Causality: CA-10 T-Bone by Fansproject

Considering a portion of this week has already been taken up by another third-party Transformer, I was going to wait until next week to look at the next figure in Fansproject’s line of “Not-Stunticons.” But I was pretty excited to get this guy open and start checking him out, and my willpower sucks, and so here we are. T-Bone is FP’s homage to the Stunticon, Wildrider and he’s also something of a cousin to Car Crash as the two figures share the same core design, only with enough heavy remolding to make them stand as individuals. If you’ve already checked out my look at Car Crash a lot of this will be familiar to you.  

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I absolutely love Fansproject’s packaging. Once again, the grid-pattern is very reminiscent of the old G1 deco and the compact little window box delivers great presentation without needing to take up a lot of space on the shelf. Car Crash’s box was purple, whereas T-Bones is red, otherwise the two boxes share the same exact layout. The panels feature both character art and actual photos of the figure. The side panels are particularly cool with illustrations that make certain these boxes are going to look great lined up on a bookshelf. Well done!

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T-Bone comes in robot mode, wrapped in plastic, and nestled between two plastic trays and with his gun off to the side. Everything is totally collector friendly. Behind the silver backer card, there’s a baggie with his color profile card and color instruction sheet. As usual, I’m going to start with the alt mode! Last time, I used Classics Sideswipe as a size comparison, this time I’m using the Prime Robots in Disguise Vehicon to show that these guys scale pretty nicely with Hasbro’s current crop of Deluxes.

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The original G1 Wildrider was a Ferrari, while FP’s T-Bone is a Ferrari-ish concept car. The similarities to his G1 car mode aren’t as well-stated as Car Crash and Breakdown, but that’s ok because T-Bone’s alt mode is fantastic. Folks, this is what a Decepticon car should look like! He looks angry and dangerous! The angular plates manage to convey battle armor, and yet he still looks like a viable car design. Yes, T-Bone’s car parts are remolded from Car Crash, but it’s such a great and clever piece of work that, apart from maybe the rear engine area, succeeds in making the two cars look unique. The quality of the plastic is excellent, and everything locks together very well. The only issue I have here is that his weapon doesn’t store as exhaust pipes quite as well as Car Crash’s. One half pegs in fine, the other just doesn’t want to fit properly.

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And the colors! I’ve always loved Wildrider’s deco. The dark grey body with red windows looked great on the original toy and it looks amazing here as well. The lighter metallic silver on the hood adds a little variety. Like the actual mold, the colors just convey evil. Nothing against Car Crash, but T-Bone’s car deco is just a lot cooler to me, particularly for a Decepticon.

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Much like Car Crash, transforming T-Bone can be a real bitch. He transforms almost exactly the same as his cousin, with just a few minor differences. The leg panels can now hinge way up to give you a little more room to work, but there’s a treacherous peg on one of the plates that causes you to pull up on a another plate to get it to clear. I’ve been able to do it plenty of times without inducing any stress marks, but it’s still a little too tight for comfort. Also, T-Bone really demands that you get everything just right if he’s going to lock together in his car mode. But make no mistake, if you do everything correctly, he locks together just fine, possibly even a little better than Car Crash.

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In robot mode, T-Bone is a thing of beauty. The angular and jagged car parts give him a more vicious look than Car Crash. The head sculpt is excellent, although I really wish FP had added his horizontal horns to the sides of his head to improve the homage to the G1 character. That right there is my only real complaint about the figure. Yes, there are some similarities between him and Car Crash. The pelvis and upper legs are the same pieces, and they each have their wheels on their shoulders, but even the tires are uniquely sculpted on each figure. On the other hand, the torso and head are completely new sculpts and those combined with the resculpted car parts really make T-Bone a unique figure.

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T-Bone carries over most of his alt mode’s deco into his robot form. He’s mostly grey and dark grey with some red on his arms. The color scheme is everything I could want in a Decepticon and he makes for a really nice contrast when standing next to Car Crash.

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T-Bone shares all of Car Crash’s excellent articulation, making him lots of fun to play with. He’s got ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips and ankles. He has swivels in the biceps, waist, and thighs. His elbows and knees are hinged. He’s just got a great action figure feel to him that begs me to fiddle about and pose him.

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Once again, $68 is a lot to pay for a little guy like this, but I still feel he’s well worth it. The quality of the plastic is great and while he can be a bit scary to transform sometimes, he’s still a pretty well engineered toy. I definitely dig him more than Car Crash, and that’s saying a lot because I thought Car Crash was excellent. For T-Bone it just comes down to me preferring his sculpt and deco. I’m anxious to get the third figure in this series, but alas, it looks like there’s going to be a wait. While official photos of final versions of the next two cars have been shown, there are no official release dates or pre-orders available. What’s more, photos of FP’s “Not-Motormaster” are scant at best. We’ve seen him unpainted in combined mode and a rough sculpt of the vehicle, but nothing solid as to his robot mode. But that’s ok, Fansproject. I’m ok waiting. It gives me a chance to buy a bunch of other stuff on my want list recoup my monies.

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Walmart is Trolling GI Joe Retaliation…

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Yeah they are! They set the pegs for the new Retaliation figures and then filled them with Rise of Cobra figures. I made sure to get the Iron Man 3 and Dark Knight Rises figures in the shot to prove this isn’t an old photo. These things should have been clearanced out a year ago, but they obviously held on to them for just this occasion. And they’re $10 each. 

Maybe it’s a little hostility over getting tricked into buying all that Retaliation product last year only to have the movie get pushed back. Maybe they just wanted to take the opportunity to chip away at that pallet of ROC figures they still have in the backroom. Or, yes, maybe they’re just trolling Joe fans with this shit. I’ll go with the last one. I think this is a big middle finger to Hasbro.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rippin Rider (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

Once again, it’s Turtle Time! And if there’s one thing the 90’s taught me, it’s that ninjas love to ride motorcycles, and that goes double for ninjas who happen to be turtles. I already checked out the Sewer Cruiser, and the Rippin Rider is another vehicle in the same size assortment, but instead of being a crazy cobbled together creation, this one is more of a legit motorcycle for when the Turtles want to cruise the streets and hunt down Foot Clan without getting tied up in traffic. Originally, I was going to take a pass on this thing, but I found it for really cheap through a third-party seller on Amazon and even the shipping was next to nothing, so I figured, what the hell, my Turtles need a bitching ride.

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Of course, the problem with super cheap third-party listings and super cheap shipping is that you often get what you pay for. In this case, the seller literally just wrapped the toy in a plastic bag, put a shipping label on it, and kicked it into a post box. The box got pretty pulverized in transit, and while I would have preferred to have it for storage, it’s not a big deal. In this case, I think the low price was a worthy trade off for bad service. Anyway, the box is plenty colorful, with an exciting illustration on the front and a photo of the toy on the back calling out its features. To be honest, there’s not a whole lot to this toy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

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Unlike the Sewer Cruiser, the Rippin Rider comes mostly assembled straight out of the box. Indeed, the bulk of the bike is just a big hollow piece, although it’s still plenty sturdy and it’s lack of heft doesn’t really make it feel cheap or flimsy to me. Quite the contrary, kids could probably beat the hell out of this thing and it would still be fine. In addition to the motorcycle, you get an instruction sheet and a very small bag of parts along with a very small sticker sheet. The parts include a pair of yellow headlamps, a pair of foot pedals, a missile launcher and two missiles. The sticker sheet has only one sticker on it, and it goes right in front of the shell between the front of the handlebars. The rest of the parts just peg right onto the bike.

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The sculpt is quite detailed and includes everything from the engine right down to the brackets holding on the quad exhaust system. The gas tank is designed to look like a turtle shell, but other than that the Rippin Rider is a pretty subdued and practical motorcycle design. It’s almost too subdued for the TMNT line. Even the colors aren’t too outlandish. The bulk of the bike is dark grey and black, with some bright green thrown in to make it pop. Still, it looks mighty nice standing there amongst my collection.

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In terms of play value, the Rippin Rider is primarily designed to hold a figure (or two!) and roll along and it does that very well. You do have the missile launcher, but it doesn’t actually fire. You have to flick the missiles out with your finger. There is a folding kickstand, which is great for holding the bike up on your display shelf. Even with a figure, the stand holds the bike perfectly upright. On the downside, the handlebars don’t even turn, which is probably the only thing about this toy that disappointed me.

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I got my Rippin Rider for $10 shipped and it feels like a pretty ok deal. Unfortunately, I think this thing is turning up at retail for around $15 and that would give me pause. I don’t think it’s a bad toy. On the contrary, it’s big and sturdy and I’m definitely going to use it to display one of my Turtles. It isn’t as fun or inventive as the Sewer Cruiser, but then I guess it isn’t meant to be. I’m not someone who requires a lot of play gimmicks with my toys, so the Rippin Rider’s simple nature doesn’t bother me at all. If you feel the same way, this vehicle probably won’t disappoint.

Transformers Prime: Rumble by Hasbro

Yes, there’s still plenty of Transformers goodness to be had at Ross Stores around here. The ridiculous glut of Bumblebees and Cliffjumpers that choked the pegs may have thwarted me from picking this guy up in the regular toy aisles, but so far all the TF: Prime Deluxes that I missed out on have been making their appearances in the Ross Toy Graveyard. Finding Rumble made me particularly happy because I am such a big fan of Decepticon cars. Why? I don’t know, but I just can’t resist them.

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Wow, packaged Rumble looks awesome. The combination of the character art, the card deco and the nice bright blue car sitting under the bubble, it all makes my TransFan mouth start watering. Plus, Ross was nice enough to put their obnoxious price sticker on the bottom of the bubble. It’s almost like the 90-year old lady with the pricing gun said, “Oh my, there’s no way I’m going to mess up such a beautiful Transformers card. I better stamp this one on the bottom!” Yeah, I’m sure that’s what happened! You’ll note from the packaging that this figure also includes an episode on a DVD. Alas, it’s still “Loose Cannons,” the same episode that came with my Sergeant Kup. I’m guessing they’re all the same? Anyway, let’s get Rumble out and check out his vehicle mode.

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Rumble’s alt mode is a very cool little blue “tuner” car. I had no idea what a “tuner” car was on account of the fact that I’m very old and not very hip. I thought it meant a car with a stereo tuned so loud so that it pisses me off when it goes by. A little research proved that I was only half wrong. Anyway, I really dig Rumble’s alt mode, particularly the tinted red windows and the Decepticon emblem on the front grill and the trunk. He’s roughly the same size as Bumblebee or Kup in their vehicle modes, so he’s still kind of small for a Deluxe, but he fits right in with the other Prime figures.

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There aren’t a lot of paint apps, but with a nice glossy blue plastic, the car really doesn’t need them. Sure, I would have liked painted tail lights and license plates, but I think the car mode is still attractive without them. There are pegs on the sides of the car to plug in Rumble’s weapons. They’re called pile drivers, but they look more like guns to me and I really like the way they look on the car as guns. I’m not sure when it happened, but I’ve become a really big fan of Transformers who’s weapons can be clipped on to their alt mode. When it’s done right, it’s just lots of fun.

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Rumble’s transformation is pretty clever. He splits right down the middle, his hood folds into his legs and the rest of the car parts to the sides to form his arms and shoulders. Rumble’s head automatically springs up into place when you pull his chest forward. It seems like it should be rather involved, but he actually transforms very quickly when you know what you’re doing.

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Given the name and the fact that he’s a blue car, I expected a solid G1 homage out of Rumble’s robot mode. Well, it’s not there, but unless you demand homages that’s not a bad thing at all. Actually there is an homage at work here, but it’s to Bludgeon not Rumble. Yes, the skull configuration of Rumble’s chest reminds me more of a Bludgeon homage than anything else. Yeah, it’s weird, but Rumble is definitely his own robot and he looks really good. I wasn’t sure how the car kibble on the shoulders would look once I had the figure in hand, but when they’re angled the right way they look just fine. Rumble’s head sculpt is particularly appropriate for a Decepticon and very nice.

The color scheme here is still mostly blue and black with a little yellow thrown in to make the figure really pop. It goes to show you, that you don’t need to go nuts with the paint apps to make a figure look good. Of course, the crazy amount of red translucent plastic helps too, and Rumble employs some very nice light piping effects.

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Rumble can hold his weapons in each hand. Again, these are supposed to be pile drivers, but I think they work better as guns. There’s not enough homage here to bother with the pile-drivers reference anyway.

I’ll hand it to Hasbro, the Deluxes in this line have come a long way since that first Bumblebee figure and Rumble is a fine example of that. He isn’t quite on the same level as Kup, but he’s still a really dynamic design in robot mode and is packed with character. Sure, I’m usually willing to be rather biased in favor of Decepticons that turn into cars, but in this case Rumble doesn’t need the charity. He’s a fun and well-engineered little figure and a great addition to my Prime collection.

By figurefanzero

Uranos: SR-71 Blackbird and X-47 Phantom Ray by TFC, Part 2

As promised, I’m back to finish up my look at the TFC’s latest release in their Project Uranos, “Not-Aerialbots” line of figures. We already checked out their alt modes, so let’s jump right into transformation and their bot modes.

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You might think that since Blackbird is basically just an aircraft with a robot under him that his transformation would be pretty easy. Well, you’d be more or less right. The most difficult thing is digging the tabs out from either side of his head and figuring out the right way to fold up his legs, and that’s going from robot to jet. Going from jet to robot is easy-peasy and totally intuitive. It’s just a matter of folding up the plates on his backpack and positioning his arms and legs. Although it does bring us to the one thing that I really do not like about this figure… ARR MATEYS, THERE BE PARTSFORMING AHEAD!

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I really don’t know why I went all pirate there… but yes, there is indeed some partsforming here. The very first step of transforming Blackbird involves pulling the entire front nose and cockpit section out and changing it into his gun. I knew about this going in, so it wasn’t a surprise or anything that gave me buyer’s remorse, but I consider this sort of thing a cheat, because it really is a fairly good sized piece of the jet. The resulting gun mode isn’t all that great either, because… well, it looks a lot like the cockpit section of a jet. It’s also way too big for Blackbird. If you don’t extend the barrel all the way, I guess it works ok, but turning a third of the aircraft into a gun is definitely not a selling point for me. The gun is also used for Uranos’ gestalt mode, but we’re not getting into any of that until I have a complete set.

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As for Blackbird’s robot mode, I really dig it, although it definitely has some opportunities. Yes, he’s a robot wearing half of a jet as a backpack, but so were most of the original Aerialbot designs. It never bothered me then, and it doesn’t now. Besides, a lot of Blackbird’s backpack can fold up or be tweaked so that it really doesn’t get in the way. This is by no means the worst kibble I’ve seen. I do wish it pegged together better, and that’s one of those big opportunities I was talking about. The two engines don’t peg into anything and that leaves them to just flop around. It seems like a frighteningly obvious design flaw that could have been easily fixed with a couple of tabs and sockets. It’s not a critical flaw, but certainly one that should have been addressed on a $130 toy.

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Another issue, I have are the stubby little wings that protrude off his chest and in front of his shoulders. I like them, as they are one of the more identifiable characteristics of Silverbolt’s design. Unfortunately they get in the way of his shoulder articulation. Yes, they’re hinged, they rotate, and that allows for full arm articulation, but having to fiddle with those when posing him is annoying. The last issue I have is his lack of heel spurs. A robot with a huge backpack needs heel spurs. It’s another one of those little design oversights, which could have been easily fixed by adding a couple of hinged plates.

With all that having been said, I still find a lot to love in this guy. The sculpt is wonderfully detailed and packed with panel lines. The configuration of the chest really evokes the G1 character design, and while I don’t think the head sculpt is a slam dunk, I am still pretty happy with it. Even the backpack looks like a serviceable design as a jetpack. The quality of the plastic is very satisfying and makes for a sturdy figure with tight joints.

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The deco carries over from the jet mode with a lot of white, but the addition of the red and yellow help tie the homage together. I really dig the red plastic that TFC uses, it’s a great vibrant shade and the yellow is pretty good too. Unfortunately, the paint on this figure isn’t quite on par with the past two releases. There’s some sloppy silver brushwork on his left shoulder and some brush strokes on the yellow bar on his chest. It’s nothing terrible, but hey… $130 toy… it’s worth mentioning.

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Moving on to Phantom Ray… Um… Yeah. I want to say people are either going to love this guy or hate him, but then I’m kind of ambivalent. I can’t hate on him, but he’s just nothing special. Imagine what kind of Minicon you might get with a $130 Transformer and this would be it. That’s really it, he feels like a Minicon on steroids to me. Is that a bad thing? I love Minicons, and yet strangely I don’t love Phantom Ray. But I don’t hate him, and I guess that’s a start.

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I was on board for TFC using a separate robot drone for Uranos’ chest plate. I still think it’s a cool idea. Remember, I like when these guys bring some originality to the table. But I think if they were going to sell this idea, they needed to really deliver a great robot design for the drone, and Phantom Ray isn’t it.

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Blackbird was $140 with shipping. The higher retail comes through in the impressive size of the figure and the fact that he comes with a little bot-buddy. What’s not reflected in the higher retail are the nagging little QC flubs. It’s ironic that the most expensive of the Project Uranos figures that I have so far is the one to have some paint issues, albeit minor ones, and required me to do a little plastic shaving to make him work right. I’m hoping that I just got a little unlucky with him, because the alternative is that TFC is allowing their QC to slip as the team progresses. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and I’m still overall pretty happy with the way this guy turned out.

Uranos: SR-71 Blackbird and X-47 Phantom Ray by TFC, Part 1

It took me longer than expected to get my Blackbird, the third release in TFC’s Project Uranos series, but it’s finally here and I’ve had some time to play around with him. He’s a bit of a controversial figure because he’s a deviation from the original concept. Despite being a Silverbolt homage, TFC decided to base him off of the famous SR-71 Blackbird spyplane rather than a Concorde. The decision further begged the question, would he be black like the SR-71 should be, or would he remain true to the G1 character’s color scheme? And what’s with that smaller Transformer he comes with? He forms the gestalt’s chest piece? That’s not very GeeWun! It seemed like whatever TFC did they were going to alienate some people, but I tried to keep an open mind.

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I’ll gladly concede that I would have preferred TFC stuck with the Concorde design, as it fit the character better. Besides being a jet that was afraid of heights, Silverbolt was a lot more reserved than the other Aerialbots. Quite frankly, most of the Aerialbots were dicks and Silverbolt wasn’t, nor was he as quick to jump into battle. I always thought it was cool that his personality was reflected in him being the only one of the team that wasn’t a military jet. On the other hand, homages or not, I really dig when these third-party releases bring something original to the table. I also enjoy the idea of having a more cohesive team of military jets as my re-imagined Aerialbots. As for the color scheme, I think they made the right decision. But I’ll come back to a lot of that later… for now, let’s check out the packaging and the alt modes.

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With two releases under my belt, I’ve come to know what to expect from the Uranos packaging. However, Blackbird is the largest of the figures and he also comes with a companion figure, so I was interested to see if TFC mixed things up at all. Nope. What we have here is the same basic deco and design as the other window boxes. It’s just bigger. That’s a very good thing, because I really love everything about the presentation on these guys and Blackbird’s box raises it to an epic and impressive scale. The package features the same cool artwork and line-drawings on the front and sides, and the photos of Blackbird’s three forms on the back. There’s also an amazing color line-drawing inside the cardboard tray. Blackbird comes packaged in his robot mode and Phantom Ray comes in his little alt mode. Inside the box, you get a collectible card with his character art and stats, a fold out poster, and a color instruction sheet.

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Straightaway, I love Blackbird’s alt mode, and a lot of that has to do with my love for the stylings of the real aircraft. It’s certainly an attractive design and TFC did a nice job reproducing it in toy form right down to the little panel lines. There’s a fair amount of seams and hinges, but you’ve got to expect that in Transformers and I don’t think they detract much from the aesthetics. Aircraft purists will scoff at the unconventional white body and yellow trim, but I’m glad they went with the G1 color scheme, because it was clearly needed to drive this homage home. A couple of repro Autobot insignia on the wings and he definitely looks the part.

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Blackbird rests nicely on three sets of folding landing gear and he has two cool chainguns situated under his cockpit. From the top down, this is a great looking toy, although mine had one annoying quirk. The two plates that lock together behind the cockpit simply would not stay together, and left a huge and f’ugly gap. This was seriously pissing me off. I must have played around with it for a half-hour trying to see what I was doing wrong, but that gap would not go away. Finally, I shaved a little off one of the pegs inside the plates and now they mesh perfectly. I’m not a fan of having to tinker with a $130 toy to make it right, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Some may be vexed by the fact that you can see the bulk of Blackbird’s robot form simply by looking under the jet. Honestly, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Just as whores will have their trinkets, so Transformer jets will have their kibble. There are two different configurations that his legs can peg into under the wings. One places them more toward the center, the other more toward the back. I prefer to keep them toward the back, since the wings and engines hide them a little more when viewing the jet from the side. But whatever you do there’s going to be a lot of baggage down there. Case in point, after I shot the pictures, I realized I forgot to fold in his feet, but given what all is down there, little tweaks like that don’t even matter all that much. It’s like trying to hide an elephant under a washcloth.

As with Phantom and Eagle, the quality of the plastic here feels really nice. This is a hefty and very solid toy. There’s no noticeable mold flashing and the paint apps are all precise and clean. Let’s move on to Blackbird’s little robot sidekick…

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Phantom Ray’s alt mode is an X-47 Drone and he’s a pretty simple little guy. TFC played a little fast and loose with the accuracy on him. He’s a lot more angular than the actual aircraft and while he holds his alt mode fairly well, he doesn’t peg together quite as solid as his larger bot-buddy. He does have some wheels, although they are set so close to the undercarriage that he might as well just be sitting on the ground. There’s a socket underneath him that can peg into the top of Blackbird via the folding peg, and the two look pretty good when joined up. Ever since I was a kid and saw the Space Shuttle being ferried on the back of a 747, I’ve always thought the idea of aircraft riding piggy back on another was pretty damn cool, although you’re mileage may vary.

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I’ll be honest, that gap in the back scared the shit out of me, but thankfully it was an easy fix and so far, I’m very pleased with this guy. Blackbird’s jet mode is big, well-constructed, and a great looking toy. I really like how he scales with the other jets. He’s definitely bigger, but he’s not so much bigger as to feel too out of their league. Phantom Ray is… well, he’s not much to write home about, but he is a cool little accessory and I do like the way he looks pegged onto Blackbird’s back.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to transform these guys and check out their robot modes.

Marvel Universe: She-Hulk by Hasbro

I know, I know. I ended last week with Marvel. That was bad planning on my part knowing that I was starting this week with Marvel Monday. But in my defense, Saturday was Marvel Legends and today is Marvel Universe. And I do still have several of these MU figures to get through, so the show must go on. Besides, I have a bit of a hangover so I’m looking for something easy. Speaking of easy, today we’re checking out She-Hulk… oh, snap! Many of you know, I’m not a big fan of Hulk’s solo books, but I have read my share of She-Hulk, because I dig the snappy wit and since I’m 40 going on 16 a little T&A is still all it takes to get me to read a funnybook. Let’s check out this figure…

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Marvel Universe packaging! It hasn’t changed much since the last two MU figures I featured. I am definitely digging Shulkie’s card art and the figure itself looks mighty nice in the package. Am I the only one wishing that Hasbro would have done a variant She-Hulk in her lawyer attire with a briefcase? Seriously, I’m sure they could have reworked the sculpt into a Pepper Pots or something. Ah, but that’s ok, I’m still happy with this version. Plus, I’m pretty sure we’ll be getting a Fantastic Four variant somewhere down the line. The back of the card has a little bio blurb and a photo of other figure’s in this wave and MODOK commanding me to “Collect Them All!” I’d love to collect them all, MODOK, but I can’t find Scarlet Witch anywhere, except online for ridiculous scalper mark-ups plus shipping. Ah, but I’m sure that evil sonvabitch already knows that.

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The last MU figure we looked at, Kraven, blew me away with some truly amazing sculpting and paintwork. But MU being what it is, you never know what you’re going to get, and She-Hulk is a return to a painted basic buck. I know, it’s not really fair to compare a dude who wears an elaborate lion-head costume with a green chick in a one-piece. And besides, She-Hulk turned out really nice.

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So yeah, there’s not much in the way of original sculpting here apart from the head, but I am quite happy with the way the head turned out. The portrait is pretty simple, but attractive and Hasbro’s sculptors did a particularly nice job with her rich mane of hair. The paintwork is very solid too. They even painted on a teeny coat of glossy green lipstick.

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She-Hulk’s painted one-piece uses a nice, metallic purple for the side panels. There’s a little bit of slop around the edges, but nothing too bad. The same purple is used to paint on her fingerless gloves.

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I’m also really pleased with the articulation and quality on this figure. Shulkie utilizes one of the more articulated female bucks. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips, ankles, and chest. She has double hinges in both her elbows and her knees. She has swivels in her biceps, wrists, thighs, and at the tops of her boots. And lastly, she has that marvelous extra hinge in her neck, a nice thought even if her sculpted hair renders it almost useless. But the best thing is that the quality on her joints is all excellent. There are no big gaps in the thigh swivels and no misshapen hinges. Everything is really tight and solid.

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She-Hulk isn’t one of the most exceptional figures to come out of Marvel Universe, but she is a very solid effort and a character that I was very much looking forward to adding to my collection. You get a very good head sculpt, excellent articulation, and I’m happy to say there were no QC issues on my figure to speak of. I could gripe about a lack of accessories, but I can’t really think of anything essential that Hasbro could have included. You’ve been on a roll with these figures, Hasbro… keep it up.

[And by the way, congratulations, Shulkie, you were the 900th Feature on FigureFan Zero! It wasn’t planned this way. I actually didn’t even realize it until I had uploaded it. But, hey, it could have worked out a lot worse. Now we start the home stretch to 1,000. -FF]

Marvel (Iron Man) Legends: Iron Patriot by Hasbro

In honor of the forthcoming Iron Man 3 movie, Hasbro has hijacked a wave of Marvel Legends to produce six Iron Man themed figures. Actually, they’re coming out in two small waves of three figures each, but collecting all of them will give you the parts needed to construct a comic version Iron Monger BAF. I was quick to roll my eyes at the thought of more Iron Man figures in the Marvel Legends line, but then I saw the actual Iron Man 3 figures that Hasbro released. Yeah. Considering how unbelievably shitty they look, getting some Iron Man loving in Marvel Legends seems like a nice bone to throw to the collectors. I haven’t committed myself to buying all of these yet, but I couldn’t resist grabbing Iron Patriot when I saw him in the toy aisle the other day.

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The packaging is a hybrid of Marvel Legends and Iron Man 3. Although it still retains the “Legends” moniker on the bubble insert, the top of the cards read “Iron Man” and it features an illustration of that terrible new Mark 42 Armor. It also includes the “Avengers Initiative” emblem, which suggests a tie in to the movie-verse despite the comic book nature of this figure. The back of the card shows the figure in photo and in illustration and has shots of the other two figures from the first half of the wave with the final three blacked out. All in all, I think the presentation here is good, even if the BAF part overshadows the actual figure. Let’s bust him open and check him out…

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But wait? Haven’t we seen this figure before? Yes, he’s a repaint of Extremis Iron Man from the initial wave of the Marvel Legends relaunch with a slight resculpt to the chest. That was a figure that underwhelmed me enough to make my Biggest Disappointments of 2012 list. Why buy him again? Well, partly because I do love me some Norman Osborne and Dark Reign, and partly because… well, it’s amazing the difference that a nice paint job can make. The quality of the paintwork was one of my issues with the original figure, while the size and articulation were the others. At least this figure corrects one of those problems.

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I’m still underwhelmed by the lack of panel lines and detail in the sculpt. I like the overall contours of the figure, but it still seems rather bland for a 6-inch scale piece. Besides the resculpted star on the chest, Iron Patriot also features swapped hands from the Extremis figure, where the right hand is now opened to show the repulsor in the palm and the left hand is now partially closed into a fist.

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Obviously, the big difference here is the paint. I’m always a sucker for the Iron Patriot deco, and Hasbro has done a fairly good job with it here. The metallic blue used on this figure is gorgeous, and I’m also pretty fond of the pearlescent white. The red is a little inconsistent. It has a nice metallic finish on the lower legs and upper chest, while the effect on the forearms and shoulder armor isn’t quite as brilliant. Still, I’m nitpicking here, overall the paintwork is a solid effort and I’d say an overall improvement in quality over the original.

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Despite fresh paint and a little tweaking to the mold, Iron Patriot has the same articulation as Extremis Iron Man. It’s important because one of my major issues with this mold is the hip joints. I’m generally not a huge fan of Hasbro’s ball jointed hips, but they’d be welcome compared to what this guy’s packing. While you can still achieve a fairly wide stance, the forward and backward movement of the legs is inhibited by the sculpt. And the wide stance doesn’t help a lot with no ankle rockers. Granted everything else is pretty good. There are ball joints in the neck, shoulders, wrists, and chest. The elbows and knees are double hinged, there are swivels in the biceps, thighs, and ankles, and the neck has an extra hinge to look up. I would have added a waist swivel too, but nobody asked me.

Iron Patriot doesn’t come with any accessories, but you do get the big torso for Iron Monger. I wasn’t really chomping at the bit to build this guy, but I have to say I’m impressed with the paintwork and sculpt on the torso. Maybe just enough to change my mind.

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I picked up this guy for around $15 and it certainly beats the inflated priced I’ve had to pay when hunting down some of the other Marvel Legends figures. I still have issues with his articulation, and I still think he’s undersized. That having been said, I’m still happy to have him on my shelf. As mentioned earlier, I haven’t decided on whether or not I’m going for this whole wave in order to build Iron Monger. I guess that’s going to depend on how many I can find on the pegs or whether I would need to hunt them down. Either way, this is a solid, albeit not spectacular figure.

Causality: CA-09 Car Crash by Fansproject

Last year I started getting heavy into Legos. This year, I was bitten by the third-party Transformer bug. It seems like every year I adopt horrible new tortures for my bank account to endure. It all started with TFC’s Project Uranos and Mech Ideas’ Demolition Crue and since I’ve been thrilled with everything so far, it was only a matter of time before I branched out to buying the wares of third-party heavy hitter, Fansproject. And seeing as how I simply cannot resist Decepticon cars, it was a no-brainer that I would begin by jumping on board their set of “Not-Stunticons.” The fact that we haven’t seen final pictures of their combined mode [We have now, and it looks glorious! –FF] doesn’t bother me at all, because I’m picking up these guys primarily as individual figures. We’re kicking this team off with Car Crash (aka “Not-Breakdown”). Let’s take a look at the presentation…

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I’m always excited (and sometimes a little apprehensive) about getting my first product from a company, particularly where the packaging is concerned. TFC’s is awesome, Mech Ideas’ was underwhelming. Where does Fansproject’s Causality packaging fall? It’s awesome! They had me right away with the G1-style grid pattern on the box. Car Crash comes in a beautiful and compact little window box that shows off the figure in his robot mode. There’s a nice piece of character art on the front and on one side of the box, but other than that FP lets the images of the actual figure do the talking. The side, top and back of the box show Car Crash in all his awesome glory. The box is totally collector friendly, which is always a plus for me, especially when a toy is this expensive and you want to preserve it exactly as you got it.

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Open the box and Car Crash is wrapped in plastic and nestled in a clear plastic tray with another tray covering it. You get a collectible card, a color instruction sheet that shows you how to change him from either starting point, and he also comes with a handgun. What? No combiner parts? I’m sure those are all coming with “Not-Motormaster.” As usual, we’re going to start with his alt mode.

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The original Breakdown was a white Lamborghini Countach with red trim on the hood. Car Crash’s alt mode serves the source material well. He’s not quite a Countach, but he’s a similar concept car that’s close enough to drive (“har har”) the homage home. He’s a solid little car, which in size falls somewhere between one of Hasbro’s standard Deluxe and Scout Class Transformers. I took some shots to compare him with Classics Sideswipe and you can see that he’s unfortunately not quite to scale. Still, with scale being what it is in the world of Transformers, it’s not impossible to squint and make it work. Afterall, the G1 Stunticon figures were a lot smaller than the regular Autobot cars.

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The deco is simple enough, and utilizes mostly the base white plastic, red paint on the hood and tail lights, a little silver for the head lights, and some blue for the running boards. The windows are also all painted black, with a little bit of sparkly finish. There are obviously some seams from his transformation, and a hinge back by the engine, but nothing too ugly and the whole car mode locks together in a tight and snug fashion. The wheels are nicely sculpted and he rolls along quite well, despite the fact that the inner parts of his back wheels are static. In this alt mode, Car Crash’s gun stores underneath to become exhaust pipes.

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Transforming Car Crash is a bit of a bitch. It’s not because he’s really complex, but because everything locks together so tight, and for some steps, you have to use a little too much force for my comfort level. Going from his robot mode to car utilizes telescoping arms and legs that fold into themselves, and getting everything in just the right spot and tabbed together is a pretty deliberate affair. When changing him to robot, it’s getting the feet split apart that I find really taxing.

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Now is as good a time as any to point out that the quality of the plastic here is excellent. I’ve changed Car Crash back and forth a bunch of times now and I’ve seen no sign of any stress marks. I did have one of the feet pop out once, but it’s on a ball joint and pops right back into place. Considering that you have to apply a good amount of force at a couple points in the transformation, I think that’s pretty remarkable. His joints are tight and the overall feel of this guy is absolutely fantastic, but that doesn’t change the fact that I get a little nervous sometimes when transforming him.

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As with the alt mode, the robot mode’s size places Car Crash somewhere between being a Deluxe and Scout. Even with his shoulder armor, he doesn’t quite come up to the shoulders of your average Classics Deluxe figure. If you’ve picked up any of the previous Causality figures, you should know what to expect. If not, this guy may seem rather small to you. But if you can get past his size (and believe me, you should try), he is an amazing looking robot. His legs consist of armor made out of the folded front end of the car, giving him some amazingly versatile ankles and feet. The subtle way the wheels fold in is very clever and looks great. His forearms are wearing the doors and his shoulders consist of his back tires and are crested by the rear quarter panels of the car. The shape of the torso gives him that great angular G1 style that I love so much and that head sculpt? Well that’s just pure win, Fansproject. Car Crash’s color scheme definitely pays its respects to the G1 Sunbow character, albeit with more white on the lower legs than blue. The mix of white and blue, two-tone grey, and metallic silver all look fabulous, but it’s the red painted face that really ties this figure together for me. I’ll admit that I find his car mode rather bland, but his robot mode exhibits some really beautiful coloring.

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As great as this figure looks, he’s just as much fun to play with because he has crazy articulation. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips and ankles. He has swivels in the biceps, waist, and thighs. His elbows and knees are hinged. I’ve had tons of fun fiddling around with him and putting him into poses.

Car Crash set me back $68 shipped. Yep, that’s a nice chunk of change to pay for a figure that isn’t quite a Deluxe. On the other hand, any time you can get a decent third-party Transformer figure for under $100 it seems like a treat. And Car Crash isn’t a decent figure, he’s an exceptional one. He features a solid car mode, but more importantly a gorgeous and wonderfully articulated robot mode. He’s also packed with quality and I find him to be well worth every penny. Sure, I would have preferred him to be more in scale with my Deluxes, and yeah I would have paid more. But I’m still happy with what we got and I’m really excited to see T-Bone show up on my stoop next week.

DC Universe Signature Collection: Elongated Man by Mattel

Hells yeah! This is the kind of thing I joined Club Infinite Earths for! Finally, it’s the f’ing Elongated Man! Not to slight any of the excellent figures that have come from CIE before him, but I’ve had a certain DC Direct version of this guy chilling on my DCUC shelves as a place holder for a little too long now. Next to Jay Garrick Flash, this is the one CIE figure that scratches my itch the most. Sure, that DCD version is great and all, but getting an actual DCUC style figure of Dibny? Well, this has been a long time coming. Let’s check him out…

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It’s the ever so slightly redesigned Signature Collection packaging. I think this is the third time we’ve seen it and it’s starting to grow on me. Or at the very least I’ve decided the changes are mostly harmless. Truth be told, I’m only hanging onto the boxes for the oversized quarterly figures now, so I’ll be taking a pair of scissors to this box to save the back and the rest will get trashed. Hey, space is precious and Dibney’s going right on my shelf anyway. Generally speaking, I’m usually blown away by the character art Mattel uses, but that’s not so much the case here. I appreciate that they are trying to show off Dibny’s elastic personality, but I’m just not feeling this character art. The bio on the back chronicles Dibny’s troubled life, but it does not explain why the DC writers like to mentally torture him so much. Let’s check out the figure…

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Starting off with the head sculpt, I think the portrait here is excellent. I was very pleased with the DCD version’s head sculpt, but now that I’ve seen this one it’s a little hard to go back. This portrait is less harsh and angular than the DCD version and he’s not as sickly pale either. It makes sense, though, as the DCD version is from “Identity Crisis” and this one looks like Dibny from a less tragedy stricken time in his life. I’m not entirely sure the expression they were going for with this figure, but I do love it. It’s a little neutral with a bit of “gee-whiz” deduction thrown into it. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ralph and I think this portrait captures his personality extremely well. At least before he completely lost his shit over the tragedy with his wife, but I’m glad that Mattel didn’t try to sculpt angry-desperate-vengeful Dibny.

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As expected, Ralph’s costume is achieved mostly through paintwork on a standard DCUC style buck, so there isn’t a lot of original sculpting here. He’s mostly red with black gloves, boots, and the “V” down the front and back of his torso. There are yellow borders around his boots and gloves, and he has a sculpted belt comprised of a simple black and yellow band. The paintwork is overall pretty good, although there are a few small spots on my figure’s chest where the black chipped.

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In package, Elongated Man comes with his right arm stretched out, but you also get a regular fist that you can swap with it to make him normal. The DCD figure had a lot more stretchy gimmicks, with two bendable arms and an extending neck. I wouldn’t have minded two stretch arms for him, but I’m still happy with what they did here. It’s just enough to show him flexing his powers without going all nuts. He also comes with a very cool magnifying glass, which he can hold in his left hand.

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Elongated Man features your standard DCUC articulation. That means a ball joints in the neck and shoulders, the arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have the classic DCUC hip joints, which allow for lateral movement, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees and ankles. You also get an ab-crunch hinge and a swivel at the waist.

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And so, finally I can retire my DCD version of Ralph Dibny to my DC Direct drawer and represent the character on my shelf in proper DCUC style. In this case, however, I’m still happy to own both versions, as the DCD figure does offer a lot more display options, but each figure brings its own charms to the table. On the other hand, I really am thrilled with this figure’s head sculpt. Sure, he’s a simple enough figure, but Mattel really did a wonderful job with it. Now I really need to double back and pick up Firestorm and Red Tornado.