Vitruvian HACKS: Penthesilea (Amazon Commander) by Boss Fight Studios

It’s no secret that Mythic Legions stole a lot of the attention that I would have been lavishing on Boss Fight’s Vitruvian HACKS line. Maybe that’s a good thing, because it allowed some of my frustration over the HACKS Kickstarter to simmer down and now I can really enjoy the figures. I’ve already looked at six of the releases from my original Backer Rewards, but I have a lot more to cover, and a new figure just hit my doorstep this week making me realize I should get back to it.

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Enter Penthesilea, the Amazon Commander or Warrior Queen depending whether you want to go by the front or back of the card. The packaging here is the same as all the releases, except for the pair of boxed exclusives. The presentation features some colorful, character-specific card art and a nifty collector friendly design that allows you to slide the card out and get into the bubble without having to slice or cut anything. Penthesilea hails from Wave 5, which I believe is the most recent, although the back of the card shows two more waves on the way after that, both with some excellent looking figures.

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From the neck down, Penthesilea is a straight repaint of the Amazon Elite Warrior. The female buck this time is Caucasian and the armor consists of the fully enclosed piece for the torso, as well as bracers and grieves, now painted gold instead of silver. I love that sculpted musculature in the chest plate! There’s also a blue “skirt,” replacing the black on the previous release, made to look like individual leather strips. The quality of paint Boss Fight has been using on these figures is top notch and the gold in particular is quite striking. Even the paint applications on this figure are very sharp right down to the tiny rivets on her belt and the individual straps on her sandals.

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The articulation is standard for the line and features rotating hinges in her shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints at the hips, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles are hinged and feature lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. Penthesilea is pretty agile, but some added swivels in the biceps and thighs would have made her even better. These figures are designed to be somewhat modular. Every piece of armor is removable and the entire body can be broken down, but I haven’t attempted that with any of mine.

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The head sculpts on the HACKS have been pretty good and Penthesilea continues that tradition. I don’t think she matches the card art all that closely, but I still really dig this portrait. She looks a bit more mature than some of the other figures and she has a stoic and possibly battle weary look about her. The paint on the eyes and eyebrows is sharp and straight and the white streak in her hair gives her a lot of personality. She also features a ponytail, which means getting a helmet on her is out of the question.

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Penthesilea comes with three swords, all of which were included with the Ultimate Spartan Warrior, as well as some of the other figures, only here they are presented with clean decos and hilts painted to match the armor. You get a pair of leaf-shaped swords, one slightly longer than the other and each with unique hilt designs. The silver painted blades on these are just gorgeous.

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The third sword is a repaint of the broadsword that came with the Amazon Elite Warrior. This is possibly my favorite sword in this line’s armory, but then again I really do love them all. The hilt is again painted gold to match the armor and the blade is painted with more of that lovely silver.

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There’s a slot in the back of Penthesilea’s “skirt” allowing you to store one of her swords, so technically she can carry them all at once.

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The final accessory is her shield. It’s the same great sculpt that we’ve been seeing all along, but with a new deco painted on the front. The art on the front is very reminiscent of the Classic Greek style and it depicts what appears to be a griffon eating a horse. Bad ass! The shield is mostly gold to match her armor and it features that amazing hammered texture, as well as some nicks on the face to show where it’s deflected blows. The inside of the shield is fully detailed and it features a sleeve and grab bar to attach to the figure’s arm.

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For a figure that is essentially a straight repaint with a new head, Penthesilea still feels pretty fresh and new. It may be because I haven’t looked at any of the HACKS line for a while. Then again, it could just be because I dig these figures so much, that even the variants really excite me. Her inventory may feel a little light after opening the two weapon-packed Exclusives, but what’s here still makes for a solid release and she may end up being one of my favorites in the regular releases.

ThunderCats Classics: Lion-O by Mattel

After a slight delay and having his entire toy line collapse out from under him, Matty’s Lion-O finally arrived at my doorstep last week. Of course, he was unceremoniously preceded by the SDCC Thunder Kittens, which I looked at a few weeks back, right around the same time Matty announced they were closing up shop. Since then Super7, who inherited Matty’s Masters license, exhibited at the New York Comic Con with lots of Masters of the Universe Classics teasers, but not a peep about Thundercats. Yes, I think I’m finally prepared to concede this line is dead after this year, but I’m going to try not to focus on that in this feature and just look at this figure for what it is. I will, however, make some comparisons to the Bandai figures from several years back.

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The packaging and presentation here is quite nice. There’s a black mailer box with the Thundercats logo and the Eye of Thundera on the front and some additional art on the side panels.

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Inside the mailer box you get this really slick looking window box. And yes, that’s a cat hair stuck to the bubble of the package. Is that meta or irony? I’m really not sure. Anyway, the figure is presented against a bright red backdrop and the artwork on the bottom shows Lion-O gazing into the Sword of Omens with the blade extending upward in the form of molded detail in the window. On the bottom, there’s a flap that opens to allow you to pull the tray out. The back of the package features some very colorful artwork and a blurb about Lion-O himself. I’m totally blown away by the presentation here. It’s just fantastic and totally collector friendly. I don’t keep a lot of my toys’ packaging, but this one I sure as hell will be hanging onto. Let’s get the Lord of the Thundercats out of the package and check him out…

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The idea here was to recreate the Thundercats in the Masters Classics style and while I was dubious at first, I have to say it works brilliantly. This is certainly the Lion-O that I know and love and I didn’t already know that he was developed with the Masters Classics in mind, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed until I picked him up and played with him and felt a lot of the similarities. I think the buff proportions look great on him and his outfit is executed beautifully. The detail on the exposed mid-riff area maybe looks a little off. It’s a little too much like it was chiseled out of plastic, but it’s not something that really hurts the overall look of the figure for me. The detailing on the belt is great and the shade of blue they used for his vest and boots is perfect. The paint on my figure is very sharp.

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In the cartoon, Lion-O used the Claw Shield as a sheath for the Sword of Omens when it was in its dagger form. To simulate that, you get the Claw Shield with the Sword of Omens hilt sculpted in it and the whole thing pegs onto his belt. Now, on the one hand, Bandai was able to give us a Claw Shield with a removable Sword of Omens on each of their Classics Lion-O’s. On the other hand, Matty’s version of the Shield looks so much better than what Bandai gave us. Here, we get actual sculpted fur, as well as painted knuckles and claws, whereas the Bandai version of this piece was just smooth gold plastic. I’m not saying that Matty couldn’t have still made it work with a removable sword, but I still prefer what we got here, based on the aesthetics alone.

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I find that I’m still mulling over the head sculpt. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but at the same time it feels a little off. There might be a wee too much Masters styling in there. I think it leans a bit toward being an interpretation of Lion-O than an attempt at recreating the animated character. I suppose you could argue the same thing about MOTUC He-Man, even the Filmation one, versus the figure. I think Bandai was on the right track with their larger Lion-O figure, but at the same time, the sculpt was way too soft. Here, you get much more defined features. In the end, I guess this is leaning toward more like what a realistic Lion-O might look like and I’m OK with that. Lion-O’s hair must be pretty tough to do in a 3D representation like an action figure, but I think they did a fine job with it.

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The articulation is exactly what I’ve come to expect from the Masters Classics line and that has it’s good and bad points. The MOTUC articulation is great when compared to the vintage figures, but it’s feeling a little dated to me now. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the hips. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. The points are all there, and the hinges in the wrists are a nice bonus, but the range of motion is stifled by the muscle sculpt. Bandai’s figures had mostly the same points, but a better range of motion. On the other hand, this figure feels a lot more solid and better built.

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In addition to the Claw Shield that pegs to the belt, Lion-O comes with another one that he can wear simply by popping off his left hand and popping the Shield onto it. And while I nitpicked the belt version having the sword sculpted in as part of it, the wearable Shield can indeed hold the small version of the Sword of Omens that comes with the figure. This Claw has all the same great sculpting paint as the other one.

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The small Sword of Omens is a nicely sculpted little piece with some great paintwork as well. The hilt is left matte silver while the blade itself is painted with metallic silver paint. The paint used for the closed Eye of Thundera is also sharp and clean.

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And naturally, you get the Sword of Omens in all it’s… um, fully erect glory. This is a great little recreation of the majestic weapon, right down to the detail in the curled crossguard and a tiny Eye of Thundera painted every bit as neatly as the larger one on his belt buckle. Again, the hilt is left matte silver plastic while the blade is painted with a metallic shade to make it really pop. The plastic used here is a lot stouter than the stuff Bandai used for theirs, leading to a lot less warping and bending. Lion-O also comes with an extra left hand with a looser grip that makes it easier to hold the sword in both hands. But the big question is… can he be posed consulting the sword’s Sight Beyond Sight?

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Yes, he can!

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When Bandai’s Lion-O’s came out, I thought they were decent figures. The original, larger version was my favorite of the two and there’s still a lot I love about that release. I was interested to see if Matty’s version would replace him and after spending some time with this figure, I have to say that he has. Blending Thundercats with Masters Classics was an interesting experiment and it’s almost surprising to me how well it played out in the end. Lion-O is a great looking figure and I’m finding it pretty hard to put him down since he landed on my desk sometime last week. And yes, here’s where I throw in what a shame it is that a figure this good is part of a line that will yet again be cut short. Actually, at this point it’s not so much a shame as it is a cruel joke the universe seems to be playing on us poor Thundercats collectors.

Marvel Gallery: Lady Deadpool by Diamond Select

I’ve been really digging DST’s budget line of comic statues lately, and while most of my attention has been on their DC pieces, they’re Marvel line is starting to pick up some steam. I’ve already checked out their Captain Marvel and Spider-Gwen and today I’m having a looksee at Lady Deadpool from Deadpool Corps!

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This fairer sex Deadpool comes in a window box that lets you get a good look at the piece from almost all angles. And let’s face it, being able to inspect the paint is no small thing when picking one out at the comic shop. But, as we’ll soon see, it doesn’t help me. There aren’t any local comic shops where I live and I have to buy online and sight unseen. Had this statue been released a little earlier it would have probably fallen under DST’s Femme Fatales line, but they’re branching out to include the dudes, hence the new name, Marvel Gallery. But fear not, these statues look right at home when displayed with DST’s Femme Fatales. 

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Getting Ms. Pool set up is as easy as putting the katana sword into her left hand. Starting out with the first of three ingredients that make up a statue, the composition here is excellent. Lady-D stands ready for action with swords in hands, one held out in front of her, and the other drawn up behind her. Her body language, the flexing muscles in her arms, her bent knees, and the snaking stream of hair all conspire to make this a highly kinetic piece. I think it’s a beautiful compromise between action and vanity pose. The other wonderful thing about this pose is that it doesn’t rely on that one and only “sweet spot” for display options. This piece is designed to look great from almost any angle.

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With Lady Deadpool getting high marks for composition, it’s time to look at the sculpt and here too, DST did a very solid job. It’s a beautiful rendition of the female form with some excellent attention to detail in the musculature. The costume itself is pretty simple, but every aspect of it is part of the sculpt, which not only includes the straps, but the less obvious things like the border lines between the red and black sections of the outfit.

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Still, I do get a general animated feel out of this piece, which is fine. And there’s still plenty of lovely little details to appreciate. No matter the universe, the ‘Pools love their pouches, and Lady-D has a generous throng of them running around her belt. The trademark Deadpool belt buckle is fully sculpted and the detail on the sword hilts is excellent. I don’t remember Lady Deadpool having the abbreviated scabbards, but they look OK. And yes… she’s got a great bum too!

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With great composition and a solid sculpt, the only thing left is the paintwork, and I’m sorry to say that’s where this statue stumbles and falls right in front of the finish line. A casual glance at Lady-D and all looks fairly good. There is some general rubbing on both the black and red areas of the suit, but I can live with that. The paint looks serviceable with the statue tucked into one of my display shelves. Alas, when you power up the lights and get in to really have a good look, everything starts to fall apart. For starters, the statue looks dirty and I’m not talking about intentional weathering. If I bought this piece second hand, advertised as new in the box, I’d probably think I got swindled. The black paint on her right bicep band is all scratched up, and the paint on her hair just looks atrocious. It’s all splotchy and again it just looks careless and dirty. The overall finish is also pretty inconsistent. In some places it looks glossy in others it looks matte.

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The base is decent enough. It’s a section of concrete with a little bit of wall and some pipes. It’s nothing outrageous, but it serves its purpose and gives the statue a little bit of context too.

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Between the Femme Fatales, the DC Animated Series and now Marvel Gallery, I own quite a few of DST’s statues in this price range and this is easily the most disappointing one of the bunch. The biggest shame is that there’s a fantastic statue here that is just begging to be painted well. Granted, I picked this statue up for around $30, but even as a budget piece I expect better than what I got here. I’ll concede that it’s certainly possible that I just got a really bad one, but I’m not willing to roll the dice and try again. In fact, I’m about as poorly skilled a customizer as you’re likely to find, but one day I may just try my hand at repainting this thing. Whatever the outcome, it would make for an entertaining follow up Feature.

Next week on Marvel Monday, I’ll be cranking up the time machine and going back to the Rhino Wave of Marvel Legends. Because those things are still sitting in the corner waiting to be opened.

Star Wars Black: Stormtrooper Voice Changer Helmet by Hasbro

Just a quick note: If you’re here for Anime Saturday, I’m sorry to say it’s been bumped this week for an impromptu marathon of Star Wars toy reviews, but things will return to normal next week, I promise! And now, on with the feature…

The action figure aisles are full of Marvel and Star Wars roleplay toys from Hasbro. There’s everything from cheap plastic masks that turn you into your favorite Avenger on the playground to Blaster-style Nerf guns cast in bright plastic to keep you from robbing liquor stores with them. Wait, what? But what’s missing are quality reproductions of some of those movie props. Not roleplay toys, not really prop replicas, but something in between. Well, Hasbro has stepped up with a new line of items to fill that void and today I’m checking out their Stormtrooper Voice Changer Helmet.

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The helmet comes in a box branded to match the Star Wars Black action figure line. It’s a fully enclosed black box with a little red, and some pictures and line drawings of the helmet on each panel. It’s a big box, but the helmet still comes in three pieces and requires some quick assembly. Inside the box, each of the pieces are wrapped in plastic and you get a very simple illustrated instruction booklet, which doesn’t really tell me anything I couldn’t have figured out already. The quality of plastic used on the helmet is very solid, but it’s still a toy. It makes for a very sturdy helmet, but it probably doesn’t have the heft of one of the true replicas on the market.

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All assembled, this thing is pretty damn big. Having never held an actual 1:1 scale Stormy helmet, I thought it might be a little too big, but that thought was dispelled when I put it on. More on that in a bit. The sculpt on this thing looks pretty good to me. I’m not one of those people who can pick out all the inaccuracies in things like this, so the die-hard experts can probably poke all sorts of holes in it. I’ll just say it looks close enough for me. I think the sculpting on the induction filters and the vocader look particularly good.

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The finish here is simple plastic. It’s nice and glossy, but it doesn’t quite have that new car finish look to it. There are a few very minor marks from the molding process, but nothing too obvious. The paint is all very clean, but certain parts, like the blue on the exhaust filters, do look a little more toyish than others. On the other hand, I think the paint on the mouth vent and the heat dispersal vents on the cheeks looks really nice. The eye lenses are tinted green and in a lot of conditions they look fine, but sometimes, when displayed under bright lights, the tint doesn’t look quite dark enough. Depending on where I wind up displaying this thing, I may put cards behind the eyes to darken those up. The rubber guard strip that runs above the eyes is indeed rubber and adds to the build quality. The auditory sensor on the right ear presses in to activate the voice changing gimmick, which is a good segue to talk about the electronics.

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The electronics gimmick unfortunately reveals itself on the back of the helmet, both through a speaker and the seams of the battery compartment. It’s easily the biggest defining factor that pushes this into the toy category. It’s not terribly unsightly, but it will forever remind me when I look at it from behind that this is an expensive toy and not a proper replica. It’s a shame because when you get down to it, the voice changing element is not very good at all and I would have much rather they left it out entirely or just maybe put some dialogue clips in it from the films. As it is, I’ve already taken the batteries out and have no plans on using the feature.

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Here’s a peek inside the helmet. Even as a 44 year old dude, this thing fits pretty well, but it’s still close quarters in there. The straps on the top are adjustable to fit your dome, but I have them expanded all the way out. It does have a habit of resting right on my nose, which could get a little uncomfortable after a while. That’s OK for me, since I didn’t buy this to wear, but I think it would be perfectly serviceable for a cosplayer. Of course, that begs the question, if you’re a cosplayer with a full set of Stormtrooper armor, do you really need this helmet.

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To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when I opened this thing, but it turned out to be a really nice surprise. The helmet retails at about $80 and I’m OK with that price. I would have rather they left out the electronics and knocked the price down a bit, but I’m still happy with what I got and very glad I bought it. It’s going to be interesting to see how these sell, but I’m hoping Hasbro has a lot of success with them. I’d love to see them produce some more, particularly a Tie-Pilot helmet and a First Order Stormtrooper.

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): K-2SO by Hasbro

DC fans, don’t hate me, but DC Friday is being bumped this week in favor of The Star Warses. I’m working my way through the first four Rogue One figures in the Star Wars Black 6-inch series and here comes the one  that I intentionally saved for last, because I thought he was going to be the coolest of the bunch… and I was right! It’s the reprogrammed Imperial Security Droid, K-2SO!

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I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, but heeeey, did you see the new Rogue One trailer? I’ll be honest, I’ve been excited about this movie since that first teaser, but each trailer is getting me more excited. It feels like we’re going to get to see a lot more of the Star Wars Universe in this one, along with some genuinely cool new characters. And one of them happens to be this deadpan warrior droid, HK-47… Whooops, I mean K-2SO!

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Let me start out by saying how much I love this droid’s design. What’s the first thing I think of when I see him? He’s wearing General Veers’ chest armor! Yeah that piece is very evocative of the AT-AT Commander uniform. It’s kind of a random design to borrow from, but it works because one look and I know that this is an Imperial droid. Well, that and the familiar “O II” Stormtrooper pattern on his backpack… and maybe those Imperial insignia printed on his shoulders give it away too. The other thing I love about this design is that it’s a robot that looks like a robot and not a guy in a robot suit. Despite having a really powerful looking upper body, the rest of K-2SO is comprised of spindly limbs, which reinforces that idea that he’s a droid and not a guy in a costume. It’s kind of like 2-1B in The Empire Strikes Back. He had the transparent mid-section and the super thin arms and it just looks so convincing. Sure, that was an animatronic puppet and this is CG, but the end result was the same. But enough rambling. How does the figure pull off this great design?

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Pretty damn well! There are some lovely sculpted details on this guy and while the deco is mostly a dark gray, some paint flourishes include the orange rings around his shoulder and hip sockets and the a little silver, red, and blue here and there. There’s also a lot of weathering on K-2SO’s chassis, from splotches of silver where the paint has worn off to just general abrasions. Even the Imperial insignia on his shoulders look like they’re partially scraped off. The eyes are painted bright white to simulate illumination, which looks pretty good. I wonder how light piping might have worked here, but that would have left a transparent plug in the back of his head, so maybe it wouldn’t have been a good idea.

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What’s really amazing about this figure is how solid it is and how much articulation is here. The shoulders and wrists are rotating hinges, and the elbows are hinged and have swivels above and below the hinge! The legs are ball jointed at the hips, hinged at the ankles, and the knees mirror the elbows with hinges and swivels above and below. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the neck is ball jointed at the top and bottom to give him some pretty expressive head movements. I really dig how the pins in his elbows, knees, and ankles are clear plastic.

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K-2SO doesn’t come with any accessories, but his claws are capable of holding a gun and Captain Andor just happens to have an extra!

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As I said going into this review, I suspected K-2SO was going to be a favorite and he certainly is that. He’s both a great new design for the Star Wars Universe and a great action figure too! And overall, I’d say that this entire first assortment from Rogue One has been pretty solid. Yes, I had some issues with the lack of likeness in Jyn and Cassian’s head sculpts, but everything else about these figures has been great. You’ll notice that I passed for now on the unmasked Kylo Ren and the re-issue of Rey that shipped with this assortment. I still may pick those up at some point down the road, but these four were my priorities. And with the 6-inch line covered, I’ll be moving into the 3 3/4-inch figures next week, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. Meanwhile, I’ve got one more bit of Star Wars content to serve up tomorrow.

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Death Trooper by Hasbro

If you came here looking for convertobots, I’m sorry to say that Transformers Thursday has been bumped this week so that I can look at some new Star Wars toys. In fact, I’m already hip-deep in the initial offering of 6-inch Black Rogue One figures. Yesterday, I checked out Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, today I’m looking at the new breed of Stormtrooper in town… The Death Trooper!

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There’s nothing new to say about the package itself. It’s red and black, handsome in a minimalist way, and collector friendly. The blurb on the back is a little more educational on this figure, declaring these Death Troopers to be the elite soldiers of the Imperial Intelligence. They’re also bodyguards and enforcers for Director Krennic. Cool! Let’s open him up and check him out!

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Call them Shadow Troopers, Stealth Troopers, or Black Hole Troopers, but black armored Stormtroopers have been floating around the Expanded Universe for a while. This guy, however, comes with a brand new suit of armor. There’s definitely plenty of homages here to the original Stormy, like the “O II” pattern on the backpack, but overall the design is still pretty fresh. The first thing I noticed when playing around with this figure is how much lankier he is when compared to the standard variety Stormy. His arms and legs are a bit thinner and when you factor in how black is a slimming color, there just feels like less bulk here. As a result he looks more creepy than intimidating.

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And for a figure that is mostly black, Hasbro has done a nice job creating what actually looks like convincing armor. Sure it’s all one buck, but the underlying body suit stands apart from the armor pieces thanks to the use of both matte and gloss paint. The body suit is also heavily textured and ribbed so it contrasts nicely with the sleek and shiny armor. There’s a little bit of gray paint used on the shoulder strap buckles and the belt buckle, but apart from that, this is a very dark and grim looking fellow.

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As for the helmet… I like it, but I’m not in love with it. It looks a little too kit-bashy for me, like they morphed a Stormtrooper, Scout Trooper, and First Order Stormtrooper together and then added something that looks a little like Boba Fett’s range finder on the left hand side. There’s a good chance I’ll learn to love it once I see these helmeted hooligans in action, but I’m willing to be a lot more forgiving since they’ll be sharing the screen with the original Stormtroopers and not replacing them.

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The articulation is similar to what we got with the other 6-inch Black Stormies. The shoulders have rotating hinges, and the shoulder plates are soft plastic so they will bend to allow for a better range of motion than one might expect. The elbows and wrists also both feature rotating hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have double hinges in the knees. There’s are swivel cuts up in the thighs and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. You get a ball joint in the chest and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck.

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The Death Trooper comes with two weapons. The first is a blaster pistol that fits in a little loop on the right hip. I was taxing my brain trying to remember what this pistol and loop reminded me of and then it came to me. The designs are very similar to what we saw on the Nostromo Compression Suited figures from NECA’s Alien line. Check it out HERE. It’s not a very Star Wars-y looking gun design to me, but it’s alright. I still wouldn’t want to be caught in a quick-draw scenario with that thing. It looks like it would be rather prone to getting caught on the loop.

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The other gun is a carbine, which is more in line with what I expect to see a Stormtrooper carrying. It’s a new design, but it reminds me a little of the British Sten Gun, which saw service during WWII, minus the long side magazine. And that’s probably why I like it so much, because so many of the guns in the original films were kit-bashed from WWI or WWII weapons.

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If I wasn’t already sold on this movie, all the new Imperial troop designs would certainly have swayed me. And so it should come as no surprise that I really love this figure. It’s a cool new design and I am super excited to see these guys in action on the big screen along with the other new trooper designs. Once things calm down a bit, I’m hoping to pick up at least a couple more of these black beauties. And a special thanks to The Empires Elite for making me realize how great the Death Trooper looks with the Shadow Squadron troopers, because I totally stole the idea of that group shot from that blog.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to wrap up this quartet of Rogue One figures with K-2SO!

By figurefanzero

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Captain Cassian Andor (Eadu) by Hasbro

I told you I might be back tonight and here I am with a look at the Star Wars Black 6-inch Cassian Andor, another one of those Rebel Scum from the upcoming Rogue One flick. Alas, I spent the better part of my evening getting liquored up at the corner Pub, so this is going to have to be a quickie.

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Here’s a look at the packaging and there’s really nothing new to say about it. It tells us that this version of the character’s outfit is from Eadu, a planet which I presume is more than a little chilly. The short blurb on the back of the box doesn’t really say a lot and I feel like I’m even more in the dark about who this person is than I was with Jyn. We do know that he’s part of Jyn’s mission and that he might have been attached to the unit to try to keep her in check, so there may be a good character dynamic between the two.

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So, is there seriously anyone out there who isn’t instantly getting a Hoth Han Solo vibe off of this guy? I’m sure that’s on purpose, because as Lucas once said, Star Wars is like poetry. It rhymes. These new movies seem like they are going to be big on the fan-wanks to the originals and I think we’re seeing more of that here. Then again, sometimes a snow outfit is just a snow outfit. Either way, I think this outfit gave Hasbro a little more to work with than Jyn’s did and they’re getting mighty good at infusing these sculpts with some wonderful detail.

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Cassian comes all bundled up in a blue belted parka, which hopefully will look somewhat brown in the film and cause a whole new clothing color controversy. You get the ribbed stripes on the sleeve, which seems to be big in the Rebellion fashion world. There’s also some nice texturing on the gloves and belt. His belt has various sculpted pouches and pieces of equipment, and from the back you can get a good look at the fur-lined hood that rests behind his head. The paint here is pretty solid on the costume and includes silver paint on the buckles and fixtures of his belt and gear, as well as his boots.

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The belt also features a working holster for his blaster pistol, which is always a huge plus in my book.

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The figure comes with a hat and goggles that’s very reminiscent of what we saw Rebel troops and officers wearing on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. And yes, it is removable.

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Like Jyn, we have another ambiguous head sculpt here. Taken on its own, it isn’t bad, but does it really look like the actor, Diego Luna? Nah, not really. There just isn’t enough detail in the sculpt and the paint isn’t really up to the task either. Once again, this head looks like it would have been more acceptable on a smaller scaled figure. It’s a shame, but not enough to ruin the figure for me thanks to my diminished expectations of this line.

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The articulation here is pretty much identical to what we saw with Jyn. And yes, that means that Cassian is lacking swivels in the biceps. I am, however, pleased that they still worked a ball joint into his chest, despite the puffy jacket sculpt. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, but not the boots. The knees are double hinged, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

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Captain Andor comes with two weapons. You get the blaster pistol, which fits into his holster and you get a larger weapon that looks a lot like the Rebel Blasters from The Original Trilogy.

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I feel like I know next to nothing about Captain Andor and that’s certainly tempering my excitement for this figure. On the other hand, it is a really well done figure, once I get past the fact that there’s very little resemblance in the likeness. Hasbro put a lot of work into the detail in the outfit and gear and he looks really good standing beside Jyn or even mingling with the Hoth versions of Han and Luke. If nothing else, he’ll be a welcome addition to my Hoth rebels until I finally get to see the movie and learn what he’s all about.

On another note, I’ve decided to scrap the usual scheduled features for the remainder of the week and just go full on Star Wars. Transformers Thursday, DC Friday, and Anime Saturday will all return next week as normal. In the meantime, I’m going to spend the next three days wrapping up my look at the 6-inch Black Rogue One figures and whatever else I can squeeze in!

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): Sergeant Jyn Erso (Jedha) by Hasbro

It’s been over a week since Force Friday, a night where I was happily willing to forgo late night shopping in favor of my comfy chair, a tall Jameson, and a couple clicks on the Internet to get my figures shipped to me. Sure, it meant I wasn’t the first kid on the block to get the figures, but I’m perfectly fine with that. The distribution this time around seems a lot better, and I was able to pick up almost all the initial assortments of 6-inch and 3 3/4-inch figures from Rogue One, with the one exception being TRU’s Exclusive Hovertank Pilot. Today I’m checking out Jyn Erso and there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be back later tonight to look at Captain Cassian Andor.

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There isn’t much new I can say about the packaging. It’s the same black and red style window box that we saw with The Force Awakens. You get some illustrated character art on the front and the right panel has the figure’s name and number. The window offers a great look at the figure inside and everything is collector friendly. You also get little blurbs on the back panels about each character, but this is still a case where a lot about these characters remains a mystery. In this case, we’re also dealing with versions of the characters tied to specific locations in the movie, this one being from the planet Jedha. It’s one of the two outfits we see Jyn wearing in the trailer, and all I can say is bring on the Imperial uniform Jyn!

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And what’s this? Another female lead protagonist in a Star Wars film? How dare they!!! Of course, I’m kidding. I’m not very familiar with Felicity Jones, outside a one off appearance she had in Doctor Who, but she seems like she’s going to be a fine addition to the Star Wars Universe. She looks small and scrappy and capable, in other words the perfect personification of the Rebel Alliance.

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Jyn’s outfit is simple, but a suitably Star Wars-y bit of fashion that also gives her a little bit of a smuggler flavor from her finger-less gloves right down to her boots. She has an olive green jacket, done up in the usual sculpted vest-style with the arms sculpted to look like sleeves and she’s wearing a smaller sculpted brown vest over the jacket. I like the detail work on the vest and the sculpted sleeves for the jacket feature both sculpt and paint for the striping. You also get some nice texturing on the pants. The back of the vest has a quilted look and Jyn is wearing a low slung pistol belt is certainly reminiscent of a certain scoundrel I know. The proportions here seem pretty good for the actress and all in all I’d say from the neck down this is one great looking figure.

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I am, however, really torn on the portrait here. Does it look like Felicity Jones? Ehhhhhh… maybe? Maybe an animated version of her? Truth be told, there isn’t really enough detail in this sculpt to make it work as an accurate likeness. This head feels like it would be right at home on a 3 3/4-inch figure and certainly passable in that scale. And yet I don’t hate the head sculpt. It’s cute like the actress, and the paint is pretty clean, it’s just the likeness that isn’t there. With just the head to go on, I wouldn’t know who it was supposed to be, but in the context of the outfit, yeah it works alright for me. I guess my expectations have been tempered by the hit-and-miss nature of this line.

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Jyn comes out of the package with a head-wrap, which obviously can be removed, since I started this review without it. It fits the figure pretty well and it can be removed without popping the head. In fact, I’m not sure whether the head can be popped off at all. My figure’s head is on there pretty good. It’s cool that they included this piece of the costume, but I’m not a big fan of the way it looks on the figure and I feel it’s destined to get pitched into The Tote of Forgotten Accessories, or perhaps re-purposed for another figure.

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Articulation here is fairly solid. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed, have double hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs and again at the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the neck has both a ball joint and a hinge. The lack of swivels in the biceps is a little vexing. I would have rather had swivels there then at the boots. Why, Hasbro? Why don’t you like giving bicep swivels to the ladies? The knees on my figure are a little mushy, but overall not too bad.

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Besides the head-wrap, Jyn comes with a blaster pistol. It’s a decent sculpt and actually features some silver paint. It’s so nice to see Hasbro doing paint operations on their 6-inch scale guns for a change. The pistol fits perfectly into the hip holster and there’s a strap that pegs in to hold in place. It’s a great little gun, but I’ll likely be robbing one of my Stormies and giving her an E-11 Blaster.

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I was a little apprehensive about getting this figure in hand, as she’s received some mixed reviews among collectors. Now that she’s in hand, I’m actually surprised how much I like her. Yes, like a lot of this Black Series, she feels more like a blown up 3 3/4-inch figure than a twenty dollar 6-inch collectors figure, but that seems to be par for the course. Truth be told, I’ve had her on my desk for a couple days now and I find myself having a lot of fun with her battling it out against Imperial thugs. And in perfect marketing form, this is making me even more excited to see this movie.

Alien 3: Weyland-Yutani Commando by NECA

NECA is really showing their support for the Alien franchise by delving into one of the films that most people hate. Yes, even Alien 3 has now been graced by their action figure treatment! And it’s a good thing for me, because I happen to be in the minority that really likes this movie. It’s bleak, dire, and in a way it takes the franchise a step closer to the original horror survival roots, rather than the big budget action flick that was Aliens. It also features some great performances and atmosphere. Enter the Weyland-Yutani Commando! These corporate thugs accompanied Bishop to Fiorina 161 to recover the Xenomorph and I’m just beside myself with glee that NECA actually made figures of them! I mean, not only is this film wildly unpopular, but these guys have just a couple minutes of screen time.

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The figure is packaged on the old clamshells. I think these are fantastic for mint-in-package collectors, as they show off the figures beautifully, but I’m an opener and I find them to be just a bit annoying. I practically need a flamethrower or a vial of alien blood to burn my way into them. Or, I dunno… maybe a pair of scissors would work. At least once the shell is punctured I get that sweet, sweet rush of glorious plastic fumes that only NECA can deliver. The back of the insert shows the other two figures available in this series: Ripley and the Dog Alien. I’ll be featuring those two figures together at some point down the road.

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Wow, this guy is distinctive looking! One of the cool things about the Alien universe is how easily recognizable some of the designs are. When I put this Commando beside one of the spacesuit figures from the original film, it’s easy for me to see the common elements of design and flavor that thread their way throughout the trilogy.

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I love the DIY look of these guys! The Commando comes bundled up in a bulky apesuit recreated here with an intricate sculpt of wrinkles, stitching, and straps. The extra padding on the arms and lower legs looks particularly good. He’s clad from head to toe to keep him safe from the spray of Xeno blood. It’s clear to me that a lot of effort went into recreating every little detail of this suit, right down to the Weyland-Yutani logo on the backpack and it’s hard to imagine anyone but NECA giving these fellas their due.

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The deco consists of a lot of off-white with some tan paint used for the reinforced padding. The figure has a subtle wash to bring out all those intricate details. You also get some very fine silver paintwork on the zippers and buckles, rivets, and other fixtures. The overall dirty look really lends itself to the “used future” aesthetic that the Alien films pulled off so well.

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The helmet is every bit as distinctive as the suit. The upper part of the head is fully enclosed, while the lower half is partially covered by a full plate and partially by a caged section. Through the cage you can make out the lower half of the figure’s face, wrapped up. It may not be pretty, but it’s sure to keep those pesky facehuggers out.

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The eyes feature two visors so they can be worn up or down. The up position reveals a pair of fully sculpted and painted eyes in there, although you really need to get in there with some light to see them.

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The articulation here is about on par with NECA’s space suit figures. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, and a ball joint in the neck. The two arms that come off the backpack are also articulated front and back. I wouldn’t expect these guys to be all that nimble in these bulky suits, so the articulation here seems about right. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the range of motion in the elbows.

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The Commando comes with two weapons. First you get a pretty cool little bayonet-style combat knife, which tucks into a slot in his left boot. There’s a tiny socket on the pommel and for a minute I was hoping it would attach to the rifle, but alas it does not. Neither of his hands are really designed to hold it, but I’m able to make it work in his right. This knife features some nice detail work, including a serrated back blade, but as vicious looking as it is, I have to imagine you need to be pretty desperate to pull this thing out when fighting Xenos.

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But that’s why you bring along your trusty M41A Pulse Rifle. For me, this is still one of the best conventional sci-fi weapon designs there is. It looks like a natural progression of an assault rifle and it’s just so iconic to me. The gun fits perfectly into the Commando’s right hand, and the articulation allows him to hold it across his chest and cradle the barrel in his left hand. The figure comes with a sticker sheet just in case you fancy customizing your Commandos. I haven’t applied any of mine yet. I’m actually waiting until I can pick up two more of these guys. I’ll likely add some pictures when I do.

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The Weyland-Yutani Commando definitely fits into that category of action figures I never thought we’d ever get in a million years. And so besides being an absolutely beautiful piece of work on NECA’s part, he’s extra special to me just because he exists. I’m also happy to say that despite the overall dislike for the film he’s based on, the general reception of this figure has been extremely positive. And why not? As a troop builder, he certainly throws another interesting dynamic into the Aliens Vs. Predator mayhem taking place on a lot of collector’s shelves.

Marvel Legends (Giant Man Wave): Giant Man Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Welcome back, folks, to another Marvel Monday Double Feature as I take a quick look at the Scott Lang Ant Man/Giant Man Build-A-Figure from Marvel Legends. I was fortunate enough to avoid spoilers going in to Civil War, so when Lang went big during the Airport Battle, I was beside myself with delight. If Spider-Man was my favorite new addition to the MCU for this film, than seeing Lang assume the role of Giant Man, even if only briefly, was easily a close second. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to be getting a Legends scale release.

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In terms of assembly, this figure is as basic as these BAFs can get, with six parts to build him. That’s one torso, two legs, two arms, and a head. And unlike the X-Men Wave, this was one of those assortments where you did have to buy all the figures to make this work. Putting this guy together is pretty easy.

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And once completed, this figure looks great. A quick glance at the suit and it looks pretty similar to the one from the Ant Man film, but under closer scrutiny it’s clear that there are a lot of changes here. Overall, it’s a sleeker and simpler design and this figure represents the changes pretty well, especially if you stand him next to the Legends figure from the original film. While changes in the suit allow for more merchandising (ie Toys!) it also makes sense in the context of the film, as the first suit was a lot older and thus more primitive looking. I still dig this suit design a lot, but I definitely prefer the original over this one.

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Details include sculpted seam lines in the suit and all those red panels are textured. There’s also some silver piping and there are panel lines in most of the metal plates, like the belt, collar, and arm pieces. The paint on this figure is also very good. The bulk of the coloring comes from the matte black buck, but the red and silver are vibrant and really contrast with the black nicely.

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Again, the helmeted head here is a lot simpler in design than the original suit. The mandibles and the mouth piece are more streamlined and the silver finish on the helmet looks like brushed steel. I also really dig the bright blue paint apps on the helmet and shoulder pieces. The best thing about the head, however, are the sculpted and painted eyes behind the red lenses. Not only does this add a lot of depth and credibility to the head sculpt, but in a well lit area it almost looks like the eyes are illuminated from within. An illusion that is more effective than the LED lights in my beloved Hot Toys Ant Man figure.

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The articulation here is about on par with your average Legends figure. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist and an ab crunch hinge in the torso. Finally, the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The joints on this guy feel great.

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Ant Man is not quite twice the size of a regular Legends figure. So, perhaps there is an obvious complaint here over scale, but it’s also a pretty silly one.Yes, Lang is still small compared to how big he was in the fight, but that would have had to be a pretty big figure to make him actually to scale with the 6-inch Legends line. Maybe, Hasbro could have broken him up over two waves and had separate pieces for each leg and arm and two pieces for the torso. It’s not unprecedented and it would have made him a lot bigger, but spreading BAFs over multiple waves is rarely worth the bother. If the Masterworks line was still around, they could have released a bigger figure that way, but then those are designed to be in scale with the 3 3/4-inch figures. In the end, I’m plenty happy with what we got here.

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There were some great figures in this wave, and there were some not so great ones. Red Guardian was bungled due to poor QC, and I wasn’t impressed with the Captain America repaint. And yet, the good outweighed the bad, and I’m happy to say that even the less than stellar ones were worth picking up in order to assemble this guy. Yes, I would still have liked a 6-inch scale version of Lang wearing the new suit, but Hasbro seems content with not delivering on complete movie teams these days. It’s easy to complain, but I’d rather just shut up and enjoy what’s become the Golden Age of Marvel 6-inch figures.

Next Monday I’m going to detour to take a look at a statue and when I come back to Legends, I’ll be running through the long overdue Rhino Wave so that I can get into some Doctor Strange.

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Remember that scene in that really old movie?

The one where they’re on the snow planet?