Marvel Legends (Hulkbuster Wave): War Machine by Hasbro

With the craziness of one holiday behind us, we can now start the slow march to the next one. Decent Black Friday sales for action figures seemed few and far between in my neck of the woods, but I did manage to pick up a few Marvel Legends for cheap and today’s figure is one of them. Let’s check out Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the original version of his Marvel Cinematic Universe War Machine armor. He’s also the second rung on the ladder to me building the magnificent Hulkbuster BAF!

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There’s nothing new to say about the packaging. War Machine comes with the Hulkbuster head off to one side and a spare swappable portrait off to the other. It’s probably the lightest and least congested package of this entire wave, but hey… somebody had to come with the head!

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Does this guy look familiar? Yeah, it’s basically a repaint of the Iron Patriot that was part of the Iron Monger BAF assortment, a figure that I looked at back in the Summer of 2013. In fact the only difference in the sculpt here is the left hand, which has gone from the open palm repulsor attack to being a simple closed fist. The sculpt was pretty damn solid to begin with as it features plenty of panel lines and just an overall nice 6-inch scale version of the armor seen in the film.

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The paint is also beautifully executed. The black and silver deco looks sharp and reserved compared to the red white and silver of the Patriot deco. The black uses a subtle bit of glitter, which I really dig and all the paint lines are clean. This figure also features all the same tiny tampos as the original, which include Rhodes’ name stamped vertically on the left of the chest plate, the “FF 445” on the left shoulder and the Air Force emblem on the left forearm. These are all crisp and stand out nicely against the black paint. Considering the face plate paint on my Patriot was rather miffed, I’m much happier with what I got this time around.

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The alternate portrait features the open mask showing Rhodey’s face. Overall the sculpt is pretty good, but the eyes on mine are uneven and do their best to bring the whole thing down. How ironic is it that these factories seem to get people who can’t see properly to paint eyes? At least it’s probably marginally better than the Tony Stark face that I got with my Mark 42 armor. Either way, this extra noggin is about to go into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories with that Stark head.

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The articulation here is solid, but has some issues. The arms feature rotating hinges at the shoulders, and thankfully the shoulder armor is hinged so as not to inhibit movement. There are swivels in the biceps and nice double hinges in the elbows. The wrists have rotating hinges, but the sculpt there really limts some of the movement. The legs have ball joints in the hips, and again the armor sculpt interrupts some of the movement here. The knees are double hinged, there are swivels up at the hips, and while there appear to be hinges in the ankles, the sculpt allows no movement at all. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Honestly, the poseability here is probably totally accurate to someone wearing a suit like this in real life, but in the films, the wearers were a lot more limber.

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While not really an accessory, War Machine comes with the same shoulder cannon as Iron Patriot. It is removable and can be pegged in two different positions, but it’s clearly intended to be worn to the left. It’s hinged so that it can be positioned in a prone position and then angled up over the shoulder when ready to fire.

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Despite some limits to the articulation and some rough paint on the spare head, I dig this figure a lot. The armor sculpt definitely carries it and I find myself liking the more utilitarian deco a lot better than the flashier Patriot paint scheme. Most importantly, I’m just happy to be able to represent Rhodes on my Legends shelf because he is definitely one of my favorite supporting characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I love the fact that he was teased as being one of the core Avengers in a future Phase and I really hope to see Cheadle take the center stage at least once in the MCU.

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DC Comics Super-Villains: “New 52” Black Adam by DC Collectibles

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. Mine was fairly restful and now I’m ready to tear into a new DC Collectibles figure. Yes, I started DC Fridays to get through the embarrassing stack of these figures that currently resides in the corner. And then I got sidetracked looking at a bunch of DC Statues, but now I’m back to the original mission statement and today I’m opening up Black Adam! Yes, Black Adam… because it’s Black Friday. Yeah, that’s a bit of a stretch…

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The package is the usual window box with extended back flap and J-hook. I do like that DCC is mixing up the decos with this Super-Villains line to match the characters. In this case the box is black with some gold swipes. The back shows the other figures in this wave: Joker (which I already looked at) and Captain Cold (which is still in the pile somewhere). Black Adam was largely a non-character to me until DC’s ambitious 52 series. Not only did that series get me back into reading comics pretty hardcore, but it practically introduced me to Black Adam as a character, and quite a bad-ass at that!

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Out of the box, this figure immediately impresses and disappoints. Let’s start with the great stuff… the sculpt! DCC really outdid themselves with this guy, particularly in the portrait. Black Adam wears a rather vicious grimace making for a dude that I would not want to mess with. They’ve done a number of really solid head sculpts in the last year or so, but this one is without a doubt among their best, if not the absolute tops. There’s a little bit of rubbing on the flesh tone, but otherwise the paint is clean and backs up the sculpt beautifully.

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The outfit also features some great work. The top of his mostly black suit features some of those sculpted panel lines that the New 52 designs love so much. There’s also a lot of detail on the black and gold boots. The lightening bolt on his chest is both sculpted and painted and there’s some wonderful “Kirby Krackle” painted into the center of it. Adam features his right hand balled into a fist and his left hand grasping in a rather wretched fashion. The paint is a simple black with some rather nice gold accents.

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The cape is also wonderfully executed. It’s sculpted in layers with the bulk of the cape bellowing out to the sides and showing off the tattered edges and some holes. The hood consists of a smaller cape flap and both of which fall back behind his neck.

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So far, so good! But where the figure disappoints is the articulation. I don’t expect a whole lot from DC Collectibles, but they’ve been gradually improving their figures’ articulation, but Black Adam here feels like a bunch of steps back. The arms are OK, with rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in both the biceps and wrists. The legs, however feature just a standard T-crotch in the hips and hinged knees. No swivels in the legs at all. There’s also no articulation in the torso and while the neck appears to be on a ball joint it can only swivel. The neck is doubly disappointing because it means his head is always pointing down.

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And so what we have here is most definitely a mixed bag. Black Adam is an outstanding looking figure, but he really needed just a few more points of articulation to make for a well-rounded package. The head constantly pointing down is probably my biggest gripe, as it means I’ll most likely have to display him on a flight stand to really appreciate all the great work that went into his portrait. I’m very glad I got him, especially at the crazy low price of $11, but he could have been so much better.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Legends Class Skywarp by Hasbro

It’s Transformers Thursday and it is also Thanksgiving, which is very appropriate as I am always thankful for little robots that turn into other things. I’m taking today to relax and be with family so I’ll be honest, I looked for a figure that I could do quick and dirty and Legends Skywarp seemed like the perfect fit.

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Here’s the packaging and there ain’t a lot new I can say about it. Mine came from Amazon and it’s sort of beat to hell. It was way back in the Summer of last year that I started down the path of Legends Seekers with Generations Starscream. In February of this year, I looked at Combiner Wars Thundercracker and now Skywarp finally gets his due. He’s packaged in robot mode, but let’s start with his alt mode.

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No surprises here, as this is the second straight repaint of this mold. It’s a great little jet mode, which straddles the line between update and homage. Of course, Skywarp does have a leg up by sporting the most bitchin’ deco of all the Seekers. Ooooh yeah. The Decepticon flag is purple and black, baby, and these colors don’t run! Seriously, look at him. He’s gorgeous! He’s got his null rays slung under the wings and a hinged landing gear under the nose.

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Transforming Skywarp is simple and fun and the robot mode is still just as solid as ever. Again, nothing new to the mold here, even the head is the same, but at this scale who’s going to notice anyway? There’s some nice sculpted detail on the chest intakes, and a surprising amount of detail sculpted inside the chest cavity behind where the cockpit piece goes. You’ll only see it going from one mode to the next, but it’s there! I also dig that the painted face of the wings face forwards, which is something that even the Leader Class versions of the Seekers didn’t do.

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The articulation on these figures is lots of fun. You get ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips, and the knees are hinged. The null rays on the arms can rotate and they don’t even have to be removed for transformation.

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The price on these little Legends have been all over the place, but I was able to complete my Seekers with Skywarp at the laughable price of $7.50. What a bargain! It’s great to have all three Seekers finally together in this scale so they can start their futile attack runs against Metroplex. And so, I am indeed thankful for cheap little changeable robots that I can stuff in my pocket and play with as I’m waiting for the turkey to digest.

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I’m also really grateful for everyone who reads my crazy ramblings about toys and the many people I’ve befriended (whether through emails, comments here, or on Twitter) since I started this silly little blog so many years ago. The Internet is many things, a lot of them bad, but for me it’s shining virtue is that it can bring together kindred souls and make fast friends of people who have never even met. And so, to my Internet Family, and if you’re reading this, you have a seat at the table… Have a Happy Thanksgiving and may The Matrix light your darkest hour! Gobble, Gobble!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Terror Claws Skeletor and Flying Fists He-Man by Mattel.

Things are coming to a head, folks! There’s only one more month left in the 2015 Masters Classics Sub, I just got my November figures, but I still have unfinished business with October. I’ve actuallly got two figures to look at today, so without further delay, let’s check out our friends, He-Man and Skeletor all kitted out in some truly bizarre new battle gear!

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If you own any of the other two-packs from the MOTUC line then you’ll know what to expect from the packaging here. It’s got the same attractive green Greyskull deco wrapped around a (nearly) trapezoid-shaped window box. The back features a bio for each figure and some shots of other figures that are long gone from Matty’s Store and only available now from Ebay for all your monies. Overall, the box shows the figures off quite well, it doesn’t waste a lot of space, and it’s sort of collector friendly, but the box is easy to damage, so your mileage may vary. I was careful to preserve the packaging on mine, because I think I’m actually going to display them this way. I just think it makes for a neat looking set. Let’s start with He-Man…

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When you think about it, it’s surprising how few variants of He-Man were produced. I mean, Mattel could have really gone crazy, but they didn’t. It’s also worth noting that my very first Masters Classics figure was one of those variants, Battle Armor He-Man, so maybe I have a soft spot for variants. This version is kind of similar in that it gives He-Man an armored chest plate, which also kind of make it look like he’s been packing away the Roast Gooble dinners. Yes, it’s a rubbery vest over the already beefy buck, but I don’t think it looks bad. It features a nice silvery sheen and a bright red “H” on the chest. There are a few blemishes on my figure’s paint here, but I’ll write that off to battle scuffing. I should point out that Mattel chose not to go the vac-plated route like on the vintage figure. I’m OK with that seeing as how my Hurricane Hordak has some chips in his. The rest of the figure’s buck is pretty much what you would expect. This version does have some nice white trim on the tops of his boots and his belts and wrist bracers are painted red. The head appears to be a new sculpt, or at least different from the ones on my regular He-Man and Battle Armor He-Man.

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Of course, this pack is all about the crazy weapons, but we’ll start small and go big. Firstly, He-Man comes with a Power Sword and a spinning shield thing. The shield is the new attraction here and I actually dig it a lot. It’s a gold circular shield with a grey spinning piece mounted on the front. On an Eternian Ridiculousness Scale of Ten, this one scores only Two Orkos and that’s not bad. The shield clips onto the wrist bracer firmly. I only wish there was a place to put the sword on his back for when he’s using…

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THIS! Yeah, the needle on that scale just pinned to the right. When I think “Flying Fists” He-Man, I kind of expect him to shoot his fists like a Shogun Warrior Robot, but it doesn’t summon up images of this. He-Man’s special weapon is like Duncan combined a mace with a weed wacker. It’s just three spinning balls on the end of an arm. On the one hand, it’s ridiculous, on the other hand if someone was coming at me with it, I’d run away, so I’ll have to give the designers some credit. Do I like it? Yeah, I do. I’m not into this line because it has a firm grasp on common sense. Let’s check out Skeletor…

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Again, there’s some nice variations on this figure over the original, and I mean besides the giant robot dragon head on his back. The chest armor is new and includes a painted skull and flared shoulders. The buck seems to be cast in a slightly darker blue, his webbed feet are painted to match his leg bracers and thereby make them look more like boots. Lastly, the belt is painted red, which I just noticed now matches He-Man’s. How embarrassing is it when you show up for battle and you and your arch-enemy’s accessories match. I almost cried foul about how the dragon head doesn’t angle over the shoulder, but then I remembered that was Dragon Blaster Skeletor, a figure that I somehow missed out on. The paint on the skull face is different from the original Skeletor’s as well. It’s a lot more vibrant and I dig that.

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The dragon chomping piece unclips from his back and he can hold it in his right arm. Now this thing? I just don’t see the appeal of it. It looks like Skeletor decapitated Sky Lynx and is using his head as a grabby arm. It’s OK, I guess. There’s a hinge in the middle of it, but it only bends upward and I think a downward hinge would have been more useful. The jaw is also hinged. Now, the real main attraction for Skeletor are his self-titled…

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TERROR CLAWS! And they’re exactly what you might expect. It’s just a pair of giant claws that snap over his hands. God help me, I think they actually look pretty cool. Although I can’t help picture Skeletor showing up to Castle Greyskull and shouting, “Come down here He-Man, I’m going to scratch your f’cking eyes out!!!” Again, ridiculous? You betcha! Cool? Oh, hell yeah!

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I’m not ashamed to admit that I love these figures and I’m super thrilled that Matty bundled them together in one box. As individual figures, I doubt they would have made the cut for my already crowded MOTUC shelves. As a boxed item, however, I’ll find a way to sneak it in somewhere among my Sky Sled and Wind Raider, which I also display in their respective boxes. This is quite simply epic stuff. It’s the kind of gear that would make Skeletor and He-Man approach each other on the battlefield, give each other a good look and say, “OK, we’ve officially taken this too far” and just go home.  And that finally wraps it up for October. Next week, I’ll start in on the November figures, because after that we’re into December and that means we’re coming up fast on the end of the tunnel! 

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“Dammit, Beast Man, I did not invent the Terror Claws to scratch your flea-ridden hide!”

“Harder… A little more to the left… Oh, yeah. Boss, you’ve got magic fingers!”

 

Star Wars Rebels: Darth Vader and Ashoka Tano by Hasbro

A couple of weeks back I checked out one of these boxed 3 3/4-inch Mission Series two-packs and I’ve got a lot more on my stack waiting to be opened. Let’s do another one from Rebels! The current season of the series has really upped the ante by adding characters from both The Original Trilogy and Clone Wars and both of them are bundled in this little box of joy!

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I gushed a lot about this packaging last time, so I’ll try to take it easy. Suffice it to say that the character art is fantastic as is the unrelated Force Awakens branding on the top near the J-hook. The window gives you a great look at the figures inside and the whole shebang is totally collector friendly. Yes, these are the simple five points of articulation figures that we’ve been seeing from Rebels all along, so if that’s a deal-breaker for you, just move along. As for everyone else… let’s start with Darth Vader…

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Of course, this is the stylized version of Vader as seen in the series and as near as I can tell, an entirely new figure. There’s definitely a little McQuarrie influence in there, as is the case with a lot of Rebels’ designs, and I like it a lot. I like the way the cape bellows out to allow for his arm movement and the way the “skirt” and legs are sculpted to show more detail when they are moved. He also looks like he’s puffing his chest out a bit and holding his nose up in the air. With all that having been said, it’s not a dramatically new look for The Dark Lord of the Sith. I’d say the biggest changes are in the helmet, which actually looks like its scowling. Also, the red paint on the eyes is a nice touch. There aren’t a lot of paint apps on the figure, but what’s here is nice and clean.

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Vader comes with his lightsaber, which he can hold in either hand. Because of the limited articulation, you can’t really get any action poses out of him, but he looks good holding it. Oddly enough, there’s a hook sculpted into his belt for the saber, the the accessory itself lacks any means to hang it. Moving on to Ashoka…

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I am no fan of The Clone Wars series, despite having tried to watch it on many occasions. Still, I think it’s cool that Rebels has managed to incorporate Ashoka into the new series. Let’s face it, that series had a huge fan base! The sculpt and paintwork here are exceptionally good and she is also an entirely new figure. Indeed, I’d say this is one of the best looking Rebels figures produced so far, and probably among the best of Hasbro’s 5-POA style figures. All the little details are there from the carved patterns on her skirt to the panel lines on her arm bracers. The face is spot-on and the blue patterns on her tendrils are super sharp.

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Ashoka comes with two lightsabers, one with a straight hilt and one slightly bent. She also has hooks on her waist for them, but like Vader’s I can’t see any way to attach them. Again, she looks good holding them at rest, but attempts at action poses just look goofy. I’m really excited for that 6-inch Black version of the character. Oh yeah, you also get this junk…

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Blah! I mean… Oooh, that should be fun for the kids!

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I love this set! You get two great new figures for around $7.50 each. The MSRP is $14.99, but I got mine for a few bucks less. Vader is a rock solid figure, but Ashoka comes out as the true gem here. The paint and sculpt on her are just really above board for what we’re used to seeing in this line. I hope Hasbro uses this venue to get us some more Rebels figures, even if they’re just repacks of some of the harder to find releases. Hey, an Agent Kallus and AT-DP Driver pack would solve a lot of my problems!

Marvel Legends (Hulkbuster Wave): Doctor Strange by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday again, folks, and it’s also time to start a brand new wave of Marvel Legends! Woo Hoo! I’ll warn you/apologize ahead of time that the Jameson is flowing freely today. This time I’m working my way up to the BAF Hulkbuster, one figure at a time and I’m starting off the wave with Doctor Strange! Can I just take this time to say how much I’m looking forward to the Doctor Strange movie? Yeah, Star Trek: Into Darkness almost killed Cumberbatch for me, but it wasn’t his fault. He just took a cartload of money and they handed him a “script.” See, I used quotes around the word script because it was a piece of shit. Hahaha… Seriously, I HATE THAT MOVIE!!! No, but I’m really hoping that Doctor Strange will redeem him for me. He’s perfect for the role and I’ve all but given up on the theory that Disney can make a bad Marvel flick or at least one that I don’t like.

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Of course, this is the comic version of the character, so please excuse my little detour about the movie. The package is unchanged from the last Wave I looked at. It’s still a fairly compact window box, which is relatively collector friendly. In this case, the package weighs a ton because of the gigantic Hulkbuster leg, which I swear uses more plastic than the figure itself. You’ll also note that Strange’s name doesn’t appear on the front of the package, instead it’s just the generic moniker, “Marvel Hereoes.” Wow, that could apply to almost anyone. Yes, this is another case of a variant swap-out within the slot and in this case the other figure is The Vision. I don’t get why Hasbro does this anymore seeing as: a) Both figures are included in the case, and b) Each figure comes with a unique BAF part. Craziness! Anyway, let’s go ahead and commune with The Eye of Agamotto and free Strange from his prison.

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Yes, this is the modern version of the character’s look and one that I’m not entirely familiar with. The last time I encountered Doctor Strange in my comic reading was back in issue #21 of Deadpool and he was still grasping at some of the vestiges of his more classic look. Here he’s given up the high collar and cape and is sporting something of a more streamlined “super hero” style costume. It’s convenient for Hasbro as they were able to get away with a repainted buck and adding just a sculpted “skirt” piece and new forearms. The new black and maroon deco gives him a far more sinister look. I won’t say I don’t like it, but I definitely prefer his older costume. This figure is also a tad more buff than I’m used to seeing him. The head sculpt is fantastic. He looks great and the paint is all nice and clean, even around the mustache.

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The articulation is solid and about what I’ve come to expect from this line. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders and wrists. The elbows are double jointed and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips with swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots. The knees are double hinged and the ankles are hinged with lateral rockers. The waist swivels, there’s an ab crunch hinge in the torso and the neck has both a hinge and a ball joint.

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In addition to the mammoth BAF part, Strange comes with two magic effects parts. These are the same pieces that came with Scarlet Witch a little while back only now cast in a neon green plastic. I liked these pieces a lot back then and still dig them a lot now. Unfortunately, Strange’s hands look more like Spider-Man thwipping hands than spell-casting hands to me. But I suppose they get the job done.

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Yes, if I were given my druthers I would have had classic Strange in this assortment, but Marvel is obviously more interested in promoting their current books and current looks. I’m OK with that. This more sinister version of Strange works for me too and Hasbro did a fine job with the figure. The new sculpted bits look good and the paint is sharp and clean. The articulation is solid and it’s nice to see a return of the magic effects parts. And since my old Legends Doctor Strange disappeared long ago, I’m very happy to have the character represented on my Legends shelf again. Besides, for Classic Strange I can always look to my Marvel Universe figure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DC Comics: Zatanna Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

There’s no better testament to how backed up my receivings pile is than the fact that I’ve been sitting on this unopened Bishoujo statue for so long. Normally that would be true for any of Koto’s ladies, but in this case I’ve been waiting for Zatanna to appear in this line since the day I started collecting it and that was almost thirty statues ago.

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We’ve seen Koto’s Marvel and DC Bishoujo boxes here many times and it’s still a treat. The statue comes in a white box with plenty of Shunya Yamashita’s wonderful art and some shots of the statue itself on the back. You get windows on the front, top, and side panels to let you look at the actual goods as well. The statue comes nestled between to clear plastic trays and everything is, as always, collector friendly. I would probably build an accent wall out of all my empty Bishoujo boxes if they weren’t all different sizes.

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You also get a little teaser of the up and coming Black Canary release. I’m really going to have to clear some more shelves for this collection. But enough with the preamble, let’s get this gal out. There’s virtually no assembly required. Just place the wand in Zatanna’s hand and she’s all ready for display.

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I’ve had a thing for Zatanna for as long as I can remember. Is it the fishnets and heels? The tight frilly top and jacket? Maybe it’s just the whole package, but whatever it is, this statue hits all the right points. Zatanna stands on one leg with the other foot kicking back, she’s turning to one side and holding out her top hat in her right hand while her left hand flourishes her magic wand over her head. It’s a positively perfect pose for this magical lady and I don’t think I would dare change a thing.

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The sculpted outfit is one of the more elaborate ones we’ve seen in either the DC or Marvel comics ranges of this line and Koto really went wild on it. Her white blouse features the frilly front and french cut sleeves, accompanied by dainty white gloves. The tight yellow vest is tugging at its buttons and the jacket features a red rose on her lapel and the coat tails licking up behind her. What’s more each layer of her clothing is sculpted to hang loose independently and display a lot of depth.

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From the waist down we get her iconic fishnets (yes, real ones!) and a pair of black thigh high boots. Now, far be it from me to question Koto’s design, but the one thing I might have changed on this statue would be to nix the boots and display her fishnets down to a pair of heels. I’m guessing, however, they did what they did to to minimize the fishnets. With that being said, the fishnets look great, with a rather neat seam running down the back of her legs and avoiding the pitfalls Mattel had with these types of stockings in their DC action figures. And hey, the boots look dead sexy and great, it’s just a matter of personal taste.

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The portrait is everything I’ve come to expect from this line. Zatanna is adorable and features razor sharp paint apps for her blue eyes and red lips. The hair is also an exceptional sculpt, splaying out in all directions. This may be one of the line’s best coifs!

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The base is a simple gold disc with a “Z” embossed on it in a rather Art Deco style. It’s classy and it looks great, much like Zatanna herself! This is one of the few examples where the statue is not readily removable from the base, as her one foot is actually screwed in there.

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I paid a straight $65 for this lovely lady, which is on the high end for my Bishoujo fix, but then I’m not messing around and waiting for them to become scarce either. Besides, when you look at what sixty-five bones is buying you these days when it comes to collector statues, the craftsmanship on display here still makes it a solid value. And yes, I’m still very much behind on my Bishoujo pick ups. Sakura from Street Fighter and Tekken’s Anna Williams are still calling to me. Gotta get on that…

Transformers Combiner Wars: Mirage by Hasbro

Y’all have no doubt noticed that I’ve been dipping into the older ChangeFormerBots in order to supplement my Transformers Thursdays. That’s because I’m sitting out most of the current wave of Combiner Wars, which gives us new takes on some of the 1984 Autobots. I am, however, picking up two of these guys and I thought I’d check out one of them today. Yes, it is Mirage!

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Here’s the packaging and I’ve got nothing new to say about it, other then it comes with a reprint comic and if you’re expecting Mirage in it, you’ll be disappointed. So instead, let me take this time to say that I went with this new Mirage just to see if it might stand in for my Classics version. Don’t get me wrong, I really dig the Classic version, but I also wanted a bit of a chunkier version in my collection. Which version of Mirage will prevail and reside on my Classics Shelf? Let’s press on and find out…

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Yes, Mirge is a repaint of Combiner Wars Dragstrip and as far as the vehicle mode works it’s a slam dunk. Indeed, this car actually works better for me as Mirage because it’s missing the extra wheels from Dragstrip’s original alt mode. The coloring here is also a lot more appealing to me and the toy looks gorgeous with the white and blue deco. Damn, the blue plastic they used here sure is pretty! You also get a little bit of black paint in the cockpit and a nice coat of silver paint on the spoiler. The nose of the car features an Autobot emblem and “62” and the side panels feature “62 Circuit Racing.” I maybe would have enjoyed having a little more in the way of decals, but what’s here is good. Yup, in terms of alt modes, I am totally in love with this toy as Mirage.

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In robot mode things get a tad more iffy. Iffy but not entirely off. Again, the colors look really nice on this figure and the arms and legs actually work perfectly fine for me as Mirage. Obviously, the biggest departure from the original Mirage design is the chest, which sports the combiner post recessed into it. Again, it’s not a deal breaker for me, and the Classics version of the character didn’t really match up to the original either, so I’m willing to give it a pass. It’s just that with some of the ingenious engineering Hasbro has been doing with shared molds these days, it’s almost criminal they couldn’t find a way to have his back land on his front. Sure, you can turn his head and bottom half around and try to fake it, but the front of the car sticks out too far and the arms are still wrong. I’m chalking it up to the fact that this is already a combiner and has too much going on to be messing with that kind of cross-figure engineering.

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Hasbro did supply Mirage with a brand new head sculpt and while it looks perfectly fine when viewed normally, when I get in real close and, OH MY GOD, WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIS NOSE? It looks like he got punched one too many times. Damn, Hasbro, how’d you muck up Mirage’s face so badly?

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Mirage comes with a combiner foot/hand piece, which I won’t be using and also the gun-sword that came with Dragstrip, this time cast in grey plastic. Nothing else to say here… moving on.

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Turns out I really do love this figure and it works better as Mirage for me than I thought it would. But am I going to swap out Classics Mirage on the shelf with this figure? Honestly, I can’t decide. On the one hand, I do like the bulkier and more G1 feel of this guy. On the other hand, the svelt body style of the Classics figure meshes nicely with Mirage’s ninja-like sneaking abilities. Chances are, I’m going to end up leaving Classics Mirage where he is and keep this guy with the Combiner Wars figures, but it’s a huge credit to this figure that it’s such a hard decision.

Star Wars Black (The Force Awakens): Riot Control Stormtrooper and Poe Dameron by Hasbro

Wave Two of The Force Awakens 6-inch Black Series is being fickle. I have the wave pre-ordered, but now all the figures, except Captain Phasma are showing up everywhere. I can’t buy them and cancel my pre-order because then I’ll probably never get that chromed Stormy beauty and so I’m destined to wait. Well, at least there have been some exclusives to tide me over. I’ve already looked at the TRU Exclusive Snowtrooper Officer and today I’m checking out Target’s Exclusive Riot Stormtrooper and Poe Dameron 2-Pack.

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The figures come in a window box that manages to capture the deco of the single boxed figures. You get monochrome character portraits on the front lower right corner, the red backdrop behind the tray, and the one red side panel, albeit without any numbers for the figures. The packaging is totally collector friendly and gives you a great look at what you’re getting. Let’s start with Poe, since this is the first version of him I have in this scale.

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Most of what we’ve been seeing of Poe has been him in his X-Wing pilot suit, but this is regular Resistance Fighter Poe in the Galaxy Far Far Away’s version of a Members Only Jacket, which appear to be very popular in the film because we also saw it on the 6-inch Finn figure. Is it just the same figure with a head swap? Surprisingly, no. In fact, I don’t see any shared parts at all, except maybe the hand sculpts. Poe sports new trousers, boots, and a shirt with a plunging collar. Even the jacket and arm sleeves, which would have been logical recycled parts, are new on Poe. His jacket sculpt is sharper and more defined, and even has a number of different details to make it distinctive. It’s also more of a brown and less of a caramel color. The paint is OK, the red shoulder patch application is a little ham-fisted, but not too bad. He also has some spray on his knees that makes it look like he’s been kneeling in the sands of Jakku. Finn was a damn good figure, but everything about Poe from the neck down is just a bit better.

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The portraits, on the other hand, are the other way around. I don’t see a lot of Oscar Isaac in the Dameron head sculpt, whereas I think the Finn figure is a pretty solid likeness for John Boyega. That having been said, my expectations on the 6-inch Black likenesses have been tuned down a lot this year, so I’m not terribly disappointed. The hair sculpt is decent, the paint on the eyes is good, although the paint used for his unshaven face looks a little blue to me.

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The articulation here is identical to what we saw on Finn. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. The chest and neck both feature a ball joints.

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Poe comes with two accessories: HIs flight helmet and a blaster rifle. Like Finn’s gun, Poe’s looks rather large and unwieldly and not very much like a Star Wars weapon, aside from the muzzle tip, which kind of looks like the old Rebel blaster muzzles. The helmet is a decent piece of work, although the paint is a little rough around the edges where the yellow plastic shows through. It kind of just looks like weathering. Let’s move on to the Stormtrooper…

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I don’t have a lot to say about this guy, as he is a straight repack of the regular First Order Stormtrooper, including both of his guns, with just a couple pieces of extra gear. Actually, let me qualify that… my Riot Trooper is missing the little ding in the right shoulder armor that both of my regular First Order Troopers have. That’s the only difference that I can see. Now, don’t mistake that as a complaint. I’ve only been able to find two of the 6-inch First Order Stormies, so I’m happy to get another one, especially when its bundled with some extras and a new figure as well.

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The two extras are a riot shield and a baton. While I suspect the shield is a bit of Expanded Universe equipment and not actually see in the flick, it looks good and is designed to match the armor. It’s held on the arm by two straps, but unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be designed to come off and the backstrap is seated right in his elbow articulation. I did a little snip-snip with mine and carefully cut one end of the back strap to make it removable. This allow allows him to equip it with the front strap in his hand and it gives him his elbow articulation back. All of the pictures I took for this feature were shot after I clipped it off.

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That baton is like a futuristic version of the police issue PR-24 baton with some nice sculpting and painted detail. It looks like it’s meant to have a mechanism in there, so I’m guessing it’s a stun baton.

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This two-pack seems to be selling for $39.99 at Target stores. I actually got mine off the website and used some scraps off a couple of Target Giftcards to get it closer to $30. Either way, it’s a pretty sweet deal. I like both figures a lot and I’m especially happy to get yet another First Order Stormtrooper for my little squad. But now I think I’m all out of Exclusives, so I’m back to waiting for my pre-order of Wave Two to roll in. Maybe I’ll pass the time by picking up some more of the 3 3/4″ figures.

Marvel Comics: Deadpool Sixth-Scale Figure (Exclusive) by Sideshow, Part 2

Yesterday, I kicked off my look at Sideshow’s Sixth-Scale Deadpool by checking out the figure, the portraits, and a plethora of hands. Today I’m wrapping it up with a look at all the other extra bits. I’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in and start with Deadpool’s trusty pistols…

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‘Pool’s automatics are beautiful little pieces right down to the steel finish and the custom painted ‘poolified grips. Sideshow is no stranger to producing top notch looking weaponry in this scale and these guns certainly continue that trend. The receivers do slide back and while it looks like the magazines are removable, I haven’t been able to get mine out and I don’t want to force the issue. Sooooo, maybe and maybe not. The weapons fit comfortably in the holsters and the magnetic retaining flaps keep them in place and the special gun hands are absolutely perfect for displaying these tools of death. Pistols are often the least impressive accessories with these types of figures, but I think these really shine and fit the figure the best.

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Next up are his twin Katana swords, which come in plastic scabbards and feature beautifully sculpted grips that match Deadpool’s red and black deco. The scabbards feature metal clips, which can be attached to the web harness on his back. The clips on these are super delicate and I’ve already had to reattach one. Fortunately, it’s not a breakage, just a clean detachment that was easy to fix. I would have preferred Sideshow had gone with magnets like they used to hold their Major Bludd figure’s backpack in place, but I suppose this works well enough. But yeah… magnets, Sideshow… magnets!

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The sword blades are plastic, but very pointy and sharp! The special sword hands work beautifully for these pieces, although they can also be used with the gun hands to angle the blades a bit more. And as long as we’re on the subject of blades…

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‘Pool also comes with a tanto knife with a sheath and a clip. You can really put this anywhere on the figure that there’s a strap to attach it to, but I think it was designed as a boot knife. It has a shiny plastic blade and there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. It’s just a nicely executed little bonus.

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Blades are all well and good, but sometimes when you need to dispatch bad guys you want to go all shooty on their asses and even your pistols aren’t enough. That’s when you pull out this big boy. I usually pride myself on my firearm knowledge, but I have no idea what this thing is and Sideshow identifies it only as an assault rifle. Whatever it is, it’s big, it’s got some beautiful weathering and it even has a detachable scope, because what fun is it to blow heads off when you can’t see them explode up close and personal?

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If shooting and slicing doesn’t do the job, Deadpool can fall back on making things go boom with his pair of custom grenades. You get two of these little hand painted jewels and they are absolutely adorable. And with little clips on each one, you can attach them to Deadpool’s rig in a myriad of places.

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We’re done with Deadpool’s arsenal, but there’s still a couple of extras to look at and to use them Deadpool will require his stand. The stand is pretty stand-ard (haha!) stuff with a crotch-cradle and a hexagonal base. The base has a printed graphic on it, which I notice some people are pretty nit-picky about, especially on the Hot Toys figures. I really don’t mind these at all. It looks great and supports the figure well. In this case, there are also three holes in the post behind the wire stand to accommodate wires for the speech bubbles.

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Yes, easily the most unique set of accessories included with the figure are the speech bubbles. You get one white and one yellow and they attach to the stand with the wires. You also get a sheet of stickers with phrases and whatnot. It’s a very cool idea, but I can’t imagine the stickers will survive all that many times being removed and reattached, so I’m not going to go nuts with them. Using dry-erase bubbles, in conjunction with the stickers might have been a better way to go. It’s a very novel concept and one which I appreciate a lot, but to be honest, I don’t know that I’ll get much use out of them. And that brings us to the last accessory…

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The exclusive Headpool from Deadpool Corps! This little guy is an amazing piece of sculpting and paint and a bonus which definitely made going through Sideshow for this figure very worthwhile. You have to get in real close to appreciate all the disgusting detail Sideshow invested in this head. Deadpool Corps was a damn great book and including the extra version of ‘Pool was a great idea. Like the speech bubbles, he connects to the base using a wire to help him hover. I also appreciate that the design allows you to display the figure with both speech bubbles and the Headpool all at the same time. Nice!

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If you can’t tell by the length of this piece, I really, really love this figure. Sideshow’s Deadpool is absolutely outstanding. I’ll confess that somewhere along the line after the release of the Deadpool movie trailer, I started wondering if I had done the right thing. You can’t tell me that there isn’t going to be a Hot Toys version of Deadpool based on the movie. Nonetheless, I’m glad I didn’t falter and that I let the pre-order ride, because in hand this figure is everything I wanted him to be and more. I love the modern and realistic costume design, the articulation is tight and the body suit isn’t too restrictive, and the accessories are fantastic. So how about that price? At $230, Sideshow have now officially positioned themselves at an equal footing in the market with Hot Toys. Indeed, Deadpool was actually twenty bucks more than my last Captain America figure from Hot Toys. And that’s with no likeness rights here and none of that extra work required to craft the actor’s likeness. On the other hand, Deadpool has a lot more accessories. Is it a trade off? Well, I always imagined the cost and effort that went into a figure’s likeness was a considerable sum, so I’m at a loss to see how the comparison works out. On the other hand, the quality and workmanship in this figure is at a premium and the number of extras is off the charts, so the value is certainly there. I could go back and forth on the cost issue forever, but in the end, I love the figure and have zero buyer’s remorse, and I guess that’s good enough for me. Now I just have to decide if Sideshow’s Punisher is worth the same price tag.