purists about this, I am glad Matty went with the fleshtone rather than the more vintage color for his skin. The purple and blue used for his armor is a gorgeous combination and really makes the figure pop. In addition to the extra head, Man-E comes with his trusty orange laser pistol. It’s a new sculpt and I like it.
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Men-E features fairly standard MOTUC articulation. The arms feature universal movement in the shoulders, swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The legs have universal movement at the hips, and hinges in the knees and ankles. The torso swivels at the waist and features the standard ab crunch. Obviously, his head doesn’t turn, at least not in the conventional sense.
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It seems like I’m saying this a lot lately, but here’s another MOTUC figure where I don’t care so much about the character, but I absolutely love the figure. He has a great sculpt, very appealing colors, and an overall sense of great quality about him. As always, casual collectors will no doubt balk at the $20 plus shipping pricetag, but I tend to get more and more pissed over the shipping charges, rather than the $20 for the figure. Yep, as always, Matty, thanks for charging me $10 to ship a figure in a box with no packing and have it take almost 10 days to get to me. That’s quite a class act you and Digital River are running.

Lego Alien Conquest: Tripod Invader (#7051)

I promise I’m getting back to the Playmobil stuff soon, but I’ve had a tight schedule this week, so I’m forced to run some of the content I’ve already finished first to buy me some time to catch up. So, today we’re going to climb another rung on the ladder of Lego’s Alien Conquest series by looking at the next larger set of the line: Tripod Invader. I don’t have much of a preamble for this one, so let’s just get to it.

     
Another pretty standard Lego box with some pretty cool artwork showing little Lego people running for their lives while the alien menace descends on them. Once again, I get a nice B-movie vibe from this line, right down to the intentionally cheesy logo. The set boasts 166 pieces, which is around 60 or so pieces more than the first set I looked at. The box contains an instruction book, a sticker sheet, and three baggies of bricks, which build two minifigs (three if you count the alien head clinger), and the alien Tripod.
      
The minifigs include an Alien Trooper, an Alien Clinger, and a human businessman-slash-captive. Like I said when looking at the last set, I’m getting a little burned out on the Lego alien minifigs. This guy looks ok and I still like the pink veins that make up his brain, but he’s nothing all that special. The purple and black suit is pretty sharp, though. The human is just a guy in a business suit with a happy face and a “holy shit, I’m about to get my ass probed” scared face. He does come with a briefcase that opens, which is kind of cool, and if you collect Lego City sets, I’m sure you could get some more mileage out of him. The Clinger is just a single piece that fits over the head of the human, obviously while in the process of digesting the human’s entire head. It’s a cool idea. I like him a lot.
The Tripod is actually built up in two main pieces. You have the lower part that includes the legs and the death ray and the upper part that detaches to form a space ship. At first I wasn’t crazy about the top part not being a symmetrical looking Tripod body, but I’ll confess having it detach to double as a spaceship is just so cool and adds a ton of play value to the set. The legs don’t actually move a lot, but they do support the ship very well and it’s very cool how the death ray sockets into the globe like an eyeball. I’m sure this sort of thing has been used in Lego sets before, but this is the first time I’ve encountered it and I think its terribly clever.
The spaceship itself has an opening dome canopy so you can put the Alien Trooper at the controls. There’s also some socketed bricks around it so you can plug his laser gun into the ship for some added firepower. The stickers do a very nice job adding detail, including a bumper sticker that reads: “We’ve Been To Earth.” The back of the ship features a green pod that opens and serves as a prison to put the captured human into. The ship portion rests on a large rod and simply lifts right off when it’s ready to fly away.
          
       
The Tripod Invader set retails for $20. It’s a fun build, albeit doing the three legs is repetitive, but what you get when you’re done is well worth the money. Possibly the only downside here is that you don’t get a human vehicle to play against, just some poor sap in a suit to get captured. Nonetheless, if you already have the Defender set we looked at last time, the two compliment each other very nicely and I do recommend picking up the pair of them together.

Playmobil: Soldiers Deluxe 2-Pack (#5946)

So, last time we looked at the Soldiers’ Boat and what better way to compliment that set than with a pack of more soldiers and a little more gear to buff it out? Are these bilge rats up to the task of taking on the Playmobil pirates? Let’s find out…

Traditionally speaking, most Playmobil sets come in boxes and if I recall correctly even the single figure sets used to come boxed. I only first noticed these more modern looking carded packs within the last couple of years or so, but I’m certainly no expert so they could have been around for a while. The card still maintains that iconic minimalist blue Playmobil deco with the front declaring that the set contains 21 pieces and the back showing off photos of exactly what you get. The photo catalog of pieces seems to make more sense on the boxes, as the toys are laid out inside the bubble so that you can easily see exactly what you’re getting. It’s kind of redundnat here, and that space might have been better spent showing what other toys were available. But, hey, that’s just my two cents. I do like the way you can preserve the bubble and tray to store the figures and gear and keep them organized.
The two figures include one soldier and one commander type. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be an Admiral or a Captain, as I’m not up on the uniforms and rank insignia of the Playmobil Royal Navy, but for my purposes, he’s a Captain. He’s a great pick-up for me because the one thing I bemoaned about the Soldiers’ Boat is that it didn’t come with a Captain. Problem solved. He’s actually got the same printed shirt as the Soldier, but that’s the beauty of versatility of Playmobil figures. Add some white pants, gold epulettes, cuffs and a sword sash, and a majestic hat and he becomes very officer-like. He’s also sporting a printed mustache and white hair, painted buckles on his shoes and he comes with a sword. Nice! The other figure is one of the exact same figures that we saw in the Soldiers’ Boat set. But that’s cool because he’s definitely an army builder and by god we need cannon fodder for our horrifically bloody Playmobil battles against the bastardly pirates. [bastardly? really?? -FF] He comes with the same musket and bayonette from the previous set too. You also get a map and a flag.
The treasure chest is a very nice piece as well, which is great to stow on the boat from the last set. It’s actually two pieces and not just hinged with bendy plastic, so you don’t have to worry about it stressing and breaking from opening it too many times. If you have any of the smaller vintage Playmobil chests from the pirates or knights series, you know where I’m coming from. The treasure included in these Playmobil sets is usually pretty spectacular, but in this case all you get is a couple of giant gold nuggets. They’re pretty drab and make me long for the day when Playmobil used the shiny vac-metalized finish on the booty. The cannon is very similar to the one included in the previous set, only the carriage for this one is molded in red plastic. It still fires, and you get two cannonball missiles with it.
This little set retails for just under seven bucks, and when you look at the prices of single carded 4-inch figures these days, I’m not complaining. I can buy stuff like this for seven bucks all day and with a smile on my face, because it really feels like I’m getting a lot of bang for my buck. It’s a great little set all on its own, but combine it with the previous Soldiers’ Boat set and you’ve really got a little force ready to go out scouring the seas for those filthy pirates. Tomorrow, we be takin a little break from Playmobil, but when I comes backs on T’ursday, We be meeting them some of them pirates! Arrr!

Playmobil: Soldiers Boat (#5948)

Arrr, Matey’s. If ye going to be having pirates, you be needing people to chase em. Ahem. And that’s where the Soldier portion of Playmobil’s pirates come in. I thought I’d kick off the Playmobil festivities with a look at this awesome medium range set that gives you a good start to building some advesaries for your pirates to fight.

The set comes in the standard Playmobil blue box, which has become pretty iconic by now. You’ll note that there isn’t a lot of writing on the box, and that’s largely an effort to keep it multi-lingual. I think it’s cool because these toys pretty much speak for themselves. You get a picture of the toys in action on the front and on the back you get photos of everything that comes in the set. In this case the set contains 55 pieces, which may not sound like a lot, but it does include a nicely sized ship, two figures, and a good number of accessories. The medium to larger Playmobil sets have boxes that open up like a cake box, and are sturdy enough so that you can use it to store the toys. Inside, you get the boat’s body, a number of deck boards all rubber banded together, a couple of baggies containing the figures and accessories, a baggie containing the sails, mast, and rigging, an instruction booklet, and a sticker sheet. Phew. If you like putting things together, here’s where the fun begins!
In my introduction a few days back I noted that despite being lumped in a lot with Legos, Playmobil are not building sets. But that’s not to say you won’t have to put these sets together, and the ships especially require some time to set up because of the sails and rigging. This one isn’t so bad, though. All you do is snap in the decks and fasten the sail to the crossbeam. The sail in this set is more of a soft paper than actual cloth and it’s rather delicate. The punched holes for the plastic fixtures are also close to the edges, so you need to be extra careful not to tear it. Part of me would have preferred a molded plastic sail for durability, but there’s definitely something cool about the way this simulates a real cloth sail. There are some big colorful stickers that need to be applied. Larger Playmobil sets tend to have any stickers already in place. As with all the Playmobil ships, this one floats and has a spot under the hull where you can attach a battery powered motor (sold separately for about seven bucks), which is such an awesome idea it nearly blows my mind. The boat also features a section of the deck that opens to store extra accessories.
The two figures are typical Royal Navy types with some excellent printed decos to make them unique. I would have liked if one of them looked more like the Captain of the ship, but they’re still great figures. I should point out that the figures in this  set is strangely deficient on weapons, as you only get a musket and bayonette. A sword or pistol would have been cool. You do, however, get a firing cannon with two projectiles, which is perfect for positioning on the ship or using ashore if you have any of the land based playsets. Other accessories include a small barrel, a water bucket with ladel, a telescope, and the 18th century equivalent of a bullhorn.
Playmobil toys sometimes get a reputation for being expensive, but as we’ll see this week that’s something of a misconception. True, the vintage and retired sets and pieces can go for crazy money, as can some of the special limited releases. But the price tags on the modern sets that you can buy off the shelf at your local TRU are pretty darned reasonable. Case in point, today’s set was just under twenty bucks. For that price you get a good sized boat, two figures, and a fair amount of extra stuff. And as we’ll see tomorrow, these sets are delightfully expandable thanks to Playmobil’s many figure and accessory packs.

Robocop 7-inch Figure by NECA

Here’s a helpful tip to all toy companies. Make Robocop figures and I will give you my money. Some people have a weird nerd fascination with Boba Fett, but for me it’s Robocop. Besides loving the movies, well two out of three ain’t bad, I’ll even happily suffer through episodes of the often terrible TV series just because I love Robocop so much. I’ve looked at more than a couple of the various vintage Robocop figures that have been produced over the years, and while some of those have their charm, I’ve been jonesing for a really solid modern figure of Robo for a while now and I was happy to see that NECA stepped up to deliver.

Robocop comes in what has become NECA’s standard sealed clamshell with a printed insert. The artwork and presentation is a tad on the cheesy side, but than watch the credits for the original Robocop film and you’ll see this presentation really suits it well. I love that they printed his Prime Directives on the insert and the back of the insert has a nice little blurb just in case you don’t know what this Robocop business is all about. The front insert does block the figure a bit, but only from the knees down. The best thing about NECA’s packaging is that a little deft work with a razor blade and you can get the figure out without damaging the package. And that’s cool, because this baby is going to hang on my wall.
In terms of sculpt, NECA really nailed it with this figure. The armor is beautifully recreated with all the tiny little panel lines and OCP writing right where it should be. Even the lower part of Murphy’s face looks right on target. There is one thing to watch out for, though.The little pistons that connect his ankles to his calves are only pegged in and one of mine flew off the figure when I removed him from the package. Luckily I was able to find it, but I’m definitely going to drop a dab of glue on each of these to keep them from popping off and getting lost. The big question most people have about this figure concerns the leg holster. Is it represented? Nope. And honestly, apart from having a whole piece that replaces half his leg, I can’t see anyway it could have been done on a figure in this scale and price range while still maintaining the sculpt. On the other hand, it would have been nice to get a second head showing Murphy without the visor and helmet.
Speaking of extra bits… you get only two accessories with Robocop. You get his trademark Auto-9 sidearm and an extra hand that has his computer interface spike deployed. The gun is obviously a requirement, but the spike hand is a nice extra bonus. I still would have liked that second head, though.
Robocop sports 14 points of articulation. These include: A ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, rotating hips, hinged knees, hinged ankles, a swivel at the waist, and a ball joint in the chest. There’s certainly the right number of points, but some of them, like the elbows, don’t offer a huge range of motion. I’m not going to complain, though, as Robocop isn’t exactly the most agile crime fighter around and the figure really can hit all the poses that he should be able to do. The only thing I would have added would be lateral hinges in the ankles. Robocop’s legs can achieve a nice wide stance, but without these extra points, his feet can’t lay flat on the ground. Not a big deal, but I still thought I’d mention it.
If you can find him at Toys R Us or a specialty shop, NECA’s Robocop should run you about fifteen bucks. Mine set me back $20 with shipping and I think it was well worth it. Great sculpt, good articulation, nice heft and quality, and an all around fun figure for the scale and price range. Is it a definitive Robocop figure? Nope, and I’m still looking into picking up the forthcoming Figma version to satisfy my ultimate Robocop itch, but for now, this one suits me pretty well.