Voltron: Legendary Blue and Yellow Lions by Playmates

I warned you all it was coming! Voltron has invaded Transformers Thursday and he ain’t gonna leave quietly. Well, truth be told, I have some new Transformers figures on their way to me, but they haven’t arrived yet so I needed filler! Still, after how much fun I had with the Ultimate Voltron, I thought I might as well check out Playmates’ Legendary, combining lions. Today I’m checking out Lance’s Blue Lion and Hunk’s Yellow Lion!

The lions come carded, which is pretty surprising as these are fairly good sized toys and larger than you’re average Voyager Class Transformers figure. The packaging lets you see lions very well and while the card look generic on the front, the backs are actually personalized for each lion. They also advertise the Netflix series, which, if you haven’t seen it, you should check out, because it’s surprisingly great. As attractive as the packages are, the downside is that they’re not collector friendly. Inside, you get the lion, a rather large weapon with projectiles, and a very tiny pilot with sled. Let’s open them up and let them loose!

I really love the look of these guys and I think they match the animated models quite well. They’ve got just the right mix of organic curves and squared off edges, making this an aesthetic that I can really get behind. They also compromise very little in favor of their ability to transform. The coloring is also very flashy, with base colors achieved through colored plastic and both the yellow and blue looking suitably bright and glossy. They also each have some red, white, and silver paint apps in all the necessary places. In a lot of ways, I’d say these cats can stand up to Matty Collector’s more expensive classic lions.

Another thing I really dig is that this pair are slightly different in size. Hunk’s lion is slightly larger and bulkier than Lance’s and each of the lion’s head sculpts are unique. I’m interested to see how the scaling difference effects Voltron, since they both form his legs, but I’m sure it’ll work out fine.

The articulation on these cats also stacks up quite nicely. The front legs feature ratcheting joints at the “shoulders,” “elbows” and “ankles.” The back legs have the same with an extra added ratchet between the “knee” and “ankle.” The tails are made of a bendy material and the jaws are springloaded and can open and close. That last bit, is a little disappointing, as it means you can’t display them with the mouths open. Also, there’s no articulation in the middles and the only articulation in the necks allow for the heads to move up and down.

Each lion comes with a teeny tiny pilot in sled. These go a long way to demonstrate the enormous scale of the lions and they can fit into opening compartments in their bellies. Honestly, I could have done without these. The shots of these on the package show them having paint apps on the little pilots, but that didn’t carry over to the actual toys. Once they’re in the lions, I doubt I’ll ever take them out again.

And speaking of features I could have done without, each lion also comes with a ridiculously oversized weapon that can mount on their backs. Hunk’s is an “armored disk launcher” and boy does this thing look stupid. It also doesn’t really match the cannon that Hunk could summon in the cartoon. It clips onto the lion’s back and it comes with four translucent blue disks. I’ll grant it this, it does shoot quite well! Obviously, I don’t need to use if I don’t want to, it just clips on and off, but it’s a whole lot of plastic invested in something I don’t plan on using a lot.

Lance’s lion features an ice beam, which translates into shooting a translucent blue missile. I actually don’t mind this thing as much as Hunk’s. The twin blades that reach out over the lion’s head looks kind of cool and once again, it shoots really well. Hey, I know these are toys, and I’m sure kids will have endless fun shooting these things off.

I’m not sure what the original MSRP on these lions are, but I picked mine up off of Amazon for about fifteen bucks a piece and it’s hard to argue with that. These figures are made really well and look great. Overall, the quality is loads better than what I was expecting. It goes without saying that I’ll be picking up the rest of the Legendary Lions, but next Thursday, I hope to be back to looking at an actual Transformer and then I’ll just alternate for the rest of the month.

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Star Trek Mega Bloks: Klingon D7 Battlecruiser by Mattel

It’s been a while since I looked at any building sets, so I thought I’d mix things up today and check out another one of the Mega Bloks Star Trek sets. I built and reviewed a couple of the smaller sets way back in July of last year and since then I almost forgot these things even existed. Then I got a friendly Recommendations email from Amazon telling me they were blowing out the Klingon D7 Battlecruiser, which reminded me of the old Klingon saying: “Today is a good day to buy!” Seriously, this was a deal that would have made a Ferengi blush!

The set comes in a mostly enclosed box with fancy angled edges, and a tiny window to show the included Micro Figure and a nice illustration of the finished build firing its disruptors. This whole union between Mega Bloks and the original Star Trek series is so random and weird, but also delightful and miraculous at the same time. I’ve only seen these sets in a brick and mortar store once, but seeing any Star Trek merch on the shelf gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, especially since it was the 50th Anniversary of the show and no one seemed to care. I keep meaning to pick up the Bridge and Transporter sets, and maybe building this one will encourage me to finally do just that.

The box contains about six bags of pieces, none of which are numbered. You also get a loose base plate, and a large and colorful instruction manual with shots of Kirk, Spock, and Uhura on the front. All together there are 351 pieces which builds the ship and the display stand. I found this to be a fairly challenging build, and I attribute that to two things. First, since the bags aren’t numbered like in LEGO sets, you have to dump all of them out, which makes for a lot more pieces to search through. Second, 99% of the pieces in the set are either gray or light gray, so sorting by color won’t help much. There are also a surprisingly large number of smaller pieces used, and hardly any specialty pieces. I’d say the build was overall pretty enjoyable, but with a modicum of frustration every now and then.

And here she is all built, measuring about twelve inches from the front of the bridge to the back of the warp nacelles, and ready to earn honor and glory for The Empire! I’ll start out by saying how cool it is that they included a buildable stand and how much I love what they did with it. It includes a rotating base so you can display the ship anyway you want. It also has a nameplate with the ship’s designation, and you get a Klingon battle flag and a little Captain Kor to stand in front of it. Obviously, the Micro Figure is not in scale with the ship, but it’s a really cool way to display the completed model. Plus, the Micro Figures in this series have all been excellent. Kor comes with a a little hand disruptor and a shoulder strap to carry it in. On the downside, my set was missing one of the clear support poles that hold the ship up. It still works with just three, but I think it stinks when they leave parts out. In the past, Mega Bloks has made it easy to automatically report missing pieces and they will ship them out, but in this case their system doesn’t even recognize the model number of this set. Let’s take a closer look at the D7 itself, and to do that I’m going to take it off of the stand. But I’m going to have to empty out a shot glass first…

Overall, I think this is a great looking rendition of the famous Klingon warship, and the fact that it does use so few specialized parts makes it all the more impressive. It’s really well proportioned and the two-tone gray blocks fit the color scheme of the ship perfectly. The disruptor effect parts are pretty cool, but you can obviously remove them if you’d rather not have your D7 perpetually firing.

I was a little worried about the integrity of the boom, but it’s reinforced quite well at both ends, and I’ve been handling the ship a lot without it detaching. I particularly love the engineering behind the way the wings attach, allowing for them to angle downward ever so slightly and yet still not be floppy. All in all, this is a very sturdy model and it’ll stand up perfectly to being wooshed around the room.

One thing Mega Bloks has been doing better than LEGO is their use of printed bricks over stickers. The D7 uses them pretty sparingly. You get the Imperial emblem on the one wing, a few blocks with Klingon script, the impulse glow on the back, and the windows and torpedo tube on the bridge module. They even accounted for using translucent green blocks on the back of the warp engines. Nice touch!

I really dig how the spaces betwen the bricks look like windows on the sides of the bridge module. It’s probably not intentional, but a cool incidental effect anyway. Also, I just noticed that I put one of the bricks with the rows of windows upside down and they’re slightly out of alignment. At least that’s an easy fix.

Overall, I’d rate this set pretty highly, especially if all things were equal and I wasn’t missing a goddamn piece. The original MSRP was $40 and if I compare that to one of LEGO’s licensed $40 sets, I find that on average, this one includes a couple dozen more pieces. Sure, the quality isn’t as good as LEGO, but it’s not really bad either. Also, I doubt LEGO could have done much better with the design at the same piece count. What’s also not bad is the price this thing is going for now on Amazon. I picked mine up for about $11 and as I write this it actually dropped down to $10, so I picked up a second one. Now if only the 3,000+ piece Enterprise would drop too, because I’d really love to pick up that thing!

Marvel Legends (Warlock Wave): Dazzler by Hasbro

A place… where nobody dared to go… the love that we came to know… they called it Xaaaaanadu! As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I can remember one of the first lightning bolts of puberty hitting me while catching a bit of Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu on the family’s new-fangled wood-grain cable box. Ever since then there’s just something about hot disco blondes singing on roller-skates that does it for me. When you mix that up with comic books it’s even better. And therein lies my love affair with Alison Blaire. OK, so she was more Farah Fawcett than Olivia, but close enough. This is one of the figures in the wave that I picked up loose online, so let’s forgo the usual packaged shot and jump right in to the figure.

And this is indeed classic Dazzler, before she went through all her weird permutations and ended up as a Punk Edgelord in Marvel’s current mess of horrible books. Can I express how stupid I think it is for Dazzler as a character to evolve to match different contemporary music styles? I think it took away so much potential for some girl-out-of-time charm. She should always be fighting villains with the righteous power of disco at her back! Regardless, this is the Dazzler I always dreamed to get as a figure, but never thought we would and she is absolutely glorious! Sporting a stylish white jumpsuit with flared out cuffs on the pants, a high popped collar, a low-cut front and a back cut so low, it isn’t even there. The white costume has a nice sheen to it and the skin tones are smooth, warm, and even.

And roller-skates! The skates are cast in gray plastic with blue wheels and toe stops. Interestingly enough, Dazzler is not my first comic book figure on wheels, that honor goes to DC Collectibles’ Roller-Derby Harley Quinn. Now, as much as I love this Dazzler figure, I have to give the nod to DCC for doing the skates better. Not only do the wheels on Harley’s skates roll, but the skates peg into her feet and can be removed. Still, these aren’t too shabby either, and she’s less likely to roll of the shelf, which is a good thing.

The portrait looks great, thanks in part to the beautiful blue face paint surrounding her eyes. The hair is sculpted as a separate piece, which gives it a lot of depth and features a pair of hoop earrings buried in there. She also sports a disco ball style necklace. On the downside, mold flashing strikes again! I’ve been seeing it on a number of my Legends figures lately, but thankfully it’s pretty easy to clean up.

The articulation here is pretty good. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. There are rotating hinges buried up in her bell bottoms and she has a ball joint under her chest. Finally, her neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

As we’ve already seen, Dazzler comes with a microphone, which fits into her right hand. It’s a simple little sculpt cast in the same gray plastic as her skates.

Alison also comes with an effect part and it’s the same damned hex effect we’ve seen only a thousand times so far. This time it’s rainbow colored and yeah, I guess it works well enough, although I’m not sure I’m going to display her with it a lot.

When Hasbro brought back Marvel Legends, I never anticipated it would last this long, let alone get us figures of characters like Dazzler. She had to be an extreme risk on Hasbro’s part, and I hope to hell she performed well for them. I’d point out that I don’t see any of her hanging around in my area, but then all the Legends pegs here are usually picked dry or packed with figures from a bunch of waves back. Either way, she’s a great treatment of the character, and I hope Hasbro continues to take these kinds of risks when filling up their waves!

Marvel Legends (Warlock Wave): Shatterstar by Hasbro

It’s just another Marvel Monday, and that’s my fun day! At least this one is, because I have the day off and I’m spending the morning drinking coffee and opening up some action figures. Today I’m checking out my third figure in this wave, Shatterstar, and I’ll be back later tonight with a look at Dazzler!

A lot of this wave I wound up buying loose from a buddy online, but Shatterstar was pretty easy to find, so here’s a packaged shot. I was a big fan of X-Force way back when even to the point of buying some of the Toy Biz figures at a time before I got back into buying toys and was only really collecting Playmates Star Trek figures. I never even opened any of those X-Force figures. I just hung them on my wall and admired them in all their garishly colored beauty. Shatterstar was one of my favorites, so naturally I’m thrilled to see him turn up in this wave.

And here we are, Shatterstar in all his 90’s comic design glory. Giant shoulder pad? Check! Bitchin’ half cape? Got it! Meaty, extra-thick, pointless thigh strap? Of course! Pouches? Um… sorta? He’s got a nice brace of pouches running around his sculpted belt, but honestly, there’s plenty of room for more. All these wonderful 90’s trappings feature original sculpted parts and are tied together with a pair of buccaneer gauntlets and some truly epic flared boots. The underlying, mostly white, buck features wide black stripes down the outer legs and his star pattern printed in black and partially obscured by his mega-shoulder-pad. All the original sculpting looks great. I love the little folds and rumples in his cape and the shoulder pad and belt have a worn leathery look to them. Even the belt buckle is painted silver. When all is said and done, this is a great looking figure!

And the portrait is no slouch either. The facial features are well designed, and he has the star tatt over his left eye. It’s a little tough to see the eyes when looking straight at him because that padded half-helmet sits low and casts a shadow over his peepers. Nonetheless, I love how the top-less helmet looks like it’s sculpted from an entirely separate piece. It matches the weathered leather look of the belt and shoulder pad, almost like an old timey rugby helmet. Also the hair looks great, complete with his trademark snaking ponytail and the twin braided pigtails that hang down the front, which must have been all the rage back on MojoWorld.

The articulation here is superb. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivel cuts in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed in the hips, have double hinges in the knees, as well as swivels in the upper thighs and hidden under the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. The torso features an ab crunch hinge, a waist swivel, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. The only issue I have here is the hips on my figure are really loose. Going to have to address that with a little floor polish.

Shatterstar includes his distinctive swords, and I have always loved these things! They’re both cast in the same matte gray plastic. Some paint apps on the hilts would have been cool, but they still look fine. One features a twin blade and the other a single blade. Both have those kick-ass spiked knuckle guards.

While I haven’t encountered Shatterstar in my funnybook readings in a very long time, the nostalgia I have for this character makes him a most welcome addition to my X-Force roster. Everything on this figure just comes together perfectly and I’ve had him on my desk for quite a few days so that I could play around with him on my down time. I’m still pretty early into this wave, but it’s possible that Shatterstar could turn out to be my favorite in this assortment, but he’s going to have some stiff competition. Come on back tonight and we’ll have a look at Dazzler!

DC Comics: Wonder Girl Bishoujo Statue by Kotobukiya

It’s DC Friday again, and also the start of a four day weekend for me. I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than by opening up a brand new Bishoujo statue from Kotobukiya. And oh, look! I happen to have Cassie Sandsmark, aka Wonder Girl, ready to join her fellow Teen Titans Bishoujos!

There isn’t much new for me to say about the presentation here. Wonder Girl comes in a mostly white window box with some of that lovely artwork by Shunya Yamashita. The statue itself comes encased between two clear plastic trays and the package is totally collector friendly. While Cassie comes attached to her base, there is a little bit of assembly required, as her golden lasso must be pegged into both sides of each of her fists. If you own the first Bishoujo Wonder Woman, you know how this works. Although, I’ll confess I had a little trouble getting mine to tab in and I eventually had to shave a little of the tabs to make them fit.

With that out of the way, here she is all set up and looking fantastic. Wonder Girl assumes a wide stance with her chest puffed out and her hands clutching the coils of her golden lasso, which snakes around behind her. All I can say is I really dig the composition here, she’s heroic and flirty, and just an all around perfect fusion of the character and the spirit of the Bishoujo line.

As mentioned, this is Cassandra Sandsmark as Wonder Girl, decked out in the modern costume and boy did Koto go all out on what could have been a fairly pedestrian outfit. The cut off t-shirt features a raised eagle emblem sculpted onto the front of it as well as sculpted borders around the neckline and sleeveless shoulders. The jeans feature a sculpted belt with a “WW” emblem belt buckle, sculpted star patches on the thighs, and flared cuffs mostly concealing her high-heeled boots. Details include little rumples in the shirt and jeans, stitch marks, belt loops, and studs on the pockets.

The coloring here also goes a long way to make this figure pop. The blue on the jeans features some gradations making them look faded in some area and contrasts beautifully with the bright red star patches and the silver luster of the belt buckle and studs. Likewise the sumptuous gold leaf paint compliments the bright red of her shirt perfectly. And as always the skin tone is warm and smooth.

The portrait is classic Bishoujo bliss. Cassie features a broad smirk as her sandy hair dances wildly around her, exposing some metallic red star earrings. Her eyes, eyebrows, and lips are all perfectly painted.

The base is worthy of a lot of praise, not only for its creativity of design, but also for its economy of shelf space. I’ve got over three dozen of these Bishoujos, and some of the larger disc bases can contribute to some pretty bad shelf congestion. Here, you just get three metallic red stars, which take up only as much room as they need to present the figure.

If you can’t tell, I’m totally in love with this statue! With Koto’s Bishoujo line beginning to double dip on some characters like Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, it’s nice to see that they’re still willing to mine the roster for previously unreleased characters as well. Wonder Girl was a great choice for the line, and I’m actually more than a bit surprised they didn’t get around to her sooner. Indeed, I still wouldn’t mind seeing Donna Troy get the treatment. I picked up this lady for about $40 shipped, which in these days of Bishoujo prices creeping ever upward, is a damn good deal for such a high quality work of art.

Ultimate Voltron by Playmates

I know, it’s Transformers Thursday, but I’m waiting on some new figures to roll in. So, in the meantime, I feel as if today’s subject matter isn’t too far a field. It feels like a lot of my spare time has involved Voltron lately. I’ve been watching a lot of Legendary Defender on Netflix (started back at the beginning) and I’ve also been selling off my MattyCollector Voltron because the shitty gray plastic on one of the lions started yellowing horrifically and I don’t even want to look at it anymore. And surprisingly enough, even with one bum lion, those toys are proving to have been a damn good investment. Also, I truly believe in the ancient Zen teachings, which tell us when one Voltron Door closes, another one opens.

Behold, the Ultimate Voltron. I saw this thing in the stores many times and thought it looked neat, but it wasn’t something I wanted to blow a lot of money on, but when a deal came my way, I couldn’t resist. This is not the one that actually splits into the separate lions, it’s more of a big (about 14-inches tall) action figure, and as we’ll soon see that has its charms. Besides, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future, a number of Transformers Thursdays are taken up by reviewing some Voltron lions. Still, giving the moniker Ultimate Voltron to one that doesn’t separate seems a bit like empty boasting. Can this truly be an Ultimate Voltron… well perhaps the name Excellent Compromise Voltron would be more accurate, but probably would have gotten some of Playmates marketing people fired. But before pressing on, let me stress that this figure is a toy. Yes, a lot of what I review here are technically toys, but some of them really straddle that Toy/Collectible line. I’d argue that Marvel Legends and most of the DC figures I look at are aimed more at collectors than kids. This Voltron, on the other hand is 100% Toy and is most definitely aimed at kids. As a result, I’m happy to know there’s still enough joy in my middle aged, dark pit of an alcohol soaked heart that I can get this much enjoyment out of something targeted squarely at the kiddies.

The box is a dominated by a huge window that not only shows you exactly what you’re getting, but also lets you try it out by reaching into the glory hole and pressing your finger to Voltron’s… eh, let me end that metaphor before it goes any further. Suffice it to say, this is an attractive package that mostly lets the toy inside do the talking (literally!) and is still more or less collector friendly, once you snip a bunch of zip-ties and get the Legendary Defender free from his tray.

Once free from the box, all you have to do is plug in his wings and he’s all set to go. So the compromise I was talking about earlier should be very obvious. This Voltron does not separate into his lions, but he is perfectly proportioned after his animated Netflix counterpart. I’d be lion lyin’ if I said that I didn’t prefer the old 80’s design over this one, but with that having been said, this new Voltron really has grown on me tremendously. I’ll even go so far as to say that I like the wings on this modern update better than the “V” back panels on the original. This design eschews the boxy goodness of old for a sleek, sexy, curvy, and ultimately more organic form and there’s certainly something to be said for it. I’m prepared to say it’s not better, not worse, just different, and that’s cool.

Perfect proportions aside, the other trade off here is that this Voltron is a flat out action figure with all the articulation to back it up, so let’s run down those all of those points. The shoulders feature ratcheting rotation as well as ratcheting lateral hinges, followed by ratcheting hinges in the elbows and swivels in the biceps. The hips feature ratcheting rotation as well as ratcheting lateral hinges. Voltron has a fair amount of heft to him, and those ratchet joints in the hips do a nice job of supporting him in wide stances. The knees feature ratchet hinges, and there are swivels in the thighs. The ankle articulation is especially cool. Not only are there strong ratchets up in the ankles and lateral rockers in the feet, but there are also hinges in the middle of the feet. There is no torso articulation, but the head can rotate as well as look up. The wings are attached with rotating hinges, giving them a great amount of posability.

With the selling points of proportions and articulation out of the way, let’s talk a little about sculpt and paint. The overall sculpt follows the animation model quite nicely. In an effort to follow the animation style, Voltron is not overburdened with sculpted detail, and I think that was a good choice. One thing that surprised me is that the sculpt actually portrays battle damage. The most obvious example of this are the scrapes across his abdomen, but the more I scrutinize the figure, the more little dings and scrapes I can make out. Some of them are rather subtle, and that’s because there’s no corresponding paint to make them stand out. I can see the damage being an issue of contention with some fans. It doesn’t really bother me, on the contrary, I think it gives him character.

The paint and coloring are both suitably bright and glossy. I love the vibrant shades of blue, yellow, green, and red that they used for the lions, and the silver paint looks fantastic. Some of the paint lines could have been sharper, especially the gold panels on his chest, but this is where I remind myself that this is a toy and not a collectors’ item. I do, however, wish they had chosen to use some of that lovely silver paint on the parts that they left bare gray plastic. The collar around the neck and Voltron’s face itself would have looked so much better if they were painted. I think it would have really elevated the look of the whole toy.

One of the big draws for the kids will no doubt be the electronic lights and SFX features on this figure. Collectors may find it a little less endearing, but there’s an On/Off switch on his back if you’d rather not accidentally fire them off whenever you’re handling him. The lights include the translucent blue wedge in his chest, as well as the panels on the sides of his face and his eyes. As for the sounds… I’ll let Mr. Voltron do the talking…

 

As far as electronics go, it’s pretty cool stuff and the dialogue seems to be all sampled directly from the show.

There’s another play gimmick, that I’m more or less ignoring and that’s the missile that fires out of the green lion arm’s mouth. There’s a button on the side of the arm. Press it once to spring the mouth open and press it again to fire the missile. It’s fairly harmless as far as play gimmicks go. You could, I suppose argue, that they curtailed some articulation in the wrist to make it work, but there isn’t wrist articulation in the red lion arm either.

Finally, Voltron comes with his sword. The new sword is probably my least favorite thing about the new Voltron design, but then the original Blazing Sword was a masterpiece. In any event, this one is cast in a relatively soft plastic and features the translucent blade. He can hold it quite firmly in his right hand. Yes, it’s also worth mentioning here that the shield on his left shoulder does not come off.

I seem to recall this Ultimate Voltron hitting the shelves at around forty or fifty bucks, which is probably why I didn’t consider picking him up. Lately he’s been reduced to $28 at most retailers around here, and thanks to a little bit of funds I had rattling around on a gift card, I was able to pick him up for twenty. While I would still argue whether or not this fellow should have been called Ultimate, I think he’s a fantastic toy. He’s fun to pose and he looks quite majestic on the shelf. He’s also sturdy as all hell and can probably take quite a beating, which makes him a terrific toy for the kids. And at the new price point, I think he’s definitely worth checking out. If they had a figure like this out of the original Voltron back in the 80’s I probably would have never put it down.

By figurefanzero

Aliens: Deluxe Alien Queen by NECA

Work for me in September is going to be a nightmare, so I’m trying to get to at least a few of the bigger things on my review list before I get really pinched for time. One of those things that’s been sitting around here for a while has been NECA’s Alien Queen. Originally released for the 35th Anniversary, this lady was re-issued this year to meet a high demand after the initial production had long since sold out. Just give me a few ticks to convert my sad little photo staging area into something bigger and we can get started…

This is a big box! The deco is dark and creepy and offers a window that gives you a peek at the horror inside. Part of that horror consists of the approximately 10,000 twist-ties that you have to undo to get The Xeno Queen off the tray. Otherwise, everything here is collector friendly, but I dread ever having to get this monstrosity back onto that tray, as it’ll have to be in just the right pose. In the end, I will likely get rid of the tray and flatten the box like I do for some of my statue window boxes. I should also note that the Queen requires some assembly and sadly there’s no instruction sheet to show you how. All you really need to do is attach the six spikes on her back, but I had to go through quite a few pictures before I figured out the proper way to do it.

Here she is all set up, and she is indeed a magnificent bitch. I know I sometimes throw the term “work of art” around when discussing NECA’s stuff, and I try not to do it as hyperbole. I’m certainly not engaging in that here when I say, this figure is a piece of art, plain and simple. Seriously, this is something that I would just set up on a roman column stand in entrance hall for people who visit to admire the craftsmanship that went into it. A lot of my Alien figures go into totes, because I don’t have the space to display them, but this was a case where I made room in my den the moment I opened her up. I also poured myself a nice tall glass of Jameson and just sat there sipping and marveling at what a beautiful hung of plastic she is. I know I’m gushing here, but I think it’s justified. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s step back a bit.

The Alien Queen ain’t called a Deluxe figure for nothing. She measures in at about fifteen inches tall and over thirty inches long, which means she dwarfs NECA’s impressively large Alien Warrior figures. Indeed, as big as the box is, it still doesn’t quite convey the size of her once she’s set up. And on that note, she does come with a display stand to keep her standing, since the Queen’s posture isn’t something that could support itself otherwise in most poses. The base of the stand is clear plastic, with a metal rod that connects to a clear plastic circular clasp. The stand doesn’t appear to be designed for any specific area, but I find that just cradling her abdomen in the clasp works perfectly. With that having been said…

If you rear her up on her legs and use the tail as a support, she not only gets frighteningly taller, but can actually stand on her own. I’m still going to opt to use the stand for stability, because I fear if this gal takes a shelf dive, she may not survive it because of her disproportional weight.

One of the cool things about owning this figure is it really gives me a sense of what this beast truly looks like. That’s something I could never really work out from watching the film, because everything is so dark. She stands on two hind legs, almost like a T-Rex and features two pairs of arms: One large pair connecting at the “shoulders” and the other smaller pair connecting under the belly. Lady Xeno boasts a total of 30 points of articulation, consisting of a plethora of ball joints and rotating hinges, which allow for some pretty good variations for display. The sculpt is bewilderingly complex, and I’d expect nothing less from one of NECA’s Xenomorphs. Still, here there’s a lot more surface area to work with and so many little details on display. And as great as the sculpt is, the Xeno-bitch has got the painted chops to back it up. Here are some highlights…

These external rib-like bones, which run along the neck are painted in gold, making them stand out beautifully against the rest of blue and black body. As you can see, even on the undercarriage, there’s hardly a place on this figure without some sculpted detail.

I really dig the contours of the legs as well as the cut outs. Again, you get some nice gold-brown paint along the edges and some more on the blades that come off the backs of the knees. On the insides of the legs you get some exposed segmented tube-like structures running through the inside. She also features silver paint on her claws and all of her finger and toe joints.

The tail is constructed of the typical bendy plastic that NECA has been using in all its Xenos. There’s a swivel cut at the base, but below that you can bend it into all sorts of configurations and it will stay put. Each of the segments are beautifully detailed and painted.

The large plate that makes up the top of Queen Xeno’s head is as long as your average Alien figure. The interior triangle on the top side is sculpted to look like some kind of leathery skin stretched between the exoskeletal framework. Even the underside of this large plate is beautifully detailed and fully sculpted. You really need to get in there to see any of this clearly, which makes it all the more impressive that NECA made a point of adding this detail.

The spikes that need to be attached are simple ball and socket connections. They can be a little tough to get in and every now and then one of them will pop out when I’m handling her, but for the most part they stay in fairly well. Each of these pieces is not only ball jointed, but also hinged, giving them a surprising degree of individual posability.

The head is appropriately terrifying and the teeth are absolutely fantastic. They’re sculpted in a clear plastic with a greenish tint, along with the sinews that connect the jaw on the sides. The jaw is fully articulated and you get two secondary mouth pieces, one that fits inside the closed mouth and one that extends outward.

As mentioned, this is a re-issue of the original figure. I believe the figure is identical, but I think the package is new. It’s a testament to the popularity of this piece that NECA had to go into production again, as the original sold out everywhere fairly quickly and began demanding stupid crazy prices. Not that the figure itself was ever cheap. I pre-ordered mine at around $120. It’s a testament to how much I love this design and what NECA did with it, that I was so willing to drop that money on a creature from a movie that I wouldn’t call one of my favorites, but I do really love the franchise as a whole, and simply had to have this magnificently ugly bitch on my shelf. The only downside? I think I pretty much have to buy the Power Loader now to display with her.

Marvel Legends (Warlock Wave): Polaris by Hasbro

As promised, I’m back tonight to serve up a heaping second helping of Marvel Monday so I can try to get caught up on my Legends reviews. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep doubling up every Monday, but I’ll sure give it a try. The figure of choice for tonight is Polaris, and since this is one of those figures that I bought loose in a lot, there’s no packaged shot and we’re going to jump right in.

And here she is, sporting her modern green costume, and while some may have liked a more classic look, I’m happy with this choice. I think this is what she’s been wearing most recently, but then I’ve given up on reading Marvels current run of books until they can figure out how to suck less. A lot less. Anyway, Polaris represents a nice mix of borrowed and original parts. Right off the bat, I recognize those arm bracers from the Rocket Raccoon Wave Jean Grey and only because I just had her out to photograph alongside Cyclops earlier today. Polaris looks like she shares a lot with Scarlet Witch, but I don’t think it’s as much as it seems. With the exception of those bracers, the entire costume is achieved solely through paint and it works well. The two shades of green look fantastic and most of the lines are sharp, and I really dig the gloss green used for the bracers. The only real complaint I have is that the seams running up her sides are rather unsightly, especially over the exposed skin.

The short cape rests on her shoulders, but also pegs into the back to keep it in place. It’s also easily removable. I’ve heard a lot of things about the balance of this figure being way off, but I actually haven’t had any issues getting her to stand with or without the cape, and it really doesn’t impede her articulation all that much either.

The portrait here is good and very reminiscent of the Wanda Maximoff likeness we got a little while back. That makes sense, because they are sisters? half-sisters? Whatever. At first, I thought it was an illusion because the tiaras are somewhat similar, but now I’m guessing this might be a re-sculpt of that head. Either way it works, although maybe it’s a tad too big for the body. Or maybe that’s because of the rather unique hair sculpt, which has it bunched up at the top and back of her head. The paint apps on her face are nice and clean and I really dig the gloss used for her lips, it’s quite striking.

Polaris’ articulation is pretty standard stuff. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball jointed hips, double hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers, there’s a ball joint under the chest, and the neck features both a ball joint and a hinge.

As far as accessories go, Polaris comes with the circular effect parts that we’ve seen over and over again to portray her powers of magnetism. Hasbro even included these with Havok, which is nice so the couple can sport a matched set. This time they’re cast entirely in a translucent neon green and she looks pretty good when displayed with them.

And there we are, Polaris is a solid entry for this wave. Maybe not exceptional, but I don’t have many real complaints. Granted, she isn’t a character that I was super excited to get, but this line is all about universe building for me, so I’m certainly happy to have her in my lineup and on my X-Men Legends shelf. Next week, we’ll press on through the Warlock Wave with a look at Shatterstar!

Marvel Legends (Warlock Wave): Cyclops by Hasbro

It’s that time again to start the reviews rolling on a brand new wave of Marvel Legends figures! By my count, I’m now FIVE waves behind in my reviews with the Warlock, Vulture Wings, Sandman, Man-Thing, and Gladiator Hulk Waves all before me. Oh yeah, and another SDCC set arrived in the mail over the weekend with an additional five figures. Hoo boy. I decided that I’m going to hold off on the Vulture Wave until we’re closer to when Homecoming hits Blu-Ray release, and the Gladiator Hulk Wave closer to when Ragnarok hits the theaters. So, let’s do the X-Men Warlock Wave next. And in the interest of getting caught up I’m going to look at one figure now and another one later on tonight.

I’m only going to have packaged shots for two or three of these figures, as I purchased most of this wave loose from a buddy online. I was worried I would have a tough time finding some of them through regular retailers, and I didn’t care much about building the Warlock BAF. As it turns out, the BAF parts were included anyway, and that was at least a nice surprise. Also a nice surprise was actually finding Cyclops at retail, as he’s supposed to be one of the tougher ones to find and is currently still going for $40+ on Amazon. I found him when I ducked into a Walgreens for coffee creamer. Go figure. And I’ll be honest, there was no way I wanted to pay a premium for Cyclops. Scott Summers isn’t one of my favorite characters, and the one thing that this figure really has going for me is that it’s the classic 90’s outfit. Honestly, while I still adore a lot of the characters, the truth is that the further away from the 90’s I get, the less I care about The X-Men as a comic.

But with all that preamble aside, I find this release to be a really solid figure with some annoying problems, and a lot of those problems have to do with all the bands and straps. Ahh, useless straps! They, were staples of 90’s comic art, but they don’t always transfer well to action figure form. So, for starters, Scott is built on a mostly blue buck and it’s a very snappy shade of blue. I like the build that they used for him, but this particular buck has some weird shoulders that show unsightly gaps and almost make it look like the arms weren’t meant for the torso. I’m pretty sure the yellow for his “undies, boots, and gloves is plastic as opposed to paint. Either way, it’s nice and bright and shows none of the bleed through that we sometimes see when lighter paint is applied over darker plastic. Yup, there’s no doubt about it, the coloring is one of this figure’s strongest points. Not only is it gorgeous, but it really takes me back to a time when I was a young adult making my way on my own, and the only things I had to cling on to simpler times of my childhood were comic books.

The belt and shoulder rig is one separate piece, which pegs together at the back. Overall, it looks pretty good on him and it more or less stays put. That’s a hell of a lot more than I can say for the rest of the belts. The two thigh straps have one sweet spot where they will stay put, but when I pose the figure, they tend to drift. They also look too bulky for my taste and I think maybe they would have been better off painted on. The straps at the tops of the boots have a similar problem. The wrist straps aren’t too problematic, but I’m pretty sure those are supposed to be part of his gloves, and that effect is ruined by the fact that the blue can be seen in the gap.

I like the head sculpt well enough. It’s a solid effort, but not extraordinary. The hair sculpt is particularly well done, and I really dig how the visor looks like it’s a separate and removable piece, even though it isn’t. My figure has a fair amount of mold flashing along the jawline, which I’ll have to shave off. I don’t know what it is with Hasbro and mold flashing lately, but I’m seeing more and more of it. Still, as far as QC issues go, that one is the easiest to fix.

The articulation here is quite good and fairly standard for modern Legends. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivel cuts in the thighs and tops of the boots, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, the torso feature a waist swivel and an ab crunch, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. What’s more, Cyclops’ left hand is sculpted so that he can be made to operate his visor.

While I’ve got a couple versions of Cyclops in my 3 3/4-inch Marvel Universe collection, this is surprisingly his first appearance on my modern Legends shelves and as such he’s most certainly a welcome release. I know it sounds like I had a ton of issues with him, but in the end, I’m still willing to concede that he’s a solid figure, and thanks in particular to the great coloring, he looks fantastic on the she shelf. Come on back later on tonight, and we’ll check out Polaris!

DC Designer Series: Wonder Woman (Adam Hughes) Sixth-Scale Statue by DC Collectibles

The last bunch of DC Fridays haven’t been terribly cheery ones, as I’ve been slugging my way through a wave of Mattel’s subpar DC Multiverse series. As a result, I’m extremely pleased to be able to take a look at something of quality for a change. Anyone who’s been kicking around my blog for a while, should know that I’m a big fan of the latest run of DC Cover Girls statues, but I confess that I often feel bad that I didn’t jump on board with the original Adam Hughes run. A lot of those statues are difficult to come by for reasonable prices these days, so I’ve dismissed any prospects of ever going back and collecting them now. Fortunately, DC Collectibles has decided to take one of the best pieces in that line and give it a remake in an up-scaled sixth-scale format. Let’s check out the new DC Designer Series Adam Hughes Wonder Woman statue!

This Amazon Goddess comes in your typical fully enclosed DC Collectibles statue box and is limited to 5,000 pieces. The box is mostly white, has a blue side panel, and features several photos of the statue inside. It also has a logo celebrating Wonder Woman’s 75th Anniversary. The packaging is totally collector friendly and the statue itself comes sandwiched between two styrofoam bricks with the stand stored in a separate compartment on the outside of one of those trays. Once you get her unwrapped, all you have to do is plug her foot posts into the stand (the posts on mine went in easily, but are not quite flush with the base) and she’s good to go. I will pause here for a moment to say while this statue was billed as a cold cast porcelain piece (much like the Cover Girls statues, there are parts of it that look and feel more like resin, so I’m not entirely sure about the materials we’re dealing with here.

But whatever materials are used here, Diana is absolutely gorgeous! This iconic pose comes from the cover of Wonder Woman V2, Issue #150, which is itself a stunning piece of art, and I’ve got to say that the sculptor, Jack Mathews, has pulled it off perfectly in 3D. Her arms are stretched above her with each hand holding on to her golden lasso as the gilded magical rope coils and dances around her. The composition here is bold, majestic, noble, and bespeaks everything there is to be said about the Princess of the Amazons. And while this is a sixth-scale statue, the fact that she’s on a base and has her arms stretched upward, she actually measures in at just under 15 inches tall.

The outfit is both classic and simple, consisting of her iconic one-piece. The front features the wide golden wing border over her chest and the very large gold belt around her waist. Both areas are painted in a lush gold leaf paint that gives off a brushed metal look when viewed in the right lighting. Both the chest and waist pieces are sculpted as well as painted and the lines between them and the red middle are fairly clean. I had to get in pretty close and view it from a low angle to really see any minor deviations in the line. Diana’s blue “undies” are painted with a very vibrant shade of blue and speckled with razor sharp white stars. Lastly, her boots are red with white stripes running down the centers and white borders circling the tops. They also feature a very cool texture to make them look and feel like leather.

I’m extremely happy with the way the portrait came out as well. Her chin is lifted slightly upward, but no so much that it interferes with viewing the statue from dead on. Diana features soft, but well-defined facial features and crisply painted lips, eyes, and eyebrows. Her hair blows backwards and off her shoulders, and her gold tiara can be seen on her forehead, peeking out from her hair. If there’s one gripe I have, it’s that the ears didn’t receive quite the same level of detail as the rest, but they’re mostly obscured by her hair anyway. Now’s also a good time to come back to the question of materials, because I’m pretty sure that all the exposed skin is resin. It definitely isn’t flesh paint over porcelain. Whatever the case, I love what they did here. It gives her skin an extra warm and more realistic look, which contrasts beautifully with the matte paint used for much of the outfit.

And speaking of materials, the golden lasso is made of a springy wire, which is perfect in that it allows it to hold its intended shape, while not being brittle and prone to breaking. It’s even patterned to look like actual rope. I anticipated having to go through a lot of fussing and bother to get her lasso to look the way it’s supposed to, but it turns out that none of that was necessary. The statue actually comes out of the box with the lasso in it’s intended position, and that fact by itself is pretty damn impressive to me.

The base is a simple black disc, but it is extremely heavy. The figure is no slouch either, but in this case, the base clearly makes up most of the weight. That means you don’t have to worry about this lady toppling over, probably not even if you bump her. The stand includes Diana’s sculpted Wonder Woman emblem, which is also painted in the same lush gold leaf paint used for her costume. The bottom of the base features the statue’s hand numbered limitation. Mine is 3064 of 5000.

I can’t even express how happy I am that DC Collectibles decided to give this beautiful statue a new lease on life.  She’s an absolutely gorgeous update to the original piece and displays a level of quality and craftsmanship that actually feels like it exceeds the cost of the piece. And at just a smidge over $100, she actually clocks in at considerably less than you’re apt to find the smaller, original release. I own a lot of DC Comics Statutes, but this one is going to get a place of honor somewhere in my display. Previously, my favorite Wonder Woman statue was the first Wonder Woman Bishoujo statue by Kotobukiya, but this piece may usurp that one. Now, the only question is can the next DC Designer Series Wonder Woman (by Frank Cho and set to release next month) possibly upstage this one? I’m excited to find out.