Mythic Legions: Stone Troll by The Four Horsemen

Last week The Four Horsemen put a bunch of Mythic Legions stuff up on their site for pre-order, virtually everything sold out very quickly, and I got shut out because I was working, goddammit! Here I was slaving away to earn Troll monies and I missed it. Yeah, and that’s the shame of it. All I was really after was the Forest Troll, but then it was a hundred bucks I shouldn’t have been spending anyway, so I’m not too upset. And besides, it gave me an excuse to finally open up the Troll I do have and ease the pain of defeat.

Holy crap, this is a big box! Let’s not forget that the Mythic Legions line is scaled to about 6-inches, so they really had to spend a lot of plastic to create this behemoth. And that really speaks to the success of this line. It’s rare that Kickstarted action figure projects produce the insane volume of releases that Mythic Legions did, but then to deliver a couple of huge figures like these on top of that. And then have them keep selling out! It’s crazy! Anyway, T4H produced Trolls in two different flavors: Stone and Forest. I had originally planned on buying the Forest Troll, but a little later the weapons were revealed and the Stone Troll’s weapon nudged me over to his side. Ideally, I would have loved to pick up both, but I’ve already recounted how that went.

The Stone Troll comes in a beautiful, heavy cardboard window box with a painting on the back that matches what we saw on the individual figure card backs. The side panels, however, have some lovely original artwork, depicting both Trolls and… Holy shit, is that a Cyclops??? I WANT THE CYCLOPS!!! The fact that both Trolls are depicted leads me to believe that T4H used this same box for both of them, but unless I’m willing to pony up a lot more than $100 for the Forest Troll on the scalper market, I guess I’ll never know. Everything here is collector friendly, so long as you’re patient when removing all of those twisty-tie wires. This poor guy has been all sealed up on my shelf for a long time now, so let’s get him out and have a look!

Say hello to big and ugly, and I mean that as the most sincerest form of flattery, because this guy is fantastic! The combination of sculpt and paintwork on display here shows that T4H can go really damn big and still not lose any of that attention to detail. The variations in flesh tones from the Troll’s rocky hide to the more leathery parts of his belly, inner arms, and hands is like nothing I could ever hope to see on a off-the-shelf toy in this day and age. But hey, that’s the wonderful thing about Kickstarted toys. While the big companies are slashing paint applications left and right to save a couple of nickles, companies like T4H can spare no expense, so long as the supporters are there and willing to lay their money down. On that note, I’ll come back to around to discuss cost and value at the end. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

I really dig the stony patches that cover his back. The Stone Troll appears to derive his name both literally and figuratively. I naturally assumed he was just a mountain or cave Troll, but he also appears to have adopted the characteristics of his surroundings as well. Maybe that’s thousands of years of Stone Troll evolution that allows him to blend in with his surroundings and ambush hapless adventurers. Whatever the case, it’s a lovely, craggy texture with individual stone scales speckled about and painted in a lighter gray to make them stand out. Other details on this brute include the heavy cuffs he wears on his wrists, and even the soles of his ugly Troll feet are fully sculpted and textured!

The Stone Troll protects his modesty and covers up his own manly stones with with this belted loin cloth. The belt has a hammered metal appearance, which matches that of his wrist cuffs. It’s sculpted as part of the torso and I really dig the way his paunch hangs over the top of the large medallion. I wouldn’t say he’s a fat Troll, but he doesn’t look like he’s missing any meals either. The actual loin cloth presents a bit of mixed media to the figure with the top layer looking like worn animal hide and the bottom layer appearing as frayed cloth.

 

And that brings us to this lovable mug, which really presents as the most triumphant feature of this Troll. It strikes me as very Lord-of-the-Rings-ish, and I’m talking about the Peter Jackson movie aesthetic. The super glossy red paint used for the eyes looks magical and the paintwork and sculpted detail on his teeth and tusks is mind-blowing. He has a little bit of mud splatter on his face and body, and I just adore his little pointed ears. Hot damn, T4H really poured the love into this guy.

The articulation here is pretty basic, but probably not off base for a giant troll, because these are giant lumbering brutes. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, rotating hips, and swivel cuts at the ankles, wrists, and neck. The shoulders feature some pretty strong ratcheting joints, which we’ll see is a good thing considering the size of his weapon. His hips are sometimes a little weak for the task of supporting his bulk, but most of the time they seem to hold fine. While the points are all there, there isn’t a huge range of motion in any of them. I wouldn’t call that a complaint, because I wasn’t expecting all that much and there’s still plenty of pose-ability here to have fun with.

Most of the range of motion is in the shoulders, and just look at this guy’s reach! He has a fairly good balance too. Those arms are pretty heavy and yet he’s still holding his own with them both way out in front of him. I wish there were some hinges in those ankles, but maybe next time!

The Stone Troll’s weapon is a giant club made out of a boulder fastened to a tree and like the Troll itself, the attention to detail that T4H invested into this piece is pretty crazy. The tree itself has a realistic wood texture and it’s wrapped with a pair of sculpted bands made to look like hammered metal with bolts running all around the circumference. The stone itself has some runes carved into it and it’s secured to the tree with more of those sculpted “metal” bands. The weapon fits in either of the Trolls hands and it’s actually cast in two pieces of plastic and can split apart in the middle. And as I said earlier, it was ultimately this weapon that won me over when faced with the Sophie’s Choice of which Troll to buy. I’m still very pleased with my decision.

As beautiful a showpiece as this Troll is, the real fun begins when you let him loose amidst the Mythic Legions figures. He’s beautifully scaled to tower over them, lift them up, and rip them apart.

The Stone Troll retailed for $100, which would be steep if this were a regular retail release, but then that’s hard to judge. If Generic Big Toy Company were to put this on the shelf at your local Target, it would probably be half that, but then there’s no way it would have the same level of sculpted detail and quality of paint. As a result, it’s really hard to do price comparisons here, and that is, after all, the whole point of Kickstarters and Pre-Orders. It’s a hefty price tag, no doubt, but I’m not going to sit here and declare that I’ve even a shred of buyer’s remorse over this purchase. The stupid smile I’ve had on my face while playing with this guy is justification enough. And with the continued success of Mythic Legions burning bright, I sincerely believe we’ll be seeing more large beasties in the line’s future.

Advertisements

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Angela by Hasbro

In case you’ve been skipping out on Marvel Mondays, I’m right in the middle of my look at the Titus Wave of Marvel Legends, the first of two waves paired with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2. I’ve already been through the MCU figures in this assortment and now I’m into the comic based figures. Today’s spotlight is on Angela, a figure that won the Fan’s Choice Poll, or at least that’s what Hasbro tells us. There’s always a whiff of chicanery around those Fan Polls, but quite frankly, I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome, legit or not.

It’s well known that the character of Angela has had an interesting history hidden behind the pages of her comic appearances. Originally created by the legendary Neil Gaiman for the pages of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, her rights were later sold to Marvel Comics where she eventually became established as the sister of Thor. She’s firmly planted her feet in Cosmic Marvel and she hooked up with The Guardians of the Galaxy in Bendis’ recent run of the book. She even got to duke it out with The Most Dangerous Woman in the Universe, and boy did I dig that particular slice of fan service! From the moment she was revealed as a Legends figure, I’ve been excited to get this figure in my collection.

Her corporate masters may have changed, but most of Angela’s look has stayed true to form. She’s still a hot redhead that prefers to charge into battle wearing as little as possible, and I ain’t complaining. Her new handlers have made some notable changes to the particulars of her armor, and stylistically I’d say they’re all for the better. I particularly don’t miss theose 90’s shoulder boards. What she’s boasting now is more elegant and possibly just a little more Asgardian. With her beautiful segmented gold boots and her complex arm armor, most of her outfit resides on her extremities. Indeed, her modesty is protected only by an armored top, a skimpy pair of painted panties, a half-cape, and a wide belt that hangs on her hips. Do I like it? Verily!

From the back she looks almost fully clothed, thanks to a combination of her long hair and that half-cape. Here we can also see her rather chunky scabbard, which is permanently attached to the belt and hangs down behind her at an angle. The coloring on this figure is gorgeous. The combination of the warm skin tones of the bare plastic, the snappy gold and silver, along with a little red and blue gives this figure a sumptuous regal feel as if she really did just descend from Heven.

The head sculpt is absolutely perfect and I’d say among the finest we’ve seen from Marvel Legends. Marvel’s Angela lost some of the heavier handed eye makeup of her Spawn days and now features crimson outlines with lightning tears. I like it. The same paint is used on her immaculate lips, and her golden winged headpiece looks good enough to have been a sculpted as a separate piece. The hair is also fantastic. It spreads out wildly behind her and spills out over the headpiece, offering up a nice feeling of complexity to this portrait. It’s even sculpted in a way that it does not inhibit the neck articulation too badly at all.

Indeed, the articulation here is quite good! You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. Her ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and her neck is both hinged and ball jointed. I continue to lament the lack of bicep swivels in the Legends gals, but it doesn’t seem like Hasbro is going to rectify that any time soon. It’s also worth mentioning that while the shoulder armor on the left shoulder is designed to move to accommodate the shoulder articulation, the right one doesn’t. It’s not a huge deal, but it does mean that the right arm can only go up so high before meeting resistance.

Angelica comes with some pretty cool weapons, but before getting into that, I’ll show her off with this thin scarf thing. It’s supposed to be part of her costume, but you’ll note that I haven’t used it on her in any of the other pictures. I find that it just doesn’t sit well enough on the figure and so I’ve opted to remove it. I don’t think she needs it to complete her look and I feel it just tends to get the way.

Her broadsword fits perfectly in her scabbard and can be wielded in either or both hands. The gold hilt matches her outfit, as does the silver blade. It is sculpted using some rather soft plastic, but I haven’t had any major issues with it bending or warping. I’d say if it stays in her scabbard most of the time, it should remain pretty straight.

Angela also comes with this pair of kick ass axes with gold blades. I really don’t have a lot to say about these, other than I dig them a lot and it’s fun to pose her with them.

I’ve had plenty of Angela figures over the years, but none of them came close to measuring up to this one in terms of sculpt, articulation, and overall fun. Granted, if your interest is more from the Spawn side of things, the updated look might not be your cup of tea, but I really enjoy what Marvel has done with her, both in terms of character design and the character herself. The results of these Fan Polls often leave me scratching my head, and I’m still not convinced that a majority actually voted for Angela, but I sure support both the decision and the action figure we got as a result. Not to mention, this Guardians wave was a perfect way to get her into collectors’ hands. She’s currently my favorite figure in this assortment, and with only two left I don’t see that changing over the next couple of weeks. Speaking of which, next week I’ll be checking out Nova and the following week I’m going to double down with both Vance Astro and the Titus BAF.

By figurefanzero

DC Icons: (#21) Deathstroke by DC Collectibles

Collecting the Icons series has been quite the roller-coaster ride. The line swelled pretty quickly and with a slew of releases planned for this Summer, it only seemed to be gaining more and more steam. I was sure we were looking at the next DC Universe Classics. And then DC Collectibles began the cancellations and it seemed as if the writing was on the wall. Right now, we’re getting mixed signals, with some figures still shipping, but I think it’s safe to say this line is on its way out. DCC blames poor retailer support. Either way, I’m not going to let my support for the line falter. Today I’m checking out Figure #21: Deathstroke!

The packaging remains unchanged from the last Icons figures I looked at, and it’s actually very similar to DCC’s Designer Series as well. Hey, why not go with what works! You get a nice clean design with a large wrap-around window to show off the goods. The left panel includes the name of the figure, the number in the series, and the comic that he was pulled from, in this case, The Judas Contract, a real classic, and the subject of a recent DC Animated film. Very good choice! Let’s open up this box and check out Slade Wilson!

As far as costumes go, Deathstroke is about as iconic as they get. I wouldn’t think that orange and metallic blue would go so well together, but I guess it works for The Hobgoblin too. Here we have Deathstroke in all his classic comic book glory. He features some ridiculously exaggerated buccaneer boots and gauntlets, and sculpted scale armor on his legs, arms, and lower chest. The upper chest and shoulders are matte black, which leads into his mask. The use of all original sculpting is a big part of what makes this line shine, and there’s plenty of that on display with this figure. I particularly love all the detail in his belt, right down to the pouches and grenades. He also features a belt of ammunition slung across his chest.

From the back, we can get a good look at Slade’s sword and scabbard. The scabbard pegs into his back and stays on firmly. It’s orange, to match the costume, and it features gold painted fixtures. And a closeup of the holster shows that his revolver fits into it… well sort of. I wish they had put a hole in the bottom to pass the barrel through. As it is, it rides kind of high. That’s probably convenient for those quick draw situations, but not so beneficial when it falls out unexpectedly.

I’ve already mentioned the coloring on this figure, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t praise both the quality and application of the paint. The metallic blue used for the scale armor is just so damn gorgeous and it contrasts so nicely with the matte orange. You also get some yellow applications on the trim of the gauntlets and various places on the belt. The ammo strap has more of that lovely blue, with each cartridge painted gold on the front and back, and some more gold on his collar. Even the sculpted straps for the holster are neatly painted. This is a beautiful figure!

Slade comes out of the box with his masked head, which is simple but nonetheless excellent. I really dig how the sculpt shows the contours of his face underneath it, and the one eye is superbly painted as is the black outline around it. You also get some metallic paint on the discs over the ears. The mask is rounded out with tie strings coming off the back and running down behind the neck.

And you also get the unmasked head, which is a fantastic piece of work and really presents me with an unsolvable conundrum. Which head to display him with? Which only leads me to other questions: Do I need to pick up another one of these figures so I don’t have to decide? Will it save the line if I buy two of every figure released? Because I’m prepared to do that!

Articulation is standard DC Icons stuff, which is to say it’s pretty damn good, but not quite pretty damn great. The legs have ball joints in the hips, double hinged knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. Nope, still no thigh cuts, and that’s a big part of what keeps the articulation from being all that it could be. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The torso has an ab crunch and a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is ball jointed as well. Make no mistake, this figure is tons of fun, but after playing with the Designer Series Bombshells, I can’t imagine why DCC couldn’t have added those thigh swivels.

No doubt Deathstroke comes with a lot of goodies, which I’ll run through right now, but he also has an extra pair of hands to help hold his killing tools. I’ve already shown off his revolver in the holster, so here’s a shot of it out and ready for action. It’s a good sculpt, but just cast in silver plastic and has no extra paint apps. His right hand is sculpted to hold it perfectly, trigger finger and all.

Next up, we have this assault rifle. It’s an interesting design, very futuristic, and like the revolver, he can hold it perfectly in his right hand. It’s cast in the same plastic as the pistol, and here especially I think some additional paint apps would have helped make a cool looking weapon even better.

His sword draws from the scabbard easily, and his left hand is designed to grip it firmly. The blade is made of pretty stout plastic, so it isn’t susceptible to warping and I really dig that.

And finally, Slade comes with his staff. It’s another accessory cast in silver plastic. It also separates to form two fighting batons.

DC Icons Deathstroke is such a damn great figure, I can’t help but feel sad for the Icons releases that have already been cancelled. Booster Gold, Ted Kord Blue Beetle, Etrigan, Catwoman, Sinestro, and Deadshot are all among the confirmed cancellations and that’s breaking my heart. I know, I shouldn’t be pissing all over the end of this review by dwelling on this stuff, but every time I open a new Icons figure, I just want more and more. I’m guessing it’s too late to save this line, but I still have pre-orders up for all of these figures on Amazon, where they have yet to be taken down. I know, it’s wishful thinking that I can change anything, but I’m still willing to try.

Transformers Titans Return: Blunderbuss and Broadside by Hasbro

What’s this? For the third consecutive week I actually have a new convertorobot for Transformers Thursday? Yup, and I’ve been stockpiling, so it looks like I should be covered well into June. Today I’m checking out the Voyager Class Triplechanger, Broadside. I have not heard many kind things about this figure, so I’m a little apprehensive about this bot, especially since I’ve got no nostalgia for this character going in.

As a kid, I barely knew that Broadside existed. I don’t recall ever seeing him in the Sunbow cartoon, and with his original G1 toy released in 1986, that would have put him on the shelves a little bit after 14yo me was starting to drift away from Transformers. In this case, that was probably a good thing, because looking back, the G1 toy looks rather cringe-worthy, even by G1 Triplechanger standards. Let’s see if a new and updated Broadside can win me over. I’m going to break tradition today and start out with his robot mode.

Oh, boy, I really dig this robot mode a lot. Broadside is a bruiser, with powerful squared off slabs as shoulders, a stout chest with a cockpit canopy in the center. The sheer boxiness of this bot is a thing of beauty and the amount of detail in the sculpt is impressive. There’s just so much going on here, from the retracted landing gear in his chest to the folded conning tower on left shoulder and what I’d like to assume is a rocket six-pack on his right shoulder. No matter where I look, there’s something interesting to see on this guy. I also love that he has those wedges for shins. Those probably come in handy if he loses his weapon and has a tough scrape with a Decepticon.

Even from the back, there’s nothing to complain about. He wears the nose and canopy of his jet mode as a backpack and he has wings behind his arms, which can be angled out or folded in, depending on your display preferences. Although, it is worth noting that the wings have to be angled all the way out to take advantage of his shoulder rotation. Broadside is a bit back heavy, but the double hinged ankles let you float the foot forward or backward, to counterbalance whatever stance you want to go with. As for the coloring, the two-tone gray is all business, but the red with hints of yellow and translucent blue looks damn snappy on him.

Blunderbuss makes for a head that really fits the body. This noggin looks like it’s designed to take a pounding. There’s also a button below Broadside’s chest that can deploy a pair of pylons to further protect the head. I don’t know what Hasbro’s fascination with this gimmick is, but they’ve been including it with most of the Titans Return Voyagers. The difference is that this is the first time I actually like it.

And in robot mode, Blunderbuss’ mix of gray and red plastic makes him look good even though there aren’t any paint apps on the little guy. The usual Titan Master articulation applies: ball jointed shoulders and neck, and hinges in the hips and knees of the fused legs.

Broadside comes with a translucent blue gun, which he can hold in either hand and it does have a seat that fits a Titan Master. All of this is great stuff, and as a robot, I have nothing but love for Broadside. So let’s see how the first of his alt modes fares…

Broadside’s first alt mode is an aircraft carrier, which is admittedly not that easy to pull off, since it’s essentially just a slab with a flight deck. Nonetheless, I think he pulls it off pretty well. I do, however, have a few gripes. I’m not thrilled about the use of stickers for the runway, but I used a stylus to smooth it out and sharpen the edges and in the end I think it looks OK. Nonetheless, since it’s set over hinges, there’s bound to be wear and tear after multiple transformations. Finally, the prow section of the ship does not peg together, which can be annoying. If everything is tabbed together just right, it usually stays in place, but it has a habit of separating with handling.

There are three folding feet on the bottom for it to stand on and you can attach the gun to the side to give it some extra firepower. There are also tons of pegs on the flat top to stand Titan Masters, but they also serve a second purpose. Hasbro included a set of tiny Aerialbots to peg into the deck. They’re very simple pieces, all white, and they come on a sprue, and I absolutely love that these little jets. They really give this carrier a ridiculous sense of scale that takes the concept of mass shifting to the extreme.

I also dig that this mode works as a flying carrier too. Oh, it’s nothing special. I just fold out the wings on the sides and plug the gun into the bottom. It’s a subtle, but nifty little fan mode that makes the toy just all that much more fun. So, how about that third mode?

Yeah, it’s a bizarre hump-backed jet. Much has already been said about Broadside’s unfortunate attempt at a jet mode. To pile on it even more seems unnecessary. I’m used to seeing half-assed third modes in Triplechangers, but this one seems especially egregious. The funny thing is, I could almost accept this as a space fighter mode, but even with all that is wrong with it, what really pisses me off about this alt mode is that Hasbro was too lazy to make the tail fins point in the right direction. I’m not even kidding. If these pieces weren’t backwards, I could almost get behind this sad aircraft. There’s just something about the back half of this jet that just screams the design team just gave up.

Now, the red fins just pop out and can be reversed. The gray fins can probably be taken out by knocking out the pin and reversed as well. I don’t think it would make a huge difference for the other two modes, so it is a possible option for improvement, but I don’t think it’s worth the effort. At least not for me. I also find it really odd that the carrier mode has landing gear, but the jet mode doesn’t. You can, however, flip out the fists to help support the back of the jet.

Of course, the cockpit opens and Blunderbuss can fit inside, which is cool. You can also plug Broadside’s rifle into the top to fill it out a bit more and add a gunning station to the top. Does it help? Not really. But I have to wonder if a kid with an imagination wouldn’t love this ugly jet anyway. I’m thinking they probably would.

With a great robot mode and one solid alt mode, Broadside still gets my stamp of approval. He’s a fun toy and it’s a hell of a lot better than the Broadside that was out when I was a kid. Granted, I didn’t have very high expectations going in, and I already knew that the jet mode was going to be hot garbage. It feels like that mode is just a few tweaks away from being acceptable, and that’s what’s probably going to bug people the most about it. That having been said, I’m certainly not sorry I picked him up.

Predator: Ultimate Jungle Hunter by NECA

It wasn’t too long ago that I checked out the aptly named, Ultimate City Hunter from NECA. Yes, the Ultimate Pred from the second movie was actually released first, and now hot on its heels comes the Jungle Hunter from the original flick. I need not gas on about how much I’m in love with NECA’s Ultimate figures. To the uninitiated, these are basically characters that NECA has released before, but now they’re given the utmost attention when it comes to articulation, accessories, and overall presentation. They’re not only wonderful action figures, but the line touches on all those wonderful nuggets of cinematic nostalgia from my youth. Needless to say I am super excited to dive right in and check this ugly sunovabitch out!

If you’re like me and already own City Hunter, you’ll be happy to know that Jungle Hunter’s package pairs up with it perfectly on the shelf. Hell, it pairs up beautifully with all the other Ultimate figures on my shelf from Terminator to Commando, to the slew of 80’s horror figures. Seeing these boxes all lined up is a beautiful thing and it reminds me of the VHS cassette cabinet that I had in my room with all the same titles on the spines. The package consists of a seemingly enclosed box with an opening front flap that reveals a window and allows for a good look at the figure inside. You get the Predator title running down both side panels and a whole mess of pictures of the figure on the back. Of course, everything is collector friendly and the only thing standing between me and my new Predator is a piece of cello tape and some twisty-ties.

Jungle Hunter comes out of the box with his shoulder cannon off, but I’m starting out with it attached to the figure and with the masked head on. Remember how I gushed over the City Hunter? Well, all that gushing goes for this guy too! The detail on display here is just crazy. I adore the creepy plastic they use for the Predator skin and how convincing the body net looks, even though it’s sculpted as part of the buck. I also love that I’m getting high off the fumes of this fellow even though he wasn’t sealed in a clam shell. Despite seeing both Predator and Predator 2 more times than I can imagine, I was never really aware of how many differences there were between the Preds until I had these figures in hand to compare. In fact, it’s worth noting that I’m hard pressed to find any parts shared between this guy and the City Hunter.

Some of the wonderful details on this Pred include the leather loin cloth, the beautiful pitting in the leg and thigh armor, the alien carvings in his belt buckle, and the strings of bones that hang off of his shoulders. Oh, and let’s not forget the sculpted sandals. Am I the only one who thinks that Preds wearing sandals is weird? Well, this one does so I should probably just get over it. Where was I? Oh yeah… the details! So good! I know I use the phrase “work of art” a lot when I talk about NECA stuff, and here’s yet another example where it’s appropriate. I can just get lost in every little loving detail that NECA put into this figure. If you want better than this, you’re going to have to go to Sixth-Scale and shell out a whole lot more money. Or maybe just go for one of NECA’s Quarter-Scale Predators.

The shoulder cannon is a lot beefier than what we saw on the City Hunter and it is a beautiful piece. It tabs in at the shoulder and again in the back, making it pretty easy to put on and take off. It also holds in place quite well. I love the segmented armor running down the back of it like a crustacean shell. The piece also mates nicely with the armor sculpted into his left arm as well as the hoses. It all makes him look more formidable, and yet a little more primitive, than his urban-hunting successor. The hoses have a habit of pulling out when I’m posing this guy, as you may notice in some of the pictures, but they can be stuck right back into place.

NECA included an effect part that pegs into the shoulder cannon. It looks OK, but the added weight is too much for that little ball joint to take, so it doesn’t really work that well. I can usually get it to sit right for a little while, but then it just droops. I guess it’s the thought that counts.

The masked head is a lot cleaner than the pitted and weathered City Hunter’s mask, although it does have a few painted blast marks and some light scratching and scarring. I really like the detail in the laser tracker just above the right eye slit. But in the end, it’s the dreadlocks that impress me the most with this head. Each one is individually sculpted and painted and boy do they look great. And while I do enjoy the masked head a lot, it’s hard to go with it when the other display option is this…

Fantastic! Once again, I’ve got to say how great this plastic is. It’s very glossy, giving the Pred a slimy look and it takes the coloring very well. The sculpting on the mandibles is beautifully done and again we get the individually sculpted and painted dreads hanging off the back. The deep set piercing eyes, which are practically buried under that prominent brow are also superbly executed.

In addition to the shoulder cannon, Jungle Hunter includes the retractable blades on his right gauntlet and the self-destruct computer on his left gauntlet. Once again, both of these are completely different sculpts from City Hunter.

Probably my favorite extra included in the box is the mask, which obviously doesn’t fit over the face, but allows you to display him as if he’s taking it off for that memorable moment in the film. It’s especially nice if your torn between displaying him masked or unmasked, because it gives you the best of both worlds without having to buy a second figure.

And finally, you get some trophies! The skull with spine is the same piece included with City Hunter, only this time without the gore. You also get an extra skull. Jungle Hunter also comes with an extra set of hands, which are designed to hold the spine.

Is it any surprise that City Hunter turned out so fabulously? Well, it shouldn’t be, because NECA has been working their magic on Predators for what seems like forever now and they know their stuff. Their regular release Predators are fantastic in their own right, so it’s only natural for me to have high expectations from the Ultimate Preds, and all those expectations have been fulfilled here. It’s the crazy level of detail and all the differences between the City and Jungle Hunters that make me want to start collecting NECA’s regular Predator line. And yet it’s still something I’m trying to resist. Both my wallet and limited space do not need me to dive down that rabbit hole. Now, I’m just counting the days until the re-releases of Dutch come out, so I’ll have someone for Jungle Hunter to fight. Sadly, still no Lt. Mike Harrington figures on the horizon, but a fella can still hope.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Darkhawk by Hasbro

Ah, the 90’s. It was in that decade that I reached adulthood and I often look back on it as that asshole of a decade that was unworthy to follow the blinding greatness that was the 80’s. Still, if you asked me to give you one good thing about the 90’s, I’d undoubtedly reply with two words: “comic books!” The comics of the 90’s were wondrous, ridiculous, and full of excesses. To borrow a phrase, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. Obviously, I mention the 90’s because our figure today is based on a character was created at the early end of that decade, and he had a pretty good run for four years and about 50 issues. Let’s check out Darkhawk!

Darkhawk shares a slot with Vance Astro as one of the Masters of the Mind. It’s a stretch, but I think they were going for Christopher Powell’s ability to use his mind to control the Darkhawk body. A little less tenuous is his link to The Guardians of the Galaxy. They hob-nobbed in the pages of War of Kings, and he’s certainly part of Cosmic Marvel. Hell, the dude even got the stamp of dis-approval from the Shi’ar and branded the “Galaxy’s Most Wanted.” With all that having been said, I largely forgot Darkhawk even existed until I encountered him in my Marvel readings a little while back. I’d like to tell you that he was a favorite of mine, but that just wasn’t the case. Amazingly, this is not Darkhawk’s first outing for Hasbro, as he got a 3 3/4-inch figure in the Marvel Universe line a little while ago. I never did find that figure on the pegs, so the Legends 6-inch will be the first version of the character in my collection.

I’m so totally in love with Darkhawk’s design and I think this figure pulls it off beautifully. The body is a generic buck with a gorgeous glossy, dark blue finish that goes perfectly with the lovely shade of silver. This is a perfect example of less being more. The two colors just compliment each other perfectly and with the exception of a little red for the chest piece and the visor, that’s all that’s needed here. Original sculpted parts include his belt, his wrist bracers, shoulders, collar, and of course his wings.

The wings consist of four separate pieces, which connect to the backs of his biceps and forearms. You could argue by designing them as separate pieces they aren’t as faithful to the comic art as they could be, but what it lacks in authenticity it makes up for by not impeding the articulation. In the end, I’m perfectly fine with the decision they went and I can’t get over how great this figure looks. The simplicity of the suit and the grace of the wings makes Darkhawk look like an art deco sculpture.

The head sculpt is as simple as the rest of the costume. There’s a reinforced mask with a crescent shaped red visor that gives him the wonderful feel of a futuristic knight. My one complaint here is that I wish the reinforced area of the mask got the same beautiful silver paint as the collar. Instead, it’s bare plastic. It still looks OK, but it could have looked even better.

As already mentioned, the articulation is  not compromised by the wings, so what we get is standard Legends pose-ability. Darkhawk’s arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps. His legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and lower legs, and double hinged knees. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, and finally, the torso features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. I can’t even tell you the fun I had playing around with this guy and discovering new poses.

Other than the Titus BAF part, Darkhawk doesn’t come with any accessories. With how much I love this figure, I feel bad nit-picking, but I can’t help but think it would have been cool to do something more with his grapple hook. As it is, it’s just three bendy claw-like tendrils coming out of his arm bracer. That’s fine, but it would have been cool to enhance it a bit.

Initially, I’d say my anticipation for this figure was fairly tepid. I really enjoy getting the more obscure characters for my Legends shelf, and I always liked the look of the character, but I didn’t think he was going to be all that special or impressive when I got him in hand. Besides, it’s not like I really had any nostalgia for the character. Little did I know that once I picked him up, he’d be so hard to put down. I probably ended up shooting three times the pictures I needed for this review, just because I was having such a blast playing around with him, and I’ll be honest, when I get past all the technical stuff about sculpt and paint and all that jazz, a great figure for me is the one that I can’t stop playing with. And its there that Darkhawk succeeds triumphantly.

DC Comics Super-Villains: Deathstorm by DC Collectibles

Yup, every now and then I’m still picking up some of DC Collectibles’ New 52 line and the Super-Villains series was one of my favorites. I was tempted to pick up all of the Crime Syndicate, but I already have the DC Universe Classics versions, so I decided to just pick up some of the ones that Mattel never put out. Enter Deathstorm!

As usual, the figure comes in a sizable window box and it’s even branded with the Crime Syndicate logo up on the flap. This figure is based on the character’s appearance in Forever Evil where he was basically a living prison, trapping the Justice League inside his energy matrix. I really enjoy that story arc and Deathstorm had some solid moments in the events that unfolded, but the main reason I wanted the figure is because his character design is just so bad ass.

Deathstorm’s costume is a dark and sinister reflection of that of his counterpart Firestorm’s. He has a burgundy and black suit with the flared shoulders and segmented boots and bracers. He even has his own version of the energy burst symbol offset on his chest. From the neck down this is a fairly simple costume, but the figure pulls it off quite well, thanks mostly to some excellent paint work. I especially appreciate the mix of matte and gloss black.

And Deathstorm has a portrait that would make Ghost Rider proud! Yup, he’s sporting a full on skull for a face and he has a flame for hair. The skull is cast in the same translucent plastic as the flame and painted over with a dirty white finish. I’ll bet that lends to some pretty damn nice light piping.

Aw, yeah. It does! It’s a shame they couldn’t have slapped a hinge in that jaw, but it probably would have been difficult with the hood that frames it.

Speaking of articulation, Deathstorm’s got all the right points. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and thighs, ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso has a waist swivel and an ab hinge, and the neck is ball jointed. Note, I didn’t mention the elbows and note that there are no visible joints on the elbows. There are actually what appears to be rotating hinges buried under rubbery sleeves. It’s really uncommon for DC to put hidden joints on a figure, and I find it odd that they chose Deathstorm to get this treatment. Unfortunately, it has some mixed results. The right elbow articulates perfectly, the left one won’t hold a bend and it’s impossible for me to know what’s going on in there. Oh well, it was a cool idea.

And that’s really all I have to say about Deathstorm. He comes with no accessories, although I’d like to think DCC sculpted a teeny tiny Justice League and inserted them all into his torso. He’s definitely a simple figure, but well executed. At least, everything but that one elbow. I picked him up at a really good price from an online comic shop, and I only wish the rest of the Crime Syndicate were going for reasonable prices these days, because I wouldn’t mind having more of them to go with him. As it is, I only have two other members of the Syndicate from this series, and I’ll be coming back around to look at them in a few weeks.

Transformers Titans Return: Legends Class Brawn by Hasbro

Well, be still my energon pumping heart, today makes two Transformers Thursdays in a row that I actually have some new bots to look at. In fact, I should be covered for a little while now so the drought is officially over! Today I’m checking out Legends Class Brawn, another figure that I had to grab off of Ebay because these never show up around here. And then when I feared the deal might not be sound, my buddy came through with one for me as well. Either way I was covered, and in the end I wound up with two. Now, the downside of having to go second-hand on these is that both were shipped to me loose, so I have no in-package shot for you, but we all know what it looks like by now, so let’s jump right in to Brawn’s alt mode…

True to his original G1 form, Brawn takes the form of a green off-road vehicle, and this is a pretty solid one at that. There isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail here, but you do get a spare tire on the rear of the roof. More importantly, the coloring on this little 4×4 is especially nice for a Legends Class. The pretty metallic green is joined by some black painted windows, and yellow bits peeking out from the sides and the front, all of which keeps his deco very faithful to the original toy. You also get some lovely silver on the front bumper and a tiny Autobot insignia on the hood. And so in the end, this vehicle may be a little modernized, but there’s no denying who this is supposed to be.

I was never a big fan of Brawn as a character, he always struck me as a jerk and even a bit of a bully in the original cartoon, but I loved his G1 figure for all its quirkiness and everything about this alt mode does that figure proud!

Despite being a Legends Class, Brawn can actually open up and take on a Titan Master driver! Here’s where things can get weird, because Hasbro already released a Titan Master pack with head robot named Brawn that transformed into Brawn’s head. So, yes, you can actually have Brawn driving himself around. That’s some weird and crazy Inception shit right there. What really cooks my noodle is that both of these figures had to be in production at the same time, as they’re both clearly designed for Titans Return, so why did Hasbro even bother making the Titan Master Brawn if they knew they were also making a proper Legends Class version of him. It really makes no sense.

Anywho… Transforming Brawn is as simple as it gets and it’s basically the same thing as a lot of the old school Minibots. I find that to be really refreshing and I wish Hasbro would embrace this kind of simplicity for the smaller figures more often. All you do is pull the arms out of the sides and fold the legs out of the back. OK, so Brawn cheats a little bit because you have to take off the the piece of the vehicle with the spare tire, but it’s hard to argue with the results, because Brawn looks absolutely fantastic.

I mean, just look at this little guy! I adore the fact that the structure of his blocky yellow torso is practically pulled directly from the original toy! He’s got some great proportions and all around a very clean and tidy robot mode. The only real kibble on him are his wheels and they look great on his shoulders and lower legs. Hasbro also saw fit to take away those unwieldy chromed metal meat hooks that the original toy called arms and instead give him proper sculpted fists with silver paint. Even from the back this little dude looks pretty good.

The head sculpt is also excellent. He features his trademark domed “helmet” with a face that sports a superb likeness to the animated Sunbow design. His face is painted with more of that lovely silver paint and his blue eyes are crisp. Brawn can also turn his head, which is something that can’t always be taken for granted with these Legends figures. Hasbro stamped another Autobot emblem on his chest and even broke out the blue paint expressly for that one little panel below it. Classy!

You have a few options as to what to do with the tire piece. You can have him hold it like a gun, as it does have those three sculpted emitters on it. He also has peg holes in the sides of his forearms so he can wear it like a shield. Personally, I don’t think it works all that convincingly as a gun or shield. Then again, that could be because I’m a middle aged guy that lacks the imagination and wonder of the child this toy was aimed at. Thankfully, you do have a third option…

Yup, just peg it right on his back. It really doesn’t add a lot more bulk to his backpack and in all honesty it looks like it was meant to go there anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, Brawn is a perfect modern update to the old toy and definitely ranks in among my favorite Transformers this year. Yes, I’d actually like to see more of the Minibot characters get the Deluxe Class makeover, but when the figure is this good, I’ll take what I can get. And it’s great figures like this one that makes me wonder why Hasbro can’t just take a crack at updating all the Minibots together in a timely manner. They’ve had some real hits with this one and Powerglide and even Generations Cosmos is a figure that still holds up very well. Sure, the last Bumblebee wasn’t so great, but I guess they can’t all be gems.

Star Wars Black (Rebels): Sabine Wren by Hasbro

For me, one of the high points of the Black Series 6-inch line has been the Rebels figures. Kanan Jarrus and Ahsoka Tano are among my favorite figures the line has produced so far. Needless to say I was excited when Sabine was announced. I’ve actually had this figure for quite a while now and the fact that it took this long for me to get around to reviewing her just shows that I wanted to make sure I had the time to give her the proper attention she deserves.

There’s not much new or noteworthy about the packaging, although this is one instance where I actually really like the monochrome character art. I think they did a lovely job with Sabine’s portrait. I should also take this time to admit that I’ve been a bad Rebels fan. I went into Season 3 with good intentions, but I quickly fell out of watching it. Rebels is a show I like to binge watch, so I’ll likely just hold off until it gets a release on Blu-Ray. I will say that it’s hard for me to come up with a show that has matured as well as Rebels has. It started out on shaky ground and gradually grew into its own. Sabine has been a great character and one that really demanded an action figure from the very beginning. I’ve already reviewed two versions of her in the 3 3/4-inch line, so let’s check her out in the 6-inch scale.

Putting a Mandalorian in the show could have gone horribly wrong, but Rebels makes the character work and that goes double for Sabine’s character design. Rather than just put her in Femme Fett armor, she has a distinctive look, made even more unique by her personal artistic touches to her armor. All of that is wonderfully recreated in this figure. The personalized paint on her chest and shoulder armor looks fantastic and served up with a pretty realistic looking weathering, which sets it apart from the more brightly colored markings on the 3 3/4-inch figure. I can’t say the same for the speckling on her boots and gauntlets, which looks really overdone here, but it’s not something that ruins the figure for me, so I can get over it. Suffice it to say, sometimes less is more.

Of course, this version of Sabine has also been given a realistic make over, shying away from the super stylized look of the series. So far, Hasbro has had great success with this conversion, both with Kanan and Ahsoka and they’ve pulled it off here once again. Added detail, like the stitching and slight rumpling in her clothes help add to the realism of the sculpt, and Sabine even sports two functional holsters, one on each hip.

The head sculpt is decent, but it isn’t quite the slam dunk we got with Kanan or Ahsoka. It’s very soft, which admittedly works for Sabine, but it’s also let down by the paint. Imagine that? A Black Series figure let down by paint! In this case, my Sabine has a bad case of the wonky lizard eyes. I’ve actually been hunting for a better one, and while I’ve come across a surprising number of Sabines on the pegs, I’ve yet to find one that’s much of an improvement and I’ve even seen at least one which was a lot worse. I think they could have also done a better job with the gradient colors in her hair, but then I remember that I’m really overestimating the efforts of Hasbro’s painters in this line.

Sabine also comes with a helmet, which fits over her head. It’s a snug fit, but I’m actually very pleased that they were able to pull this off without making the helmet look too big or the head look too small. I’d be a little concerned about rubbing paint off the face if I take it off and on too many times, but that’s part of the reason why I’d like to bag another Sabine one of these days. The range finder is articulated and it’s stout enough so as not to warp too badly.

The articulation here holds no surprises. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hips. The legs have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a ball joint under the chest and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. I would have liked a swivel in the waist, but I’m guessing that might have been nixed because of the gun belt.

Sabine comes with her paint sprayer, which is a simple, but very welcome accessory. Ironically, there aren’t any paint apps on it, but it does have some sculpted detail, including the buttons and the nozzle.

And you also get her twin blasters, which fit into the holsters as well as both of her hands.  Like the paint sprayer, these are really simple accessories with no additional paint apps, but they get the job done.

While there is certainly room for improvement regarding the wonky eye paint, Sabine turned out to be another fantastic figure from the Rebels series. And that’s a good thing, because let’s face it, the only other options we have are the 5-POA 3 3/4-inch figures. They’re decent in their own way, but they’re nowhere near as fun as having a fully articulated figure like this one. Next up for this little sub-line should be Hera Syndulla, and I am most definitely looking forward to that release! My only fear is that they’ll abandon these releases before completing the crew, and that would be a shame because once assembled these are going to make for one hell of a great display.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Drax The Destroyer by Hasbro

If you follow me on Twitter, than you probably know that I loved Guardians Vol.2. You also probably know this if you’ve been anywhere in my general vicinity. God help you if you’re stuck in an elevator with me, because I’ll keep saying, “And remember that time when [insert character here] did/said that thing?” until you inevitably swallow your own tongue for sweet release. All the characters did their part to make this movie a sheer delight, but Drax continues to shine as one of the most pleasant surprises of this entire franchise. And as such, David Bautista deserves to have praise heaped onto him for the amazing job he has done breathing life into the character. Even doubly so when you consider his limited experience as an actor. And seeing as how my Hot Toys Drax figure has now been delayed a half dozen times, I now look to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends for more plastic Drax loving.

We’ve seen the packaging already. The three figures from the film are branded with the movie title and Drax here comes with a fair amount of goodies laid out in the tray, including a BAF part for Titus. I’d like to tell you that this review is going to be a balls-to-the-wall love fest, but unlike the character, this figure lets me down on a few levels. Let’s take a look…

So, from the neck down, what we have here is a total reuse of the 2014 Drax figure from the first film. The pants are now blue, the boot buckles are a little brighter, and his skin is an entirely different shade of green. Other than that it’s the exact same figure. Now, I don’t really have an issue with them reusing the body. It was a great sculpt than and nearly three years later, it’s still a great sculpt. There’s plenty of detail in the boots and trousers, and the way Hasbro sculpted his tattoos onto the buck really has to be commended because it looks fantastic. As for the skin recoloring, well it’s hard for me to make a call on which is screen accurate because Drax’s skin tends to vary depending on the lighting. I suspect this newer one is more accurate and the fact that the plastic has more of a matte finish is cool, but I actually tend to like the skin tone on the original figure more. That’s just personal preference.

The new sculpting here comes in the form of a brand new head and this is an angry and yelling Drax. It’s certainly a departure from the more neutral expression on the previous Drax figure and it’s a fairly decent likeness with some excellent detailing and solid paint work. Of course, I think if we were going for an accurate Guardians Vol.2 Drax they should have made him laughing, because he really does spend a lot of that movie laughing his ass off. Anyway, the biggest issue I have here is that given the change in skin tone, you can’t really swap heads between the two figures and make it work, and to me that’s a bummer. Hasbro could have rectified this by tossing in the old head with updated coloring, but that didn’t happen. I guess my issue here really isn’t with what we got, but with what could have been.

Obviously, the articulation here is identical to the previous release and that means it’s plenty damn good. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and the wrists. The elbows and knees have double hinges. There are swivels in the biceps and thighs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. Lastly, you get a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. The joints all feel great and there are no gummy hinges.

As you may have guessed, Drax comes with his pair of knives and they are indeed the same accessories that were included with the 2014 release. They’re nice sculpts, they could have used a little paint, but I’m not going to make a big deal about it. And yes, they still fit into the sheathes that are sculpted into the sides of his boots.

You do get a brand new accessory, which is his bazooka. It’s fairly detailed sculpt, but it’s all cast in black plastic and there are no additional paint apps. I’ve said it before, but if Hasbro is going to do big weapons for this scale, they really need to bust out the paint, otherwise it just looks damn cheap. I understand paint apps are often the first things cut when costing out a figure, but this is an almost entirely reused sculpt, so it’s hard to see where the money went. Anyway, the bazooka is a rather unique and fun design, and he can hold it pretty well in one hand with the back resting on his shoulder.

Am I too harsh on this figure? Possibly. I do like it a lot, but then I liked it a lot three years ago too. My guess is that the average collector’s mileage will vary depending on whether or not it’s they’re first MCU Drax. If you missed out on the last one, this is a fine substitute. I like the screaming head, but I would like it more if it was an optional portrait and not the only one. And like I said, you can’t swap it with the 2014 Drax head because of the color change. I didn’t feel at all bad about buying a new Star-Lord figure. It’s a new look and the heads are swappable between the new figure and the old one. Drax, on the other hand, feels a lot more like double-dipping.