Ghostbusters 2: Winston Zeddemore with Slime Blower by Mattel

Happy Halloween, folks! I know today should be Transformers Thursday, but I wanted to bump it for something at least vaguely Halloween-y, so we’ll do Transformers Thursday tomorrow instead. The best I could find for Halloween was a pair of Ghostbusters 2 figures that I came across a few weeks back at my not-so-local Comic Shop of all places. They just happened to have both Ray and Winston with their Slime Blowers and nobody there seemed to know where exactly they came from. It didn’t matter, because the price was right and they came home with me along with some Dan Slott Spider-Man hardcovers. I was going to look at the pair of them today, and then I thought that poor Winston doesn’t get enough love, so we’ll shine the spotlight on him alone and check out Ray sometime next week. Besides running with the whole ghost and Halloween theme, Winston here is slightly topical as Mattel has announced that in the wake of their failed Ecto-1 pre-order, they will still be releasing a new set of the Ghostbusters with removable Proton Packs.

gb2wz1

Dang, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen this packaging. It’s kind of cool to see it again, but it also reminds me of how badly Matty screwed up their handling of this license. I think we collectors would have been a lot more willing to pony up for the tsunami of variant Ghostbusters if we had gotten a Gozer or a couple of devil dogs tossed into the mix. At least I would have. Anyway, the figure comes in a big bubble with the Ghostbusters 2 logo embossed on top and fleshed out with a color insert. The dogs are on the front insert and you can see the Stay Puft Marshmallow man on the card, backing the bubble. This is great packaging if you’re a mint-on-card collector. It’s attractive, it stands up on its own, and it really shows the figure off beautifully. I, however, am an opener and there’s nothing collector friendly here, so it’s about to get shredded.

gb2wz2

The back of the card shows Winston’s personnel file. All the cards had this, and while in theory it’s a good idea, in practice it comes across as rather hokey and corny. “Quotes the Bible?” I’m pretty sure Ray did more of that in the movies than Winston did. And “Master of Pantomime?” I don’t even know what that’s referencing. Anyway, let’s rip this baby open and see what we’ve got.

gb2wz4

gb2wz5

Straight away, I’m going to say that I’m impressed with how much extra tooling Matty did on this figure. They got a lot of shit for recycling parts in this line, and I’m not saying it wasn’t deserved. Hell, even this figure reuses a lot of parts. But there’s also a fair amount of new work here that makes this figure stand out well enough, even when he’s displayed next to his regular Proton Pack wearing initial release. For starters, we get a brand new head sculpt. I was pretty happy with the portrait on the first Winston figure. I’d go as far to say I think it was the best likeness of the team. This one shows him with a new haircut, sans mustache, and with a toothier grin. I like it a lot, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, I’m just not sure I like it as much as the original.

gb2wz9

gb2wz7

Moving on to the uniform, Winston is built on the same jumpsuit body as the rest of the team. The legs appear to be identical, complete with the hose coming out of the leg, which I always assumed was there to catch urine if they pissed themselves with fear. The arms feature a newly painted Ghostbusters 2 logo and newly sculpted gloved hands. The gloves that were sculpted onto the belt on the original figure are replaced with a yellow gizmo and the belt itself is sculpted and painted differently. The recycling of the torso is covered up (literally!) by the newly sculpted vest onto which the Slime Blower is permanently attached.

gb2wz6

And then there’s the Slime Blower. I was not a big fan of this in the movie. The Proton Pack was so much cooler, but Mattel has done a very nice job recreating the device for the figure. There are lots of hoses coming off of it, a hazard stripe on the main tank and the grey paint shows some pretty realistic looking abrasions. There doesn’t appear to be any specific way to hang the wand on the tank like you can with the Proton Packs, but the hoses are stiff enough that it will stay in place beside the tank when not held.

gb2wz8

gb2wz10

Winston’s articulation is identical to all of the jump-suited Ghostbusters, but as I’ve only featured one of these figures on FFZ before, let’s recount the points. The head is ball jointed, but it is ball jointed in the torso, not at the end of the neck. You still get a get a good amount of movement out of it, it’s just a weird way to do it. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists and the lack of a bicep swivel is still disappointing to me. The legs have hip joints quite similar to Mattel’s own DCUC style, with hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs and boots. He can also swivel at the waist, but has no other torso articulation. What’s here isn’t bad, and he can hold his Slime Blower wand very nicely.

gb2wz13

gb2wz12

Traditionally, the Ghostbusters have come paired with ghosts. In this case, you get a piece of equipment. It’s the tripod trap seen very briefly in the montage where they are working in what I think was a jewelry or crystal shop. I’m all for getting more equipment and this is a fairly nice piece, complete with three independently balljointed doodads at the top.

gb2wz11

gb2wz3

I picked this guy up for ten bucks, which I seem to recall is about half the original retail, plus I escaped Matty’s extortionist shipping rates to boot. It was a nice little score, since I wasn’t willing to pay full price for the variants, and yet I’m often on the lookout to complete this collection at good prices. I have to confess that Winston a far better executed figure then I thought he would be. There’s plenty of new work invested in him and he looks really great on the shelf. I expect Ray to be the same figure with a different head, but I’m still rather eager to open him up next week and have a look.

Advertisements

DC Universe Signature Collection: Ocean Master by Mattel

The clock is running out on Matty’s Club Infinite Earth with Ocean Master being the first of the final three figures to be released in the Subscription and no new Sub going forward in 2014. These last figures are going to be a mixed bag for me, but of the three, Ocean Master here is definitely my most anticipated. The DCUC Aquaman on my shelf is getting pretty jealous of the other Justice League members and their expansive Rogue Galleries while all he has is Black Manta. Finally he can stop spending all of his time freeing dolphins from tuna nets and go fight somebody new. Besides, I’m fresh off of reading “Throne of Atlantis” and I gotta say, I really dig Ocean Master’s appearance in The New 52.

cieom1

cieom2

There’s the compact little window box I’ve come to know and love over the last couple of years. Of course, this is the Classic design of the character, which I’ve always been rather fond of and he sure looks nice in the box along with the excellent character art. If DC was all I collected I’d have these boxes all lined up on one of my shelves with the lovely character art showing on the side panels. <sigh> Unfortunately, I barely have enough room to display my DC figures loose, so these boxes have all been consigned to the landfill or possibly recycled into My Little Pony packages. Let’s get him out and take a look…

cieom3

Last month we got a lot of new tooling with Huntress. This month, not so much. Ocean Master features a standard blue buck with a sculpted belt and sculpted fins on his bracers. I expected Matty to go with the fins on his calves too, but I’m glad they didn’t as it would have made him too similar to his nemesis Aquaman. Ocean Master does get a brand new head and it is a very cool sculpt. Matty went for something a little more subdued than what is depicted on the maniacal box art. He has a solemn, somewhat perturbed visage peeking out from his awesome finned mask. The new tooling is punctuated by a glorious cape with a ridiculously wide collar. I love it!

cieom4

Ocean Master gets by with minimal paint apps. His buck is cast in blue plastic, with some metallic purple paint on his belt to match his purple cape. His bracers, mask fins, and cape clasp are all painted in metallic gold. His ray emblem is stamped on his chest and he’s got flesh tones for his hands and face. The coloring is understated, but he still sports a very pleasing deco.

Articulation is what we all expect out of the DCUC style. The arms have ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have the usual DCUC style hips, hinges in the knees and ankles, and swivels in the thighs. The neck is ball jointed, there is a swivel in the waist, and he has the usual ab-crunch hinge in the torso.

cieop5

cieom7

cieom6

Ocean Master comes with his aquatic staff. It’s a pretty simple sculpt finished with a gold metallic paint.

And so, Ocean Master is a solid figure and a welcome addition to my shelf. I’m always eager to expand my Rogue Galleries, particularly someone like Aquaman who is seriously lacking in foes. With only so many figure slots left in the line, it’s easy to start picking apart the character selection, but I think Ocean Master was a great choice. In fact, I’m rather surprised that in 20 waves of DC Universe Classics, he hasn’t made the cut a lot sooner.

cieom10

cieom8

cieom9

Alas, I’m not terribly keen on the looks of R’as, so hopefully he’ll look better in hand, and I’ll confess to being morbidly curious about Batzarro. It’s worth pointing out that Mattel revealed at NY Comic Con that they will be producing the four figures that were shown off for Club Infinite Earth in 2014. These will include 90’s Aquaman, Ice (YES!!!), Black T-Shirt Superboy, and hell if I can remember who the other one was. If I can’t remember, I certainly wasn’t going to buy it. They are set to be sold quarterly on Matty Collector for $25 each. Had the price held firm at the already steep subscription prices, I would have likely bought the three I can remember. At $25 plus Matty shipping rates, only Ice is a sure thing, and possibly Aquaman. Containment Suit Doomsday will also be released as a Con Exclusive, but I’ve got no interest in that figure at all.

Doctor Who: “Attack of the Cybermen” 2-Pack by Character Options

With the 5-inch line of Doctor Who Classics grinding to a standstill by the end of this year I am going back and hunting down some of the figures that I had previously passed on. So the irony is that while the line is only producing a few new sets in the months ahead, you’ll likely see a lot more DW figures covered here as I scramble to complete my collection before they start disappearing from retailers. Today we’re looking at a two-pack from the 6th Doctor story “Attack of the Cybermen” from 1985. I dig this episode a lot and not only because I love the Cybermen. The story is also a sort of redemption tale for Commander Lytton from “Resurrection of the Daleks.” It also features the TARDIS returning to Totter’s Lane with a temporarily repaired chameleon circuit and, of course, it co-stars Peri’s boobs. All those things conspire for a cracking story that also happens to be full of some pretty dark shit, even for 80’s Doctor Who.

percyb2

The figures come in a stylish and sealed blister pack. It’s the same packaging we saw for the “Caves of Androzani” set. The insert is a blue star field and features a Doctor Who logo that evokes the 70’s for me, although I believe it was the same style used for the 1996 TV Movie. Either way, I really love the presentation here, particularly the embossed lettering and diamond shaped bubble.

percyb1

The back of the insert has a shot of the lovely doe-eyed Peri and a Rogue Cyberman and features a blurb about the story in general and Peri’s character in particular. Naturally this package is as unfriendly to a collector as you can get, unlike the old window boxes that CO used to use. I think I prefer this style as there’s no temptation for me to fool myself into thinking that I have the space to keep the package. You’ll need a razor blade or scissors to get this thing open and get at the figures. And I’m about to do just that!

percyb3

percyb4

Let’s start off with Peri. This is the third time we’ve seen her released in figure form, so I’m thinking someone over at CO must love Peri as much as I do. I mean you’d have to really love Peri to buy all three releases. Who would do that? If you guessed me, you’d be right and I especially like her here in “AotC.” The Doctor isn’t half insane and trying to kill her anymore and besides some residual bickering, I think they share some nice chemistry in this story.

percyb5

If you notice I’m not saying a lot about the figure yet, it’s because we’ve seen it before… more or less. Her outfit is a direct repaint of the Peri from the “Vengeance on Varos” set. What was blue is now painted pink, but the sculpt from the neck down is almost identical, with only the addition of a bracelet on her right wrist to set it apart. From the neck up, this does appear to be a new, or at least tweaked head sculpt. Her bangs are different and she’s wearing a hair band. All in all Pink Peri is still a nice figure, but probably not essential if you already own her. Plus, I’ll go ahead and say that while the likeness here is still plenty good, I think the head sculpt on the “Caves of Androzani” Peri is the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, that figure also shows the least amount of cleavage out of the three, so you’ll want to have at least one of each sculpt.

percyb6

Peri sports some pretty good articulation for this line. Her arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. Her legs have universal movement at the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels at the thighs. She can turn her head and also swivel at the waist.

percyb7

But as much as I dig Peri, she’s not the reason I bought this set. Nope, I bought it for… Creepy Rogue Cyberman! For reasons I cannot currently remember, some of the Cybermen on Telos were waking up Rogue and wandering the halls like zombies. For the most part, they were just regular Cybermen with some cobwebs and green goo on them. There is one scene, however, where The Doctor removes the face plate on one of them to activate its distress beacon. You don’t actually see inside, so this figure is CO’s delightfully imaginative take on what it probably looked like in there.

percyb10

percyb8

Like Peri, the Rogue Cyberman is basically just a repaint with a tweaked head and the additional touch of completely re-sculpted boots. In this case, it’s a tweak of the “Earthshock” Cybie, which is my all-time favorite Cyberman design. The repaint consists of general weathering, which looks really nice, and some spattered green goo, which I always presumed were the spoiled organic contents starting to leak out. Ewww. The green is rather understated and all in all, this is very effective repaint if you want to display a Cyberman who has gone slightly off.

percyb11

percyb9

The new bits include the new head with removable face plate. The ‘borgified skull inside is fantastic with lots of gruesome detail, although the faceplate isn’t all that great a fit. I can get it more or less on, but it’s prone to falling off fairly easily. You also get a brand new gun, which is similar in design to the one used in Earthshock but tweaked to make it more accurate to the guns used in this episode. CO could have just as easily tossed in the old gun and boots, so the fact that they bothered to do re-sculpts on these points to make the figure as show accurate as possible is just plain class.

percyb15

percyb14

percyb12

percyb13

This set was originally released at $40! Oh yeah, now I remember why I passed on it. As thrilled as I am to be more versions of Peri and Cybermen, this is still a lot to pay for tweaked repaints, particularly at a time when CO was releasing a lot more figures and taxing my budget. I was always all for supporting this line as much as possible, but even I had my limits. Fortunately, I was able to pick up this set last week for the far more appealing sum of $25. I will, however, hand it to CO. On the surface this could have been a far more quick-and-dirty release than it actually was. They could have easily gotten away with just repainting both figures and leaving it at that, but instead they invested in some new tooling, which does indeed help to justify adding it to my collection. Good on you, guys!

Transformers Generations: Hoist (IDW Comic Pack) by Hasbro

If Hasbro’s initial four figure wave of IDW inspired Transformers wasn’t enough, they quickly followed suit with two additional figures: Hoist and Thundercracker. I believe these were part of a revision wave, but since I seldom by Transformers by the case, son’t quote me on that. Today we’re going to check out Hoist, because like his buddy Trailcutter, he’s a character that is long overdue for getting the updated Classics style treatment. I’ve got a long day of work today, so I’ll try to be brief…

tfghoist1

The figure comes carded in the same glorious Comic Pack style as the previous four figures. Hoist in packaged in his robot mode against the backdrop of a reprint comic spotlighting the character. I can never get enough of this package and the comic is such a fantastic bonus. If Hasbro would just toss in a tray of Lunchables and a juicebox, I’d be all set for my afternoon. I blame my partial dyslexia on the fact that I’m never sure whether I’m 41 or 14.

tfghoist2

Of all the comics bundled with these packs, this one has been my favorite. “The Waiting Game” takes place during More Than Meets the Eye and features Hoist, Sunstreaker, Swerve, and Perceptor in a downed shuttle getting attacked by what they believe to be Tarn. It’s written by James Roberts, but it has all the great snarky dialogue and humor of Nick Roche’s usual masterpieces. The art is great and it has some decent action. It also has the distinction of allowing Hoist to describe himself to us in his own words: “I’m just an ordinary person. I’m normal” and then he goes on to point out that he’s the only one on The Lost Light who’s personality isn’t defined by a “crippling psychological disorder.” Great stuff.

tfghoist4

tfghoist5

tfghoist6

Kicking it off with Hoist’s alt mode, he pays homage to his G1 namesake by taking on the guise of a green tow truck with hazard stripes on the doors. Naturally the original Hoist toy was a modified version of Trailbreaker, so it’s only logical that Hasbro would follow suit and build this modern Hoist off of the Trailcutter figure. The similarities in vehicle mode are very easy to see as well as why they engineered Hoist with the removable cap, as it facilitated the ability to work the mold into both characters. Yes, this is a straight repaint with a tow arm swapped out for the cap. The tow arm pegs into the back of the cab and likes to fall apart at the hinge if you look at it funny. Unfortunately, Trailcutter’s forcefield generator is still conspicuously present, which is rather lazy on Hasbro’s part, plus Hoist suffers from the same smallish size when compared to his Classics Autobot brothers.

tfghoist8

tfghoist9

tfghoist7

tfghoist12

Hoist transforms just like Trailcutter, which at this point should be obvious because they’re basically the same toy. If you liked Trailcutter’s robot mode, you’ll find the same stuff to love here. The only big difference beside the deco is the new head sculpt, which is perfect for the character, and the fact that you can transform the tow arm into a fairly decent gun, which I like a lot better than Trailcutter’s cap-shield-gun-thingy. There’s not a whole lot else to say about this guy that hasn’t already been said in the other feature. Size is still the major sticking issue here with me. The G1 toys were pretty bulky and these guys look a little too diminutive when compared to their Classics Autobot brothers.

tfghoist11

tfghoist10

DSCN3309

Ever since Classics Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, Hasbro has shown us a remarkable ability to take a single Transformer mold and re-sculpt it into two remarkably unique figures. Alas, The mold used for Hoist and Trailcutter isn’t one of those instances. Instead, this pair is basically a case of repaints with some parts swapped out. That may be disappointing to some, I’ll concede having the forcefield emitter remain on Hoist strikes me as rather lazy, but that doesn’t mean Hoist is a bad figure. I still enjoy this mold a lot and it’s good to finally have the character represented on my Classics shelf.

Index of Reviews is Live!

And now witness the power of this fully armed and operational Index!

DSCN0288-tile

Yes, if you take a gander up top, you’ll see a new Tab indicating that I finally got around to adding an Index of Reviews for the site. I’ve been working on this on and off for a while, often procrastinating because I thought the use of Tags was good enough and that an Index would be somewhat redundant. I also assumed that I would have more time to work on it in the inevitable slow times that I’ve had in previous years, but truth be told this year has been going full guns from the start and I don’t see any slowing down.

In the end, I pushed through with this pet project mainly because it helps me get a better idea of what parts of my collection I’ve already looked at and some stuff that I can still feature. For example, I was really surprised how much DC and Marvel is here and how little Star Wars and Ghostbusters is represented. Granted, I know my Star Wars collection is only a fraction of what it once was, there’s still lots of goodies sitting in totes that have yet to see the light of day. As for Transformers… I knew there would be a crap load of Transformers, but it showed me that there’s still a lot more to get to.

I’ll likely be tweaking the categories a bit as I go on. In the meantime, feel free to dig in and enjoy.

By figurefanzero

GI JOE: Major Bludd (Mercenary) by Sideshow Toys, Part 2

And I’m back to wrap up my look at Sideshow Toy’s amazing Major Bludd one-sixth scale figure. Yesterday we checked out the figure itself and today we’re going to take a look at some of his wonderful accessories. This guy comes with a lot of really cool stuff! To kick things off, you get a standard figure stand with a round disc base and the Cobra emblem.

sdshwmb6

sdshwmb7

This is the exact same stand that came with the Crimson Guard and I really dig it. It looks nice and doesn’t take up a lot of space. A name plate would have been cool, but then again, I know who this guy is so it’s not really necessary. Sideshow is now selling new Cobra stands with a larger raised base that allows you to store accessories, which is a neat idea, but I prefer to stick with these.

sdshwmb20

The backpack is a wonderfully detailed piece and as soon as I got it out of the tray I started trying to figure out how it attached. Was I missing straps? Did I have to take the armor off? What the hell, Sideshow? I tried to size it up next to the figure’s back when invisible forces suddenly grabbed it and the backpack attached itself. Magnets! Cool! It’s guided into place by four pegs and holds on securely. It has a realistic weathered finish and there are four clips on it to hold the extra rockets for his launcher.

sdshwmb22

sdshwmb21

sdshwmb23

You get seven rockets in total and each one is a little celebration of destructive hardware. They are fully painted and the tiny fins are each hinged so that they can deploy. They are all interchangeable between the backpack slots and the launcher itself.

sdshwmb24

The launcher is a two-handed dealer of death. There isn’t a lot of heft to it, but it looks great and you can load the remaining three rockets into the front slots. Bludd comes with a special hand for holding the primary grip with a finger that extends over the trigger and his artificial hand works well with the secondary grip. You can also switch it around if you want.

sdshwmb28

sdshwmb29

sdshwmb30

Next up is the sub-machine gun. This beauty has a weathered green finish, a removable magazine, a secondary grip and a folding stock! The sculpted detail makes it a very convincing piece, even though I don’t recognize the design. You also get three additional magazines that fit into the pouches on Bludd’s left hip. Naturally, the exposed bullet in each magazine is painted. While Bludd can easily wield the sub-machine gun in his artificial hand, he also comes with a special left hand for gripping this weapon as well as his pistol.

sdshwmb25

sdshwmb27

Yup, you get pistol too! When Bludd runs out of rockets and magazines, he ain’t done murdering you yet. Nope, he still has his trusty revolver at his right hip. This is a huge pistol with a silver finish. Yes, the cylinder can actually be flipped out, but it’s a really delicate action and the pin that secures it is prone to falling out. It can easily be put back together, so long as you don’t lose the pin. I’ll likely be keeping mine closed. The holster for the pistol actually comes separate in the tray and fits into the straps on his hip. I’m not sure why they didn’t just sew the holster right to the belt rig, as I think that would have looked a little better. Nonetheless, it works well enough and doesn’t come loose when you draw the pistol.

sdshwmb31

sdshwmb32

What’s that? Bludd has used up all his rockets and bullets and he’s even thrown all his guns at you? Well, he still has his trusty boot knife to fall back on. This little hooked knife fits snugly into a little sheath sculpted into the side of his left boot. It’s amazing that Sideshow included this. It’s not a trademark item for Bludd and nobody would have missed it if it wasn’t in there. And yet, here it is.

Is there nothing I can say bad about this figure? Ok, one thing. There’s no real homage to the gun that came with the original vintage action figure. Major Bludd had a pretty distinctive weapon and I would have liked to see it in this package. Having it absent is like getting Cobra Commander without his familiar hair-dryer pistol or the Crimson Guard without his bayonetted assault rifle. It just seems like a curious omission and as such it is indeed the one gripe I can level against this release.

sdshwmb4

sdshwmb5

sdshowmbcc

With three of Sideshow’s Cobra figures on pre-order and only one in my collection prior to Bludd, I was still a little skittish about whether or not I wanted to dive into this pool. I’m already collecting enough so adding a new line always gives me pause. Major Bludd, however, certainly justifies the journey I’ve embarked on with these figures. He’s a fantastic effort on Sideshow’s part and clearly shows that they are continuing to push the envelope, improve, and at least try to approach Hot Toys in terms of quality and craftsmanship. On that point, it’s worth noting that the prices on these figures have shot up quite a bit. Crimson Guard was $140, Zartan was $160, and the new crop of figures are pushing $180. That’s only $10 less than my Hot Toys Thor or Black Widow at the time of release. It’s also worth noting that Sideshow has the limitation on this guy set to 1,000, which seems ridiculously low to me when Zartan was at 6,000. I’m still not sure if that’s the total number of figures produced or the limitation on the Exclusive. Nonetheless, if Baroness, Destro, and Cobra Commander turn out as good as this guy, I’m perfectly fine paying the price of admission.

GI JOE: Major Bludd (Mercenary) by Sideshow Toys, Part 1

I’ve more or less been out of the GI JOE scene for a while now. I still pick up a Hasbro figure now and again, but that’s about it… until Sideshow started doing Cobra figures, and that opened up a whole can of snakes worms. It all started with pre-ordering Cobra Commander, then picking up a Crimson Guard to hold me over, then pre-ordering Baroness and Destro, and now adding Major Sebastian Bludd to my collection. I was originally going to go for Zartan first, but he’s still available at a lot of e-tailers and Bludd’s limitation seems to be a lot stricter. I didn’t want to risk missing out on him, so I used my “Emergency Toy Fund,” an extra $200 that I keep squirreled away in case something comes along that I hadn’t planned on. Clearly, this release was one of those occasions. Plus, I had some Reward Points itching to be spent. Today we’ll check out the packaging and the figure itself and I’ll swing back tomorrow to look at the accessories and the Exclusive goodies.

sdshwmb1

sdshwmb2

The packaging is in the same retro Real American Hero style that we saw when I featured The Crimson Guard, and that’s a very good thing because I love the presentation here. Besides tugging at my nostalgia strings by mimicking art from the vintage figure cards, the overall wow factor of the box design is a lot better than what I got out of my last couple of Hot Toys figures. The artwork is great and you even get a vintage style file card on the back. You also get a tiny glimpse of two other figures in the line, including Zartan (who will be next for me!) and that terrible, terrible Snake Eyes figure. I seriously think they must have farmed that sweater-wearing mofo out to another company… there can be no other explanation.

sdshwmb3

sdshwmb19

The front flap is secured with a magnet and opens up, and here’s where there’s a little step back from the Crimson Guard’s package. That figure had two opening flaps, one which held the tray with all the weapons and accessories and another with the figure. You don’t get that with Major Bludd. You don’t even get an instruction sheet or anything. You do however get some additional bitchin artwork in the interior tray. The trays contain two layers of goodies. The top has the figure along with his helmet, extra hands, and his exclusive extra head. The next tray has the figure stand and everything else. Let’s get him out of his plastic prison and check him out…

sdshwmb17

sdshwmb18

I was expecting the Major to require some advanced assembly, but he actually comes with his armor and belt rigs on and ready to go. The most involved thing you need to do is hang his five dog tags around his neck. Holy crap… he comes with his dog tag trophies! Each one is on a little chain and has tiny printing on it and some of them are spattered with blood. That’s some dark shit, Sideshow, I love it! You can actually just put them right over his head, but it’s easier if you pop off his mellon and put them directly on the neck post.

sdshwmb9

Bludd’s helmet includes some optional padded stickers for the inside to make it fit better, but I don’t think they’re necessary. It fits great, although it is prone to falling off when I’m posing him. It’s absolutely fine for display purposes, although I may just use a tiny spot of blue tack to hold it in place. So long as we’re talking about his head, let’s check out his noggins.

sdshwmb8

The stock head is a thing of beauty, and by that I mean it’s hideous and grizzled and a great likeness for the character’s traditional portrait. It’s missing that bizarre spark of life that Hot Toys somehow imbues into their head sculpts, but then again, this figure isn’t patterned off a real person anyway. And the last thing I want to do is disparage the work they’ve done here because it really is a fine sculpt. The creases in his face betray his battle hardened experience and the sculpted mustache is pretty convincing. The buzz cut hair doesn’t quite match the realism of the face, but I doubt I’ll ever display him without his helmet on, so that’s not a big issue for me. It’s worth noting that while the eye patch is permanently affixed to the head, the strap is an actual string. It does have a habit of sliding down over his good eye if you touch it and it’s certainly something to be weary of when handling the figure.

sdshwmb12

sdshwmb13

The Sideshow Exclusive head features the Major sans patch and in all his ocular deformed glory. It’s a nasty mess under there with realistic looking scarring that makes the whole part of his head look a little puckered. The paintwork also makes it look just a little bit juicy around the wound. Gross! but it gives him a chance to use his targeting device, which I’m guessing somehow restores his sight in the bad eye? The device just clips on to the rim of his helmet. It looks good, but truth be told, I will probably never display him with this head. It’s always nice to have options, but I prefer Bludd in all his iconic eye-patched glory.

sdshwmb11

Bludd’s outfit is especially well done. He’s got brown fatigues and some sturdy looking chest armor that fits over his torso in several pieces. It’s a tad bulky and I was worried it would give him too much of a turtle look, but happily that’s not the case. There’s also enough room to tuck the dog tags under the chest armor if you prefer it that way. The armor has a nice gun metal grey finish that matches the Major’s artificial arm. The tarnished Cobra beltbuckle really ties the whole ensemble together. A very nice touch!

sdshwmb15

sdshwmb16

sdshwmb10

“Oi, Major Bludd, you look ‘armless!” Yes, Bludd sports his trademark artificial arm, which is sculpted beautifully and colored to match the same finish as his armor. Sideshow took a bit of a liberty here by making the arm a bit slighter than I remember it on the vintage action figure. I happen to love it because it accentuates the fact that it’s an artificial arm and not just armor. The arm features the same shoulder and elbow articulation as Bludd’s real arm but has the added bonus of individually articulated fingers! Each finger features FOUR hinges and the thumb is ball jointed and has a single hinge. Holy shit that’s amazing!

sdshwmb14

Besides the crazy articulation on Bludd’s right hand, the figure spots a great amount of poseability. I’m not familiar enough with the core body used here to catalog them all, but there aren’t a lot of poses that I can’t get the Major to do. His joints are easy to work with and unlike a lot of my Hot Toys figures, there the outfit doesn’t restrict his movement at all. If I had one gripe it would be that some of his joints feel a little too loose, but then seeing as how he’s going to spend most of his time on a figure stand, that’s not a big deal. I guess I’d rather have his joints a little loose than too tight and restricted to work with. The truth is, he’s a fun figure to play around with and I can do so without damaging him.

Alrighty, I’ve gone pretty long already, so I’m going to break here for the day. Tomorrow I’ll be back to look at all the wonderful toys that the Major has in his arsenal.

Transformers Energon: Tow-Line by Hasbro

The last bunch of Transformer Thursday features have targeted specific figures that I wanted to look at. Today I’m trying to get back to a little more of the randomness that I originally envisioned for Thursdays. And so, this morning I reached my dirty robot-grabbing mitts into a drawer and pulled out the Deluxe Autobot Tow-Line from the Energon series. As usual, there’s no packaging to talk about, so let’s dig right in to his alt mode.

cybtow9

cybtow11

Tow-Line is a cool and compact little van. The sculpt is fairly basic, especially compared to some of the Deluxes that came in the subsequent Cyberton line and beyond. He does have ladders sculpted into the sides, weapon ports on the sides and top, and there’s not a whole lot else going on with him. Still, the van mode holds together quite well and rolls along on his wheels rather nicely.The deco is two-tone blue with red and gold striping on the sides and a white front with a nice crisp Autobot emblem stamped above the grill. The windows are translucent red plastic. Paint apps weren’t usually used sparingly back in the Energon days, but Tow-Line looks like he could have used a few more, particularly the back windows and tail lights.

cybtow12

I seem to recall Tow-Line’s alt mode being referred to as an electronic surveillance van and the red Energon piece that snaps onto his roof would certainly support that. It has two ball jointed pieces, one is a radar dish and the other is a screen. If you see a van that looks like this patrolling your neighborhood, chances are good that Big Brother is listening.

cybtow8

Transforming Tow-Line is pretty unorthodox and doing so reveals a surprising homage to a certain other pair of Autobot vans from the G1 days. You fold down the sides of the van and remove only the top portion. That’s going to be your robot, whereas the bottom part becomes a weapons platform. It’s a very similar concept to the oddball G1 toys of Ratchet and Ironhide. Unlike G1 Ratchet and Ironhide, however, Tow-Line’s robot mode doesn’t totally suck.

cybtow1

cybtow2

cybtow4

Nope, he’s actually a pretty clean and well proportioned little bot. Because Tow-Line’s robot mode is comprised of only half his vehicle’s bulk, he turns out to be a bit smaller and simpler than your average Deluxe. In traditional Autobot fashion, the front of the van makes up his chest and I really dig the way his doors fold up to make shoulder armor. I also love this little guy’s head sculpt. It’s pretty grim, but it looks great.

cybtow3

The surveillance kit from the roof of the van can transform into a pretty impressive looking rifle, which Tow-Line can wield in either hand. I absolutely love this gun. It looks like something out of early Star Trek and it’s big enough that Voyager figures can equip it rather comfortably. It’s a little big for Tow-Line, but that’s OK, because you can also save it for his mobile weapons platform.

cybtow5

cybtow6

That’s right! The weapons platform is made by pulling out a set of treads for the front and raising the wheels in the back. We’re getting a little into M.A.S.K. territory here and the results aren’t exactly inspiring. There are some sculpted guns on the inside of the shell, which would be a lot more impressive if they could pop up. You can, however, attach the energon weapon to it and now Tow-Line has something to ride into battle or a remote drone that can do his fighting for him while he sits back and has a cool, frosty mug of energon. Work smart, not hard! That’s Tow-Line’s motto! And if you’re wondering, yes Tow-Line can combine with other Energon Deluxe Autobots, and no I’m not going to dig any out to show you because I hate the whole gimmick. I will, however, point out that he can combine with his own weapons platform to become a horrible, twisted, rolling tank-bot.

cybtow7

The craziest thing about Tow-Line is that, as far as I’m aware, he was never repainted into Ironhide or Ratchet. It’s a puzzling oversight, considering Hasbro’s love of repaints and the fact that the mold seems like it was practically created for this very purpose. I’ve seen some pretty good custom jobs and they look fantastic. I think a two-pack would have been a great idea and certainly better than the Ironhide and Ratchet that we got in the Classics line, albeit a little undersized. Other than that, this is a cool, but not exceptional, little figure that mainly deserves notoriety because Hasbro tried something different with him. It might have been an interesting idea for a sub-group of Transformers, but whatever the case, Tow-Line’s curious design seemed to be a one-shot experiment.

Marvel Legends: Red She-Hulk by Hasbro

I am currently not reading any Hulk books, let alone the current Red She-Hulk book, so the doings of Red She-Hulk is rather lost on me at the moment. That’s not to say I won’t pick some up in a collection when I get through my current stacks. I bring it up only because I tend to prefer my She-Hulks to be green and named Jen, not Betty or Lyra. Nonetheless, those are the two characters holding this slot in the Hit Monkey wave. But familiarity with the character or not, besides having the monkey parts I need, this looks like a great figure, so let’s check her out.

mlredsh1

Yup, this package is all about variants that never happen. Betty shares a card with a hypothetical Lyra “Savage” She-Hulk release. At least this one makes a little more sense than the Protector/Iron Fist card, but it doesn’t make me any happier about it. And “Marvel’s Hulkettes?” Ugh, really, Hasbro? Please, don’t. She-Hulk comes packaged next to the torso and legs of Hit Monkey as well as her Savage Sword. This package is pissing me off, so let’s get rid of it.

mlredsh2

mlredsh3

Yeah, like I said, I don’t have to be reading her book to see that this is one great looking figure. In addition to some new sculpting, She-Hulk makes use of the newer female Legends body and that’s a wonderful thing. The plastic feels great, with no soft or mushy hinges. The joints are tight and the figure has a nice balance, which makes her fun to fiddle around with and pose. Her costume is simple enough and comprised of a black and purple one piece with a plunging neckline to show off her hulkettes. Ugh, you see, Hasbro? You’ve got me doing it now! I really like the red plastic used for her skin, and believe me when I say it’s far more vibrant in person than in my poorly lit photos.

While the boots are just painted on, our girl does have some original sculpts for her fingerless gloves. One is fisted and one is sculpted to hold her accessory. I’ll argue that both should have been sculpted to hold her sword, but then again, what’s a hulk figure without a fist for smashing?

mlredsh10

The portrait here is excellent in that she’s quite beautiful, and I really dig her huge sculpted mane of hair. On the flip side, it seems like maybe the expression could have been angrier? I don’t know, having not read the book I could be off base there, but from what little I know, this head sculpt looks like it might have suited Jen Walters better than Red She-Hulk. Either way, it is a damn fine sculpt.

Red She-Hulk sports some excellent articulation. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, swivel at the biceps, have hinged elbows, and swivels and hinges in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, swivel at the thighs, have double hinged knees, and hinges in the ankles. Her head is ball jointed and she has a ball joint just under her chest. The only problem with articulation here is that her hair limits her neck ball joint to the point where you can’t really get her to look up.

mlredsh5

mlredsh7

mlredsh6

As already mentioned, Betty comes with her Savage Sword. I don’t know much about it except that it was designed by Tony Stark and blessed by Odin, so it must be pretty bad ass. It’s a very nice accessory and includes some metallic red paint to match her skin, because even She-Hulks have to accessorize.

mlredsh4

mlredsh9

One of the great treats of lines like Marvel Legends and DC Universe Classics is when a great figure motivates me to seek out the character in their fiction. I really love the way this figure turned out and it very well may get me to seek out some Savage She-Hulk books. Sometimes you need to suck it up and buy a figure you don’t want for those BAF parts, but this clearly is not one of those cases. And yes, it would be cool if the Lyra variant actually sees the light of day, but I’m not going to hold my breath. Even if it does, Hasbro is likely to do something crazy with it and make it part of a Previews Exclusive like they did with that wave of Wolverine Legends.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Metalhead (Nickelodeon) by Playmates

TURTLES! Did you think I forgot about the Turtles? Well, I kind of did. I was planning to stop buying these figures after the initial wave of core characters, because I don’t really watch the new series and I’m really looking to cut back on the different lines I’m collecting. Nonetheless, when I go into the toy aisle and there’s nothing else in there and I want me a cheap fix, it’s hard to turn down Playmates’ TMNT line. The Wally World here looks like they’ve all but given up on selling action figures that aren’t Iron Man 3 or Star Wars, but they do still have a well-represented section of TMNT with a lot of the new figures. I decided on Metalhead, who isn’t a new figure, but one that hasn’t been showing up on the pegs around here. In fact, this is possibly the first time I’ve seen him in the wild.

tmntmh1

It’s hard to walk past the Turtles section in the aisle without getting drawn into it and a lot of that has to do with the great packaging. It’s exciting, colorful, goofy, and just seeing it makes me want to start rummaging through the pegs even though I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anymore. It’s nice to see Playmates get it right again with this line. I was afraid the influx of variant gimmicky Turtles would choke the pegs, but all of this stuff seems to be selling and there’s almost always something new to see here. It’s also one of the few action figure lines that the local Walmart seems dedicated to support. Maybe there’s a connection there?

tmntmh2

The back of the card features the usual clip-out bio card and other figure available from the initial couple of waves. Looks like I’ve got them all except for Kraang. I’m not digging that new design for the android body, but if he’s the only figure standing between being complete up to this point then chances are I’ll pick him up eventually.

tmntmh4

tmntmh5

My first impression of Metalhead out of the package is that he’s less refined than the other figures. The plastic feels rougher, there’s mold flashing, and the paint is rather sloppy. On any other figure it would be a letdown, but seeing as he is a robot cobbled together from salvaged scrap, it actually works in the figure’s favor. I’d like to think Playmates did this on purpose, but other than the paint, I’m sure that’s not the case.

tmntmh9

I do really dig the Nick re-design of this guy. He’s very Turtle-esque, but with some boxy and angular bits and a wire mid-riff that would make C-3PO proud. The sculpted nuts and bolts on his joints are a nice touch, and I absolutely love the fact that his turtle shell is a manhole cover. Brilliant!

tmntmh6

We all know by now that if you aren’t one of the Turtles, your articulation in this line is going to suffer for it. That’s the case with Metalhead too, although this guy fares a little better than many of the other non-turtle figures. The neck is ball jointed and the arms rotate at the shoulders and swivel just under the elbows. That’s all there is from the waist up. The legs make out better with hinged ball joints in the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels just under the knees. In the end he has just enough useful points so I can have some fun playing around with him.

tmntmh7

Metalhead doesn’t come with any accessories, per say, but you do get an energy blast style missile that fits into the hole in his right hand. There’s no firing mechanism, but if you flick the back of it just right you can get some distance on it. I’m not usually a fan of the missiles, but I do believe I may display him with the blast coming out of his hand. It just looks cool.

tmntmh8

tmntmh3

I picked up this guy for eight bucks and change and I’m really happy with that. In fact, I’m rather amazed that the price on these figures hasn’t gone up all that much. When they were first released they were between seven and eight bucks each. Nowadays they seem to have leveled out closer to eight and nine, but that still makes them some of the better deals in the action figure aisle. This line continues to provide simple and honestly fun figures at a great price, which is something that few of the other companies can seem to do these days.