DC Designer Series: Batgirl (Babs Tarr) Statue by DC Collectibles

I’m taking a mid-wave break from reviewing the excellent DC Bombshells action figures to check out a statue that’s been long overdue for my collection. It’s rare that I court a statue for as long as I longed after this one. Sure, sometimes I’ll waffle a bit and other times I’ll wait for a deal, but this Babs Tarr Designer Series Batgirl Statue is one that I started eyeballing way back when the teaser art was first introduced. Then it was revealed to be part of the B&W Series. I loved the art direction, loved the sculpt, but wasn’t keen on it being a B&W piece and it was too small to really fit in with my mostly 9-inch or 12-inch scale statue collection. But, as if in answer to all my reservations, DC Collectibles re-worked the statue back in 2015 as a full color sixth-scale piece. I was in love again, but there were so many reports of QC issues and statues arriving broken, despite being new in sealed boxes. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when my infatuation finally won the day, and I decided to roll the dice and risk disappointment or else forever regret what might have been.

While this is my first DC Designer Series statue, the packaging is very similar to my beloved Cover Girls line. It’s a fully enclosed and collector friendly box with a brick of styrofoam inside that houses the statue. The box on mine is a little beat up and there’s some heavy rubbing on the sides. Oh, man. I can’t tell you how nervous I was as I sliced the tape and prepared to reveal the statue inside. The Interwebs are littered with pictures of this statue with pieces broken off of it, I was terrified mine was going to be a mess, and this distressed box isn’t helping to calm my fears. Nevertheless, I came this far, and I just had to see how my luck turned out…

Well, it turned out pretty freaking great, thank you very much! Not only did the statue arrive without any breakage, but the paint quality and overall coloring on this piece are both superb. Setting her up simply requires that you peg her foot into the base with the metal rod and she’s all ready to go. Before getting started, I will mention that while this figure is billed as being cold-cast porcelain, there’s definitely some mixed media going on, namely the plastic used for her the skin tone of her face, and I’m pretty sure the hands and some other fixtures are resin. That’s not a complaint, mind you, as the results are fantastic, but just an observation. And the statue still has a remarkable heft to it, especially as I’m used to the smaller Cover Girls.

Where to begin the love fest? Well, for starters I think the pose really captures this iteration of the character perfectly. She’s got one foot kicking back behind the other, a little playful lean on her right hip, and her left hand fiddling with the pouch on her utility belt. They did such a great job bringing this costume to life. There’s just enough detail to keep things interesting, but it still manages to capture that rather simple animated art style of the book. And she’s so damn colorful! Granted, a big part of that comes from this costume design, but credit has to be given to the team of artists at DC Collectibles for translating it so perfectly into this piece. The purple and black matte finish on the suit is smooth and practically flawless and it contrasts so beautifully with the bright and glossy yellow used on her big, chunky boots, gloves, bat symbol and utility belt. Some silver paint on her zippers and black lacings on her boots round out the costume beautifully.

The portrait is just plain adorable. I love the way her head tilts down to the left while she glances up to the right with her big green eyes. And that smile says it all! Her cowl appears to be sculpted separately from the face, which gives the head some welcome depth, even more so than if there were just sculpted lines. The reddish-orange hair swirls around her neck and drapes down her left shoulder. There’s so much personality in this portrait, and like the pose I think it just captures Babs Tarr’s Batgirl perfectly.

The beast of a base is a simple black disc, which is a heavy slab that all but ensures Batgirl won’t be taking any dives off the shelf. It has a bat symbol cut deeply into it, and I really dig the way they outlined the cut lines with purple paint. It makes for quite a striking statement. The bottom of the base features the hand-numbered limitation. Mine is 1,990 of 5,200.

It’s always a tricky thing, pining after something on your want list for so long. Can it possibly live up to the anticipation and expectations? Well, in this case, Batgirl certainly did. I was in love with this statue when I first saw it, and I’m just as much now that it’s in hand. It’s been so long since this statue debuted, I don’t even remember it’s original MSRP. I’m guessing it was somewhere in the $100-125 ballpark. I picked up mine from a comic shop on Ebay for about $85 shipped and I am so damned happy to finally have this gal on my shelf. Every little thing about this piece works for me. The colors are gorgeous, the pose is so perfect, and I actually set her on the shelf beside my desk, at least temporarily, so I can admire her every now and then, before retiring her to the display case in the spare room. I’m looking forward to picking up some more statues in this series, and I’m pretty sure my next one will be the Amanda Connor Starfire.

Advertisements

Pop! Vinyls (Doctor Who): The 9th and 10th Doctors by Funko

It’s another Transformers Thursday without any new Transformers. It’s also the day after I just pulled an all-nighter at work and I’m really tired and want to go to bed. But the show must go on, so let’s see what I have lying around here that I can do quick-and-dirty. Of course! Pop! Vinyls!!! Also, Doctor Who is back and I can’t even tell you how happy I am about it. While we’re only two episodes into Series 10, I’m really digging it so far and it made me want to get out some Doctor Who merchandise. Sadly, Character Option doesn’t seem to know what they’re doing with the license any longer and the Doctor Who action figure market has all but dried up. But if there’s one thing you can count on in this universe it’s Funko and never ending empire of Pop! Vinyls. I’ve already looked at the 11th and 12th Doctor Pop!s, so today I thought I’d round out the NuWho Doctors with a look at Nine and Ten.

The packaging here is pretty standard Pop! Vinyl fare. If you’ve bought one of these (DON’T LIE TO ME, YOU OWN AT LEAST ONE!) then you know what to expect. The adorable little figures come in window boxes branded with the series and number of the figure. These are #221 and #294, which shows that a lot of Television Pop!s have come between these two releases. Yup, it’s kind of odd that Ten comes before Nine in their numbering, but don’t worry about it, it’s all just Timey-Whimey. The boxes are collector friendly, but you can still sort of enjoy your Pop! without taking it out of the box. Indeed, this is one of the few lines of collectibles where I always keep the boxes. They’re not much bigger than the figure itself, and when they’re in the box you can stack them. Why the hell do these say Age 14+ on the boxes? These are practically chew toys, so I’m not sure how they can be dangerous. Eh, who knows? Let’s go in order and start with Nine.

To me, The 9th Doctor has one of the least distinctive looks out of all of the Time Lords’ incarnations, and yet I have to admit, I’d know who this is even if you handed it to me without the box and covered up the Sonic Screwdriver in his hand. Being able to recognize the character is the biggest compliment that I can pay one of these ridiculous things and since I don’t really find Nine’s outfit all iconic, this Pop! is doubly successful. The head isn’t bad either. I think they actually gave him bigger ears too!

Pop! Nine also has some of the best paint I’ve seen on any of my shamefully large collection of these stupid things. Granted, he’s wearing a black jacket, black trousers, and black shoes, but the jacket and shoes are glossy and the trousers are matte, so you still get a little variety in there. I really like the purple paint they used for his shirt, and the paint apps on the screwdriver are especially good. Apart from a little chipping to the flesh tone on his right hand, this is as close to an immaculate Pop! as I have ever seen. One might even say… FANTASTIC! Moving on to Ten…

The 10th Doctor is a total slam dunk, largely in part to his very iconic costume, and also to the really wonderful job the Wizards of Pop! did on this figure. I swear, I think I could probably recognize him just by the head alone, thanks to the tufted wave of hair at the front and those glorious sideburns. But if that doesn’t give it away, the brown jacket, blue suit, and red and white “sand shoes” definitely drive the point home. And, of course, he also has his trusty Sonic Screwdriver in his right hand.

And today lighting is striking twice because the paint on this one is just as good as what we just saw on Nine. Sure, there’s a little slop on the shoes, but when you buy Pop! Vinyls sight unseen like I do, you run the risk of some nightmarish paint. It’s always great to see a pair of beautiful pieces like these.

I know I don’t spend a lot of time here showcasing my Pop! Vinyls, probably because I’m ashamed to admit I own so many. Still, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to sneak some more in here and there. If nothing else, it makes for an easy day for me, because… well, how much can you really ever say about these things? Maybe I’ll try to get through all the Doctor Who ones, while Series Ten is running. It’s worth noting that there are a number of variants for some of The Doctors, but I’m not that crazy yet to pick up all of those. Some of them? Yeah, but not all of them. And so Nine and Ten here complete my NuWho Doctors nicely. Wait, what’s that? They did a Pop! Vinyl War Doctor? Oh, for heaven sakes, I guess I have to get that one too.

Predator 2: Ultimate City Hunter by NECA

It’s been a couple of months since I last checked in with NECA’s amazing line of Ultimate figures, and that just won’t do! Luckily, I happen to have their Ultimate City Hunter from Predator 2 hanging around and waiting to be opened. I should first go on record by saying that I really dig this movie a lot. Taking the franchise out of the jungle and into the city was a great idea, and Danny Glover was a great choice as the lead. It wasn’t just more of the same, but rather felt like something new and different. And so, while I’m not really collecting NECA’s regular Predator line, I am all-in on the Ultimate figures, and I was really excited to get this one.

The Ultimate line’s packaging features beautifully illustrated boxes with a front flap that opens to reveal a window and the figure inside. There are some great pictures of the figure in action, and the name of the franchise is printed on the side panel, so you can line these boxes up on the shelf as if they were chunky VHS tape sleeves. Everything is collector friendly, so let’s carefully take this guy out and start with a look at the figure itself.

NECA has been doing Predators in this scale for what seems like forever, so it should be no surprise that they’ve nailed the sculpt. Indeed, I think you’d be hard pressed to find another figure in this scale that has more loving attention to detail and is this screen accurate to its source material. I’m sure a veteran Predator collector could point out some parts reuse on this guy, but the only other Predator I own is from the Aliens Vs. Predator 2-pack, so this is all new to me. I don’t know what flavor plastic they use for the skin, but it’s incredible stuff. It has a glossy and almost translucent sheen about it that takes the various painted skin patterns and makes it look real and it also contrasts beautifully with the pitted and ancient looking armor pieces. The net body suit is part of the sculpt as well, and he even has that bone handbag-looking thing hanging off his side. Anyone know what that is?

From the back, you can get a better look at some of that armor detail. Again, the pitting and wear in the sculpt, along with the aged patina, really sells these plastic parts as well-worn metal. As for the rest of the detail, just check out the intricate scaled pattern in his right shoulder guard, or the medical kit pod on the center of his back. Oh, and see that track running down from his left shoulder. Is something missing there? Well, I’ll get to that in a bit.

The helmeted head is equally fantastic. It looks like it’s made out of hammered copper, thanks to the intricate pitting in the sculpt and the beautiful paint wash. The dreadlocks spill out the back and sides, and each one is an individual piece with its own unique detail and paintwork. Now, as much as I love and respect the amount of work that went into this masked head, this is the last time you’re going to see it on the figure in this review, and that’s for two reasons. First, the ball joint piece has a habit of coming out inside the head and is a bitch to get out. This makes swapping the heads a pain in the ass. Second, the unmasked head is so damn great that I want to keep it on the figure all the time.

Because just look at it! I can never decide whether the markings on the Predator’s head reminds me of a snake or a cockroach, but either way it’s deliciously repulsive and recreated here just perfectly. The beady little eyes can just barely be seen under the pronounced brow ridge, and those mandibles? If those aren’t a work of art, then I don’t know what is. He may be one ugly sonofabitch, but I’m most definitely in love with every bit of this portrait.

This line has been a champion of solid articulation and City Hunter is no different. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinged elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips and ankles, swivels at the hips, and double hinged knees. There’s a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. Not bad!

Before moving on to the accessories, City Hunter has a few tricks up his sleeves… literally! His right gauntlet features a twin set of vicious looking blades with some nasty serrated edges. These will extend a little bit just by pulling them out. These are also among the many aspects of the figure that I would recommend being careful with. They are fairly rigid and probably pretty easy to chip or crack.

His left gauntlet features his self-destruct computer, which hinges open and shows the alien characters on the displays. The hinge on this device is another part of the figure that feels extremely delicate. It’s also an area that I find myself gripping when changing the right hand, which is probably not the best of ideas. Of course, as a release in the Ultimate line, The City Hunter comes with a ton of stuff and a bunch of extra hands to interact with all the accessories. But before I go on, I do have to circle back to that empty track on my figure’s left shoulder. Unfortunately, my City Hunter came without his shoulder cannon. I have been able to rectify that with a replacement from the retailer, but it hasn’t arrived yet, and I firmly believe in pressing on with the review based on how the figure arrived. When the replacement does arrive, I’ll update this review appropriately. Now, let’s get to what my figure did come with.

First off, he comes with his spear, in both its retracted and deployed forms. The retracted spear can be clipped to his back, which points to one of the many things I love about this figure, that being his ability to carry all his weapons at once. He also comes with left and right hands designed to hold the weapon. I’m glad they went with two different pieces, rather than try to make the spear telescope. This route allowed for better sculpts of both and probably a much sturdier extended spear.

Next, he comes with his Net Launcher. This piece can be pegged into his lower left leg for storage. He also comes with a left hand specifically designed to hold it. The fingers are flat and they go right into the groove on the back.

The Smart Disk, or Glaive, can be stored on his right hip, and it’s a damned fine sculpt, complete with little gears on the back and finger holds.`

The final weapon in City Hunter’s arsenal is the retractable laser on his left gauntlet. You get two covers for this, one that pegs in flush with the gauntlet to depict it closed and another that depicts it deployed and ready to fire. As subtle as it is, I think it’s fantastic that NECA included these little pieces. It really shows how much thought and love goes into designing these figures and what kinds of extra features they can include.

The last accessory isn’t a weapon, but rather a trophy in the form of a skull and spine. This is a brilliant sculpt, especially for this scale, and the paint features a grisly red wash that suggests it’s a fresh kill. This piece looks so great, it really makes me want to go back and pick up the Predator accessory kit that NECA released a little while back.

It’s a remarkable thing that NECA can keep the prices of these Ultimate figures just under the $25 mark. The sculpt and paint are incredible and they really pack a crazy amount of stuff into the box. Granted, my figure was missing one of those extras, but it was easy to resolve, as I’m getting a second figure as a replacement and I’ll happily use the extra one to display the masked head. If picking up this figure has a downside for me, it’s that it really makes me want to start collecting more of NECA’s lovely Predators. It’s an urge that I’m trying to stave off, because there are so many of them and the last thing I need is another line to collect. hopefully, I can last at least until the Ultimate Jungle Hunter comes out. What’s that? It came out yesterday? Dammit!

Marvel Gallery: Medusa by Diamond Select

What started as a humble line of indie comic statues, called Femme Fatales, has grown into quite the Marvel and DC branded juggernaut. Indeed, Diamond Select has been churning out these Marvel and DC Gallery statues at a remarkably brisk rate while expanding to include the dudes as well. At the same time, they seem to have a handle on balancing the compromise between budget and quality. I’ve amassed quite a few of the DC Animated Series and I’ve had few complaints. And if that wasn’t enough good news, DST is clearly willing to start taking risks with some character choices. And that brings us to one of the most recent Marvel Gallery releases: Medusa, matriarch of the Inhumans!

Now, granted, Medusa is far from an unknown in the Marvel Universe, but this line has mostly been about A-Listers, so including her is a welcome and unexpected treat. The statue comes in the same style window box we’ve been seeing ever since the first Femme Fatale statue hit the comic shops, although the decos are now branded to match the characters inside. You get windows on the front, side and top panels to let in plenty of light. Medusa’s box also has the added bonus of being crazy heavy. For what are roughly nine-inch scale PVC statues, these don’t tend to have a lot of heft to them, but as we’ll soon see, Medusa’s hair adds a lot of weight to this piece. The statue comes secured between two clear plastic trays, the box is totally collector friendly, and there’s no assembly required.

Out of her box, the Inhuman goddess is a remarkably striking piece.  She dons her black costume, which features a high gloss finish and a very low cut front that runs all the way down to her belt. The skin revealed by her exposed front is tinted black to suggest she’s got some kind of body stocking to protect her Inhuman goodies. She has a pair of matte black, ribbed boots, which come up past her knees and feature some rather interesting heel designs. The costume also features hold arched fixtures on her shoulders, gold wrist bracelets, a red jewel just below her naval, and a pearl belt and necklace. I just love what they did with this costume, and the little contrasts from matte to gloss and bits of gold, white, and red offer some nice diversity to what could have been a bit of a boring outfit. It also helps that the quality of paint and its application on this piece are top notch, right down to the red nail polish on her finger tips.

Of course, I can’t go far in this review without talking about her legendary copious coif. Medusa’s red hair cascades down her back and pools up below her feet to form a very creative base. The hair features sculpted texture and some subtle variations in color. I really dig how they designed this piece and the way the hair suspends her with her feet in mid air. There’s so much to love with this statue!

And I’m happy to report that the portrait is every bit as good as everything from the neck down. She’s got a beautiful portrait and the paint used for her lips, pupil-less eyes, and vibrant eye shadow is crisp and perfect.

Normally I wait for a deal when picking up these statues, because they tend to get deeply discounted by retailers after they’ve been on the market for a couple of weeks. In this case, however, I really wanted to show my support for Diamond’s willingness to go with some less obvious character selection. To that end, I pre-ordered both Medusa and Jewel (aka Jessica Jones) at full price, which amounted to about $45 each. I’ll get around to reviewing Jewel eventually, but as far as Medusa goes, I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Everything about this statue makes it feel like something far more premium than a budget statue and I could confidently place her among some of my $100 DC Cover Girls or Marvel Premier pieces and she could easily hold her own in terms of paint and overall quality.

Star Wars Black (Rogue One): AT-ACT Driver and Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader by Hasbro

It’s Sunday. I don’t usually do content on Sunday, but I got a couple of new 6-inch Black Series Rogue One Troopers, I’ve got the Rogue One Blu-Ray playing, and I just got in the mood to do a quick rundown on these figures. And when I say quick, I mean really quick, because while these are some cool figures, we’re basically dealing with some kit-bashing and repainting here.

Here’s the packaged shot for the Squad Leader. The AT-ACT Driver is a Target Exclusive, which I haven’t come across personally, but a buddy of mine was kind enough to send me one, sans packaging. And that’s cool, because I’m not sure as I would have ponied up the twenty bucks for this one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with him…

I’ve seen this movie enough times (four times in the theater, and now three at home), that I should know with certainty whether or not these guys are actually in it. All I can say is I really don’t recall seeing them. In any event, what we have here is the Hover Tank Pilot’s body with the Scarif Stormtrooper’s head. There are a few changes to the paint, like the gray stripe across his chest and shoulders, or the little red circle on his helmet, similar to what the AT-AT Drivers have on theirs. But as cool as this figure looks, he still feels like something Hasbro threw together for a quick-and-dirty exclusive.

If this design is a Hasbro original, I think they should have just used a straight repaint of the Hover Tank Pilot, because it’s bugging me that one driver has a specialized helmet and the other has the regular Scarif Stormtrooper helmet. I like how the TIE Pilots and AT-AT Drivers had helmets that were somewhat similar to each other and yet different enough from the rank-and-file Stormies. Am I overthinking all this? Probably, but if I wasn’t, I’d be done with the review by now.

The AT-ACT Driver comes with the usual E-11 Blaster and has articulation identical to the Hover Tank Pilot. Moving on to the Scarif Squad Leader…

So, this guy is basically a modified version of the regular Scarif Stormy. Instead of the hip armor with the ammo pouch, he has a kama, which includes a slightly different sculpt to his belt. Otherwise, the armor sculpt is identical to his subordinates. When it comes to deco, he does have a blue stripe across his chest and shoulders, as well as some more splatter painted on his chest and helmet.

The articulation here is identical to the regular Scarif Stormies, but the Squad Leader comes with a new gun sculpt, and it’s a pretty damn cool design.

Both of these are certainly nice figures, but if I had to choose, I’d definitely recommend the Squad Leader over the AT-ACT Driver. It’s probably worth repeating that Hasbro did a weird thing here and made the regular Scarif Stormies TRU Exclusives and the Squad Leader a regular retail release. The AT-ACT Driver, on the other hand, feels like good exclusive figure fodder. I would not have missed him if I didn’t find him, and even if I did, I’m not sure I would have dropped twenty bucks on him. Then again, he does complete my 6-inch Black Series Rogue One troops, so I’m certainly glad to have him in my collection.

By figurefanzero

Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax Ignition: Asuna (Game Color Version) by SEGA

Yes, as if there weren’t already enough Asuna figures on the market from Sword Art Online, her appearance in SEGA’s All Stars-Inspired 2D fighting game, Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax has given the purveyors of plastic another excuse for more releases. The game is pretty damn good, and in a move that still amazes me to no end, the home version got a US release on the Sony PS3 a couple of years back. Japanese versions are also available on the PS Vita and the PS4. If anime and fighting games are your thing, you owe it to yourself to track it down.

In the game, Asuna wears her familiar Blood Knights outfit, both in the traditional colors and in a black and white version to represent the typical recolors we see in fighting games. While I may eventually double dip on the regular look, I thought it was a lot more fun to go with her unconventional and totally unique black outfit and hair color. The box is your typical prize figure fare. It’s completely enclosed with some nice shots of the figure. The copy is mostly in Japanese, but there is a little English here and there. Inside, the figure comes on a clear plastic tray with a little bit of simple assembly required.

After putting on her scabbard, popping her sword into her hand, and plugging her into the base, Asuna is all read for display and looking great. The pose is elegant and powerful, with her hips jutting forward, her left hand stretched out defiantly, and her trusty sword, Lambent Light, poised in her right hand and ready for action. The energy of the composition is furthered by the unseen wind that ruffles her coat and excites her hair. Fantastic!

The coloring takes the white and red deco of the Blood Knight’s costume and exchanges the white for black and the red for white. It’s an interesting deco, especially when coupled with the silver of her chest and ankle armor. I like it a lot, especially the look of the white crosses on her stockings, and the border lining of her tunic. The paint quality here isn’t bad, but it isn’t the best either. With the naked eye, it looks fine, get in closer, and some areas, particularly the white borders of her bicep cuffs and straps, tend to look a little blurry. It’s not something that I would really hold against the figure, considering the price point, and you really have to get in close and scrutinize it to notice.

The portrait is excellent. I love the printing on Asuna’s wide eyes, and her mouth is open as if she is shouting a spell or a battle cry. In the game color version, even her normally red hair does not escape the pallet swap, as it’s been turned to black. It works well on this figure, but I tend to be partial to red heads.

The base is a simple white hexagon with the logo of the game printed in blue outline.

This figure works well on a number of levels. If you can’t get enough Asuna, and you want something different for your collection, then this is certainly a worthy purchase. It’s worth noting that Asuna scales quite well with my two Taito Asuna figures. On the other hand, if you just happen to be a fan of the fighting game, it’s probably a small miracle that the game produced any merchandising, let alone figures like these. I was able to grab her off of Amazon from a US seller for $22 shipped and I think that’s a pretty solid deal for what you’re getting.

DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Wonder Woman by DC Collectibles

On the last DC Friday, I started digging into the first wave of the new DC Bombshells action figures. These figures are based on a line of statues, which conceptualize DC Characters (mostly the gals) in a 1940’s style. I kicked things off with a look at Batwoman, and boy was I impressed. Today, I’m pressing on and opening up my second figure in the assortment… Wonder Woman!

Clean, attractive, functional, and collector friendly. These are all words that I would use to describe DCC’s packaging these days. You also get some wonderful Bombshells character art on the side panel so you can line these up on a bookshelf and still know who is who. In this case, you also get a sticker on the window proclaiming the 75th Anniversary of Wonder Woman, and my doesn’t she still look great for her age! Normally, I’m quick to throw out action figure packaging, but I’m actually holding on to these boxes for now. I know, I probably won’t be able to keep them for long, but I want to at least give myself the option up until wave two hits.

And here she is out of the box and ready to go! If Batwoman represented America’s greatest pastime, then Wonder Woman here is going for the Rosie the Riveter, “We Can Do It!” angle. It’s a little more subtle here than a full on baseball uniform, but I still think it works very well. A big part of the success of this design for me is in the way the costume manages to stay faithful to Wonder Woman’s traditional look, while still embracing the 40’s style. The blouse, for example, features her emblem on the front, but adds a wide white collar and cuffs on the short sleeves. The blue shorts feature her iconic white stars, and her red high-heeled boots have white decorations and stars as well. The outfit is rounded out by a belt with a sculpted gold belt buckle and her famous lasso hanging off her right hip. She’s even got her wrist bracers, which are beautifully etched. All the details in the costume are part of the sculpt, and the paint is sharp and clean.

The portrait is over-the-top cheese, which certainly fits with the original statue. Wonder Woman is offering her biggest “Can Do” smile and has her hair tied up with a yellow ribbon while the bulk of her coif blows off in the breeze. I really love what they did here, but I have a feeling that it may be a little too singular a look for some collectors. It conveys the original art beautifully, but with a perpetually smiling expression, you are certainly limited in some of the poses you can pull off with her, whereas Batwoman’s portrait was more versatile. With that having been said, apart from adding in a second head, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

The articulation here is every bit as good as what we got with Batwoman. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and another in the neck. Once again, I’ll point out the irony that these are figures based on a line of statues, and yet they feature some of the best articulation that we’ve seen out of DCC yet. And no stuck or gummy joints, either!

In addition to three sets of hands (fists, tight gripping, and loose gripping), Wonder Woman comes with two fun accessories. The first is a wrench, and let me tell you, if you’re in the market for a wrench in this scale, this is probably one of the best ones I’ve seen. It also fits the theme here quite well. I’m sure Wonder Woman is going to use that pipe wrench to tighten the bolts on the bomb that’s going to blow up Mr. Hitler! If not, then it’s just a great metaphor for the whole “Put America to work” mobilization that made up the CCC and WPA leading up to Doublya-Doublya-Two!

The other accessory is a chain with a cinder block on one end and a ball on the other. The original statue had her breaking a chain, which obviously inspired this piece. At first, I thought it an odd accessory, but I have to confess that I’ve had a ton of fun playing around with it.

If Batwoman spoke to my love of Baseball, Wonder Woman here does the same for my love of history. Everything about this figure gels so perfectly. The design, the execution, and the amazingly fun level of articulation. I was originally on board with these figures as some inexpensive alternatives to buying the statues, but I never expected them to be so engaging, or so difficult to put down. These figures are retailing for around $25 at most online retailers, and if this style is your jam, then you really can’t go wrong. On the next DC Friday, I’m going to take a mid-wave break to check out a statue, and then I’ll start opening up the second half of this assortment of amazing figures.

Star Wars Black: R5-D4 (Gamestop Exclusive) by Hasbro

Once again, I must disappoint all you Convertorobot fans, as it is Thursday and I have no new Transformers to look at. Maybe next week. We’ll see. In the meantime, let’s check out a robot that does not turn into anything!

I was mighty peeved to find out that the infamous droid with the bad motivator was coming to the 6-inch Black Series as a Gamestop Exclusive. There’s only one of these stores in my area and going in that place subjects me to a vortex of screaming kids, punks trying to sell games for drug money, and pushy salespeople trying to get me to opt in to some membership card or magazine. I hate the place. Besides, they’re closing stores left and right, so maybe giving them an Exclusive isn’t the best idea, Hasbro. Next you’ll be giving exclusives to other sinking retail ships like K-mart… oh, riiiight. Well, it turns out my anger was all for naught, because I was able to pre-order this guy on their website pretty easily and he showed up on my doorstep yesterday.

Hasbro is doing over-sized vintage cardbacks for the 40th Anniversary. A lot of these have been re-issues of “The Original Twelve” and I think these look terrific and I really dig how they will stand for easy display. So far, I’ve managed to keep myself from buying a set to keep carded, but that resolve may buckle if retailers start doing sales on these.. R5, however, is currently only available in this packaging, so I had no choice this time. Oh yeah… and thanks Gamestop for putting your obnoxious sticker on the card. It probably comes off, but it’s a shitty thing to do to an item that is being sold in collectible packaging. Good thing I bought this droid to open.

The back of the card is pretty damn cool too. It shows the twelve figures that are getting this carded treatment. All are re-issues, with the exception of the Sand Person, Jawa, Death Squad Commander, and I suppose Darth Vader, since he’s supposed to at least have a new head sculpt. There’s also a shot of the Early Bird-inspired display set that Vader comes with. Yup, I pre-ordered that thing. I have no willpower. And speaking of no willpower, as you can probably guess, these carded figures are not collector friendly and as good as it looks, I’m about to tear this one open.

Here he is, and as expected from the neck down he’s a straight repaint of R2-D2, and that’s not a bad thing, because this is a pretty damn good Astromech body. All of the familiar panel lines are sculpted in, and I really dig the hoses on his feet. Besides the red accents, R5’s deco also includes some light weathering, whereas I had to do my own on R2 with a mechanical pencil. I think they distressed him just the right amount. It doesn’t look heavy handed at all.

The head is also a very good sculpt and escapes the big fault of the R2 figure by not having those eyesore seams running up the sides. R5’s head still has seams, but they’re very well hidden. The antenna is made of bendy plastic, but it doesn’t seem like it will be prone to warping. You get a little bit of weathering on the head, but maybe here it could have used a smidgen more. The paint on the eyes is sharp and clean and the hologram sticker strip that runs around his neck looks nice, although I already had to stick the end of it back on, so I’m not sure how long that sticker is going to last.

As with R2, the third leg still retracts by turning the head. I wasn’t a big fan of this feature when I first saw it, but I’ve cooled on it a bit. It just seemed rather gimmicky for a collector line, but then the Black Series’ collector line credentials have been pretty shaky. I should also note that R5 doesn’t share any of the opening panels in his head that R2 had. It seems like they could have given us a swap-out panel with a bad motivator, but nope!

The two vertical side panels, on his front, however, do still open and he does have his little arms that swing out. It probably would have been easy for Hasbro to just glue these shut and not worry about them, so I’m pretty happy to see they survived.

In every way, R5-D4 is a great little figure. in fact, the only issues here for me are price and availability. At $22, you’re paying an awful lot for very little. R2 came with a bunch of extras and R5 comes with squat. It makes me wonder if he was made an exclusive release just to justify the price tag. Why not R5 and a couple of Jawas in a window box for $50? That would have been a nice deal. Plus, making him exclusive to Gamestop is just bewildering to me. I’ve never even seen Star Wars figures in a Gamestop outside of maybe Funko Pop! Vinyls. Luckily, I didn’t have to actually go in a Gamestop to get him. I pre-ordered mine when it first went up on the website and it became “Unavailable” not long after that. Disappointing collectors by making a deal with a dying game retailer? Not cool, Hasbro. The better way to go would have been to put him in a window box for wide distribution and let the vintage carded packaging be your exclusive. Ah, but what do I know?

Masters of the Universe Classics: Clamp Champ by Mattel

Yes, folks, I still have Masters Classics figures sitting around and waiting to be opened. I’m actually rationing these out as a way to get my MOTUC fix until Super7 can get their thing up and running. Today, I’m opening up Clamp Champ! Poor Clamp Champ missed out on being in both the Filmation series and the 200x reboot. His figure was released too late in the vintage line to make an appearance in the former, and the later series was cancelled before he could swoop in and take over for the doomed Man-At-Arms. On the flip-side, as far as I know he’s the only character of color to get a vintage toy release, and as such he’s certainly worthy our respect and attention.

After all this time, there’s not much more that can be said about this iconic packaging. Clamp Champ is an older release, so he does have a bio on the back of the card. His tag line on the bubble insert proclaims him the “Heroic Master of Capture!” I think they missed the opportunity to call him “Heroic Champ of the Clamp!” Give me a minute to rip open this package and we’ll see what he’s all about.

Clampy gets by with a buck that’s a straight up re-use of He-Man’s body only with a fresh coat of paint. Apart from the dark skin tone, his furry diaper and boot fringe have been recolored red, his boots are black, and his belt and bracers are silver. Nonetheless, he still manages to look rather distinctive thanks to his cool chest armor, which packs a lot of sculpted detail and a two-tone blue and silver deco. I’m a big fan of the whole techno-meets-fantasy vibe that I get off of this figure and I’ve got to say, Matty did a beautiful job recreating that armor.

The back of the armor also sports a black backpack. What is it? Maybe a power generator for his weapon? I don’t know. I think it would have been a good idea to put a hole there so he could wear his accessory on his back, but Matty decided to remain true to the vintage figure and I can respect that.

I dig the head sculpt on this guy a lot. Even though Champ didn’t appear in the Filmation cartoon, I think this head fits that style pretty well. But where does this guy get his name from?

From this big-ass clamp! I should note that Clampy feels like a bit of a cheat, because most of Eternia’s heroes and villains get their names from some kind of horrific defect or mutation. As such, you would expect Clamp Champ to have this thing grafted onto his arm, or just have a giant mutated claw. Nope, it’s just something he carries around with him and refers to as “The Techno Clamp”® The bio exclaims that Clamp Champ “surprises his enemies with his clamping action,” but that would have to be a pretty good trick, because how could they not see this giant clamp coming their way? Even Skeletor’s minions aren’t that clueless!

And to be fair, this big accessory is really more of a claw than a clamp, but Claw Champ isn’t quite as catchy. The original toy had a lever-control gimmick, and while this new version has a faux-lever sculpted on it, you have to pull out the claws manually. It’s still capable of grabbing enemies and I really like the little detailed paint apps that Matty did on its instrumentation.

Now this piece looks more like a clamp, but I have no idea what practical purpose it can serve, as he just holds it. Obviously, he can make a living with these ridiculous tools, otherwise he’d be unemployed and they’d call him Clamp Tramp. They’d probably also call him that if he slept around a lot.

In the end, I find myself in the odd position of not really digging Clamp Champ’s weapon all that much, but liking the figure quite a bit. The armor and the deco really works for me, but the clamp itself just reminds me of the goofy over-sized accessories that Hasbro is packing with Star Wars figures these days. It’s not terribly practical, but I suppose I’ll let him keep it. Otherwise it’ll be too hard to explain to people why he’s called Clamp Champ.

Marvel Legends (Space Venom Wave) Ultimate Peter Parker Spider-Man and Space Venom Builf-A-Figure by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, it’s time to wrap up another wave of Marvel Legends. I’m doubling up today by opening up the last packaged figure in the assortment, Ultimate Peter Parker, and then I’m going to check out the Build-A-Figure, Space Knight Venom. I think Venom would have probably been a more apt fit for the Guardians of the Galaxy Wave, but then we would have missed out on Titus, so I’m perfectly happy with the way this all played out. I’m also happy to finally be putting this wave to bed so I can get started on that Titus Wave… and the Sandman… Oh, and the Warlock Wave. Holy shit, I’M SO FAR BEHIND!!!

Here’s one last look at the packaging for this wave, although it’s not really remarkable in any way. Well, except for the fact that one of Spidey’s hands fell out of its spot on the tray. Peter shares a slot in this wave with Miles Morales under the name, “Ultimate Spider-Men!” and if I’m not mistaken that means that every figure in this wave was in a shared package. Seems like that’s a first, but maybe I’m mistaken. There are so many damn Legends waves flying at me these days, it’s hard to keep them all straight.

Now, before you roll your eyes at another Spider-Man, consider the fact that we really haven’t had a Peter Parker figure since “Pizza Spidey” back in 2015. Also, this Ultimate Parker is built off the smaller teen body that we just saw used for Miles Morales. And that alone makes this a very worthy release for me. The paint on this figure is immaculate, with some sharp web patterns and just the right shades of blue and red. On the downside, like “Pizza Spidey,” the pins in the elbows aren’t painted to match the blue of the inside sleeves. Personally, it’s not a big deal for me, but I know it was a bone of contention for a lot of collectors out there. Whatever the case, I really dig this costume a lot and translates beautifully to this figure.

And we finally get a fully unmasked Peter Parker head! Sure, it’s Ultimate Peter, but I’m content to use it for 616-Parker until the real thing comes along. It’s nicely sculpted, appropriately goofy, and an all around great piece of work.

In addition to the extra head, Spidey comes with the usual sets of hands we’ve come to expect from the Legends Spider-Man figures. These include fists, thwip hands, and hands with splayed fingers.

While this teen body lacks the shoulder crunches from most of the previous Spider-Man figures, the articulation here is still plenty good. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in both the thighs and lower legs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double hinges, and there are swivels in the biceps. The torso has a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. While the hinges on my figure are nice and strong and not at all gummy, my Spidey’s right shoulder hinge has barely any give at all. I’m pretty sure a little heat will fix it, but I haven’t had the time to give him the treatment yet.

Of course, Ultimate Peter Parker also includes the final piece I need to build Space Knight Venom! Venom: Space Knight gave us a brand new chapter in the Flash Thompson continuity. I’ve only read the first few issues, but it was a pretty great read that will definitely bring me back some day when I’m caught up on my other funnybooks. You could probably argue as to whether or not Venom needed to be a BAF, but if he wasn’t, I fear that we’d just get a straight painted buck, and not some of the extra sculpting we got for this figure. As far as BAFs go, Venom is as simple as you get. There are six pieces, including four limbs, a torso, and a head. Everything goes together very easily.

Ah, but put all those pieces together and what you get is a work of monochromatic art! As simple as this design is, I absolutely love it. He’s a beefy, black buck with a surprising amount of sculpted detail. The white Spider-emblem on his torso? That’s all part of the sculpt. While subtle, he’s also got some cut lines on his forearms and his legs, as well as some exposed ribbing in the area just below his head. The white paint is so bright and beautiful, without much in the way of the black bleeding through, and he has patch tampos on his shoulders. For what is essentially just a black and white figure, Venom is quite pleasing on the eyes.

This beefy buck includes some solid articulation. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders and wrists, have hinged elbows, and there are swivels in the biceps.The legs have rotating hinges at the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers.  The torso has a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. All of these points conspire to make Space Knight Venom not just a great looking figure, but one that’s lots of fun to play around with.

It’s hard for me to quibble with this wave. It gave us some classic villains, as well as some new heroes from across the Spider-Verse, and there isn’t a stinker in the assortment. Indeed, it doesn’t even feel like there’s a budget figure in this lot either, despite the fact that we got straight body recycling between Ashley and Cindy and again between Miles and Peter. Yeah, I could still harp on the fact that Electro lacked some regular hands, but I’ve already beat that drum enough. On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll be switching my attention over to the statue side of things. My Marvel statues have been building up, and I might have to start looking at them on another day of the week so I can keep from getting too behind on Legends. Either way, I’ll be coming back the following week to kick off a brand new wave Legends of figures. If only there were a new movie coming out that first week in May that I could tie in with. Hmm…