DC Bombshells (DC Designer Series): Mera by DC Collectibles

Welcome to the last review of 2017! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What happened to the rest of the DC Multiverse Justice League Wave that you started last week?” I’ll come back to it, don’t worry. But I wanted to squeeze at least one of the new wave of DC Bombshells figures in before the end of the year, so I decided to take a detour. Also, I loved the first wave of these figures so much, I couldn’t wait any longer before opening one of these ladies. And since last week was all about Aquaman and Mera, let’s keep the ball rolling with Bombshells Mera!

If you’ve purchased any DC Collectibles figures in the last year or so, this packaging should be familiar. It’s more or less the same style used for the first wave of Bombshells, as well as the DCTV figures, and the other Designer Series releases. It’s not the most exciting presentation out there, but I do like it a lot. The large wrap-around window offers a great look at the figure inside and the design is clean, simple, and the box is collector friendly. It also features character art on the side panel so you can line them up on a shelf and each character is numbered, with Mera being #7 in the series. Let’s get her out of her aquarium and check her out!

Wow, this figure looks great! But before I start gushing, I’ve got to report that her left foot broke off at the ankle just from being taken out of the tray. What the hell, DC Collectibles? You’ve been doing a lot better with this kind of QC stuff, but clearly you haven’t slain all your demons yet. I was easily able to glue it back on, but obviously at a cost to that ankle’s articulation. Of all the places the figure could break, that was probably the best scenario, but it’s still unacceptable to have it happen simply by removing the figure from the tray. We’re not off to a good start, but let’s see if Mera can redeem herself.

The Bombshell makeover puts Mera in a vintage style sailor outfit, which is very appropriate for this Chickie of the Sea. Her cut-off top is sculpted to resemble the scale armor she’s often depicted as wearing, and painted with a beautiful metallic green. She also has a sailor pearlescent white sailor scarf with a green stripe and a golden anchor pendant hanging around her neck by a string. I thought that was a really nice touch.

Below her exposed midriff, she sports a pair of pearlescent white flared slacks with green scaled stripes and a gold belt, as well as a pair of shoes sculpted and painted to match her top with the same green scales. The outfit is rounded out with a pair of gold wrist bracers and a chic white sailor’s cap with a gold “M” on the front. Both the sculpt and coloring on the outfit are top notch, making this one great looking figure. You also get some really nice subtle paint applications like the gold on her shoes and the red nail polish on her fingers and toes.

The portrait is no slouch either. Mera sports a pretty face with some clean paint apps for the eyes and mouth. She also has a copious coif of red hair done up in vintage 40’s style. I’ll note here that I really like the matte plastic that DCC uses for the skin tones on these figures. It looks appropriately warm and soft and much better than the usual paint we sometimes see on some of the other companies’ 6-inch scale figures.

The articulation here is good, but not as good as what we saw in the first wave. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have rotating hinges in the ankles. Well, my figure now only has a rotating hinge in the one ankle. The torso features a ball joint under the chest and there’s also a ball joint in the neck. What’s missing? The thigh swivels have unfortunately been cut from this second wave and I really do miss them.

And you know what else is missing? Almost all the extras. The first wave of figures all came with multiple pairs of hands and in most cases multiple accessories, which really added to the fun factor. Mera comes with no extra hands and just one accessory: Her trident. Cutting the extra hands here is particularly egregious because the ones she comes with don’t really hold her trident well at all. I would have really liked some fists, relaxed hands, maybe a saluting hand. It sucks when a company sets expectations for an initial wave of figures and then lowers the bar for the follow up. And while I won’t swear by it, I’m pretty sure the promo images for this wave showed extra hands.

The trident is a welcome accessory, although it is fairly simple though. It’s cast in a rich gold plastic.

With how amazing the first wave of Bombshells figures was, I did not expect Wave 2 to begin with disappointment, but that’s the word that best comes to mind. Now, to be clear: Mera is a beautiful figure with a terrific sculpt and some great paintwork, but with breakage right out of the box and cutbacks in both the articulation and the accessories, I’m sad to see this line is not dedicated to living up to the standards set by the initial four offerings. Am I sorry I picked up the second wave? Nope. I love these designs, and I’m happy to get the opportunity to add them to my collection as action figures. But that doesn’t change the bitter feeling of the cutbacks. The irony is that I actually picked this figure to review today because I wanted to end the year with a sure thing, and it kind of backfired on me. Granted, it’s possible that the only way DC Collectibles could go through with a second wave of Bombshells figures was to cut costs, but from what I’ve seen the first wave seemed to have sold rather well.

And that’s a wrap for me and 2017! Next week will be gobbled up by the canned content of my Annual Favorites & Disappointments lists, which I’ll be wrapping up and scheduling over the weekend. FFZ will then go on autopilot, but I’ll most definitely be around to reply to comments. Thanks, Toyhounds! I’ll see you on the other side!

 

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Doctor Who Pop! Vinyl Giveaway!

Hey Toyhounds,

I’m starting the New Year off with a Doctor Who Pop! Vinyl Giveaway!

The prize will include the above set of five Pop!s. Just Follow me on Twitter at @FigureFanZero and reply to the pinned contest Tweet with your favorite Doctor Who companion and tag it

The winner will be randomly drawn New Years Day at noon. You must be a Follower and have a US shipping address to get the prize.

Good Luck!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Windcharger by Hasbro

I’m back after a short Christmas break and trying to wrap up a couple of loose ends before the year turns over and I take a week off and run my insufferable end of the year Favorites/Disappointments lists. I hope everyone had a great Holiday. Mine was spent with family, great food, some lovely adult beverages, and some pretty cool gifts, including the little fella I’m looking at today: Power of the Primes Legends Class Windcharger. I should note that I’m a big Windcharger fan. I can still remember getting my G1 Windcharger at Sears one day while my Dad was having the car serviced. I sat in the waiting room having all kinds of adventures with this little guy and we’ve been best buds ever since.

It seemed like Hasbro forgot this guy even existed for the longest while and then decided to make up for lost time. They put out a pretty cool version of him back in 2011 as part of the Reveal The Shield series. Then we got a pretty shitty version of him back in 2015 as part of the Combiner Wars line. I’d complain about getting another one so soon, but since I missed out on the 2011 version and only have the crappy 2015 release, I’m really jonesing for a Windcharger that I can put on my shelf with pride. Let’s find out if this one is it. And we’ll start with his auto mode!

This is a fine update to the original toy’s car mode. Windcharger is a spiffy little red sports car that bears a pretty strong resemblance to a Trans Am. This version is a lot less super-deformed than the original toy, and the wheels have been scaled back a bit, although these still look pretty beefy. The windshield and sunroof panels are tinted plastic and the side windows are painted black, and the rear window is sculpted to look like a louver, just like the original toy. The rest of the coloring is achieved through the red plastic and a little silver paint on the front and rear bumpers. He also has a crisp Autobot emblem printed on his hood. Windcharger can be a little finicky when it comes to lining up all his panels just right, but he holds together pretty well and looks great.

 

Surprisingly, Windcharger follows in the tradition of Titans Return by having a driver seat for either a Titan or Prime Master figure, although it is a little more difficult to get to. You have to unpeg the back portion of the car and hinge the whole thing up to reveal the driver’s compartment and pop in the figure.

Transformation is a wee bit more complex than the original G1 Minibot, but in it’s similar in spirit. The legs still unfold from the back, the arms come out from the sides, and the head and chest are hidden in the undercarriage. The result is a robot that looks like a proper homage to his G1 namesake and captures all the little simple fun of that toy. All respects have been paid in the design, with obvious call backs being the sculpt of the chest and the split louver on the front legs. The deco retains the black and red of the car mode, but adds silver to his upper legs and the gray plastic for his chest.

He’s pretty solid from the back too. His upper back is just a big slab of car hood, and the windshield pieces fold up to help cover up his hollow leg syndrome. OK, so it doesn’t help all that much, but it does make his lower legs a little more solid. Apart from the car door armor that he sports on his forearms, there isn’t a whole lot of kibble here, and that’s impressive. Indeed, the only nitpick I have here is his legs look a little squat compared to his upper body. It would have been really cool if they could have found a way for his legs to unfold just a little bit more, or maybe just give him feet. He just needs a tiny bit more leg to make him look properly proportional.

I’ve heard some grumblings from collectors over Windcharger’s face, but I really can’t find a lot of fault in it. OK, so his pursed lips kind of make him look like the Disappointed Dachshund, but otherwise I think it looks fine. I like that they retained his diamond shaped eyes and boxy head frame that he had in the Sunbow Cartoon, and let’s face it, at least he has a face. That’s more than the original toy could say. The silver paint is spiffy too.

Windcharger’s articulation makes him pretty fun and poseable. He’s got ball joints in his shoulders, elbows, and hips, hinges in the knees, and his head can swivel. I will throw out there that I really wish Hasbro would start giving the Legend Class figures some guns. At ten bucks a pop, I don’t think tossing a generic pistol in there would really break the bank.

I’m pleased to say that Power of the Primes Windcharger is just a couple of longer legs away from being perfect in my book. And even with what he lacks in perfect proportionality, he makes up for everywhere else. He’s a great homage to the original toy with some great call backs to the classic animated design. I also think he’s the best updated Windcharger we’ve every had. Yeah, the Reveal The Shield version is a great figure, but the robot mode strays too far from the G1 design to make the homage really work for me. This is the little bot I fell in love with all those years ago at a Sears Auto Department and it’s good to have him again and be able to retire the Combiner Wars version. I’ll be back tomorrow with not only the last DC Friday of the year, but the last review of the year, period!

Masters of the Universe Classics: Point Dread and the Talon Fighter by Mattel

Merry Christmas, friends! Well, it’s actually Christmas Eve for me as I’m writing this, and yes I’m bumping Marvel Monday this week for some special Christmas content. Last year I attempted to recreate the magic of Christmas past by opening up a truly epic playset, Castle Grayskull, and it was a wonderful experiment in recapturing my youth. It brought me back to those Christmas mornings as a kid sitting under the tree and unwrapping that giant toy that I begged for all year long like the insufferable little shit that I was. This year, I’m doing it again with the only playset that could possibly match Castle Grayskull… Yes, it’s the MOTUC version of SNAKE MOUNTAIN!!! Oh, wait… that never came out. Bummer. OK, so I don’t have anything quite as grandiose as Grayskull, but once again, I have been saving an MOTUC toy all year for this occasion. And if you know me, then you know that it took every scrap of my nearly non-existent willpower to let this thing sit unopened for a year. Keep in mind, I have to really stretch the limits of my little photo staging area for these bigger toys, so I’ll apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. Now… Let’s check out The Talon Fighter and Point Dread!

The long and fully enclosed box is none the worse for wear after having spent an entire year unopened in my closet. Despite it’s lack of height, it’s still an impressively sized box measuring just a bit longer across than the Grayskull box. You get that same amazing vintage-style artwork that I’ve come to know and love from the Masters Classics boxed toys. He-Man and Teela are cruising along while Duncan looks like he’s chasing after them and yelling, “Have my daughter home at a reasonable hour!!!” There’s also some trouble rising in the background as Skeletor and his goons approach to ruin He-Man and Teela’s date. I originally abstained from buying the Talon Fighter because I knew I had nowhere to put it. Naturally when Matty put it up on clearance, I decided I would somehow make it work. The collector part of my brain told me that cheaper things take up less room, and Collector Brain would never lie to me!

The reverse side of the box has a panel of line drawings showing all sorts of figures and other goodies from the MOTUC series. If you grew up in the 80’s these monochrome panels were on most big playsets. It’s all an effort to recreate that vintage charm, and it succeeds brilliantly. Opening the box reveals lots of parts and cardboard, telling me that there is some assembly required here. Point Dread comes in two parts, with one stacking on the other. There’s also a beam that attaches to the top for the Talon Fighter to rest on. The Talon Fighter itself requires you to attach the wings, the radar dish, and the four guns. You also get to choose a sticker for the viewscreen inside the ship. There’s nothing too complex here, but unfortunately the wings aren’t meant to come off again, so unless you’re willing to risk some damage to the clips, this baby isn’t going back into the box.

And here’s what you get when everything is all set up. While it’s no Grayskull, the combined size of the Talon Fighter and Point Dread is still pretty impressive. Just look at how the whole thing towers above Teela. Oh, did I mention the set also includes a Filmation version of Teela? You know that one annoying relative that shows up every Christmas and almost ruins everything? Well, let’s just call her Teela.

So, this version of Teela has become infamous from the scorn that she has attracted, so I was really curious as to whether she could really be that bad. And yes… she really is that bad. With something like 125 Masters Classic figures in my collection, I’d only consider a few to be sub par, and this one is easily in the runner up for the worst of them all. I don’t know what happened here, but it’s like a perfect storm of bad design. From the bulky top to the granny panties on the bottom, the outfit just doesn’t work. There’s even hideous mold lines running down the arms. About the only thing that I can give a pass to here are the boots, they look fine. That’s probably because they borrow from the original figure.

And the head! The nose and mouth are so weirdly shaped and the paint is so basic and flat. Maybe if this figure was released at the beginning of the line, I could understand, but Matty and The Four Horsemen had something like a hundred figures under their belt by the time this Teela came out.

It doesn’t help that the original Teela is such a great figure and easily one of my favorite in the entire line. And yes, I realize that this Teela is supposed to look simpler because she’s based on the animation model, but that doesn’t help excuse any of this. If I had to say something nice about this new Teela, it would be that the paint is overall pretty good. They used the usual gold leaf for her armor and it really pops next to all that white.

Teela does come with some accessories to help assuage the suck. One of them is an alternate helmeted head, but unfortunately it’s built off the same sculpt, so it really doesn’t improve anything. The blue helmet is similar to the kind her father and the Eternian Royal Guard wear. It also has a removable visor. I want to love that they included this for when she’s piloting the Talon Fighter, but this figure is so ugly, she won’t be allowed in the Talon Fighter. Well, maybe just today… but only because it’s Christmas.

The other accessories are a sword and a shield, both of which are new sculpts and they both look great. OK, that’s enough about Teela. She’s the turd in our holiday punch bowl and it’s best to just ignore her and move on to the main event… Point Dread! We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up.

Point Dread is not only the resting place and remote outpost for the Talon Fighter, but depending on which fiction you happen to follow, it can be a surprisingly weird place. Sometimes it was depicted as magically appearing under the Talon Fighter when it landed, other times it was a fixed location that only appeared every twenty years. It’s also the place Skeletor cooked up Teela by magically cloning The Sorceress in an attempt to make an Evil Sorceress. HOLY SHIT! For the purposes of this review, let’s just say that Point Dread is a small fortified outpost that gives the Talon Fighter a place to rest its weary bird feet. The little playset is comprised of two pieces, the top of which can be attached to Castle Grayskull, and I’ll circle back to that at the end.

From the outside, it shares all the iconic charm of Grayskull’s green stonework architecture. It uses the same eerie colored plastic with a nice wash and some dry brushing to bring out the look of the stones. It’s sculpted out of proportion, with the size of the stairs getting smaller toward the top to make it look bigger. The stairs do, however, give you a cool place to give your figures some action poses. You also get a little window near the base with a sculpted wooden shudder over it. Let’s turn it around and have a look inside.

As a playset, there’s not a lot going on in here. There’s a sculpted wooden floor, which features some really nice woodgrain detail as well as sculpted nails. There’s a window that the occupant can look out of, and there’s a computer system with a sticker on the screen showing a Saturn-like planet. The computer features that lovely retro-tech styling that I love so much in my swords-and-sorcery-and-tech fantasies. It not only has all sorts of sculpted controls, buttons, and dials, but it features some wonderful paint applications that really bring the whole thing to life. On the downside, it’s scaled way too small for the MOTUC figures to really work with it. Maybe if it came with a chair it would work better, but as it is, even Teela has to bend way over to get to the controls. In all honesty, as a standalone playset, Point Dread doesn’t offer much other than a little cubby for your Masters figures to check their emails, tweet a little, and maybe engage in some naughty net surfing. Or they can just look at a picture of space.

But what Point Dread lacks as a compelling playset it easily makes up for as a posh way to display your Talon Fighter, thanks to the rotating crossbeam that rests on top of the structure. This platform has foot pegs for the fighter’s birdy feet and they lock into place securely so there’s no worries about it falling off and crashing. When you’re ready for the Talon Fighter to take off, you just press a switch on the bottom of the platform, and it releases the craft for flight operations.

And what a great looking fighter this is! Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s clunky and it’s clearly designed by someone who was more concerned with satisfying their bird fetish than applying actual aerodynamics. But this is Eternia, where a vehicle can be all those things as well as be downright awesome. And when I first had this thing in hand, I was indeed in awe of it. Sure, there are some companies out there experimenting with 6-inch scale vehicles. Diamond Select has done some for Batman, NECA did one for their Predators, and even Hasbro has delivered some for Star Wars Black. But it’s still a new and rare enough experience that it’s hard to approximate just how big a 6-inch scale vehicle is until I’m holding it my hand and trying to find somewhere to display the damn thing. And let’s keep in mind, the Talon Fighter is designed to hold two figures!

And besides being big, this thing is a work of art. From the chunky, back-swept feathered wings and taloned claw landing gear, to the sweeping curves of the bird’s hooked beak as the nose of the vehicle, this is a sculpt that celebrates the very weird and wonderful spirit of Masters of the Universe. And the coloring… oh, the coloring. I love the way the sumptuous golden yellow of the bird’s beak gradually gives way to the fiery orange on the top. Couple that with the maroon wings and the brilliant metallic blue that makes up the guns, canopy, and radar dish, and you’ve got a deco that is as appropriately flamboyant as the design.

The back portion of the craft beautifully blends the glory of Eternian tech with the fighter’s avian art deco design. You get two large thrusters and two smaller ones in the middle. The sculpt includes vents, tubes, cables, what appear to be some rotating handles for shut-off valves, and even the individual bolts are part of the sculpt. Applications of red, black, and silver paint all help pick out some of the details.

The cockpit canopy features clear plastic windows all around and the framework includes sculpted rivets and a sculpted non-functioning escape hatch at the top. There are also highlights of a deeper and more metallic blue paint used to pick out some of the details as well as some beautiful silver paint used on the triangular vent sections on the sides. Finally, there’s a beefy radar dish on the top of the canopy, which can rotate 360-degrees.

Inside, the cockpit displays more of that great Eternian tech design. The main console features an array of buttons and switches in all different colors as well as a dual-handled flight stick protruding out from under it. The central viewscreen on the console is a sticker. You get three choices to customize your Talon Fighter, including a goofy shot of Orko. I went with the generic radar display graphic. The left and right of the pilot seat is flanked by more consoles and still more colored buttons and switches. There are also some gauges to the right. I love that Mattel went with actual sculpted instruments for the bulk of the controls here, rather than cop out with just stickers.

That’s not to say there aren’t some stickered panels. The back seat features two stickered consoles to the left and right, showing all sorts of gauges and readouts, and even what appears to be an intercom system.

On the back of the rear seat there’s more sculpted and painted details, which include some tools and emergency equipment. Included here is a medical kit, a fire extinguisher, an axe and some wrenches.

What’s really impressive about this vehicle is how roomy it is. Lately I’ve found myself having to squeeze some 3 3/4-inch figures into their vehicles from one of those other toy lines from that other big company, but this big fella can accommodate two Masters Classics figures and still give them plenty of room to move around. That’s no small feat for figures as big, buff, and bulky as these guys, but just look at He-Man in the back seat. He’s got room to spread out, stretch his legs and enjoy a first class flying experience. Teela has so much room, I’d bet you could squeeze two chicks in the back as long as they weren’t opposed to things getting cozy. The pilot seat is just as spacious and your average MOTUC figure can sit and hold the control sticks perfectly. And now that we’ve looked at this big bird inside and out, how about joining it with Castle Grayskull.

Just when I thought Castle Grayskull couldn’t get any more impressive, I go and add this to it. And boy was this a lot of fun to shoot in my tiny studio. I had to reposition my overhead light all the way to the ceiling, and it was still bumping the top of the Talon Fighter. Next I had to switch out the table I shoot on for something a lot lower. Needless to say, this set up is freaking huge!

The top part of Point Dread fits over the right tower and while the union isn’t exactly seamless, I think it looks pretty natural. The connection is extremely solid and you hear a big scary snap when it’s locked into place. What’s scarier is separating the two again. In fact, it’s so scary, I don’t know that I’m going to be doing this too many times for fear of cracking the castle wall. Granted, the Talon Fighter looks pretty awkward sitting up there. It either looks way too big or makes Grayskull look a lot smaller. But I really don’t care. I just think it’s awesome that they were able to make this work so well with the castle.

And this is what Christmas used to be all about: Waiting all year for that one special big toy and experiencing the joy of opening it up on Christmas morning. Of course it’s getting harder and harder to do, because they don’t make big and satisfying toys like this much anymore. But Point Dread and the Talon Fighter did not disappoint, even if the Teela figure was a little like getting coal in the stocking. And for all the shit everyone used to give Matty, I’m grateful to them for allowing me to celebrate two Christmases in a row now with some truly amazing Masters of the Universe Classics. I still have some pretty cool toys and figures to open from this line, but I doubt I’ll be waiting until next Christmas to do it. But fear not, I have some other ideas for Christmas 2018.

And that’s a wrap for me this Christmas. I’m going to be taking a couple days off from bloggery and I hope to be back with new content on Thursday and Friday and by then I should have sorted out what next week is going to look like. For now, I’m off to have dinner with my folks, exchange some gifts, and come home and watch Doctor Who. But before heading out I want to offer my sincerest and most heartfelt wishes to you all. I hope your holiday is restful and full of joy. Cherish your families, don’t sweat the small stuff, and I hope you get to enjoy some toys! 

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Mera by Mattel

Welcome back, friends, to a second helping of Multiverse on this DC Friday. Christmas may not be until Monday, but around here every day is a good day to open toys! Earlier this morning I checked out the Justice League version of Aquaman and found him to be quite good! And now I’m spending tonight with his bride to be, Mera. That sounded creepy, what I meant to say is I’ll be reviewing her action figure. Despite a lot of fanfare about her casting, Mera was barely in the Justice League movie, but she sure has been playing a big part in the Aquaman Rebirth comic and I dig her a lot in it. Needless to say I was happy, albeit surprised, to see her get a DCEU release in this lineup.

I took the packaged shots when I thought I was going to review Aquaman and Mera together, but in the end I decided they each needed their own review. But here’s one more look at the figures in their window boxes. While it doesn’t state it anywhere on the box, Mera is actually an Amazon Exclusive. And while she doesn’t come with a Collect & Connect part for Steppenwolf, she does come with some extras to make up for that. There’s not much else to say about the packaging, other than for some reason Mera has more disclaimer information on the front of her box, and she has some lovely pictures of her from the movie on the front and side panels.

As good as Aquaman’s figure was, Mera is even better in every respect. In fact, Mera is so good, that she actually feels like she’s from an entirely different line. For starters, the detail on her sculpted armor is sharper and crisper than that of Arthur’s. The underlying emerald green suit is etched with fine lines and textures, all punctuated by golden interlacing lines. The mix of emerald and gold paint is rather stunning and when combined with the intricate patterns in the sculpt, the armor has a bit of a reptilian flavor to it. It really is quite simply a work of art on exhibit in a line that rarely seems to care.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. It’s certainly not a spot on likeness to the actress, but I can see a little something of her in there. I think the contours of her face feel more like stylized than realistic, and she looks a little too pouty, but overall I still like it a lot. She’s pretty and the skin tone for her face as well as neck and chest is extremely well done. The paint for the eyebrows and lips is fairly precise, although the eyes on mine aren’t perfectly straight, it’s something I didn’t really notice until taking some close up shots. It looks as if the hair may be sculpted in a separate piece, and the gold tiara is part of the hair sculpt.

And then we move on to what really floors me. Mera’s articulation is actually better than Aquaman’s. Considering how I’m used to seeing reduced articulation in my 6-inch ladies, this is a welcome treat. Mera features all the same points as Arthur, but adds thigh swivels and an ab crunch. The fact that Mattel was able to put an ab crunch in Mera and not compromise the sculpt or her shapely form, means there’s no excuse for Aquaman missing one. The same could be said for the thigh swivels as well. I can’t explain the decision making here, but I’m happy that Mera got the extra poseability.

Even when it comes to the the accessories, Mera offers more. For starters, she comes with an extra pair of hands sculpted with water effect parts. These look great and they’re a lot of fun to play around with.

And finally, she comes with this spear. Like Aquaman’s trident, it’s just a simple sculpt, and it’s cast in silver plastic with no paint applications. There’s a barb and a partial hook toward one end, giving it a little more of a harpoon vibe. It’s not bad, but it feels too basic to really feel like it belongs with such a great looking figure.

After going through a solid wave of Wonder Woman figures, I’m pleased to see that DC Multiverse looks to be continuing that streak. Aquaman was really good, but Mera here just blows me away for a figure in this line. It just goes to show that they can still bring the A-Game when they want to. But maybe it’s a little unfortunate that they wait to do it on a figure that’s an online exclusive and probably a more limited release. Mera’s price on Amazon has been fluctuating all over the place. I picked her up when she was around $15, but she’s dropped as low as $11 a few times this week. Either way, she’s well worth the money!

DC Multiverse (Steppenwolf Wave): Aquaman by Mattel

It seems like forever ago that I saw Justice League, but that’s probably because it quickly got pushed down by my multiple (FOUR!) viewings of Thor: Ragnarok and the recent release of The Last Jedi. For the record, I was one of the seemingly few who enjoyed Justice League, and I really enjoyed it for what it wasn’t: A sour and suicidal thought-inducing monochrome vision of despair like Batman V Superman or Man of Steel. As a result, you know I had to pick up the action figures and today I’m starting with a look at Aquaman and Mera. I had intended to review these figures as a pair, but the more time I spent with them, the more I decided to give each their own review. So let’s start with Aquaman this morning and come back to Mera later tonight.

There’s not much to say about the packaging. It’s typical Multiverse fare and it is collector friendly. Before I get started, I will say that I was not a big fan of the way they’ve chosen to portrait the character in the film. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of Arthur Curry, but I did really enjoy the New 52 Throne of Atlantis run, and I’m digging the hell out of his current run in the Rebirth comics. So, I have definitely become more of a fan in recent years. The DCEU version isn’t really recognizable to me as Aquaman, but it more or less fit in the context of the film and I wound up not hating him.

And I sure as hell do not hate this figure, because it looks pretty damn great. Arthur comes donning his full suit of Atlantean armor. The sculpt here is  intricate and consists of a network of organic, curved lines against a field of muted scales. There’s barely any space on this figure that doesn’t contain some kind of sculpted detail and it looks really solid. The shoulder pads are also cast in soft plastic and connected to the torso, giving them the ability to work well with the arm articulation.

As good as the armor looks, the real star of this figure is the portrait. And yes, I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Multiverse figure. Not only is the likeness for Mamoa certainly there, but it’s actually expressive too! The face is framed with a mighty beard and a copious mane of shaggy hair punctuated with a good looking paint wash. I particularly love the pale blue they used for his eyes. This is without a doubt the best head sculpt I’ve seen in this line, even if that isn’t really saying a lot.

Alas, the articulation does disappoint. It’s not terrible, but it’s not up to the standards that I expect from a twenty dollar 6-inch scale figure. The arms are fine, as they have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps and wrists. hinges in the wrists would have been nice, but it’s not a big deal. The legs are ball jointed at the hips and have hinges in the ankles. The knees look like rotating hinges, but all I can get out of mine is a straight bend. I’m not sure if that’s because of the armor sculpt, or by design. The lack of thigh swivels is disappointing. The neck is ball jointed, but because of the hair, I can’t get a lot of movement out of it. There’s a swivel in the waist. The biggest let down is the lack of ab crunch or ball joint in the chest, which is particularly egregious in a figure of a character that swims.

In addition to one of Steppenwolf’s legs, Aquaman comes with his trident. It’s a very simple sculpt, cast in gray plastic with no paint. It’s serviceable, but it’s so plain it feels like an accessory that would be bundled with a far more basic figure. Also, the fact that his left hand is sculpted in a fist is a bit of a bummer, as he can’t hold the trident in both hands.

So, Aquaman is far from a perfect figure, but I still think he’s a very good one, especially for a line that has more often than not been sub-par. The sculpt and paintwork here is excellent, but the articulation is lacking a few critical points. Considering how pleased I was with the Wonder Woman movie figures, I’m beginning to suspect Mattel is willing to put the effort in where the DCEU figures are concerned, even if they’re not so gung-ho over the comic figures. Either way, be sure to swing back here later tonight and we’ll have a look at Mera!

Transformers “Power of the Primes:” Legends Class Slash by Hasbro

I had originally planned on doubling up Slash with Swoop on the last Transformers Thursday, but I’m so crazy busy this month, I decided to save him for some quick content today. Indeed, juggling content and work is going to be pretty nuts for the rest of the month. So, let me cut right to the chase and check out Power of the Primes’ tiniest Dinobot of them all… Slash!

Yes, as if intentionally sticking a thumb in my eye over my gripes about the size of the Deluxe Dinobots, Hasbro shows me just how small small can get. A Legends Class Dinobot… what will they think of next? Slash comes packaged in her robot mode (Yup, she’s a she!), but I’m going to start with her tiny little alt mode.

And she’s an adorable little robotic raptor. Is this a great looking alt mode? Nah, not really. There’s all sorts of robot mode shenanigans on display here from the robot legs forming a less-than-convincing chest to the robot hands literally holding the raptor feet. Is it a terrible alt mode? Nah, not really. It’s a newly designed Dinobot in a Legends Class and I’ve got to respect what they tried to do here, even if I would maintain that this size class is no place for a Dinobot to be in, unless you’re making the alt mode a Compsognathus. And I suppose you can just call this a Compy if you want. Or at least I can, because I’m not one of them dinosaur scientists.

On the plus side, I love that Hasbro kept the familiar Dinobot deco here from the translucent yellow plastic on the back plate and upper head to the gray, red, and black that matches Slug’s color palate so well. She’s even got those translucent yellow discs at the tops of her dino legs, like Slag does. Slash also features some decent articulation here, which includes a hinged jaw.

Transformation is pretty simple, especially since you can see just about everything that’s going on in the alt mode, but with that having been said, Slash’s robot mode is pretty fantastic. I will, however, admit that there’s nothing to the design that really stresses she’s a femme-bot to me. I suppose the face sculpt is a little softer, and maybe those tabs on her chest can double as… nevermind! I don’t want to go down that road. Point is, I dig this mode a lot. It also manages to hold onto the whole Dinobot aesthetic, while bringing a new character to the table. And other than the raptor arms pointing up behind her robot arms, there’s not a lot in the way of dino-kibble to complain about.

The size works perfectly too, so long as we’re talking about the pocket universe, solely inhabited by the PotP Dinobots, that I had to invent to make the scale work for these bots. As a result Slash looks great besides Slug and Swoop, although I’d still argue that I would have rather she been a Deluxe to level out the robot mode. But then we’d be talking about a whole new figure, so let me just backpedal and say, she’s fine.

And fine she is! The raptor mode may lean toward the f’ugly side, but this is still a fun figure to jam in my pocket and take along for adventures on my desk at work. I’ll confess that when I had her in hand at the store, I actually waffled a bit over whether I needed a Legends Class Dinobot in my life, but I’m glad my lack of discipline and willpower sided in favor of picking her up. She is most definitely a fun little toy and she will display wonderfully with the team. And just maybe she’s softened my heart a little... JUST A LITTLE… to the idea of smaller scale Dinobots.

Star Wars “The Last Jedi:” Resistance Ski Speeder by Hasbro

The Last Jedi hit theaters at the end of last week and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll need to see it again before I can solidify my opinions on it. Oh, I enjoyed watching some of it, but I’m still on the fence over whether it was really my cup of tea. There were a couple of cringe moments for me, I thought the structure was weird, and it didn’t feel like there was any point to a lot of it. But seeing it has at least whetted my appetite to look at some more Star Wars toys! I already did a weekend marathon of Star Wars reviews, which included a look at some of the 3 3/4-inch figures from TLJ, and today I’m opening the 3 3/4-inch scale Resistance Ski Speeder!

It may have been more accurate to call it a Rebel Ski Speeder, but maybe that’s just me nitpicking. The vehicle comes in a pretty good sized box with some exciting artwork on the front and a big advertisement for the Force Link unit. The box is mostly enclosed, except for the little window that shows off the included Poe figure. There is a little assembly required, but nothing too difficult. You just plug the mono-ski into the bottom and the stabilizer boom into the side. There are also two missiles to load into the front. There are no stickers to apply, and since the vehicle is designed to work with the Force Link, there are no batteries required either. I’ll also note that it is possible to disassemble the Speeder and get it back into the box, which is always a plus for me. Let’s talk about the figure first!

Captain Poe Dameron features the costume that he wore for most of the movie. So as great as the X-Wing Pilot version is, this one is kind of a must have too. And it also happens to be an excellent figure as well! Poe features a simple jacket, trousers and boots, with a white undershirt and a broad belt. There’s also a functional holster on his right hip with a thigh strap and a bold Resistance emblem patch on his left shoulder. When it comes to costume design, this isn’t a complex figure, but it’s a fantastic sculpt with plenty of detail and a pretty solid likeness for this scale as well. After the terrible 3 3/4-inch  X-Wing Poe from The Force Awakens, Hasbro is really doing the character justice this time around.

Poe comes with two accessories, a pistol and a communications headset. Both are cast in the same gray plastic. The headset fits him pretty well and he can hold the gun in either hand. It also fits snugly in the holster. When I get to how much I paid for this vehicle, you’ll see why it was practically worth it for this figure alone. Alright, let’s move on to the main attraction.

And here’s the Ski Speeder all set up and waiting for action. The Speeder has two folding sets of landing gear, which along with the retracted mono-ski, will allow it to rest on a flat surface and helps a lot for when you want to display it. Comparisons have been made between this design and the B-Wing, and there’s certainly some similarities in there. Of course, this vehicle is meant to operate only along the surface of a planet, so there’s no gyroscope in the cockpit, nor is there a fully enclosed canopy. It’s a decent sized vehicle, measuring just over 17-inches across and it has a satisfying heft to it as well.

They’re is some really nice detail on display here, both sculpted directly into the hull as well as from some extra bits added on. The mid section has a dark gray plate with a grill and the back features a short, stubby tail with a circular turbine and a rudder fin. This is also where the two missiles are loaded. The mono-ski features a pistol-like grip with a trigger, so you can whoosh it around the room and pull the trigger to fire the missiles. And they do fire with a decent bit of power to them. The gray disk on top of this mid section also activates one of the other play gimmicks. By pressing it down the stabilizer boom will eject from the rest of the Speeder to simulate battle damage.

The stabilizer boom features some attached wires, pipes, and brackets all cast in dark gray. You also get two long and thin blasters protruding from the front of the end piece. The vehicle does not feature a lot of paint, but there is some dry-brushed weathering as well as some fading to the red stripes. It’s not the most realistic deco, but when combined with the two-tone gray plastic pieces, there’s at least a nice variety to the coloring here.

The cockpit section definitely features the most detail and looks really good. It looks like there’s another big blaster slung low on the outer side of this module and there’s also a very small blaster cannon, like a chin gun, that can pivot left and right. The canopy features clear plastic windows and a silver painted frame.

The cockpit is big enough to fit the figure, but getting his head to clear the back canopy frame is a little difficult. Or I should say that it’s getting it to clear when taking him out is the real challenge.

The mono-ski is hinged with a spring so that as soon as you lift the Speeder off it will snap down into place and drag as you skim it across the carpet, table, sofa, or any other salt laden surface. Fold up the landing gear and you’re all ready for flight! The gun-style handle is perfectly designed for play without really looking too out of place.

The Ski Speeder debuted with an MSRP of around $30, but it’s dropped pretty quickly and I was able to grab this one for $15. It’s a great recreation of a pretty cool and unique design, and as far as Star Wars vehicles go, that’s all everything I’m looking for. The size of the craft made it a perfect fit for Hasbro’s current price-point model, so much so that I’m 99% sure it’s the reason they were thrown into the movie, although the whole sequence was still pretty cool in its own right.  If there’s a downside to The Last Jedi and its toy potential, it’s that I don’t think we’re going to be seeing many vehicles from it. I was hoping we might get a new TIE Fighter and X-Wing, made a little better than the versions we got for The Force Awakens, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case. The Resistance bombers were damn cool designs, but probably too big for 3 3/4-inch scale. I may still pick up the A-Wing, but the Canto Bight police vessel will have to drop quite a bit before I consider it. Then again, it is the only way to get that figure. Hmmmm.

Marvel Legends: Medusa (Walgreens Exclusive) by Hasbro!

Hey, it’s one of those rare times on Marvel Monday when I’m between waves of Marvel Legends and I actually get to look at something other than Marvel Legends figures. So let’s look at a Marvel Legends figure! Because, thanks to Walgreens and their copious number of exclusives, I now have  Legends figures to interject between waves of Marvel Legends! MARVEL LEGENDS!!! These things are invading my home by the truckload, but don’t ever stop, Hasbro. Just keep them coming. Like sweet, sweet cocaine. You keep selling, I’ll keep buying. Also, today’s review is going to be super quick because I’ve been pretty much working non-stop all weekend.

Here’s Medusa in the package and it is appropriately branded for The Inhumans. I made a vow to get through this review without once mentioning how awful The Inhumans TV Series was. But seriously, did you see that mess? Holy shit! I’m so glad they cancelled a proper MCU-based movie for that steaming pile of garbage. Maybe Disney will let a few more phases go buy before they pretend the show never happened and green-light the movie again. Or now that they own The Fantastic Four, they can just work them into that movie. What? The toy? Oh yeah… Anyway, this is actually the first one of these exclusives that I’ve seen with a sticker denoting it as such. Is that a big deal? Not to me, because this package is about to get shredded into compost. Seriously, I’m an animal when I open these things.

From the neck down, Medusa is about as straightforward a figure as they come, as virtually her entire costume is achieved through paint, and not even much of that! You get the standard shapely female buck, cast in purple plastic with metallic purple paint applications for her boots, gloves, and the collar round her neck. She features the spell/power-casting hands, and the only original sculpting here is the belt that hangs on her hips. Now keep in mind, I’m not really complaining, the costume works perfectly for the character.

Of course, there’s plenty of new sculpting for the head, and that’s thanks to the cascade of hair that flows down her back. She’s got a pretty face with neatly painted eyes and lips. The metallic purple mask on mine is a little uneven, which is obvious on close ups, but it’s hard to tell with the figure in hand. The hair sculpt is especially well done, and that’s a good thing, since it is Medusa’s defining feature. There’s a lot of definition to the groups of strands, and I really dig the way it flows and swirls all the way to the ground.

Articulation here is the same as we’ve seen dozens of times over with this female buck. It includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball jointed hips, double hinges in the knees, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, and swivels in the thighs. There’s a ball joint under the chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. Obviously the mane of hair takes its toll on the neck articulation, but it mostly just restricts her from looking up. Some of the early pictures I saw of the figure worried me that she would always be looking down, but I’m happy to see that’s not the case it all.

It would be fair to say that I’m not blown away by this figure, but she’s certainly a fine treatment of the character. I’m not sure if Hasbro sold the idea to Walgreens back before the TV series hit, but whatever the case, it’s nice to get a solid comic version of Medusa, especially with Black Bolt following close on her heels as part of the MCU Black Panther wave. It’s a big plus too that these exclusives seem to be pretty easy to get. Indeed, the Walgreens around the corner always has plenty on the shelf. I may have to hunt down regular Legends releases, but these exclusives are never a problem.

Fate/Grand Order: Archer (Altria Pendragon) by Furyu

If there was any area where I dropped the ball in 2017 it was with Anime Saturday. There just weren’t enough of them. Now, in my defense, I already do at least four days of content a week, but then excuses don’t make my backlog of anime figures get any smaller. I honestly doubt I’ll have time to do any more this year, but I wanted to squeeze in just one more, so I can feel a little less worse about my lack of initiative. One thing I can say is that I’ve looked at a handful of figures from Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Extra this year, but today I’m venturing into the uncharted territory of Fate/Grand Order. It’s a phone app game that I will never play, but I still enjoy following the characters and lore. This version of Archer, Altria Pendragon, was a limited Servant, who could only be summoned during the game’s 2016 Summer Event. The character originally caught my eye as a limited Figma release, which quickly rocketed beyond what I was ever willing to spend on her.

And so it’s cheap JAMMA prize figures to the rescue! Altria comes in an enclosed box, which is typical of these prize figures. The box is nice and colorful and features a fair amount of English copy, including the character’s name. I’ll note here that this is basically a budget prize figure version of the exact same figure that was released as a proper scaled figure by Max Factory. Another figure that I would have loved to pick up, but I just couldn’t justify spending what she cost. I will, however, still point out some of the differences based on the pictures I’ve seen. The figure requires a little bit of assembly. You just peg her left foot into the base, peg the tip of Excalibur into her left hand, and tab the water gun into her right hand.

And here she is all set up and ready for a game of Water Blitz and looking pretty good. Altria is the perfect poster girl for the Summer Event, posing with her right leg kicking up behind her and leaning on Excalibur with her left hand, as she turns to fire off a blast from her water gun. And of course, since it’s summer, she’s wearing very little, just a skimpy white bikini with blue bows and ribbons, and a pair of white sandals.

Overall, the paint is pretty clean on this figure, although she obviously lacks the premium work of Max Factory’s version where the blues are more vibrant and the whites are actually pearlescent. Her skin tone here is also a little paler and flatter, while the skin on the better version features a warmer hue. I think that’s probably my biggest quibble about the figure, because everything else is pretty damn solid for what you’re paying.

The portrait is pretty good, with perfectly printed blue eyes to match the bows on her bikini, and a very nice sculpt for her hair. She’s got a big blue bow on the back of her head and the ubiquitous ahoge sprouting from the top.

Excalibur is an extremely nice looking accessory. The blade is painted silver and the hilt is a combination of blue and gold. The peg holding it into her hand is also fairly unobtrusive, so you could actually use this as an accessory for a similarly scaled figure.

And because you can’t always rely on your legendary magic sword in battle, it helps to take a water gun! The water gun looks great and it’s such a fun accessory. The wetting weapon is cast in translucent plastic with both a yellow and pale blue tint and it tabs very securely into her hand.

The easiest difference to spot between this piece and Max Factory’s scaled figure, is found in the bases. Max Factory’s version features a detailed beach base, this one gets by with just a a simple white disc, which is serviceable and doesn’t take up too much real estate.

I’m delighted that I was able to add this figure to my collection without breaking the bank. But make no mistake, if I only collected anime figures, I would have picked up the fully scaled figure in a heartbeat. But anime figures happen to be only a fringe part of my collection, and at around $140, I just couldn’t justify it picking it up. On the other hand, $12 shipped for a JAMMA figure and I still get to put the character on my shelf? Hell, yeah. Why not? I can’t stress enough that the difference between the two in terms of quality and polish is like night and day, but then with a $120 spread, that’s to be expected.