Street Fighter: Juri Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

Can this be? Has it really been four months since I last looked at one of Koto’s Bishoujo statues? Yes, I’m ashamed to say that is indeed the case and I am woefully behind on this little obsession of mine. I feel that Koto is partly to blame because they have really been upping the ante and releasing these things like crazy. I need to start scrambling to get caught up before the ones I missed start rising on the second-hand market, which is already the case with at least one of them. Anywho, back in March I checked out the lovely Julia Chang from their Tekken line, now we’re going back over to the Capcom side of the fence to look at Juri from Street Fighter!

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Aww, yeah. We all know what to expect from this packaging by now. You get a window box, which gives you a little tease at what’s inside and a lot of great artwork from Shunya Yamashita. While the comic book statues come in white boxes, Koto has been releasing the video game pieces in these black ones. I’m still partial to the white, just because it’s a cleaner look and makes the artwork pop a little more. But hey, who’s complaining? Not me, because I got a new Bishoujo to open up. Let’s do it!

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Juri comes already attached to her stand and ready to go, although she can be removed from it if you want to. Once I got her out of the box, my first reaction was… Holy crap, look at those boobs! Actually, I meant to say that I was impressed with the size of this piece. The last couple Bishoujo’s I opened were from the Tekken series and those are scaled a bit smaller. In contrast, this is one big and beautiful figure!

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While both Chun-Li and Cammy are caught in mid action poses, I think Juri looks more like she’s posing for the “camera.” The box suggests she’s readying for a kick, but I don’t get that kind of energy from the composition here. That is not in any way a complaint, mind you, just an observation. Truth be told, I think this is a fantastic pose and I’m particularly fond of when Koto can get their statues to balance like this. Juri stands balanced on the toes of her left foot with her right leg drawn up at the knee, one hand on her hip and the other held aloft as if to say, “behold my bad ass sexiness!” Ooooh yeah!

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Juri’s outfit includes her puffy pants, a long belt, which bellows out at her side and a a rather revealing top that just amounts to a breast plate with a bunch of straps running to her back to make up a bitchin’ spider motif. Funny, I don’t remember Juri being quite so well endowed in the game, but she’s positively busting out of her top here. She’s also sporting some sleeves, finger-less gloves and spiked bracelets.

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The portrait here is a beautiful piece of work. Juri has a rather sly look as she glances off to the side and licks her lips. She seriously looks like she’s about to relish kicking the shit out of someone. The eyes are absolutely gorgeous and they did a wonderful job recreating her distinctive hairstyle.

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The coloring on this piece feels a little muted compared to most Bish statues, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly in character. I think the fact that there’s no glossy aspects to her clothing is a big part of that. Instead of getting that contrast between the soft skin and the sheen of the clothes, everything is soft. The pallet is even a little more limited, with basically just black purple and gray. You do get a little bit of sheen on her belt buckle, her gloves, and the nail polish on her fingers and toes.

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As with the previous Street Fighter statues, Juri comes on a clear disc stand with a choice of two inserts. One has the Street Fighter logo and the other a piece of Shunya Yamashita’s character art on which this statue was based. I’ve gone on plenty about how I’m torn over these clear bases. On the one hand, they look nice and don’t detract from the figure, on the other hand, they show fingerprints really easily and the bottoms have a tendency to fall out when you pick them up.

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And to the great surprise of absolutely no one, I’m in love with yet another one of Koto’s magnificent Bishoujo statues. Considering how iconic Chun-Li and Cammy are, it’s no small feat to say that Juri can easily hold her own on the shelf next to her fellow game gals and with Sakura and Poison coming up next, I expect great things to continue for this sub-line. Now, I just have to backtrack and pick up the ones I missed, like Jun Kazama and Nina Williams from Tekken, oh and I think Anna Williams is shipping soon. And Batwoman and Jubilee… good grief!

Masters of the Univere Classics: Multi-Bot by Mattel

Last year Matty Collector creeped me out with sheer delight when they released Modulok, a figure that came with enough pieces to create your own Human Centipede monstrosity, or at least as close as I ever want to get. This year we get the robotic equivalent of the same idea with Multi-Bot, the bizarre member of the Evil Horde, which can also interchange parts and challenges you to create whatever your imagination can muster up. With July’s figures already landing on my doorstep, I’m already woefully behind on this guy, so let’s jump right in and take a look…

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Multi-Bot comes in an enclosed box, just like Modulok. It’s colorful and gives you a good idea of what lies inside. Unfortunately, Matty still hasn’t learned the way of sealing boxes with a piece of cello tape so I had to carefully work one of the glued flaps open. I don’t often keep my MOTUC packages, but with all the extra parts involved, these guys are an exception to the rule.

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Inside the box, you get a tray with Multi-Bot’s two humanoid forms surrounded by a bunch of other parts, which include two weapons, an extra pair of legs, and a bunch of combiner pieces.

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And they are an odd pair indeed. Why does the Masters world love to put monster heads on robots so much? Who cares… it’s a glorious practice. These guys look exactly like some crude drawing I might have done as a kid on my Trapper Keeper back in the 80’s and that is one of the many things I love so much about this line. It’s a child’s fever dream of monsters and robots and swords and sorcery and lasers and castles and giant cats. The coloring features a nice mix of drab green and blue with some bright orange and yellow thrown in. The torsos are black with some sharp silver paint to pick out the details.

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Individually, these guys actually have more articulation than a regular MOTUC figure. There are rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. There are swivels in the biceps. The wrists swivel and the ankles are hinged. They can rotate at the waists, have ab crunches in the torsos and ball joints in the ankles. The guns appear to be recolors of the ones that came with Modulok and they can still be combined to form a larger weapon. Of course, the real fun comes when you break these guys totally down and start using your imagination…

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With a total of three pairs of legs, two pairs of arms, a couple heads and torsos, and no less than fourteen different connection pieces, the real draw of this set is tinkering and seeing what you can come up with. The system works exactly the same as the one used for Modulok and the two figures are indeed compatible for even bigger and more bizarre creations.

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Last year, Modulok landed prominently on my Favorites List for being such an amazingly fun toy, so it’s no surprise that Multi-Bot has become a fast favorite of mine in this year’s Club offerings. Sure, he’s more of the same, but if you missed out on getting Modulok, you can get the same play pattern here and if you already have Modulok, well tossing both of these figures into a bin and mixing up the parts just makes for a total blast. Just be ready to do some painful sorting when you’re all done and ready to put them away!

Marvel Legends (Ultron Wave): Wasp by Hasbro

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I was initially disappointed the Marvel Cinematic Universe didn’t include Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne in The Avengers, but then everything turned out so well, I’ve since been content to let it go. Hank is finally getting his screen time in theaters now, albeit taking a backseat to Scott Lang. Janet, on the other hand, well I don’t want to go into spoilers this close to the film’s release, so let’s divert our attention away from the movie and into the pages of the funnybooks…

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I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging here. Wasp comes with her wings detached, so you just have to plug the bottom ones into the top ones and then peg those into her back. She also comes with the torso BAF piece for Ultron. I’ll note here that this is the same version of Wasp that we got in the Marvel Universe scale not too long ago, and that release was a mighty damn fine figure, so I’ll probably be making some comparisons throughout.

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And there she is, wings attached and all ready to go! Janet is donning the modern black and gold suit, which is not my favorite look for her, but I don’t dislike it at all. The costume gets by with a black female buck and gold painted detail only. There’s gold trim around the soles of her boots, on the palms of her hands, and the deco on her torso. Most of the paint is applied pretty well, although some of the decorations around her chest could have been a bit sharper. Wasp features those oogity-boogity spell-casting hands that we’ve seen on a lot of the ladies lately. I would have probably preferred at least one fist, if not both. I usually picture her launching her Wasp Stings from her fists and not opened hands. But, hey… no biggie.

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The wings look great. They’re cast in a transparent yellowish-green with sculpted veins (or whatever you call those things) making them look a little icky. The Universe version of Wasp came with only two wings, but the Legends has four, with two plugging directly into her back and the other two socketing into the primary wings. It offers a good deal of articulation and I haven’t had any problems with them coming out while posing her.

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The portrait really could have made or broken this figure and I’m happy to say it turned out fine. Janet is sporting her pixie cut, with hair a little shorter than what we got on the Universe version. I have heard horror stories about the paintwork on her eyes, mine look just fine and the paint on the lips is pretty good too. Her hair features some lighter brown highlights.

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Articulation is the usual female buck fare. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists and double hinged at the elbows. Alas, there are no bicep swivels. I really wish Hasbro would finally make those standard on all the Legends figures. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double-hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. She has a ball joint just below her chest and her neck is ball jointed and hinged.

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Once again, Hasbro has been serving up some solid figures in their Legends series and Wasp here is no exception. The only real complaint I have about Wasp here is that between her lithe legs and back-heavy wings she can be a little difficult to stand. Luckily Legends figures aren’t too difficult to fit and I’ve found that the NECA and (ironically) DC Collectibles stands work pretty well with these. Of course, the cool thing about having a matching Legends and Universe version is that I think the two look great displayed next to each other, similar to the set up that Bowen did for one of their contemporary Wasp statues. I like this figure a lot and it’s even possibly motivated me to hunt down the red and blue costumed version (my favorite look for her) from that old MODOK Wave.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Thundercracker (Leader Class) by Hasbro

Hoo boy, folks, am I excited to have this box in my hands. Although, that excitement is tempered a bit by the fact that there’s a shipping box in the corner containing Devastator, but we’ll save that for next week. When I first heard that Hasbro was making the Seekers using a tweaked mold of Generations Jetfire I was both fascinated and horrified. How could that possibly work? Well, all I know is I wanted it to work. I needed some Seekers for my Combiner War Megatron to order around. Aaaand, it doesn’t hurt that Thundercracker has always been one of my favorites because as a kid he was my first Decepticon and one of my very first Transformers.

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There’s the packaging. Thundercracker comes in a sizeable window box and packaged in his robot form. Check out the character art on the front of the box. He is seriously pissed off at someone. I suppose the whole Combiner Wars thing on the package could be a little misleading, since he most certainly does not combine with anything and he is woefully out of scale with most of the other figures in this series. But, hey, that was the case for Leader Class Megatron too. The box is totally collector friendly if you have a little patience and a pair of clippers, but I have neither right now, so I’m about to tear this sum’bitch open. Let’s start with his alt mode!

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If you’re looking to see the magic of Hasbro’s mad remolding skillz in the alt mode, you’ll be disappointed. This is basically a repaint of Jetfire without the booster assembly pieces (although the clips are still there) and with a new pair of wings. Now, that having been said, it totally works for me as Thundercracker and that’s all thanks to the gorgeous coloring. The bulk of the jet is cast in a deep, rich blue plastic with silver and red paint and a yellow tinted canopy that opens to reveal a detailed cockpit inside. Slap a couple crisp Decepticon logos on the wings and yeah, this’ll do just fine as my ‘Cracker. Not only is the coloring beautiful, but it really brings out some of the panel lining nicely. I don’t know where Hasbro got this new silver that they’re using, but it is fantastic. 

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Thundercracker comes with the same two sets of guns that came with Jetfire, only instead of that obnoxious red metallic finish, these are just black. You can still clip them onto the wings and undercarriage to give him a lot of firepower. In lieu of the booster pieces, T’Cracker comes with a pair of null rays, which can mount under his wings. Transforming this guy is the same as Jetfire, making him fairly easy for a Leader Class figure, but I’m not going to argue with the results…

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I think I’m a little bit in love with this guy. Maybe more than a little bit. He’s got a brand newly sculpted chest, complete with the same style of fake-out chest cockpit that Jetfire had and with the real cockpit on his back. He’s got newly sculpted shoulders too. I think the one thing that bothers me about this figure is the unfinished wings showing to the front. They were already changing the wings, if only they could have prettied them up on the side facing out.  I didn’t mind the rough wings so much on Jetfire, but here it bugs me a little, but not enough to ruin the figure. The thrusters peeking out behind his head is certainly a new look for the Seekers, but I’m not hating it, and the detail sculpted into those turbine intakes where his nipples should be is pretty great.

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The headsculpt is fabulous. It’s a crisp sculpt with more of that luscious silver paint and some light piping that’s a bit hard to activate. I’m surprised that I didn’t even realize that those iconic Seeker shoulder scoops were missing until after playing around with him for a bit. I wonder how long it will be before a third-party comes up with those? There are even very obvious spots where they could socket in. If someone were to release three pairs of them in a set at a decent price, I’d probably go for it.

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Naturally, you have some options with all those guns, but they’re all clearly designed to go somewhere specific. The larger ones can be left on the outsides of the legs to fill out that area, which I think works rather nicely. The null rays can socket into his arms, but unfortunately they socket into the forearms so they do interfere with elbow articulation a bit, and don’t really work when angled up like the original G1 figures or the Classics Seekers. The smaller pair of guns can be pegged into his wings or just left off. While I wish the null rays would have socketed into the shoulders, I still think they look really good when in firing position.

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Thundercracker also comes with the missile launching rifle that Jetfire had, only this time cast in black. It’s not a bad gun, but hand guns really aren’t the Seekers’ style so it’ll probably end up going into a drawer, or I might just give it to Jetfire so he can deep six the metallic red one.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from this figure, but I was more than a little afraid that he was just going to be Jetfire masquerading as Thundercracker and that is not at all the vibe that I get off of him. It works really well as a new take on the Seeker mold, so long as you’re willing to give up stuff like the shoulder intakes and not having Decepticon emblems facing front on the wings. Like Jetfire, he’s loads of fun to play with thanks mostly to the strong ratcheting joints and the interchangeable weapons. He also scales beautifully with CW Megatron as well as MP Soundwave and MP Optimus Prime. I’ve already got the Starscream repaint pre-ordered and I’m looking forward to seeing Skywarp!

Nothing To See Here, Except Some Admin Stuff…

No new Feature today as I’m using the time to get caught up on my Index of Reviews, which is now about two months behind. I’m going to try to hit the Pre-Order Page too because that thing hasn’t been touched in forever.

Also, with the return of Marvel Monday, I’m going to have to take the other two dedicated days (Star Trek on Wednesdays and GI JOE on Fridays) and roll them into a rotating Friday Feature, otherwise I’ll have too much other stuff piling up. Of course, Transformers Thursday will stay right where it is because it is an unswerving tradition around these parts and you just don’t mess with that kind of thing.

As for Comic Con… I was going to do a list of stuff that interested me, but lists bore me to tears. I will say that I’m really looking forward to seeing what Matty is going to do with the Thundercats license and yes, I’m totally on board with it. Hopefully they can generate the staying power that Ban Dai couldn’t. Also, very pleased to see Mezco still planning on releasing the Mega Scale Tygra so I can at least complete my collection of core Thundercats in that scale. Who could have guessed my two favorite things to come out of the Con would be Thundercats related when the line looked all but long dead!

And that’s all for today. I’ve got Devastator due to arrive tomorrow, so I’ll get to work on what will likely be a three-part Feature starting next Thursday. Lots of other goodies, too, so stay tuned!

By figurefanzero

Star Wars Black: Commander Cody by Hasbro

A new wave of Star Wars Black hit my doorstep this week. This time the assortment is comprised of all new releases (IG-88, Leia as Boushh, and Commander Cody), but the case breakout included two Codys. It’s a real shame that Hasbro has been getting away from the original concept of delivering four new figures in each wave, but they’ve become real inconsistant on that point now, causing me to buy these guys individually and pay a couple of extra dollars for each. Cody is actually the one figure in this wave I’m least interested in, but I’m a little pressed for time today so I thought I’d knock him out.

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The packaging is still great at showing off the figure, but from an art design standpoint it’s totally utilitarian. Why is there so much text on the box? We’re now up to four different languages and the left panel, where some companies put the name and an image of the figure, is just clogged up with disclaimers and copyright bullshit. They’ve even removed the useless character quote from the back. Oh well. I don’t keep these packages anyway, so let’s shred it open and get Cody out.

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If you picked up the 6-inch Black Clone Trooper then a lot of this figure should be familiar to you. He uses a repaint and slight resculpt of that body. The orange trim and unit markings go a long way to making him distinctive, and he’s also got some matte gray paint on his belt and midriff. The resculpted parts on the body consist of a new backpack, an armband, and a rubbery antenna like thing coming off his left shoulder armor. He also has a rank bar on his chest. All in all, this is a decent enough body sculpt. My biggest nitpick would be that they still haven’t opted to paint the pins in the elbow joints to match the black part of the inner suit. It seems like that should probably be something a $20 collector figure would watch out for.

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The helmet is all new and it seems to be a pretty good fit for Cody. I’m one of those weirdos who prefers the Phase I armor over this more Stormtrooper-like style, but it still works for me. Cody’s modified helmet features the visor and the antenna, setting him apart from the rest of the cannon fodder. I do think they did a pretty nice job with the paint on the helmet. The blue paint on the side vents is extremely clean and I like the little flame effects on the induction filters. There’s also some decent weathering to the gray stripe on top.

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Articulation is the same as we got with the regular Clone Trooper, which is to say pretty good. 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 and ankles, have double hinged elbows, and swivels at the thighs. His torso is ball jointed just below the armor plate and his neck is ball jointed too. The armor doesn’t really interfere with his poseability and I like that you can actually get him to aim down the barrel of his rifle. Not bad!

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Speaking of rifles, Cody comes with the same two weapons as the regular Phase I Clone Trooper. You get the standard pistol and the large rifle, both cast in the same black plastic. It’s always kind of bothered me that these guys don’t have holsters for their pistols like the Stormtroopers do. Or even shoulder straps on those rifles.

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I try to be very selective about the Prequel figures I buy because I tend to like those movies even less with each passing year. I can’t even begin to count how many 3 3/4″ Prequel figures I sold off during my Great Star Wars Purge of about five years ago. Nonetheless, I kind of dig Cody here. He’s a solid enough figure and I suppose if I’m going to own one of the Clone officers, it might as well be Cody. On the other hand, if I apply the old FFZ Test to him and ask, “does this figure really benefit in any way from being done in the 6-inch scale?” I’d have to say no. I’m pretty sure Hasbro has done just as good a job with Cody in the 3 3/4″ scale, but I suppose that says as much about how good some of their smaller figures have become then anything else. I suppose a next a regular Phase 3 Clone Trooper is inevitable and yeah, I’ll probably pick one of those up too.

Marvel Legends (Ultron Wave): Ant-Man by Hasbro

It’s been a little while since I last did a Marvel Monday, so how about we start busting into the latest wave of Legends figures and look at Ant-Man from the Ultron BAF Wave. But wait, isn’t the Hulkbuster BAF Wave shipping too? Damn you, Hasbro! Give a brutha’s bank account a little breathing room, will ya? I’m not sure which of these has priority in terms of release, but I happened upon Ant-Man and Wasp from the Ultron Wave first, so that’s where I’m going and I’ll likely run through this whole wave before I start getting into any of the others.

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There’s the packaging and, wait… Ant-Man Wave? With an Ultron Build-A-Figure? That’s a bit odd, isn’t it? In the Comic Universe it wouldn’t be odd, but in the Cinematic Universe it sure is. Then again, this isn’t really much of an Ant-Man Wave anyway. It’s half an Ant-Man wave at best. But who am I to complain? We’re getting a MovieVerse Ultron and I don’t care which figure assortment they choose to bundle him into. In this case you’re getting the head. So, where was I? The packaging… there’s nothing new to say about it, so let’s get to the figure.

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Obviously, this is Ant-Man from the soon to be released (This Friday… SQUEEEE!) movie and that makes him Scott Lang and not the Hank Pym Ant-Man that so many of us comic readers know and love. That’s OK, though, because I really dig this suit and I’m really looking forward to the movie. And did I mention I love the suit? Well it’s worth saying twice because this is easily one of my favorite costumes to come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It toes the line just enough to be easily recognized as Ant-Man without wandering too close to the Ultron design, which shared similarities in the comics, but shouldn’t in the films, because of obvious changes. At one point in the movie, Lang speculates as to it’s purpose by referring to it as a motorcycle suit and it does indeed give me that vibe. If it’s something that the elderly Pym wore back in the day then the retro feel is certainly appropriate.

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The detail on the suit itself is quite well done and includes a lot of silver trim and fixtures. The red and black deco looks sharp and the silver paint exhibits a tarnished look to give the “metal” pieces a bit of an aged patina.

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The portrait includes the very detailed helmet and mask, again with the same aged and distressed silver paint. The exposed mouth area is sculpted rather soft, which is a little at odds with how detailed and sharp everything else on this figure looks. I’m curious as to whether the chin strap will double as a microphone that he will lower his mouth into for the man-to-ant communication. From what I’ve seen, it looks like it might just be a telepathy, rather than a vocalized command and I guess I’m OK with that. I’d say the only other thing about the head that’s worth mentioning is the paint for the eyes is a little thin. I’m considering coloring it in with a red metallic Gundam Marker, but I’d like to see how common the figure is before I start experimenting on it. My experiments at customization usually don’t end well.

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Articulation is about what I’ve come to expect from the Legends line, which is to say pretty good. 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, have double hinges in the knees, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and swivels in the thighs. Lang can swivel at the waist, he has an ab crunch hinge in the torso and a ball jointed neck.

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In addition to the Ultron BAF part, the figure comes with a handful of extras including a miniature Ant-Man and an ant for him to ride and a miniature Yellowjacket. All are just static pieces and while the Ant-Man and Ant are nowhere near being in scale with this figure, or any figure for that matter, it’s still a nice little bonus. The Yellowjacket, on the other hand, isn’t something I have any use for. Do him in Legends scale, Hasbro, and I promise I’ll buy him. The only thing really missing here is an alternate unmasked Paul Rudd head. I only mention it because we’ve been getting a lot of extra unmasked heads in this scale lately. Iron Man, War Machine, Captain America, Star-Lord… this one really seemed like a no brainer, but I guess if you want that you’ll have to go the Marvel Select route.

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There are a lot of furtive whispers about whether or not Ant-Man could be Marvel’s first cinematic flop, but then I seem to recall a number of people saying the same thing about Guardians of the Galaxy and look how that one turned out. Whatever the case, I was honestly worried for a while that we might not see any figures from this film and I’m mighty glad those fears were groundless. Having a Cinematic Universe Ant-Man on my Avengers shelf has made me a very happy camper and I am super pumped to go check out this movie on Friday. It looks like it’s going to be loads of fun.

Transformers Unite Warriors: Aerialbots (UW-01) by Takara, Part 4

Alrighty, here we are at the end of the week and the final part of my look at Takara’s Unite Warriors Aerialbots. It’s time to cobble this guy together and check out the results. I’ve already mentioned that this is a Scramble City style combiner, so you can mix it up and make any of the limbs arms or legs and yeah, you can pull limbs from the other CW teams as well. That’s all well and good, and I think it works great as a play mechanic for the kiddies, but for the purposes of this Feature, I’m keeping him in line with the way he combined in the old G1 days, because I’m an old bastard set in my ways.

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Hot damn, this guy looks amazing. As a big fan of the Stunticons, it gives me no pleasure to say that this updated Superion is everything that Menasor failed at being. But before getting ahead of myself, let’s talk engineering. The way Silverbolt transformers into the torso is not only unbelievably clever, but I think it’s the core reason why Superion works so much better than Menasor. Instead of just his robot legs forming the upper legs and his arms folding up into shoulders, Silverbolt flips upside down to make his arms the upper legs and his legs just fold neatly into the torso. This makes for a solid piece that doesn’t try to fall apart every time I pose him. The way the plates close up to form the chest and even the little upside Autobot logo near his crotch folds up and disappears is just fantastic and everything tabs together perfectly.

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The limbs are all pretty standard stuff, but they all work so much better than the Menasor limbs. Skydive and Air Raid have a nice symmetry going as the lower legs and they are as solid as anything. Because of the nosecones, you don’t really have the option of flipping them to the back for that G1 look, but honestly, I think this guy looks better wearing the jets on the fronts of his legs. It’s also great not to have the bulky knee bumps that Menasor suffers from. The arms are also nice and symmetrical, which is obviously because we’re dealing with repaints of the same mold. They look great, and little touches like the way the robot arms actually peg into place is something that would have been welcome on Menasor.

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As for the aesthetics, this guy is without a doubt the best looking Has-Tak combiner I’ve seen in person. Keep in mind, I’m holding out for Takara’s Defensor, which I hear is a strong contender, and I’m not counting Devastator because he’s in a whole different league. If I wanted to quibble, I’d say the legs could use more bulk, but he’s still pretty well proportioned. I have to admit I’m considering picking up one of the 3P add on kits to give him some bulkier feet and better hands, but what’s here still works just fine.

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While I wasn’t terribly keen on what they did with Menasor’s head, Superion’s is spot on perfect as far as I’m concerned.

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In combined mode, the coloring here isn’t a huge departure from the Hasbro release. You get the white bit on the chest, the antenna are gold, and the upper legs on this release have the gold and silver paint instead of being all orange. I like the coloring changes here better, but anyone looking to keep this guy in combined mode might not need to be bothered with going for the Takara release.

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As good as he looks, I’m happy to say he’s also a blast to play with. Not only can he stand beautifully, but I can grab Superion and treat him like an action figure without having to worry about the shoulders coming apart or the limbs mis-transforming. This guy is as solid as the day is long and that fixes the biggest complaint I had about Menasor. Indeed, the only downside here is that there’s no ankle tilts and if you put him in action poses on a smooth surface his feet are going to slide. On the other hand, if you put him on a carpet or a piece of poster board and the slipping and sliding isn’t an issue.

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As someone who scoffed at the initial pictures of these Aerialbots, and laughed at the combined mode, I’m so happy to be able to eat those words. I think a big part of it were the terrible first pictures. Hasbro, you really need to work on that stuff. Although, a lot of it has to do with just having him in hand and appreciating what they did here. Not only are the individual bots great figures, but Superion is absolutely fantastic. Even with all the great stuff they’re doing these days, I think this team is possibly one Has-Tak’s greatest achievements in recent years. Four deluxes and one Voyager, all perfectly fine as stand alone Transformers and yet merging into one solid and kickass robot, all while managing to maintain a solid homage to the G1 characters. And while I’m very glad I held out for the Takara release, the truth is that either way you go, Hasbro or Takara, I think you’re getting a superb set of figures.

Transformers Unite Warriors: Aerialbots (UW-01) by Takara, Part 3

Hey, it’s Transformers Thursday and what a coincidence that I’m right in the middle of a four-part look at Takara’s Unite Warriors Aerialbots. I’ve already looked at Silverbolt, Fireflight, and Slingshot and now it’s time to look at Superion’s legs: Air Raid and Skydive. Let’s start with their alt modes.

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While Slingshot and Fireflight were just repaints of the same jet, Air Raid and Skydive are completely different and extremely faithful to their G1 original counterparts. Skydive is a black and gray F-16 Falcon and Air Raid is an all black F-15 Eagle. Both jet modes look great, although the robot kibble on the bottom of these two strike me as being a lot more cumbersome than Fireflight and Slingshot. That’s not really a complaint, because all that kibble just feels right on these updates. Either way, these are great looking jets.

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I was never too keen on Skydive’s color scheme. I always thought the gray body and black wings looked odd, but it’s reproduced here perfectly. You even get the yellow lightning bolts on the wings and the Autobot emblems. I particularly love the gold paint applied to his missile clusters. What a beautiful little touch!

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Air Raid, on the other hand, was my favorite jet mode of this whole team. A sexy black F-15 that could give those Decepticon seekers a run for their money in the sky. And yeah, these guys are scaled pretty well to go with the Classic Seeker molds. The striping on his wings is a lot different from the Hasbro Air Raid. It’s more tastefully restricted to just some silver trim on the edge of the wings. The deco is rounded out with those nice, crisp Autobot emblems on the wings and nosecone.

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They each come with the same double barreled gun, with Air Raid’s cast in white plastic and Skydive’s in black. They can be pegged into the backs of the jets to upgrade them to some major firepower, but yeah it looks kind of silly. Thankfully these guns work great for them in robot mode.

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While their jet modes are totally different, these two guys share the same legs in robot mode with only the tail wings resculpted. The rest of their bodies, however, are completely different and they both look fantastic. Once again, they wear their jets on their backs in classic Aerialbot fashion and you can still angle their wings or sweep them straight back for a cleaner look from the front. A plethora of ball joints and hinges in the knees make them fun to pose and there isn’t a lot of kibble to get in the way of the action.

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I’m not all that keen on Skydive’s head sculpt. It seems to match the aesthetic of some of the CW Stunticons, but it doesn’t really feel like one of the Aerialbots to me. Not bad, but maybe just a little too modern for my taste. Air Raid’s head is a lot more to my liking.

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Having looked at all the individual robots, I have to say that as a team, this is one of my favorite assortments of Transformers that Hasbro or Takara has done in ages. That’s really saying something too, because they’ve been hitting it out of the park the last couple of years with the Generations line in general and the Thrilling Thirty in particular. And not to mention I wasn’t sold on these figures based on the initial reveals. Granted, I’m probably pretty biased in favor of these guys because of how much I love the Aerialbots, but in fairness I have the same love for the Stunticons and while I like those figures a lot, I don’t think they come close to the amazing and cohesive job they did on this team and I can’t even articulate how happy I am that they found a way to get us Slingshot in the end.

Tomorrow, I’ll wrap this whole thing up with a look at Superion!

 

Transformers Unite Warriors: Aerialbots (UW-01) by Takara, Part 2

Pressing on in what will be a four part look at the Unite Warriors Aerialbots, today we’re checking out the bots that form Superion’s arms: Fireflight and Slingshot. Yes, I know in the classic Scramble City fashion, these can be legs too, but in my mind there’s only one right way to form Superion and that means these guys are the arms. Let’s start with the alt modes…

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Of course, Slingshot was the one that was late to party, with Alpha Bravo standing in for him in the Hasbro assortment. They eventually released Slingshot stateside, but the Takara set includes him from the get-go. As far as the jet modes go these are just repaints of the same alt mode. It’s a little bit of a cheat as they weren’t the same jets in the G1 days, but if this is the sacrifice I have to make to avoid putting some whirlybird impostor in with my Aerialbots, then I’m fine with that.

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I like this alt mode a lot and with Fireflight being mostly red with white wings, the totally white Slingshot makes for a fairly distinctive looking jet. To help distinguish them a little more, I like to angle Fireflight’s tail wings up, which is totally inaccurate to the style of jet, but I like the subtle variety it creates. Otherwise, both aircraft have their own distinctive wing striping and they each have some nice and crisp Autobot emblems stamped on their wings.

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Yeah, you can see their hands peeking out behind the wings, but I’m over that. Also, each of these guys comes with the same gun, which you can mount under either wing, or load one of them up with both guns for some major firepower.

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Because these are basically the same mold, the robot modes also rely on paint to distinguish them from each other. This is a pretty classic Aerialbot design with the nosecones protruding from their backs. The wings can either angle out from their sides or be swept straight back for a cleaner look from the front. Either way, I think these robot modes are awesome.

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The fact that they moved Slingshot’s Autobot insignia to his shoulder makes that blank side of his chest a little odd. Otherwise between the paint and the new head sculpts, they work fine for me as separate characters. Slingshot’s head always had the most personality to me and I think they did a great job on it. As for Fireflight, I think that’s supposed to be styled after the G1 toy’s head, but I wish they had gone for the Sunbow or comic look. I don’t really associate a mouth plate with any of the Aerialbots. Still, it’s not a bad looking noggin.

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Again, they each come with the same gun, which unlike Silverbolt is scaled perfectly for these smaller guys. Yes, you can get creative and use the hand/foot pieces as accessories, but I don’t need to bother with that just to justify their existance outside of being combiner parts.

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As updates to the G1 Aerialbots, these are fantastic figures. They’re relatively simple and yet their alt modes and robot modes are both great. As a big fan of this team growing up, I would have had so much fun playing with these as a kid. Especially since imagination would only take me so far with the original G1 versions of these guys. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be Slingshot, just for the better head, but the truth is I really dig them both.
Next time: Air Raid and Skydive!