Transformers Combiner Wars: Offroad by Hasbro

It’s Thursday again, and that means I get to open up a new Transformer and yup, it’s another Stunticon! I’ve been pretty happy with these guy so far and now I’ve only got two left to open before I can cobble them all together into Menasor. Which Stunticon is it going to be today? Why, Offroad of course! Ah, Offroad. As a kid he was my very favorite of all the… HEY! Wait a minute… who the hell is Offroad? Yes, friends, just like the Aerialbots had their very own imposter in the form of a helicopter named Alpha Bravo, the Stunticons that I know and love have their own ringer and he’s a Pick Up Truck named Offroad. Where the Primus is Wildrider? He’s supposedly still coming. In the meantime, Offroad arrives on the scene with a mold that can be better refashioned into members of other combiner teams. This displeased me up until I found out that we’d still be getting Wildrider, so let me take in a breath of tolerance and see what this guy’s all about.

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Offroad comes packaged in his robot mode with his weapon and combiner part beside him, all plastered in front of a lovely free comic book. At least the back of the package has a blurb about Offroad that admits he’s the newest member of the team, not like some Poochie that they tried to retcon in without thinking we would know about it. But hey, he’s a Decepticon car and by my very nature I love Decepticon cars. That philosophy hasn’t failed me since Hasbro decided to repaint Armada Sideswipe into Oil Slick. *shudder* Anyway, this is case where my outlook is still fairly optimistic. Let’s start with his alt mode.

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This is certainly not a bad looking little truck. The detail in the front grill, headlights, and bumper is pretty good and I really like the wheels. It’s also worth mentioning that with his charcoal colored body and red painted windows, Hasbro did their best to give him G1 Wildrider’s colors. Hell, he even sports the same off center Decepticon logo on his hood. Still, Offroad manages to bust out on his own a bit with those red color splashes on his doors. The alt mode holds together quite tightly and rolls along great.

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Offroad features no less than four ports to peg in his weapon, two on the sides and two on the truck bed, but considering he comes with an axe, none of them do all that much in terms of weaponizing him. I guess the axe shaft kind of looks like an exhaust pipe, but given the positions of the peg holes, that doesn’t help much. There’s also a tab so you can attach the combiner part, which doesn’t look as great as it did with Breakdown, but I can still get behind it.

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Transforming Offroad is about as simple as it gets for a Deluxe Class toy. The only real clever thing here is the way his legs extend outward. Otherwise, the arms pulling out from the sides and the bed of the truck becoming the legs is pretty standard stuff. He is a little mis-transformed in the package as his backpack does drop down a little bit to put the wheels right on the back of his shoulders. Looking at him from behind doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

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While Hasbro tried to pay respects to Wildrider with Offroad’s coloring in car mode, the robot mode abandons any further homages. Still, this is a pretty solid robot mode. The exposed combiner port on his chest doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it does on Dragstrip and he’s got some neat things going for him. The car door armor on his shoulders is well placed and I really dig the sculpted and painted springs on his lower legs. The backpack also feels more natural than Breakdowns does, despite it being clearly visible from the front. It gives me a little bit of a Huffer or Pipes vibe the way it forms a hood.

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And then there’s the head sculpt, which on its own merits is quite good, but it still feels out of place to me on one of these figures. It doesn’t shout Stunticon to me and I’m not a big fan of the green painted face, despite the fact that the sculpt of that face is quite good. Every time I look at this noggin I feel like I’m looking at a Cybertron figure. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but again, it just seems strange on a Combiner Wars figure in 2015. Of course, this could all just be the booze talking. I’m on my third Maker’s Mark since I started writing.

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Articulation on these figures has been pretty good and Offroad is no exception. You get ball joints in the shoulders and some oddly strong ratcheting hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and feature hinges in the knees and swivels in the thighs. The neck is ball jointed and you do get a swivel in the hip. Offroad is not super-articulated by any means, but he is just limber enough to make him fun to play around with.

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Offroad comes with an axe, which I find to be rather disappointing because I tend to like at least one gun with my Convertobots. I suppose I could have him hold the combiner part as some kind of quad-barreled gun, but that just doesn’t do it for me.

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Call me a foolish old GeeWunner, but I think I would have liked Offroad more if he weren’t masquerading as one of my beloved Stunticons. There is nothing inherently bad about this figure and I have a feeling I’ll warm up to him a little more once I get a proper Combiner Wars Wildrider to replace him. That having been said, this team is shaping up pretty nicely and I have only one more to open before I can get my combining thang on. I’ll  also note here that I totally approve of what I’ve seen of the way Hasbro has resculpted and repainted this figure to be First Aid, so there’s another reason that Offroad does not deserve my scorn. He’s not my favorite of the Stunticons so far, but he ain’t bad either!

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Masters of the Universe Classics: Angella by Mattel

April is almost over and I’m getting in just before the end to feature this month’s Club Eternia subscription figure, Angella. Sadly, the other big item released for April was the 3-pack of Hover Robots, which were available only through Early Access the day before the regular sale. I say “sadly” because I really wanted these and I was tied up in a meeting at work and as much as I tried, I couldn’t even get five minutes on my phone to place the order. Naturally they sold out fast and are now selling for around $100 through scalpers secondary sources. I seriously don’t get why Mattel can’t include stuff like this in with the subscriptions. THE SUBSCRIBERS ARE THE ONES YOU SHOULD BE REWARDING! But then my Early Access would have netted me a set if only I wasn’t busy working so I could make disposable income to spend on toys. Wait… so what figure were we talking about again? Oh yeah… Angella. angla1 Angella is another one of them “Princess of Power” figures and it says so with a sticker right on the bubble. Mattel has been stacking the decks with the PoP releases lately and I have absolutely no problem with that. If there’s one thing about MOTUC that even the detractors have to admit its that this line delivers on female characters better than almost any other major action figure line out there. While poor Black Widow has to struggle to get any representation on the pegs, Matty leans back and says, “here have another chick from Etheria!” and then lights his cigar with a fifty dollar bill taken directly out of my wallet”. I know next to nothing about Angella (other than Glimmer is her daughter), but her tagline calls her the “Angelic Winged Guide.” The back of the package goes one step further and says she’s “The Queen Regent of Brightmoon.” The bio isn’t doing much for me here, so I guess I’ve got to go see her in an episode. BRB! angla2 Hoo boy! So I went with a painful little ditty called “Micah of Brightmoon” based on the good council that Angella was in it. It starts off with a guy in a spaceship escaping Red Squadron by jumping to light speed. Um? Did I pass out and wake up in a Star Wars Black review? It goes downhill from there with Glimmer imaginary dancing with her missing father right off the end of a cliff. She-Ra has to save her, which is about the only thing She-Ra does in this whole episode! Next we flip to a mother and daughter reunion (sans Paul Simon) between Queen Angella and Glimmer with a whole lot of reminiscing about King Micah who went off to fight The Horde and got captured. Nobody seems to be straining too hard to find him, but that’s OK because it turns out he’s the dude in the spaceship from the beginning (SPOILERS!!!) and conveniently flies overhead in full sight of She-Ra and with Hordak tracking him. At this point we get the best lines in the episode, “Does he have to use his tongue to push the buttons?” “Tung Lasher, how many times must I tell you no tongues on the equipment!” LOL! Micah gets captured by Harpies, who have the most grating voices ever (and for a Filmation production, that’s really saying something!) and inexplicably She-Ra lets Angella fly off to rescue him alone while she chills at the palace with Glimmer. Eventually Glimmer convinces She-Ra to go along too, they free the King and Queen, She-Ra gives her sword to Angella so she can fight the Harpies for her and only gets off her duff to do some dirty fighting by throwing a cloak over her when her back is turned. All is well and Micah says he’s going back to fight the Horde, probably because he has another wife somewhere on Horde World. That last nugget is my own assertion. Phew… enough Filmation Torture, let’s look at the figure. angla5 angla4 Here she is and she looks pretty great. Angella comes donning a pink and purple outfit with sculpted shoulders and a collar. I have to be honest and say that some of these PoP outfits are really starting to blur together for me. There’s only so many variations you can do on a top, skirt, tights, bracers, and boots. But that’s OK, because Angella is all about her magnificent set of wings. If you never collected Mattel’s other big line, DC Universe Classics, then you may miss that these are actually parts recycled from DCUC Hawkgirl. Is this the first instance of Mattel raiding the DCUC cupboard for MOTUC? Probably not, but it’s the only one I can think of off hand. Gripe if you must, but it’s a great repurposing of those wings and they look fantastic on the figure. Just like on Hawkgirl, they are attached to her back with a hinge and while it looks pretty mechanical, rather than organic it does allow the wings to be angled all the way back or face all th way front. Each wing is also hinged at the top so they can be spread out. The wings feature the same great, detailed feather sculpt and have a new coat of paint giving them a pearlescent white-blue look. angla10 Angella’s portrait is quite good, although with the high cheekbones it does suffer a bit from that “sameness” that I call out when I’m looking at a lot of these PoP figures. It’s not really a critiicm but more of an observation. The paintwork is clean and her bobbed hairstyle gives her a lot more head articulation than many of the PoP ladies tend to have. angla13 Apart from the wing articulation, everything else here falls right into line with most of the Princess of Power gals. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, hinges at the elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees and ankles, and have swivels at the top of the thighs She can swivel at the waist and is ball jointed at the neck. angla9 angla8 angla14 angla15 The Queen of Brightmoon comes with two accessories. You get a short sword, which looks to me like a new design. It’s fairly simple and painted all in silver, but I tend to like generic looking swords so I’m happy to have it. Angella also comes with a translucent halo that pegs into the top of her wings hinge and hovers behind her head. It’s a nice homage to the vintage figure and pretty well executed too. I didn’t think I would bother with this piece, but I actually think I may wind up displaying her with it on. angla11 angla12 angla6 angla16 Angella is a solid figure and another great addition to my rapidly growing Princess of Power shelf. I’m not sure how popular she was or even if she sold out, but the nice thing about having a subscription is not having to worry about such things. Next month, we’ll be flipping back to the Eternian side of things with a figure that I’m really looking forward to: Blast Attak! The evil fighting robot of the Snake Men! YES!!!

Skeleton Warriors: Baron Dark (20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) by October Toys

The Summer of 2014 was all about Action Figure Kickstarters! OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but there were a handful of notable ones and I funded most of them. The first to pay off was Warpo’s Legends of Cthulhu and now comes October Toys’ love letter to Skeleton Warriors, a line of figures originally produced by Playmates Toys back in the mid 90’s. The toys (and short-lived cartoon) arrived smack in the middle of that oddball decade of my life where I was more interested in real life than toys, but I have since admired the Skeleton Warriors figures and I know it had a strong following. Looking back, I’m not sure what made me pledge this Kickstarter. I was terribly excited about Warpo’s Cthulhu figures and I’m still slobbering in anticipation of getting my Vertruvian HACKS figures from Boss Fight Studios, so the truth is I probably just got swept up in the excitement. I do remember it had a really cheap buy in, the figure looked good, and it was an easy “one and done” without a lot of Add Ons threatening to consume my monies. Obviously, the Kickstarter successfully reached its goal, but in reality it just squeaked through with about $5,000 over the goal and not meeting any of the stretch goals required for the Skeleton Guards or Soldiers, both of which were shown off in prototype form. Well, fast forward to now and I sort of forgot this guy was even coming until I got the shipping confirmation. Now that I have him in hand, I really wish all those other figures had been green lit from the start, but I’ll come back to that at the end.

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Baron Dark comes in a window box that takes a cue from the designs used by Hasbro for the Star Wars Black line or Funko’s Legacy Collection figures. It’s a handsome little package in a matte finish with the logo artwork on the front and the series tagline, “They’re Bad to the Bone” on the bottom. The side panel of the box is also lettered, which is something I’m constantly harping on Hasbro for not doing with their Black line. The back of the package has a great synopsis about the characte as well as the credit to all the talent who have helped make the figure possible. The figure itself comes in an enclosed plastic tray and the whole package is totally collector friendly. It’s attractive, informative and collector friendly? What more could you want? How about a great figure?

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Yup, you get that too! Baron Dark is a beautifully stylized and wonderfully faithful rendition of the character in what is declared to be 1/18th scale, so I’m guessing this guy is supposed to be bigger than your average skeleton, because he’s a fair deal bigger than a 4-inch figure but not quite 5-inch. The closest figure in my collection that I could match him up against would be a Figuarts. The sculpt here is absolutely amazing. The ribcage is fully defined with separate ribs and each of the bones features sculpted wear and crevices. Even each of the fingers and toes are intricately recreated. A highly effective paintwash brings out all this detail perfectly and the coloring of the bone itself is spot on. This guy is a little work of art!

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Dark’s outfit consists of some loose and ragged wrappings sculpted into his lower legs along with a pair of red sandals. He has purple bracelets and a purple sash, which are all sculpted as separate pieces and are removable if you take the figure apart. The cape, however, is the real stand out piece of the costume. It’s sculpted in red plastic and ragged and torn with shoulders made of of individually sculpted tiny skulls. The cape is also removable if you pop off Dark’s head and doing so lets you get a great view of all the detail that went into the spine and the back of the ribcage.

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Of course, nothing shows off how much wonderful sculpting went into this figure more than the head. The Skeleton Warriors character designs are so distinctive and October Toys really managed to convey that flavor in this portrait. From the bulging eyes to the fanged mouth, all the little cracks and fissures are present in the skull and his headdress looks amazing. He manages to be both goofy and frightening at the same time.

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Baron is loaded with articulation and because he’s built on the Glyos system, you can easily take the figure apart at any one of the joints. The bulk of the jointing consists of rotating hinges, which are found in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. The wrists have swivels and he can swivel at the waist in two different places. Lastly, the head is ball jointed. Picking this guy up is a dangerous affair, because once I start playing with him, he’s damn hard to put down.

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Baron Dark comes with his sword, which is cast in soft plastic but manages to resist warping and retain a straight blade. It’s got a vicious looking blade and little skulls adorning the hilt. Where does Dark get all those tiny skulls? Actually, nevermind. I don’t think I want to know. The sword can fit comfortably into either of Dark’s hands and the figure is agile enough to wield the sword two-handed.

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As part of my pledge level, my box also included some ephemera, specifically a great little color booklet about the Skeleton Warriors and this project, a beautiful art card, and a Titan Skeleton figure, which is the base body on which Baron Dark is built only with a more generic ribcage and skull and no sandals. It’s an unpainted figure, but still retains all the fun articulation of The Baron himself, and I would guess that customizers will going wild for something like this.

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I can’t even imagine the work that goes into doing a Kickstarter project like this, so I’m not going to second guess why this one didn’t do as well as some of the others from last Summer. But hey, raising $45k is no small feat! It was certainly a professional and well-organized proposal, so much so that I never doubted that the money I pledged would be going to something worthwhile. And yet I’ll admit that the final figure surpassed my expectations to the point that I really, really, REALLY hope that October Toys can get some more figures in this line. Because they’re Glyos compatible and use the same body, it seems like creating the troop builders of Soldiers and Guards wouldn’t be out of the question and I know I’d be in for a bundle of each. Word is that more figures will be coming and I can’t wait. If you weren’t in on the Kickstarter, but are interested in the figure and supporting the line, you can go grab him at October Toys website for $20 along with the Titan Skeleton or GITD Titan Skeleton for $10 each. I’m thinking of picking up a couple more Baron Dark’s just to show my support.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Hulk by Hasbro

What? You thought that just because I did a whole week of Marvel Legends last week that you’d be spared Marvel Monday? HA! Just for that I have a good mind to do another Marvel Week. I should, really, because Age of Ultron premiers this Friday here in the US and I am going to be pumped for it all week. But, I do have other stuff to look at so I’ll resist that urge. On the other hand, I can’t promise you won’t see the other Age of Ultron figures from The Thanos Wave appearing here on Friday and Saturday. Anywho, let’s move things along with a look at The Hulk!

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Here’s the obligatory package shot. I don’t have a lot new to say other than it’s impressive that Hasbro was able to cram him into a regular sized Legends box and include a BAF part to boot! The top of the package features the Avengers: Age of Ultron logo and the back has a shot of the figure and the usual little snippet about the character. I’ll confess I was really excited to get this figure because The Hulk is another one of those Walmart exclusive Avengers figures that I missed out on last time and I’ve sorely missed having a Legends Hulk in my collection. Of course, this is the Age of Ultron version, so I had to make some compromises. Let’s SMASH the packaging and see what he’s all about.

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So, it’s The Hulk. What could they possibly change in terms of design for the new movie? Well, that’s my one sticking minor sticking point here. At some point I guess they designed Bruce Banner some stretchy pants so he doesn’t have to go through all those pairs of torn purple trousers every time he changes. It makes sense, but it departs from The Hulk design that I know and love in a big, big way. I get it, that they’re trying to sell more action figures, but the new pants make me very glad I picked up The Hot Toys Hulk from the first movie and very sad I didn’t get the Legends Hulk from the first movie. Ah well.

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Everything else here in terms of sculpt is pretty damn great. I’m going to assume that a lot of this figure is reused from the first Avengers Hulk, which would make sense. The head sculpt is absolutely fantastic. From the broad nose to the gritting teeth, they did a wonderful job captured the Hulk’s likeness for this scale. There are some odd differences in the texturing on the rest of the body, which could tell a lot about Hasbo and their tendency for parts reuse. The torso is totally smooth, whereas there’s a lot of texturing and veins sculpted into the arms. Just for shits and giggles I grabbed my incomplete Ultimate Green Goblin BAF only to find that torso does indeed have some sculpted detail. Why not go with that torso? I’m not sure. Also, the upper legs are textured in line with his new trousers, whereas the bottom of the legs are textured like smooth skin. The part of the pants that extend below his knees are just painted there. No big deal, but worth mentioning.

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The articulation here is good on paper, but a little frustrating in practice. First, let’s run down all the points! You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, hips, and wrists. There are double hinges in the elbows and knees. You get swivels in the biceps and thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and some really generous lateral rockers. There is no swivel in the waist, which is a big disappointment, but there is a ball joint in the torso, which helps along with rotation. The head is ball jointed, but sadly there is no hinge, which means that if you put The Hulk in that typical ape-like hunch, you can’t really get him to look forward. Boo! Also, the legs feature a lot of movement, but for most of it, they like to go really wide, giving Hulk a rather uncharacteristic sumo wrestler vibe. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still loads of fun to play with, but there’s some things he just can’t do as well as I’d like.

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All gripes aside, Hulk is a great figure, but this is one case where I wish Hasbro had totally cheaped out and just repacked the Hulk from the first movie, especially since that original Hulk is selling for upward of $45 on Teh Ebays these days. Do a pair of pants really matter? Nah. Only when I over think it. The torn pants always represented the unpredictable and savage nature of The Hulk busting its way out of Bruce Banner and it’s certainly a trademark for the character. Giving Hulk a version of a uniform may make sense, but I never saw Hulk as the type to conform, much less allow anyone to brand him with a trademark (in this case, the Avengers “A”). The Thing might wear pants that match his team’s colors, but The Hulk? Really? And yes, I realize these are more creative issues I should be taking up with the movie (and I suppose even the Marvel NOW! comics) and not the figure, but in the end I’m not letting them ruin my enjoyment of either.

Marvel Legends: Agents of SHIELD 3-pack by Hasbro, Part 2

It’s Saturday, my vacation is almost over and that makes me a sad puppy. Hopefully playing with some new Marvel Legends can cheer me up until the dark din of Monday morning hits me and my mood is irrecoverable. Yesterday, I started looking at this Agents of SHIELD boxed set with Agent Phil Coulson and found him to be a fresh and new figure. Today we’re going to be looking at Nick Fury and Maria Hill and things are not going to be so fresh and new. Reuse of parts is common in these multiplacks and that’s going to become pretty apparent today with two recycled bodies. We’ve already seen the packaging, so let’s jump right in and start with Nick Fury.

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Before I get going, let me point out that this seems to be a repack of the Legends Fury originally issued as part of the Walmart exclusive Captain America: The First Avenger line. I never saw those figures on the pegs, so I’m coming at this like a new release, or at least new to me. I like this figure, I like it a lot. I think it looks fantastic on its own. But it sure is hard not to look at it and see a head pop-and-swap from the Red Skull a few waves back because that’s almost exactly what this figure is. The only stand out difference is the coat and pants going from grey to black. Does it work as Fury? Absolutely! I think it works better as Fury than the Red Skull. Is it annoying that I can’t unsee it? You betcha! Especially so when the two figures are likely only going to be a shelf apart in my display case. It’s also the same basic body we saw with The Punisher, and that coat was not only previously used for Red Skull and The Punisher, but Fantomex as well (and did that “Marvel Knights” Blade figure ever actually come out? If so, there’s another!). But hey, I absolutely love this coat. It’s wonderfully textured and looks fantastic and next to Frank Castle, I think Fury is the best use of it.

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I’m also very fond of the aesthetics of this particular body. Again, there’s a ton of little detail work on the texturing of the pants and shirt. The sculpted and functional holster on the leg looks great and Fury makes use of the extra holster in the shoulder rig that was used with Red Skull. For a line that makes a lot of use of generic bucks and painted costumes, I can appreciate the sculpted detail here. The boots are painted glossy black to stand out from the rest of the black and there’s some fine silver paintwork on the buckles and snaps.

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The head sculpt rounds out the package quite nicely. It’s a great likeness for Samuel Jackson, at least in this scale and price range and when you put the whole thing together, I think this figure really captures the character beautifully.

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Now, you may have noted that I commented on how I like the aesthetics of this body, well the articulation is another matter. All the points are there, but the way the shoulders and hips work can be rather annoying. The arms can’t really be put down at his sides, so you’re mostly relegated to action poses. The hips can do a little better, but you really have to fiddle with those ball joints a lot and even so, this figure is really tough to stand on his own.

Fury comes with a pair of automatic pistols, which are nicely scaled (particularly when compared to Red Skull’s obnoxiously large red sidearm). They feature decent sculpts and even some blue paint apps, which makes them a little SHIELD-y to me. They fit nicely in both holsters, but unfortunately, Fury only has one hand that’s really designed to hold a gun, but that’s OK, because I can hand one off to Maria Hill. And that brings us to…

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Yes, Agent Hill is also a mostly recycled body, in this case taken from the recent Winter Soldier version of Black Widow. Again, it’s a logical bit of reuse, and in this case the body has received an entirely new repaint (blue) to make it a somewhat more distinctive figure. There are also some less added silver paint apps to the fixtures of her gear, as well as the absence of Widow’s trademark emblem on the tummy, that help separate the two. On the downside, reuse of this body means that you also get the holsters with the guns permanently sculpted into them. Still, even with its flaws, I really like that Black Widow figure and this one works a little better because I’m pretty sure that that Cobie Smulders is taller than Scarlett Johansson and this figure is pretty tall when compared to Fury or even the STRIKE Suit Cap. Ironically, Widow’s hair still makes her a smidge taller than Hill.

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Speaking of actresses, the likeness on Agent Hill is certainly passable. I don’t think it photographs all that well, but in person it’s quite good. I’m not sure I could randomly identify the head if it were given to me, but in the context of the uniform, it’s pretty easy for me to recognize who it’s supposed to be. She even has her trademark ear piece.

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Hill doesn’t come with any accessories, but as I mentioned before I believe I’ll be handing off one of Fury’s guns to her. Her right hand is sculpted to hold these guns perfectly. The left hand is sculpted into a fist, which unfortunately looks more like a ham painted in a flesh tone.

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Like I said in the opener, these sets are usually all about parts recycling, so that’s something to keep in mind. Companies like Hasbro and Mattel recycling bodies doesn’t bother me, especially if it helps us get figures that otherwise might not be in the budget and certainly not when its used to this good effect. As far as I’m concerned, every one of these figures would have been a worthy purchase on their own so grabbing all three for fifty bucks feels like a pretty good deal. Certainly good enough that I didn’t hesitate to buy it when I saw it, whereas I waited until deep clearance to buy Hasbro’s last Legends 3-pack.

Marvel Legends: Agents of SHIELD 3-pack by Hasbro, Part 1

Well, I hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s little break from Marvel Legends Week, because today it’s back to business, this time with the Agents of SHIELD 3-pack. This Toys R Us exclusive features Agent Phil Coulson, Agent Maria Hill, and Nick Fury himself. These are, of course, all versions based on the Marvel MovieVerse, which is appropriate as we are just one week away from the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and I couldn’t be more psyched. In the wake of watching the amazing Daredevil series on Netflex, I actually thought I’d give the Agents of SHIELD series a second go, but I find myself still having to push myself to complete an episode, so I’m not sure how long I’ll last this time.

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Much like that far more questionable Captain America, Radioactive Man, Ms Marvel set that I featured a couple of weeks back, these figures come in an elongated window box showing off the goods. It’s totally collector friendly as all you need do is open up one of the flaps and slide out the tray. I thought this set was going to be impossible to get a hold of, but it turned up on TRU’s website fairly quickly and surprisingly enough did not sell out immediately. Quite the contrary, it shortly went on sale. Today I’m going to check out the packaging and Agent Coulson and tomorrow I’ll swing back around to look at Fury and Hill.

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Agent Coulson was a great choice for the Marvel Legends series as he’s been one of those common threads trailing along through the films from the beginning. Coulson comes sporting a brand new suited body, which I hear tell was actually created for the up and coming Chameleon figure and yet somehow managed to land on the shelves first here on Coulton. It features the usual vest-style of jacket with the arms sculpted to look like sleeves. The tie is also a separate piece and features a crisp blue and silver diagonal stripe. The paintwork is rounded out with some sharp silver paint on the belt buckle and glossy black for the shoes. I think they could have done a better job matching the black on the sleeves and jacket, but otherwise this body is a really nice piece of work and I can imagine there’s a lot of potential for Hasbro to repurpose it quite a bit. Just think of how much mileage Mattel got out of some of their DCUC suited bodies, eh?

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You get two different heads with Coulson, one with sunglasses and one without. The regular head is a fairly good portrait. It’s a little stylized, but I’m pretty sure I could have recognized it as Clark Gregg if I didn’t already know who it was supposed to be. The features are quite well definied and he has a little bit of a smile. The other portrait is possibly even a little closer in likeness. The sunglasses are very neatly painted and this one features a more serious expression. Hasbro rarely has to deal with real actor likenesses in the Legends line, but it’s nice to see they can do it right when they have to.

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As for articulation, The Son of Coul is a surprisingly agile figure. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles are hinged with lateral rockers. Phil has a swivel in the waist, a ball joint in the torso, and both a hinge and balljoint at the neck. For a guy in a suit, Coulson is all sorts of limber.

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Besides the extra noggin, Phil comes with the weapon he briefly wielded in the first Avengers movie. It’s the one that SHIELD retro-engineered from The Destroyer technology and the one he shot Loki with. It’s a big gun with some really intricate sculpting and a little orange paint on the barrel. He can hold it comfortably in both hands.

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Oftentimes these Marvel multipacks, whether they be Legends or Universe, feel like quick cash grabs with thrown together figures, but that’s definitely not the case with Agent Coulson. I would have been totally happy to buy this guy off the peg for the usual $20. He’s an excellent figure and feels fresh and new. The likeness is good, the articulation is great, and the extra head and the weapon just sweeten the pot. We’re off to a great start with this set, so join me tomorrow and I’ll be back to look at Nick Fury and Maria Hill.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Breakdown by Hasbro

If you follow the day-by-day doings here at FFZ, then you know I’m in the middle of a Marvel Legends Week, but I’m still going to observe the tradition that is Transformers Thursday around these parts. Afterall, I’ve got me some Stunticons to look at!!! A couple of weeks back I looked at Dragstrip and today we’re pressing on with Breakdown.

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Once again, I’m so happy to see that Hasbro is carrying the Comic Packs over to this new line. Sure, I still prefer the packaging deco used for Generations, but when you toss me a free funnybook, I’m libel to forget all about superficial things like what the package that I’m about to throw away looks like. Breakdown comes packaged in his robot mode, but as you’ve probably already guessed, I’m starting out with his alt mode.

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Just like the good ol’days, Breakdown is an off-white Lambourghini and a fairly good one too. There are the inevitable seams running around the body of the car and some of those gaps never seem to close up as much as I’d like no matter how much I fiddle with it, but all in all I’m pretty pleased with what we got here. The black paint on the windows looks great, as does the red on the hood with the Decepticon emblem prominantly displayed. I love me my Decepticon cars and I love them more when they proudly advertise what they are. Breakdown also sports some blue striping on the lower edge of his sides and there’s some silver paint for the lights and part of the front bumper. I could have probably done without the “15RACING” printed on the windshield, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me.

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Unlike the other two Combiner Wars Deluxes that I looked at, Breakdown actually makes great use of his combiner part in alt mode. It pegs just behind the spoiler and creates an external engine thingy that does a good job of mimicking the cannon that pegged into the original toy. Or if you prefer, you can leave that off and just plug Breakdown’s weapon into the roof. Either way, if you like weaponizing your cars, you have options!

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Breakdown’s transformation has a few neat things going on. I like the way the legs fold out and the way the chest plate folds under to form the front bumper is pretty cool. Unfortunately, the result is a robot mode that has some issues. You should note that he comes mis-transformed in the package, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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Let’s start with the good stuff! Breakdown is among the minority of the CW Deluxes that doesn’t show their combiner port as part of their chest and I like that. The plate that covers it up is nicely sculpted and the blue and silver paint look really good on him. The tiny off-center Decepticon emblem is a tad disappointing, but even still I like the makeup of this guy’s torso. Also well worthy of praise is that head sculpt, which I think actually outshines the one Fansproject used for their own Not-Breakdown. The squared off “helmet” and red face really sell the character to me. Good stuff!

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Alas, that brings us to the not so good stuff. Those legs, for starters, are pretty rough. The lower legs are way too bulky and having that much hollow space on display doesn’t work for me. It makes him look stocky. I’ll admit it’s actually falls in line with the original G1 toy design, but I’d rather have more of a Sunbow aesthetic with my Generations figures. Is it just my personal preference? Sure, but that’s what these reviews are all about. The arms also seem rather flimsy to me, especially in relation to the boxy chest and bulky lower legs.

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Lastly, there’s the backpack. I’ll concede that it tucks away nicely enough so that it’s all but invisible from the front and that’s something that fixes a major concern I had when viewing the figure in the package where it’s flipped up and visible from the front. On the other hand, it still looks rather bulky from the side or behind. And, so long as I’m getting crazy nit-picky here, it sure would have been cool if the whole thing could have been raised just a bit to put those wheels on his shoulders like the G1 design.

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Breakdown comes with a cool weapon that can double as either a rifle with a bayonet or a sword. It’s a great design made all the better because Hasbro coughed up the cash for a silver paint app on the blade.

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If you absolutely want to get that combiner part stowed away on Breakdown, you can peg it into his back. It does add a lot more bulk to what is an already rather unsightly backpack, but it works better for me than the way awkwardly Dragstrip’s pegged onto his shoulder. Either way it’s a moot point for me because I’m perfectly happy leaving the combiner parts separate from the figure when they’re not in use.

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I picked Breakdown to go first because I honestly thought I was not going to like this figure at all and I wanted to get the bad out of the way. Surprisingly, even with all my many gripes, that’s not at all the case and I actually find myself liking him quite a bit. He’s not at all a bad Transformer, but he does strike me as being rather dated. The issues I have him with him feel like issues I would have if I were looking at a figure from the Unicron Trilogy era, particularly those hollow legs and the backpack. That having been said, there’s still plenty to love here and I do believe I can overcome the rough spots and embrace this guy as my Generations Breakdown.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Batroc the Leaper by Hasbro

With the last wave of Marvel Legends behind me, it’s time to jump right into the most recent assortment… The Thanos Wave! This one is split between three straight up comic characters and three figures form the Age of Ultron movie. I’m probably going to get into the Avengers 2 figures next week, what with the movie coming out, so I thought I’d start with something from the comic side of the fence and you can’t get more comic than Batroc. Yes, folks, you know it’s a miraculous time to be a comic book fan and toy collector when you can walk into a Target or Walmart and buy a Batroc the Leaper right off the peg. Holy shit, whoever thought this would be possible!

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There’s not much new to be said about the packaing. You get the now standard window box with the Marvel logo up top and Batroc’s name down the bottom. The back of the package has a single sentence about Batroc, which is fine because I would imagine that if you don’t happen to already know who he is the only reason you’d buy this figure is to get the Thanos pieces. Included are Thanos’ torso and shoulder armor and between those and Batroc there isn’t much space left in this box. Batroc, of course, made a drastically altered appearance in The Winter Soldier as one of the French mercenaries who hijacked the SHIELD vessel and took hostages leading to a pretty bad ass fight between Cap and The Leaper. Besides the name, however, the only thing that really survived the transition to big screen was some purple on his clothing and a pencheon for French kickboxing.

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Of course, you’d have to be a kickboxer, veteran of the French Foreign Legion, and all over badass to walk around looking like this! With his purple and gold outfit, Batroc is clearly not afraid of having his fashion sense challenged. Batroc’s costume is achieved exclusively through paintwork on a generic figure buck, but it works perfectly fine. There’s a little bit of gold spray on the purple of his left arm, but otherwise the paint lines are nice and clean. The colors are absolutely gorgeous too. This figure really pops on the shelf, even when surrounded by a legion of equally brightly colored costumed heroes and villains.

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Ah, but Batroc is all about that face and Hasbro did a wonderful job with it. They pulled no punches with his goatee, classic stereotypical villain mustache and that cheesy grin. Even the nose is so superbly defined. I think this may go down as one of my favorite head sculpts in the modern Legends era, and there have been some great ones, so that’s really saying something!

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The articulation here provides plenty of poseability. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and there are swivels in his thighs and the tops of his boots. The ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. Finally, you get a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. The lateral shoulder crunches that we saw in Iron Fist a few days ago would have been welcome here, but I’m still happy with what we got.

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Batroc is a great example of why I’m so excited about what Hasbro has been doing with the Legends line. Here we are on the cusp of Avengers 2’s release and rather than simply stack the deck with movie figures to cash in on that huge media cow, they are still managing to blow a kiss to those of us that read comic books. You have to figure that tossing in an Age of Ultron Hawkeye or an Ultron Drone would have had to sell better than Batroc, and that’s why I consider releases like this to be such a welcome love letter. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to see those other figures, along with a MovieVerse Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but I’m more happy to see a balance struck between movie and comic book characters on the pegs.

Marvel Legends (Allfather Wave): Odin Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Ah, the Build-A-Figure! On the one hand it gives you an extra reward for being a good little collector and completing a Marvel Legends wave. On the other hand, sometimes you’re beholden to buying figures you don’t want just so you can get an arm or a leg. In the case of The Allfather Wave, I was perfectly happy buying all the figures in the assortment so that I could could build me an Odin. And yes, I said Odin as opposed to King Thor. You do get two different choices on how you want to go with this figure. The “Maidens of Might” variants gave you different heads, capes, and weapons and the “Avenging Allies” variants gave you the two different sets of arms. The obvious choice is, why can’t I have both? Well, if you’re welling to do a little boiling and popping, you could probably have your Asgardian cake and eat it too, but without applying some heat, it’s pretty tough to get those arms out once they’re in. I’m mainly only interested in Odin here so that’s the route I’m going. Of course, there’s no packaged shot, but let’s take a look at the pieces instead.

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If you’ve completed the wave then you have all eight pieces needed for the build. That’s a head, a torso, two arms, two legs, a cape, and a staff. Everything locks together beautifully and the resulting figure is as solid as any of the individually boxed releases. Most of the time I tend to associate BAFs with larger figures that wouldn’t have been cost effective as a single release, but in this case Odin would have had no problems fitting into a Marvel Legends box. Then again with past precedents like Rocket Raccoon and Hit Monkey, Hasbro has certainly been redefining what it is to be a BAF and these days it isn’t just all about size anymore.

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This is possibly my favorite look for The Allfather to date. It’s a nice cross between comic book style with some groundings in gritty historical garb. The plate armor that makes up the torso, shoulders and lower legs is just gorgeous. Not only is it sculpted with all sorts of different plates and rivets, but also with scrapes and weathering. The paintwork here is also quite amazing and creates a convincing patina that makes it look like genuinely well used armor. It’s hard to believe that this is the same company behind some of the shoddy or non-existant paintwork we’ve been seeing in the Transformers line, although I concede that it’s been getting better. In addition to the armor plate, you get a soft plastic “leather” skirt with a detailed belt, wraps for the wrists and a blue cape that pegs into the back. The shoulder pieces peg in pretty securely while still offering the luxury of detaching rather than breaking if you put too much stress on them.

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And then you have this wonderful head sculpt. Odin oozes personality with the tip of his grey beard gathered into a… what is that, a beard pony tail? Honestly, I have no idea about the proper terminology here, but it looks great. The winged helmet is cast in a somewhat dull goldish plastic with two mighty ram horns coming off the sides. Odin sports a fierce expression with one eye patched and the other narrowed on his foe. Brilliant!

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Despite being a BAF, the articulation here is more or less in line with what I’ve come to expect from the current Legends line. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, as well as swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, and double hinged at the knees. There are swivels in the thighs and the ankles feature hinges and lateral rockers. The is a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. I expected the costume to impede articulation a lot more than it does. The slits in the “skirt” actually allow for a decent amount of leg movement and if you cast off the cape, you can get more in the shoulders.

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Of course, Odin wouldn’t be complete without his kingly staff and one included certainly fits the bill. It’s a great sculpt, although I can’t deny I would have liked some more paint apps on it. Maybe they blew the budget on that beautiful armor.

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If you decide to go for King Thor Odinson, you get all the great work that went into the body with just a few changes. The Thor head is excellent, albeit not as elaborate as Odin’s. You also get the artificial left arm with the right one being identical to the one used for Odin. Finally, the cape is the same sculpt only red in keeping with Thor’s traditional color of garb, and instead of the staff you get his Axe. The Axe is probably the only thing I would consider disappointing here. It looks too scrawny to me. It’s definitely going into the Masters of the Universe armory.

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There’s no better way to wrap up a fantastic wave of figures then by following it with a fantastic BAF and Odin is certainly that. He was a great choice of character and I think they did an absolutely… dare I say it? Marvelous job on him. He also means a little something special to me as I still kick myself every once and a while for not picking up the Hot Toys Odin when he was first released, but at the time Hot Toys were just something I admired from afar. Obviously, that version of Odin is a whole nother beast entirely, but it’s still nice to fill that Odin shaped hole in my collection, even if it is in a different scale.

Marvel Legends (Allfather Wave): Iron Fist by Hasbro

Happy Monday and it is indeed a happy one because it kicks off a glorious week of vacation for me where all I will have to do is lounge around the house, read comics, play video games, and obsess over toys. I’m also kicking off a Marvel Week, which marks one of the first themed weeks I’ve done in a long time, although I’ll still be breaking it up on Thursday for Transformers. Anyway, today we’re here to look at the final boxed figure from the Marvel Legends Allfather Series and it is indeed Iron Fist. I’ve been looking forward to getting this guy onto my Legends shelf for a long time, so let’s jump (kick) right in!

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The packaging should hold no surprises by now. It’s the simple window box that we’ve been seeing all along. It displays the figure nicely whether standing on a shelf or hanging on a peg, and while the deco isn’t as wonderfully obnoxious as the packaging from the first couple waves of Legends’ return, I still dig it. I truly hope that Iron Fist is going to work his way into Disney’s Marvel plans at some point in time, ideally as a supporting character on the up and coming Luke Cage Netflix series. I’ve been so damn impressed by the Daredevil show that I’d love to see Fist go down this route as well and it seems like the perfect format for the character.

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Iron Fist comes in his white and gold outfit, which is probably less iconic to many out there, but I really dig it. The white plastic hasbro used here is great and while the gold does have some of that swirly effect that I’m not crazy about, I’m still very pleased with the way the deco on this guy turned out. The dragon emblem on his chest is a crisp tampo and aside from the head sculpt and the waist sash, there’s not a lot of unique sculpting on this figure.

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The portrait here is serviceable, although it doesn’t blow me away. He has a nice firm jawline and the mask looks good, complete with the two tails running off the back where it’s tied on. The black paint around the eyes is clean and sharply applied.

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This body strikes me as being from one of the crossovers from Hasbro’s first attempt at Marvel Legends and the articulation is identical to the Yellowjacket figure from that initial wave. That’s mostly a good thing because while it does involve those rather annoying rotating hinges in the hips, you can still get some great movement out of this guy thanks in part to those extra lateral hinges in the shoulders. And let’s face it, Iron Fist is all about being limber! The rest of the articulation includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the knees and ankles, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, hinges and swivels in the wrists, swivels in the biceps and thighs, a waist swivel, an ab crunch in the torso, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. Nice!

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Little by little, Hasbro has been including extra hands in with select Marvel Legends release, but Iron Fist is the first time that I can recall them going full Figuarts on our asses. Iron Fist comes with no less than four pairs of hands and all of them are great. You get a pair of fists, clutching hands, palm strike hands, and karate-chop hands. All of them are easily swapped out with a post and peg method. I’m not usually one to go crazy over extra hands, but in this case they’re definitely adding a lot to my play value.

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Iron Fist will definitely be hanging out on my desk for a while because he’s so much fun to pick up and play with and the extra hands really go a long way to make a solid figure even better. He also rounds out what was an absolutely stellar wave of figures. Not only was the character selection great but every figure in this wave was well executed. In fact, I’d dare say I can’t remember a wave of Legends that has delivered this consistantly and that’s coming from someone who is more often then not quite satisfied with this line. But we’re not done yet! Tomorrow I’ll be back to pick all the loose BAF pieces out of my tote and assemble The Allfather himself!