Doctor Who: Retro TARDIS Collectible Set by Biff Bang Pow

Damn you kids these days. Back in my day, our playsets were made out of cardboard and we were damn happy to have them! Yes, I’m just old enough so that Mego made up some of the very first toys that I owned. And yes, that means that some of my very first playsets were made out of laminated cardboard, including the bridge of the USS Enterprise and various Planet of the Apes environments. Of course cardboard also carried over to the early Kenner Star Wars playsets like the Ice Planet Hoth, Land of the Jawas, and the pretty freaking cool Palitoy Death Star. Now that I think about it, with playsets having become almost non-existent, maybe the kids these days would be happy to have cardboard playsets too. Where am I going with all this? Well, Biff Bang Pow made a retro-style cardboard TARDIS to go with their retro-style Doctor Who figures. And today we’re going to check it out.



The box is simple, fairly attractive and does have a smidge of retro charm. You get some illustrations and some photos of the playset inside. The back panel also shows the myriad of retro-style Doctor Who figures available from BBP. Wow, they made a lot of these. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of these figures. Even with the whole retro-style thing going on I think most of them look pretty awful. I have The 4th Doctor, who turned out a bit better than I expected, and I have the Sontaran who is Ok, but sadly suffers from some QC issues, like some cracked armor. One of these days I may pick up the Leela, just so I can have a set that harkens back to the Denys-Fisher 4th Doctor and Leela. But that’s about as far into this pool as I’m willing to wade. Even this Doctor Who fanatic has his limits.



Open up the box and inside you have… well, basically another box. The TARDIS is a very sturdy cardboard box with a glossy illustrated surface that replicates the familiar details of everyone’s favorite Type 40 Time Capsule quite well. But make no mistake, this is still basically a fancy cardboard box. Even the stepped lamp on the top is made out of folded cardboard and smacks of papercraft. There’s a little bit of depth to the sides, such as the doors are set in from the corner pieces, but everything else is in 2D but printed to look like 3D.


The TARDIS opens along the right corner of the front side and the flap is secured quite well with magnets. The sides are designed to open so that they are straight with the sides that remain closed without putting a lot of stress on the creases and the bottom floor pieces will sort of lock open, probably more by coincidence than design. The inside of the TARDIS is decorated with printed roundels and the doors are drawn in on the left flap. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t draw in the viewscreen on the right flap. This is pretty basic stuff.


Like the rest of this set, the TARDIS console is completely made of sturdy, illustrated cardboard and comes in two pieces. The base connects to the console with tabs. It’s also not secured down in any way, so you can move it around if you want. When BBP first revealed this set and the price, I was almost certain the console would be a rotocast piece, but in the end that wasn’t the case. It’s a shame, because even the Mego Enterprise and Planet of the Apes sets had plastic set-pieces. Nonetheless, it’s about the right height, but not broad enough to really be in proper scale with the figures. The illustrations of the controls, however, are very nice and even accurate when compared against the pages of my old dog-eared copy of the TARDIS Technical Manual. The Time Rotor, on the other hand, looks rather weak. It’s hard to do a convincing transparent tube with cardboard.


One interesting gimmick is the inclusion of an electronic keychain that fits into the base of the console and can be activated to play the sounds of the TARDIS taking off and landing. You can use it with the set or just take it out and use it as a keychain to annoy your non-Whovian friends. On the other hand, my cell phone can do it better, so I guess there’s not much point. Still, it’s a clever way to add a little electronics to the set.






The set also comes with a rotocast K9 figure and I’ll be honest, this bonus single-handedly tipped me in favor of getting this set. Yes, it’s a hollow chunk of plastic, but it is nicely sculpted and painted and I just adore K9 too much to pass up a chance to own him in almost any form. He’s nicely scaled to the retro figures and makes a very nice display accessory for my BBP 4th Doctor. Once again, if I ever get the Leela figure, this K9 will nicely round out the Denys Fisher homage.





If I were to sum up this set in a word, that word would be “charming.” It really does remind me of the old Mego days, particularly some of my Planet of the Apes and Hal Needham sets, and that is clearly what the folks at BBP were aiming at. But I can’t stress enough how much nostalgia will be the key to making this thing a worthy purchase for anyone. With an MSRP of $59.99 you are really paying a lot for some cardboard and a rotocast K9. My 11th Doctor Console Room from Character Options was only ten dollars more than this and while it did have cardboard walls, it also featured a lot of plastic and a lot more detail. In short, this thing is ridiculously over priced. I don’t at all regret picking this up, but it should be pointed out that when it comes to Doctor Who merchandise, my fiscal sense can usually be summed up with the phrase, “shut up and take my money!” Still, there was a time when Doctor Who was niche enough that companies could justify expensive merchandise to cover their risk, but when you consider that I have a six-foot tall bookcase overflowing with Doctor Who toys and figures, I don’t think that flies anymore. In the end, this turned out to be a fun display piece, but too much money for too little.

Masters of the Universe Classics: Seahawk by Mattel

Club Filmation has been very good to me. I subbed this thing on a drunken whim and I have to say alcohol did me right because I think every figure so far has been a hit. Today we’re checking out the penultimate release in the line: Seahawk. This is one of those figures where Matty pulled some shenanigans by announcing that he would not be available for Day of Sale purchase and only to those who did the sub. From what I’ve read he seems to be a fan favorite, although I honestly don’t remember him from the series, but I gather he’s famous for getting himself a slice of that Adora pie. I guess he’s also got some major chops because he actually had an episode named after him. By now, you know the Club Filmation drill and that I’ve committed myself to watching each of these characters’ episodes. I’m going to go pour myself a generous glass of Jameson and then it’s off to the Internets to watch “The Sea Hawk.” I’ll be back in about 25 minutes…


Wow, I forgot how much I dig the She-Ra intro. Maybe that’s just as bad as admitting to liking ABBA, but something about She-Ra’s opening seems so much slicker than the He-Man intro. Anyway, the story begins with She-Ra going to Seaworthy, a town of annoying little shits who all sound exactly like Orko and are being plagued by Captain Seahawk and his band of pirates. The pirates raid villages for supplies and then sell them to The Horde. Inexplicably, she decides to deal with the problem as Adora and we soon learn that Seahawk is the typical good man confused into doing bad things. But he’s not done doing bad things yet because he turns Adora over to Catra and Grizzlor to protect his own hide. Holy shit, Catra’s voice is annoying. I wonder if she has a sandpaper tongue, too. Anyway, it takes Seahawk’s portly skipper and some kind of magic sea fairy, which is never actually explained, to convince him otherwise. The episode culminates in a flying pirate ship attacking a Horde Zeppelin and Seahawk becoming one of the good guys. I’ll be honest, this one wasn’t as painful as some of the He-Man episodes I’ve had to watch. Seahawk made more appearances in She-Ra, but I’m running low on Jameson, so I’ll have to save those for another day. Let’s be looking at the figure, ARRRR!


Seahawk comes in a typical MOTUC style package. We’ve seen it tons of times but that has not dulled it’s sheen of awesome. I’d comment on the bio or other figures shown on the back, but I shredded the package and pitched it before I could get a chance. I’m an opener… that’s how I roll.



And there he is, behold the only pirate in Etheria with the manly chops to make booty calls to both She-Ra and Adora. Maybe that was only implied in the cartoon, but rest assured in my prolific Slash-Fics it happens on a regular basis. Wait, what? But before we get to the particulars, let me address the fact that some collectors appear to be butt hurt over the fact that the figure is all buffed out and that puts him at odds with his appearance in the Filmation cartoon. Seriously? That’s a complaint? This guy is built on the same style male buck as all the MOTUC figures and that is pretty much the point of the line. If Seahawk did get a vintage figure way back when, you can rest assured he’d still be all buffed out. It doesn’t bother me at all. It maintains the consistency of the line’s aesthetics and quite frankly I’m surprised that this is even an issue with some. Maybe it’s just non-subbers trying to convince themselves they don’t want him because he wasn’t available Day of Sale.


The portrait is pretty fantastic, as have been just about all the Club Filmation figures. You could argue that Nepthu was the only misstep there, and that’s just because he didn’t look evil. But, Seahawk’s noggin is an excellent sculpt, which takes the Filmation likeness and infuses it with a little Classics style realism. He sports a noble visage with a little spark of mischief. Even the color of his mustache is at odds with his red hair just like with the Filmation character, which makes me wonder if he’s a real ginger. I bet She-Ra knows… am I right?


Anywho, I am by no means a completist with this line, but Seahawk seems to feature a ton of new tooling. At least it’s new to me. If he’s borrowed a lot of parts, then they’re from figures that aren’t in my collection. The figure hits all the right points of Seahawk’s Filmation outfit, particularly the vest, which is a rubbery plastic removable piece, complete with stylish blue shoulder pads, roguish high collar, and swashbuckleriffic purple scarf. Hey, the other eligible bachelor in Etheria wears a heart on his armor, I think Seahawk can safely get away with a purple neck accessory. And speaking of purple, the colors on this figure really hit home. You get the chocolate brown leathery goodness of his gauntlets, boots, and vest, mixed with the blue fixturing. They aren’t two colors that one usually associates as an ensemble, but they look damn nice on the figure.




Seahawk comes with two accessories. You get his laser cutlass and what I assume is an energy shield. The cutlass could have been modeled a little better on the Filmation weapon. As it still had a sort of dagger blade when it wasn’t activated, and it would have been cool if we could have had a de-activated cutlass and belt sheath, but the sword we got is still plenty cool. I’m at odds with the shield. I think it looks pretty good when displayed on the figure, but I doubt I’ll keep it on him when he’s on my shelf.



In terms of character selection, Seahawk seems to have been one of the biggest selling points for the Sub. Honestly, that wasn’t the case for me, I just thought they all looked like great figures, and so far they all have been just that. I certainly can’t deny the appeal of having another figure to add to my Rebellion, and since I still don’t own Bow, Seahawk is currently the only rooster in Etheria’s hen house. He’s a fantastic figure and yet another reason why I am so very glad that I subbed this little line. With only one more figure left to release next month, I’m kind of sad to see it go, although Matty has been dropping hints that another mini-sub next year wouldn’t be out of the question. If it’s Club Filmation Part Deux, I’ll definitely be on board again.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry, but I’m skipping Transformers Thursday this week and taking the day off. I worked until 2am last night; I’m going to spend today with family and then I’ll be back to work until the wee hours to try to control and coordinate the carnage of conspicuous consumerism known as Black Friday. I hope to be managing it from the safety of my posh bunker, but I don’t want any of my troops getting killed! So, if you’re going out tonight for shopping, try to take it easy and remember, nothing is worth getting trampled over, nor is anything worth trampling someone else over. Don’t compromise being a good person to get a good deal on a shitty doorbuster TV.

Everyone have a great day and I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

By figurefanzero

The Lone Ranger: Colby City Showdown (#79109) by LEGO

Disney’s Lone Ranger movie came and went resulting in one of the more spectacular box office flops in a long time. Despite my strong ties to the character and the Gabriel Lone Rangers figures when I was kid back in the late 70’s, the movie didn’t interest me. I’d even go so far as to say I’m glad that it flopped, but the truth is that Hollywood big-wigs will probably interpret the event as evidence that Westerns aren’t worth making and that’s a shame because I adore the Western film genre. And when I say western film genre, it does not include seeing Johnny Depp trotted out once again in grease paint and acting goofy. Anyway, the one good thing to come out of the movie is Lego grabbing the license. It’s been ages since Lego tackled a Cowboys & Indians theme, and so despite the shitty movie tie-in, these sets really scratch my itch, and I’ve embarked on an effort to get them all before they disappear from the shelves and get even more pricy then they already are.



The one we’re looking at today is the Colby City Showdown. I picked this one because it’ll make a nice little town to go with Stagecoach Escape. Plus, at 587 pieces, it seemed like a pretty satisfyingly sized set. The set comes in a substantial box with some nice yellow borders. I don’t get all gaga over Lego boxes. They’re just boxes… so let’s spill the contents and see what we got.


Inside you get four big bags of bricks, one loose base, two instruction booklets, and a sticker sheet. God, I love this moment. When you have band new Lego and you’re spilling them out of the bags and getting ready to build. It’s like having a great meal in front of you, knowing that it’s going to be the best thing ever, but soon it will be over. Of course with Lego, when you’re done you’ve got something to display or play with, so maybe that analogy sucks. Now is as good a time as any to mention that it looks like I got two color-switched bricks. Almost every time I build a Lego set, at some point I cry foul that I am missing a piece and every single time up until now it’s always turned up. In this case, it turned out that I was missing a grey 1×1, but had an extra tan 1×1. I was also missing a tan 1×2 and had an extra grey 1×2. I was able to discretely place the grey brick behind the roof slats, so the only real noticeable evidence is the tan 1×1 on the back wall of the cell. As always, let’s start with the Minifigs!


Obviously, you get the Lone Ranger and Tonto and, as I suspected and feared, these are the exact same Minifigs that came with Stagecoach Escape. Yeah, it kind of sucks to have to pay to get the same two figures again, but this is a franchise with really only two well-known characters, and I wasn’t expecting Lego to just include them in one set. Still, variants maybe? Anyway, these were great little figures the first time around and they still are. The Ranger comes with his white hat and two revolvers and Tonto comes with the bird on his headdress and his tomahawk. I don’t remember getting the tomahawk in the other set, so at least that’s new.


The other three figures are cowboys. They all have names, and I presume their characters from the movie, but to me they’re just generic cowboys. These are a huge part of the set’s appeal and I really dig each of these guys. One appears to be a sheriff, or at least he has a badge. I think the other two are supposed to be bad guys. They come with a handgun, some rifles, and a bag of money. I love the one with the bowler hat and the crazy whiskers! In fact, these guys are so cool they easily make up for the repacks of the Lone Ranger and Tonto. There’s also a little two-wheeled cart that can hold some bits and pieces. I may repurpose that for my Kingdom sets.




The first two bags of bricks build the Jailhouse, so let’s start there. It’s a pretty small shack, but I love the design. The front looks wonderfully Old West-y, complete with a covered porch, railings, a wanted poster and the Sheriff clapboard that hangs off the awning.  There’s also a good use of stickers here for the wood pattern on the awning. There’s room for some Minifigs on the porch and off to one side is a barrel and a set of hinged shudders. To the right of the porch is the jail cell and room to place a nifty-looking shrub, so long as you don’t plan on using the exploding wall gimmick. The exploding wall gimmick just involves jamming on a rod to blow out the front. It works pretty well as far as Lego gimmicks go and there’s a clip to place the dynamite. Thankfully, the wall section clips in, so you don’t have to worry about it falling out if you move the Jailhouse around.



The roof features a fold down wall that reveals a cannon. I love how this works because as you flip the wall down the cannon shifts forward into firing position. Neat! There’s room on the roof for a couple more Minifigs and there’s a box to hold the three cannonballs that come with it. The cannon actually uses a spring mechanism to fire. You load it up, pull back the rod in the back and let it go and you can get some good distance on it. It’s a nice improvement to the usual flick-fire missiles.


Turn the Jailhouse around and inside there’s a door leading into the jail, a little desk and chair, a clip for the jail key and a rack to hold a rifle and a pair of handcuffs. You get two pairs of handcuffs and two keys, as well as a clear mug. There’s not a lot of room in there and you can’t get into the jail cell unless you remove the front wall or the roof area, so once you toss a Minifig in through the door of the cell, he’s not very accessible.




The second two bags of bricks build the bank. It’s set on an angle and on the outside it’s a lot simpler than the Jailhouse. There’s a lantern hanging off one wall and a sign on the top. The door opens and there’s not a whole lot else apparently going on out here. Flip it around and inside you can see a HUGE vault with opening doors and a banker’s area where the poor Minifig bankers work and hope they don’t get robbed.



While the bank seems pretty simple, there are three play gimmicks built in. The sign up top can be tripped to fall down on unsuspecting pedestrians below. The chandelier inside can also be dropped on people as they come in. Lastly, there’s a switch that will blow out the wall and reveal the inside of the vault. Yes, the people of Carson City built the biggest, toughest looking vault you can imagine, but the back of it is just the wall of the building… with a window! D’oh!


Colby City Showdown is an awesome set, and it complements Stagecoach Escape nicely, even if the stagecoach is as big as the buildings. In fact, the only gripe I have about this one is that it really left me wanting more. I want a saloon and a general store and maybe a livery. My favorite Lego series are the ones that let you world-build and the Lone Ranger stuff certainly lets you do that, but not as much as I’d like to. I think I’ll have to get The Constitution Train Chase next as it might look nice running through the town, although the Silver Mine Shootout is still calling me.

Doctor Who: Variant Cyberman (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

VARIANTS!!! Love them or hate them, they’re a fact of life when collecting action figures. In this case, Character Options unleashed a number of variants in their 3 ¾” Doctor Who line and relegated them to severe limitations in the UK. The figures instantly began demanding high prices on the secondary market and pissing off a lot of collectors. I’ll admit, I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for those collectors, because there was no sign of these figures ever making it over here. At least those people had a chance! Well, in a bizarre turn of events, the figures not only became available in the US through Underground Toys, but were actually delivered to specialty retailers as their own wave making them no more difficult to get than the regular versions. In fact, with many of the regular versions sold out, some of these variants are currently the only ones available at the moment. Crazy! The variants range from both minor and major paint variations and even some new sculpting. Today we’re kicking things off with a look at the new Cyberman.


The packaging is identical to what we’ve already seen in this line and even the name of the figure on the insert still simply states, “Cyberman.” They’re regarded as variants because the package still states “6 Figures To Collect!” whereas if the variants counted, you’d now have 11 figures to collect. The Ice Warrior is the only one in the batch that doesn’t have a variant. Although word is that a second Dalek variant is turning up, so that would put the total number back to 12. God, this is confusing! The cards are generic across the line, although the back of the variant packages are updated to show two new “Time Zone” Playsets, in this case inspired by the episodes, “Hide” and “Angels Take Manhattan.” The Angels set is a peculiar choice, since it’s from the first half of Series 7 before the figures changed scale and before Clara became a companion. And yet there she is pictured on display in the playset! As you can see in the bubble, you still get the same “DWARTIS” style figure stand, which I still feel is a nice bonus.



Referring back to my review of the original figure, I was overall pretty happy with these guys; certainly happy enough to army build them. Yes, they strike me as being rather undersized and the sculpt is rather soft in places, but overall I think they capture the details of the new design quite well for a figure in this scale. One thing that was conspicuously missing from the original figure was the arm gun and here we have one of the only two instances of new sculpting in these variants. This Cybie comes with a brand new right arm with the gun deployed and ready. The articulation is identical to the regular version, so while there’s no swivels in the arm, the ball joint in the elbow allows you to rotate the gun to the top of the arm and give him a more credible firing position.


The other change to the figure is the addition of the blue paint app to light up the circle in the chest. I think it looks good on the figure, but it really screams “Arc Reactor” to me way too much. The new design already mingles a bit too closely with Stark Industries’ suit designs and adding the blue light in the chest completes a homage that I’m not eager to acknowledge.




The paintwork on this figure is in line with the orginal release, which means it has its ups and downs. The silver paint that’s used is quite nice and certainly achieves a metallic finish for the figure. On the other hand, it has a lot of black swirls that make him look tarnished. I don’t mind that so much, but in this case there was a large and unsightly black mark on his face, which I needed to fix with a metallic silver Sharpie. Hey, considering I had to do the same thing to my $80 Takara Masterpiece Prowl, I’m not going to make a big deal about it for a $10 3 3/4″ Doctor Who figure.



This 3 3/4″ line of figures certainly is lacking, but the Cyberman is one of the higher points and this variant is certainly a welcome release. In a perfect world I would have liked a Cyberman with the gun arm and no blue chest, but that’s something I can easily change myself if I want to. I will, however, argue that rather than be a variant, this is the way the figure should have come out originally. I mean, who wants Cybermen without their guns armed? People in the UK shouldn’t have to pay a premium for what should have been standard on the regular release. At the very least it should have been a common running change. That having been said, I’m happy to have him in my collection, and yes, I already have two more heading to me from the fine folks at Who North America. I’m happy to get them at regular price, but I certainly wouldn’t have paid a premium or lost any sleep over not getting him if he had stayed a rare chase figure.

Marvel Universe: Inhumans by Hasbro

I’ve recently been re-reading my Jonathan Hickman Fantastic Four; particularly the stretch leading up to The Future Foundation and it started bugging me that I still didn’t own Hasbro’s Inhumans set. Actually, “bugging” probably isn’t the right word as I was in a bit of a state, good and lubed up on Jameson, and in fact rather outraged that I didn’t have these figures. After a quick trip to Ebay and throwing down a little more money than I should have, the set was soon on its way to me. Drinking and Ebaying… shouldn’t there be an organization with an acronym devoted to stamping this out?



We’ve looked at a number of these Marvel Universe multi-packs here on FFZ and packaging presentation here poses no surprises. It’s a window box that shows off the three figures in slight action poses, which happily does not seem to warp any of their joints. The character art on the box is quite nice and you get a little blurb about the Inhumans on the back of the box. It is collector friendly and while I was saving these for a while, they’ve all been trashed in my effort to keep downsizing and so this one too will soon be on its way to the landfill. You get three figures in the box: Black Bolt, Medusa, and Karnak, so let’s just go ahead and take them in that order.



Black Bolt is a character that I felt was sorely missing in the MU lineup and easily the best justification for picking up this set. He’s a relatively easy figure to do, but I’m happy to say that Hasbro even went a little above and beyond on this one. Besides the painted costume buck, we also get the sculpted “wings” on his biceps similar to the way they did Spider-Woman’s webbing. The head sculpt is quite well done with the tiny “tuning fork” emblem is actually sculpted onto his mask. The silver paintwork on the costume stripes and wings is neatly applied and really makes this guy pop on the shelf. I think the “wings” will be the sticking point on this guy for a lot of collectors as they can look awkward in some poses. Still, I can’t think of a better way that Hasbro could have done it. Still, I think Black Bolt turned out to be a rather beautiful figure.



Speaking of beautiful… next up is Black Bolt’s wifey, Medusa. I have only one minor gripe with this figure and that’s the head sculpt seems a tad too thin, and even that may just be my own personal hang up, otherwise Hasbro really did a wonderful job here. Her costume, gloves and boots are all just painted on, but the metallic purple on the boots and gloves looks nice and the black lines on her one-piece are sharp and clean. I really get the feeling that Hasbro has gotten their act together on their MU paintwork. I remember back to the days of slop like I saw on my Warbird figure, and I’m happy to say I haven’t seen anything like that lately. Anyway, moving past the paint, it’s obvious to see where all the sculpting on this chick went. Dat hair! Medusa couldn’t have been the easiest figure to design and Hasbro just went with having her copious mane falling down her back and I dare say it works quite well. I think an attempt at having her hair in some kind of action pose would have been disastrous. Either way, there’s practically enough plastic in her hair alone to make another figure.



And then there’s Karnak. You could argue that there were better choices for this slot, but I’m fine with getting Karnak, particularly after seeing how well Hasbro executed this figure. He uses a slimmer buck than Black Bolt, which is appropriate and adds a nice bit of diversity to the set. His painted costume features some beautiful shades of green and is enhanced by the sculpted belt and sash. The head sculpt really drives the figure home with his pencil thin pervy mustache and jiffy pop head. Wonderful!


The fellas feature the excellent modern MU articulation, which consists of ball joints in the heads, shoulders, hips, and torsos. The elbows are hinged and the knees are double hinged. You also get swivels in the biceps, thighs, and wrists. Karnak’s ankles are ball joints, whereas Black Bolt has a hinge with lateral rockers. Lateral ankle rockers in a 3 ¾” figure… always a nice touch! Black Bolt features added swivels in the lower legs and an additional hinge in the neck. Medusa shares her hubby’s articulation, with just one exception: She doesn’t have the bicep swivels, a point of articulation that is sadly often omitted form the female bucks.


Hasbro has a track record of sometimes including a small PVC piece with these sets. With the Fantastic Four we got HERBIE, The X-Men set had baby Cyclops, and Guardians of the Galaxy came with Rocket Raccoon. So I think omitting Lockjaw from this set was a major misstep. I suppose you could argue that he would have to be bigger than the previously included PCV pieces, but I’d rather have been granted a slightly undersized Lockjaw than none at all. Afterall, I doubt there will ever be another opportunity to release that figure.


Apart from whining about Lockjaw and what could have been, I’ll happily admit that Hasbro did a wonderful job with this set. It’s been on my want list ever since I first saw the pre-production photos and now that I have it in hand, it certainly has lived up to my expectations. I ponied up $30 for it, which is more than I usually have to pay for these, but not a bad deal at all when it breaks down to just ten bucks a figure. And these are indeed excellent figures!

Star Wars: X-Wing Starfighter (#9493) by Lego

[Today is obviously the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, easily my favorite sci-fi property of all time. Some may be surprised that there isn’t a DW related feature today. Well, I did in fact have some items coming in to feature today, but as luck would have it nothing arrived on time. I suppose that’s irony when dealing with a show about time travel. As a result, I’ve just decided to extend the festivities into next week were you’ll see a lot of DW-related content. In hindsight, it works out best because I plan on relaxing this weekend, watching the 50th about a hundred times and capping things off on Monday when I go to see it at the local theater. I’ve had today’s feature ready for just such an occasion, and so I’m dropping it in here, and I have another one ready to go for Monday. Now I can take the weekend off! See y’all on Tuesday!]

If you hunt Lego, you may have noticed this set getting discounted at a number of online retailers lately. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it’s because a bigger and better X-Wing has recently come out for a lot more money so Lego has retired this one. Either way, any time I can get a 500+ Lego set for under $40, I’m ready to jump at it. Let’s take a look!


The X-Wing comes in a really big box. I have a huge cat and so I usually judge the size of anything in relation to the size of my cat. This box is just slightly longer than my cat, therefore it is a really long box. I think that’s a syllogism. I can never recall getting a Lego box this big for so little money. I felt like I was committing a crime. The artwork on the front is glorious as it shows the Lego X-Wing making the trench run on the Death Star. The back shows you pictures of what you get inside. The only bad thing about the box is that it has Darth Maul’s stupid mug on it. He has nothing to do with the X-Wing and I don’t like him.


Open the box and spill out the contents and you are confronted with five big bags of bricks, one large instruction book and a sticker sheet. All told you get 560 pieces, which build the X-Wing and four Minifigs. As usual, we’re going to start with the Minifigs!



First off, you get two X-Wing pilots: Luke and Porkins. Wow, I own a Lego Porkins. Let me take a moment and let that sink in. Both figures use the same bodies, which is fair enough. The heads and helmets have unique printing. Luke comes with a lightsaber and Porkins comes with a blaster. Not bad. You also get a pair of droids. I’ve never been all that impressed with the Astromech Minifigs. Is it too much to ask to put printing on the back? And can’t you make the head swivel? Maybe I’m being too picky. Anyway, I already have an R2-D2 from the Landspeeder, but I guess it never hurts to have another.


When I look at Lego sets, I don’t usually feature much of the build itself, but I’m going to change that up here. Most of the big Lego sets I buy build several things, so this X-Wing was kind of a new experience for me. Up to this point, the biggest Star Wars ship I build was the Republic Strike Fighter, which at three hundred and change had a lot less bricks than this baby. I feared I might find the build redundant, but it was not. In fact, I really enjoyed some of the clever design work at play here. The first bag builds the base of the main fuselage. Yup, take a good look. You’d probably see a lot of these bare-bones T-65 chassis swinging on cranes at the Incom Shipyards. It’s a weird looking contraption that had me wondering where Lego was going with this thing. What’s particularly cool here is starting to see how the mechanism for the wings will work. It’s all very clever.


The next bag builds the rest of it and now I could see more of what was going on. I love seeing how some of the engineering goes into these builds. You think how complex can it be to just build a long X-Wing body? Then you see all the supports and reinforcements that go into the design and result in a very sturdy model when all is said and done. This is also the point where part of me wanted to toss away the instruction sheet and start building it into a Colonial Viper. But I stayed the course, mainly because my freeform Lego skillz aren’t that good.


The last two bags build the four wings and here’s where things get a little repetitive because you’re basically building the two of the same wing twice. Still, even the wings were interesting and complex enough to keep things interesting. I like the way Lego used the red bricks for some of the ship’s larger markings and some stickers for the finer ones.




The last bag builds the laser cannons for the wings and the engine pylons. Here you also attach the rubber bands to the backs of the wings to add the tension and you can finally see how they work. It uses a wheel on the back of the ship and the internal gear system to distribute torque to the little arms that push the wings apart. Very cool! The X-Wing looks fantastic on display and includes some other nice features like a retractable landing gear under the cockpit and clips on the sides for a pair of proton torpedoes. There’s even a little spot on the back to clip a blaster pistol!






When all is said and done this is a great looking build. I want to say it’s about the size of the vintage Kenner X-Wing, but it’s been so long since I owned that toy I can’t say for certain. Keep in mind, however, that with how much smaller the Minifigs are, this ship is a lot better scaled. There are only two things that irk me about the finished model. One is that R2 has to go into his droid slot sideways, similar to the droid slot on the ARC-170 fighter. It just feels wrong. The other is the use of the round discs for the ends of the laser cannon. It makes sense, it looks good, but it’s obviously not accurate to the screen model. I know this is something that Lego got right in the larger and more expensive X-Wing, but it clearly doesn’t bother me enough to want to spend the money on that one. This set is all over the place now for under $40, so if you are a Lego collector without deep pockets and if you don’t have an X-Wing in your Lego hanger, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Ghostbusters: Walter Peck by Mattel

A lot of people rolled their eyes when Matty revealed that EPA douchebag, Walter Peck, would get a figure release in their Ghostbusters line. Were these the same people that were bitching about too many variant Ghostbusters? I realize most collectors were waiting for Gozer, and rightly so, but Peck was an awesome character in the flick and I think he definitely deserved his own figure. To sweeten the deal, Matty paired him with the mother or all accessories… the actual containment system. Sure you could argue that it was Matty’s way of making you buy a figure you didn’t want to get a great accessory, but what better character to bundle with the containment system then the asshole who shut it off? Actually, Peck didn’t even have the balls to shut it off himself… he got the ConEd guy to do it for him. Hey Matty, where’s my ConEd Guy figure?


We get the typical and awesome Ghostbusters package. It’s basically the same thing we saw last week with Slimeblower Ray, only with the original GB logo on the top rather than the one for GB2. These packages are great for mint-on-card collectors because the deco really captures the feel of the film and the huge bubble displays the figures quite well. They can also stand on your shelf all by themselves. Look at Peck in there, all smug about the fact that you have to buy him in order to get the containment system. What a douchebag!


The back of the package has the usual personnel file. I think Matty passed up a great opportunity here. Nowhere on the card does it say, “Has no dick!” I’ll bet they were tempted.



As one might expect a figure based off of a government beaurucrat isn’t the most exciting thing around. Walter Peck is a guy in a suit. Granted, he’s a pretty decent looking figure of a guy in a suit. Matty kind of shot themselves in the foot by scaling these guys smaller than their DCUC line because Peck could have easily borrowed the suited body that Mattel seemed so content to trot out over and over (and over) again in the DCUC and Signature Series. Nonetheless, this buck is new to me. I imagine it’s the same one reused for the Courtroom Ghostbusters, but I haven’t opened those yet, so I can’t say for sure. I think the only real gripe I have here is that Peck sports some rather meaty and oversized hands. They’re sculpted to hold something, but I’m not sure why. The portrait is based off the likeness of actor William Atherton and I have to say it’s a pretty decent likeness. I think people tend to dismiss how important it is in a movie to have a good smarmy bad guy that people can love to hate. Atherton plays these parts to a tee. Whether he’s turning off the containment system and endangering New York City or pestering John McClane’s wife in Die Hard, he plays a great scumbag and I really respect that. Besides, surely this must be the first EPA action figure anyone has ever produced. The paintwork on the hairline and beard is excellent and Peck is wearing a smirk that you just want to slap right off his face.


And that brings us to the accessories: The containment system and ghost trap. The trap is different from the one that came with Winston as it cannot open. That makes for a slightly better sculpt without the unsightly hinges. It does, however, still have a socket to plug the pedal and cord into, but does not come with one.




The containment system is beautifully done. It’s basically a slab of wall on a stand with the unit built into it. It looks close enough to the film set to satisfy me and it makes a beautiful centerpiece to display your figures with. It even has an action feature, where you can pull the lever and a spring-loaded mechanism will release the loading chute. You can then load the trap that came with this set, or use the one that came with the original Winston. Close it up and when the light is green, the trap is clean! No, the lights don’t actually work.



Like a lot of the Ghostbusters figures that I’m looking at these days, I picked up Peck for about half of what he originally sold for and I’m cool with that. He’s not an exciting figure, but I can’t deny that he’s well executed and he will certainly fit into my Ghostbusters display somewhere, even if I have to cover him with Fluffernutter. I may also use him to audit the Justice League Watchtower. I’m betting Batman doesn’t have a permit for half that equipment he uses.