FigureFan’s Disappointments 2015, Part 1

For every yin there is a yang. You cannot have the light without the dark. And sometimes I buy toys that suck. It doesn’t happen all that often, because I try not to throw my money at things I don’t think I’ll like, and I don’t do review samples. The challenging thing about my Favorites list is to take 250-some Features from the year and chop them down to ten stand out toys. In this case, the challenge is to come up with ten things that really let me down. In that regard, I guess I’m rather lucky. So, let’s grab our poking sticks and have a go at that turd bobbing in the punch bowl. And since Transforming robots took three spots on my Favorites list, we’re going to kick this list off with…

Transformers Combiner Wars Menasor by Hasbro: Combiner Wars Menasor is almost as bad as Superion is good. Now keep in mind, I’m talking about the combined mode, because I liked the individual Stunticons quite a lot. But once you cobble those babies together you get a terribly proportioned monstrosity that just wants to crumble into a big mess. He looks like an old man robot wearing his pants too high. I honestly think The Go-Bots Puzzler might be a better combiner than this thing. It didn’t help that I absolutely hated shooting this figure for the Feature because it would not stand up in anything resembling a decent pose and it scratched up my backdrop from falling over so many times. If you still want more reasons to hate him, Blackjack will not even peg into his chest the way he’s supposed to. BLAH!

Magic The Gathering (Legacy Collection): Jace Beleron by Funko: I almost didn’t bother putting Jace here on this list, seeing as how I didn’t have any expectations for this line, I’m not someone who plays or follows MTG, and I just bought these figures because they were cheap and looked interesting. But I was actually impressed with enough of the other figures in this assortment that I decided he warranted being called out. Afterall, a shit figure is a shit figure, and this guy is just terrible. It’s hard to believe any toy company was trying to get $20 for this steaming pile of plastic.

Marvel Legends: Ultimate Spider-Woman by Hasbro: Yeah, you knew this was coming. When you consider how many Hasbro figures I bought in 2015, it’s probably not that terrible a track record to have a couple of them break. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less pissed about it. Not much else to say other than, “Oi, young lady, you look ‘armless!” 

GI JOE 50th Anniversary Arctic Ambush by Hasbro: Hasbro’s other QC snafu for me in 2015 was this little “Arctic Ambush” set. The BAT figure’s head literally twisted right off when I tried to swap it out for the battle damaged head. This one was particularly disappointing, as I was getting a real craving to do some new GI JOE Features and I was planning to cover the whole 50th Anniversary line over the Summer. Then this happened and I still haven’t opened up the other 2-pack I got. I quickly moved the JOE focus over to Sigma Six and had a much better time. All in all, this Feature was kind of a sad allegory for the state of the JOE license.

Star Wars Black IG-88 by Hasbro: Out of the first five entries on my Shit List, Hasbro has taken four spots (and I’m not done with them yet!). That doesn’t sound so good, but keep in mind, I buy a lot of Hasbro figures, so try to keep that in perspective. Honestly, this one is better classified as a true disappointment, rather than an actually bad figure. The 6-inch Black Assassin Droid isn’t terrible, but with his soft bendy body and his inability to stand straight, he’s not all that he could have been. In fact, he feels a lot like an up-scaled version of the Vintage Collection figure. IG-88 was a great opportunity to use the larger scale to make a better figure and quite frankly Hasbro, you blew it.

That’s enough of my pain for one day. Come on back tomorrow and we’ll wrap this whole thing up with my Final Five Disappointments of 2015.


FigureFan’s Favorites 2015, Part 2

Welcome back my friends to the Toy List that never ends. Come inside, come inside. Actually, this one is about to end right after I serve up the last five entries in my savory list of Favorites of 2015. It would hardly be a fitting send off for Club Eternia if I didn’t get in an MOTUC figure and it just so happens, that’s what’s coming next…

Masters of the Universe Classics Queen Grayskull by Mattel: Over the course of the year, I’ve had a few picks from MOTUC to land on this list. At one point, I was sure it was going to be Ninjor. Later, I thought Saurod. And every last figure from the 200x Sub was worthy of consideration. As it turned out this winged lady swooped in and grabbed the brass ring just before the buzzer sounded. I can’t put my finger on exactly what makes this figure sing for me, but it’s probably the striking outfit and the way they did the wings. I loved The Sorceress’ character design in the MYP cartoon and this figure captures it brilliantly. As I’m sure I said in the feature, this is a figure that I’d be happy to stand on my shelf even if I wasn’t collecting Masters Classics at all. I also thought it a very sly way to give Matty a particular nod. During it’s run, I can’t think of another action figure line that produced so many female figures and I respect that.

Transformers Unite Wars Superion by Takara: Oh, don’t look at me like that. Yesterday we had a Masterpiece Transformer and a Third-Party Convertobot. This slot is taken by something more mainstream and is in keeping with the spirit of my completely arbitrary rules. And while I did get these in the one-shot giftset and would be totally within my rights to include all the figures here, I’m actually mainly giving the nod to the combined form of Superion himself. And yes, I realize that I picked Superion over Titan Class Devastator. It was a close call, believe me. I wanted to go with Devy just because it’s such a friggin miracle that we got something like that, but this was a case of size doesn’t matter and I think Superion just impressed me more as the overall best combiner that Hasbro has yet to deliver. While I went with the Takara version, I’d like to think Hasbro’s would have landed on this list too, had I decided to go that route.

Star Wars Black Kylo Ren by Hasbro: It was a spotty year for Star Wars Black. The line has produced mostly average figures and very little that we haven’t seen (or couldn’t have been) done just as well or better in the 3 3/4-inch lines. If it hadn’t been for The Force Awakens figures, I doubt anything would have been considered for this list, but two stood out: The First Order Stormtrooper and Kylo Ren and to be honest, I went with Ren mainly because of his garment. The soft goods on this figure are absolutely fantastic and could never have been pulled off as well in the smaller scale. And that right there to me should be the whole reason for this line. What’s more, I had him on my desk for a long time and kept picking him up and playing with him long after many figures were relegated to the display shelves.

DC Comics: Zatanna Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya: If you honestly thought there was a chance in hell that a Bishoujo Statue wasn’t going to land somewhere on this list, then you don’t know me very well. I added quite a few of Koto’s Bishoujo Statues to my collection in 2015 and every one of them was excellent. I tried not to overthink this one and just surveyed my 2015 acquisitions and went with my heart. In the end, the battle for this slot came down to an old fashioned DC vs Marvel slug-fest with Wasp in one corner and Zatanna in the other. Both statues are adorable, and both capture the character of their subject perfectly. I tipped the scales in favor of Zatanna only because of the enormous amount of extra work that went into her sculpt, but really, both of these ladies are winners.

Terminator 2: Ultimate T-800 by NECA: The fine folks at NECA have been doing some amazing stuff lately and I’ve added many of their figures to my shelves in 2015. This relatively new “Ultimate” series of figures has quickly become a new favorite of mine and while it casts a wide net over both horror and action genres, I’ve been grabbing up every one they release. When I featured the T-800 from T2: Judgement Day, I knew right then and there that this figure was probably going to wind up on this list and here we are a couple months later and that sentiment hasn’t changed. Great packaging, beautiful sculpt, multiple portraits, tons of great weapons, and a ridiculously low price point of around twenty-one bucks. This figure is simply fantastic work and a superb value.

Deadpool Sixth-Scale Figure by Sideshow: With their Sixth-Scale GI JOE line dead, I haven’t picked up a whole lot of Sideshow figures this year, but one that I did certainly earned a spot on this list. The early shots of Sideshow’s Merc With A Mouth impressed me so much that I pre-ordered him the day he went up, despite the crazy Hot Toys-caliber price tag. A full year later and I was grinning ear to ear as I set him on my shelf amidst my Marvel Hot Toys figures. No buyer’s remorse here. With a great outfit, solid weapons, and some fun accessories, this figure hit all the right points. I’m not even mad that Hot Toys will likely be revealing their movie-based version of the character any month now. I’m not ruling out double-dipping, but I honestly think I’m going to be content with Sideshow’s version representing ‘Pool in my collection.

And that’s all the good stuff. But before calling it a day, I wanted to give an honorable shout out to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends.

Yeah, I had a little spot of bad luck with Legends this year that reserved them a spot on my naughty list. SPOILERS!!! But, I was actually surprised after compiling this list of Favorites that no single Marvel Legends figure made the cut. The truth is that I thought 2015 was a wonderful year for the line. Hasbro delivered a wide array of characters and very few figures disappointed. That having been said, there just wasn’t a single figure that stood up and screamed, “I’m worthy of your list!” Of course, keep in mind, that I’ve yet to get to the Hulkbuster Build-A-Figure, and he will likely be an early contender for the 2016 list.

Alright, enough with the kittens and rainbows. Come on back tomorrow with your hip boots and a shovel and we’ll start digging through the shit…


FigureFan’s Favorites 2015, Part 1

And so, here we go! You need only wade through the 250+ Features that I published in 2015 to know that I bought a lot of figures last year. And not just figures, but also statues and maybe some ships and vehicles along the way too. Hammering all that plastic into just ten particularly impressive releases was not at all easy. It never is. But here are the first five acquisitions that made me particularly happy in The Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Fifteen! And the first item on the list is…

Doctor Who Quarter-Scale RC K-9 by Character Options: The release of quality Who toys was few and far between in 2015, mostly because of Character Options’ questionable decision to go to that crappy 3 3/4-inch line. Nonetheless, there was one piece that I picked up, which I feel was not only essential for my collection, but met my wildly high expectations. Originally released many years ago, CO re-released this glorious quarter-scale version of K-9 with a new set of sounds and voice clips from the Classic Series. It was a double blessing, as the original had gotten crazy expensive and hard to get. And I actually prefer this classic version anyway. While I haven’t given up my dream to one day own a full sized replica of The Doctor’s faithful companion and best friend, this sure makes for a great place holder until that happens. This K-9 looks amazing and it’s so awesome to have all the voice clips from John Leeson. Bonus… It’s fun to chase the cat with it! I wouldn’t quite call it a grail piece, but it’s one that I was longing after for many years.

Legends of Cthulhu by Warpo Toys: Some may cry foul and say listing four figures in one slot is a cheat, but considering this wave of figures was offered as a single Kickstarter Reward and I reviewed them all in one shot, I’m going with it. Still got a problem? Take it up with The Great One himself. Besides, if I were really cheating, I’d have thrown the 12-inch Great One in here too and even though it fully deserves to be, I’ll try to adhere to my own arbitrary rules. This wave of figures is like a Perfect Storm of Awesome and while I’m still waiting for product from other earlier Kickstarter’s (*cough* Boss Fight Studios *cough*) Warpo’s Kickstarter ran like clockwork and delivered promptly. Everything came together perfectly, from the sculpts to the packaging and the wonderful ret-conned world that Warpo spun around them. It’s a pity their Krampus Kickstarter didn’t get funded, but I have a feeling these folks are going to spring right back into action with something even better.

Transformers Masterpiece Ultra Magnus by Takara: 2015 was not a busy year for me and Masterpiece Transformers. The only two releases on my radar were Ultra Magnus at the beginning of the year and Tracks, which I have yet to pick up. Nonetheless, even if there were a dozen releases to contend with, it’s hard for me to believe any one would have beat out Magnus. I originally thought I might have to pass on this guy for budgetary reasons, but I was ultimately able to squeeze him in with some money I got for Christmas last year and I’m so very glad I did. Sure, at close to $200 he was expensive, but in every way he lives up to the name “Masterpiece!” I may have picked him up just a few weeks into the year, but he’s been lighting my darkest hour ever since.

Guardians of the Galaxy Star-Lord by Hot Toys: I added a number of great Hot Toys figures to my collection in 2015. All were from Marvel properties and all but one from either Guardians of the Galaxy or Winter Soldier. The odd figure out was the Diecast Iron Man Mark III Armor, but since I haven’t reviewed him yet, he will fall in with next year’s contenders. In the end, the Hot Toys slot came down to a battle between Falcon and Star-Lord, both superb figures, and it was damn close, which is fitting because my love for these two movies is so damn close as well. I went with Star-Lord in the end, mostly because he’s just more of an iconic character to me and they nailed him perfectly, but it could have gone the other way. Had I been willing to be a little more lax on my own rules, I would have gladly included Falcon on this list too.

Warbotron by Warbotron! While I have since toned down my 3rd-Party Changebot buying, the first half of 2015 saw some truly great releases. Close runners up for this slot were Fansproject’s Volar and Sigma-L. You could argue it wasn’t a fair fight, with Warbotron being the sum total of about $500 worth of figures, but how the hell could I not pick Warbotron as the one shining example of 3rd party awesome in 2015? This figure is huge, reasonably solid, and makes for an awe inspiring display piece. There were a few hiccups along the way that made my faith in this project wobble a bit, but in the end Warbotron delivered and this was one gestalt that did not disappoint.

And that’s the First Five Favorites of 2015. Come on back tomorrow and we’ll polish off the list!


Goodbye 2015, Hello Insufferable Internet Lists!

Ugh, is it this time again? REALLY??? I’ve long since come to the decision that I don’t like doing these lists. I started doing them partly because they feel obligatory, and partly because I’m so busy in the final days of December and early January that I need to roll out what they used to call a “clips show” to carry me while I deal with real life issues. That and lots of booze. Yes, I’m coiffing a hefty tankard of Jameson right now. Wheeee! 

What are clip shows? Dammit I’m old! You see, before we had VCRs to record shows… What’s a VCR? Alright DVRs or Netflicks or Tivo or whatever you young’uns use today to view your damn programs! Sitcoms used to save money by coming up with some flimsy excuse to have the characters remember all the crap that happened to them in previous episodes. This allowed the network to film about ten minutes of footage and pad it out into an hour so they could all take a breather, smoke some cigars, snort cocaine off hookers, or do whatever it is TV Execs used to do in the 70’s and 80’s. And since chances are you didn’t have a copy of the whole damn season at your fingertips, you got to go along for the romp and remember all those fun times, like when Arnold almost got molested in the back of the bike shop. FUN! Speaking of fun, here’s a fun fact: The last actual clip show that I can remember was an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Weird! ANYWHO… I didn’t want to do it, but I’ve done it for the last three or four years so there’s no point in stopping now. Let’s kick start this mutha…

Y’all should know the deal now: Two lists based on purchases throughout the year. One comprised of my sweet and savory Favorites and the other populated by those damn dirty Disappointments. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!! The good stuff will be split between Tuesday and Wednesday and the rest between Thursday and Friday. That’s right, it doesn’t actually start until tomorrow. I lured you in under false pretenses. Just like that old guy in the back of the bike shop! LOLz! Oh yeah, these lists are also already completed and in the hopper, so the ridiculous amount of Jameson that I plan on continuing to consume during this week ahead won’t get in the way.

Are there rules, you ask? Sort of. I try to rule out the same toy line appearing more than once on each list. Hasbro Marvel Legends and Hasbro Star Wars Black, is therefore OK. Transformers Generations and Transformers Masterpiece can also both inhabit the same list. I also try to be as diverse as possible without locking myself into categories. For example, yeah all the Hot Toys figures I got in 2015 are going to stand out, so to avoid them clogging up the whole thing, I try to narrow it down to just one and let the other players have a chance. The idea here is to compile a healthy cross section of my collecting habits for the year. Also, each list is in no particular order, because doing that would vex my OCD to no end.

That’s it. Come back tomorrow and cast your glims on the my First Five Favorites!


IAmElemental: “Elements of Courage” Series, Part 2

As promised, I’m back with the second part of my look at the IAmElemental figures. Last time we checked out the packaging and presentation and now it’s time to get to the goods. I don’t think I’ve ever tackled seven figures in one Feature before, so I’m mighty glad I broke this up into at least two parts. Buckle up, kiddies, this is going to be a long one. But before I get to the actual figures… Do you remember the last time you opened a blind bag figure? Maybe a MegaBloks figure or a Minion or something along those lines? I do. All that was inside the pack was a crummy little figure. Here you get all sorts of neat stuff in each packet, starting with a fold out poster…


The poster shows you all seven figures in the line on one side with a description of each character’s significance. It also shows you how to attach the included shield to the bracelet, which is a really cool idea. The back of the poster shows an elaborate Periodic Table showing The Elements of Power and explains why this first series was inspired by Jean D’Arc. It’s almost ridiculous how much thought and creativity went into this line. I mean, just look at this thing! Bravo! Next up…


You get a pair of trading cards describing the character and her power. Each figure comes with her own card and you actually get two, so you can trade one away if you have some like minded collector friends. Each card explains the character’s powers and attributes and when you flip them over and assemble them in order, they spell out a secret message! What? No, I’m not going to show you… it’s a secret!


You also get a branded carry bag with a draw-string to keep the figure and all her goodies together. Keep in mind, all of this stuff is included in EACH blind bag! It’s craziness! The last boxed figure that I paid $20 for didn’t come with this much stuff. Let’s start checking these ladies out and I’ll start with Bravery…


The figures are each about 3 3/4-inch to 4-inch scale, but actually stand slightly taller than your average Hasbro Marvel Universe female figure. They’re each based on a shared silver body with some retooling and recoloring to make them each distinctive and indeed it works pretty well, especially when coupled with the unique head sculpts. Each gal shares the same domino mask and pupil-less eyes, but also sports a different style of hair. They also each feature at least one piece of clip-on armor or accessory.



Bravery’s accessory is her armored shoulders, which match her silver torso nicely and can be removed by a simple head pop. She also sports a long braided pony tail. Bravery is one of the simpler figures in the assortment, but I dig her a lot. As previously mentioned, each figure also sports her own shield, with her name and Elemental Symbol on the front. Bravery’s attribute is that she does not shrink from challenge or difficulty and she has the ability to create a force-field around herself and others. Next is Energy…


Energy’s card tells us that she approaches life with excitement and does not do things half-way. Her power is the ability to control electric impulses. She comes with an amazing little flame effect part that rests on her shoulders and looks smashing.



The biggest difference in the body sculpt here are found in the gloves and boots. The head sculpt features some chic purple hair. I love the way it’s sculpted to fall over the side of her face. Very nice. This figure was an instant favorite of mine and she’s only the second one I opened! There’s five more to go, so let’s move on to Honesty!



Honesty isn’t exactly playing fair because she’s got an amazing set of wings that really makes her stand out from her comrades. These clip onto her like a backpack and they really stayed put now matter how much I whooshed the figure around the room. I love the sculpt, it’s somewhat soft and very cartoony and yet still shows off all the feathers and the blue plastic is quite striking. The back of the wings suggest these didn’t just sprout out of her back, but rather are perhaps technological. Honesty features the longer boots, similar to Bravery’s and finger-less gloves.


As her name implies, Honesty tells the truth, and just like a certain Amazonian Warrior, she has the ability to compel others to do the same. Can I say how much I love that they gave Honesty wings. We tend to associate flight with freedom and you know the old saying, “the truth shall set you free!” Moving on to number four, it’s Industry!


Industry’s card tells us that she works hard at all she does, she has the ability to control physical objects and repair anything that is broken. She has the same chunky boots as Energy and dons a pair of finger-less gloves.



Her special piece of gear is her backpack, which snaps around her shoulders and waist. I can only imagine that she carries all sorts of tools and gadgets in there. Like Bravery, Industry is a fairly simple figure, but she’s got a lot of character. I dig her a lot. Next up, is Enthusiasm!


Enthusiasm sports a new set of grieves and the same gloves that we just saw on Industry. She also features a long ponytail and several strands of hair hanging down over her face. Her accessory is a piece of armor for her chest and shoulders.



According to her card, Enthusiasm cultivates and shares a positive mindset and she has the ability to change the negative emotions of others. Ironically, I can’t get all that worked up over Enthusiasm. She’s a cool figure, but she doesn’t have that certain hook that grabs me like her fellow Elementals. And hey, after covering five figures in one Feature, I think a little Persistence is in order!


Like Energy and Honesty, Persistence is a stand out figure and in this case it’s because of her majestic cape. She features the grieves from Enthusiasm and the gauntlets we saw on Bravery. The cape rests on her shoulders and bellows out beautifully to the side giving her a heroic posture. I also dig how her hair is sculpted to blow off to the side in conjunction with the cape.



Persistence finishes what she starts in spite of all obstacles. She also has the ability to pass through solid objects. Now would be as good a time as any to say how much I enjoy the clever way the line connects each characters’ trait with her ability. Very cool.  And that brings us to the last figure in the assortment… Fear!


Yes, lest you thought we were all about kittens and rainbows today, along comes Fear. She has an unmistakably darker color pallet and sports the grieves we saw on Enthusiasm and Persistence along with the gloves worn by Honesty. I’m tempted to sit down and try to work out whether or not the shared parts between certain characters are symbolic of connections between them. Hmm…



Anyway, Fear features an ominous pair of shoulders with snake heads facing outwards and a translucent snake-like weapon that she can hold in either hand. According to her card, Fear spreads the impulse to pull away and hide and has the ability to stop a moving object in its tracks. Is she the villain of this piece, or a teammate? Interesting.



Articulation is identical for all the the IAmElemental figures across the board and it’s pretty damn good for this scale. You get a total of nine points, which is almost double what you get from those figures released by that huge company that ties in with what is currently the biggest movie of all time. Yeah, just saying. Here you get articulation in the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and neck. And the actual posability is even better than it sounds thanks to the fact that all those points are either rotating hinges or ball joints. Sure, I would have liked a waist swivel or an ankle hinge, but these figures are plenty fun with what they’ve got. If I had one minor quibble, it would be the lack of peg holes in the feet. You may note that in some of the pictures I relied on a little dab of blue tack to help them stand. It’s not really necessary, but I tend to get frustrated when shooting figures and they fall over just before I take the shot. I’ll also note that the plastic on these figures feels great and the joints are solid, which is a lot more than I could say for some of the $20 figures I bought recently.


This set retails at around $65. If you break that down it works out to be about $9 per figure and that’s not accounting for the lunchbox tote or other extras. Like I said yesterday, I’ve seen my nephew fork over five bucks a pop for horrible little licensed dog tags. When you consider that these figures were made in limited numbers by a small company, I think the value here is amazing. This is a beautifully thought out line and despite being aimed at a very different demographic, I’m super thrilled to have these in my collection. Ah, but before I wrap it up for the day, I also wanted to applaud the folks behind this project for what was some of the best customer service I have ever received from a company. Their communication is so personal and they made me feel so important. Unfortunately, that’s not something I get out of many retailers these days, let alone representatives of the actual company that makes the product. I’m very anxious to throw my support through whatever future endeavors await the IAmElemental line. Bring on Series 2!

And, folks, that will also wrap up the FFZ’s Features for the year. Tomorrow will kick off those insufferable lists that I’m obligated to post at the end of the year and normal bloggery will resume next year, Monday January 4th to be exact. Have a safe and happy New Year and I’ll see ya’ll on the flip-side. 


IAmElemental: “Elements of Courage” Series, Part 1

Howdy, folks. It’s the day after Christmas and soon the holiday madness will be all behind us. I’ve got only two more days in 2015 before Monday when I lapse into my week long Favorites & Disappointments lists so I can lock in the autopilot and take a week off of bloggery. And since Christmas time is the season when we tend to think a lot about the toys and that whole industry, I thought it appropriate to end with a look at a line of figures that seeks to make a bold statement about the state of the action figure market as well as make an impact toward change. 

There were quite a few noteworthy action figure Kickstarters back in 2014. I backed a lot of them, but I couldn’t back them all. Even my voracious appetite for plastic must bow to the realities of finance. One of the projects that I found to be particularly interesting was called IAmElemental.
As I understand it, this line of action figures was designed by two mothers, geared specifically for girls, and consisting of strong girl characters. It was created to bring some balance to a very boy-orientated market. I never even gave the subject much thought until two somewhat recent events in the toy aisles. The first was when Hasbro released a toy based on an amazing scene in the Age of Ultron film where Black Widow drove a motorcycle out of a jet in mid air. Hasbro deliberately changed the character on the toy to one of the male Avengers. The second was the dawn of the LEGO Friends line, which is “targeted at girls” but with subject matter that could best be described as fluff. The Friends Mini-figures are relegated to going to salons, malls, and ice cream parlors while their counterparts in the other “boys” LEGO aisle are fighting crime, building cities, and exploring space. Yeah. They might just have a point there. Honestly, I could do a whole feature just analyzing these debates, but I’m really here to look at some figures. The motivation for today’s feature came from a friend who wanted to see my take on the IAmElemental line. She offered to lend me her set, but a little research showed that the figures were available for purchase online from their website and I opted to support the creators by purchasing a set for myself. And since I’ve already got a little long winded, I’m going to take a look at the packaging today and I’ll come back tomorrow to take a look at the figures in Part 2.


The presentation here is really superb. The set comes in a tin lunchbox with an illustrated cardboard slip over it. When I was a kid, I used to pack my Star Wars figures into a tin Star Wars lunchbox and carry them to my friends house. It was smaller and I could cram more figures into it than the official carry cases. Hell, I still have a Classic Series Star Trek lunch box up on the shelf with my Playmates Trek figures in it. Needless to say, I think this is a really neat idea. This set was the core of the Kickstarter campaign and basically gives you the entire first series of seven action figures.


The back of the cardboard wrap cleverly shows the backs of the figures, as well as their shields. Each of the shields depicts the symbol of the Element that the figure represents. You’ve got Fear, Persistence, Enthusiasm, Industry, Honesty, Energy, and Bravery. Each character has her own unique powers based on the Element she represents. Together all the elements make up Courage. And yup, it’s influenced by the Periodic Table of Elements. A lot of thought went into this line, which we’ll see more of tomorrow when I actually have the figures opened.




Inside the tin you get seven individually packaged figures, an activity book, and a bracelet. OK, I’m a middle-aged guy, so I’ll confess that the book is a little lost on me, particularly the activities that are aimed at girls, but I think it’s a great idea and gives the figures even more of a sense of depth and purpose. On the other hand, the booklet does feature some great illustrations of the characters and I won’t rule out the fact that I might relieve some stress after work some day by busting out some markers and coloring them. Just saying. It could happen. The bracelet works in conjunction with the action figures’ shields, which can be used as a sort of charm bracelet. Again, not exactly part of my demographic, but I can appreciate the thought that went into it.




The figures come in what are similar to large blind bags, but the back of each package has a checklist for each of the seven characters and each one is ticked off in marker to show what’s inside. Of course, if you buy this set, you get one of each. The packs are only collector friendly in that you can make a clean cut and put them back in afterwards. They also look great, just like something you might see hanging on a peg at Target. Seriously, why are these not hanging on a peg at Target? Our Target has a whole section of blind bagged stuff and everything they have is crap. My nephew once spent $5 on a crappy licensed dog tag, which he promptly forgot about and left in the car. I’m sad something as thoughtful as these aren’t represented in the Big Box toy aisles.

Anyway… I’m pretty excited to check these out, so I’m going to break here and go off and open me up some figures and I’ll be back tomorrow to have a look!


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I’ll be working today and doing some travelling tomorrow, so no new Features on FFZ until the weekend. After that I’ll be going straight into my Favorites and Disappointments Week on Monday! Until then, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Toyhounds!

By figurefanzero

Aliens Vs Predator by NECA

We’re just a few days out from Christmas and this time of year always reminds me of my favorite seasonal TV program as a kid: The Aliens Vs Predator Christmas Special! Getting to see the Aliens and Predators team up to save Santa Claus, while learning the important life lessons of peace and harmony was always a treat. Alright, you got me. I made it up. But hey, as long as we’re on the subject, let’s look at NECA’s Aliens Vs Predator two-pack!


To the casual eye, this may seem like just an awesome two-pack featuring those two great extraterrestrial adversaries, but it’s actually an homage to a similar pack released back in Kenner’s old toy line. NECA’s been doing some amazing things with both the Predator and Aliens licenses, and I’ve been able to show restraint, mainly because I’m so late to the game. This set, however, has had me drooling for a while now, and it seemed like a good jumping on point. Anyway, the packaging is simple, but impressive as all hell. It’s a giant slab of a clam shell that prominently shows off the two gorgeous figures. The front of the window features a silver “Toys R Us” Exclusive sticker and another sticker that calls out the Dark Horse comic reprint that’s bundled inside.


Flip the package over and you can see why I’ve been reluctant to get in on these. Look at all those figures! I’ve already decided that I’m on board for the Alien Isolation figures, as I really do dig that game a lot. As for the rest… maybe I’ll try to hunt down some of them there Predators as well. The only downside to this gorgeous package? It’s a sealed clam shell and therefore not collector friendly. It’s more or less typical for NECA over the ages, but they have been breaking into more collector friendly window boxes lately, so it’s a shame they didn’t do it here. Either way, I’ve got to get out my razor blade and do some cutting as I wipe away tears. At least I’ve probably got a glorious whiff of intoxicating plastic coming my way when I unseal it. Mmmmm… delicious plastic fumes! <cough> That’s potent stuff!


The Xenomorph is an absolutely amazing figure. He’s appropriately large for a 7-inch scale beastie and the sculpt here is just mind-blowing. All the little details of his exo-skeleton are reproduced here and I had a great time just turning him over in my hand and checking out every last Geiger-fied inch of him. The lanky proportions, the insect-like elements, and the giant, bulbous head make this one of the creepiest sci-fi designs ever as far as I’m concerned and every bit of it has been reproduced in this figure. He also stands surprisingly well. Sure, the tail helps, but I’ve been able to pose him with the tail off the ground as well.




The head is just as amazing as the rest of the body. The super glossy finish on the dome looks spectacular and all that great detail in the body carries over to the head as well. Just look at all the sinewy bits stretching from the mouth and those sharp, silver painted teeth. God, the paintwork overall is just so striking on this guy. And yes, the jaw is articulated and the secondary extending mouth is present. Incredible!


The Xenomorph is loaded with useful articulation, so let’s break it all down. The arms feature rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and there are swivels at the biceps. The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles and toes. There’s a ball joint in the torso and again in the neck. As mentioned, the jaw is hinged and the secondary mouth slides out. The tail is a fashioned from a nice bendy material. Moving on to the Predator…


With so many different varieties of Predators inhabiting NECA’s line up, I suppose you could consider this one just a straight vanilla Pred and damn is he gorgeous. He features some amazing texture and paintwork on the skin and the armor bits show some sculpted pitting and wear. All the little controls and instruments on his arm bracers are present, he’s got his two serrated blades on his right arm, and he has some little hoses connecting to the armor pieces in his left arm.


But it’s clearly in the head sculpt where this guy truly shines. One thing worth noting is that the upper right tusk on mine is broken off. It was like that in the package and there wasn’t a piece of it rattling around in there. I’m not sure if it’s just a factory defect or all of them were like that. Frankly, I think it gives him some character. Anyway, the disgusting mandibles look fantastic as do his beady, deep set eyes. Oh yeah, each and every one of his dreads are individually sculpted. Incredible!


The Pred also comes with a swap-out masked head. Again, every one of his dreads are sculpted separately.


The shoulder cannon is a removable piece that tabs into the shoulder and again at the back. It’s articulated in two places so it can be positioned in an inactive state or activated and targeted.



You also get two weapons with The Predator. He’s got a blade and a gun. The sculpt and paintwork on these accessories are great. I particularly like the crazy design of the gun. Unfortunately, the blade weapon snapped in half while I was taking it out of the package. I’m going to put this mishap on me, as I didn’t even realize they were one piece and the other half was still secured. He can still wield the larger piece as a good looking weapon.


The Pred also sports some solid articulation. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and double hinged at the knees. The ankles are hinged and swivel. There’s a swivel in the waist, but it’s really tight on my figure and I didn’t want to over stress it. Lastly, there’s a ball joint in the neck. I’ll confess, I was a little nervous moving the right arm a lot, as those two cables look rather frail, but they seem to have been designed with enough slack to allow for a fair range of motion and to pull out rather than snap.


I picked up this set from TRU’s website when they were doing a free shipping deal and it ended up costing around $42. I absolutely adore these figures, and I have to admit that having them in hand is making it really hard for me not to go after any of the other Aliens and Predator figures in the series. And let’s face it, with my willpower as poor as it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more from this line turning up on FFZ in the year ahead.


Masters of the Universe Classics: Prahvus by Mattel

Here we go, folks, I have sitting in the corner the very last shipment from my Masters Subs. I’m going to wait until I look at the last of these figures to start getting all sappy about the end of the line, so for now let’s just dive right in and check out the final figure in the Club 200x series. It’s a dude named Prahvus, and I don’t know anything about him.


The package is barely large enough to contain the might of Prahvus, “The Evil Master of Doom.” If you need any more evidence of how evil this guy is, just look at how much cat hair he attracted! Other than that, there’s not much new to say about it. The bio on the back makes him sound like a nasty piece of business. I’ve had six months now to bust out my MYP He-Man DVDs and re-watch the series, so I could remember some of these people, and of course, I still haven’t done it. I suck.


If you ever wondered what an evil master of doom looked like, here he is. Every bit of this guy just exudes badassery and I love it! The body itself is mostly a simple buck, with some angular grieves on his legs and sculpted wraps around his feet. He wears a single, red jeweled gauntlet, on his right hand and his evil modesty is protected by a scaled purple loin cloth that hangs down from his belt. The coloring here is mostly an ash gray with some purple. The light blue tattoos on his chest and shoulders, however, really make the figure pop.




Prahvus sports a rather unusual cape, which cascades down from the animal skull over his right shoulder. It’s cast in soft purple plastic and has a scaled pattern to match his loin cloth. If I had one minor gripe about this figure (and it is a minor one) it would be the skull shoulder, which has a rather soft sculpt and can get in the way of Phravus’ glorious head’s articulation.


Speaking of heads, check this one out. Damn, this is a great design with a lot going on. Prahvus’ ugly mug features some down swept goat ears, two powerful fangs protruding from his bottom jaw, and a wisp of hair that juts out from his chin and curls at the end. He’s also crowned by a pair of angular horns. The visage is complete with two piercing red eyes.


The articulation here is standard stuff for the male MOTUC bucks. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The torso has an ab-crunch hinge, and swivels at the waist. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the tops of the thighs. The ankles are hinged and the neck is ball jointed.





Prahvus comes with two accessories: His mace and his lamp. The mace is a rather cool and unusual design with a head like an elongated pyramid with a bronze finish. The lamp is a pretty nice sculpt too and painted bright gold.



Prahvus is one hundred percent awesome bad ass and another great addition to my collection. He’s also a prime example of a figure I would be happy to own even if I wasn’t collecting this line. In a lot of ways, the Mini-Sub’s have been highlights of the MOTUC line for me and 200x was no different. Every last figure released in this little sub-series was a homerun, as far as I’m concerned, and when assembled all together, they make for a striking corner on my Masters Classic shelves.


Disney Infinity 2.0: More Marvel Figures, Part 2!

I gotta be honest here, with the extra content I did this weekend and with the pressures of Christmas Week upon me, Monday kind of snuck up on me and kicked me in the nuts. As a result, I’ll be staying true to Marvel Monday, but I won’t be opening another Legends figure today, because I just don’t have time. Instead, I’m going to take a quick look at the remaining Marvel figures in my Disney Infinity 2.0 collection, something I was intending to do over the weekend before I went all Star Wars crazy.



I have packaged shots this time, because I found all of these swinging on the pegs in one shot at Target and they were only $5.50 each. The only figure I didn’t buy was Green Goblin, because I just don’t like the look of him. He’s not the Gobby I know and love so I didn’t feel I needed him. At least not until my OCD kicks in and the agony of realizing that there’s JUST ONE FIGURE IN THIS SERIES THAT I DON’T HAVE becomes unbearable. Anyway, the packages are attractive, but simple. Each figure also comes with a character card, which I believe can be used in the PC version.


Oh yeah, they also had the Power Disc blind bags for $1.50 each, so I bought a heaping handful of them. It was only after I had opened a bunch that I realized none of them were Marvel 2.0 discs. They were all 1.0 discs. Meh, you can still use them in the 2.0 and 3.0 Toy Boxes. I did get one RAREZ in there, but also a bunch of doubles. F’ck these things. OK, let’s start off with the two figures from Guardians of the Galaxy….




It’s Yondu, and ain’t he just adorable? This figure draws pretty heavily from the movie and I can even see a little bit of Michael Rooker in there. This figure ranks pretty high on my list and I think they did a beautiful job on him. I particularly love all the details in his outfit. His boots look great, he’s got a little dagger on his sleeve and he’s got his flying arrow poised and ready to be unleashed. The blue paint used for his skin is mighty pretty too.




Next up is Ronan. It’s a crying shame we didn’t get a movie version of Ronan from either Hasbro’s Marvel Legends or Hot Toys. I can’t really say this one invokes a lot of sentiment from the movie design either, but maybe a little. Either way, it’s another of my favorites. He’s a beefier figure than most and I love the stance. He’s standing defiant with his hammer and ready to judge me with that adorable little Disney-fied face of his. Awwww. The paint on this guy is great too!




Moving away from Guardians and into the Ultimate Spider-Man Playset comes Iron Fist. He’s cool. I dig him. But I just don’t feel like he’s anything special. The pose is decent, his iconic costume is conveyed in the sculpt and paint, but he just feels a wee bit bland. Still, I bet he’s fun to play in the game.




Finally, the last figure that I needed in The Avengers series: Falcon! This guy is obviously more comic based than movie, although his movie costume can be unlocked in the game. I was a little cool on this one until I got him out of the package and saw his gorgeous translucent red wings. Very snazzy. I also dig his pose a lot. He just looks a tad out of place with the other Avengers, which do feel more influenced by the Cinematic Universe.





Alas, I haven’t had a chance to play as any of these characters yet. But with how much time I’m spending in the 3.0 Toy Box, I’ll definitely be swapping these guys onto my Infinity Platform to take them for a spin. I do still have a little bit of unfinished business with my Infinity 1.0 and 2.0 Collections and I’ll try to swing back next weekend with a look at the rest of the collection, so I can finally get into checking out the 3.0 Star Wars stuff. Of course, 3.0 also has some new Marvel figures as well as a brand new Marvel Playset coming too!

And yeah… next Monday I’ll pick up where I left off with the Hulkbuster Wave of Marvel Legends.