World of Nintendo: Diddy Kong and Deluxe Donkey Kong by Jakks Pacific

It’s been a couple of weeks since I chronicled my delight in discovering Jakks’ World of Nintendo 4-inch line of figures. I loved Mario and Luigi so much that I quickly snatched up a bunch more. Today we’re looking at Diddy Kong, another of the standard carded figures as well as my first of the Deluxe boxed 6-inch figures, Donkey Kong! I’m excited to have at these toys, so let’s start with the packaging…

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Diddy comes in the same carded bubble as we saw with the Mario Brothers. He even still comes with the mystery accessory. The only real difference is the color of the card is now yellow instead of red. Donkey Kong, on the other hand, comes in an awesome window box to contain his larger stature. Yes, DK is a 6-inch figure, but he’s still designed to be in scale with the 4-inch line and I absolutely love that! While Diddy’s package isn’t collector friendly, DK’s can survive the opening process pretty well if you’re careful getting him off the tray. Let’s start with Diddy.

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Diddy is just a smidge shorter than Mario and the back of his card actually calls him a 3 3/4″ figure, which is really confusing and makes me think that Jakk’s doesn’t get the whole scale thing. Yes, I’m sure that’s his height, but he’s still part of the 4-inch line. Why you gotta be confusing people with that shit, Jakk’s? Anyway, Diddy’s sculpt is packed with personality. While I know he’s been in a lot of games, the only ones of his that I’ve put in a lot of time with are the Donkey Kong Country games on the SNES and Donkey Kong 64. And when I say a lot of time, I mean an obscene amount of time. Especially DK 64. Man, I used to zone out in front of that game for hours and hours after work. Just thinking about it makes me want to dig it out again. Diddy’s got sculpted brown fur and an adorable monkey face. He also comes sporting his red shirt with the yellow stars and a red ball cap with the Nintendo logo printed across it. The paint on my figure is pretty solid with just a little bit of slop around the eyes.

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Diddy comes sort of pre-posed in a bent over monkey-like fashion, but he still sports a good deal of workable articulation. The back of the package claims he has fourteen points, so let’s count them off. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are the same with rotating hinges at the hips, hinged knees, and swivels in the ankles. The head looks like it might be ball jointed, but all I can get out of it is a side to side rotation and lastly his tail can swivel at the base. And that does indeed make fourteen points!

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Diddy’s mystery accessory comes in a banana box. What could it be? Yup, it’s bananas! The bunch of bananas is just a molded piece of yellow plastic and doesn’t feature the nicer paint apps found on the Power Up Mushrooms that came with Mario and Luigi. The figure really isn’t designed to interact with it or hold it either, but it’s still a welcome accessory.

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Moving on to Donkey Kong and holy crap, I love this guy! DK is a whole lot bigger than the figures I’ve looked at so far and that’s what makes him a Deluxe. His scale works well when compared to Diddy or Mario and I think it’s really cool that they made him a bigger figure, rather than just do him in 4-inch style like the others. Mr. Kong comes sporting his now trademark red “DK” necktie. By the time this design came out, Donkey Kong had already become a major video game icon. I can’t think of another company that could take a character like that, slap a red necktie on him, make him a mascot, and manage to sell it, but Nintendo can do it and nobody even blinks. The rest of the figure is mostly comprised of sculpted brown fur and a set of big hands and feet.

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Oddly, I’ve seen some negative fan reaction Donkey Kong’s portrait, particularly his ridiculous toothy grimace but I just don’t get it the hate. Sure, it’s goofy, but we’re talking about a gorilla wearing a necktie, we passed goofy about six exits back. No, I really like the head sculpt on this guy. His stare is downright creepy and when coupled with the wide grin he reminds me of those cymbal-clanging monkey toys of days gone by. The ones that caused endless nightmares for so many innocent children. I also like the swirl of hair on the top of his head. It looks like that final swirl of ice cream you get out of a soft serve machine.

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While Donkey Kong is a bigger figure, he actually doesn’t feel a whole lot heavier than the smaller figures and I suspect he’s mostly hollow. He also sports less articulation with only ten points. His arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and the wrists are hinged and also swivel. HIs legs are ball jointed at the hips, and his ankles can swivel, but there’s no knee articulation. Donkey Kong features a hinge in the torso and his neck can rotate. I can still have plenty of fun with him, but the lack of articulation in the knees is a bit of a bummer.

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Some people may be disappointed by Donkey Kong. He’s a larger Deluxe figure, but features less articulation and also no mystery accessory. On the other hand, he was only $14.99, which feels like a pretty great deal. I’m sure Jakks had to cut some costs to make the larger figure work out and I’m fine with that. Truth be told I’m just as delighted with this line of figures this time around as I was when I got Mario and Luigi and I still find myself hoping that Jakks can keep this line going for a long, long time. Meanwhile, I’ve already got my next two figures on deck and waiting to be opened, so I’ll try to swing back next week to check out Wario and Yoshi!

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Masters of the Universe Classics: Sssqueeze by Mattel

Another month, another mad attempt to get in the month’s Matty figures before the new one is upon us. It’s doubly hard now that I’ve cordoned off more than half the week to dedicated franchises, so that’s something I may have to rethink. Anywho… this month’s Club Eternia figure is one that I think a lot of fans have been waiting for… Sssqueeze. Yeah, there was also a Quarterly figure this month as well, but I’ll have to get to him next week.

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What is a normal sized bubble for most other Classics figures is tight quarters for Sssqueeze as his arms are all coiled up by his sides. Aww, it kind of looks like he’s giving himself a hug. Otherwise, the packaging is business as usual with the lovely Greyskull inspired deco and a bio on the back.

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With Sssqueeze out of the package, the first thing I’m going to say is how much I love the coloring on this figure. The green and purple and orange all look amazing together, but I think it’s the beautiful bright green that really shines out in particular. Plus, the under sides of his arms are painted yellow and look like the belly of a snake. You also get some matte grey for his boots and leg armor with some silver gloss paint on the fixtures.

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But just because I’m starting out with the coloring doesn’t mean the sculpt here isn’t something special. The scale patterns sculpted into the arms is impressive, as is the musculature in Sssqueeze’s six-pack of abs. I like the barbed fixtures on the front of the leg armor and the sculpted Snakemen logo on his chest armor is nice work.

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And the portrait is pretty stellar too. I love how T4H have managed to give each of the Snakemen their own personality. In this case, Sssqueeze is looking particularly vicious with the extra long jaw and rows of serrated teeth. It’s a thing of beauty.

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Articulation is the usual fare for MOTUC figures with the obvious exception of the arms. Instead of swivel cut biceps and hinged elbows you get two long pieces of gloriously bendy plastic, presumeably with a wire in there to help them hold their shape. They are capped off with large hands that can easily double as fists and have swivels the wrist bracers. The rest includes the usual rotating hinged shoulders, ball jointed hips, hinged knees and ankles, swivel at the waist, ab-crunch hinge, and ball jointed neck.

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Lastly, Sssqueeze comes with a Snake Staff. It’s actually not the same repackaged one we’ve been seeing over and over again. The curled tail makes it look more like a seahorse to me, but then the angular head gives me a Norse vibe, like it belongs on the prow of a Viking ship. Pretty cool.

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If there were a running theme to my Snake Men features it would be called “How I stopped worrying and learned to love the Snake Men.” I never cared much for these guys, but Classics has given me a new found appreciation of them with each and every release. Ssssqueeze is certainly one of the goofiest, but I mean that in the most complimentary way possible and I totally dig him. This is one of those figures where Matty was able to work the gimmick into the figure without compromising the aesthetics of the line. Those big arms make him tons of fun to play with and his bright and beautiful colors really make him pop on the shelf.

GI JOE SIgma 6: Tunnel Rat by Hasbro

I’m pressing on with this whole GI JOE thing on Fridays this Summer as I work my way through a box of Sigma 6 figures sprinkled with some 25th and 50th Anniversary stuff I never got around to looking at. I had so much fun playing with Snake Eyes last Friday that I decided to knock out another S6 figure and today it’s Tunnel Rat. There’s no packaged shot, so let’s get right to the figure…

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And here he is! Tunnel Rat is certainly no newcomer to the JOE team, but this S6 version of the character is a pretty big departure to what I’m used to. And that’s OK, because this line is all about new directions. Can I tell you right now how freaking terrified I am at the very concept of Tunnel Rat’s job. I’m not talking so much about the explosive ordinance disposal, although that’s pretty scary on its own. No, I mean the going through enemy tunnels shit. If you want some great nightmare fuel get yourself a copy of The Tunnels of Cu Chi. Holy shit! What? Oh yeah, back to the figure.

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TR features the standard buck that this line uses for the slighter built characters. It’s the same we saw for Snake Eyes only with orange highlights and a new pair of sculpted boots. The lean body works well as he has has to snake his way through some tight spots. He also has an equipment harness, which is a combination of elastic and plastic and buckles around his chest and waist. There are peg holes galore on both the body and the harness so you can stick accessories all over him.

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Since it’s the same body as Snake Eyes you also get the cool flip up arm computer. I love this thing!

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I like the head sculpt a lot. The features are particularly well defined, especially the nose and mouth and ears. The paint for the eyes and eyebrows is super crisp. He has a skull cap and a pair of goggles with an elastic strap, which can be worn up on his forehead, down around his neck, or over his eyes. Naturally, you also get the standard issue metal dog tag on chain for around his neck.

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Tunnel Rat features the same articulation as Snake Eyes, which means a ton of rotating hinges. You get them in his shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. He can swivel at the waist and you get ball joints in the torso and neck. As usual, the joints are strong and satisfying and the figure is wonderfully durable.

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GEAR!!! I love gear and weapons and accessories! Sigma 6 is a line that delivers and Tunnel Rat is no exception. The biggest showpiece in his collection is his sled-backpack. This thing clips onto his harness and while it’s fairly large and bulky it isn’t unreasonable as a backpack. I dig how the two snake lights angle up on his shoulders making them useful in both modes.

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When you take it off of him and extend out the lower wheels it becomes a sled similar to the creepers that mechanics use. He can use this to inch his way through tunnels or perhaps under explosive devices. Pretty neat.

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Next up, he has this totally bitchin butterfly knife that really works. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these included with an action figure before. It’s such a cool piece and I could imagine him using it to pry plates off of bomb casings, cut wires, or just fight with when he runs out of ammo.

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Grenades! Tunnel Rat comes with two grenades with pegs that allow them to be held on various parts of his body. These include some neon green paint that highlights most of his gear.

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And then we get to his guns. For starters, he has an automatic weapon with a peg so he can wear it on his hip or on his back. The tiny magazine is even removable. The gun works really well with the figure’s articulation. You can get all sorts of great poses out of him with it.

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And lastly, there’s his assault rifle. Again, some of the detail on this piece is picked out with neon green paint, which I think looks rather cool. Maybe it’s designed so he can find it in the dark. It includes a strap so you can sling it on his shoulder or across his back. Surpringly, the magazine does not come out. Weird that they would make that a feature on the tiny gun and not the larger weapon.

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So yeah… Tunnel Rat is all sorts of awesome. The sheer playability of his articulation combined with all that neat gear make him so much fun to pick up and so hard to put down. Even for a figure that shares almost an entire buck, he feels so unique and he’s loaded with personality. After a couple years of not having him, it’s damn good to welcome him back to the collection.

Warbotron Combined!

Few things have riled my OCD like Warbotron naming their initial combiner Warbotron. In the name of sanity I couldn’t call today’s Feature “Warbotron by Warbotron.” And it gets even more annoying now that the company is on to other combiners. I’m starting off with a petty rant like this because I have precious little else to rant about when looking at this amazing Third-Party homage to Bruticus. Yes, there were a few initial bumps along the way, but once I got over the hump I beheld this amazing behemoth on my desk and I did gaze upon it in awe…

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Hell yeah, that’s Bruticus all right and man, do I love this thing! Much about the combined mode speaks for itself. At about 18-inches tall, he’s a heavy beast of a figure and he’s really nicely proportioned. I know there was some question about the colors being too bright on the individual bots, but I think the deco looks great as the gestalt. Even from the back he looks pretty clean.

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So, let’s talk a bit about putting him together. The only real hurdle I had was in getting Fierce Attack into the torso mode and that’s just because I couldn’t get the left shoulder assembly to lock in straight. I played around with it for like ten minutes before it suddenly just seemed to right itself. Maybe coincidently (or maybe not) that happens to be the shoulder on the robot mode that’s really tight, but hey alls well that ends well. I like that there are little arms in the back that swing out and lock the shoulder assemblies into place. Boy, Hasbro’s Combiner Wars Menasor could have used that very thing. Sure, you could argue that using Fierce Attack’s trailer to make the upper legs and pelvis is parts forming blasphemy, but I don’t care. I’m fine with some degree of it in combiners and at least it serves a purpose as part of the truck. Apart from getting the shoulder right, getting to the torso was easy-peasy as is most of the rest of the combiner modes.

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Sly Strike and Heavy Noisy are definitely the easiest, especially if you’re going from their alt modes. You’re basically just parting the backs to get the feet pegged in and then folding down the fronts to get the combiner sockets up and ready. Plugging them combiner pegs in below the knees is a bit tricky. They have tabs that lock them into place, and I had to push them with a screwdriver to get them inserted and locked. The same method (and a fair amount of force) was needed to get them out. Fortunately, these are sturdy toys and I wasn’t too worried about breaking anything. The feet form a stable foundation for this beast to stand on and the ankle joints are strong and allow for lateral rockers as well as swivels. Sly holds his perfectly, but every now and then Heavy Noisy tried to drop his. The heavy ratchet joints in the ankles are just stronger than the connection where the ankle post pegs into the legs, so it’s a good idea to hold the figure by the ankle when adjusting the feet. I’ve had Heavy Noisey’s cupola drop off once while posing him and Sly’s side panels sometimes pop out (as evidenced in the above photo), but even these are uncommon occurrences and easily fixed with some adjustments after posing.

warbrute3Air Burst and Whirlwind’s arm modes, on the other hand, are a little less sure of themselves. They’re basically made up from a half-transformed stage between robot and alt mode. In reality these are very similar to the configuration used on Hasbro’s current crop of combiner arms, complete with the twin bars joining bicep to forearm. The robots arms on either figure don’t really peg in anywhere and that’s a little annoying, but that didn’t seem to be a problem when I was playing with him at all. The hands hold in place very well and the combiner ports on the arms are not as difficult to work with as the legs. The only other quibble I have is that I didn’t have anywhere to go with Air Burst’s thruster packs in the arm mode. I should also point out that I have not yet done the torso swap for Air Burst, which means that the hips (or in this case Warbotron’s right elbow) doesn’t ratchet like Whirlwind does. That’s why in the pictures where he’s holding the gun, my Warbotron is a lefty. Otherwise posing the arms feels great and those locking bars behind the shoulders keep everything tight and together.

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The head sculpt is awesome. It’s very G1 Bruticus and it’s made by flipping a helmet and mask right over Fierce Attack’s head. You still get a full range of ball joint movement in the neck. The horn can also be positioned either straight up or angled forward. I also love the fact that they provided a familiar shaped plate on the chest just in case you wanted to put some kind of… oh, I don’t know… maybe a faction sticker there?

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I’ve already hit on some of the particular points of articulation in the arms and legs, but the overall poseability here is great. The crotch plate is hinged to allow for unimpeded forward movement at the hips. With heavy ratchets in the hips, ankles, and knees, Warby’s legs can take his substantial weight in a variety of action poses without too much fear of toppling over and never sliding into the splits in wide stances. In fact, the only time I had issues getting him to stand up was because Heavy Noisy dropped his ankle connection a couple of times. Once I started posing the ankles with a firm grip on the bottom of the leg that wasn’t an issue anymore.

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Naturally, Warbotron can wield that massive gun that came with Fierce Attack and he holds it beautifully. There are pegs on the inside of his hand to secure it and each of his multi-hinged digits can wrap around the grip tightly. Again, if you want him to hold it aloft in his right hand, you’ll have to invest the time in the torso swap for Air Burst. From what I’ve seen it’s not a big deal, but I didn’t want to hold up this Feature until I had time to do it, and fair is fair, I like to give my impressions of a figure as he ships and not after tinkering on the buyer’s end. Nonetheless, even as big and heavy as the gun is, the ratcheting elbows allow him to hold it directly out in a firing position. Not too shabby.

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For me a combiner team is as much about the team of individual robots as it is the combiner, particularly since I display most of these teams as their individual robots. That having been said, Warbotron lives up to the all the hype and excitement that got me to start down this expensive path slightly over a year ago. He’s well thought out (Air Burst’s torso not withstanding!), wonderfully proportioned, and generally fun to play with. He scales very well with the Generations Deluxes and if you want to cheat on scale a little, it’s fun to have him interact with the Legends. Of course, that leads us to the inevitable question: With MMC’s Feral Rex reigning supreme as my favorite Third-Party combiner, does Warbotron get to knock him off his throne? Gosh, that’s a tough one. It’s really, really close. I have more nostalgia for Bruticus than I do Predaking but both are such impressive looking figures I don’t know that I could definitively pick one over the other. I guess if I had to make a decision I would give the nod to Predaking, but that would be mostly because the Feral Cons were such a well-rounded package whereas Warbotron had a few hiccups along the way. In the end, let’s just say it’s really, really close and that both are likely to remain the best versions of these gestalts available (official or otherwise) for a long while.

Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Dr. Julian Bashir and Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax by Diamond Select

Yes, Warp Speed Wednesday is a thing now, and it will continue to be until I run out of Star Trek stuff to look at. Actually, that would probably take forever, so I’ll just keep it going until I get burned out on the subject for a while. Let’s say another month or so. Last time I looked at the DST figures I gassed on a lot about my love for DS9 and today we’re checking out a pair of figures based on two more of the show’s great characters: Bashir and Dax. My Bashir figure has a lot less interesting stuff, so let’s do him first…

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Bashir’s character was loads of fun. He started out as a great Doctor and a green Starfleet Officer and his character developed quite a bit over the series. He went from seemingly shallow womanizer, who’s favorite pasttime was chasing Dax, to working for secret Starfleet organizations after we got that huge reveal that he was an illegal genetic augment! In the largely vanilla universe of Trek, this was some serious shit! And in terms of screen friendships, I think the Bashir and O’Brien relationship is a tough one to beat. ItLike most of DST’s DS9 figures, Bashir comes in his late series, TNG movie-era uniform. While I liked the more classic look, this one works too. It’s an easy outfit to reproduce as it doesn’t invovlve a whole lot of paint or detail. Apart from the usual creases and wrinkles, most of the sculpting comes in the shoulders, which featues the gray quilted look with the department color coded blue collar peaking out. Of course, you also get the rank pips on the collar and the insignia communicator.

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The likeness here is a pretty damn good one to Alexander Siddig. I haven’t seen him in a lot since Star Trek, but it was cool to see him in Game of Thrones this past season. The paint, on the other hand, is a little odd. It’s like they did a wash on his face to bring out the contours of the sculpt, but really all it does is make him look dirty. Paint rubbing was also a big problem with these figures and as a result mine looks like he’s observing Ash Wednesday.

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The articulation here is passable. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivel cuts in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. Below the waist, things take a turn for the worst. He has a simple and restrictive t-crotch and hinges in the knees and ankles. Bashir can swivel at the waist and his neck is ball jointed. Like a lot of these figures, he’s got that weird thing going on with his legs where you have to bend them a little to get him to stand right.

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With only four out of the original six accessories, my Bashir is incomplete. He does have two Starfleet PADDs, one large and one small. These are pretty standard pieces with stickers for the screens. He can hold them pretty well and while they aren’t terribly exciting, they are staples for any Starfleet Officer.

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Slightly more fun is his raktajino mug and the coon skin cap that he wears when he goes into the Holosuite with Miles to play their Alamo program. I believe the missing accessories are a phaser and hypo. Moving on to Dax…

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Dax was an interesting character because she didn’t fit the usual “I’m an outsider trying to be more/less human” Trek trope. She was indeed one of the more bizarre aliens we saw in the series, thanks to her conjoined nature, but her irreverent, fun-seeking personality made for a rather a-typical Starfleet Science Officer and I found that to be a nice departure for the series. It made for an even more interesting dynamic when she started to get involved with Worf. Once again, we get her in the late series Starfleet uniform. Dax always looked mighty fine in that uniform and the figure reflects that. Of course, apart from her curves, this is the same uniform we saw with Bashir and her articulation is identical. Dax does have a wider-cut and slightly less restrictive t-crotch and her ball jointed head is a lot looser. It’s also nice that they used the taller female buck so she looks pretty good standing next to the much shorter Kira.

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As with Bashir, the likeness here is quite good. I might have preferred a more neutral expression as she looks a little two damn happy. I suppose the smile suits the character’s outgoing personality, but it looks rather out of place when you’re posing her with her weapons. The paint apps on the face are especially good, especially evidenced by her Trill spots.

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Dax comes with six accessories, half are Starfleet and half are Klingon. On the Starfleet side she has a standard hand phaser, a phaser rifle, and a rather large PADD. Unfortunately, Dax’s hands are rather relaxed and not in any way suited to hold her weapons. I can get her to do some things with the rifle, but the hand phaser isn’t much use.

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The Klingon accessories include a bottle of blood wine, a Bat’leth, and a dagger. She can hold the dagger and the bottle OK, and I can make a few things work with the sword, but this isn’t a figure made to be put into action poses and so while the accessories themselves are good, there’s only so much you can do with them.

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When I looked at Kira and Odo, I made the comment that these figures feel dated in some respects, and that still applies here. The articulation sounds good on paper, but they still come off as stiff. Despite their limitations, however, I still dig these figure a lot. The paint and quality of sculpts are competent enough and the likenesses are certainly there. If only Diamond had endowed these figures with some lateral movement in the hips and some thigh swivels, I think they would have been heaps better. Maybe someone somewhere will pick up this license again, but for now I’m just happy to have the characters I love represented on my shelf.

Ame-Comi Heroine-Series: Supergirl (v.2) by DC Direct

A couple of weeks ago I picked up my first Ame-Comi statue and I was pretty impressed, so when the opportunity to get a second one for really cheap availed itself I jumped right on board. Supergirl was an especially nice pick up because the Bishoujo Supergirl statue has become a bit too pricey for me to go back for and so the character has no representation on my “over sexualized anime statue shelf.” We can’t have that! This time I’ll spare you the long winded Bishoujo vs. Ame-Comi diatribe and get right to the goods. Let’s start with the packaging.

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Here’s the packaging and it’s all kinds of beat up. The seller was looking to unload it cheap because the box took a hit to the top corner and messed up the plastic. The statue was unharmed and while I would probably not have picked up a Bishoujo with a box in this shape, I’m still testing the waters of this line, so I was more than willing to make the compromise in order to save a little cash. Anyway, the package is the same style of window box that we saw with Mera. It’s got some nice shots of the statue and an extended back with a J-hook so it can hang on a peg or sit on a shelf. Let’s bust her open.

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The composition is pretty creative in that it has Supergirl admiring herself in a detached sideview mirror of a car. I’d like to think that she found it following in the wake of the  holocaust, but if we’re dealing with that universe, I suppose it’s just as likely she tore it off some poor citizen’s car to check her make up with.

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Her pose is pure cheesecake. She’s got her hip tossed to the right with her hand resting on it and the other holding up the mirror. Her costume features a pleated skirt, which goes slightly transparent as you get to the bottom of it. You also get the iconic S-shield and a pretty cool yellow collar with what looks like Kryptonian writing on it. The top of the outfit has cut outs on the sides and some yellow piping along with a short cape that blows off to the left. The ensemble is finished off with a pair of red boots with more yellow piping. The designer actually put a lot more detail and love into the costume then I’m used to seeing and I applaud them for that.

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And, because this is an anime-style statue, you get a heaping dose of cleavage in the front and a panty shot from behind, because… fan service!

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It’s only in the portrait where this statue stumbles for me. What’s frustrating is that I can’t quite put my finger on why. It’s like someone described what anime style was to the artist and he did his best to reproduce it and the result is a sort of western-eastern hybrid. I don’t hate it, but something just looks off about it. Ironically, I get a similar feel off of the recent She-Hulk Bishoujo statue, which, even with twenty-something pieces in my collection, is the first comic-inspired statue in that line that I am passing on. The hair is a little chunky, but it has a decent wind-blown look to it. The yellow paint, however, is laid on a bit thick and the paint for the eyes could have been a lot neater.

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The mirror is well done with a reflective adhesive on it so you can actually see her reflection in it. Unfortunately, she isn’t actually looking directly at it. There’s actually some articulation to be had here via cuts in the shoulders. They offer a little variety, but nothing too crazy.

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The base is a simple, black plastic oval with the “Ame-Comi Heroine-Series” logo printed on it in blue. The figure attaches to the base using pegs. It’s a snug and serviceable fit, but I had no problems getting her attached.

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Supergirl is a decent statue, but I didn’t fall head over heels for her like I did the Mera statue. I like what they did here and honestly from the neck down it’s a total winner. Had the portrait had that more traditional anime look to it, I could have bumped this piece from good to great, but as it is, I’m sure I can find a spot for her at the back of one of my shelves. Hey, at just under thirty bucks shipped, I can’t complain.

Firefly (Legacy Collection): Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne by Funko

Ah, Firefly, what is there to say about it other than it was killed before it’s time. I actually didn’t get to see it until after Fox had already shit-canned it and indeed I’d never even heard about it until a year or so after it was cancelled and I picked up the DVDs because I was bored and the premise sounded interesting. It was love at first sight and if nothing else, I think it was cool that we got a pretty damn fine feature length film out of the deal too. That’s one thing more then most failed TV series get… what’s another thing? Action figures! This actually wasn’t the first stab somebody took at making figures out of this franchise. Even before these and Funko’s ReAction line, Diamond Select did a single wave of some super shitty figures based off of the Serenity movie. There were two versions of Mal, two versions of Jayne, and a Reaver and they were pretty awful. Let’s hope Funko fared better here.

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One thing Funko has down pat by now is their 6-inch figure packages. You get a couple of simple window boxes similar to what we’ve seen from Hasbro’s Black Series and even NECA’s Planet of the Apes line. These have a great deco, which is heavily inspired by the series artwork and you get character names and portraits on the spine. [Jayne: “‘pine? Is ‘pine OK?”] Quiet, you! Your figure will get its turn eventually! Anyway, I like everything about the presentation here, maybe even enough to actually keep the packages, as they are collector friendly and they do look shiny all lined up on the shelf. The backdrop behind the tray is even illustrated with a nice big sky. And before you ask, No! I’m keeping it! You can’t have it. You can’t take the sky from me!!! Today I’m starting with just two figures in the series. These are actually #1 and #5, but I thought it appropriate to feature The Heroes of Serenity Valley together. Let’s start with the Captain…

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Captain Mal comes in his trademark space-western garb, complete with khaki trousers, high boots, button down shirt, suspenders and his infamous brown coat (please, don’t call it a jacket!). The paint wash on the coat and the shirt is rather heavy handed and the decision to go with a gloss paint for the shirt is a strange one, but overall, I like the work on the outfit. That is not to say, I don’t have a few other gripes.

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The coat uses the usual plastic vest with sculpted sleeves and i normally don’t have any issues, but in this case, the coat tends to ride up a bit making it pretty obvious that the sleeves are not part of the coat. It also tends to give Mal a bit of a hunched look. Still, a dealbreaker this is not and overall I think the figure looks fine. The gunbelt features a working holster and I really dig the way the right flap of the coat is sculpted to fall back behind the holster. Nice!

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The likeness is not at all a bad one. I think it holds up really well under scrutiny, but looks best when viewed from a bit of a distance. It’s definitely Nathon Fillion and a far sight better than the likenesses we’ve been getting in Hasbro’s 6-inch Black line. It’s pretty clear that Gentle Giant is still at the helm.

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The articulation here hits all the right points for a 6-inch retail figure. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers and there are ball joints in the torso and neck. You’ll note I didn’t mention the wrists, because these are just bizarre. The hands are hinged and placed on these tiny posts, which connect to ball joints inside the sleeve. They look very frail and neither wrist wanted to move at first. I threw caution to the wind and was able to get them started so now they do indeed have swivels and hinges, but man, that was a tense moment. I should also note that while I have no other issues with frozen joints, Funko is still using the clear plastic for the joints that have caused them and DC Collectibles so much trouble.

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Mal comes with two guns. you get his trusty pistol and a Winchester-style shotgun. He can hold the pistol in either hand quite well. I wasn’t really able to get him into a convincing firing position with the rifle, aside from doing a little trick with the perspective, but he can still hold it in some decent poses. Moving on to Zoe…

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Zoe sports similar khaki pants (minus side striping) and high boots as her Captain. She’s also got the brown vest and green shirt that I remember her wearing for most if not all of the episodes. Little details include the wide bracelet on her right wrist and the thin strip necklace and choker sculpted on. The gunbelt is a separate piece and includes sculpted and painted cartridges and a rather unique fast-draw holster for her shotgun.

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As with Mal, I think the likeness to Gina Torres is there. It’s a good portrait with clean paint. The hair is a bit at odds with the neck articulation, but it’s pliable enough and has parts at the shoulders to make it work a little better. The paint is clean, although her right eye is ever so slightly higher than where it was supposed to land. Still, in terms of googly eyed figures, I’ve seen a lot worse than this.

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The articulation is quite close to Mal. I’m not sure if Zoe features ankle rockers, but if she does, I can’t get them to work and I’m not going to force the issue. Her wrists aren’t on the same super thin posts, os that’s a plus. Most of the other joints are fine right out of the package, but I have some trouble getting her right elbow to swivel and again, not going to force it.

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Also like Mal, Zoe comes with two guns. You get her trademark shotgun and a pistol. The shotgun fits nicely into the loop on the belt holster. Her pistol doesn’t really have anywhere to go when she isn’t holding it, but maybe I’ll lend it to her husband when I get his figure.

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I’ve wanted a set of Firefly figures in my collection ever since I saw the show and now it’s finally happening! All in all, these turned out to be very nice figures with just a few bumps along the way. I’d say my biggest criticism is that the little quibbles I have are things that Funko should have probably worked out by now. With a couple waves of Game of Thrones, a wave of Magic the Gathering, and at least one other 6-inch Legacy line out there, it feels like they should be beyond some of these rookie mistakes. That having been said, I’m happy to report no QC issues this time around, so I guess there is some improvement. I didn’t buy these as a complete Wave, but I’m still going to try to get back to the line at some point next week and check out some more figures. This is definitely a line I want to support because I really want to see a second Wave.

GI JOE SIgma 6: Snake Eyes by Hasbro

I realize that I’m at odds with a lot of JOE fans when I say that my love of Snake Eyes diminished the more the franchise went on. By the time I set toys aside for a while in the 90’s I had a bad case of Snake Eyes fatigue. The simple Commando that I knew and loved turned into some kind of uber-ninja. I won’t hold that against him as I check out the Sigma 6 version of the character, because I absolutely love this figure, which is probably evidenced by how long today’s entry wound up running and the fact that I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

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I’ve got no packaged shot, but now is as good a time as any to point out that the early figures in this series used plastic tops and bottoms for the blister cards and you could assemble these into a cool foot locker to keep the accessories. They had foam inserts to keep everything neat, but with a lot of the figures you had to gut out the foam inserts if you wanted to get all the accessories in there. It was always an impossible decision for me. As my collection grew, these began to take up a lot of room, but they also worked well as risers for displaying rows of figures behind others. This one is missing one of the locks and the foam is gone, but at least I can get all of Snake Eyes’ shit in there.

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And here he is… Snake Eyes is perfectly suited to a line like Sigma 6, which focuses on accessories and the creative ways in which they can interact with the figure. Taken on his own, Snake Eyes is about as simple a figure as you can get. He sports the angular and highly stylized aesthetic of the line with what looks like a hi-tech armored Ninja suit. His outfit is black with olive green accents. There’s some really nice texturing on some areas of the suit and he is covered with ports to peg in accessories. It’s taken right out of the old Centurions action figure line and I love it! Snake Eyes also sports a really cool set of soft goods web gear with shoulder pads and working buckles and the usual metal dog tag.

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One of my favorite little touches on this figure is the pop up computer on his left arm. I forgot all about this feature until it happened to pop open while I was playing with him. So damn cool!

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The portrait shows only a pair of rather large anime-style eyes with what looks like a hint of some creepy scarring. Frankly, I find unmasked Snake Eyes rather unsettling, but thankfully we can remedy that. You have three display options with Snake Eyes’ mask to cover up those creepy peepers. You get his traditional segmented visor, in this case painted silver. He also comes with a set of night vision goggles and a gas mask with a complete face shield. OK, the gas mask actually magnifies his scary eyes, so… nope. All three pieces fit the figure’s head quite well and will usually remain in place while I play around with him. s6eyes14

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Articulation consists of the usual medley of rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. You get a swivel at the waist and ball joints in the torso and neck. The joints all feel so wonderfully chunky and strong and he just invites you to play around with him and see what he can do. This must have been a great line for kids because the figures are very nearly indestructible.

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Let’s talk gear! For starters, Snake Eyes comes with no less than three blades: One short and two longer swords, all three of which come in plastic scabbards. The shorter weapon’s scabbard has an elastic strap to go around the figure’s leg, while the other two have pegs so you can put them on his hips or on his back. The pommels of the swords are also socket-ed so you can join either two swords together or the sword and the dagger to make a bitchin’ double bladed pole arm. Sweet!

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Snake Eyes also comes with his trademark Uzi. It’s gray and black and sports some really nice sculpted detail. There’s a peg to attach it to the figure and the magazine is removable with a tiny painted bullet at the top.

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You also get a plethora of other weird gear. There’s a set of grip bars for a zip-line and two giant suction cups for him to climb walls with.
And then there’s this crazy-ass thing. It’s like a giant yo-yo of death. It has retractable blades, but it’s so damn big, it isn’t of much use to me. There aren’t many accessories in this line that I have no use for, but Snake Eye’s yo-yo is one of them and it’s going into the dreaded Tote of Forgotten Accessories.

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Snake Eyes was one of those figures that I lost in the closet flood several years back. In fact, I believe he may have been the first figure I picked up in this line. While there are plenty of figures in S6 that have more interesting designs and more complex weapons, I’d dare say that if you were only going to get one figure to see what this line is all about that one should probably be Snake Eyes. He tells you all there is to know about the spirit of Sigma 6 and he is an absolute blast to play with. Naturally, I’m very happy to have him back in my collection. He’s a super fun figure that’t truly hard to put down. Now all I need to do is replace my Storm Shadow so I have someone for him to fight again… And maybe that Ninja Cycle… And a few of the other Sigma 6 versions of Snake Eyes…

Warbotron: Fierce Attack (WB-01E) by Warbotron

So, let’s call this Not-Transformers Thursday because I’m fresh out of new Hasbro TFs to look at so I’m taking this opportunity to check out one particular unofficial release that has been on my shelf for a few weeks now. It’s hard to believe it’s been a little over a year and a month since I featured Air Burst, the very first release in Warbotron’s series of Not-Combaticons and now I’m finally getting to sit down and take a look at the last one. I present to you, Fierce Attack aka Not-Onslaught.

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The figure comes in a box with the same deco that we’ve been seeing all along only this time it’s very long and not so tall. You get a silver outer sleeve with some nice monochrome graphics. Lift off the sleeve and you see a colorful window box displaying the toy in its vehicle mode. The box features some kick ass artwork, a grid pattern very evocative of the old Hasbro G1 boxes, and it’s even purple like the old G1 Decepticon boxes. So pretty!

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Much like Fansproject’s Not-Stunticons, Warbotron delivered all the limbs of this combiner in their robot modes, but packaged the torso in his alt mode. I’m fine with that. It actually makes plenty of sense when you see all the extra bits this dude comes with. With the exception of a few oddities in the spelling, I’ve really enjoyed the presentation of this series and this final release is no exception.

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One thing’s for sure you definitely get your money’s worth in plastic and extras with this set. The tray comes loaded with big, chunky parts, including the truck and trailer, a set of combiner hands, a set of combiner feet, a combiner chest piece, a massive gun, and two smaller and yet still massive guns. You also get a baggie of transparent yellow thingies, two baggies of rocket packs to attach to truck mode, and a bagged replacement torso for Air Burst. As for the ephemera, you get a thick B&W comic book, a folded instruction sheet, and a color character card. Phew, that’s a lot of stuff! Well, since Fierce Attack comes in his alt mode, we might as well start there.

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Fierce Attack is a military style truck with an extra flatbed trailer, which is not part of his standard robot mode. In fact, you get a lot of stuff here that isn’t part of the robot mode and in some cases not even part of the truck mode. This line has featured a little bit of parts forming from the beginning, and that hasn’t bothered me at all and it doesn’t bother me here either. Extra combiner parts were a fact of life from the beginning and while I’m all for incorporating everything into each robot, I’m fine with going this route too.

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With all that having been said, I really dig this truck mode a lot. The panel lines and sculpted rivets give it a great armored look, the front grill looks a tad weathered, and the sculpted windshield wipers and flip out side mirrors are nice extra touches. It’s ugly as sin, but then it’s a military truck so that’s pretty appropriate. The flatbed trailer plugs securely into the back of Fierce Attack’s cab hitch making for a really long vehicle. The cannon backpack can peg in securely right above the trailer hitch. When combined with the missile packs on the side, Fierce Attack is certainly an imposing presence on the road and a great homage to G1 Onslaught.

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The instructions are silent as to what you can do with the combiner parts when you aren’t using them, but if you dig through some of the original promo images, you can probably come up with some neat stuff. The combiner feet work well enough on their own as attack drones and Fierce Attack can comfortably carry one of them on his trailer. If you really want to make a statement, though, you can combine the two feet, the hands, and the combiner gun together for a giant piece of artillery that Fierce Attack can tote around. I love the look of this piece, but I’m still trying to see how they built the launch pad for Air Burst.

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Transforming this guy is fairly simple, which has more or less been the case throughout this series. When you’re done you get a damn fine looking robot mode. In keeping with this line’s aesthetic, Fierce Attack has a number of departures from Onslaught and yet I would have no problems recognizing him as an homage to the character. Generally speaking, I tend to enjoy the Third-Party stuff that engages in a little artistic license rather than just straight copyright theft. The windshield chest, for example, is new, but I like it a lot. I’m also very fond of the giant twin cannon barrels coming up off his back and the way they look like they could double as a jetpack. The overall coloring of the figure also looks right on the money. Even the head sculpt is wonderfully appropriate and features some bitchin’ purple light piping. This guy looks like a powerhouse, just the kind of robot to lead this band of destructive force.

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That’s not to say I don’t have a few quibbles with this guy and most of them land squarely on his shoulders… literally! The shoulder construction is a bit odd in that you have to move the shoulder wheels independently in order to get the lateral movement out of the arms. Also, exposed screw heads on the front of a Transformer is something I’ve taken issue with Hasbro about more times than I can count and if I don’t find it acceptable on a $20 figure, you can imagine what I think of it on a $120 figure. Lastly, the shoulders on my figure are excessively tight. Rotating the arms makes a scary creaky noise. From what I can tell that’s the case on most of these figures and not unique to my own. There are some other things that could have been done better, like the flaps on the lower legs that just sit there and look rather unfinished. If you could have swiveled those around and pegged them in it would have taken care of them a lot better. I like to peg in the rocket clusters from the truck mode on these to give them a more polished look.

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Fierce Attack’s backpack can be removed and split apart into two huge guns. He can wield these in both hands allowing him to really live up to his name. Admittedly, having him hold both looks like overkill and borderlines on silly, but having him brandish one as a rifle looks good. On the other hand, I prefer him with his iconic backpack and that’s where these will likely stay. I may just wind up giving him Sly Strike’s pistol. On a side note, there’s something about these guns that look like they might work as some kind of booster rockets and added guns for Air Burst. They even have little fold out wings. I’ll have to do some experimenting and get back to you on that.

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There’s no doubt that Fierce Attack has more issues than any of the other figures in this series. I suppose a case could be made for him having more issues than all the others combined. None of the problems here are crippling, however, and apart from some tight shoulders, the QC on this figure is without fault. He feels like he could have spent a little more time in the cooker, but even as is he makes for a fine leader for my Warbotron Combaticons. I have this set displayed prominently in their individual modes, right above my MMC Predacons, and man do they all look great. But as the old saying goes, “the proof is in the combining” and next Thursday I’ll be back to cobble these guys togehter and see what we got.

Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E (“Nemesis”) by Diamond Select

Lest you forgot, I’m doing this whole Star Trek Thang on Wednesdays now, which is convenient because I’ve also picked up another one of DST’s Starships. The sixth entry into my fleet is none other than the NCC-1701-E. First introduced in “First Contact” (because Troi crashed the “D” into a planet in the previous film) this new design really looked amazing on screen and represented a bold new look for the intrepid Starship I’ve known and loved for all my life. The Soverign Class Enterprise boldly traveled through three feature films and this newest release is based on the appearance in “Nemesis.” If memory serves, “Insurrection” and “Nemesis” were the first Star Trek films to rely solely on a CGI model of the Enterprise for exterior shots. This design strikes me more as a mash up between the Constitution Refit and the Intrepid Class (ie Voyager) and sort of passes over the Galaxy Class for design elements. This ship also has a severely minimalist profile when viewed viewed straight on, which I still think is pretty damn cool. The result is a very futuristic looking design of a ship that still retains that intangible nobility that I get from all the Enterprises.

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The package is exactly what we’ve been seeing all along. You get an elongated blue window box with the classic “Star Trek” logo and a bunch of text about the ship. There’s a “Try Me” window that lets you get a taste of the electronics. The ship comes fully assembled, all you have to do is put together the two halves of the stand and plug the ball into the socket under the ship. You will need a phillips head screwdriver to undo the battery hatch and switch it from “Try Me” to “Play” in order to get the full effect, but unless this is your first DST Starship, you’ve probably been through all this before. Also included in the box is a replacement battery hatch without the socket for the stand and a folded instruction sheet. With the ship measuring just over 18-inches from the tip of the saucer to the back of the nacelles, it’s every bit as long as The Excelsior, but the design makes it look a lot slighter in every other respect.

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The first thing that struck me about the “E” when I got it out and all set up was how busy the deco is. This is easily the most complex paint job of any ship in my fleet. It certainly reflects the look of the ship on screen, but with the track record of DST on these ships, more detailed paint apps lead to more potential for flubs. That having been said, the paint on mine is fairly decent, but it falls just short of having that professional look. If I bought this ship loose from Ebay not knowing what it was, I would probably assume that it was a kit that was painted by a fairly competant model builder and not a professional factory piece from an officially licensed company. My ship also had some annoying black paint speckled around the top of the primary hull. I was able to remove nearly all of it with some careful razor work, but having to take a razor to my new fifty dollar model is not something I enjoy doing. When all is said and done, probably the weakest paint is the area around the bussard collectors.

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This ship uses a pearlescent plastic, which is somewhat similar to the stuff used for my “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise. While it’s not nearly as light and overall looks much better here, it still allows for some light bleed, which I’ll get to in a just a bit. I do, however, still prefer the denser stuff used for the hulls of the Excelsior and the Enterprise-D. The ship also uses several decals for the registry numbers and “racing” stripes. These are all applied with care and look straight and sharp.

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The electronics feature the usual mix of lights and sound. There are lights in the primary hull, which light up bridge and the windows near by as well as the two red impulse engines. This point features a fair amount of light bleeding, which is obvious, but look enough like spot lights on the exterior that I don’t mind it so much. The deflector dish lights up a very bright yellow with virtually no light bleeding at all. Lastly, the bussard collectors on the warp nacelles light up red and the top strips light up blue. Again, you get some light bleeding on the nacelles, mostly around the seams below the red bussard collectors, but the blue nacelle strips look really sharp.The lights only activate when the sound effects are going off and sadly there’s no function to just run the lights. As for the sound effects, here they are…

The sound sampling here feels really generic and features an emphasis on sound effects rather than speech. It’s basically just Picard giving some combat orders and a lot of weapons firing and engine sounds. Granted, “Nemesis” wasn’t a great film, but there were definitely some better quotes that could have been pulled from it. On the other hand, the generic nature of the clips make this ship work for just about any of the last three movies, so I suppose that could be considered a plus.

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The stand is slightly better than the standard garbage we’ve been seeing for this line. It has a two-sided triangle post instead of just one like my WoK Enterprise. It does support the ship quite well in a number of positions, but I attribute that to the relatively light weight and good balance of the ship rather than the quality of the stand.

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If the scale I use for rating these ships runs from the Awful “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise to the Superb NX Excelsior and Enterprise-D, with most of my other ships falling on upper half of the spectrum, then I would probably place this version of the Enterprise-E exactly midway along the line. The only real QC issues on this piece is the black paint spray and I’ve managed to fix most of that. Yes, the paint around the bussard collectors could be better, but it doesn’t sink to the depths of some of the stuff showcased on the WoK Enterprise. Everything else about this ship (the plastic, paint quality, lighting and sound) I would categorize as quite good, but not quite exceptional. At around $30-35 I would have been a lot more satisfied with this purchase, but at $50 it feels rather steep for the quality. Nonetheless, I’m happy to add The Enterprise-E to my Starship Legends shelf and it should be only a matter of time before I break down and pick up the Enterprise-B.