Masters of the Universe Classics: Tuskador by Mattel

It’s 2017 and the self-proclaimed King of Collectors is dead. Or, wait… Matty wasn’t the King, the collectors were King. But Matty wore a crown. Who was the freaking King again? I’m so confused, but I suppose in the end it was all bullshit. Matty is no more, but I still have a HUGE pile of figures (and even some vehicles) from them waiting to be featured, so you’ll still be getting a lot of Masters Classics content coming your way here this year. Today, I decided to open Tuskador, because…


Well, just look at this beast! I had no idea who this was when his name turned up on my billing email and even then I was clueless. But when I felt the heft of his mailer box and gazed upon him in the package for the first time, I knew that it was love at first sight! The packaging may look standard, but trust me it’s much bigger than what we get for the usual MOTUC figures. Turns out Tuskador is one of the Galactic Protectors from the New Adventures series, and that’s cool because I’ve been really enjoying what Masters Classics has been doing with these goofy space bastards.  And speaking of New Adventures, did I mention that I had to buy a new Flogg because my old Flogg’s crotch spontaneously exploded when he was sitting in a tote in the closet? That’s craziness! But enough about Flogg’s crotch… let’s open this guy up and check him out!


OH. MY. GAWD. As we saw in the packaged shot, the figure comes with the tusks off and you have two different pairs to choose from. I started with the big’uns and HOLY CRAP LOOK AT THESE GODDAMN THINGS! They are both awesome and ridiculous at the same time, which pretty much describes half the Masters Classics line. Let’s call it Awediculous. And yes, I realize that the placement of them basically makes them nipple-tusks. I’m starting with this big pair because, to be honest, I can’t even get a closer look at the figure with these mammoth (That’s right, have a pachyderm pun, free of charge!) tusks in the way. There’s no bio on the package, but a little research tells me that Tuskador is a trader and sort of a supply officer for the Galactic Protectors. How the hell is he going to walk through some marketplace or fly a spaceship with these things coming off of him? It only makes sense that he can switch them out. Anyway, I’m just calling these his battle tusks. It’s sort of like his Sunday best, only in this case he puts them on before a fight so he can gore Evil Space Mutants with them. They’re glorious, but I’m going to swap them out now so we can get on with looking at the figure.


That’s better. The tusks simply peg right into the sockets on his armor, and both feature a beautiful pearlescent finish. They swap out really easily and they can rotate where they attach so you can tweak them a bit. These smaller tusks are still suitably large, but at least the figure is more manageable with them on. And what a great looking figure he is! He’s built using some parts from the Ram Man buck, most notably the arms and upper torso, but he actually stands notably taller than Rammy. The torso and legs are cast in two different shades of blue plastic, and feature lots of great sculpted detail, including panel lines, and some amazing treads on his boots. He also features a pair of metallic gold knee pads. There are also some very subtle touches of metallic blue paint on his pants and boots.




Of course, the real draw here is the gold armor that makes up the top third of the figure. The gold paint is beautiful and once again, the attention to detail here is just great. You get these powerful looking shoulders, panel lines, sculpted rivets on the plating, hoses, and this big circular contraption on the back, which I’m going to assume is some kind of cooling unit to keep him from dying under all that apparatus. It’s a lot of technology just to get a guy to wear some tusks, but in the crazy sci-fi-fantasy world of New Adventures, it all makes perfect sense. Despite being a bulkier figure, Tuskador features all the articulation we’ve come to expect from the regular size figures.


Buried deep under all those armor plates and support systems is a little open area showing Tuskador’s head. The mouth is obscured by additional hoses and a mouthpiece that’s sculpted to look a bit like a mechanical elephant’s trunk. It looks like there’s an amazing face sculpt under there, and thankfully, the helmet is removable to allow us a better look!



Yup, that is one great portrait, especially for a figure that keeps the head covered up most of the time. The facial features are sharp and packed with personality. I particularly love the detail in his blue arming cap. It reminds me of a WWII tanker’s helmet.




As if having a huge pair of tusks strapped to his chest isn’t enough, Tuskador comes with a rifle that he can wear on his belt. The sculpt is pretty cool, as it looks like a cross between a laser rifle, sub-machine gun and blunderbuss. Unfortunately, it’s all sculpted in an off white plastic and doesn’t feature any additional paint apps. In this case, I’m willing to give it a pass, because they sure put a hell of a lot of extra work into this figure.




It’s fitting that Tuskador is the last new figure I will receive from Matty, because this figure happens to represent everything I have loved about this line. It’s a character I didn’t know or care about until I got the figure in hand, at which point I don’t know how my collection ever existed without him. He’s crazy, he’s ridiculous, he’s beautiful, and he’s gloriously fun, and as I said earlier, that pretty much sums up this entire line. And there’s no point for me to serve up a sappy farewell to MOTUC here, because I still have one more new figure to look at, and after that I can turn my attention backwards to some of the older figures that I picked up late in the game and still need to be featured on FFZ.

Marvel Legends (Dormammu Wave): Karl Mordo by Hasbro

Yup, I’m still working my way through the Doctor Strange wave of Marvel Legends, and at this rate I’m at least on course to get through it all before the film hits home release. Oh, and if you haven’t seen the film yet, I’ll toss out a spoiler warning here now. But, c’mon… it’s been out long enough!


I have mixed feelings about the way the MCU treated Mordo in Doctor Strange. On the one hand, I was expecting him to be revealed as the villain to be a turning point in the movie, and I think that would have made for a more interesting story (remember, I liked this movie, but I didn’t love it). On the other hand, having him be a decent guy for the bulk of the film and doing the turn as part of the post-credit stinger, probably gave him some more depth and gives me something to really look forward to in the inevitable sequel. I’ll also confess that I really adore Chiwetel Ejiofor as an actor. He proffered a solid performance in this film, and if his wonderful performance in Serenity is any indication, he has the potential to be the best villain in the MCU since Loki. OK, granted that isn’t saying a lot, but my point is I am super excited to see him and Strange face off in the future. Anyway, with that huge digression, let’s take a look at the figure…


Mordo dons sculpted mystical robes quite similar to what he wore in the film. There are some minor inconsistencies, but overall I think Hasbro did a decent job with the costume. The top half of the costume is sculpted as part of the buck, whereas the bottom is soft plastic and hangs down around the legs. You get some nice detail in the form of cut lines and texturing, which to me are reminiscent (maybe a bit too much) of the costume designs for MCU’s version of Asgard.


There’s a lot of detail in the belt, although the frayed trim that is supposed to hang down from the belt is just sculpted onto the robes and isn’t terribly convincing. Am I nitpicking? Probably. While the deco here is fairly muted, you do get a nice range of colors, including two shades of green, some gray, some blue, and black. The color scheme gives a bit of a nod to Baron Mordo in the comics. All the paint on my figure is very sharp and clean. With all that having been said, I just don’t find this figure terribly exciting and that falls more on the design than it does on Hasbro’s efforts. Plus, since I haven’t opened my MCU Doctor Strange yet, Mordo is quite the loner right now and forced to hang out with the comic-based figures.


The portrait is quite good and hits all the right points for me in sculpt, paint, and likeness. It’s a sharp sculpt that picks out enough characteristics in Chiwetel Ejiofor to make it recognizable to me. Incidentally, this is one of those many times, I’m happy I stick with written reviews, as I don’t have to butcher his name by trying to pronounce it. One odd thing worth mentioning is the really obvious seam running down the front of his neck. Weird.


The articulation here holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. It’s worth noting that the hinge on the right hand is orientated front to back, while the one on the left hand is side to side. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels at the thighs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.




In addition to the BAF parts, Mordo comes with his staff. It’s obviously a very simple accessory with just some wood texturing in the sculpt. It’s a little bendy, which is expected, yet nonetheless disappointing. And here’s the one place that the figure really stumbles for me and that’s not having a way for him to wear the staff on his back like he did in the film. A separate cross strap with a simple loop in the back would have been extremely welcome here.





Mordo is a nice enough figure, but I think he suffers from a bit of a boring design, as well as being a sort of “one-off” release. I mean, sure we were going to get an MCU version of Doctor Strange, but then to just give us Mordo and not The Ancient One and Kaecilius seems like an odd choice. I mean, even as I was writing up this piece, I was wondering, “is anyone even going to care enough about this figure to read it?” Maybe once he becomes a proper bad ass, presumably in the next film, but then he’ll likely get a new costume and a new figure. Indeed, if Hasbro wasn’t going to go deep into the movie’s characters for this wave, I would have just rather they gave us comic book Baron Mordo, so I could put Strange on my MCU shelf and have a Mordo for my comic shelf. There’s certainly precedent for that, as they gave us a comic version of Batroc instead of the MCU version from Winter Soldier. Ah, but I’m probably being too picky.

Alien 3: Ellen Ripley and Dog Alien by NECA

What’s that? You hate Alien 3? Fantastic, that just means more for me! Yes, I will stand up to be counted as one of the few true fans of this flick. Awww, but it sucks because Newt and Hicks died. DEAL WITH IT! Life in the future is a toilet and there’s a long line of Xenomorphs waiting to take a dump into it. And in space, no one can hear you flush. Seriously, though, I dig this movie a lot and it fills my heart with happiness that NECA graced it with a wave of figures. I’ve already looked at the Weyland-Yutani Commando from this wave and today I’m checking out Ripley and the Alien.


We all know the deal when it comes to NECA’s Alien packaging. You get a hermetically sealed clamshell that keeps the baked plastic goodness fresh and hot. I like to poke a little hole in it, insert a straw into my nose and snort the plastic fumes right from the source. Seriously kids, don’t do that. As always, these packages show off the figures beautifully, but they are not collector friendly, which saves me the trouble of deciding whether to keep the packaging or not. Let’s start with Ripley…


As you might have noticed from the package shot, Ripley comes with an extra pair of arms, so there are two display options here. Out of the package she comes with her jacket on and the rest of the fatigues that Clemens gave her. As a sidebar, I’m not entirely sure why her package reads “Prisoner,” because she wasn’t. She was just an uninvited guest there waiting to be picked up by Weyland-Yutani after her escape pod crashed on the planet. Anyway, the details in Ripley’s costume is as excellent as I’ve come to expect from NECA’s figures. You get all the tiny obligatory stitching lines and in this case some nice weathering, including torn holes in the pants. The paint detail is exquisite, from the drawstring on her pants to the individual laces and silver eyelets on her boots.


The jacket includes a sculpted quilted pattern on the back and a hood sculpted in the down position behind her head. There’s sculpted elastic trim around the waist and cuffs of the sleeves and she’s wearing a pair of black gloves. The outfit on this figure is just another great example of how NECA spares no expense when paying attention to the tiniest details.


The portrait here is not my favorite example of NECA’s work with Sigourney Weaver. That having been said, NECA has had a fair amount of experience sculpting her portrait and this is a very distinctive look for Lt. Ripley, especially after her haircut. I don’t dislike it, but there’s something slightly off about it. I think it may be that it strikes me as being a little more stylized than the previous Ripley figures. Still, the paint is sharp and clean and they even gave her a nasty bruise on the left side of her forehead.


The figure’s second look involves pulling off the arms, taking off the jacket and putting the bare arms on. The swap is really easy and you get a cool variant that most other companies would have packaged and sold separately. It’s a profound enough change that this is one of those instances where I’m considering picking up a second Ripley so I can display her both ways, because I really can’t decide which one I like more.



Ripley comes with two accessories: A flashlight and a torch. Both are decent enough extras and definitely fitting for the character and context of the film, but neither are terribly exciting. It’s also worth noting that only one of her hands is really designed to work with the accessories. I can get her left hand to hold the flashlight, but it’s obviously not the intent. Let’s move on to the Xeno!



Awwww, shit! This thing is gorgeous! One of the things I love about this movie is that we’re back to just one Alien against a handful of barely armed prey. Xenos are so bad ass, that unless you’re the creatively bankrupt gestalt known as Hollywood, you don’t need to cram a million of them into a movie to make them scary. The Xeno in this wave was unique in having burst forth from a dog (originally an ox) and this figure is available in two colors: Brown or gray. I went with the brown one, just because I associate this entire movie’s dreary and industrial color palate with lots of browns and rusty oranges.


The design of this Xeno makes it my second favorite in the series, right behind the original 1979 Big Chap. Because it’s birthed from a quadruped, it’s back logs are structured like a dogs’ with the extra joint below the knee and the ankle up off the ground. The other given name for this guy is The Runner, and it’s easy to see why. It also makes him extra terrifying to me, not to mention he has a spear tip on the end of his tail. As usual, NECA packed all the lovely Geiger-esque bits into the sculpt, including the creepy mix of exposed sinews and and bone-like structures. The glossy brown wash brings it all out with striking clarity. If you want an example of a work of art expressed as a $20 action figure… here it is!



Another of my favorite things about this Xeno’s design is the structure of the head. It features the smooth, transparent dome that’s reminiscent of the original Xeno design with a segmented skull visible within. The jaw on this guy is articulated and you can open it up and pull out the secondary mouth.



The articulation is very much in line with what I’ve experienced with NECA’s other Xenos. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, wrists, with dual rotating hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and include double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the secondary knees, and in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. The tail swivels at the base and is made of bendy material that can take and hold a pose. Overall, my only real nitpick here is that the head does not go far enough back to get him looking forward when he’s running on all fours. But based on the sculpt, it looks like that would have been pretty tough to do.


The Xeno does come with one accessory and that’s this nifty stand to help keep him upright. I was actually pretty surprised at how many poses I could get him into without needing to rely on the stand, although as is the case with most of these Xenos, the leg joints can have difficulty sustaining the weight of the figure in the long term. When I do get a shelf cleared for my NECA Alien figures, I’ll definitely be making use of this one. His feet are also supplied with peg holes, so you can use the regular NECA stands with him as well.





It’s hard to pick a favorite Wave when talking about this line, because quite frankly NECA slams them all right out of the park, but this one ranks pretty high for me. It’s not just because I’m a fan of the film, but because it’s such a wildly unpopular film that it’s surprising NECA risked making these figures at all. Although, it does seem to be performing fairly well at retail. While Ripley is readily available at a number of e-tailers for deep discounts, the Commando seems to be in high demand, particularly among troop builders, and the Xeno (which are admittedly always popular with collectors) can be really tough to find at a decent price. NECA has teased on Twitter that there’s more Alien 3 goodness to come, and I’m rather intrigued to see what that means.

Transformers Titans Return: Blowpipe and Triggerhappy by Hasbro

It’s the first Transformers Thursday of the new year and… oh, shit. That’s right, it’s Wednesday. This new schedule is going to take some time to get used to. Either way, it’s time to check out the last of the Wave 3 Deluxes from Titans Return and it is indeed the wonderfully named, Triggerhappy!


I’m in uncharted waters here, because I have had next to no dealings with the G1 incarnation of this character. Never owned the toy. Never encountered the character in any of the fiction. I only know that he was a Decepticon Targetmaster that turned into a spaceship, and his Targetmaster was Blowpipe. This should be refreshing! Let’s start with his alt mode…




If I were to express sexual desire in the form of a high-powered Decepticon attack craft, surely this would be it. Indeed, this sexy ship looks like it would be right at home in any number of top-down arcade shooters and that’s a big part of why I love it so very much. With an ultra-aggressive profile and bristling with laser cannons, Triggerhappy is so very aptly named, and I’ll bet his alt mode makes all the other ‘Cons rage with jealousy. The ship design is finished off with detachable guns under the forward-angled wings and a single folding landing gear under the cockpit. Simply magnificent!



The coloring here is pretty good as well. You get a two-tone deco of pale gray and royal blue plastics, along with some lovely gold and silver paint apps on some of the vents and panels. The wings are striped and have Decepticon emblems in the traditional purple and silver, and there’s an additional emblem, in white, stamped right behind the cockpit.



Blowpipe is a pretty typical little Titan Master. There’s no paint, but at least he’s composed of the same blue and gray plastics as Triggerhappy, giving him a little variety in color. The cockpit’s canopy hinges open in the middle giving the little guy a place to sit.


Triggerhappy’s transformation is both very easy and pretty clever. Basically, the nose of the ship and the back of the ship rotate to switch positions, allowing the cockpit to split apart, which makes the final robot mode look like the transformation should be a lot more complicated than it is. Truth is, you can convert this guy back and forth very quickly, and that’s always a big plus for me when playing with my change-o-bots. But, can Triggerhappy’s robot mode possibly rival such an amazing alt mode?


Yes it can… and it does! As mentioned above, the cockpit splits so he’s wearing part of it on his lower torso with the nosecone packed onto his back. The torso and legs are amazingly clean and well proportioned, and even the wings on his lower legs look more like a style choice than actual kibble. In fact, the only real kibble here are the back swept wings on the shoulders and the dual cannons that are folded up on each arm, but I’m OK with that, because those cannons have a purpose in that they can be folded down to give Triggerhappy some insane arm rifles.




They can be made even crazier if you plug the rifles into them. It’s not my personal favorite way to display him, but options like this are always fun to have.


Triggerhappy looks pretty solid from the back too. Yeah, he’s got those hollow lower legs. Some of the Titans Return figures have been good about closing them up, others don’t seem to care. The nosecone from the spaceship mode isn’t terribly bulky and it stays put nicely when posing and playing with the figure, and those extra long heel spurs help keep this fellow standing upright. Even those wings that hang off his shoulders are kind of stylish and they don’t get in the way of his arms too badly.



The toy’s deco doesn’t really change much in robot mode. You still get a pleasing balance between the blue and gray plastics, with the same silver and gold paintwork showing. I think the gold thrusters on the shoulders look great and I really dig the way the white Decepticon emblem lands right in the middle of his chest. And I have to say, I absolutely love the head sculpt on this guy. There’s certainly an unusual Optimus Prime resemblance in there, which comes from the combination of the “helmet” and the face plate. The yellow paint on the eyes and red face plate both look great.




Naturally, the guns that un-peg from under the spacecraft’s wings can be wielded as rifles. If I’m nitpicking, I wish these were cast in the blue plastic to offer a little more variety to the coloring. They can be pegged together to form a large double-barrel cannon that Blowpipe can operate, but there’s really nowhere to use it with Triggerhappy. Or at least not one that I’ve found.




This third Wave of Titans Return Deluxes may have been skewed in the Autobots favor by three to one, but that’s OK, because there’s no doubt in my mind that Triggerhappy is the strongest figure in this assortment. Keep in mind, I absolutely adored both Hot Rod and Twinferno, so to give this guy the nod as my favorite… well, that’s saying a lot. It’s hard to think of many Transformers that feature such strong robot and vehicle modes and are this fun to play with. And that catches me up on the Titans Return Deluxe figures. When I revisit this line in a week or so, it’ll be to check out the big daddy of the series… Fortress Maximus!

Marvel Legends (Dormammu Wave): Nico Minoru by Hasbro!

While there are changes coming to FFZ this year, Marvel Mondays will not be one of them. I now have two complete Waves waiting to be featured, unfinished business with a third, and yet another that I haven’t even started buying yet. And with that, let’s continue through the Doctor Strange Wave and kick off the New Year with a certain little Witchy Woman… Nico Minoru!


Nico is the other half of the “Mystic Rivals” slot, sharing it with The Enchantress, so her name doesn’t actually appear on the front. It’s a pretty ballsy move on Hasbro’s part, because let’s face it, Nico probably isn’t a household Marvel name. I’m sorry to say that I’m not a big fan of the current run of The Runaways. She has, however, appeared in a number of other event books, but I remember her most fondly as Sister Grimm in the Mystic Arcana mini-series. She certainly fits this wave quite well, as she’s not only part of Marvel’s mystical side, but was one of the runners up to possibly become Sorcerer Supreme before the job fell to Brother Voodoo.


Looking every bit the *ahem* runaway from Father Flanagan’s Home for Unwanted Goth Kids, Nico presents as one of the most unique looking figures to come out of the modern run of Marvel Legends, and I absolutely love that! With her black dress, chunky belted boots, black and purple striped tights, and long black gloves, she looks like she’d be more at home in the pages of a Zenescope book than a traditional Marvel comic. The sculpting on this figure is all new and it’s great that Hasbro is willing to invest this kind of tooling on someone like Nico.


The outfit features some nice little details, like the painted lace on her sleeve and the sculpted fringe at the hem of her dress. Her corset-like top has all the stitching sculpted in and the rows of buckles on each of her boots are individually painted silver.



While the costume is great, I think it’s the portrait that really makes this figure shine. It’s a beautiful face sculpt with some very sharp paint for her lips and eyes. And, oh, those eyes! Her red pupils and heavy mascara are totally Goth Chic!  The hair is also particularly well sculpted.


The articulation here is pretty spot on, despite being a rather unconventional new buck. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs as well as at the tops of the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just below the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Even the dress isn’t too restrictive on the hip articulation.


Despite including the rather beefy lower half of Dormammu’s torso, Nico also comes with some pretty cool accessories. First off, you get an interchangeable left arm, which is the same sculpt, but this time partially cast in purple translucent plastic as a spell effect. You just pop out the stock arm at the shoulder joint and pop this one in.





Nico also comes with the Staff of One, which has a removable effect part cast in the same purple plastic as the extra arm. The staff is a very simple sculpt and cast in gold plastic. It’s also, unfortunately, a little bendy and it can be a little tough to get her to hold it once the effect part is wrapped around it. Still, a cool accessory, nonetheless. I really dig that they made the effect part optional.





Nico may just end up being the breakaway figure of this wave for me, despite having only limited exposure to the character. I love everything about this figure and it both surprises and delights me to see Hasbro willing to invest so much in what is very likely to be a one-off buck. I just can’t see any of this going to another character. In a line that is often content (and usually justifiably so) to get by with just repaints of basic bucks, Nico is a stand out release and a real treat in this wave!

Happy New Year!!! Less Content in 2017!?!

Yes, 2017 is upon us and I’m going into the new year with a plan to scale back a little so I can engage in some other pursuits. The plan is to cut back to three Features a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The challenge to myself will be sticking to that and not falling back into a Monday through Saturday thing again. And believe me, it’s not going to be easy because I really love keeping this blog, I love writing about toys, and I worry about getting backlogged. I basically want to try this, at least for the first quarter of the year, and see how it goes.

The new structure will keep Marvel Mondays, because if I don’t I’ll never get through the stacks and stacks of Marvel Legends figures I have waiting to be opened. Wednesdays will rotate between Transformers and whatever else and Fridays will rotate between DC Fridays and whatever else. Anime Saturdays will continue, but probably only a couple times a month.

By not committing myself to the insane schedule of six days of content each week, I hope to spend some of that newly found time reading my backlog of comics, playing my backlog of video games, and just trying to be a smidgen less obsessed about writing about toys all the time. Ugh, it hurt just typing that. It’s like a parent saying “I’m going to try to spend less time with my kid next year.” If I see myself falling too far behind, I’ll likely supplement with some extra Features, but I’m going to try my damnedest to stick to this.

With that being said, I’m looking forward to a whole new year of chronicling the horrific depravity of my plastic addiction and I’ll be kicking it off tomorrow with the first Marvel Monday of 2017!

By figurefanzero