Marvel Legends: Black Panther by Hasbro

I know, I know. I skipped an entire wave. What the hell happened to the Hit Monkey wave, FigureFan? You only looked at Ultimates Cap! I’ll get back to that wave eventually. I just so happened to be shipping my Pile of Loot and I threw these guys in. I was tempted to do an entire week of them, but instead I’ll try to space them out over the next couple of weeks, because I have a lot of other stuff to get to as well. I’m also writing this on the morning after some epic drinking, so pardon me if I’m a tad incoherent from the hangover. The show must go on! Anyway, I’m kicking the wave off with Black Panther. Why? Not because I have any special affinity for the character, but because he’s the first figure I grabbed out of the pile.

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Hasbro hasn’t tinkered around with the Marvel Legends packaging since it’s relaunch. It’s still awesomely obnoxious and delivers concentrated comic booky goodness. The character art is rather simple, but then I suppose there’s only so much you can do with Black Panther. The top of the card points out that this release is part of the Rocket Raccoon Build-A-Figure wave and indeed there are two tiny raccoon arms on the tray beside the figure.

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I had my doubts about this figure, mainly because of the early production shots. They made his head look too big and his coloring seemed off. I just wasn’t feeling it. I’m happy to say, however, with figure in hand things have changed. Don’t get me wrong, there’s not a lot to him, but that says as much about the character design than it does Hasbro’s effort. The figure uses a simple male buck and I approve of the body style. He’s muscled, but not overly so. Black Panther is all about crazy acrobatics in his fighting and I think this slighter build properly reflects that. The hand sculpts go a long way to add to the figure’s personality, as they look like he’s ready to claw the shit out of somebody. I do think there are a few missed opportunities here to spruce up the figure. A removable cape would have gone a long way to make him more exciting, or possibly the tribal necklace he sometimes wears. As he is, he’s just kind of bare bones.

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The head sculpt is excellent. I really dig the way you can make out the structure of his face under the mask. The silver eyes look great, as does the furled brow. The absence of a mouth always made him look extra creepy to me and that’s no less true for the figure.

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As for the paintwork… well, Black Panther is a guy in a black suit. Hasbro added a little spice to the figure with the blue comic style shading. I’m not usually a big fan of this effect, at least not when Hasbro is doing it, but it looks ok here. They had to do something, rather than just stamp out a black figure. On the other hand, I’m not sure about the striping on the gloves and boots. I probably would have preferred that they left that out.

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One thing any Black Panther figure should have is top notch articulation and this guy mostly succeeds there. You get ball joints in the shoulders and hips. The arms feature swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows and both hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs have swivels in the thighs as well as a the tops of the boots. The knees are double hinged and the ankles have single hinges. The torso swivels at the waist, has an ab-crunch hinge and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The only thing I would have added would be the shoulder crunches seen on some Marvel Legends figures, but what’s here is still plenty good and he is definitely a fun figure to pose.

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I’ll happily admit that Black Panther isn’t among my top tier Avengers, although I have warmed up to him in recent years. I do really dig his back story, but as a character himself, I can still usually take him or leave him. That having been said, he’s still a pretty major player in the Marvel Universe and I definitely wanted him on my shelf. Hasbro did a solid, albeit very conservative, job on this figure. He doesn’t rank among their better efforts like Steve Rogers, Thor or Punisher, but there’s really nothing wrong with him either.

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Star Wars Black: Imperial Sandtrooper by Hasbro

It’s my third outing for Hasbro’s new Star Wars Black 6-inch figure line. This will also be my last feature for the first wave, because I’m not buying Darth Maul. If I go back on that, I’ll have a contest where the lucky random winner will be flown to my hometown, spend the night in a fine hotel, and get to kick me square in the balls in front of all of the Youtubes. But don’t get excited, because that’s just not going to happen. Anyway, I saved the figure that I was looking forward to the most for last: The Sandtrooper!

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There’s the artsy-fartsy collector packaging. I still dig it a lot, but once again, I would have appreciated either some character art or the name of the figure on the side of the box for easy reference. It’s totally collector friendly, so Mr. Sandtrooper can get packed away for storage when you’re done playing with him, or when you want to rotate something else out onto the display shelf. Some collectors I know were questioning why a Sandtrooper in the first wave? Why not a regular Stormtrooper? Well, much like the decision to go with X-Wing pilot Luke, I just find this one to be a more exciting choice. Besides, the extra equipment better shows off what Hasbro can do with this scale. Of course, if you want a regular Stormtrooper, all of this guy’s gear is removable, so let’s start off with the base figure.

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Yup, stripped down you get a basic Stormy. Granted, he’s a dirty boy who hasn’t washed his armor in a while, but I’m sure there are plenty of planets where this guy would look at home trudging through swamps or other filth in search of Rebel holdouts. The sculpt is excellent, but it doesn’t pull too many surprises. I have no doubt that some Star Wars nutjobs dedicated enthusiasts could pick apart problems with this sculpt, but that ain’t me. I think it looks great. Maybe the helmet is too big? But seriously, it looks fine to me. Oh, and before you get any bright ideas about a head-swap to make your own Luke in Stormtrooper disguise, forget about it. The ball joint for this guy is way too big to make the swap work.

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The articulation here is quite good, but the sculpting on some of the armor pieces does its share to inhibit some movement. You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles. The arms feature swivels in the biceps and double hinged elbows. The legs have swivels at the hips and double hinges in the knees. The torso also features a ball joint with a solid range of movement. I’m quite happy with what this guy can do, even with some restrictions at the hips because of the armor pieces.

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Of course, it takes more than a dirty set of armor to make a Sandtrooper. It takes cool gear and weapons and a burning desire to hump that shit out in the hot sun baked desert looking for some goddamn droids. For starters, you’ve got the pauldron, that piece of orange and black shoulder armor. It has straps that fits around the figure’s neck and under his arm and it’s easily removed or attached by popping his head off. Next up, you’ve got the big backpack, which pegs right into the hole on his back. There’s also an extra ammo pouch on it that hangs down the figure’s left shoulder. It pops up a bit, but you can tuck it under his helmet to make it behave.

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Weapons! This dude is lugging more firepower then he knows what to do with. I’m reminded of the line in Firefly: Why are you bringing so many guns, you’ve only got the two arms… or something to that effect. The Sandtrooper comes with his standard E-11 blaster, a longer rifle with a bipod, which unfortunately does not fold down, and a carbine with a shoulder strap. The carbine can be slung nicely over one of his shoulders. Unfortunately, there’s no holster for the blaster. C’mon, Hasbro even the 3 ¾” Stormy had a holster for his blaster!

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I had high hopes for this figure and I’m happy to say that Hasbro managed to rise to the occasion. He’s not perfect. I think there are some missed opportunities with the scale change. There’s also nothing much on this guy that hasn’t been done already on the best of the 3 ¾” versions, but I still love the way he turned out. He’s a ridiculously fun figure to play around with and I’ve had him patrolling my desk in various poses since I got him out of the package. And that wraps up my look at Wave 1. I’ve already got Wave 2 on pre-order (yup, this time I’m buying the whole thing) and I can’t wait to have them in my hands as well.

Transformers Robots in Disguise: Side Burn (Second Version) by Hasbro

As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’m going to be using Transformers Thursday to embark on a look back at some of the Robots in Disguise (2001) toys, particularly the Autobot Car Brothers. We’re going to kick things off with Side Burn. Roughly equivalent to a Deluxe Class figure, Side Burn has seen a number of repaints over the years. The original US release of Side Burn was blue, but a while back during one of my many Toy Purges, I decided I was only going to keep my favorite deco of these molds, so we’re going to be looking at his second RiD release. No package shot, so let’s just jump right in to his alt mode.

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Side Burn is a very snazzy looking Dodge Viper and a good example of why I love the alt modes on these figures so much. It’s funny, but I don’t remember HasTak having the Dodge license for this line, but Side Burn definitely has a tiny little Dodge emblem on the front of his hood. It seems like a lot of expense for just a Deluxe figure. There’s a wonderful sense of realism to this auto mode that we really haven’t seen in a main line of Transformers since, and that’s probably a big part of why I get a little nostalgic for this line. Other selling points for me are the clear windows, the exposed and detailed chromed engine, the gold-vac metal wheels, and the rubber tires with “Cybertron” stamped on them. Hell, the doors even open! Fantastic!

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This version of Side Burn sports a deco that is very reminiscent of G1 Hot Rod or Rodimus Prime. He’s red with flames painted on the hood and doors. He has a bold Autobot emblem stamped on his roof and you can see another Autobot emblem through his rear window. Transforming Side Burn is fairly simple, but we get to see how a lot of the Beast Wars engineering revolution carried over into this line. There are tons of ball joints and huge portions of car hanging off of hinged arms. The appropriate word here is shell-former!!!

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Yup, one of the reasons that the car can look so good is because Side Burn wears a lot of it in his robot mode. The result is you get a very poseable and organic looking robot body with random car bits attached everywhere. Some of them aren’t so bad, while others are rather awkward and annoying. The stuff I like includes the engine block on his chest and the way the two halves of the hood and the doors become downswept wings. The rear wheels on his hips aren’t too bad either.

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The biggest albatross is the way the top of the car becomes a riot shield for his left arm. In theory, I like this idea a lot and you could see where it would come in handy. But, seeing as it’s permanently attached it seems like having to constantly carry that thing around would get rather annoying. On the other hand, if it were removable, then poor Side Burn would be accused of being a parts-former. It is ball jointed, so at least you can position it in different ways. I’m also not a big fan of the bumper on his right shoulder. This thing just looks awkward and unlike the shield, it serves no real purpose other than to get in the way.

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My least favorite thing about Side Burn is the head sculpt. I don’t know what they were going for here, but he looks all messed up. There’s no symmetry and I get the sense that he’s some kind of Cybertronian patchwork monster that crawled its way out of Wheeljack’s secret lab. I suppose it suits the overall ramshackle look of the figure.

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Side Burn comes with two weapons. First, you get a little chromed gun blade. I believe the one that came with this figure was gold, but mine is silver, so the original must have gotten switched with one of my other Side Burns somewhere along the way. His rear bumper also turns into a missile firing crossbow, which I always thought was kind of neat.

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Why I don’t hate this figure is beyond me. Obviously there’s a lot to love in his car mode, but his robot mode is just a twisted mess. And yet, somehow he still has a spot in my Transformer loving heart. Maybe it was because I was so happy to see an actual Autobot in the toy aisle again after so many years? Whatever the case, I can’t hate on Side Burn. He has plenty of problems, but he can still be a fun figure in his own way.

Next week, we’ll check out X-Brawn!

Marvel: Storm Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

If it seems like just last week that I was checking out one of Koto’s Bishoujo statues, that’s because it was just last week. But every time I get a new one of these, it puts me on the hunt for more and shortly after opening Kitty Pryde, I was quick to hunt down one that’s been on my want list for a long while. Yes, Storm! I’m not quite the X-Men fan that I was a decade and a half ago, but this piece has had my attention for a while now, and the time was right to add her to my collection.

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The packaging offers Bishoujo collectors no surprises. It’s the typical white window box adorned with some beautiful character art and some shots of the statue itself. It’s a pretty tall box for what we’ll see is a pretty tall statue. As usual, you can get a little taste of what’s inside from the windows, but thanks to some protective plastic wrap, you’ll need to open her up to get a good look.

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Storm comes between two plastic trays and already attached to her base. You do, however, get some effects parts, including two swappable hands and some lightning effects. This is the first Bishoujo statue in my collection with this feature, so I’m rather excited to try it out. But first, let’s see how Ororo looks out of the box.

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Wow! That’s my first reaction to getting her set up. I’ll take this moment to reinforce the fact that I am not particularly a Storm fanboy, so most of the wow factor here lies solely in Koto’s work on this piece rather than blind affinity for the character. For starters, she is really big. She’s the same 1/7 scale as her fellow sisters in the line, but thanks to the elevated base, the soles of her boots start right about at knee level with other statues in standing poses. Furthermore, the way she’s posed with her arms up and outward and her hair spread out around her, just adds to this statue’s perceived size. It’s a powerful and majestic pose, conveying action in a statue isn’t always an easy thing to do, but Storm’s pose and sculpt does it brilliantly.

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The skimpy black two-piece costume and thigh high boots are painted in high gloss black and contrast nicely with her matte mocha colored skin. The sculpted bellowing effect on her cape is particularly well done with the ends attached to her bracers, spreading it out like a set of wings. Koto could have gone in a lot of directions with Storm’s outfit, as she’s had a lot of different looks, but I’m mighty glad they went with this one. It just looks fantastic and it suits the titilating theme of the line.

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The portrait is pretty standard bishoujo fare. Storm’s head is angled downward with her shimmering blue eyes looking up. She has a bit more of a stern expression than many of her fellow statues, but she’s still adorable and it complements the pose rather well. The pearlescent hair flies up and around her head from the electrified atmosphere around her. Again, I’m impressed by the level of energy conveyed in this static piece.

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The base is clear blue plastic with a small circular disc and a sculpted tornado rising up for Storm to stand on. I’m not usually a fan of the translucent bases, but in this case the effect works pretty well for water. As simple as it is, I think this is one of the coolest looking bases in my Bishoujo collection so far.

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As mentioned, you get some effect pieces which include two swappable hands and a set of electric halos that fit on her wrists. The pieces are blue translucent plastic. Popping out the standard hands is easy enough.  I appreciate the effort here, but I don’t plan on using them. The pose exudes enough energy without the needing the extra help.

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Yup, Storm is an amazing statue, and she is currently one of my favorite pieces on my Bishoujo shelves. In fact, I’d probably put her right in line with Wonder Woman and Power Girl as my current top three Bishoujos. She commands a lot of attention on the shelf, not only due to her size and majestic pose, but also a superb sculpt. I picked her up on Amazon for only $40, which is a pretty amazing price for a statue that should be appreciating on the basis of its merit alone. I love this piece so much, I may actually hunt down the white costumed variant.

Transformers Generations: Megatron (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

The IDW comic packs have arrived and I am a happy camper! If you’ve been kicking around FFZ for the past three years you may know that I absolutely adore the idea of packaging action figures with comics. The presentation can’t be beat and hey… free comic! I got the first wave of these in last week and I thought I’d start things rolling with Megatron. He’s the one figure in this assortment that I was probably least excited for, mainly because War for Cybertron Megs is still my go-to Megs for my TF display. I didn’t think there was much chance of this one knocking him out of the spotlight, but let’s find out if I was wrong…

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Yup… That’s what I call awesome packaging! Megs comes carded in his robot form with an issue of the IDW comic behind him sporting an exclusive cover. Honestly, I’m not terribly keen on the cover. The art is nice, but the coloring is rather bland. I think it would have worked better had they left it alone, but I can understand why they wanted something more focused on Megatron. The card points out that this is one of Hasbro’s “Thrilling Thirty” as part of the 30th Anniversary line. As usual, I’m going to start out with Megs’ alt mode, but first let’s look at the comic!

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I did not come back to Transformers comics until the debut of More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise, so this ish is a new one by me. This was a great issue to include with the figure because it involves Megatron returning to lead the Decepticons in his new stealth bomber alt mode. It’s a good stand-alone read and it focuses on the familiar Megatron and Starscream trope in what plays out like some kind of bizarre sado-masochistic passion play.

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Ok, so as mentioned, Megatron is a stealth bomber, and a mighty nice looking one at that. He pegs together very well and he’s sized about right for a Deluxe. There aren’t a lot of paint apps going on here. He’s molded in black plastic and has a little red for the windows and some grey accents. I would have loved to see purple panel lining from Len O’Grady’s coloring, but I can understand why it didn’t cost out for the figure. If you flip him over you’ll see a lot of purple as well as a good portion of his robot mode peeking out at you.  Megatron has a single landing gear near the nose that folds down. It’s a nice touch, especially since it’s not really needed for the aircraft to balance on a surface. Apart from looking good, Megatron’s alt mode has no play features or gimmicks or anything like that. He does have a pair of ports on his back, which can be used to mount weapons from just about any recent Deluxe Transformer. I suspect the weapons from Fall of Cybertron Skywarp would look rather bitchin on him.

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I found transforming Megatron into jet mode was rather fidgety at first, but I was eventually able to do it without instructions. Getting him into robot mode, on the other hand, is pretty simple and intuitive. The only unusual thing is that you have to pull off his wings to form his fusion cannon, but more on that in a bit. When you’re done you get a robot that is a pretty damn fine approximation of the artwork in the comic. It’s not perfect, but it’s an extremely respectable attempt on Hasbro’s part. He’s very well proportioned and I really dig the triangular torso with the engine intakes on his shoulders. The head sculpt is spot-on, and while I tend to prefer the more angular and robotic faces of old, the organic Nick Roche style really shines through quite nicely on this figure.

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In robot mode, Megatron’s deco gets a little more interesting. Sure, there’s still plenty of black from the bomber mode, but now you’ve got two shades of purple, as well as the bits of grey and red. It’s a very Skywarpy look, and that compounds my main issue with this figure: It just doesn’t feel like Megatron to me.

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As mentioned, the wing tips pull off and get pegged together and then placed on either of his arms to form his fusion cannon. It’s not very traditional, but it does have a certain alien energy weapon look to it, and it does fit the artwork. You can pull out the front of it to reveal some translucent purple, which looks fantastic.

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By every account, this is an excellent figure. Hasbro took the comic book art, worked out the engineering and did so brilliantly. He’s not really my Megatron, but if you’re a fan of this comic run, chances are you’ll really dig this guy. But even if this guy isn’t going to replace FoC Megatron on my display shelf, I can still appreciate him as a great Transformer and a cool stand-alone figure in my collection.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Shokoti by Mattel

So, if you haven’t heard, The Matty Collector Pledge Drive hit their mark, which means that Club Eternia will continue for another year. I’m actually pretty happy about this because this was the first year I decided to sub. There are going to be some seriously cool figures being released in 2014, many which I never thought would ever be made, and while the August figures didn’t exactly sell like gangbusters, I do believe next year’s day of sale events will be a lot more cutthroat. Anyway, this year I did subscribe to the short filmation run and this week the second figure, Shokoti wound up in my postbox.

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It may not be Club Eternia, but the packaging is identical to what we’ve been getting all along and yeah, I still love it. Shokoti comes carded with her arms behind her back as if casually waiting to dispense evil. She also comes with her evil beast minion beside her and no other accessories to speak of. Flipping the package over, we get a bio card and a picture of other figures that are mostly no longer available this side of Ebay and your friendly neighborhood scalpers. Let’s see, how am I doing? There’s only one figure there that I don’t have and that’s Fang Man. I had zero interest in Fang Man until he became difficult to get and expensive and now I want him. DAMN YOU FANG MAN!!!

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Oh shit… Another Filmation Sub figure means that I have to try to watch the episode. In this case, it’s “House of Shokoti” and if it’s anything like Icer’s episode I’ll soon be begging for the sweet release of death. Wait… what? IT’S TWO PARTS??? Oh, hell no. I actually remember this one a little bit from my childhood. If memory serves Shokoti was a witch who was trapped in some temple under the desert and revived by Trapjaw and a sorcerer named Masque. She threatened to do some evil, had a weird relationship with some kid, and was eventually thwarted by He-Man. Oh yeah, and Ram Man called her Shaboobie or Shapoopie or something. I promised myself if I could recall the overall gist of the episode I wouldn’t make myself watch it. I still can’t remember what the tentacle thing is all about, but I got it close enough. Yes, she’s a one-off villain, but that’s the whole point of this sub-line. Also, I wouldn’t complain if Mattel decided to make Masque somewhere down the road. He’d be an easy figure to make and I wouldn’t mind having him on my shelf. Anyway… let’s look at the figure.

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Straightaway, I’m really pleased with the way Shokoti turned out. She is the spitting image of her animated counterpart without being overly simple. The head sculpt is perfect. She’s beauty and sinister evil wrapped up in one great portrait with a distinctive hair sculpt and a very cool headpiece. One nitpick I have is that Shokoti’s cape is sculpted as part of her hair, so you can’t just pop her head and take it off. Sure, she looks fine with the cape on, but I like to have display options. The rest of the figure features a black and blue one-piece dress with a low slung belt and skull belt buckle. The ensemble is wrapped up with a nice pair of boots. The articulation is standard for females of the line and includes the ankle rockers.

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Shokoti’s coloring features pale blue skin and a darker blue for her costume. She has tan gloves and glossy black for part of her costume and her boots. The cape is red with blue epaulets. I love the use of the copper color for her headpiece and a belt buckle. I think it works better than if they had gone with a more vibrant gold. Overall, the paint apps on this figure are quite excellent.

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I don’t get what’s up with Shokoti’s hands, but I kind of understand now why she’s packaged with them behind her back. She has hands that were intended to clutch some kind of wand or staff, but she doesn’t come with one. The result is that she just looks like she’s giving me the thumbs up… or down depending on how you pose her. It’s weird. They should have given her some spell casting, oogity-boogity hands instead. They also seem rather small for her. I’ll just pretend it’s part of her signature move. She throws a ball of tentacles at your face and then gives the thumbs up to the camera.

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Nope, no wand or staff, but you do get this guy. He’s definitely a cool piece, but I still don’t know who he is. Is it the great evil that she was trying to summon in the episode? Feel free to email me with the Subject Line, FIGUREFAN, YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT ABOUT THE HE-MANS, or just put it in the comments below. He has a very Cthulhu-like vibe to him, and I can think of more than a few other toy lines where he might fit in pretty well.

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Yup, I dig this figure a lot! Besides just being really well executed, I like the idea of having another female baddie for my display and possibly to pillow-fight with Evil-Lyn for the pleasure of Skeletor. “BEASTMAN… PREPARE THE ARENA OF PILLOWS!!!” Yes, the hands are odd and they make the absence of any kind of staff-like accessory rather conspicuous, but it’s something that I can overlook when the figure is this good. So far the Filmation Sub is two for two… Keep them coming, Matty!

DC Universe Classics: Green Lantern (Alan Scott) by Mattel

Consider today’s feature as a eulogy and a review. The eulogy part comes into play because DCUC died this week with Matty Collector’s failure to get sufficient support for Club Infinite Earths. Sure DCUC proper has been dead for a little while, but the torch was being carried on by the various Unlimited lines at retail and the DC Signature Collection by way of subscription. I had no delusions about CIE going through this time, the support just wasn’t there and I’m not going to tick off the multitude of reasons as to why I think that was the case. Suffice it to say, I did my part and bought a sub, and I suppose I’ll consider myself lucky if I actually get that $35 refunded. Aaaaaaanyway… with no new figures ahead, I can now devote more time to looking back and filling the many holes in my collection. Today we’re doing just that with a look at Alan Scott, Green Lantern, from Wave 14. This figure has been sitting unopened beside my desk for over a month, and I suppose this week was as good a time as any to open him up.

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And here’s a blast from the past… it’s the DCUC packaging! I still love it! Green Lantern comes to us from Wave 14, also known as the Ultra Humanite wave because that’s the C&C figure you build with all the parts. Wave 14 was also one of those pesky Walmart Exclusive waves. Ah, yes, a great partnership that was. The only problem with it being none of the Walmarts in my area has sold any DCUC figures since Wave 10 or 11. Brilliant!

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I’ve been slowly piecing this wave together from second hand retailers ever since it first came out. I’m still missing Tyr and Hourman, as well as Alan’s son, Obsidian. Unfortunately, I bought at least one of the others loose, so even after I complete the wave, my Ultra Humanite is going to be missing something. In addition to the C&C piece, you also get a little collectible button. Somewhere, I have a cigar box with a bunch of these rattling around in there. It’s nothing special, but it sure beats those shitty little bits of cardboard that Hasbro calls Comic Shots.

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And there he is in all his Golden Age glory. I am a sucker for these vintage costumes! He sports a far more colorful and interesting outfit than the Lanterns who have come since. You get green trousers and red shirt with the old-timey lantern emblem sharply tampo’ed on his chest. The back of his cape is purple and the lining is green. The paintwork on my figure is a little rough in some spots, particularly the yellow on the buckle and there’s some stray yellow on his shirt.

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In addition to the colorful costume, you also get a fair amount of unique sculpting here. The yellow wraps on his boots are sculpted, he’s got a new belt and buckle, and his high collared cape looks fabulous. Naturally, he has his power ring sculpted on his left hand. The head sculpt is pretty good, albeit a little ambiguous. His mouth is a little open, he’s showing his teeth. He doesn’t exactly look fierce, maybe he’s about to dispense some verbal justice. Maybe he’s yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Either way, it works for me.

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Of course, you get the standard DCUC articulation. The arms have ball joints at the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual universal joint at the hips, hinged knees and ankles, and swivels at the thighs. Alan cannot swivel at the waist, but he does have an ab crunch hinge in the torso and his neck is ball jointed.

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In addition to the collector button and the C&C part, Green Lantern comes with his trusty lantern. It’s the old style, which is very cool. What’s not cool is that the metallic green paint on the handle flakes off if you look at it funny. When I put it into or take out of his hand it flakes all over the place.

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Yes, I’ll confess that Alan Scott is not top of my list of Green Lanterns, but I still enjoy the character, I love the retro feel of his distinctive outfit, and I really dig this figure. It surprises me that it took fourteen waves for him to make it into the line. As for the death of Club Infinite Earths being the end of the line for the series, well it’s really not for me. I’ll be able to divert my resources backward and start working on completing my collection. There are still a lot of figures and C&C parts for me to hunt down. Besides, I’ll be surprised if we don’t see some more figures in the DCUC style popping up here and there in the years ahead.

Star Wars Black: R2-D2 by Hasbro

The wait for this 6-inch R2 has been a bumpy ride. Hasbro’s initial images looked great and then we got some final product images, which looked not so great. Further details about the figure’s gimmickry started getting me worried. Now I have R2 in hand and the final result is… decidedly average. He’s honestly better than I thought he was going to be, but I had very low expectations. Let’s take a look at the ups and downs of this little Astromech droid…

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We saw the packaging last week with Luke, so there’s not a lot for me to add. I dig it enough that I’ll probably be keeping the figures stored in these boxes, at least until I have enough to set up a display shelf. It’s still hard for me to believe that anyone at Hasbro designed this packaging because it’s so antithetical to mass market toy design. Sure, it’s designed for collectors and not kids, but it’s still odd to see something as subdued as this hanging on a peg in the toy aisles. R2’s attachments are strategically spread out above and beside him to help the little guy fill out the tray. The first thing I had to do when taking R2 out of the package was attach the blue strips to his legs. These each peg into two slots, but mine wouldn’t fit right until I took a razor blade and shaved off some of the mold flashing on the pegs. It’s not a big deal, and they fit perfectly now, but should I really have to do this on a figure that cost $22? I think not.

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Starting at the top and working my way down, I have issues with R2’s dome and the biggest one should be obvious: The seam! Unless I’m looking at R2 dead on from the front or back, it’s impossible not to notice this eye sore. I know next to nothing about making toys, but surely there’s a way to manufacture half a sphere in plastic without this kind of seam mucking it up. Second, the paint apps on the dome are overall quite good, but the blue ring around the base of the dome is wobbly, particularly in the front. I don’t want to keep coming back to the price point, but this is a $22 figure and this kind of stuff is unacceptable. The rest of the dome is great. I’m very happy with the way the opening panels on the top close and fit nicely. Yes, you can tell they’re there, but they aren’t as obvious as they could have been.

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Things get a lot better as we move down to the body. All the little panel lines are sculpted and look great. I was worried about how the opening panels on the front would look. Early production shots had them rather warped, but on my figure they close up flush with the rest of the body. I’m sure there are plenty of people more familiar with R2’s design than I am, but as far as I’m concerned, this guy looks pretty accurate. The blue paint apps are neat and clean, and while I’m not usually a fan of Hasbro’s attempts at weathering, the work they did on the feet turned out pretty good.

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Gimmicks! For better or worse, Hasbro decided to pack this R2 with gimmicks. Some of these work, others do their part to unfortunately mar the figure. Again, let’s start from the top down. R2’s dome has three removable hatches on top. Inside there are slots where you can peg in his sensor device, his periscope, and Luke’s lightsaber. The lightsaber slot is specific to the hilt, but you can put the periscope and sensor into either of the other two. Hasbro could have just as easily only had one hatch to use for the sensor and the periscoe, but I’ll applaud their attempt at accuracy by making them separate. These all work pretty well, and I will admit, I like the idea of being able to display R2 with some of his gizmo’s deployed.

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The body features the two opening hatches, each with an arm that folds up. The right door has a computer interface and the left one has a grabber arm. Again, these are cool little features, that don’t harm the toy, apart from the little bumps on the panels to help you open them up. They’re also a lot easier to get out than I suspected they would be.

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Next up are those dopey flight-jet things that attach to his arms. Here, you just pull off the side pieces and attach the jets. I hate that these exist and apart from shooting the picture above, I will never use them again. On the bright side, you can just leave them in the package and forget about them. They don’t hurt the figure in any way.

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Ok, so here’s the biggie. Hasbro decided to make the third leg deploy by turning R2’s head. It’s the one gimmick that I really wish had been left out. It’s a cute enough gimmick when it was on the smaller R2 figure designed for kids to play with. On the 6-inch collector figure, I think it’s a mistake.

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When all is said and done, R2 is a solid enough figure, but he’s not as spectacular as he could have been. To me, he feels like nothing more than an up-scaled 3 ¾” R2, and that’s a big difference from the “wow factor” that I felt when playing with the SWB Luke figure for the first time. Far be it from me to encourage Hasbro to make collectors double-dip, but I would have been happier had Hasbro delivered a great R2 where they focused more on sculpt and paint and less on gimmicks. Hell, I would have happily traded every gimmick on this figure if to get rid of the ugly seam in the dome. Later, they could have released a more gizmo-laden version, which I could have left on the pegs. I was fairly satisfied with Luke at $22, but this R2 just doesn’t feel as worth it to me. If you’re going to do a collector line, Hasbro, do it and leave the gimmicks for the kids toys.

Transformers Generations: Titan Class Metroplex by Hasbro, Part 3

It’s Transformers Thursday, and I promise to get back to some older Transformers next week. This week, I’m allowing my look at Metroplex to take over, because the feature has gotten out of hand and I can’t stop playing with him. Today, we’re wrapping things up with a look at his Carrier Mode, which should go very quickly and allow me to scamper off to The Pub for boozes and merriment. Ha! I said scamper!!

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So, the Carrier Mode is really simple and is essentially an aircraft carrier that rolls along on the ground. Yes, it’s basically Metroplex with his legs out in front of him to form dual runways and his arms swept back. And yet, as simple as this mode is, I still absolutely love it. The runways show off a lot of stickers, which makes it look outstanding, so long as you applied them carefully, and there’s a cargo crane that can be folded out from the deck. I have yet to find a practical use for it, but it’s still a cool little extra.

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The command center in the rear still features the ramp that comes down from his chest bay and a fold out gunnery station on the left shoulder. Also on the left shoulder is a helipad, which is smaller and separate from the one used in his City Mode. You can also still have access to his fold out right arm cannon if Metro needs to shoot behind him. Let’s load him up with some Minicons and get him ready for action!

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Yup, I’ve got plenty of Minicon jets, which look great all lined up on the runways and ready to launch. If I had the space, I would definitely display Metro in this mode a lot of the time, just so I could showcase my Minicon air force. And if I owned this toy as a kid, I’d probably spend a ridiculous amount of time playing with Metro in this mode. It’s just so much fun! And that’s all I’ve got on the Carrier Mode. I told you this would be quick!

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Thanks for your patience as I stretched this feature into three parts. It’s the first time I spent three days looking at a single figure, but I was really excited to finally have this guy and I honestly think he warranted the extra attention. In Part 1, I compared the box a lot to 80’s toys and as I come away from this look at Metroplex, I find myself with the same kind of delight and awe that I had for some of the bigger 80’s releases. Plexy joins other recent releases like the Millennium Falcon and the GI JOE Pit as love letters to those days of yore where you could walk into a toy store and find stuff like this all over the place.

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Metroplex retails right around $100, which I think is a pretty solid value for what you’re getting. I haven’t actually seen him at any retail stores yet, but he is coming in and out of stock at a lot of online retailers as we speak. This release comes to us against all odds, as Transformers fans have been lamenting for ages that we’d never get another Fort Max sized Transformer in the US. It just goes to show you that anything is possible. Sure, I would have liked to see some of the chrome work on the SDCC version applied to the general retail release. At the very least, the face should have been painted silver, but really I’m nitpicking little things about what is a really amazing toy and one that I’m absolutely thrilled to have in my collection. Where’s he going to live? I have absolutely no idea! But he’ll find a place to hang out, even if I have to sit him on my sofa.

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Couldn’t resist one more size comparison shot… Omega don’t seem so Supreme anymore.

Transformers Generations: Titan Class Metroplex by Hasbro, Part 2

And I’m back for the second part of my look at Hasbro’s amazing Metroplex figure. Much like the original G1 toy, Hasbro’s update comes with Scamper, a little Autobot car who can roll around Metro’s streets. Before we get back to GIANT robot craziness, let’s catch our collective breath and check out this little fella. We’ll start with his alt mode…

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In keeping with tradition, Scamper is a little black car with a red gun on top. With the extended side pieces and six wheels, he looks to me like a sportscar that’s been retrofitted for battle. His deco consists of black and grey plastic with some sparkly blue paint for the windshield and a little silver for his back. There isn’t a lot more to say about his alt mode apart from the fact that he rolls along great and the top gun is removable. All in all, he’s about the size of a Legion Commander Class, which is to say smaller than a Scout. For some reason I expected him to be a little bigger, but it’s good that Hasbro included a figure that is sized relative to Metroplex.

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Transforming Scamper is as easy as you might expect. You just fold out his legs from the back of the vehicle, fold down the hood to become his chest, and pull the arms out from the sides. In robot mode he’s a pretty cool little guy. His proportions are a tad wonky, as he has a Popeye-slash-monkey arm thing going on, but overall I like him. You can store his gun on his back and he can also hold it in either hand. Ball joints and hinges give him a great degree of poseability for such a little guy. By all accounts, Scamper is a cool little pack in figure, but let’s be honest, he’s not the reason we’re here… so give me a moment to set up the big background and we’ll check out Metro’s City Mode.

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Aw… Yeah! Continuing the theme that this Plexy shares most of the design and engineering of the original G1 toy, the City Modes are extremely similar in concept. The biggest difference, is also the one that I thought would bug me the most, and that’s the fact that the ramp from the bay in his chest does not reach down to the ground like it did on the G1 toy. Instead, 2013 Metro’s ramp only extends down to one of the leg pylons. This means that instead of a nice symmetrical city with the two leg pylons out at angles, one has to go straight out and the other off to the side. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it probably has to do with my borderline OCD and demand for symmetry in design. I also used to like rolling cars out of the bay and have them shoot down the ramp and across the floor. Yes, it still irks me when I look at the City Mode, but I’m trying to warm up to it. In fairness it’s a petty annoyance, so let’s leave it be, and move on to some of the other features of Metroplex as a City. Dang… if only I had bags and bags of tiny little Transformers to play with on Metroplex… wait a minute… TO THE MINICONS!!!!

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Hell yeah, I’ve got tons of Minicons, and they are hands down one of the best ways to populate Metroplex, because they’re closer to proper scale. Spychangers will also do in a pinch, but if you’ve got a large collection of old Micromasters, well now you’re really talking.

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The top of the city features a gun pylon made out of his right arm. There’s a compartment to hold Scamper or a couple of Minicons. The shoulder gun makes up a tower rising up from the back, although you can also just angle it forward and make it an extra cannon for city defense. The left shoulder converts into a helipad along with a couple of other platforms where you can station some more small Transformers.

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The two leg pylons are pretty much the same, with the exception of the bay ramp coming down to the right pylon. These open up to reveal little command and control stations with stickers to show off the control panels. The rest of the legs feature streets leading out of the city. Again, these are perfectly sized for Minicon cars.

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I was not expecting a whole lot from Metroplex’s City Mode, but in the end I’m pleasantly surprised. Once I got him set up and loaded with figures, it’s easy to forget that he’s mainly just a robot sitting down with some parts folded out. I hate to pad this feature out further, but I still need to take some shots of Plexy in his Battlestation mode, so give one more day to play with him in City Mode and I’ll be back tomorrow to wrap this beast up!