Marvel Legends Infinite: Winter Soldier by Hasbro

Last week I checked out Captain America in one of his new costumes from the upcoming Winter Soldier movie. OMG, I’M VERY EXCITED TO SEE THIS MOVIE AND IT’S ALMOST HERE!!! Ahem, today I thought we’d take a look at the Winter Soldier himself and then I can start digging into the comic-based figures in this wave. Despite getting billed in the very title of the movie, the trailers and marketing hasn’t exactly been saturated with this character. It seemed like only the first trailer really played him up. Maybe Disney is trying to keep it on the down low to spare any non-comic book readers a potential spoiler about who Winter Soldier actually is. Ah, but enough speculation… this figure is our first thorough look at the way the character will appear in the film, so let’s dig right in.

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There’s the new Infinite packaging that Hasbro is using for both this film and the Amazing Spider-Man 2. Two movies from two different studios and both are getting the same branding in the toy aisle. How often does that happen? Anyway, this hybrid window box is happy either sitting on the shelf or hanging on a peg and is totally collector friendly giving us the best of both worlds. Oddly enough, the flaps on mine weren’t even taped and I bought it online.

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And there’s Winter Soldier in all his blockbuster film glory, or at least that’s what Hasbro would have us believe. There’s something about this figure that doesn’t jibe all that well with what we’ve seen of the character in the trailers and I think it’s the coloring. The figure sports a lot of brown and the film costume looks mostly black to me. Also, the big screen version of the character has a much shinier artificial arm, whereas the figure’s arm is more of a dull matte metal finish. It’s rare that I start out talking about a figure’s coloring, but to me It’s this guy’s biggest stumbling block.

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And that’s because the sculpt here is actually quite good. The tactical vest and pants are packed with little details all the way down to the stitching and texturing. He has tiny bullets sculpted into his right arm bracer, all painted copper, and his artificial arm features both sculpted and painted panel lining. The shoulder rig is removable and his belt is sculpted from a separate piece and hangs well on his hips. There are even a couple of non-removable combat knives sculpted into the belt.

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As with the last Cap figure I looked at, Winter Soldier comes with two heads. The one that comes on the figure is masked, I find the inclusion of the goggles on this sculpt to be a bit letdown. I like the look of the character with the mask and his eyes showing, and that’s the way he’s been pictured in most of the clips. For whatever reason, the goggled look doesn’t do it for me. Removable goggles? That would have been a good way to go. Personal preferences aside, this head is still a quality sculpt.

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The other portrait, however, doesn’t fare so well. It’s a really soft sculpt, particularly when compared to some of the excellent noggins we’ve been seeing in the Marvel Legends line. But more importantly, I have no idea what’s going on with the paint. Is it military style grease paint? Is it supposed to mimic his domino mask from the comics? Is he cosplaying Rocket Raccoon? I don’t know, but I’m not a fan. The few stills that I could find of the character with the paint on had it confined to his eyes like a mask, but here on the figure, it’s all over the place. Neither head really seems to nail the look of the character on screen and in the end choosing which portrait to display on this figure will be choosing the lesser of two evils.

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The articulation here is identical to what we saw with Stealth Suit Cap. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have double-hinged elbows, swivels in the biceps and hinges and swivels in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double-hinged in the knees, swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots, and hinges and rockers in the ankles. Winter Soldier, can swivel at the waist, has an ab-crunch hinge, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. The points of articulation here are all great but the hinges are a lot softer than I would have liked.

Let’s move on to accessories, because I bet Winter Soldier comes with some bad ass weapons and… OMG, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?

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Grrr… The figure comes with this ridiculous looking bright red and black sci-fi looking rifle… and that’s it. Despite the fact that the figures hands are sculpted for pistols, he doesn’t come with any. He also can’t hold this stupid rifle for shit. And why would he want to? Talk about a missed opportunity. Luckily I have the Marvel Legends Punisher. He can lend this guy some tasteful firepower.

I don’t hate this figure, it’s got some good stuff going for it, but it’s far from what I was hoping for. He looks good enough on the shelf, but a lot about him just feels off. The brown doesn’t look right, I’m not terribly happy with either head sculpt, and the weapon sucks. I’m not unhappy I bought it, but with Cap being such a great figure, this one just disappoints.

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Vintage Vault Showcase: Bionic Six by LJN

I had every intention of doing a Bonus Feature for today, but instead I got deep into the Jameson last night and neglected my duties as a good host. Nonetheless, I did have some time this morning, while nursing a hangover, to snap some pictures of a particular Ebay haul that I am extremely happy about. I don’t usually do this kind of thing on FFZ, but we’ll see how it goes. It’s worth pointing out that I’ve looked at LJN’s Bionic Six line here before. Indeed, some of the figures you’ll see here have been reviewed in years gone by and I’ll be doing proper reviews of some of these items in the not-too distant future.

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The Ebay picture that caught my eye!

The Bionic Six was probably one of the last 80’s cartoons that I followed before getting “too old” to watch cartoons. Of course, 25 years later, I find that I’m now “old enough” to watch cartoons again. Anyway, Bionic Six was hokey and goofy but it was loads of fun and it had one of my all-time favorite openings of any cartoon ever. It is perhaps second only to the opening sequence of the now sadly forgotten Mighty Orbots cartoon. I’ve been hunting this collection for a while now and it’s been slow going. I pick up a figure here and there, I upgrade one, but this stuff is hard to find in good shape and at good prices. Well, last week an Ebay Lot went up that not only included beautiful examples of the entire Bennett clan, but the elusive vehicles as well. It was a terrible time for such a thing to show up, as I had already spent my toy budget for the week, but I dipped into my emergency fund and bid anyway. I never expected to get it, but in the end, after a slightly irritating bidding war, I got the collection for what I still think was a ridiculously good price.

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“We’re so very proud to be… A super future family!”

With bionics on, the Bennetts consisted of (from left to right) Sport-1, Rock-1, Bionic-1, Mother-1, I.Q., and Karate-1. They also had a robot gorilla named FLUFFI, but I haven’t picked up his figure yet. The entire Bionic Six were included in the lot, and I was able to mix and match with the figures I already had to put together a set with very nice paint. These figures were partly diecast metal and so paint chipping always came with the territory. Finding nice and minty versions of these figures could be a real bitch. I.Q. is missing his cowboy hat, but I don’t remember him ever wearing it in the cartoon, so I don’t miss it. On the other hand, I have no idea why he’s so huge compared to the other figures. I find that many of the accessories weren’t necessary, but Sport-1 has to have his bat and glove, and I have Rock-1’s shoulder speakers off to the side.

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Hail Scarab!!!

Of course every set of heroes needs bastards to fight. From left to right: Madam-O, Mechanic, Chopper, and Glove. Ironically, my Scarab team is still light one leader. I’ve had multiple opportunities to pick up Dr. Scarab, but the paint has never been satisfactory. He’s mostly white and every chip on that figure is painfully noiticeable. I may just have to break down and buy him carded to get one in acceptable condition. I’m also missing Klunk. Otherwise, I’m pretty happy with the paint on these guys and they all have their accessories.

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Eric, Bunji, and JD taking the Quadrunners for a spin!

The vehicles! The Bennett children used the Bionic Quadrunner and Bionic Dirt Bike to speed into battle. When I set out to collect these figures, I never thought I’d ever own any of the vehicles. They’re hard to come by in any condition. Ironically enough a few weeks ago I found a Quadrunner in mint condition for a very fair Buy It Now price and scooped it up.  A second one came with this Lot, which is a tad played with, but still in great condition. I’m happy to have two because I can store one in the MULES van and keep the other out on display.

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“The Bionic Dirt Bike is So-LAR!!!”

The Dirt Bike is a real tough one to find. Even tougher than the Quads. In fact, the one in this lot is the only time I’ve ever seen one outside of a Toy Show. This one is in great condition. Bright paint, minty chrome, and the springs work perfectly to convert it to attack mode.

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And then there’s the MULES van. Mobile Uitility Energizing Station. Talk about tough to find, this is a toy I never, ever expected to own just because it would always be more than I would be willing to pay for it. Also, it’s got a lot of stickers and some rather flimsy moving parts, and those two things are never a good combination in vintage toys. Like the Dirt Bike, I’ve only ever seen the MULES van for sale once before. It was boxed at the same Toy Show and the asking price was $450. I suppose part of me thought that if I did own the van it would be a beater just to use as a place holder to say I had one. But this one is in remarkably good condition. It’s complete and everything works. There’s some sticker wear, most of which can be fixed with a little glue, and there’s just some minor scratching on the windshields. I can’t imagine ever needing to upgrade this beauty to a better one.

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This beast is big enough to hold two figures in the cockpit and both of the vehicles. The Dirt Bike drives up into the back and it can launch out the top and roll right down the front of the van and into action. The Quadrunner stores inside the front and launches by splitting the cab open and shooting it out the front.

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Bionics… ON!

After spending so much time hunting and pecking at this collection, it’s hard to believe how much of it I completed in just one bold strike. It’s really encouraged me to pick up the last three figures I need. Of course, there are still some additional pieces, like Scarab’s Throne and let’s not forget the Bennett’s Headquarters playset. I’m tempted to say that I’ll never have that thing in my collection, but if this Lot has taught me anything… you never know!

Now, I think I’m going to cue up some episodes of Bionic Six and play with my toys!

Star Wars Black: Luke Skywalker (Bespin Fatigues) by Hasbro

Ok, time for another crack at Star Wars Black Wave 3. Han Solo is a repeat and Prequel Obi-Wan wasn’t really my bag. That cuts us down to just two more figures making this assortment a far cry from the line’s first two outings. Ah, but today we’re checking out one that I was actually looking forward to… It’s another Luke Skywalker, and that’s not a bad thing!

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I’m pretty much done saying anything constructive about the 6-inch Black packaging because it’s all been said already. I like it, but now that I know the packages will be changing, I’m not keeping them anymore. This stuff takes up space and space is something I don’t have in great abundance. I will point out my one gripe about the line and that’s Hasbro’s unwillingness to define anything more about the character beyond his or her name. Oh, great it’s Luke Skywalker. But didn’t we get Luke Skywalker? Well, that was X-Wing Luke and this is Bespin Luke. Well why don’t you put that on the goddamn package? Seriously, Hasbro, you’ve built this line on character variants and the fact that I have to insert my own clarifier up there in the title of this post is really aggravating me.

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Straight away I think Hasbro did a nice job with this sculpt. A dude in tan fatigues isn’t exactly the most exciting concept to work from, but that didn’t stop these guys from giving it their all. In fact, there are two things in particular that stand out on this figure. The first is the sculpted detail in the fatigues. They’re rumpled in all the right places, there are seams for the pockets, and if you look closely enough you can even see the texturing of the fabric. Next up, the paint wash works quite well. I’ve gone on record so many times in the past about how Hasbro doing paint washes is sort of akin to turning a 6-year old loose in the kitchen to make a Chicken Kiev, it never works and someone is bound to get hurt. But in this case I think it enhances the figure. Maybe it’s a bit too dirty, but I still dig the way it looks.

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Despite just getting Luke two waves ago, Hasbro delivered a brand new headsculpt for this figure and I appreciate that a lot. Gone is the younger and rounder face from A New Hope and in its place is the harsher and gaunter look that resulted from the Hamill’s terrible car accident. When the first pictures were released I jibed that the portrait looked more like Peter Dinklage than Hamill. I still think there’s a resemblance to little Lord Tyrion, but there’s definitely some Hamill in there too. I’m not quite as impressed with this likeness as I am with the X-Wing Luke, but it still works fine for me.

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Running down the articulation, you get a swivel in the waist and a neck with both a hinge and a ball joint. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and elbows and the wrists have swivels and hinges. The wrist hinges, however, are really oddly positioned on this figure, placing them more on the side of the hand and it makes useful positioning of his hands rather difficult. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double-hinged at the knees. There are swivels in the thighs and the ankles feature both hinges and rockers. The joints are nice and tight and he is definitely a fun figure to pose.

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Luke’s weapons include his DL-44 blaster and his lightsaber. These are the same weapons that we saw with the X-Wing Luke, which is totally appropriate and both are excellent pieces. The blaster fits snugly into a holster that is very similar to the one used for the Han Solo figure, right down to the working retaining strap. The lightsaber has a removable blade and uses the same style hook and loop to attach to the belt as seen on the X-Wing Luke. I definitely prefer the method of pegging the hilt into the belt. This way makes it stick out too far and looks rather awkward.

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While I would prefer Hasbro concentrate on getting out different characters as opposed to revisiting the same ones so soon, I can’t argue with the importance of adding a Bespin Luke to the collection early on. Some might argue that this one should have been in the first wave since there are no X-Wings for Pilot Luke to sit in, but truth be told I dig that Pilot Luke so much I’m happy we got him too. While Bespin Luke may not be a masterpiece, he is undoubtedly a good, solid figure and he’s a welcome treat compared to the rather lackluster Obi-Wan I looked at last time. That leaves just one figure left in this wave, and I saved the best for last. Next week, we’ll check out the Stormtrooper!

Transformers Energon: Skyblast by Hasbro

Just a heads up, this will probably be the last Transformers Thursday before I turn TFT over to look at figures from the dreaded Bayformer Trilogy! My plan is to keep that going until Age of Extinction releases in June. Whether I can keep that going remains to be seen, but truth be told I have a lot of those figures that have escaped the FFZ spotlight and for good or for ill, they must be shown! Anywho, today’s feature is a genuine random grab from my Energon tote and I came out with… Skyblast! Very cool! Skyblast was one of the first Energon figures revealed by Hasbro before the line launched and for me it was love at first sight. I couldn’t wait to find him on the pegs and the midnight runs to Walmart were a common activity for me back then. I was also really intrigued over finding out about these new Omnicons. Turns out that they were a new type of Transformer allied with the Autobots with the skill to work with raw Energon. Let’s see what this little guy is all about…

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When I think back to how excited I was to get this guy, it says a lot about how far Transformers have come since. I’m not knocking him, I still dig him a lot, but nowadays he’s probably not all that much to get excited about. I think a lot of the appeal comes from the fact that he’s obviously an homage to our old friend G1 Jetfire. He’s an adorable little Autobot jet with a just a slight Macross vibe to him. The red and white plastic features some gold and blue paint apps thrown in. And then thee’s the Autobot emblems sculpted right into the wings. I love that!

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Skyblast also comes with a bunch of translucent red “energon” parts that can be attached to the jet mode to beef him up. Two of the pieces snap onto the wing tips and the other two pieces connect together into a ridiculously long chin cannon. I’ve never been a big fan of using these parts on the alt mode, but that’s ok because they come in handy later.

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Skyblast has a very simple yet clever transformation and the resulting robot mode carries the Jetfire homage over mostly in the Sunbow-style headsculpt. He’s got a pretty clean robot mode that I really enjoy, although there are just a couple of issues. The wings coming off the arms would have worked better if they folded down. I also prefer to flip them and unfortunately the Autobot emblems on the reverse side aren’t painted. Boo! The nose cone can be fold down a bit behind the head, but if you do that you can’t turn the head. Personally, I prefer losing neck articulation and having the nosecone not stick up so far.

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As for those energon parts, you’ve got a couple of options here. First, you can make a nice rifle for Skyblast, which I think works much better than the chin cannon on the alt mode. Granted, the limited articulation here makes it tough to have him wield it convincingly, but I still dig it.

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The other weapon combines all the parts into a bitchin’ energon spear. Again, there’s not a lot of cool poses this little guy can do with it, but he looks damn cool just standing there holding it.

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I’m almost envious of the past me that was able to get so excited about such a simple little eight dollar Transformer. Of course it helps that at the time I was only back into collecting these things for a couple of years and Armada really got me hot and bothered and ready for more. Fast forward to today when I’m dropping hundreds of dollars on Masterpiece and third-party figures. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure if I showed my TFC Not-Aerialbots to that past me he would toss Skyblast into the garbage and start saving money, but then I would have missed out on some genuinely cool figures. Skyblast still holds a lot of appeal for me. As a kid, he’s exactly the kind of toy that I would have shoved in my pocket before going anywhere so that me and my tiny little almost-Jetfire could have adventures together.

Masters of the Universe Classics: The Unnamed One by Mattel

I don’t tend to venture too deep into the Masters Fandom, it seems to be a pretty angry place these days, but I gather that today’s featured figure was none too popular among those ranks. A mystery figure said to be steeped in Masters Lore and dangled before the fans as a major incentive to get subscriptions in 2014, he is The Unnamed One. Gorpo, The Evil Lord of Chaos, the creator of The Snakemen and one of the major players in the struggle for power in Eternia and beyond is revealed to be… a Trollan Wizard. And a whole lot of Masters fans absolutely lost their shit in the aftermath.

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Yup, there he is. The subscription only figure shipped along with March’s monthly figure. I don’t know what Matty was thinking when they planned this release, especially knowing what a fickle and unforgiving bunch the Masters collectors can be. They must have known that this was going to invoke fanwide butt-hurt on an atomic level. It almost seems as if they are actually trolling their own customer base. Or is that trollan? HA! Anyway, as many of you may know I’ve always been into Masters for the figures first and the fiction a very, very distant second, so if you’re looking for me to fly into a drunken rage over this figure, you’re going to be disappointed. Quite frankly, the idea of getting a figure of an evil Trollan Wizard is pretty damn cool in my book. Let’s bust this little guy out and see what we’ve got.

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I really do love the character design here. Since most of my exposure to Trollans comes from the annoying and blundering Orko, it’s very cool to see a menacing and evil member of the race. The very idea of a spell slinging Trollan Warlord intrigues me. Gorpo comes clad in tattered dark blue robes with some nasty looking trappings sculpted in. The detail on his belt consists of pouches and a dagger, he’s got chest and shoulder armor and a sculpted red skull in the center of his chest. The stock portrait includes a purple hood with a drooping point, long blue ears, and two sinister yellow eyes that peer out above his purple mask. I used to doodle guys like this back in my AD&D obsessed days. In fact, Gorpo would look right at home on the cover of a TSR module, hovering around some lair full of dusty books and summoning an unholy beast from a stone well. I just dig everything about this guy!

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You also get a swappable head with a helmeted portrait. The sculpting on this piece is a lot more intricate as the helmet is rather elaborately decorated with some scrollwork and spikes. There’s a mohawk-style crest on top and Gorpo’s long ears protrude from each side. If I had ears like that I think I’d want them protected a little better in combat! The helmet matches the armor on the body pretty well. It’s undoubtedly a very nice alternative portrait, but I think I’ll stick to the hooded one for my regular display.

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In addition to the extra head, The Unnamed One also comes with a few more goodies. You get the same style flight stand that came with Orko. It’s a little bigger and it just plugs into the socket under the robes and supports the figure quite well. You also get a magic wand and an effect piece. The wand is a far more formidable than the wimpy one that came with Orko and Gorpo can hold it comfortably in his right hand. The green orb in the center of the head catches light pretty well giving it a neat glowing effect. The effect part slips onto Gorpo’s other hand and looks like he’s shooting magic. As far as effect parts go, it’s not too bad, but these generally tend to wind up in my dreaded Tote of Forgotten Accessories.

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You also get a couple of pieces of ephemera. A Mini-Comic is included in The Unnamed One’s package. I know fans go nuts over these, but I gave it a quick read through and it didn’t do anything for me. I think I would have been a lot more interested if it was rooted the more familiar and contemporary period. I wasn’t a big fan of the art either.

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On the other hand, the Horde Map is a very cool bonus. It’s not actually packaged with Gorpo, but rather comes with him as part of the Sub incentive. Matty has been doing these maps as part of the subs all along, but since 2014 was the first time I subbed Club Eternia, this is my first map. I had actually forgotten all about it until I saw it in the box. It’s a big colorful piece of art that I wouldn’t mind hanging someday if can find the wall space.

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To the hardcore Masters fans who are rankled by this release… I get it. I really do. You were expecting something unspeakably bad ass and even if there hadn’t been a long wind up of suspense, most of you still would have found Gorpo here disappointing.  Fans have also been grousing about the price, reminding us that Orko came with a whole Prince Adam figure crammed into the bottom of the package. I’d point out that The Unnamed One is considerably larger than Orko and the sculpt is vastly more intricate. I’ll concede that as a smaller figure he is definitely pushing the envelope when it comes to this line’s price point, but it’s not as bad as everyone is saying. Nonetheless, with expectations running wild, I doubt there’s anything I can say that’s going to swing the sour opinions on this figure. Nor am I out to do that. I think he’s a great release, and I’m glad to add him to my shelves.

DC Comics: Green Lantern ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

Ok, kids, we’re in the home stretch. I’ve got five Justice League statues under my belt and Hal Jordan makes six. I’ve been in a bit of a mad dash to complete this collection before Koto starts shipping the first in their Avengers ArtFX+ line and that should be any day now. [Oh shit, The ArtFX+ Hulk statue just dropped into my Pile of Loot as I am editing this!] I’m so close, but I have a feeling I’m going to fall one short what with Cyborg still looming out there and a lot of other things vying for my dollars over the next couple of weeks. Anyway, let’s jump right in and take a look at Koto’s treatment of Hal Jordan Green Lantern!

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Once again, the window boxes that Koto developed for this line look really nice. There’s a panel of character art that links up with the character art on the other statue’s boxes so you can make a nifty backdrop. Also, two sides are transparent and if you unwrap the statue inside and put him back in, you can totally display them in these boxes and still get a pretty good look. As I’ve said all along, the only problem with this packaging is it feels rather fragile and susceptible to dings and scratches. I save all my statue boxes in case I need to move them or put them into storage, but considering I don’t have the room to display these boxes on my shelf, I’m not sure whether I’ll be bothering to hang on to them. Right now the boxes are all lined up at the tippy top of a bookcase, out of sight, and not hurting anyone, so I’m in no rush to make that decision. The statue comes nestled between two clear plastic trays with the base below it. There’s no assembly required so Hal is already for display.

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For the most part, Koto has kept the composition of these statues pretty similar to each other and Green Lantern toes that line. He’s more or less sporting what I would call a “museum style” pose, as opposed to some crazy action scene. It’s a triumphant stance that let’s you take in the details of the individual character design, but it was also clearly designed to work well in the “group shot” scenerio for those collecting and displaying the entire line together. That’s not to say the composition is boring. With cocked elbows and clenched fists, there’s definitely an implied sense of energy at work here and I like it a lot. As one would expect, Hal’s power ring is displayed quite prominently on his raised right fist.

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The portrait here is excellent. It certainly conveys the more youthful nature of the “New 52” Hal Jordan. While several of these statues have had a strong anime, and some would say Asian, influence in their faces, Hal is masked so it really isn’t as obvious here. The sculpted detail of his coif is also nicely done and I really dig the ever so slight cocky smirk on his lips. In terms of the costume, Green Lantern’s new digs doesn’t play up the panel lined armor effect as much as say Batman or Superman. In fact, the only place it’s present at all is in the shoulders. Nonetheless, the musculature is well defined, particularly in the back and abdomin. I also like the way the tops of the boots are sculpted to appear separate from the rest of the costume. This piece is certainly one of the simpler sculpts in this line, but that doesn’t make it any less striking.

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Green Lantern deviates a bit from the other Justice League statues in that his costume showcases some matte paintwork as well as the metallic high gloss that has characterized these pieces. In the past releases the matte finish has been largely confined to the capes and skin tones, but here it’s also used for the black portions of the costume. I think the contrast works well and the metallic emerald green finish on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. Another wonderful touch is the very faint green paintwork applied to the white gauntlet around the power ring that makes it look like it’s glowing.

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Hal includes a stand, and by now you should know the deal. It’s a simple square black metal base with “Justice League” lettered in silver on it. The metallic base works with the magnets in the statue’s feet to hold him up and it also allows you to position him anywhere without unsightly pegs. I’m really beginning to appreciate this feature, as I will likely be condensing the statues a little closer together to save some shelf space for when the Avenger’s start shipping. You can do this by using less stands and having some of the statues share. It’s worth noting that Green Lantern is a tad wobbly on his feet, but the magnets do a fine job securing him to the base.

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Obviously I’ve been enjoying the hell out of this line from the get-go and Green Lantern lands me the last of the heavy hitters. Yeah, Cyborg has been a pretty important character in the book and I honestly like what they’ve been doing with him, particularly his acquired ability to create Boom Tubes, but right now I don’t feel a biting sense of urgency to pick him up. Sure, I will add him to the lineup eventually, but I may wait for a dry spell or possibly when I need to toss something extra into my Pile of Loot before shipping it out. What’s that? Will I be buying any of DC’s non-Justice League members in the ArtFX+ line? Oh, I already have. Next time we revisit this line, we’ll check out Catwoman!

Marvel Legends Infinite: Captain America (Stealth Suit) by Hasbro

OH MY GOD, I AM SO EXCITED FOR THE WINTER SOLDIER MOVEI!!!  I was already crazy excited for this flick but then Disney went and released that 4-minute clip and now I want it even more. It’s no surprise that I was going to be hunting the accompanying Marvel Legends figures and that’s been no easy feat. The pegs here are choked with WW2 Caps, a repack of a figure that I already own, and the prices online for the rest have been pretty crazy. But after a little bit of persistence and diligence, I did manage to pick up most of them at a decent price and now I only have to hunt the elusive Black Widow to finish my Mandroid BAF and then the AIM and Hydra soldiers. Seeing as how much I’m jonesing for the movie, I thought I might as well start with Cap in the Stealth Suit that he wears in the movie.

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Behold the new packaging for Marvel Legends Infinite! Despite being tied in to the Winter Soldier movie, it’s the same style package we saw when I featured two of the Amazing Spider-Man 2 figures. It’s a big departure from the very comic bookish look of last year’s cardbacks, but I still really dig it a lot. It’s totally collector friendly and the conceptual art on the side panels looks great. And just look at how packed it is in there! You couldn’t fit anything else on that tray. Let’s rip him open and take a look!

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Straight up, I have to say that I love the design of this costume. It may not be as colorful or exciting as the First Avenger or Avengers costumes, but it is a fitting tribute to the costume worn by Steve Rogers when he returned to comics and declined to recover the Captain America identity from Bucky Barnes. It also looks absolutely bitching on the big screen and not too shabby on this figure. There’s a very tactical feel to the outfit, both literally and figuratively. Every tiny bit of this guy is detailed or textured in some way, although you have to get in close to really appreciate it all. The belt is a separate sculpted piece and fits snugly around Cap’s waist. The paintwork compliments the sculpt quite nicely, particularly the silver used on the chest. There’s even a tiny American Flag and “Rogers” on his left shoulder and a SHIELD emblem on his right shoulder.

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You get two portraits with this figure, one masked and one unmasked and swapping them is as easy as popping them on and off the ball joint. The masked head shares all the impressive detail of the figure’s body. There are a few minor paint issues, like a bit of blue slop on his right ear and a little rubbing to the silver A on his helmet, but nothing too bad. The alternate unmasked portrait is also an excellent sculpt, although the Evans likeness isn’t quite all the way there. Close, but not quite. Still, I’d say it works pretty damn fine for a comic inspired Steve Rogers.

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The articulation here is about what I’ve come to expect from this line. The neck features both a ball joint and hinge, the torso has an ab-crunch hinge, and Cap can swivel at the waist. The arms have ball jointed shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double-hinged elbows, and his wrists have swivels and hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, swivels again at the tops of the boots, and the ankles have hinges and rockers. Not bad at all. Cap is a sturdy and well balanced figure and when you couple that with the great articulation, you get a figure that is lots of fun to play around with.

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While Cap comes with two fists attached, you also get an extra pair of hands. The right hand has the fingers straight out as if he’s either saluting or about to karate chop an unsuspecting Hydra agent. The left hand has a pointing finger so he can direct the Howling Commandos on where to attack next. What’s missing? A hand capable of clutching his shield would have been nice, perhaps instead of the right fist.

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Speaking of his shield, Cap comes with his stealth shield, which nixes the red and dulls the silver giving it a somewhat darker appearance. This is a repaint of the same shield issued with the old First Avenger 6-inch Cap, a figure which was also repacked into this wave. That’s good and bad. I do really like the realistic straps on the reverse side and the way they fit the figure’s arm, however, there’s no way that the figure can wear it on his back. Anytime a Cap figure can’t wear his shield on his back, it seems like a fundamental design oversight to me.

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This new line of Legends has an MSRP of $20 in many stores and that’s not too bad considering the extra head and hands, not to mention the BAF Mandroid right leg. but the prices online have been fluctuating like crazy. I’ve seen this version of Cap going for as much as $25, but I was able to get him when he dipped down to $17.99. I’m certainly content with that. He really is an excellent figure and my guess is he’ll spend at least a couple of days on my desk so I can fiddle about with him before finally relegating him to one of my Marvel Legends shelves.

Quake II: Strogg Tank by Resaurus

I know! I haven’t been doing a lot of Saturday features lately, but the truth is I’m getting really behind on the stuff I need to cover, so I decided to stake out a couple of Saturdays for some of the older stuff I’ve got sitting in the hopper. I even heard a rumor that Vintage Vault may be returning next month!

Today we’re revisiting one of the little companies that spearheaded the partnership between video game and collectible action figures: Resaurus! I’m also celebrating the fact that I have finally completed my Quake II collection. Or is that re-completed? Because more than three years ago I reclaimed my Quake II figures from a storage tote to feature them here on FFZ only to have the Strogg Tank take a nose dive off the table and shatter at one of the joints. Holy shit, I was pissed! I took all the care in the world to lovingly pack these figures away where they rested safely in storage for years. Then, the one day I take them out the best piece out of the collection bites the dust. It’s taken me a while to finally replace him, but I got a great deal on him last week from a fellow collector.

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And yes, he was still in the package! Granted, the package has seen better days. The bubble is dented, the card is bent, but I don’t care because this guy is coming out. Part of the damage is because he got shipped to me in a mailer bag, but to be fair, this guy is so freaking heavy that it’s hard to find him on a card that isn’t heavily shopworn. The front of the card lets the toy speak for itself, whereas the back shows off some of the other figures in the line. Resaurus’ packaging was never their strong suit, but their figures kicked ass, so let’s get this guy out and ready for action…

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The Strogg Tank lives up to his name as he is an absolute beast of a figure, which is fitting because he was an absolute f’cker in the game. He stands about a head taller than Iron Maiden and he’s one bulky hunk of plastic. But as heavy as he is, I think his most impressive feature is the attention to detail that Resaurus poured into him. Unlike the other Stroggs, there aren’t a lot of organics left to this guy. I’m not sure how much of the body is suit or just robot, but the only exposed living tissue is his squishy lump of flesh that passes for his head. And even that has seen better days as he’s missing one of his eyes. It’s no surprise that he looks pissed and the only way he knows how to express his emotions is by firing rockets at people. Luckily he happens to have a rocket launcher mounted on his right shoulder.

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From the neck down this guy is mostly comprised of gears, pistons, cables, and killing hardware. It’s a very busy sculpt that takes every opportunity to show off weathering and damage. One of my favorite examples of this is the prominent crater blown into the left part of his chest armor. It shows exposed wires and mechanics and it contrasts so well with the intact right portion that proudly bares his Strogg emblem. I also love the real springs in the pistons that attach his feet to his legs. That looks amazing, but as we’ll see in a moment, it wasn’t the most clever of design choices. Luckily the paintwork here has the chops to back up such a detailed sculpt. The military matte looks like real metal and the silver dry brushing that shows scraped paint and distress looks phenominal. I think the reason this guy looks so formidable is because he’s taken such a beating and is still standing there trying to kill you. The Strogg Tank just doesn’t give a shit!

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Another very cool detail on the Tank is the set of exposed gears, which can be seen through the holes blown into his left leg armor. Even better, you can remove the panel and get a better look. And I’ll go you one further… the gears actually turn when you articulate the leg. So cool!

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The Tank features fairly basic articulation, but it works for a guy who generally needs to just stomp around and shoot at you. His arms rotate at the shoulders and are hinged at the elbows. His legs rotate at the hips, are hinged at the knees, and hinged again at the ankles. His head turns and when it does the rocket launcher turns with it, so he can aim it just by looking. The launcher does fire, but the three rockets are all molded as one piece. Also, the head snaps back to the front whenever you let it go. I presume that’s a result of the mechanism that ties in with the launcher.

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So, here’s the huge design flaw in this figure. Each of the ankles is attached to the legs by two relatively small cylinders. They’re the ones with the springs around them. These four cylinders are the only things holding that massive figure up. These are load bearing cylinders and they are in no way up to the task. Not only are they not thick enough to support this figure’s weight, but they are made of pretty brittle plastic that isn’t getting any stronger with age. These are what broke on my initial Tank when he fell off the shelf and the ones on this figure are already getting stress marks like they’re going to pop. There’s just no way this design was ever going to stand the test of time and I fully expect to have to replace this figure yet again sooner or later.

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And that wraps up my look at Resaurus’ Quake II line. It was long overdue, as I featured the rest of this line all the way back in April of 2010. If you like what you’ve seen, be sure and check out my features on the rest of the figures. I absolutely adore this line, not only because they’re so much fun, but because they take me back to that really cool time when Resaurus had built up a little community of collectors around their website and the worlds of video games and toys seemed to intersect so seamlessly. Like most of the Quake II line, the Strogg Tank is not a difficult figure to find. The asking price tends to be all over the place, but if you’re in the market for one you should be able to nab a carded example for between $20-30. When you consider the age of the figure as well as the craftsmanship that is not a bad deal at all. I tend to think if he were on the pegs today he’d end up being in the $40-50 range, but then these days the only company that comes to mind that would be capable of turning out a figure like this would be NECA. Just watch out for those damn pistons and try to keep him from taking a shelf dive.

Doctor Who: The Other Doctor by Character Options

The Day of the Doctor was a HUGE deal for me. Not only did it celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a show that I’ve been watching since I was about 12, but I also got to see it in a packed theater surrounded by kindred fans. It was a magical experience and one that I never in a million years could have guessed would come to pass back when I was just a wee lad crouched in my room in front of my shitty wood grain B&W television and fidgeting with a rabbit ear antenna. DotD also showcased the show’s ridiculous resiliency. Want to gather the last three Doctors but Christopher Eccleston is being a turd about it? Not a problem. We just upgrade to the brilliant John Hurt and fill in the blanks in a way we never would have guessed but still worked perfectly. I expected it to be a celebration of Tennant and Smith, but who could have guessed that Hurt would step into the role like he had been part of it all along? Of course like all good geeks, once the excitement of the thing had passed and once I’d watched it a dozen times, I lamented the fact that there would never be a War Doctor to stand among my 5-inch figures. Thankfully, Character Options did the right thing and brought the NuWho 5-inch line out of retirement to give us collectors what we wanted.

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The package is unlike anything we’ve seen for the 5-inch line, although the oblong plastic tube does bear a slight resemblance to the packages used for the Sarah Jane Adventures figures. It’s clear all around with a printed insert that reflects the show’s logo in beautiful foil lettering with a silver “50 Year” TARDIS emblem to boot. The package shows off the figure and accessories and the inner tray is set upon an illustrated backdrop of The Moment, the last of the forbidden weapons locked away in the Arsenal of Omega. Up until this story, I always assumed it was the Eighth Doctor who fought the Time War, but now we know different. My only gripe about the packaging is a small one. It identifies the figure as the “Other Doctor” while I vastly prefer the moniker of “War Doctor.” Still, maybe it’s a clever nod to the redemption the Hurt Doctor receives by the end of the story.  Let’s take a look at the figure.

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After suffering through a couple waves of the pretty shitty 3 ¾” figures, seeing CO work their magic in the 5-inch scale again is like a breath of fresh air. The War Doctor is absolutely stunning in every detail and it makes me weep even harder for the death of this line. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I love this character design so much. The Doctor dons his battle-worn coat, bandolier strap, scarf, and knee-high spats. He looks rugged and war-torn, threadbare and hardened. The coat is the usual soft plastic “vest” laid onto the figure with the arms sculpted as sleeves and it looks magnificent, largely thanks to the dry brushing that gives it that weathered look. Beneath it you can see the painted chain of his pocket watch and the silver plating of his bandolier. They even bothered to paint and sculpt the haphazard buttoning down the sides of his spats. Brilliant!

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More often than not CO succeeds with their portraits, and this Doctor is no exception. Hurt’s grizzled likeness is wonderfully recreated here with a solemn look as if he’s about to scold his future selves about their idiotic brandishing of their sonic screwdrivers. I think this portrait is among their best work. Even his eccentric peaked hairstyle looks perfect.

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It’s somewhat ironic that while having been the oldest person to play the role, Hurt’s figure is among the most articulated of all the Doctor figures we’ve seen so far. The arms feature the elusive ball joints that have only appeared on a handful of the 5-inch Doctors. There are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are hinged at the hips to allow for lateral movement, have hinged knees, and swivels at the boot tops. The Doctor can swivel at the waist and at the neck.

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The Doctor comes with two accessories. First, you get the sonic screwdriver, which should be obvious, but considering the last 10th Doctor figure I bought didn’t have one, I suppose it’s a welcome treat. It’s not much to get excited about, but it does appear to be a new sculpt and he can hold it in either hand.

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But best of all, you get The Moment, which looks like a Gallifreyan Hellraiser cube. I loved the design of this thing in the show and CO did a fine job recreating it here. Sure, it’s just a plastic box, but there’s plenty of detail and paintwork including gears and Gallifreyan writing. It’s a beautiful little piece of clockwork engineering and the next best thing to getting a Billie Piper Moment figure bundled in.

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And then there’s the inexplicable inclusion of the extra Paul McGann head. Swapping heads to make regeneration figures has been an old trick for CO, but this one just makes no sense. When McGann regenerated in Night of the Doctor the only common piece of his outfit was the bandolier strap he took off Cass’ body. So putting a McGann head on this figure doesn’t work as a regeneration figure. What’s more, when Sylvester McCoy regenerated into McGann he was wasn’t wearing anything so you can’t even pop the head onto a McCoy figure with any degree of reason. Why’s it here? I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt the figure, so who cares!

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I was hoping CO would surprise us with something for the 50th Anniversary and in the end they did. In fairness I was banking on a Classic TARDIS Console Playset and obviously that didn’t pan out. The War Doctor isn’t nearly as grandiose, but he’s a welcome treat all the same. Of course, with the NuWho 5-inch line still dead, he’s also a bit of a tease. Does this mean that we can hope to see CO make some special exceptions in the future? Does it mean we can hope for a 5-inch Capaldi Doctor? Well, if anything this release shows us that anything is possible. And that’s appropriate, because in Doctor Who anything is indeed possible!

Transformers Armada: Optimus Prime with Overrun by Hasbro

Last week on Transformers Thursday I looked at a Deluxe Prime toy that left me less than enthused. I hate ragging on Transformers, so I thought this week I’d dig out one of my favorite Deluxe treatments of the character. He hails from the Armada line and while he was a huge departure from the G1 Prime we knew, I fell in love with this toy the first time Hasbro leaked the official pictures. If you haven’t already heard me gas on about Armada, the line holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Sure, I got back into collecting Transformers with Robots in Disguise, but that line always felt like a cobbled together mess. When Armada rolled out it felt like a real cohesive toyline and I was all over it. While I do still have a bunch of Deluxe Armada figures Mint on Card, Prime isn’t one of them, so let’s jump right in and start with his alt mode.

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As a red and blue semi-cab, Prime still honors his most iconic alt mode, but there’s enough of a futuristic bent to this new design that makes it totally distinctive. With the way the hood hunches up and the front fenders flare out, this truck looks like it would be at just as at home driving the metal freeways of Iacon City as it would the pavement of Earth. Back then we didn’t have an actual Cybertronian Prime, and this figure worked well as a stand in. The low and wide profile, chunky grill and ramming bar also makes it look like a powerful and rugged vehicle that’s ready for battle. The coloring here is firmly rooted in Prime’s past, using a very pleasing combination of red, blue, and grey plastic. With the exception of the silver painted windshield and some gold, the truck mode shows its paint apps rather sparingly, but it’s still a great looking deco. In terms of reinventions go, I just love this design.

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Of course, like most Armada figures, Prime comes with a Minicon buddy and in this case, it’s Overrun, a little silver jet. The jet mode looks pretty good, and he even has a teeny tiny flip down front landing gear. He is, however, a little bland and I think some extra paint operations would have gone a long way to make him more striking. His robot mode is alright for a Minicon, but I can’t help but think it could have been a homerun if they had managed to fold the nose down flush with his chest instead of having it stick straight out. My last gripe with this guy is that his connection port is on top, which makes attaching him to Prime in vehicle mode a little awkward. How cool would have been if he could just sit on Prime’s hitch and launch off the back, especially since Prime isn’t using that hitch for anything else.

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And then there’s the robot mode, and oh my, this is an interesting design. Like his alt mode, this looks like a Prime that is ready to charge into battle. Gone are the windshields on his chest and in their place is that beefy grill that he wears like a slab of armor. He’s got the shoulders of a linebacker, giant wheels studding his legs, and his exhaust pipes become dual arm-mounted guns. This is clearly a version of Prime that you don’t mess with. It’s a totally new look for the leader of the Autobots and it totally works for me. On the other hand, Prime purists should be very happy with the very familiar head sculpt, which is possibly one of my favorite portraits of the character in this size class. Whoever designed this guy gets my sincerest compliments.

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That’s not to say this figure doesn’t have a few problems. First and foremost, those exhaust pipes pop off at the drop of a hat. The fact that I still have them is just pure luck, as I’ve recovered them from rattling around in the bottom of a tote plenty of times. At least they aren’t clear like the ones on the bigger version of this figure. Next up, his forearms do not like to stay in the right position and tend to slide out over his fists when playing around with him. And speaking of playing around with him, the articulation on this guy is a little rough. It’s not that the points aren’t there, but rather a lot of the sculpt is at odds with good poseability. It’s like a guy in a suit of armor trying to do gymnastics.

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There’s nothing I love more than Targetmaster-style Minicons, and Overrun can indeed transform into a gun for Prime to wield in either hand. As for as tertiary gun modes go this Overrun’s isn’t too bad. That’s a good thing because the Minicon gimmick on this figure sucks. You plug Overrun into the post on Prime’s back and it creates this horribly lame punching gimmick. It really is dreadful and best forgotten.

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And yet I love this figure even with its blemishes, mainly because he just looks so bad ass on the shelf. When you have an iconic character like Optimus Prime, messing around with his look is a huge gamble, especially when you’re trying to re-launch the franchise. This new Prime was a bold move on Hasbro’s part and I think it paid off in spades. This is an Optimus Prime that looks like he’s built for combat and it’s a refreshing change. Of course, there was also a larger version of this figure that came with his trailer, but I still prefer this Deluxe version for reasons I’ll get into when I finally get around to covering the big guy.